Novel paradigms and approaches, towards AI-powered robots– step change in functionality (AI, data and robotics partnership) (RIA)

Grant Name
Novel paradigms and approaches, towards AI-powered robots– step change in functionality (AI, data and robotics partnership) (RIA)
Horizon Europe Framework Programme (HORIZON)
European Commission
Research Field
Computer graphics, computer vision, multi media, c
Robotic perception
Surgical robotics
Food processing
Learning, development and adaptation
Robot navigation
Robotic actuators
System engineering
Robotics for forestry
Assistive robotics
Robotic sensors
Robotics for utilities and service
Robotics for healthcare
Robotics for science Support
Computer sciences, information science and bioinfo
Social sciences and humanities
Robotic cognition
Robotics for manufacturing
Automation and control systems
Natural interaction
Human robot interaction
Modelling and knowledge engineering
Therapy and rehabilitation
Digital Agenda
Robotics for animal production
Man Machine interface
Robotics for education
Knowledge representation and reasoning
Robotics for goods transport
Robotics for transport and logistics
Robotics for environment
Robotics for commercial applications
Robotic system development
Cognitive science
Robotics for training
Robotics for law enforcement
Craft and bespoke manufacture
Robotics for entertainment
Robotics and automatic control
Robotics for emergency services
Robotics for civil engineering
Robotics for inspection and monitoring
Mechanical structures of robots
Domestic appliances
Software engineering, operating systems, computer
Industrial robot
Robotics for agriculture, forestry and fishing
Motion planning
Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence, intelligent systems, mult
System design
System integration
Robotics for fishing
Robotics for agriculture
Co-programmed European Partnerships
Human robot collaboration
Signal interpretation
Robotics for consumer applications
Robotics for monitoring and security
Robotics for civil applications
Action planning
Assistive living
Robot safety
Cognitive architectures
Power supply
Robotics for construction
System architecture
Robotics for marketing
Robotics for search and rescue
Robotic control
Machine learning, statistical data processing and
Robotics for mining and quarrying
Soft products manufacture
Robotic communication
Robotics for people transport
2024-03-19 (Expired)
Grant Size

General conditions

1. Admissibility conditions: described in Annex A and Annex E of the Horizon Europe Work Programme General Annexes.

Proposal page limits and layout: described in Part B of the Application Form available in the Submission System.

2. Eligible countries: described in Annex B of the Work Programme General Annexes.

A number of non-EU/non-Associated Countries that are not automatically eligible for funding have made specific provisions for making funding available for their participants in Horizon Europe projects. See the information in the Horizon Europe Programme Guide.

3. Other eligibility conditions: described in Annex B of the Work Programme General Annexes.

If projects use satellite-based earth observation, positioning, navigation and/or related timing data and services, beneficiaries must make use of Copernicus and/or Galileo/EGNOS (other data and services may additionally be used).

4. Financial and operational capacity and exclusion: described in Annex C of the Work Programme General Annexes.

5. Evaluation and award:

  • Award criteria, scoring and thresholds are described in Annex D of the Work Programme General Annexes.

  • Submission and evaluation processes are described in Annex F of the Work Programme General Annexes and the Online Manual.

  • Indicative timeline for evaluation and grant agreement: described in Annex F of the Work Programme General Annexes.

6. Legal and financial set-up of the grants: described in Annex G of the Work Programme General Annexes.

Specific conditions

7. Specific conditions: described in the specific topic of the Work Programme.


Call documents:

Standard application form (HE RIA, IA) — call-specific application form is available in the Submission System

Standard evaluation form (HE RIA, IA) — will be used with the necessary adaptations

HE General MGA v1.0 — MGA

Additional documents:

HE Main Work Programme 2023–2024 – 1. General Introduction

HE Main Work Programme 2023–2024 – 7. Digital, Industry and Space

HE Main Work Programme 2023–2024 – 13. General Annexes

HE Programme Guide

HE Framework Programme and Rules for Participation Regulation 2021/695

HE Specific Programme Decision 2021/764

EU Financial Regulation

Rules for Legal Entity Validation, LEAR Appointment and Financial Capacity Assessment

