I4MS leads in Budapest the debate about a resilient, sustainable and human-centric manufacturing industry
Budapest, 19 Oct.- The largest European initiative to digitalise the manufacturing industry, I4MS (ICT for Manufacturing SMEs), celebrated its Stakeholders Event European leadership and digital game-changers of the manufacturing industry in Budapest, Hungary, on 19 October 2022, by bringing together the ecosystem and exchanging success stories, lessons learnt and know-how.
The event focused on networking and showcasing opportunities for European Digital Innovation Hubs (EDIHs), European projects, SMEs, technology providers and other stakeholders of the manufacturing sector driving innovation and technology adoption across the European Union.
The results arising from this joint exercise are expected to create long-lasting collaborations among the stakeholders that will go beyond the 40 million euros that are being distributed from 2020 to 2023 under the initiative.
The gathering began with the institutional welcome by Krisztián Kölkedi, Deputy CEO of the Hungarian Agency for Innovation; and was followed by Matthias Kuom, Seconded National Expert at the European Commission, who thanked I4MS for the work performed under the EU initiative since 2013.
I4MS, beyond funding to digitalize manufacturing SMEs
“EU projects contribution to the digitalization of manufacturing SMEs goes way beyond the funding. It offers mentoring, networking and technical support to advance the adoption of digital technologies”, Mayte Carracedo, Coordinator of I4MS and Co-founder of FundingBox, pointed out. Tamás Jávor, as a successful beneficiary of I4MS under DIGITBrain project, explained that “for a startup to succeed it needs funding and networking”. This was in line with the comment from Maria Roca, Senior Project Manager at FundingBox, who in her speech summarizing I4MS challenges and lessons learnt, highlighted: “while communicating projects, we should feed local structures with knowledge and work them hand in hand to support SMEs in their pursuit for digitalization”.
While concluding the three years of I4MS Phase 4, the event touched upon the currently relevant topics and future challenges. The manufacturing sector is leading towards Industry 5.0. a greener, resilient and human-centric European industry where industries can play an active role in providing solutions to challenges for society. Cornelia Amihalachioae, Innovation Advisor expert of EFFRA, noted that “sustainable manufacturing is not only helping us to fight climate change, but also positively affecting the bottom line of SMEs”.
Furthermore, the panelists discussed about the importance of putting workers experiences at the center of the technology adoption. In this line, Jordi Arrufí, Director of Knowledge and Digital Talent at Mobile World Capital Barcelona, mentioned that “it is important to find a human-centric approach to technology development and adoption”.
Use cases and success stories from I4MS Innovation Actions (AI Regio, VOJEXT, Better Factory, Change2Twin, DIGITBrain, Kitt4SME, Pulsate, DIH World, and more) were showcased at the Agora Sessions of the Exhibition Arena with tours dedicated to both SMEs and European projects stakeholders.
The conference also included gamified speed networking activities with Enterprise Europe Network (EEN), and the ceremony of the I4MS Disruptors Award 2022, that was awarded to FOLD experiment, represented by the artist Isaac Monté, funded by Better Factory project.
More about the I4MS initiative
I4MS, organiser of the event, is the biggest European initiative to digitalise the manufacturing industry funded by the European Commission. Its main objective is to expand digital innovation in SMEs and mid-caps, and to shape the pan-European network of Digital Innovation Hubs.
This EU initiative enables and fosters the collaboration of manufacturing SMEs and mid-caps across their value chains through the help of European competence centres and innovation hubs. HPC centres, top universities, and application-oriented research organisations in cross-border experiments create a win-win situation for all actors, allowing SMEs to apply via open calls for technological and financial support to conduct experiments testing digital innovations in their business.
It is coordinated by FundingBox and partnered by Mobile World Capital Barcelona and Tecnalia.