Brussels, 3 June 2014 - The European Commission and euRobotics AISBL today launched the world's largest civilian research and innovation programme in robotics at AUTOMATICA 2014. The initiative – called SPARC – is to maintain and extend Europe’s leading position in this strategic area, whose overall market volume could reach more than €60 billion by 2020. SPARC is expected to create over 240,000 jobs in Europe. The European Commission will invest €700 million in SPARC under its new research and innovation programme Horizon 2020. The European industry's overall investment will amount to €2.1 billion. This public-private partnership (PPP) will increase Europe's competitiveness in the production and use of robotics in industry, agriculture, health, transport, civil security and households.
Robotics contributes to Europe's strong position in global manufacturing. But the potential of robotics goes far beyond the factory: robots help nurses in hospitals, inspect dangerous power plant, and do tedious jobs on farms. Autonomous cars are another example where robotics technology is at work. The global market for robotics amounts to €22 billion and is expected to grow to more than €60 billion by 2020. Europe is already a leader, with an overall market share of 35%, but efforts are needed to follow the pace of this rapidly evolving sector and making the most of it. The new Partnership for Robotics in Europe SPARC aims to increase the European market share to 42% in 2020.
With SPARC, the European Commission joins forces with the European industry and research to strengthen and further develop European robotics. euRobotics AISBL represents the private side in the PPP and gathers more than 180 European companies, universities and research institutions, ranging from traditional industrial robotics manufacturers to producers of agricultural machinery and innovative hospitals. The members of euRobotics AISBL are developing a “roadmap for robotics in Europe” to achieve the objectives of SPARC. This roadmap is turned into concrete work programmes and calls for proposals.
Vice-President of the European Commission @NeelieKroesEU, responsible for the Digital Agenda, says: "The robotics revolution is happening now. We should not follow it, but lead it. Robots can improve our economy, our lives, our jobs. Robots are not cutting humans out of the equation: they are partners for a better future. Let SPARC be a metaphor for igniting the robotics revolution here in Europe".
President of the association euRobotics AISBL Bernd Liepert says: "SPARC will ensure the competitiveness of European robotics industries. Robot-based automation solutions are essential to overcome today’s most pressing societal challenges - from demographic change to mobility demands and sustainable production".
In 2012, the European Commission, industry and academia agreed to launch a public-private partnership in robotics (press release).
The European Commission signed the contract with euRobotics AISBL on 17 December 2013 (press release). During the last six months, both sides have been working intensively on many details of the partnership leading to the launch of SPARC today.
SPARC is governed by a committee of representatives from the EU Commission and the euRobotics AISBL. It is open to all European companies and research institutions.
The calls for proposals related to SPARC are run under the pillar LEIT - Leadership in Enabling and Industrial Technologies of the new EU research and innovation programme Horizon 2020#H2020.
The first call for proposals ended on 23 April 2014. The next call will be published in October 2014 with a deadline expected for 21 April 2015. Stay tuned via @RoboticsEU – find out more about EU support to robotics and examples of funded projects.
For reading the press release in pdf format please click here
euRobotics AISBL, Dr. Uwe Haass, Secretary-General, 80 Blvd. A. Reyers, 1030 Brussels, Belgiumsecretariat@eu-robotics.netTel. +32-2-706.8203www.eu-robotics.netwww.sparc-robotics.net