EU Grants AGA — Annotated Model Grant Agreement

Funding & Tenders Portal Online Manual

Funding & Tenders Portal Terms and Conditions

Funding & Tenders Portal Privacy Statement

Grant Number

Projects are expected to contribute to all of the following primary outcomes:

  • Achieve the substantial next step in the ability of robots to perform non-repetitive functional tasks in realistic settings, based on underlying robot functions (e.g. guidance/navigation/manipulation/interaction etc.), demonstrated in key high impact sectors where robotics has the potential to deliver significant economic and/or societal benefits. This next step functionality should clearly delineate from state of the art solutions and can be illustrated by the following non-exhaustive examples that illustrate different types of functional ability. Proposals should address functional challenges that are of equivalent or greater complexity and/or combine different types of functions to deliver greater functional complexity:
    • To reach the point where the robot systems operating in harsh complex and dynamic working environments can carry out sequences of complex functions to achieve a functional goal.
    • For example a robot able to carry out a range of different types of functions where the choice and sequence of execution depends on the dynamics of the operating context as the task progresses.
    • In navigation to reliably and purposefully move between destinations within complex people centric environments that are occupied such as busy transport hubs, shopping malls or entertainment and sporting venues; or to move purposefully maintaining a direction of travel towards a target destination or sequence of destinations over variable terrain where the surface is shifting and reactive to the robot’s motion for example on sand, gravel or waterlogged ground; or to be able to navigate, move purposefully and transition between water and air or water and land including mixed surfaces attaining a target destination, or sequence of destinations over extended distances beyond the current state of the art.
    • In manipulation to reach human speed with equivalent dexterity, or manipulate objects beyond human capability, such as very small objects, or very precise manipulation tasks, or vary big objects, beyond current capabilities and functionalities; to manipulate complex articulated objects either as part of an assembly task or in order to use those objects as tools to achieve a specific function. For example handling a complex articulated part while a processing operation is taking place on it; or to manipulate and assemble soft objects or materials that deform under their own weight such as textiles as a part of a useful process.
  • Step change in the enabling conditions essential for the accelerated diffusion of robots in various industries, sectors and services which can 1) handle tasks efficiently, robustly, and safely and 2) interact naturally and smoothly to support humans in their daily activities, based on a strong multidisciplinary approach, including the relevant SSH dimension.
  • The development, use and exploitation of major advances in science and technology for the enhancement of European robotics, in order to maintain Europe’s scientific excellence and ensure sovereignty of key technologies relevant to robotics
  • Create opportunities to affect society in the longer term by contributing to impact on major broad societal challenges.


For robots to be usefully and efficiently deployed to perform new activities in physical interaction with the real world requires an improvement in and expansion of the range of functionalities robots can deploy.

This needs to take place in sectors where the capabilities of robots can be utilised to progress productivity in critical industries, support European industries essential for sovereignty and in sectors with high impact across Europe such as manufacturing, healthcare, agri-food, construction etc.

In particular the following major areas of functional performance need to be progressed to the next level of performance:

  • significant enhancement of navigation capabilities in order to enhance mobility (underwater, on the ground, in the air, in the body, in areas difficult to reach, on rough terrain, in unpredictable environments, in areas including people or other moving agents, etc.), particularly in highly dynamic and complex environments.
  • extension of manipulation capabilities to address:
    • large (of the order of metres to 10s of meters in scale), or heavy (of the order of 100kg to multiple 100kg )
    • or small objects of millimetre or centimetre scale, or smaller; ,
    • or of objects that are soft, deformable, articulated, delicate or hazardous objects;

Each of these require significant advances in precision, force, speed, re-planning, physical perception, grasping, manipulation (including bi-manual), etc.), in order to achieve beyond human capability in manipulation and dexterity.

For large scale manipulation applications include but are not limited to manufacturing, assembly, maintenance and installation of large infrastructure; for example wind turbines, energy pylons, pipelines, dwellings, industrial buildings, transport infrastructure etc.)

