Workshop "The Role of the EU Regions in Supporting Robotics"

The European Commission, DG CONNECT,  the Tuscany Region and the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna - BioRobotics Institute


The Role of the EU Regions in Supporting Robotics

The contribution from the Regional Research and Innovation to Europe’s growth strategy



On October 30, 2013, in Brussels, the Tuscany Region, the European Commission (DG CONNECT) and the BioRobotics Institute (Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna) organized a workshop on the “Role of the EU Regions in supporting new infrastructures for robotics”.

The main objective of the workshop was to inform Regions about the strategic value of Robotics, and to promote a network of Regions for which Robotics is already (or could become) a priority, by connecting existing excellence centres, clusters, regional initiatives, sharing physical infrastructures and resources at regional and European level, or developing new ones, as well as optimising funding at regional and EU level.

The event was an important opportunity to meet together more than 50 people including EC representatives, Regional and Member States policy makers, industry and robotics researchers.

The event was opened by Stella Targetti, Vice-President of Tuscany Region, Khalil Rouhana, Director for "Components & Systems" in DG CONNECT (Communications Networks, Content & Technology) and Paolo Dario, Director of the BioRobotics Institute of the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna (Pisa, Italy) and here representing also the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research.

The workshop included presentations and interactive panel discussions with questions and answers from the audience.

Speakers from the European Commission Units (Libor Kral, Head of Unit A2 – Robotics, Directorate A “Components & Systems”; Anna Krzyzanowska, Head of Unit B5 - Broadband, Directorate B “Electronic Communications Networks & Services”; Bernhard Fabianek, Research Infrastructure (RI) Unit B3; and Sébastien Mortier, Research Programme Officer in Unit G2 "New forms of production") described funding instruments in Horizon2020, opportunities for cooperation between regions, regional-national initiatives, and combinations of sources of funding. Paolo Dario and Kurt Nielsen (Head of R&D, DTI Robot Technology - Danish Technological Institute) showed respectively the experience and projects of the BioRobotics Institute and of DTI, describing regional robotics networks, research infrastructures and active centres, and presenting Tuscany and Denmark as successful cases where Robotics is a priority. Herman Bruyninckx (euRobotics AISBL Vice-President Research) and Geoff Pegman (euRobotics AISBL Industry Board of Directors) illustrated the organization of the euRobotics AISBL and the plans for H2020 with special regard to opportunities for cooperation with/between regions, regional-national initiatives in the PPP Robotics2020. The panel discussions were focused on the definition of concrete plans and actions for synergies between Research Infrastructures and Robotics, and for synergies among European, national and regional initiatives.

New funding schemes across regional, national, European work-programme were discussed and evaluated together with the potential for sharing infrastructures and the resulting impact.

This successful workshop is intended to be the first event of a series of initiatives aimed at:

- defining the landscape of Robotics regarding regional and national activity and strategy, as well as active centres and competences;

- inducing and further enhancing smart specialisation on robotics;

- identifying regions which selected already (or might select) Robotics as a priority, as well as potential candidates for smart specialisation;

- enhance collaboration between active centres, initiatives and programmes;

- mapping Robotics "activities" or "links" based on information from the Regions;

- defining potential synergies with other EU, national and regional initiatives;

- discussing the potential introduction of initiatives and collaboration for Robotics in research infrastructures.


Check out the presentations:

Khalil Rouhana - Director “Components & Systems”, DG CONNECT, EC Robotics and Regional development

Libor Kral - Head of Unit A2 - Robotics, DG CONNECT, EC Robotics from FP7 to Horizon 2020

Anna Krzyzanowska - Head of Unit, Broadband, DG CONNECT B5 Synergies with the Cohesion Policy Research and innovation strategies for smart specialization

Bernhad Fabianek - Research Infrastructure Unit B3, DG RTD, EC Research Infrastructures for Robotics

Sébastien Mortier - Research Programme Officer Unit G2 "New forms of production", DG RTD, EC New Forms of Production Unit

Paolo Dario - The BioRobotics Institute, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna Heading towards a robotics infrastructure_the case of Tuscany Region

Kurt Nielsen - DTI Robot Technology - Danish Technological Institute Denmark as a case

Herman Bruyninckx - euRobotics aisbl Vice-President Research euRobotics and Robotics PPP

Geoff Pegman - euRobotics aisbl Industry Board of Directors euRobotics and Robotics PPP

Richard Tuffs - Director of the European Regions Research&Innovation Network, ERRIN ERRIN


The Workshop Organizing Committee:

- Cécile Huet (, Unit A2 - Robotics, DG CONNECT, EC

- Livio Stefanelli (, Tuscany Region Office in Brussels

- Paolo Dario (, Director The BioRobotics Institute, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Pisa, Italy



- Laura Margheri, The BioRobotics Institute, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Pisa, Italy


Further reading (in Italian):Robotica e biorobotica, Targetti: "Priorità del sistema di ricerca toscano"