UCD named partner in major new EU manufacturing consortium

(Dublin, 10th December 2018) -- The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) has announced the winner of a pan-European competition on Added Value Manufacturing: EIT Manufacturing. EIT Manufacturing is a unique partnership of 50 leading companies, universities, and research institutions that covers the entire product lifecycle and the entire value chain, and includes key added-value industry sectors. UCD is the only Irish partner in the consortium. Prof. Denis Dowling, Director of I-Form, the SFI Research Centre for Advanced Manufacturing, led the UCD application.

The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) was set up to boost innovation and entrepreneurship by bringing together academia and industry in cross-border partnerships across Europe. EIT Manufacturing aims to make Europe the global reference for manufacturing innovation and will enable a faster and more efficient uptake of modern technologies, whilst promoting European values on a world scale.

EIT Manufacturing’s goals for 2030 include:

  • 50,000 people trained and up- or re- skilled
  • 1,000 start-ups created and supported
  • 360 new products and services launched on the market
  • EUR325 million investment attracted by EIT ventures
  • More than 60% of manufacturing companies will have adopted sustainable production practices
  • Circular material use rate in manufacturing sector will exceed 30%

Commenting on the announcement, I-Form Director Prof. Denis Dowling, of the UCD School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, said: “The newly established Innovation Community in Manufacturing will play a key role in boosting European manufacturing innovation. It aims to achieve this goal by bringing together leading groups from industry, research, academia and finance to work collectively on key manufacturing issues. This community will develop programmes in areas such as digital manufacturing and environmentally sustainable manufacturing, as well as in business creation. From an Irish perspective, our participation in this Innovation Community will help to strengthen our technical skills and innovation through close collaborations with leading manufacturing research centres across Europe.”

Following the decision of the EIT Governing Board, its Chairman, Dirk Jan van den Berg, said: “The EIT now has eight Innovation Communities, increasing our reach and ability to empower innovators in Europe. I am thrilled with this exciting milestone for the EIT – fittingly happening 10 years after Europe’s one-stop shop for innovation was set up.”

Interim CEO, Klaus Beetz, added: “EIT Manufacturing will generate significant impact on European competitiveness by focusing on the more than 2 million SMEs and in EIT RIS regions as future powerhouses of manufacturing innovation”.

George Chryssolouris from the University of Patras, the key coordinating partner, pointed out: “Our objective is to boost the global competitiveness and attractiveness of Europe’s manufacturing sector by championing radical innovation and entrepreneurial talent.”

To facilitate EIT Manufacturing’s establishment, the EIT will provide the winning partnership with a start-up grant of up to EUR4 million to ensure it becomes fully operational as soon as possible. Under Horizon2020, the EIT’s current annual funding to its Innovation Communities gradually increases to reach a maximum of over EUR80 million after a few years of activity - provided that they achieve the expected results. In the meantime, EIT Innovation Communities are also expected to attract significant investments from private and public sources, multiplying the investment made by the EIT and progressively replacing it to reach financial sustainability in the long-term

EIT Manufacturing’s strategic objectives add value to European manufacturing products, processes, and services:

  • Excellent manufacturing skills and talents – Adding value through an upskilled workforce and engaged talents;
  • Efficient manufacturing innovation ecosystems – Adding value through creating ecosystems for innovation, entrepreneurship and business transformation focused on innovation hotspots;
  • Full digitalisation of manufacturing – Adding value through digital solutions and platforms that connect value networks globally;
  • Customer-driven manufacturing – Adding value through agile and flexible manufacturing that meet global personalised demand;
  • Socially sustainable manufacturing – Adding value through safe, healthy, ethical, and socially sustainable production and products;
  • Environmentally sustainable manufacturing – Adding value by making industry greener and cleaner.

EIT Manufacturing will address key societal challenges through transversal Flagship programmes to ensure high societal and industrial impact: People and Robots for Sustainable Work, Additive Manufacturing for Full Flexibility, Zero-Defect Manufacturing for a Circular Economy, Platforms for Digitalised Value Networks.

Amongst the highlights of the novel approach to meet its goals, EIT Manufacturing launches specific low barrier activities for start-ups and SMEs, real industry-driven education and a world-class network of shared infrastructures and facilities that will accelerate the path to skills, markets and investors and open opportunities for novel collaboration models. EIT Manufacturing will boost its outreach capacity to over 70,000 SMEs and structural impact through the cooperation with its network partners that will embed it into a wider ecosystem.

The manufacturing industry is a global base for prosperity and key to Europe’s economic, social and environmental sustainability. New market and societal needs, rapid technological advances, environmental and sustainability requirements, are also driving change in this sector. EIT Manufacturing aims to overcome value network fragmentation and bring stakeholders together. It will boost sector transformation towards a better use of knowledge and the deployment of agile mechanisms to accelerate and steer innovation and shape the future role of manufacturing in the society.