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A curated list of challenges, programs, funding opportunities, academic research and startups that have caught our eye.

InterConnect Prototypes Open Call

The InterConnect project aims at expanding the ecosystem of players by offering opportunities for entrepreneurs through Open Calls.

In this Interoperable-by-Design Prototypes Open Call, InterConnect is looking for Bottom-up projects that will develop and test novel Interoperable applications or services for smart homes and grids, with a clear societal and economic value, on top of the InterConnect’s Interoperability Framework. These highly innovative projects should aim to build a more comfortable and healthier living space at lower costs and enable their active participation in the energy system and market


We are looking for 14 SMEs (including startups).

What are the benefits?

  • Funding: Financial support grant of up to 150.000€ 
  • Support: 7 months of customised Support Programme, with a set of technical and business mentoring services to ensure the proper implementation and successful integration of applications within one of the InterConnect Large-Scale Pilots.
  • Ecosystem: Access to pilot facilities to test the application with the assigned pilot.

ONTOCHAIN Open Call 3 – Application and experimentation

Submission & evaluation process

Proposals are submitted in a single stage and the evaluation process is composed of three phases as presented hereafter :

 o  Phase 1: Admissibility & eligibility check

o  Phase 2: Proposals evaluation carried out by the ONTOCHAIN Consortium with the assistance of independent experts.

o Phase 3: Online interviews (10 minutes pitching & 20 minutes of Q&As) and final selection carried out by the ONTOCHAIN Consortium and the ONTOCHAIN Advisory Board Members. 

Further information

 o  More info at:

o  Apply via:

o  Support team:

o  Personal Data Protection Policy available at: /data-protectionTask description

ONTOCHAIN will deliver a new software ecosystem for trusted, traceable and transparent ontological knowledge management. The specific objectives of the ONTOCHAIN Open Call 3 are twofold:

Objective A- To complete the missing blocks of the ONTOCHAIN infrastructure in particular those related to :

o  Service Integration (Gateways APIs) for ONTOCHAIN applications,

o  Semantic Matching and Reasoning,

o  Guaranteed-performance service exchange

Objective B- To exploit the ONTOCHAIN infrastructure designed and implemented respectively through ONTOCHAIN OC1 and ONTOCHAIN OC2 for real life use cases that cover real need of individuals in terms of trustworthy data/services exchange and trustworthy content handling from various vertical domains/vital sectors of the European economy.

AI REGIO – 2nd Open Call for experiments

The proposals are submitted digitally, by the SME, in a single-stage through the Evaluation Management System (EMS). Proposals prepared according to the instructions provided, shall be submitted electronically through the EMS platform. Applicants should follow the steps starting from the AI REGIO EMS website (

Each proposal will be evaluated by two evaluators against the criteria outlined below:

1) Excellence

  • Define clear objectives.
  • Demonstrate alignment with AI-REGIO objectives.
  • Address the sectors and technologies of AI-REGIO open call.
  • Develop a sound and ambitious experiment consisting on an end-to-end solution, starting from connecting data sources, till “action handling” (visualization, robot arm, etc.).
  • Provide a clear description of the challenge the experiment plans to overcome.
  • Present a draft of the architecture based on the StreamPipes orchestration and further connections with the outside world (open-source API based on existing standards like gRPC).
  • Demonstrate innovation capacity to improve the current processes, products or services.

2) Impact

  • Contribute to increase the digitalisation level of the SME.
  • Demonstrate clear technological, economic and commercial impacts.
  • Set clear and realistic KPIs.
  • Contribute to the goals of the DIH (only for TYPE B experiments).
  • Develop an appropriate dissemination and exploitation plan.

3) Implementation

  • Develop a coherent and clear work plan.
  • Have the required capacity to carry out the experiment (budget).
  • Demonstrate capacity to carry out the experiment (personnel, infrastructure, etc.).
  • Demonstrate the appropriateness of the participants.

