ESMERA (European SMEs Robotic Applications) is an initiative within the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme, which aims to boost robotics innovation by European Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs). ESMERA promotes the development applied robotics technology created to solve a set of industrial challenges provided by leading European companies. Thus, the SMEs get an opportunity to implement, apply and prove new technologies that address real-life problems and have great market potential.
Participating SMEs may also propose their own challenges. In order to be accepted, these issues must be solvable through robotics and must be present in at least one of the ESMERA’s focus areas. The initiative’s specific challenge areas are: healthcare, agriculture, manufacturing, energy, construction, retail, food processing and emergency response.
These experiments must demonstrate proof of concept for their solutions during Phase I of their involvement with the project. During this time, ESMERA supports their proposals by providing up to €75.000 in funding, in addition to logistical support and technical advice. During Phase II, experiments receive €125.000 in a new round of funding, as well as interdisciplinary expert support to help their solutions become market-ready. This is accomplished by providing business and industrial advice to identify more efficient ways to commercialise these products and arrange the SMEs’ business models. ESMERA’s First Open Call has already yielded a variety of solutions which will be providing their services to European companies soon.
Part of the ESMERA’s success stems from allowing SMEs to play to their strengths. The programme empowers its applicants through support in a wide array of fields, so that they may focus on providing effective and creative innovations in robotics. SMEs participating in ESMERA also gain the invaluable opportunity of networking with other top European innovators and possible future business partners.
The latest group of ESMERA experiments was formed during the project’s Second Open Call. Phase II began on May 1st, 2021. When completed, ESMERA will have delivered its second batch of state-of-the-art robotics solutions for European companies!
ESMERA started in 2018 and it is funded by the European Commission. The consortium itself is formed by the following contributing members: The Laboratory for Manufacturing Systems and Automation (LMS) at the University of Patras (Project Coordinator), Commissariat à l´Énergie Atomique et aux Énergies Alternatives (CEA), Technische Universität München (TUM), Fundación TEKNIKER, Blue Ocean Robotics, COMAU and R.U. Robots.