Less than a year ago, in November 2019, the first EIC Transition to Innovation Activities Call closed the submissions and now, the very first of the selected projects are on their way to genuine technological and societal innovations.
The EIC Transition to Innovation Activities is a new funding program under Horizon 2020 scheme. Its objective is to turn promising results from EIC Pathfinder/FET-funded (FET Open or FET-Proactive) projects into a higher level of development, validation and demonstration where they become a credible basis for entrepreneurship, business creation, investment and, ultimately, economic and societal returns.

The program was this time oriented to support innovative technologies in the five following areas considered as crucial for future technological and societal progress: Micro- and Nano-technologies, Artificial Intelligence and advanced robotics, Technologies for the life sciences, health and treatment, Low-carbon energy and climate change technologies and Interaction technologies (including virtual- augmented- and mixed reality).

Some of the 13 selected projects have already started in September or October. That is the case of the following breakthrough ideas:

AMAPOLA develops a marketable polymer aluminium-sulphur battery providing better performance at a lower cost. It focuses on turning the promising research results obtained in the Pathfinder (FET-Open) project SALBAGE into genuine technological innovations demonstrating that the technology is able to have a place in certain market niches as a new future technology on batteries.

Brainiaqs presents a new generation of light microscopy with high depth and imaging resolution, following the outcomes of a Pathfinder (FET-Open) project called SUPERTWIN. The goal is to introduce quantum sensing technology for live tissue imaging by developing arrays of quantum sensors, based on superconducting single-photon detectors in a multi-photon microscope.

Marilia builds on success of the Pathfinder (FET-Open) MARA project, and is focused on providing a fast detection of small amounts of bacteria in water. The project implements novel technologies and tools for identifying and characterising pathogens in a new detection assay to identify pathogens in water and help fight against bacterial waterborne diseases, such as cholera, typhoid fever or dysentery.

M-ONE improves technology for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). It aims to demonstrate a breakthrough innovative MRI coil for brain imaging at 7 Tesla (7T) enabling a homogeneous and better quality of the image. Its predecessor was the Pathfinder (FET-Open) M-CUBE project which developed two technologies based on metamaterials to homogenize the brain images.

ODYSSEY elaborates technology for laser-printed on-demand prescription eyeglasses, which will be prepared in the shop while customers wait. The project is based on laser printing technology developed by the Pathfinder (FET-Open) CHROMAVISION project and wants to demonstrate prototype prescription glasses and validate them with clients in the opticians store.

PLATFORMA, which follows the Pathfinder (FET-Open) project MESO-BRAIN, develops two 3D modular human tissues supported by laser-printed biocompatible scaffolds for the electrophysiological monitoring of cell conditions. This allows to produce novel high-content platforms for the commercial screening of cosmetics, pollutants and new therapeutics.

SMARTWAVE, the spin-off of the Pathfinder (FET-Open) project NANOPOLY, proposes innovative beam steering technology for communication antennas. It aims to reinvent, redesign and commercialise the main building block of every beam steering system: the phase shifter, and provide it with excellent performance characteristics.

VeriDream is oriented on research and innovation strategy for artificial intelligence and its use in robotics. The project focuses on vertical innovation in the domain of robotics enabled by artificial intelligence methods. It extends and innovates the potential of the methods and technology developed in the Pathfinder (FET Proactive) DREAM.

The rest of the selected projects that gained the funding support from the European Commission will start by the end of the year or in January 2021. In November begins the work on IM-TWIN (enhancing a wearable companion robot for children with autistic-spectre disorders) and MARVEL (evolving reversible immunocapture by membrane sensing peptides. SMILE (preparing scalable structured micro-illumination light engines) starts in December and the last two projects – DirectSepa (working on direct separation of 2D materials from the surface of liquid metal catalysts) and LaserImplant (developing laser-induced hierarchical micro-/nano-structures for controlled cell adhesion at implants) start in January.

Background information
Pathfinder (FET-Open) and FET Proactive are now part of the Enhanced European Innovation Council (EIC) Pilot (specifically the Pathfinder), the new home for deep-tech research and innovation in Horizon 2020, the EU funding programme for research and innovation.


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