An exciting year of transition and renewal for CELTIC-NEXT

New ambitions and new roadmap

Xavier Priem
Director CELTIC Office

CELTIC-NEXT has been through several changes this year: a new Director, updated vision, mission and roadmap, and last but not least, the active role in the new Eureka Clusters Programme (ECP). Our Spring Call has been very successful, with six projects labelled and now in the funding phase, and we are curious to see the proposals from our Autumn Call, which closed on 22nd November. We are very active in preparing the future with a new Flagship series programme and closing partnerships with other funding bodies.

An enriched DNA for future growth

When I became the new CELTIC Director at the end of March this year, I discovered, from the inside, CELTIC’s strong DNA, built over its 18 years of successful fostering of the ICT RDI community across Eureka countries. It has been around nine months since then – one could say, the time of a pregnancy. It has been an interesting experience, because, in a way, we have further enriched CELTIC’s DNA over the last months in various manners.

First, we did this by following the long-­established tradition of labelling new projects from the last bottom-up Spring Call; here I personally wish to all projects to be successful in being awarded with their ­national fundings.

Secondly, we did this via the joint work and exchanges we had with our other Eureka Clusters friends in the context of the ECP Multi-Annual-Plan preparation and successful approval, on 17th June 2021, by Eu­reka and its funding Public Authorities. We will use the opportunity of the ECP MAP to address wider industrial communities and bring in additional funding countries to our ICT community. The ECP MAP application gave us also the additional opportunity to revisit the vision, mission and roadmap, last elaborated in 2018, in the light of the latest challenges and opportunities that both our ICT community and the wider world have been facing since then, like COVID-19, supply-chain challenges and the new potential role of satellites and alike in 5G, 6G and overall services.

Finally, and very much linked to the last point, CELTIC will cross its DNA with other communities in the near future, starting with the European Space sector.

This new enriched DNA will be the base for future flagship calls and projects, coming in addition to the successful series of CELTIC flagship projects like SASER, SENDATE and currently AI-NET.

Progressing implementation of Eureka Clusters Programme

After an intensive preparation and application period, which culminated in the ECP authorisation to operate as Clusters, the five Eureka Clusters CELTIC-NEXT, EUROGIA2020, ITEA4,

SMART and XECS are now implementing the first Multi-Annual-Plan (MAP) as well as the first Annual Operational Plan (AOP). CELTIC-NEXT is, as in the preparation phase, very active in the implementation phase, in order to best represent our ICT community’s interests in the joint committees and actions. This period is crucial for CELTIC-NEXT to get the maximum return on investment from the new Eureka Clusters Programme, by getting the best representation in those additional funded calls. Therefore, I want to use this occasion to encourage readers from the RDI community to feed us with your needs, wishes and ideas on topics (technologies, use cases, and more) for the elaboration of future joint thematic call topics. The first thematic call will be about “Sustainable Industry” and will, among others, look at Green ICT as well as Space-Earth-Ocean Integrated Systems.

Conclusion and Outlook

As the new Director, I am proud and honoured to drive this transformation and the development of CELTIC on behalf of CELTIC’s Management Group and Core Group members. Our new strategy gets already positive responses from the funding authorities of numerous Eureka countries, who want to invest in our new vision, mission and roadmap as presented in our application to ECP MAP. Our future flagship series programme is also getting very good traction, encouraging us to further pursue this new path. 2022 will be an interesting year for CELTIC!