South East participates in Human-Robot Collaboration panel at COP28

COP, or the “Conference of Parties”, is an annual United Nations summit about the climate crisis. This year, COP28 takes place in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, from 30 November until 12 December 2023. Although COP is first and foremost about the negotiations, the EU will also host 90+ side events on the most pressing climate-related issues. One of these online panels was held on the 5th of December 2023 called “Empowering a Human-Centric Industry for the Twin Transitions“. The discussion focused on the importance of skills in tackling contemporary challenges in the new era of manufacturing. 

Dr. Niki Kousi, Managing Director of EIT Manufacturing South East, participated in this panel along with other important speakers regarding the role of innovation in driving the green and digital transition at a COP28 EU side event organized by HADEA. Dr. Kousi emphasized the significance of human centricity in manufacturing and the need for businesses to prepare for this technological revolution. She was invited to give some insights regarding the ways human-robot collaboration supports human centricity considering her previous experience as a project manager and coordinator of “THOMAS” project.  

She also highlighted the role of EIT Manufacturing, a European innovation community dedicated to fostering innovation and bridging the skills gap for the manufacturing industry. She presented how EIT Manufacturing plays an important role in the exploitation and industry adoption of such technologies that generate from projects like “THOMAS” and “SHERLOCK”. 


The panel was moderated by Marina Zanchi, Director of the European Health and Digital Executive Agency. Present to the panel were also Liviu Stirbăț, Member of the Cabinet of Vice-President Jourova, European Commission, Chris Ivory, Professor of Innovation Management at Mälardalens University, Sweden, Gaetano Patrimia, Innovation & IP Manager at Prima Additive S.r.l., and Steven Dhondt, Senior Research Scientist, Professor at TNO – Dutch Organisation for Applied Scientific Research.  

The panel also discussed the EU’s commitment to research and innovation in driving the green and digital transition. Marina Zanchi, Director of the European Health and Digital Executive Agency pointed out that the EU has funded numerous projects aimed at achieving these goals and stated that the EU is committed to supporting innovative solutions that address the challenges of the 21st century. The importance of Human-centric manufacturing in aiming at a more sustainable industrial sector and the differences in the workforce on how upskilling is important for the future, were some hot topics discussed also in the panel. 

The COP28 EU side event provided an opportunity to discuss the critical role of innovation in driving the green and digital transition. Dr. Kousi’s insights regarding EIT Manufacturing’s contributions to this transformation highlighted the importance of skills development and collaboration in preparing for the future of manufacturing.  

You can watch the event online here:  

BoostUp! Europe 2023 winners selected

Bringing industry representatives with challenges in their production together with solution providers from the startup or scaleup realm – that is, in a nutshell, the concept of the competition BoostUp! Europe. Its 2023 final took place during the EIT Manufacturing Summit 2023.

The audience at the EIT Manufacturing Summit 2023 watched five finalist startups and scaleups present their suggestions for proof of concepts (PoCs). Each of them was awarded 30,000 € to facilitate implementing their technologies in five large corporations.

Focus on manufacturing

The BoostUp! Europe 2023 final featured a keynote by Kevin Lenehan, Director of Business Creation, and a panel discussion with representatives from Talgo, voestalpine BÖHLER Aerospace and DANA, hosted by Łukasz Cioch, highlighting the benefits of business collaboration through matching skills.

Lander IraragorriTalgo‘s Corporate Venturing Program member, emphasised the significance of’s technological solutions for improving the processes of factory floor workers. He further highlighted Talgo’s future goals of innovation, talent attraction and startup connections as strategies for future-proofing manufacturing.

Aleksandar Stanojevich, Head of Innovation Management at Voestalpine BÖHLER Aerospace, explained that joining BoostUp! Europe 2023 was a way for his organisation to explore a cooperative approach with R&D. He expressed appreciation towards Convergent IT who according to him demonstrated the best portfolio of solutions with low risk of failure. He further talked about the value that startups have to offer large corporations by ‘putting everything on the line to create a magical experience’.

Eleonora Brighenti, Head of Global Engineering within Sustainable Innovation of DANA, agreed with the importance of engaging in open innovation to address skills shortages through exploring technology integrations offered by startups. She explained that open innovation would allow DANA to benefit from the expertise and strategic approach that, in their case, Qualisence has to offer to enhance processes, freeing up time for significant value initiatives and streamlining processes. According to her, DANA had taken further measures to support various proof of concepts initiated by small and medium-sized companies, research and technology organisations and education institutions within the EIT Manufacturing network.

The panel discussion was wrapped up by an introduction to three of the BoostUp! Europe 2023 finalists who took the stage to present their pitches. Host Łukasz Cioch asked them to share their thoughts about the intuitiveness of coming up with solutions for each respective industry partner.

Fadri Furrer from, whose PoC addresses Talgo’s challenge shared that his company had a perfectly matching technology which would help reduce rework and improve efficiency in manufacturing.

Mikko Sallinen of Convergent Information Technologies whose PoC addresses voestalpine BÖHLER Aerospace challenge shared that even though his company had a technology that matches the case, the deeper Convergent IT worked on their solution, the more challenges they encountered, but was confident to tackle it eventually.

Zohar Kantor from QualiSense, addressing the challenge of DANA, admitted the desire to prove that QualiSense had the best offer to stand out from the tough competition that BoostUp! Europe 2023 posed. He added that one should not take anything for granted and that he looked forward to finding the ‘best constellation’ for working together with DANA.

A second round of panel discussion introduced the audience to three more industry partners answering similar questions presented by the host.

Emil Cerdier, CTO for Berg Propulsion, presented his company’s challenge within the marine industry, according to him, a traditionally conservative sector with a lack of connectivity and data use. However, with an evolving market, he sees things changing rapidly, allowing for efficient asset management and fuel economy. He believes that partnering with Sleeve would allow for adaptable solutions that transform Berg Propulsion, ensuring positive outcomes for both parties.

Dirk Thieme, Head of New Mobility & Innovations at Volkswagen, shared that the BoostUp! Europe 2023 challenge provided valuable insights into energy optimisation, enabling more flexibility in Volkswagen’s production and preparing for renewable energy. He concluded that the challenge emphasised the importance of understanding and utilising data and that Mavarick’s solution was the perfect match for the project.

Despite having no industrial challenge, Jean-Pascal Riss, Director of Business Strategy at Schneider Electric, also engaged in the panel discussion by pinpointing the importance of nurturing skills for enabling sustainability and productivity in the manufacturing industry. He highlighted the need for companies to correlate data from various parts of production to optimise processes. He concluded by saying that the recent energy crisis had accelerated this process, but still left much work to be done.

Once again, for this second round of panel discussion, startups were welcomed to the stage to share their business solutions along with their experience in tackling the presented challenges:

Dr Paul Byrnes from Mavarick began by explaining that his startup’s PoC required significant alterations but that thanks to operational synergies and collaborative problem-solving with Volkswagen they were able to put together a successful approach.

Mathias Ptacek from Sleeve similarly spoke about challenges his company faced when adapting to the marine industry due to requirements for compliance with several security regulations in the given sector. He shared that despite this, he was optimistic about the opportunity to collaborate with Berg Propulsion.

Discussing the future of manufacturing

The annual MANUFUTURE Conference kicked off at the Gipuzkoa Technology Park in San Sebastian, Spain, on November 23 and 24. More than a hundred attendees from all around Europe gathered to share ideas about people, technology, and innovation. This conference is promoted by ManuFUTURE-EU technology platform, which has been bringing together organizations and individuals for over 15 years to support manufacturing research and development. The event encourages European industrial companies to innovate collaboratively with research and development entities. 

The organizing committee included EIT ManufacturingMONDRAGON CorporationIDEKOTecnalia, and Tekniker, all deeply rooted entities in the region. The conference featured key speakers from European manufacturing research and development entities, and the European Commission.

Representatives from EIT Manufacturing

This year’s theme encouraged us to “anticipate the future“, with an agenda full of different activities, including simultaneous workshops and plenary sessions, allowing attendees to gain insightful ideas.

Highlights of the first day

Before the conference started, attendees had the pleasure to visit industrial companies and research and technology organisations located in the Basque Country, such as Tecnalia, IDEKO and DANOBAT.


Maurizio Gattiglio, ManuFUTURE-EU Chairman, kicked off the event in the opening session by providing context on the main manufacturing issues in Europe and worldwide. He emphasized that despite some unexpected challenges (“black swans”) that have recently affected European companies, there are ongoing challenges that need to be addressed. Therefore, the conference served as a platform for:

  • Exchanging transformative ideas.
  • Highlighting the importance of manufacturing research through programmes to support competitiveness and resilience.
  • Establishing long-term strategies.
  • Cooperation.

Peter Dröll, Head of Directorate E within DG RTD at the European Commission, added that we have a strong manufacturing industry in Europe, which he described as “our trademark, our brand”. In his opininon, the most significant challenges facing the manufacturing sector are:

  • Embracing the systematic integration of circularity in the entire manufacturing value chain.
  • Adopting manufacturing as a service.
  • Capitalizing on digitalization and opportunities from AI by putting the human at the center.

Following the opening session, attendees had the opportunity to engage with experts on another topics such as “The European Products (and Services) of the Future” and “The Energy Challenge for Manufacturing” during the two workshops held on the first day.

Highlights of the second day

The second day started with a fruitful session about “Speeding up the Manufacturing Innovation Cycle: Success Stories & Challenges”, with the participation of Xavier BaillardInnovation Director at EIT Manufacturing. Baillard emphasized how EIT Manufacturing supports the commercialization of innovation and shared success stories, such as the LAMM pilot project. He also presented Innovate Together, an open call arised from the collaboration between European Factories of the Future Research Association (EFFRA) and EIT Manufacturing. This call aims to accelerate the market deployment of exploitable results of factories of the future and ‘Made in Europe’ projects.

Finally, Antoni Pijoan, Managing Director EIT Manufacturing West, was one of the speakers in charge of the closing session together with representatives from EFFRA, European Commission, and ManuFUTURE-EU. Pijoan pointed out four main ideas for manufacturing development:

  • ‘Better together’.
  • ‘The more we grow, the stronger we are’.
  • Ensure ‘go to market’ approach.
  • The need of private partner engagement.

He concluded his speech by inviting the entire community to visit the EIT Manufacturing West office in San Sebastian.

EIT Manufacturing East team and JA Austria visit the TU Wien Institute of Production Engineering and Photonic Technologies

On 2 October 2023, EIT Manufacturing East team has organised a visit to the TU Wien Institute of Production Engineering and Photonic Technologies (IFT) and their TEC-Lab for 8 pupils of Electrical Engineering attending the Technische Schule TGM in Vienna.

This visit was held as a part of the partnership with Junior Achievement Austria in 2023, in which EIT Manufacturing East sponsored the Innovation Award for the 2023 Junior Austria Competition held in June 2023. 

After the official welcome and introductions by EIT Manufacturing East Managing Director Hannes Hunschofsky and Competence and Knowledge Manager for EU Projects Rosina Preis, the students had the opportunity to see the TEC-Lab and learn about the TU Wien academic offer. They have also seen a demonstration of a computer tomograph with a live measurement to gain a better understanding of the fascinating world of modern measurement technology.

We would like to express our thanks to the Head of the Institute Univ.Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Dr.techn. Friedrich Bleicher and Communication Manager Mariia Kostrova for opening the door of the IFT for us and to JA Austria Project Manager Milica Markovic for a great collaboration.

Photo: ©Matthias Heschl

About Institute of Production Engineering and Photonic Technologies (IFT)

As one of the most important locations for manufacturing technology research in Europe, the IFT focuses on developing innovative manufacturing processes and the necessary machinery and production systems. The IFT conducts applied research in the areas of manufacturing technology development, machine tool technology, as well as manufacturing automation and metrology. Approximately 80% of the research projects done by the IFT are carried out in cooperation with industrial companies.

About Junior Achievement Austria (JA Austria)

JA Austria is a non-profit association, a part of JA Worldwide Network, with core competencies in the development and implementation of educational practice programmes in the field of entrepreneurship education, which aim to strengthen the entrepreneurial and social competencies of young people through real-life confrontation. JA Austria thus acts as an interface between business and schools. Since 1995, more than 45,000 pupils have participated in JA Austria’s programmes. 

EIT Community boosts innovation in Spain and leadership in Europe

On the occasion of the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the EU the EIT Community gathered in Madrid under the title “EIT and the New European Innovation Agenda: Contributions of KIC to Spain’s Innovation Leadership within the European Union”. About a hundred of representatives of the Spanish innovation ecosystem took the chance to share their vision and insights on how to foster and support innovation. 

The event, organised by seven Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs), EIT Climate-KIC, EIT Culture & Creativity, EIT Digital, EIT Food, EIT Health, EIT Manufacturing and EIT Urban Mobility, also counted with the presence of the General Manager of CDTI (Spanish Innovation Agency), Javier Ponce, and the Secretary-General of Innovation, Teresa Riesgo. Additional distinguished speakers have been Martin Kern, Director of EIT, Caroline Viarouge, CEO of EIT Manufacturing, and Jean-Marc Bourez, CEO of EIT Health.  

All attendees agreed on the importance of the interdisciplinary and intersectoral approach to boost innovation in Spain and its leadership in Europe, in line with the new European Innovation Agenda. Martin Kern, Director of EIT, highlighted that EIT has been supporting hundreds of startups, investing around 100 million of Euro in Spain and bringing more than 80 innovative products to market in the last two years. Furthermore, he promised to stay committed to Spain “as innovation is needed more than ever to tackle some of the biggest challenges and drive a more sustainable future for Europe.” 

While Jean-Marc Bourez, CEO of EIT Health, assured that joint and cross-sectoral innovation would be key to the sustainability of our societies and to the health and well-being of all, Caroline Viarouge, CEO of EIT Manufacturing, praised “a winning team that dares to innovate and to co-create in a diverse ecosystem” 

One of the pillars of the New European Innovation Agenda highlights the need to foster, attract and retain technological talent to reduce the Deep Tech skills gap. Carolina Torregrosa, Education Programmes Manager at EIT Manufacturing described the Deep Tech Talent Initiative, coordinated by EIT Manufacturing, as “most ambitious platform for talent generation in Europe” that aims to train more than one million people in upskilling and re-skilling.

Info Day @ Cyprus insights for ecosystem

On April 3, 2023, EIT Manufacturing South East along with CYENS Center of Excellence, hosted its first Info Day in Cyprus at the A.G. Leventis Gallery in Nicosia. The event brought together more than 100 participants to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing the Cypriot manufacturing ecosystem. 

Participants gave their feedback via a platform in the last session of the event, and we had some great results coming from it. Some key results are described below: 

Most participants came from RTOs, followed by SMEs and Universities/ Corporation

The top three strengths of the Cypriot ecosystem identified by participants were:

  • Geography (global supply chain)
  • Early-stage innovation
  • Collaboration with foreign innovation actors

Main areas for improvement identified by participants included: 

  • The commercialization of new products and services 
  • Access to Funding capital 
  • Acceleration of technological innovation 
  • Support for entrepreneurship 

Participants identified the following types of support as being most needed: 

  • Identification of end users with innovation challenges 
  • General support for startups 

The main pillars of EIT Manufacturing that participants believed could be most helpful to the Cypriot ecosystem were: 

  • Business creation 
  • Innovation 

Overall, it is profound that the Cyprus ecosystem is looking for more commercialization and connections to the rest of Europe. There are some Cyprus-based Manufacturing companies but most of them are concentrated on IT and the digital sector. Access to financial aid and investment is something the ecosystem needs in order to develop and for SMEs and startups to create a financial sustainable environment and then proceed to the next steps. The EIT Manufacturing Info Day in Cyprus was a success in bringing together key stakeholders from the manufacturing ecosystem to discuss ways to enhance collaboration and innovation, also by presenting the capability and opportunities of the EIT Manufacturing ecosystem.


