Expected Outcome: Proposals are expected to contribute to the following outcomes:
The emergence of smart cities and factories, autonomous vehicles and homes, intelligent appliances in conjunction with Virtual and Augmented Reality applications are opening new ways to live, work, care, learn, play and socialize. Whilst people, places and objects are being digitized and transferred into the virtual world and placed spatially and contextually, sensors are embedded into our environments and the objects around us. New digital interaction technologies are playing an essential role in this transformation by enabling us to interact naturally and intuitively with digital information in the physical world.
This topic asks for research and innovation proposals to develop and demonstrate novel eXtended Reality technologies, combining human-machine interactions and real, mixed, augmented and virtual environments, aiming to augment the capabilities of users and machines and to provide seamless and persistent physical-digital experiences, while guaranteeing the privacy and rights of individuals and companies and ensuring safe, secure and trustworthy interactions.
Special attention will be given to including end-users and transdisciplinary research including social sciences and humanities, in order to deliver and enhance uptake of suitable, ethical and safe solutions.
Proposals should cover at least one of the following points and will provide well designed and fully tested scenarios in real-world environment for enhanced eXtended Reality experiences:
Specific Topic Conditions:
Activities are expected to start at TRL 2 and achieve TRL 4-5 by the end of the project – see General Annex B.
1. Admissibility conditions: described in Annex A and Annex E of the Horizon Europe Work Programme General Annexes
Proposal page limits and layout: described in Part B of the Application Form available in the Submission System
2. Eligible countries: described in Annex B of the Work Programme General Annexes
A number of non-EU/non-Associated Countries that are not automatically eligible for funding have made specific provisions for making funding available for their participants in Horizon Europe projects. See the information in the Horizon Europe Programme Guide.
3. Other eligibility conditions: described in Annex B of the Work Programme General Annexes
4. Financial and operational capacity and exclusion: described in Annex C of the Work Programme General Annexes
5. Evaluation and award:
6. Legal and financial set-up of the grants: described in Annex G of the Work Programme General Annexes
7. Specific conditions: described in the [specific topic of the Work Programme]
Standard application form (HE RIA, IA) — call-specific application form is available in the Submission System
Standard evaluation form (HE RIA, IA) — will be used with the necessary adaptations
HE General MGA v1.0 - MGA
HE Main Work Programme 2021–2022 – 1. General Introduction
HE Main Work Programme 2021–2022 – 7. Digital, Industry and Space
HE Main Work Programme 2021–2022 – 13. General Annexes
HE Programme and Rules for Participation Regulation 2021/695
HE Specific Programme Decision 2021/764
Rules for Legal Entity Validation, LEAR Appointment and Financial Capacity Assessment
EU Grants AGA — Annotated Model Grant Agreement
Funding & Tenders Portal Online Manual
Funding & Tenders Portal Terms and Conditions
Funding & Tenders Portal Privacy Statement
A human-centred and ethical development of digital and industrial technologies
This destination will directly support the following Key Strategic Orientations, as outlined in the Strategic Plan:
Proposals for topics under this Destination should set out a credible pathway contributing to the following expected impact:
As Europe takes the lead in the green and digital transitions, workers, regions, and societies are faced with extremely fast transformations, and will be differently affected by these changes. The rapid adoption of new technologies offers an immense potential for improved standards of living, safer mobility, better healthcare, new jobs, or the personalisation of public services. At the same time, it presents risks such as skills mismatches, digital divides, customer lock-in, or serious breaches of security or privacy.
As Europe sets off on its path to recovery towards a greener, digital and more resilient economy and society, the need to improve and adapt skills, knowledge and competences becomes all the more important. Developments in digital and enabling technologies have the potential to enhance social inclusion, can inform up-skilling training programmes and ensure a two-way engagement with society with regard to developing technologies.
The issue of trust has become central in the use of technologies, following revelations about the exploitation of personal data, large-scale cybersecurity and data breaches, and growing awareness of online disinformation. As outlined in the White Paper on Artificial Intelligence (COM(2020)65), for AI technologies, trust requires in particular improving transparency (explainability, expected levels of performance). For the Internet, increasing trust requires new tools and services to ensure that GDPR is a reality for end-users.
It is also an opportunity for Europe to re-gain presence on the consumer electronics market, by developing new interactive applications in various sectors with solutions meeting European values and requirements in terms of privacy and security. The COVID-19 crisis has also shown how important distance and innovative learning is for society.