Further information

The objective for the second open call of AI REGIO project is to select up to 17 SME-driven experiments:

  • 10 Type A experiments: Single participant (SME) projects, applicable to TOPIC-1 and TOPIC-2,
  • 7 Type B experiments: Mini-consortia (SME + DIH + optional third partner), applicable to TOPIC-1, TOPIC-2 and TOPIC-3 (all the TOPICS)

These experiments will complement AI REGIO in the extension of the current portfolio of “AI for Manufacturing” solutions; extending the domains of the AI REGIO Champions; and benefiting directly SMEs in underrepresented regions, with the perspective to join VANGUARD Initiative.

We expect three topics to be covered by experiments:

  • TOPIC-1. Manufacturing Data Spaces and Data4AI pipelines
  • TOPIC-2. AI for Manufacturing Applications and AI-on-demand Platform contributions
  • TOPIC-3. AI Didactic Factories for Manufacturing and TERESA Experimentations

The selected consortia will benefit from:

  • Financial support of up to:
  • EUR 60.000 per TYPE A experiment
  • EUR 100.000 per TYPE B experiment;
  • Taking advantage of existing AI components and AI expertise for manufacturing already available in AI REGIO consortium;
  • Extend and improve the AI REGIO catalogue of advanced AI components and tools;
  • Participate in innovative experiments in the domain of AI for Manufacturing.

Task description

Selected experiments will have to participate in various mandatory activities:

  • Kick-off meeting of the AI-REGIO selected experiments: the selected experiments will participate in a kick-off meeting organised by AI-REGIO with the aim of presenting their experiment in terms of general overview, objectives, participants and expected outcomes.
  • Participation in 1 individual follow-up meeting with AI-REGIO monitoring team: the monitoring team will control de execution of the experiments through the organisation of a follow-up meeting at month 4. This meeting will allow the assessment of the advancement made by each experiment and will enable to solve any problems that may appear during the first months of execution.
  • Preparation and delivery of the established deliverables: the pilot experiments will have to develop a set of deliverables (Defined in hte Guide for Applicants) that will serve to assess the execution of the experiments and the outcomes achieved.
  • KPIs: The pilot experiments will define a set of KPIs in order to monitor, and finally assess, their experiment.
  • Dissemination of the experiments: the selected experiments will carry out dissemination and exploitation activities during and after the execution of the experiments.

PULSATE: 2nd Open Call for Technology Transfer Experiments for Innovative Laser-based Solutions (LBAAM)

The selection of the open call proposals will be carried out in a five-step process:

·      Step 1 will check the proposals against eligibility criteria.

·      Step 2 will involve external evaluation to assess the proposal according to the criteria.

·      Step 3 will involve the PULSATE consortium to prioritise the proposals based on the external evaluation results and the objectives of the PULSATE project.

·      Step 4 – Jury Day will be organised where finalists will present their experiments to Jury.

·      Step 5 – legal check before finalists are invited to sign the Sub Grant Agreement.

For further information see the Guide of Applicants section 5.Further information

OC website:

OC helpdesk email:

Project website:

PULSATE Community: description

Applicants & consortium eligibility:

PULSATE will select high potential Technology Transfer Experiments (TTEs) to accelerate the design, development and uptake of Laser Based Advanced & Additive Manufacturing (LBAAM) by European Industry – especially SMEs. The experiment is an end-user-relevant case study:

·      Demonstrating the use of LBAAM and the benefits it brings to the value chain from the end-user to the LBAAM provider,

·     Addressing SMEs business problems by using LBAAM. When the experiment is successfully concluded, it is resulting in a success story, inspiring the industry community.

The Technology Transfer Experiments have to be proposed by a Consortium including minimum 2 SMEs and/or slightly bigger companies acting as Technology Provider and at least one Manufacturing Company (end user/ Adopter).

TTE experiments have to address experimentation areas:

i. Laser equipment integration, interoperability and robust automation,

ii. Technology for cost effective laser-based manufacturing,

iii. First part right and zero-defect laser-based production,

iv. Flexible technology for small to large batches,

v. From CAD to PLM: data integration and flow.

 Proposals should address technologies which are currently assumed from TRL5 to TRL7.


