A new Horizon 2020 Call on Medical technologies, Digital tools and Artificial Intelligence analytics, with a budget of €56 million, was launched on 19 May to quickly deploy new solutions using medical technologies, digital tools and artificial intelligence to increase response capabilities to the coronavirus crisis, improve the recovery, and better prepare for future such crises or waves. The call is open to countries of the Eastern Partnership.
The call is part of a larger Call for Expression of Interest with a total budget of €122 million mobilised from European Commission’s research and innovation programme, Horizon 2020, for urgently needed actions to tackle the coronavirus. This call will also address repurposing of manufacturing to ensure vital medical supplies and equipment, study behavioural, social and economic impacts of the outbreak, and establish pan-European cohorts on COVID-19.
Supporting innovative solutions during the coronavirus crisis
A wide range of advanced technologies supported by the EU are already being used or repurposed for the fight against COVID-19. These include AI, robotics, micro/nano/cyber-physical systems; bio-photonics; graphene or related materials; data, AI and robotics; e-health, telemedicine and digital solutions.
Some existing projects are being adapted for this, for example to deploy innovative robotics solutions in healthcare under the on-going project ‘DIH-HERO: Digital Innovation Hubs in Healthcare Robotics’. Other technologies can be used to detect pathogens in just a few minutes, sterilize surfaces, automate processes, create better protection equipment like masks, and analysing data through AI to track the cases and evolution of the disease.
Many governments, companies and citizen movements have developed mHealth initiatives to keep the population informed and help manage the crisis situation. A non-exhaustive compilation of some initiatives developed at European level has been created by the EU-funded mHealth Hub project.
Quick and available results for all
The deadline for submission is 11 June 2020 to allow the call to focus on delivering results quickly. The new solutions need to be available and affordable for all, in line with the principles of the Coronavirus Global Response. For this purpose, the Commission will include rapid data-sharing clauses in grant agreements to ensure that findings and outcomes can be put to use immediately.
More information on how the Commission is currently working to support Member States in their fight against Covid-19 using digital technologies such as data, supercomputers and artificial intelligence is available on this webpage.