The Eureka Clusters Programme

A New Era of Joint Thematic Calls

Jari Lehmusvuori
Nokia, CELTIC-NEXT Vice-Chair

Many steps have been taken and many milestones reached in 2021 both in CELTIC-NEXT and jointly with the other Eureka Clusters. We are experiencing an inspiring time of both facilitating the well-known industry innovation projects, as well as planning the new Eureka Clusters Programme (ECP) jointly with the other innovation Clusters in Eureka. With the launch of the ECP in the 2nd half of 2021 a new era with both the bottom-up Calls and thematic Calls will be available as opportunities for the innovations on the next generation communications in the CELTIC-NEXT community. Therefore, it is worthwhile here to summarize the baselines as an early introduction.

The traditional CELTIC bottom-up calls in spring and autumn are not affected by the additional ECP processes. The Joint Thematic Calls under the ECP’s Multi-Annual Programme (MAP) are additional commitments from both Public Authorities and Clusters to work together on common and cross-Cluster topics. The current CELTIC-NEXT projects are performing well, and as a highlight, the new CELTIC-NEXT Flagship project AI-NET is now also up and running.

Thematic joint project calls by Eureka Clusters Programme

The planning and organization of the Eureka Clusters Programme (ECP) started in October 2020. It has continued under the lead of Eu­reka and with a strong contribution by the CELTIC Office. While not yet approved, the first call for projects may be introduced in late 2021 with a closing date in spring 2022. The ECP Calls follow the concept of joint calls of mul­tiple Clusters, which enables widening the scope and competences available to a project. Each of the Calls have a theme agreed between the industry and the funding Public ­Authorities of the countries. The ECP provides project opportunities to both large companies and small and medium-sized companies, and the public authorities funding according to their national policies. Each of the supporting countries assign an indicative and viable budget outlook for a thematic Call which, among the other new features, will provide improved predictability on funding. In addition, the schedule of funding decisions from idea to start is the goal. All these main features of the thematic joint calls of ECP make them a new innovations project instrument to the CELTIC-NEXT industry community, which is complementary to the single-Cluster bottom-up calls.


The Multi Annual Plan (MAP) sets out the commitments of the public authorities and the Eureka Clusters. They jointly determine which RDI communities can be integrated in the MAP as Eureka Clusters, what the expected funding level will be, and what potential thematic areas for collaboration are. Each RDI community wishing to join the ECP applies for a period of 4 years to operate as a EUREKA Cluster. CELTIC-NEXT as such a community has submitted the application to Eureka as of 1st July 2021. Being a part of this ECP MAP approval process it has enabled us to update our CELTIC-NEXT Roadmap together with the MAP. As a Eureka Cluster the communications industry community of CELTIC-NEXT will have the opportunity for the future thematic joint calls that set out the challenges of sustainability and autonomous mobility as examples. The themes and a description of the calls to be launched in the coming year, including the budget commitments of the participating Eureka countries are given on the Annual Operational Plan of ECP.

Eureka Clusters AI Call 2021

As a preliminary step towards the joint calls, the Eureka Clusters AI Call 2021, to which CELTIC-NEXT substantially contributed, was organised with a submission deadline of 28 June 2021. This is an opportunity for the companies in the communications area to set up cross-innovation projects with a large network of organizations in the area of Artificial Intelligence with flexibility in the topics.

CELTIC-NEXT Autumn 2021 Call

CELTIC-NEXT is continuing as the communications and applications Cluster in Eureka. The Celtic Autumn Call 2021 will be launched with the submission date in November 2021. It is a bottom-up Call with flexibility in the scope for the projects. Proposals for new innovations projects are welcomed. A brokerage event is foreseen for pitching of project ideas and partnering.

CELTIC-NEXT Flagship project AI-NET

The new industry-led CELTIC-NEXT Flagship project AI-NET (Accelerating Digital Transformation in Europe by Intelligent NETwork Automation) started in mid-2020. It is targeting automated resilient networks for economy and society. The project brings together partners from seven European countries and three fields of technology: Communications Networks and Technologies for 5G and Beyond, Near-Use Data Centers, and Artificial Intelligence (AI). Novel solutions for network automation are expected in the forthcoming two years.

Change in the CELTIC-NEXT ­Management Team

Xavier Priem has started as the new CELTIC ­Office Director. He has a strong track-record, both in innovation management and business development, thus providing an excellent background for industry innovations. Please join me in welcoming Xavier to the lead in the times of new challenges. He took over from Peter Herrmann, who retired in spring after having dedicated 15 years to CELTIC. As the CELTIC Office Director since 2014 he relentlessly drove the Cluster for the benefit of the European telecommunications industry innovations. Please join me in thanking Peter.