EIT Manufacturing

The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) is by now a well-established instrument to create, nurture and develop innovation ecosystems. As Europe’s largest innovation network with more than 1 000 partners in 40 hubs boosting innovation across Europe. EIT’s moto is to “make innovation happen” by bringing together the key ingredients – education, research and business across Europe – in order to address societal challenges. Thus far, the EIT has created more than 6 100 jobs, over 600 new products and services, and nurtured more than 1250 start-ups and scale-ups, which have attracted over EUR 890 million of external investment. More than 1200 talented EIT Alumni have graduated from the EIT’s entrepreneurial programmes at master and doctoral level. The achieved excellence is reflected in the fact that in the last 3 years almost 40 students and entrepreneurs trained by the EIT were featured on the Forbes 30 under 30 lists of Europe’s most promising young innovators.

EIT Manufacturing is one the Innovation Communities within the European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT) – that connects the leading manufacturing actors in Europe. Fueled by a strong interdisciplinary and trusted community, the ambition is to add unique value to European products, processes, services – and inspire the creation of globally competitive and sustainable manufacturing. EIT Manufacturing is an innovation community and a network of ecosystems where people acquire skills and find opportunities; and where innovators are able to attract investors and accede venture capital.

The manufacturing industry is a global base for prosperity and key to Europe’s economic, social and environmental sustainability. Manufacturing is a main driver of industrial innovation, job creation and growth for the European society. It stands for over 2.1 million manufacturing enterprises in Europe, providing over 32 million jobs, which corresponds to 16% of the total EU working population, including approximately 13 million jobs in the growing high-tech manufacturing industry and in 2016, the share of EU-28 GDP originated by manufacturing was 16.1% (Eurostat, GDP percentage of total, industry breakdowns, 10.01.2018), corresponding to a total turnover of EUR 7.11 trillion (European Commission, Factories of the Future Manufacturing in Horizon 2020 and beyond, 2017).

The vision of EIT Manufacturing is that the global manufacturing innovation is led by Europe. To tackle main challenges of European manufacturing, EIT Manufacturing has defined six strategic objectives:

  • Excellent manufacturing skills and talents: adding value through an upskilled workforce and engaged students.
  • Efficient manufacturing innovation ecosystems: adding value through creating ecosystems for innovation, entrepreneurship and business transformation focused on innovation hotspots.
  • Full digitalisation of manufacturing: adding value through digital solutions and platforms that connect value networks globally.
  • Customer-driven manufacturing: adding value through agile and flexible manufacturing that meets global personalised demand.
  • Socially sustainable manufacturing: adding value through safe, healthy, ethical and socially sustainable production and products.
  • Environmentally sustainable manufacturing: adding value by making industry greener and cleaner.

For that purpose, EIT Manufacturing brings together over 50 European leading partners from business, education and research, from 17 countries.

These different initiatives are deeply rooted and supported by major National and European policies. The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) is one of the strategic European instruments to boost research and innovation, jobs and economic growth. 

The EIT welcomes the proposed establishment of the European Innovation Council (EIC) and looks forward to increased contributions to the European innovation environment, built on the basis of the established EIT and the synergies with the new European Innovation Council. Both instruments aim to accelerate the process of bringing innovations to the market and to turn research into products and services.

HYLAB – Collaborative Laboratory for Green Hydrogen

HYLAB is an association of 13 Companies+Universities+R&D Institutes, promoted by EDP Inovação. The two universities are U. Porto and IST.

HyLAB targets a gap between the academia and industrial ecosystems in the implementation of green hydrogen to boost the energy transition and to tackle the above-mentioned challenges, through the entire hydrogen value chain.

Furthermore, the HyLAB aims at becoming a reference at national and international levels, by boosting new Research, Development and Innovation (R&D+I) areas, with the potential to create and export new or improved knowledge, technologies and services throughout Europe. The innovation agenda of the HyLAB is aligned with both the European priorities, the National Energy Climate Plan (NECP) and the National Strategy for Hydrogen following three lines of action:

  • Green hydrogen value chain: aiming at reducing technologies’ cost and at improving performance (e.g. efficiency, reliability, lifetime, etc.) across the value chain. The R&D+I focus will include socio-economic impact components, such as training and public acceptance angles.
  • Electrolyzer industry: aiming at supporting the developments in the electrolyzer industry ecosystem and at improving the manufacturing process.
  • Enabler: aiming at supporting the creation of the hydrogen value-chains across Europe and the related industrial scaling up and R&D+I partnership ecosystem.


A second European rail initiative is being prepared for 2020-30, contributing to decarbonisation through sustainable and smart mobility.

The vision is to develop a connected and open rail framework for the European mobility in terms of a scalable Rail System Architecture, derived from the business vision of the Railways in 2030-2050 as the backbone of European Multimodal Mobility is of great importance.

Given the challenges in terms of capture of market share in the future 20-30 years and the opportunities of digitalization, it appears obvious that, similarly to other sectors as Air Traffic Management, a Rail System Architecture is needed. Considered as a global and underlying framework to offer a coherent ecosystem for undertaking, the overall research and innovation activities proposed in this strategic research agenda will be achieved towards a Connected and open rail framework for the European mobility.

In a longer-term view, a potential ETML (European Traffic Management Layer for railways) based on a high-performance digital rail system architecture for the secure exchange of information between the key actors of the rail systems and other sectors could be envisaged, creating the basis for the European rail traffic management for railways with integrated solutions associated to the respective governance.

In an open approach it deals with digital innovation, automation and automation, new energy sources, new materials, new systems architectures.

The team is preparing to associate to this initiative, keeping associated, aggregating the main Portuguese players in the sector. 


