Home > Eu Project Profile > 'UFO' - Emerging indUstries new value chains boosted by small Flying Objects

'UFO' - Emerging indUstries new value chains boosted by small Flying Objects

Primary tabs

General Information
Programme: 
H2020-INNOSUP-1-2019
Project duration: 
Friday, 1 May, 2020 to Monday, 31 October, 2022
Project website: 
Total budget: 
€4.349.282
EU Contribution: 
€4.349.282
Partnership Composition: 
Organisation nameFunctionCountryWebsite linkECCP linkIs Cluster Organisation ?
AEROSPACE VALLEY
Coordinator
France
Yes
MINALOGIC PARTENAIRES ASSOCIATION
Partner
France
Yes
FOUNDATION CLUSTER INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES
Partner
Bulgaria
Yes
CLUJ IT CLUSTER
Partner
Romania
Yes
ATHINA-EREVNITIKO KENTRO KAINOTOMIAS STIS TECHNOLOGIES TIS PLIROFORIAS, TON EPIKOINONION KAI TIS GNOSIS (CORALLIA)
Partner
Greece
Yes
PARIS EUROPLACE (FinInnov)
Partner
France
Yes
MARINE SOUTH EAST LIMITED
Partner
United Kingdom
Yes
KNOWLEDGE TRANSFER NETWORK LIMITED
Partner
United Kingdom
Yes

The UFO project is based on two main assumptions. First, business opportunities lie in the combination of space data with digital technologies and other sources of data. Embedded Key Enabling Technologies (KETs) into small flying objects (SFOs - drones, small satellites, high altitude platforms) represent a great opportunity to collect additional aerospace data, especially to drive the Artificial Intelligence revolution for various global applications. Second, the value added applications in Europe are mostly driven by SMEs. Thus, the UFO project aims at fostering the development of cross-sectoral industrial value chains between 6 emerging industries (Mobility, Environment, Blue Growth, Finance and Insurance, Climate, Digital and Creative/Gaming), SFOs, embedded KETs and data analysis and exploitation solutions stimulating the development of new products and services by SMEs. To achieve this, the consortium provides a systemic and strategic vision. Clusters, which gather SMEs, large groups, R&D actors, and other innovation entities, are crucial to create links between different value chains, basically the data providers and the information product providers that turn raw data into valuable information. The UFO consortium and associate partner consisting of 8 emerging industry clusters including 5 SFOs, embedded KETs, ICT clusters, representing more than 1000 SMEs throughout 6 different EU countries and sectors. The partners have the capacity to carry such actions as they will foster partnerships between the different links (their members) of value chains and provide them incentives through the launch of call for proposals providing Financial Support to Third Parties (FSTP) and innovation services provided by clusters. They represent some of Europe’s most dynamic clusters including Gold and Bronze labelled ones with a history of cooperation, a track record of supporting innovation actions for SMEs.

Objectives

The UFO project aims at supporting European SMEs to develop innovative products and services by integrating new technological solutions and know-how provided by the combination of innovative Small Flying Objects (SFOs) (drones, high altitude platforms systems, small satellites), embedded nano and digital technologies, Key Enabling Technologies (KETs), data analysis and exploitation solutions. Six emerging industries are particularly targeted: Mobility, Environment, Blue Growth, Finance and Insurance, Climate, Digital and Creative/Gaming. This objective will be achieved by a European consortium of 8 clusters and 1 associate meta-cluster partner (KIC) representing together more than 3200 European SMEs with complementary expertise to ensure a crosssectoral and cross border approach between technologies and markets. In addition, identified industries will demonstrate the technical and business breakthroughs brought by the use of SFOs to increase Europe's global competitiveness, in particular in export markets, very receptive to these kind of new services not linked to ground infrastructures. The UFO project is thus expected to have a significant impact on the European economic growth.

Objectives:

  • To foster the creation of new value chains targeting emerging industries: Mobility, Environment, Blue Growth, Finance and Insurance, Climate, Digital and Creative/Gaming, by identifying new sustainable use cases provided by SFO capabilities;
  • To support the development of new technologies for SFO applications addressing societal challenges and emerging industries market needs;
  • To optimise the long-term sustainability of new value chains partnerships involving SFOs by supporting best initiatives, projects or concepts in seeking additional funding (EU including ERDF, regional, national, private) and investment in commercialisation;
  • To accelerate the internationalisation of European SMEs in these value chains by developing cross-border and crosssectoral collaborations that deliver solutions into key international markets.

Methodology

The overall approach of the UFO project is to foster collaboration between SMEs from different sectors (SFO / embedded KETs / ICT and emerging industries) and from different countries across Europe to benefit from the full diversity gathered by the consortium, using the open innovation principles as guidance, from idea generation to actions. Furthermore, the UFO project will be based on the good practices of the successful INNOSUP-1funded project NEPTUNE, coordinated by Aerospace Valley (2015-2018): foster involvement of end-users and potential customer’s, remote on-line cross-sectoral and cross-border emergence of ideas and remote online matchmaking, simplicity of the direct support services to SMEs (lump sum FSTP, only a few types of services, open to SMEs members of the clusters or established in their territories, as clusters have a better knowledge and close relation with them).