PULSATE is a part of the Horizon2020 programme called I4MS funded by the European Commission with the goal to accelerate the design, development and uptake of advanced digital technologies by the European Manufacturing industry to empower personalised products and to facilitate cost effective small-scale production. One of these digitalisation technologies that PULSATE project is focused on is Laser-Based Advanced & Additive Manufacturing (LBAAM).

PULSATE project brings together a strong consortium comprising six competence centres (AIMEN, FTMC, MTC, SINTEF, Fraunhofer and CEA) with high-level expertise in LBAAM and digitisation, the European Photonics Industry Consortium (EPIC) to support the acceleration of EU innovative scale-up initiatives, and two highly innovative SMEs (CLESGO & FundingBox) to establish and support the Digital Agora platform, maintain a Marketplace of digital services and to manage the mechanisms of financial support to selected companies and the connection with DIHs across all Europe.

To boost and support the uptake, PULSATE will support Technology Transfer Experiments in the development of innovative laser-based equipment, processes, ancillary equipment and software, looking for solutions particularly adapted to flexible production environments, typical in SMEs, and the digital tools which improve the productivity, flexibility and traceability, lowering the entry barriers.

Selected TTEs will become part of the 13-month PULSATE Support Programme during which PULSATE partners will offer a full set of technical and business mentoring services to scale up the experiments.

The main results achieved from the execution of the experiments will include the development of innovative laser-based equipment, processes, ancillary equipment and software, looking for solutions particularly adapted to flexible production environments, typical in SMEs, and the digital tools which improve the productivity, flexibility and traceability, lowering the entry barriers.

The main benefit for each participant of the experiment will be:

·        For the supplier: a new product ready for the manufacturing sector needs

·        For the end-user: the validation of a prototype system applied to its specific operational environment

On top of that, each experiment will be funded with a grant of up to 150,000 EUR.

EOSC Future – RDA Open Call External Expert Evaluators

RDA welcomes a diverse set of international expert evaluators. While the actual calls and grant funding will be open to European organisations and individuals only, we encourage applications from expert evaluators from around the world. Requirements to be an evaluator are links to RDA and expertise in a relevant area. Knowledge of EOSC is a bonus. Previous or current active involvement in RDA Working and Interest Groups. Ideally have previous expertise as an EC or other funding agency evaluator.


For each individual evaluation the compensation for drafting the individual evaluation report will be EUR 150 (which equals a fixed number of 0.3 working day(s)). In some, exceptional, cases applications may require more time and experts will be notified in writing of this when contacted for evaluation duties.

Contractual Issues

A standard contract will be signed. Successful evaluators will be contracted by TG on behalf of the EOSC Future Consortium. The contract will be with the lead application directly and you will be asked to agree with the general terms and conditions.

You will need to have at hand the following documents and links:

  1. 1. your CV
  2. 2. a link to your own website, where applicable
  3. 3. be able to select your domain of expertise within the application form

Your application form should explicitly address your qualifications, and directly reference the relevant aspects of your CV (i.e., make sure to guide us through your CV). You will receive a notification of receipt of your application. This is a continuous call and will remain open according to the project’s needs.

Please also note that in order to proceed with your application you will be asked to register to the EOSC Future Grants website.

We encourage early submissions and your details will be in the system until you are contacted when a relevant call application becomes available.

The first call is due to be evaluated at the start of October 2021. Please note the timeline for the calls runs for 26 months, and it might be some time before you are asked to evaluate depending on your expertise.

The call for external expert evaluators to support RDA Open Calls is continuously open during the EOSC Future Project. Due to the large number of calls over the next 26 months, some more specific than others, expert evaluators will be identified and selected based on their area of expertise and availability. For this reason, please give as much detail on your expertise and domain area in the application form.

Each evaluator will be assigned a call on a case by case basis. The team will ensure a regular change of evaluators to ensure both a spread of expertise and diversity.

