EU projects – Technology Scouting – Business Innovation

Euro Nano Forum 2017 Highlights

The EuroNanoForum 2017 Conference (ENF2017) took place last week in Valletta, Malta under the auspices of the Maltese Presidency of the European Union. During the event, over 600 delegates (scientists, industry, policy makers from the nanotech community) from all over the world gathered to discuss and outline how nanotechnologies and advanced materials can revitalize manufacturing in Europe.  The following are some key takeaways from the sessions and the exhibition:

AMIplexus, Horizon 2020 cooperation visualization tool for better innovation-focused decisions for everybody who needs to get complex picture of already funded Horizon 2020 EU projects, their pipeline technologies and key movers, was introduced as a cloud-based application by AMIRES.  AMIplexus provides a fundamental overview of any type of technology of the application field, including key performers and their relations. During the event, the greatest interest in the tool came from:

  • Private companies, which could search already funded technologies, look up what their competitors already do and find experienced scientific partners for their project ideas
  • Universities and research organizations, which could use the tool to find partners among private companies with an experience in Horizon 2020 projects, see if their project idea has already been funded or find already funded “sister” projects for clustering
  • Support associations and contact points, which could help their clients to connect with the top performers and efficiently enter the word of Horizon 2020

AMIplexus received, among others, appreciation not only from the industrial and scientific communities, but also from the Parliamentary Secretary Silvio Schembri of the Parliament of Malta.  The tool is now available online on a subscription basis (click HERE for more info and the pricing plans).

During the ENF2017 event, services of two pilot lines in the areas of lighting and hybrid printed electronics were presented. Namely,

  • InSCOPE pilot line project, which aims to create impact by offering a pilot line service that advances accuracy and reliability of hybrid printed electronics. The pilot line is modular, ensuring a comprehensive toolbox of printing, assembly, production integration and process validation distributed over the InSCOPE partners. It enables users to replace PCB (printed circuit boards) with printed circuits on foil. Printed electronics replace the rigid conventional circuit boards by conformable foils. This way electronics can be transferred into 3D shaped products and at the same time be manufactured on a large scale, and ultimately on a roll-to-roll basis. Click HERE for more
  • PI-SCALE pilot line project for the production of customized flexible OLEDs. The pilot line includes all the steps required to create advanced flexible OLED product prototypes: specialist high performance moisture barrier and electrode films, sheet-to-sheet and roll-to-roll flexible OLED fabrication, flexible device encapsulation, and lamination, bonding and system-level hybrid integration of thin film flexible electronics. Click HERE for details

The Pilot lines are serviced by top European RTD’s with leading technological positions and give a great chance for SMEs to enter the market by lowering the threshold for experimentation with envisioned innovative product concepts.

In the session on Nano-enabled healthcare, nano-medicine and medical technologies“, new regulatory frame for medical devices and in-vitro diagnostics was discussed. The new regulations 2017/745 and 2017/746, which introduce among others a new compulsory certification system, were adopted on 5 April. The new rules will only apply after a transitional period. Namely, 3 years after entry into force for the Regulation on medical devices (spring 2020) and 5 years after entry into force (spring 2022) for the Regulation on in-vitro diagnostic medical devices (click HERE for more). In connection to the new regulation deployment, the European Commission plans to launch Open Innovation Hubs in which industries will have an opportunity to develop and test medical technologies in line with the new regulation. The first call is expected to be published in October 2017. Moreover, in the session, information about a cellulose-based hydrogel as a promising technology for 3D cell culturing and wound healing by UPM Biochemicals was provided (click HERE). Last, launch of ESTHER, a new association which aims to promote innovative European Health Technology Industry, particularly support SMEs from R&D&I to market access, was announced.  ESTHER is expected to commence in January 2018 (click HERE for more).

In the session on “Nanotechnologies for industrial success” ,the following were mentioned as some of the market shaping points:

  • IIOT/Smart Factory starts to reshape the world-wide manufacturing
  • Lesson learnt from previous 3 industrial revolutions is that those who do not drive and adapt disappear
  • Algorithms will go across company boundaries
  • Risk of factory hacking will not be negligible
  • Cloud storage will increase data protection needs
  • Data encryption needs a breakthrough – EU is way falling behind the US and China
  • Push towards the higher bit density and computing speed

As the key challenges for the industry, mathematical culture across organization complementing what is considered technical knowledge needs to be boosted, a cognitive type of the worker needs to be developed, IP needs to be better managed and emphatic people management needs to be developed.

ENF2017 presentations and conclusions will be available HERE.