AENEAS Newsletter

01 Jul 2021

In a year of transition from Horizon 2020 to Horizon Europe and with the EUREKA Clusters entering a new era with the new EUREKA Clusters Programme, AENEAS is at your side to guide you through these changes.

The new EUREKA cluster Xecs will start as of July and will open its first Call for proposals as early as possible, save the date of  28 September!

Similarly, KDT will start under Horizon Europe and will launch its first calls before the end of the year.

Both programmes are intended to accelerate the transition to a sustainable digital economy and society, with semiconductors being at the  heart of this transformation as stated by Commissioner Thierry Breton on 21 May: it is a question of industrial and technological leadership but also of resilience and strategic autonomy”.

Let us now embrace the new opportunities together to make it happen!

Caroline Bedran, Director General of AENEAS.


Xecs, Driving Sustainable Digital Innovation and to deliver High Impact for the ECS Community

Eye focus visualTo support the digital transformation of our economy and society, the Electronic Components & Systems (ECS) Community needs to rapidly accelerate the pace of sustainable industrial innovation, both to maintain economic growth and to address the changing needs of our society. The ongoing process of Digital Transformation needs to continue but must also be complemented by a high level of focus on addressing societal challenges and, crucially sustaining the long-term future of our planet.

Building on the highly successful EURIPIDES² and PENTA Cluster programmes, Xecs intends to address this need. It operates as part of the new Eureka Cluster Programme (ECP), stimulating industrially driven Xecs and inter-community joint thematic calls in support of collaborative Research, Development and Innovation (RD&I) by the ECS community. Xecs is both complementary to and differentiated from KDT or IPCEI.

Xecs is directed by the new Public Authorities Board and Clusters Committee of the ECP. Its focus is primarily on stimulating collaborative RD&I projects in micro and nanoelectronics enabled (sub-)systems, smart systems and their integration into a range of applications along the Electronics Components and Systems (ECS) value chain. However, with flexibility built in, Xecs also has the capability to address new technologies and thematic challenges as required, where appropriate in partnership with other programmes.

Xecs aims at creating a long-term, ambitious trans-national collaboration programme with high levels of societal and economic impact – ensuring an excellent return on investment for national funding agencies and addressing worldwide sustainability targets. By engaging with all relevant segments of the industrial landscape – Large Enterprise, SMEs, Research and Technology Organisations and Universities – Xecs projects will satisfy the industrial need for a “mid-size” collaboration support instrument for RD&I: it will go beyond the state-of-the-art, encourage disruptive innovation and enable sustainable competitiveness and growth for all those involved.

Guided by the ECS Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda prepared by experts gathered by the 3 Industry Associations AENEAS, ARTEMIS-IA and EPoSS, Xecs will launch Calls addressing the full value chain of ECS and will benefit from the wide dynamic innovation ecosystem stimulated by these industry associations.

Read the full “Welcome to Xecs” article here.

To know more about Xecs, we invite you to discover the new Xecs website here.

We also invite you to follow our social media accounts @xecs_eureka.


Horizon Europe and KDT latest developments

4 March 2021: Key Digital Technologies (KDT) new partnership to help speed up the transition to a green and digital Europe

Based on initial proposal to set up new European Partnerships between the European Union, Member States and the industry and invest nearly €10 billion for the green and digital transition, the EC announced a new partnership, Key Digital Technologies. To learn more about the key digital technologies, please read the brochure here.

The KDT partnership will support the digital transformation of all economic and societal sectors, make the transformation work for Europe and support the Green Deal by contributing towards the EU’s target of becoming the world’s first climate-neutral continent by 2050.

The KDT joint undertaking builds on its predecessor ECSEL JU, which had a total of €4.8 billion investment in 2014-2020, and included 16 calls, 92 projects, and more than 3100 participants.

KDT Objectives are to:

  • Provide innovative electronic components and systems, software and smart integration to digital value chains, providing secure and trusted technologies tailored to the needs of user industries and citizens. This will help reinforce Europe’s potential to innovate.
  • Develop and apply these technologies to address major global challenges in mobility, health, energy, security, manufacturing and digital communications. This will contribute to and strengthen Europe’s scientific and technological bases.
  • Better align R&I and industrial policies for a joint approach in mastering these drivers of innovation.

