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INESC TEC is part of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology consortium

"Leading Manufacturing innovation is Made By Europe" is the name of the winning project of the competition for a Knowledge Innovation Community and there are two Portuguese institutions that are part of this – INESC TEC and SONAE.

28th December 2018

INESC TEC is part of the EIT Manufacturing consortium. Leading Manufacturing innovation is Made By Europe is the name of the winning project of the competition for a Knowledge Innovation Community (KIC) in the manufacturing industry field that was launched by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT). There are two Portuguese institutions that are part of this project as core partners – INESC TEC and SONAE.

For Luís Carneiro, member of INESC TEC’s Executive Board, the EIT Manufacturing “is an initiative of great size and ambition”. This initiative intends to stimulate the European innovation ecosystem in this area and to promote a transformation of the European industry, in line with the so-called fourth industrial revolution (Industry 4.0), making it more competitive and sustainable in economic, environmental and social terms.

EIT Manufacturing is composed of 50 organisations, 27 companies,15 universities and 8 research institutes from 17 countries: Portugal, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Ireland, Lithuania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the Netherlands. The consortium includes European companies that are leaders in their sectors, including companies of the manufacturing industry, companies of production technologies and companies of digital technologies for the industry. SONAE, Siemens, Volkswagen, Volvo, Whirlpool, Aernnova, Fives, Festo, Atos are some of the participating companies.

In Portugal, other agents relevant for the innovation in this domain will be more and more involved, including companies, universities, technological centres and clusters. INESC TEC will involve FEUP and INEGI right from the start.

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The goals of EIT Manufacturing

EIT Manufacturing’s mission is to bring together relevant agents in the European manufacturing industry in innovation ecosystems that can add unique value to the corresponding products, processes and services. Improving the competitiveness of the European companies in order to create jobs and to protect the environment are the main goals of this initiative. 

According to Luís Carneiro, “this initiative covers what EIT designates as the knowledge triangle, mainly in the education, innovation and creation of new businesses vectors”.

By 2030, this consortium intends:

  • To create and support 1000 startups
  • To train or support about 50 thousand people in acquiring new skills
  • To promote the creation of 360 new products and technological solutions
  • To leverage a EUR 325 million investment through EIT Ventures - 60% of the manufacturing companies to adopt sustainable production practices
  • To ensure that at least 30% of used raw material are recovered for further use.

“The goal is to make the European companies more competitive, with the ability to create jobs and to offer goods and services of higher added value. It is intended to create more qualified jobs, to attract new talents and to promote an eco-friendly industry “, highlighted the member of INESC TEC’s Board.

 EIT Manufacturing has six strategic goals:

1. Excellent manufacturing skills and talents: adding value through an upskilled workforce and engaged students.

2. Efficient manufacturing innovation ecosystems: adding value through creating ecosystems for innovation, entrepreneurship and business transformation focused on innovation hotspots.
3. Full digitalisation of manufacturing: adding value through digital solutions and platforms that connect value networks globally.
4. Customer-driven manufacturing: adding value through agile and flexible manufacturing that meets global personalised demand.
5. Socially sustainable manufacturing: adding value through safe, healthy, ethical and socially sustainable production and products.
6. Environmentally sustainable manufacturing: adding value by making industry greener and cleaner.

The importance of EIT Manufacturing for INESC TEC

According to Luís Carneiro, this initiative will be “an important tool” for INESC TEC to develop its activity and to increase the impact in the companies of the manufacturing industry both at a national and international level.

“We will be able to stimulate and to support a set of activities that are core to our institute, including the transfer and demonstration of technology, training, and support to startups and scaleups”, explains the member of INESC TEC’s Board.

It is expected that EIT Manufacturing will become the network with greater impact at an European level, promoting a number of innovation support activities and enabling the internationalisation.

How will the project work globally?

EIT Manufacturing, which is coordinated by the University of Patras (Greece), will start in January 2019.

“This is an initiative that is set for a time horizon” of 14 years, at the end of which, it must become self-sustained, explained Luís Carneiro.

Paris was the city selected as the headquarters of EIT Manufacturing. Additionally, five innovation hubs will be created in Europe: Bilbao (Spain), Darmstadt (Germany), Gothenburg (Sweden), Milan (Italy) and Vienna (Austria). An association will be created in order to manage the entire process.

EIT Manufacturing will try to complement the competences and services that are available in each country through the Technological Interface Centres and the Digital Innovation Hubs such as iMAN Norte Hub or Produtech in Portugal.

“If a Portuguese company needs international help in order to develop a new product or to improve a process, its access point, besides the national partners, will be the Innovation Hub in Bilbao”, which will enable the contact with those in Europe who have the most suitable competences for each case, informed the member of INESC TEC's Board.

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About the European Manufacturing Industry

In Europe, the manufacturing industry directly employs about 30 million people and is composed of approximately 2.1 million companies. It is estimated that for each job in the industry, 1.5 more jobs are created in related services, which proves its socio-economic relevance.

According to the Eurostat, the manufacturing industry is the backbone of the European economy. The European Union is the biggest exporter of manufactured products and it’s recognised as the global leader in high quality products. In 2017, the transport equipment and the industrial machines represented 42% of the total exports, the chemical products represented 17.6% and the food, beverage and tobacco represented 7.5%.

Like all sectors of the economy, the European manufacturing industry has faced huge challenges, including a strong increase in competition at a global level and a shortage of raw materials. Besides that, increasingly demanding markets, rapid technological advances, environmental and social sustainability requirements are also creating profound changes in the European industry.

About the European Institute of Innovation and Technology

The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) is an independent body of the European Union that was created in 2008 in order to boost the innovation and the entrepreneurship across Europe. EIT brings together important higher education institution, research and development institutes, and companies in order to create dynamic cross-borders partnerships - Innovation Communities - that develop innovative products and services, start new companies, and train a new generation of entrepreneurs. More information may be found on: https://eit.europa.eu/

With the approval of EIT Manufacturing, EIT has now eight initiatives in different areas of society – EIT Climate, EIT Digital, EIT Food, EIT RawMaterials (INESC TEC is also part of it, being the only Portuguese partner), EIT InnoEnergy, EIT Health and EIT Urban Mobility.

 

The researcher mentioned in this news piece is associated with INESC TEC.