SHOP4CF consortium launches €100,000 open call for manufacturers to advance 4th Industrial Revolution
Automation-focused accelerator aims to unlock the creative potential of Europe’s workforce with tangible funding and eight months of industry support

SHOP4CF, a consortium of 20 partners which includes a mix of research organizations, universities, industry partners, and SMEs, today announces its open call for manufacturers seeking to eradicate monotonous and laborious work, open to applicants until 30 April 2022 at 22:59 UTC. The program will provide mentorship opportunities and €100,000 in funding to up to twelve projects over the course of eight months between 1 Aug 2022 and 30 Mar 2023.

SHOP4CF, which is operated in part by ISDI, includes as partners Arcelik, Bosch, Danish Technological Institute, European Dynamics, Fraunhofer, FZI, IRT Jules Verne, FundingBox, IMEC, Siemens, Tecnalia, Eindhoven University of Technology, PSNC, Tampere University, TUM, Uniwersytet Opolski, Volkswagen, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid and VTT.

Backed by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program, SHOP4CF aims to create a unique infrastructure for the convenient deployment of human-centric industrial applications. SHOP4CF believes that people should not be replaced by automated processes but can gain new relevance through usage of their individual abilities within the factory. Therefore, new technologies need to be human-centric.

Integrators, manufacturing companies, and developers capable of implementing their solutions within the project’s 8-month window are encouraged to apply. The industrial relevance of each use-case presented by applicants, the targeted technical maturity, and the proper consideration of human factors will be important criteria for the selection of the final proposals. Above all, applicant use-cases must answer the following questions with their proposal:

What is the main relevant human-related issue to be solved or improved?

What kind of human-technology interaction does the use-case introduce?

Which are the most relevant workers or workers groups that are affected by the use-case implementation?

How will the use-case improve the competitive position of the organization?

Funding to companies from the accelerator comes in addition to an 8-month support program in which selected experiments in industrial automation will receive support from the collective’s 20 constituent partners. To achieve this, successful applicants will be provided by the collective with mentoring support in the areas of technology and fundraising to ensure the efficient deployment of use-cases and new automated manufacturing components, along with insights into how companies can acquire the follow-up funding needed to ensure the long-term success of new automation projects.

Workshops with a focus on the deployment of novel automated frameworks and the integration of new components, as well as component-specific training will be provided in the form of a series of webinars. The funding section of the mentorship program will link successful applicants with a technical mentor while providing access to potential corporate partners needed to launch and expand their new ideas.

“As the 4th Industrial Revolution advances, the need to unlock the creative potential of Europe’s manufacturing workforce through the power of automation will present a world of new opportunities both for skilled workers and entrepreneurs. AI and robotics are moving labor-intensive 19th-and 20th-century style production methods to a new era for the entire manufacturing sector, but it must be done in a way that unlocks the true value of skilled labor and values creativity and innovation,” Jesús Tapia, Head of ISDI Accelerator, SHOP4CF partner said. “The announcement of this new funding initiative will hopefully serve as the catalyst that sparks new innovations with widespread applications across Europe – the home of industrialized manufacturing – with minimal impact on skilled workers and entrepreneurs.”

Funding rules for the project are as follows: a lump sum of €100,000 will be granted to each use-case project (the maximum amount may not exceed €60,000 for each partner or single applicant), SHOP4CF will cover 100% of the direct costs for-non profit institutions and 70% of the direct costs for-profit institutions. As per European Commission’s rules, financial support will not be awarded to individual legal entities that have already received €100,000 via open calls from H2020 I4MS.

Applications to enter the program will be accepted until 30 April 2022 at 22:59 UTC. Full details are available here.