  • Internal awareness workshops on SFOs, embedded KETs, data analysis and processing capabilities and interviews with customers to identify market trends and how they can take benefit of the SFO: UFO will mobilise customers among their members and networks to define attractive market opportunities to be transformed into challenges for the UFO call for proposals. To reach this objective, it is first essential that all UFO partners share the same common knowledge about the SFO, embedded KETs, data analysis and processing and their capabilities to be able to verbalise it and pre-identify potential customers among their clusters members and networks. Relevant embedded KETs for SFOs could be for instance: optical devices as micro cameras or micro telescopes; thermal devices as infrared sensors (bolometer); radio frequency devices as micro receiver/transmitter for various bands; small platform devices as micro inertial sensors, power units, etc.; ground segment devices as Earth terminals, control centres. Data analysis and processing techniques could be: machine learning, artificial intelligence, and all software techniques that can support SFO data exploitation to the benefit of the 6 targeted markets. This common knowledge will be achieved through the organisation of dedicated awareness workshops for the members of the consortium. The second step will then consist in individually contacting relevant customers and collect challenges from them through interviews.
  • Collaboration and networking activities for SMEs using the open space platform. UFO wants to provide SMEs the opportunity to highlight their own state of the art and strengths. The key is to connect people using very attractive opportunities. UFO will develop the networking through a COTS open space platform composed of connected rooms within the UFO clusters premises with online software services for quick and efficient communication. It will allow remote and online cross-fertilisation sessions, B2B meetings, exchange of information, demonstration, access to product catalogue, support by experts, partner search or project follow-up across Europe. It will save travel costs and time lost in transit. The cross-fertilisation sessions are creative sessions in small groups of participants with various profiles (SMEs, large companies, research, experts, customers…) based on an already tested method that has already proven its worth in another INNOSUP-1 project, NEPTUNE. Within this framework about 100 cross-sectoral and cross-border ideas emerged per session. The methodology consists in the following main steps: short presentation of challenges in emerging industries, ice-breaking, introduction of the participants to each other, completion of an ideation matrix with in the lines challenges and in columns SFOs, embedded KETs and ICT technologies, exchanges among the participants about the proposed ideas and peer review ranking (feasibility, market potential, etc.), expression of interest for certain ideas and proposition of competencies to the development of the idea, exchange of contacts. In addition, each cluster will also organise local events to relay information, attract SMEs and create links with SMEs from other clusters.
  • Call for proposals to create cross-sectoral links between SMEs and encourage the emergence of disruptive project ideas. The UFO call for proposals will be launched at the beginning of the project (M7) in order to give SMEs enough time to develop their projects within the UFO timeframe. The call will include the challenges identified in the six targeted emerging industries, however SMEs will also have the possibility to propose their own SFO application idea for one of the given emerging industries. The selection process and objective will be similar for proposals answering the challenges or for proposals emitted directly by SMEs. The selection will be done by a jury composed of 3 representatives of the consortium and 1 external evaluator per proposal (a specific budget is foreseen to cover external evaluators costs). Compared to the UFO stage 1 proposal, the Climate KIC confirmed its interest to be an associated member of the project. They would be part of the evaluation jury for the proposals addressing Climate change topics. Furthermore, when addressing Climate change topic, the selection criteria of the Climate-KIC (Climate relevance, Innovativeness, Start-up team, Business model, Financial business plan, Final assessment) to enable a single evaluation to access the UFO funding scheme and the Climate-KIC funding scheme. Nonetheless, it does not prevent a project to be funded only by one of the schemes. Thus, a project could be granted by both UFO and the Climate-KIC, or only by UFO or only by the Climate-KIC. The potential issue of double funding projects will be closely monitored. The selection of the members of the consortium participating to the selection for one proposal will ensure that there is at least one representative of one SFO, embedded KETs and/or ICT technology cluster, one representative of the concerned emerging industry cluster and the cluster the applicant is member of and/or is established in the region. Proposals will be selected according to different quantitative and qualitative criteria such as innovation (from TRL 4 but priority will be given to the highest TRLs), impact on the emerging industries or international market potential. The best ideas will be supported by specific FSTP depending on the need of the projects. The selection criteria will as well be aligned with the ones of the Climate-KIC for the proposals falling into the climate change scope in order to offer the possibility to the applicants to benefit as well from further funding from the ClimateKIC. Avoiding of double funding issues will be guaranteed. UFO will ensure that the principles of transparency and equal treatment are respected. Furthermore, all evaluators will sign a non-disclosure agreement.
  • Innovation support to SMEs: A total of about 3,6M€, 85% of the UFO budget, is foreseen to be redistributed to SMEs to directly support innovation. 3M€ will be allocated to direct financial support and 600K€ to innovation services provided by UFO partners. A maximum amount of 60 K€ of financial support per SME will be distributed enabling the emergence of 35-50 cross-sectoral projects involving 50-75 SMEs.
  • Sustainability of the SMEs funded projects: The final objective is to support funded SMEs to reach the development of large-scale demonstrators, gain access to further financing mechanisms (public and private) and pursue towards market deployment. The UFO consortium aims as well at supporting non awarded SMEs which proposed a promising application. In that respect, UFO will organise by the end of its lifetime a Showcase Event to promote the results of the supported SMEs and foster linkages with potential investors, customers, public procurers and potential business partners.

Horizontal and management actions: as a transversal activity to innovation support, UFO will also perform the following cross-functional tasks:

  • Monitoring, Evaluation and Dissemination. The ambition is to assess SMEs project KPIs, impacts and outcomes on an ongoing basis and disseminate the main results and feedback.
  • Active project management based on an inputs/outcomes approach. The objective is to manage UFO using all available monitoring tools for scheduling, reporting, actions, costs, expenditures. These tools will be open to all partners and updated on a regular basis to assess the project follow-up. The UFO project coordinator, Aerospace Valley, as well as the other partners have a strong experience managing EU projects.