For small scale manipulation applications include but are not limited to medical and healthcare (human and animal), pharmaceutical and laboratory automation, process industries, materials processing and micro-fabrication and assembly.

  • significant enhancement of functional interaction capabilities to deliver efficient, safe and natural interaction with people, objects, with other robots, within complex and dynamic working environments, including the ability to adapt to variation in the working environment and the needs and dynamics of users, objects and structures, etc.).

Making significant next step advances in these functional capabilities will require paradigm shifts in terms of both physical and systems architecture particularly through the removal of silos between disciplines that contribute to robotics functionalities.

Proposals will need to address safety and security aspects at all levels, as well as consider the data life cycle in line with GDPR.

Proposals should aim to address bold and significant challenges to the enhancement of robot functionality and do so by utilising multidisciplinary research activities.

Proposals should address several of the following in the context of improved functional performance relevant to deployment barriers in a high impact sector:

  • Robust perception and the integration of sensing into physical structures to enhance motion and perception
  • Advanced safe and reliable navigation functionalities, integrating anticipation, re-planning, high-level goal optimisation. Natural human-robot interaction functionality
  • Advanced cognitive capabilities, integrating any type of learning (from experience, collaborative intelligence or learning from human knowledge, frugality in terms of data, unsupervised, etc.), modelling, reasoning, introspection, etc.
  • Novel design approaches, e.g. soft robotics, under-actuated, miniaturised, modular/reconfigurable robots including those capable of self-reconfiguration, e.g. for guidance/navigation/manipulations in places hard to reach
  • Mobile manipulation, natural manipulation of arbitrary objects including soft, fragile or other items complex to handle (e.g. dirty, slippery, deformable)
  • Advanced navigation/manipulation in extreme environments, extremely small and precise in the body, autonomous navigation on shifting and uneven surfaces and in transition, for example between water and air or water and land, field robotics in harsh environments, the handling and manipulation of extremely large/heavy objects, etc.

Where relevant, proposals should contribute to making AI and robotics solutions meet the requirements of Trustworthy AI, based on the respect of the ethical principles, the fundamental rights including critical aspects such as robustness, safety, reliability, in line with the European Approach to AI. Ethics principles need to be adopted from early stages of development and design.

Critical to success will be the interaction of End Users in the definition of the problem domains and use cases that act as barriers to long term deployment and uptake across multiple sectors.

Multidisciplinary research activities should address all of the following:

  • Proposals should involve appropriate expertise in the necessary relevant disciplines to reach their objectives. SSH is particularly relevant in addressing human aspects related to human-robot interaction, sensible task distribution between humans and robots, agency, control, trust and handling of data collection, to achieve usability, trustworthiness, safety and adoption of the developed solutions.
  • It is essential that scientific and technological results are reproducible and re-usable in order to contribute to the advancement of the targeted research area.
  • S&T progress should be demonstrated through use-cases with major and broad socio-economic impact.
  • Projects should build on or seek collaboration with existing projects and develop synergies with other relevant European, national or regional initiatives, funding programmes.

All proposals are expected to embed mechanisms to assess and demonstrate progress (with qualitative and quantitative KPIs, benchmarking and progress monitoring, as well as illustrative application use-cases demonstrating well-defined potential added value), and share communicable results with the European R&D community, through the AI-on-demand platform or Digital Industrial Platform for Robotics, public community resources, to maximise re-use of results, either by developers, or for uptake, and optimise efficiency of funding; enhancing the European AI, Data and Robotics ecosystem through the sharing of results and best practice.

This topic implements the co-programmed European Partnership on AI, data and robotics.

Specific Topic Conditions:

Activities are expected to start at TRL 2-3 and achieve TRL 4-5 by the end of the project – see General Annex B.

Funding resources

Purdue Grant Writing Lab: Introduction to Grant Writing Open Link
University of Wisconsin Writing Center: Planning and Writing a Grant Proposal Open Link

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