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EU Report: Open Innovation Test Beds for Advanced Materials – Examples and Lessons Learnt

This report describes how the Open Innovation Test Beds (OITBs) funded under Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe contribute to the priorities of the Green Deal1 and the New European Innovation Agenda2. It highlights the opportunities for the future and some of the challenges in the further development and sustainability of this instrument, based on the lessons learnt.

The OITBs are funded to support a future-proof industrial development in Europe, notably for advanced materials and nanotechnologies. OITBs are particularly relevant in the context of the ERA Policy Agenda Action 123 and the future discussion under the upcoming Coordinated Plan on Advanced Materials with Member States to support the Green Deal Industrial Plan.

The OITBs bring together academia, research and technology organisations (RTOs) and companies, in a consortium with a single-entry point (SEP). SEPs should offer open access to testing and experimentation spaces, in particular for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). OITBs include both digital and physical facilities required to develop, test and upscale advanced materials, and in this way to move from validation in laboratories (TRL 4) to prototypes in industrial environments (TRL 7). The first generation of OITBs has delivered promising results during the implementation of the project.

This report presents a first analysis of OITBs based on facts and figures extracted from the CORDIS Result pack on OITBs of May 2022 and its update of June 2023; two webinars with the coordinators of the projects end of April and early May 2023; a questionnaire to the coordinators; past workshops and conferences; meetings with experts; several articles and analysis; the monitoring of the projects; and exchanges of insights between Project Advisers from HaDEA, coordinators from the projects and Policy Officers from DG R&I. It aims to guide the ongoing and forthcoming OITB projects on the basis of eleven recommendations and to encourage Member States to consider the financial sustainability of the OITBs already in place. It also sketches out examples for future OITBs provided the current ones are successful.

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