It is our pleasure to introduce Mr Jérôme Gavillet, the SmartEEs coordinator. In this interview he will be elaborating on the flexible electronics technologies and on priorities and challenges of the SmartEEs project.
- What is SmartEEs about?
SmartEES is the European acceleration program supported by the European Commission and dedicated to help Innovative Companies (ICs) access new markets and grow their business by integrating flexible electronics into products and services.
- How did you come up with the idea for the project?
The idea has been matured amongst a group of European research organisations active in the field of printed and organic electronics. In the years 2011-13, we set up and led the COLAE collaborative project that was aiming at the commercialisation of organic large area electronics. After this successful first experience of bringing awareness of flexible electronics to the EU industry, came the opportunity to pursue the same initiative but with a larger ambition, thanks to European H2020 funding.
- The project is based on international cooperation between different types of institutions. What do you think about this cooperation?
Indeed, and as an example, we have planned to share experience with our US counterparts from FlexTech Alliance who have been set a similar mission to promote a fast industrialisation of flexible electronics bringing engineering and business forces together. The outcome of this cooperation will be the exchange of best practice for our mutual benefits.
- Who are the major target groups of the SmartEEs project?
Our major target groups are SMEs, start-ups and Midcaps, that can be tech (innovative companies) or non-tech (traditional industries) companies from the following activities fields: automotive, building & architecture, consumer electronics, energy, lighting, logistics, medical & pharmaceutical, packaging, printing & graphic arts, textile and fashion, etc.
- Tell us about the technologies that you will be offering through SmartEEs. What kind of opportunities will be given to Innovative Companies?
SmartEEs promotes four types of flexible technologies that can be found by visiting our showroom on the website. These are:
- Organic and flexible photovoltaics
- OLED displays
- OLED and novel lighting
- Electronics & Components and Integrated Smart Systems
- What are your priorities for the upcoming period?
Our open call for European Innovative Companies is now open and we are expecting to receive and evaluate promising applications at five cut-off dates (March 2018, July 2018, November 2018, April 2019 and September 2019).
Our short-term priority is to outreach good candidates and guide them through a successful application process in order to launch our first Application Experiments. After that, helping our first Laureates to go through a unique and useful experience towards innovation and market entry will be our main priority.
- What do you envisage the major challenges of the SmartEEs project will be?
The challenge will be to launch and complete the set objective of 20 high-quality Application Experiments and ensure that the twenty funded innovative companies will get the most out of SmartEEs services and obtain results that will truly accelerate their ideas towards promising markets.
- In what ways would the SmartEEs project eventually benefit the EU industry?
SmartEEs being an acceleration program, it essentially aims at easing and fastening the nucleation, growth and translation of ideas into products. In that sense, it fully benefits to the industry and especially to the non-tech companies which don’t have access to technologies and related services in their ecosystem.
- What would be your message to our readers and other interested parties?
We are calling for candidates to run Application Experiments, but we are also growing up a public/private community of stakeholders around the topic of printed electronics. Our aim is to build a community and to consolidate our process so that the project is set on a long-term perspective. This community will be structured and animated inside our Marketplace and each one will find its interest there searching for technology providers, users, investors, etc. So, the message to our readers is clearly to spread the word around in order to bring wide awareness about SmartEEs opportunities and promote its uptake!