29 April 2021: MEPs approve the new Horizon Europe research and innovation programme

Members of the European Parliament gave the formal go ahead for the adoption of the different collaborative research initiatives that are going to be supported under Horizon Europe. Horizon Europe will have an overall budget of €95.5 billion, which will include €5.4 billion from the EU’s Next GenerationEU recovery plan, as well as an additional investment of €4 billion from the EU’s multiannual financial framework (MFF).  This will be the EU’s highest ever budget allocation for digital-related research and digitalisation, which will also provide support for innovative SMEs, European research infrastructure, and an additional €1 billion secured by the Parliament for basic research, which will be channelled through the European Research Council.
The programme was already provisionally put in place by the European Commission from 1 January 2021. However on Tuesday 27 April, MEPs gave their final approval to the agreement with Council on the Horizon Europe regulation, adding a political declaration with 677 votes to 5 and 17 abstentions. They adopted the agreement with Council on the Horizon Europe specific programme with 661 votes to 5 and 33 abstentions.

Find out more about the adoption of the Horizon Europe Programme here.

While the EU is ready to commit significant funds to expand European semiconductor manufacturing and support its computer chip supply chain, as said by the Commissioner Thierry Breton on 20 May, and is also ready to deal with the EU’s strategic dependencies as highlighted in the update of  the Commission updates of the EU Industrial Strategy, diverse reports have been published analysing the value chain

“Strengthening the Global Semiconductor Value Chain in an uncertain era”, a report from the American Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) – April 2021

The report “Strengthening the Global Semiconductor Value Chain” released by the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) in partnership with the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), identifies the benefits and the vulnerabilities of the global semiconductor supply chain. It recommends government actions to ensure its long-term strength and resilience.

All countries are interdependent in this integrated global supply chain, relying on free trade to move materials, equipment, IP, and products around the world to the optimal location for performing each activity. In fact, semiconductors are the world’s fourth-most-traded product after only crude oil, refined oil, and cars. This global structure delivers enormous value.

But, there are are potential single points of failure in this value chain that could be disrupted. 100% of the world’s most advanced (below 10 nanometers) semiconductor manufacturing capacity is currently located in Taiwan (92%) and South Korea (8%). This extreme hypothetical scenario of complete disruption of Taiwanese foundries for one year could cause the global electronics supply chain to come to a halt, creating significant global economic disruptions. If such hypothetical complete disruption were to be become permanent, it could take a minimum of three years and a $350 billion investment to build enough capacity in the rest of the world to replace the Taiwanese foundries.

A hypothetical alternative with parallel, fully “self-sufficient” local supply chains in each region to meet its current levels of semiconductor consumption, would have required at least $1 trillion in incremental upfront investment, resulting in a 35% to 65% overall increase in semiconductor prices and ultimately higher costs of electronic devices for end users.”

To read the full report, please click here.

“The lack of semiconductor manufacturing in Europe. Why the 2nm fab is a bad investment”, a policy brief from Stiftung Neue Verantwortung, an independant German Think tank – April 2021

“Operating semiconductor fabrication plants (fabs) with 2nm process nodes within the EU by the end of this decade would require tens of billions of Euros in public and private investment. To make this investment strategically sound in the long-term, such an “EU foundry” must have a solid business case based on substantial demand in the market, especially in the highly competitive market of cutting-edge chip manufacturing which has almost insurmountable barriers to entry. Unfortunately, chasing the 2nm fab is a futile endeavour with a very real risk of wasting billions of Euros in public and private money.”

To read about the analysis which led to this conclusion, click here to read the full policy brief.

“Digital Directions, Greener Connections: An Industrial Policy Report on European Electronics Manufacturing” by IPC association for Electronics Manufacturing – April 2021

The study conducted by Decision Etudes & Conseil and commissioned by IPC, highlights the electronics manufacturing industry accounted for €301 billion in production value in 2019 and directly impacted €3.8 trillion in European GDP. The report makes a series of recommendations.

First while semiconductors and microelectronics’ strategic importance is generally well recognised, the report notes that progress also depends on investments in the manufacturing of PCBs and electronic board assemblies. When governments invest in microelectronics, there should be gap analysis to assess corresponding needs in PCB fabrication and assembly.

