With the publication on 30 November 2021 in the Official Journal of the “Council Regulation (EU) 2021/2085 of the Single Basic Act” establishing ten European Joint Undertakings (JUs), the new Key Digital Technologies (KDT) JU has been officially launched.
Definition of the Key Digital Technologies
Key Digital Technologies (KDT) have been identified as one of the main drivers towards Europe’s digital sovereignty and its capacity to produce high-quality microelectronics. They make up electronic and photonic components, as well as the software that defines how they work, thus underpinning all digital systems including AI and the IoTs.
Builds on ECSEL JU achievements
The KDT joint undertaking builds on its predecessor ECSEL JU, which had a total of €4.8 billion investment and included 16 calls, 92 projects, and more than 3 100 participations.
Today Europe accounts for roughly 9-10% of global production – up from 6% five years ago thanks to the EU ECSEL initiative, which has been instrumental to reverse this trend.
More specifically, the KDT JU should address clearly defined topics that would enable European industries at large to design, manufacture and use the most innovative technologies in electronic components and systems. Structured and coordinated financial support at European level is necessary to help research teams and European industries maintain their current strengths at the leading edge in a highly competitive international context and close the gap in technologies that are critical for a digital transformation in Europe that reflects core Union values including privacy and trust, security and safety.
Besides reinforcing the EU’s strategic autonomy in ECS to support vertical industries and the wider economy, KDT has quantified targets, among them:
- contributing towards doubling the value of the design and production of ECS in Europe by 2030 (in line with the weight of the Union in products and services)
- establishing scientific excellence and innovation leadership in emerging components and systems technologies, including in lower TRLs
- promoting involvement of SMEs, who will represent at least one third of the total number of participants in indirect actions with at least 20 % of public funding going to them
- aligning with EU policy on energy efficiency and contributing towards the reduction of energy consumption by 32.5 % in 2030.
In terms of funding, KDT will receive up to €1.8 billion from the EU, an increase over the €1.2 billion for ECSEL.
Matching investments i.e., up to €1.8 billion will come from participating states, namely: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey. Additional participating states may join during the existence of KDT JU.
The total R&I project volume should reach more than €7 billions.
2021 and 2022 Call dates
The former ECSEL JU Office has now become the KDT JU Office, and the first calls are open.
- Call-2021 opens on 16 December 2021 with a deadline of 27 April 2022. The KDT JU Work Programme 2021 can be downloaded here. KDT 2021 calls will reach a combined public funding exceeding €360 million (Horizon Europe and National funds). More about the launch of the KDT Work Programme 2021 and the opening of the calls here.
- Call-2022 expected to be launched mid-2022 with a deadline after the summer break 2022 and selected projects to be launched in 2023
The role of AENEAS in the KDT JU
The three Industry Associations AENEAS, Inside and EPoSS, that are partnering in the KDT JU with the European Commission and the Participating States, represent RD&I actors, such as large companies, SMEs, RTOs and universities. Their members participate in the KDT programme through collaborative projects.
The three Industry Associations, each have a seat with voting rights in the JU Governing Board, allowing them to represent the interests of their members and get the best conditions for their RD&I activities, be it in terms of topics covered by the Calls for proposals or the funding conditions of the associated grants.
The ECS SRIA 2021 has been adopted as the KDT SRIA.