Selection criteria

  • 1. Have a strong demonstrated expertise in an area relevant to RDA’s mission;
  • 2. Have good insights to the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) and / or other international open science / research commons developments;
  • 3. Be actively involved in RDA as a contributor to a Working Group, Interest Group or some other activity, especially in the past 12 to 18 months;
  • 4. Active engagement in RDA plenaries, national, and/or regional workshops is desirable;
  • 5. Previous experience as an evaluator (e.g., for the European Commission, other funding bodies / agencies) is desirable;
  • 6. Have a good understanding of the European Commission’s processes and procedures, irrespective of affiliation and nationality;
  • 7. Applications from beyond Europe are encouraged, reflecting the global mission of RDA;
  • 8. Selection of evaluators will include criteria to establish balanced representation: Geographical balance · Gender balance · Domain expertise balance

Eligibility Issues

  • – Evaluators should not be part of the EOSC Future Project Consortium. This excludes individuals who are not individually assigned and financially supported by EOSC Future, so people from participating institutions can apply if they are not active on the project; if funded, they will not be asked to evaluate applications of the grant type they hold.
  • – Evaluators will be asked to sign a non-conflict of interest agreement, before being accepted to perform their duties for a specific RDA Open Call evaluation. A conflict of interest exists if an evaluator: (a) was involved in any way in the preparation of the proposal or submitted the proposal itself (b) stands to benefit directly or indirectly if the proposal is accepted (c) has a close family or personal relationship with the applicant or the applicant’s organisation (d) is a director, trustee or partner or is in any way involved in the management of the applicant’s organisation (e) is employed or contracted by one of the applicant’s organisation or any named subcontractors (f) has submitted a proposal for the same domain and in response to the same call.
  • – People working on the EOSC Future project (i.e., funded as a core partner, as a LTP or seconded personnel) are not eligible for the Evaluators Scheme and you will be asked to tick a Declaration of Honour box upon application. Other staff of these institutions are eligible.
  • – If the evaluator’s institution applies for an RDA Open Call, the evaluator should declare their conflict of interest in reviewing the application.
  • – We will select only evaluators with proven experience and quality of work.
  • – Evaluators may also apply for the Open Calls, provided the above conflicts of interest do not come into play.

Further information

https://eoscfuture-grants.euTask description

Expected Outcome

The Research Data Alliance (RDA) – in the context of EOSC Future – is seeking applications for experts to become external evaluators for a series of diverse grants to be funded over the duration of the EOSC Future project (April 2021 – September 2023). Evaluators will be responsible for evaluating applications in response to RDA’s open calls. EOSC Future aims to have a pool of international external evaluators to support its decision-making processes for the award of these grants.

As part of RDA’s principles of transparent and community-driven action, the project will use external expert evaluators to support its decision-making processes for the award of RDA open call grants in Europe.

The planned grants are varied and diverse in order to engage diverse stakeholders to be active in and to contribute to EOSC. They will include a focus on disciplinary and domain specific support, support for RDA / EOSC meetings as well as standards and adoption grants, early career researcher studies and activities, community of practice and domain ambassadors as well as calls for open and community-led technical solutions to maintain and curate RDA outputs within the context of EOSC. The grants range from 7k Euro – 50k Euro depending on the call, the announcements will be multiple and numerous with expected regular calls each month over the duration of the project.

More information

What is required to become an External Evaluator?

  • – External evaluators will operate remotely via the EOSC Future Grants Platform and will be responsible for evaluating the applications in response to RDA open calls. RDA aims to have a wide pool of external evaluators with differing expertise to enable flexibility when assigning applications.
  • – Evaluators will be routinely selected from the pool according to the expertise required and to ensure that no conflict of interest exists in their duties as evaluators.
  • – Evaluators will be asked to sign a non-conflict of interest and confidentiality agreement, before being accepted to perform their evaluation duties.
  • – Selected evaluators will be contracted until the end of the EOSC Future project (Sept 2023) and the number of applications to be evaluated will be based on the expertise required, lack of conflict of interest, etc.


The RDA Open Calls mechanism – with a €1 000 000 grant fund – will be used to engage with multiple stakeholders, including, but not limited to, targeted scientific communities, technical experts, Early Career Researchers. It will be complemented by a series of activities and channels such as events, use cases, info packages, and best practices. The creation of a Scientific Ambassador Network and dedicated RDA groups will further strengthen these activities. This will lead to a continual innovation workflow and engagement with science projects to support the implementation of EOSC.

More Information

For further information please consult the EOSC Future Grants Platform:

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