Terracom reacted positively to the invitation of the National Contact point PRAXI and participated on the ICT Proposers’ day being held in Bratislava. The event was a good opportunity to get informed in various topics regarding funding opportunities offered by Horizon 2020, clarify different aspects of the processes that have been established by European Commission and raise issues and concerns directly to those responsible to address them. An event where more than 5000 academics, enterprises, research center, policy makers and potential proposals were invited to participate was a top notch opportunity for some high quality networking, exchange of ideas and best practices, and issues of mutual concern.
In more detail, the first day started with an informative session, regarding the multi-international dimension of Horizon 2020. It is on the European Commission top priorities to enhance global co-operation in topics and tasks that the result would mutually benefit all sides working together, by combining their different competencies. That came under the realization that there is a need to work together in technologies under development that can be specified as of common interest. Some of the topics that fall under this umbrella and global co-operation is deemed necessary, are the 5G networks and the Internet of Things technologies. Main countries that are part of the roadmap, are Brazil, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Mexico.
The next session was specifically dedicated to the very prominent area of Internet of things. European commission realized the importance of IoT in the coming years as they are going to have a disruptive impact in the market and in order to foster the take-up in Europe and enable the emergence of IoT ecosystems, has created a new focus area.
The area, would be responsible to enhance coordination and liaise with relevant initiatives at EU, Member States and international levels in an effort to bridge research and innovation in a way that will ensure the long-term evolution of IoT. In order to ensure the success of the initiative, IoT Focus area has initiated large scale pilots in five areas:
- Smart living environments for ageing well,
- Smart Farming and Food,
- Wearables for smart ecosystems,
- Reference zones in EU cities,
- Autonomous vehicles in a connected environment.
During the session the European Initiative IoT-EPI, addressing the new EU-funded H2020 programs about IoT platform development, had been presented to the participants. More information about the initiative and the future calls that are based on innovative platform technologies and will have a value of 50M€ funding can be found on the following link: http://iot-epi.eu/
The session ended with enterprises presenting their calls to be submitted regarding IoT in order to raise awareness and establish co-operations among the participants. The projects that were presented were:
- IoT 4 Safe,
- Energy Harvesting,
- Retailer In,
What caught our attention, was IoT 4 Safe. The project will develop a telemetry system with self-diagnosis and auto-configuration functionalities for the tele-monitoring of workers in severe operating environments (subject to radiation, corrosive, humidity, extreme climate, floods, underground, underwater). When finalized, the solution find appliance to water hydro-plants, nuclear power plants and other high risk environments.
The next session of the day was titled “Help! I am a Proposal Coordinator! Proposal Coordination in Horizon 2020”. Coordinating a proposal is a very challenging and demanding task. A panel of coordinators was invited to share their experience obtained through a long list of proposals that have executed so far. The discussion started from the very beginning of the coordination, on how to find the right idea to the creation of the consortium and how to keep up with the schedule.
A coordinator shall try to crystalize the core technical idea at an early stage as possible. It is also important to present the idea to the National Contact points, as well as to the European Commission to get feedback on the potential to generate an actual project. On the stage of selecting partners is paramount to keep in mind that in the end all comes to the people that you are going to work with. Partner roles shall also be defined even if the idea, is not finalized yet, in order to shape everyone’s expectations. It shall also become clear to the consortium on who is taking the final decisions, what kind of skillset is everyone putting on the table and who owns the final results. Sometimes it can also be deemed necessary to sign a letter of intent with the partners.
Writing the proposal, can be a collaborative goal of the partnership and usually it takes 2 to 3 meetings for a proper hand-on. It is also advised to have the proposal reviewed by external advisors or internal audiences that are not actively involved to the project in order to get unbiased feedback.
Pitfalls and what distinguishes a good proposal from a bad proposal were also discussed during the conversation with the audience, with the main take out being that the application should not be the center of gravity of the proposal.
The day continued with pre-arranged meetings in order to discuss the possibility to establish co-operations in the near future. Terracom had the pleasure to meet in person with the representatives of the National Institute of Telecommunications of Poland, the Warsaw University of technology and TUV Nord of Germany and discuss on-going projects, common challenges and future opportunities on calls to follow.
For the second day, Terracom was invited from the SME Instrument and kindly accepted to present the experiences so far from the signing of the awarded Grant Agreement some months ago, till now as well as how the project is progressing. We were happy to give our feedback and point out how the assistance of SME Instrument had affected project’s implementation.
The presentation triggered in person conversations with people participating in the audience when the session was over that wanted to share their experiences with the SME Instrument, challenges that they faced as well as exchange remarks.