The FET Unit of the European Commission launched a new call for FET Flagships, science- and technology-driven, large-scale (1 Billion Euros for 10 years), multidisciplinary research initiatives built around a visionary unifying goal. In the call that is open now, one-year Preparatory Actions are supported for the preparation of FET Flagship proposals.

Robotic technologies and AI are rapidly transitioning from research labs and science fiction to the real world and will transform our societies. The question is not if robots will enter our life, but who will design and deploy them first, who will set the science and technology agenda, and who will regulate societal and civilian questions. Leveraging several years of public and private investing, the European robotics community is extremely well positioned to address the scientific, technological, and socioeconomic challenges of future robotic systems. A Robotics Flagship is a timely initiative that will ensure European leadership in such an important technological area for the future of European society and economy.

Our vision for a Robotics Flagship offers a fresh approach to the robots of the future, encompassing both fundamental scientific questions and their translation to the society and economy, as described in the attached abstract. The proposal relies on the participation of a multidisciplinary community spanning engineering, computer science, material science, life and social sciences, to mention a few. We will be inclusive, but focused on inventing tomorrow’s robots for improving the quality and sustainability of human life.

The Preparatory Actions are funded as CSAs to support the engagement of the communities in shaping the Flagship proposals. The submission is in two phases and the deadline for the first phase is February 20, 2018. It requires the description of the vision and objectives and of the expected impacts. A small consortium is taking care of the proposal submission and, if accepted, of organizing the activities of the Preparatory Action.

We would like to invite you to join the proposal as a participant. We hope that you share the vision, objectives and the approach of the Preparatory Action for a Robotics Flagship and that you can confirm your participation at your earliest convenience.

What should you do now?

1.      Please go to https://www.roboticsflagship.eu/participate/ and register yourself as a participant. Multiple registrations of scientists from the same institution are allowed. Please specify your areas of research as indicated.

2.      It is highly recommended that you upload a letter of endorsement from your institution. A large number of letters of endorsement would significantly strengthen the proposal and every letter counts.

3.      An even stronger support is given by letters of endorsement from funding institutions like Ministries, Regions, Research Agencies, Foundations, from companies and industrial actors, from relevant projects, from scientific societies and communities, from associations. So, please contribute to request and obtain endorsement letters in your capacity.

4.      Please feel free to invite more participants from your scientific community, by forwarding the link for registration.

5.      Any comment on the proposal contents, from the current abstract and the next proposal versions is more than welcome.

What will you get from participation?

1.      You will be able to contribute to the proposal for the Preparatory Action and you will support it, directly and indirectly, with proper involvement of your scientific community and network of contacts, to make it go forward to the next phase.

2.      If the Preparatory Action is accepted, you can contribute to shaping the future Flagship on robotics.

3.      You will be able to participate in the activities of the Preparatory Action, such as meetings and scientific events for preparing the future Flagship proposal, with possible reimbursements from the CSA.