By the end of this blog post, you will know how you can influence the European robotics research roadmap for the upcoming years.
Besides being a good read to get an overview on the challenges of the robotics domain, the European Strategic Research & Innovation Agenda (SRIA) is of vital importance as it is the source document for the yearly PFP* calls that distribute the research budget of the European Commission (EC). A little known fact: the SRIAfor the upcoming framework program „Horizon Europe“(following fp7 and Horizon 2020) is currently in the making!Good news: The EC, releasing body of the SRIA, is not writing it by its own, but is heavily relying on European domain experts to come up with ideas what to fund with 100 billion Euros during the upcoming Horizon Europe. And this is how you can contribute:
Similar to the process that was conducted for Horizon 2020, the European Commission is currently seeking to create so-called public-private-partnerships (PPPs) that joins forces on writing SRIAs for European research domains. For robotics in Horizon 2020 this was SPARC, a PPP between the European Commission and the euRobotics association. The robotics SRIA for Horizon 2020 was therefore heavily influences by all members of the euRobotics association – through so-called topic groups. Topic groups are formed by members that share interest in a certain robotics discipline, e.g., industrial robotics, agri-food, etc. During the process of writing the SRIA, topic groups are providing their input to the SRIA. I am one of the two coordinators of the Topicgroup Software Engineering, Systems Integration and Systems Engineering.
A very similar process will happen within this year for the SRIAs of Horizon Europe, e.g. the robotics SRIA for Horizon Europe. This time, the EC has decided to create an AI PPP with a strong focus on artificial intelligence, in which they see robotics as a part.** euRobotics is currently joining forces with the European Big Data Value Association (BDVA) to provide an SRIA and a proposal for an AI PPP by the end of this year (see image on the right). Workshops have already been held (I participated in one of them), a joint vision paper between euRobotics and BDVA has already been released, and a first draft of the SRIA will be released within the next two weeks.
Take-away message: Taking part in euRobotics and BDVA is a big chance to influence the European robotics research roadmap for the upcoming years. Since PFP calls of the upcoming years will heavily rely on the SRIA, this is a good chance to indirectly steer academic research in the robotics domain to challenges that we think are worth spending more effort. I therefore recommend considering to join the euRobotics Topicgroups and BDVA task forces according to your research interest.
* PFP = publicly funded project
** euRobotics tried to convince the EC for several months that AI and robotics are two independent but intersecting domains. However, the EC made very clear that they see robotics as part of AI.