Actions under this Destination will support EU objectives of inclusiveness, by supporting a human-centred approach to technology development that is aligned with European social and ethical values, as well as sustainability. These actions will further contribute to addressing the challenges faced by European industry and support the creation of sustainable, high-quality jobs by targeting skills mismatches, the need to empower workers, and ethical considerations relating to technological progress.
Actions should devote particular attention to openness of the solutions and results, and transparency of the research process. To ensure trustworthiness, public awareness and support, wide adoption by user communities for the benefit of society, actions should promote the highest standards of transparency and openness. Actions should ensure that the processes and outcomes of research and innovation align with the needs, values and expectations of society, in line with Responsible Research and Innovation.
This Destination is structured into the following headings, which group topics together with similar outcomes to address a common challenge:
The objective of this heading is to ensure autonomy for Europe in AI, leading the way in research, development and deployment of world-class technologies that are beneficial to humans individually, organisationally and societally, and that adheres to European values, such as the principles reflected in our fundamental rights and environmental sustainability. Technologies need to be developed that industries and citizens will trust, so and that they could be applied in a wide range of applications and industrial sectors. Trustworthy AI is particularly key in applications such as (but not limited to) healthcare or in diverse critical infrastructures such as energy and transportation.
Some topics of this heading are under the co-programmed Partnership ‘AI, Data and Robotics’.
Proposals are encouraged to link with relevant European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) and its Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs), in particular the EIT Digital.
EIT Digital plays role in shaping technologies and innovations that work for people. At least two of its focus areas, Digital Wellbeing and Digital Cities, address directly topics such as ethical artificial intelligence, predictive analytics or augmented and virtual reality that are relevant to this areas. The solutions will benefit from the increasing will of citizens to participate in the sharing economy. EIT Digital, through projects with cities for example, improves engagement and inclusiveness of the citizens and of the visitors by increasingly organising and exposing data, especially in real time and along with analytics and machine learning. Augmented and virtual reality of the cities are another facet of exposing or simulating city data from the past, present or future to the benefit of citizens.
The issue of trust in the internet has become central, following revelations about the exploitation of personal data, large-scale cybersecurity and data breaches, and growing awareness of online disinformation. A 2019 survey[] shows that half of the global internet users are more concerned about their online privacy compared to a year previously. Distrust in the Internet is causing people to change the way they behave online, for example by disclosing less personal information. Users also express an increasing level of distrust of social media platforms.
The objective of this heading is to develop a trustworthy digital environment, built on a more resilient, sustainable, and decentralised internet, to empower end-users with more control over their data and their digital identity, and to enable new social and business models respecting European values.
Due to its low presence in the consumer electronics industry, Europe is increasingly dependent on external providers in this area. This raises concerns about its digital sovereignty in crucial domains such as digital interaction services that are being adopted by a growing number of European users and industries. The COVID-19 crisis has shown how important distance and innovative learning is for society, our children, their parents and their teachers, maintaining social and educational links under challenging circumstances. Emerging technologies such as virtual reality, eXtended Reality or immersive environments provide numerous opportunities for personalised, innovative, efficient and inclusive learning, for learners of all ages, gender and condition
The objective of this heading is to gain industrial leadership in eXtended Reality technologies and immersive environments, while ensuring the European values of privacy, ethics and inclusiveness. It also aims to support the digital transformation of education through these technologies in particular.
This heading promotes various systemic approaches to encourage creativity and make the most of the technologies developed elsewhere within society and industry. They include testing ideas in local communities; support for IP, standardisation and industry-academia exchanges; art-driven design; and assessments of complex socio-economic systems. These are complemented by support for a network of National Contact Points (NCPs), with a special emphasis on engaging with new actors.
Activities beyond R&I investments will be needed to realise the expected impacts: testing, experimentation, demonstration, and support for take-up using the capacities, infrastructures, and European Digital Innovation Hubs made available under the Digital Europe Programme; further development of skills and competencies via the European Institute of Innovation and Technology, in particular EIT Digital and EIT Manufacturing; upscaling of trainings via the European Social Fund +; use of financial instruments under the InvestEU Fund for further commercialisation of R&I outcomes; and links to the thematic smart specialisation platform on industrial modernisation
Proposals for topics under this Destination should set out a credible pathway to contributing to a human-centred and ethical development of digital and industrial technologies, and more specifically to one or several of the following impacts: