- ATTRACT initiative starts a one-year race to develop sensing and imaging technologies that will enable breakthrough innovations
- Key application areas being targeted include medical diagnostics, environmental monitoring, climate change, materials science and more
ATTRACT, a Horizon 2020 research and innovation project funded by the European Union and backed by a consortium of 9 partners, has announced 170 breakthrough ideas which will each receive €100,000 to develop technologies to change society. A kick-off meeting being held at CERN in Geneva will start the clock on a one-year countdown for the selected proposals to prove the scientific merit and innovation potential of their disruptive detection and imaging technologies.
The projects selected for funding were drawn from a pool of more than 1,200 proposals from researchers and entrepreneurs in scientific and industrial organisations across the world. An Independent Research, Development and Innovation (R&D&I) Committee used a rigorous evaluation process to determine which of these proposals should receive €100,000 of funding.
“170 breakthrough ideas were selected based on a combination of scientific merit, innovation readiness and potential societal impact,” explained Sergio Bertolucci, chair of ATTRACT’s Independent R&D&I Committee. “The idea is to speed up the process of developing breakthrough technologies and applying them to address society’s key challenges.”
From augmented reality to smart sensors and devices, many of the chosen 170 ideas will develop disruptive technologies that could help improve clinical diagnosis, health monitoring and personalised treatments for diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s, or malaria, as well as heart and neurological conditions.
Interdisciplinary teams of researchers, entrepreneurs and companies from across the globe will also develop novel sensors and devices that will enable radical innovations in many other sectors with high market potential. New technologies will include smart devices for environmental monitoring, green solutions to fight climate change, advanced applications for citizens, smart systems for manufacturing processes, and disruptive technologies to expand our scientific knowledge.
Details of the 170 funded projects are being released today, and are grouped into four broad categories; data acquisition systems and computing; front-end and back-end electronics; sensors; and software and integration.
Most of the breakthrough ideas, — 64% — will develop next-generation technologies involving sensors, 16% will focus on data-acquisition systems and computing, 12% are software and integration projects, and 8% will develop the front and back-end electronics needed for the interfaces of sensors and imaging technology.
The 170 breakthrough projects funded by ATTRACT  will have one year to show that their disruptive ideas are worth further investment, and will present their results at a conference in autumn 2020 in Brussels. During the one-year development phase, business and innovation experts from the ATTRACT Project Consortium’s Aalto University, EIRMA, and ESADE Business School will help the project teams explore how their breakthrough technologies can be transformed into innovations with strong market potential.
 The ATTRACT initiative involves the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), the European Southern Observatory (ESO), the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF), the European XFEL, Institut Laue-Langevin (ILL), Aalto University, the European Industrial Research Management Association (EIRMA) and ESADE. The initiative is led by CERN and is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.
ATTRACT is a pioneering initiative bringing together Europe’s fundamental research and industrial communities to lead the next generation of detection and imaging technologies. Funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme under grant agreement No 777222, the project aims to help revamp Europe’s economy and improve people’s lives by creating products, services, companies and jobs.
Virginia Mercouri, Media Adviser, Science|Business. Tel: +32 489 095 044 | email@example.com