Caroline Bedran interviewed about KDT in the second episode of the Next Generation of European Partnerships podcast

28 Apr 2021

Caroline Bedran, AENEAS Director General interwieved by Eunice Ribeiro, in the second episode of the Next Generation of European Partnerships podcast,  is presenting the Key Digital Technologies (KDT) Partnership, an ambitious public-private partnership.

Caroline Bedran first highlights AENEAS Association mission and means.

AENEAS is working for the the benefits of its members and the ecosystem at large. The first and major overarching goal is to promote RD&I to strengthen the competitiveness of European industry across the complete Electronics Components and Systems (ECS) value chain (materials, chips, design, manufacturing equipment, software and systems up to the application level). Collaborative RD&I is  a key driver of productivity and hence of prosperity and growth along with the creation of ecosystems. Caroline  outlines how AENEAS is doing in practice to help its members to innovate and, as an end result, make their business grow.

Caroline then focuses on the  influence and how members’ voice are heard.

AENEAS, together with its partner associations ARTEMIS-IA and EPoSS provides policy influence. AENEAS is a partner in the ECSEL (and this will continue with the coming KDT partnership in Horizon Europe), representing the private members together with the 2 other associations ARTEMIS-IA and EPoSS, in front of the funding parties, namely the European Commission and the 30 ECSEL Participating States. As part of the Governing Board of ECSEL, and in the future KDT, AENEAS has voting rights which allow it to influence the strategic orientation and the operations of the ECSEL / KDT Joint Undertaking as well as the implementation of its activities.

During the last 3 years, AENEAS with its two sister associations, has strongly advocate for larger investments in KDT while publishing positions papers, released a Joint Statement with 90 other associations and has been involved so far in more than 12 EU consultation on the future programme Horizon Eurone & the KDT partnership. Since 2019, the industry associations have been deeply involved in the co-design of the proposal for KDT partnership together with the European Commission, the Member States and Norway, shaping the landscape of collaborative RD&I for the period 2021-2027.

While answering Eunice Ribero’s questions, Caroline details what is changing for KDT compared to ECSEL.

KDT will be larger and more ambitious than ECSEL. The proposed KDT partnership will build on experience gained from the ECSEL JU and satisfy the more demanding societal, economic and technological impact criteria of Horizon Europe.

Regarding the objectives, KDT will support the twin digital and green transformation of all sectors of the economy and society, make it work for Europe. In more practical terms, the aim is to develop innovative electronic components and systems, software and smart integration, providing secure and trusted technologies tailored to the needs of user industries and citizens.

The objectives and scope will be adapted to the changing geopolitical situation and continued technological convergence. The scope intends to go beyond microelectronics to relevant aspects of photonics, beyond embedded software to relevant higher layers of software, beyond Smart Systems to enable intelligent Systems of Systems (SoS), and addresses important trends including the emergence of new computing paradigms, edge-computing and its link with cloud computing – in particular for Artificial Intelligence applications. The budget announced by the EC for KDT is 50% higher than the ECSEL budget, with 1.8B€ coming from the Commission between 2021 and 2027, resulting in an overall expected size of above 7 B€.

In KDT partnership, the tri-partite model aligning the EU, national industrial policy and private investments will be reinforced. The unique model of the Joint Undertaking is to be continued. Each partnership under Horizon Europe will create synergies with other relevant partnerships. Electronic Components and Systems being at the heart of all devices in modern life, many partnerships will be in relation with KDT.

Finally Caroline explains the vision of KDT and AENEAS to support the European sovereignty in such a competitive global environment.

The COVID-19 crisis has revealed only too clearly that Europe cannot afford to be dependent on others in key strategic areas –whether in R&I, supply chains or production. It has also underscored the central role of digital technologies in our society. In recovering from the crisis, Europe has a unique opportunity to expand its technological sovereignty/autonomy along with appropriate education and training, more and better employment, and world-leading research capacities.

As the Council of the European Union has stated, fundamental building block such as microelectronics ‘made in Europe’ will be an …essential underpinning technology for a successful digital transformation’ in many industrial sectors from automotive, manufacturing, aeronautics, space, defence and security to agriculture and healthcare. Similarly, Europe needs trusted hardware and software value chains which ensure that European values on security, data privacy and consumer protection are built into digital technologies.

Almost 75% of the world GDP (worth € 72.7 trillion in 2018) is built on ECS, demonstrating the rising and crucial importance for the sovereignty of Europe to master the key elements of this value chain. ECS accounts for major shares of global employment in Europe, as well as major Research, Development and Innovation (R&D&I) activities. Even if Europe currently plays a significant role at numerous levels of these value chains, its positions are challenged by other nations which are investing massively and strategically (US and China) in both R&D&I and manufacturing in ECS.

Therefore, a complete set of initiatives is put into place in Europe: not only support to RD&I, with programmes like Horizon Europe, KDT, or EUREKA, but also with Important Projects of Common European Interest, leading to first industrial deployment, and Industrial Alliances as well as RTO Alliances, like the TEF (Testing and Experimentation Facilities) and the Pact for skills, investing in the upskilling and reskilling of people to make them fit for the digital age. So it is a full landscape in which all stakeholders, the EC, Industry, and national public authorities, have to join forces, work together and make a clear commitment to the future of the Union.

And this is where our roadmap the ECS Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda, co-created by experts of our ECS domain, is so important. AENEAS and its two sister associations ARTEMIS-IA and EPoSS, joined forces a few years ago to have one common roadmap covering the whole ECS value chain. The SRIA sets the European strategic R&I priorities and technical options for solutions to improve Europe’s current position and strengthen it in the 15 years to come. Implementing the SRIA will translate not only into economic growth and new jobs, but also have a profound societal impact, by contributing to meet the challenges of the European green and digital transformation.

To listen to the complete Eunice Ribeiro’s podcast, click here.