A second recommendation of the report is to support the European manufacturers in their transition to factories of the future. As most European PCB and EMS companies are small and medium-sized enterprises, they particularly need support for investments in R&D, equipment upgrades, and workforce training to create the more connected, efficient factories of the future.

A third recommendation is to enhance vocational training and lifelong training including PCB makers and assemblers in those programs, and it suggests that Member States’ recovery plans should include projects dedicated to up-skilling workforce in Industry 4.0 tools and technologies, paying special attention to SMEs.

Fourth, a focus should be made on Europe’s leadership in embedded electronics. Supporting these end-user sectors will help drive overall growth and bring about cleaner, more connected, autonomous vehicles and more intelligent, secure, and efficient homes, factories, and healthcare systems.

In defining the European concept of “open strategic autonomy,” the report recommands to strike a careful balance between support for regionalised production and a flexible global supply chain. This includes working with like-minded partners at the multilateral and bilateral levels to enforce trade rules and avoid creating new trade barriers.

To read the full report and recommendations, please click here.


o 2022 Xecs Call   |  Get more information

Mark your calendar. Xecs will be launched on 28 September 2021 at the Xecs Launch event and the first call will be opened.

Be the first to hear about Xecs, about the RD&I focus areas, get informed on how to submit a successful proposal and about the Project Zone at Xecs Launch Event.

Then take advantage on 23-25 November of EFECS pre-brokerage to present your project ideas, look for ideas from other organisations, build your consortia and benefit from all networking opportunities.

To reinforce your consortia, join the ECS Brokerage Event on 18-19 January 2022.

More about these events here.

o KDT Calls |  The next calls publication is expected by Q3/Q4 2021. AENEAS will inform you of any new update   |   Get more information

AENEAS will keep you updated and provide links to the Call websites when available.

Collaborative RD&I is crucial to support the creation of robust innovation ecosystems and create economic and societal impact.

More about PENTA  and ECSEL Projects:

  • Learn how the PENTA project HiPer is building on Europe’s leading position in automotive semiconductors by creating an advanced High-Performance Vehicle Computer (HPVC) and Communication System with the safety, performance, security & reliability for self-driving vehicles that is vital for the future of road travel.

Watch the HiPer promotional video here.

  • Read about the PENTA project HADES  impact and how, with increasing complexity of ECS devices, and essential reliability & functional safety, HADES has developed a comprehensive testing environment to manage reliability challenges to prevent dangerous failures.

 See the HADES impact summary here.

  • By lowering the barriers for utilising edge computing for artificial intelligence applications, the ECSEL project BRAINE will open the door for European SMEs to leverage state of the art technologies, driving their development and growth as industry leaders in their sectors. The project’s overall aim is to boost the development of the Edge framework and, specifically, energy efficient hardware and AI empowered software systems, capable of processing Big Data at the Edge, supporting security, data privacy and sovereignty.

 Watch the BRAINE demo presentation held at OFC 2021.

  • After an initial press event to launch the ECSEL project VALU3S, an introductive teaser video,  the project team initiated  a series of training

Watch the series of training here.

  • The ECSEL project VIZTA project has reached 2-year activity and the first fruitful results have already enlightened the collaboration between the partners.The consortium has made great progress towards innovative technologies for optical sensors and laser sources, for short to long-range 3Dimaging and the demonstration of their value in several keyapplications.
  • AENEAS, as the partner representing the ECS community in the COREnect consortium, is pleased to inform you on the latest developments of this H2020 project.

Please find the COREnect June newsletter, learn about the workshop and panel organised by COREnect with AENEAS participation at EuCNC & 6G summit and download the Pre-release” of D3.3 Initial COREnect industry roadmap” which is still under construction. 

  • The AENEAS SME Directory promotes SMEs expertise. This is a living document that is regularly updated. See the latest edition.

If you want to apply, please send your application to


Collaborative Innovation Events

Xecs Launch Event  

Mark your calendar for the Xecs Launch Event on 28 September 2021.  Registration will open soon.


EFECS 2021


Register for EFECS 2021 and have a look at the programme.


ECS Brokerage Event 2022 Save the date for the ECS Brokerage event 2022 on 18 and 19 January 2022.


 More events here