SHIFT2RAIL is the first European rail initiative to seek focused research and innovation (R&I) and market-driven solutions by accelerating the integration of new and advanced technologies into innovative rail product solutions. Shift2Rail promotes the competitiveness of the European rail industry and meets changing EU transport needs. R&I carried out under this Horizon 2020 initiative develops the necessary technology to complete the Single European Railway Area (SERA). Moreover, Shift2Rail has ambitious targets and a robust framework in which to meet them. Specifically, the initiative aims to double the capacity of the European rail system and increase its reliability and service quality by 50%, all while halving life-cycle costs.

The proposed initiative helps to boost the rail supply industry’s competitive edge, introducing new market perspectives and offering significant employment and export opportunities.

The world leadership of the European railway manufacturing industry is being challenged by new market entrants, especially those from Asia offering attractive products at low acquisition costs. The best response to this competitive challenge is through innovation to improve product quality and reliability from day one by reducing life-cycle costs, combined with a railway system approach. Public and private investment in Shift2Rail also have a multiplier effect on the industry investment required to bring such products to the marketplace, and on expanding market opportunities for European industry, both in Europe and overseas. It also helps to overcome some of the present EU rail market shortcomings, namely fragmentation of production, insufficient collaboration and partnership across the rail industry, differing operating procedures among rail users, limited standardization and low efficiency levels.

Railway undertakings, infrastructure managers and public transport operators also benefit from innovations that drastically reduce infrastructure and operating costs. This also helps to cut down on subsidies paid out by national governments — estimated at between EUR 36 billion and EUR 38 billion in Europe in 2012.

Passengers and freight service users will benefit from a step change in the reliability and quality of services. Improved competitiveness and attractiveness of rail services, combined with increased capacity, will help rail take on an increased share of transport demand, thereby contributing to the reduction of traffic congestion and CO2 emissions. Citizens’ health and well-being will also benefit, thanks to reduced noise pollution from rail.


VG CoLAB – Vasco da Gama CoLAB
 – Energy Storage is focused on providing high technology services and value-added products, as well as innovative solutions for its partners and the market in the area of electrochemical energy storage. Thus, it aims to contribute to the implementation of the European energy transition agendas, providing for the development of world-leading technologies and solutions in the area of energy transition. The VG CoLAB was designed to support research, development and innovation and the creation of scientific jobs, addressing the main R&D topics that will drive the Portuguese economy. As it is clear from the Recovery Plan towards a resilient economy, railway transportation will play a key role. Several researchers involved in the Thematic Lines 2 and 3 are involved with their renewable energy systems and automation systems in the European infra-structure SHIFT2RAIL.

AIRCENTER – Atlantic International Research Center

Atlantic International Research Centre
, based in the Azores, the AIR Centre will be a platform for the development of research activities on climate, land, space and ocean. It will create scientific jobs for highly qualified human resources, while enabling integrated research on the Atlantic. The governments of Portugal, Brazil, Spain, Angola, Cape Verde, Nigeria, Uruguay and São Tomé and Príncipe are involved in this project, together with the regional government of the Azores. The United Kingdom and South Africa are involved as Observers at this stage. The participation in these infra-structures pertain the development of specific robotic systems as well as intelligent management systems relevant for the sustainable exploitation of ocean resources, such as, biomass, minerals and ocean transportation, with a competitive economic efficiency without which, the ocean will be always just a dream.

As it will be clear from the next section, the pursuit of the Sustainable Energy Systems objectives, the participation in following Colaborative Laboratory is extremely relevant.

EMSO – European Multidisciplinary Seafloor and Water Column Observatory

EMSO aims to explore the oceans, to gain a better understanding of phenomena happening within and below them, and to explain the critical role that these phenomena play in the broader Earth systems. EMSO consists in a system of regional facilities placed at key sites around Europe, from North East to the Atlantic, through the Mediterranean, to the Black Sea. Observatories are platforms equipped with multiple sensors, placed along the water column and on the seafloor. They constantly measure different biogeochemical and physical parameters, that address natural hazards, climate change and marine ecosystems. EMSO offers data and services to a large and diverse group of users, from scientists and industries to institutions and policy makers. It is an extraordinary infrastructure to provide relevant information for defining environmental policies based on scientific data. EMSO is a consortium of partners sharing in a common strategic framework scientific facility (data, instruments, computing and storage capacity). Formally it is a European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC), legal framework created for pan-European large-scale research infrastructures.

PAMI – Portuguese Additive Manufacturing Initiative

PAMI is led by CDRSP from the IP Leiria, and counts with a very strong participation of the ARISE AL research unit ISR-C from the Institute of Systems and Robotics, CEMMPRE from  Universidade Coimbra, and also involves key partners such as, IP Nunes, CENTIMFE and CNC.

ARISE LA – Advance Production and Intelligent Systems is strongly articulated to this research infrastructure. Both ARISE LA and PAMI intend to respond to a crucial competitiveness challenge and threat to future property: closing the gap between R&D activities and the development of technological innovations in production of goods. PAMI is also in-line with the CRER2020 program for the central region of Portugal. All nodes of PAMI are committed to the following general aims:

  1. Fostering novel research areas and interdisciplinary fields.
  2. To encourage, support and help in creation of products and launch of spin off companies from the current research institutes in fields of engineering, and medical sciences.
  3. To provide educational services and prepare the new generation of engineers and,
  4. To provide prototyping services to external companies/ Institutes. PAMI proposes a clever distribution of excellent infrastructures within the central region of Portugal with different areas of specialty: Mechanical, Materials, and Electrical Engineering, and Bio-Sciences.

This infra-structure plays a core role in the ARISE LA and many of its activities are already discussed in the Thematic line Advanced Production Systems and Processes.