European competitiveness in miniaturized smart systems

(January 3, 2011) — In converging and integrating technologies, smart systems make possible to predict, decide and interact with the environment. With the launch of the COWIN initiative, the European Research community has engaged in a new step towards value creation in miniaturized smart systems.
 

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Figure. Cell-cell interactions arrays, source : Mindseeds Laboratories

The growth of miniaturized smart systems market is an attractive opportunity to positively impact the European economy and industry. In 2008, the global market was evaluated at about $50B and it is expected to grow to $200B in 2020 (source: Yole Développement). Smartphones’ success story is just a beginning; more will come. If largest growth is expected in consumer and diagnostic applications, miniaturized smart systems find applications in a broader range of key strategic sectors that are healthcare, energy and environment, safety and security, logistics, transportation, ICT, and manufacturing. Smart systems have the ability to solve key societal issues including reducing energy consumption, developing solutions for active and healthy ageing, improving diseases’ diagnostic and treatment.

Francisco Ibanez, deputy head of unit, Micro and Nanosystems ICT programme at the European Commission, explains "the European industry is a world leader in miniaturized smart systems. Europe benefits of state-of-the-art research work supported by the European Commission in the course of the 6th and 7th R&D Framework Programmes. COWIN is a key support action to optimize value creation from European collaborative research results and to generate business opportunities."

COWIN is supporting innovation stakeholders — industrial, academic and investors — to extract the best of the European collaborative research in:

  • identifying attractive and advanced technologies fitting with their needs and expectations
  • generating added value projects by reusing advanced technologies already developed
  • supporting the creation of start-up companies
  • supporting investment in companies, key technologies and IP.

COWIN is already identified as a key tool for industrial companies willing to capture innovation in smart systems. As states Jean Luc Mate, GM at Continental Automotive: "COWIN can be a new radar for industry leaders to detect innovation from their outside world" but he also adds, as president of the EUREKA cluster EURIPIDES, “I’ve been expecting a new seamless on-emand information process to plug FP R&D results into our SMART SYSTEM industry based EURIPIDES cluster. We decide to partner on this support action to validate an easy to implement cooperation scheme. Our clear goal with COWIN is to explore new opportunities for generating new EURIPIDES projects on innovation from European collaborative results."

If Europe’s industry is world-leading in smart systems, most of venture capital’s backed start-up companies are still located in North America. They represent about 70% of global VC’s backed companies in smart systems (source: Yole Finance).  In facilitating interaction between public and private investment in Europe, COWIN will also contribute to the innovation take-up. According to Mr. Geoffroy Dubus, Partner Venture Capital at Gimv, a major European Venture Capital provider for high-tech companies, “Miniaturized smart systems are part of our investment targets.  COWIN will contribute to our screening process of added-value technologies and spin-off from world class European research centres. We are quite enthusiastic about this new initiative. COWIN has our full support."

Matchmakers between technology providers, users and investors to turn R&D into commercial offers, COWIN partners benefit from their experience and track record in innovation commercialization. COWIN’s team is composed of Yole Développement and Yole Finance (France), coordinator of the project, VDI/VDE-IT (Germany), Zabala Innovation Consulting (Spain), Euripides – the Eureka Cluster in smart systems (France) and Tartu Biotechnology Park (Estonia).

To make this initiative a success, COWIN partners are combining their technical and market expertise to make emerge business opportunities. They share their unique innovation network composed of all stakeholders in smart systems including public and private investors, Eureka community and network, regulatory bodies, end-users, industrial and academic communities. COWIN is also supported by large organizations including EPoSS, the European Technology Platform on Smart System Integration.

Géraldine Andrieux Gustin, COWIN’s coordinator, explains: "COWIN is operational and pragmatic. We are working hand in hand with research projects partners. We are providing individual support to leverage the value of their work and to reach maturity for further investment. We also give access to COWIN innovation network to identify best of best partners. We concentrate our efforts to reach concrete results in bridging the gap to market. Our objective is that with our support new products based on European R&D research become available on the market."

COWIN is a support action launched under the 7th framework Program for 3 years to strengthen the European competitiveness in miniaturized smart systems. This initiative is dedicated to the commercial exploitation of advanced technologies developed in the framework of European collaborative research projects. COWIN’s mission is to facilitate take-up of the advanced technologies worthy of investments, in order to capture innovation, win new markets and make a profit. For more information about COWIN, please contact Géraldine Andrieux Gustin, COWIN coordinator and Yole Finance partner, at andrieux@yole.fr; +33 675 800 829.

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