[Video] Benefits of the EIT Manufacturing eco system and the success story of the Smart Learning Factory – Skopje

We want to thank everyone that participated in todays online event: “Benefits of the EIT Manufacturing eco system and the success story of the Smart Learning Factory – Skopje“.
Huge thanks to the speakers Niki KousiBojan Jovanoski and Panagiotis STAVROPOULOS that shared their experience as well as future opportunities.
Current open calls that Dr. Niki Kousi presented include:
✅Evolution of RIS Innovations ➡
✅Teaching Factory Competition ➡
Our CEO and host of the event, Aleksandar Stamboliev, MSc presented the role of BAU Accelerator as EIT RIS Hubs National Secretary for North Macedonia.
Replay the session:

Event: Benefits of the EIT Manufacturing eco system and the success story of the Smart Learning Factory – Skopje

Dear representatives of the Macedonian industry,

We have a special honor and pleasure to invite you to the event: THE BENEFITS OF EIT MANUFACTURING ECO SYSTEM AND THE SUCCESS STORY OF THE SMART LEARNING FACTORY – SKOPJE, where we will present the possibilities of EIT Manufacturing funding opportunities towards the development of innovative products and services by the Macedonian companies.

The event will be held online at the following LINK  on July 26, 2023 (12:00-13:00).
Working language: English


Dr. Niki Kousi: EIT Manufacturing and CLC South East Europe

EIT Manufacturing CLC South East, called CLC South East, is at the heart of the EIT Manufacturing community in South-East Europe. The team of the Athens-based innovation hub seeks to stimulate the regional manufacturing ecosystem by strengthening and creating cross-national synergies among the different manufacturing actors. The latter include start-ups, scale-ups, manufacturing companies, solution providers, small and mid-sized companies (SMEs), universities, and research institutes.

Aleksandar Stamboliev MSc: EIT Community RIS Hubs National Secretary for North Macedonia

The newly opened center in N. Macedonia (EIT Community RIS Hub National Secretary in North Macedonia) represents all EIT Knowledge and Innovation Communities and will focus on attracting and engaging as many Macedonian participants as possible in EIT activities. The RIS Hub and the National Secretary Aleksandar Stamboliev will provide innovators with a centralized source of information on all services and opportunities provided by the entire EIT community.

Dr. Bojan Jovanoski: Success Story about Smart Learning Factory – Skopje

The Smart Learning Factory – Skopje is located at the UKIM Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and is the only learning factory in the region focusing on Lean and Industry 4.0 topics. Its goal is to create a physical simulation environment for learning production concepts where practitioners and students can upgrade their skills and learn new concepts. With its currently hardware modules, it presents a scaled-down didactic environment for hybrid learning, training and research. The lab is open for any company and research institution that wants to learn and experiment with the most modern technologies.

Dr. Panagiotis Stavropoulos: Laboratory for Manufacturing Systems & Automation – Patras

LABORATORY FOR MANUFACTURING SYSTEMS & AUTOMATION (LMS) is focused on research and development in cutting edge scientific and technological fields and its based in University of Patras, Department of Mechanical Engineering and Aeronautics. LMS is involved in a number of research projects funded by the CEU and European industrial partners. Particular emphasis is given to the co-operation with the European industry as well as with a number of “hi-tech” firms.

European institute for innovation and technology (EIT) is an independent EU body that increases Europe’s innovation potential by supporting new ideas and nurturing entrepreneurial talent. EIT supports dynamic pan-European partnerships, EIT Knowledge and Innovation Communities (EIT KIC), among leading companies, research labs and universities. Together with their leading partners, the EIT Community offers a wide range of innovation and entrepreneurship activities across Europe: entrepreneurial education courses, business creation and acceleration services and innovation driven research projects.

1st EIT Manufacturing Call 2024 for Innovation proposals

As the official EIT Community RIS Hub National Secretary in North Macedonia, we are excited to share the latest EIT Manufacturing call and North Macedonia citizens are eligible to apply!
📢 It’s time to submit your innovation proposals as the 1st Call for Proposals is now open!👉
We are looking for #innovation proposals in the following topics:
👨‍💻 Optimizing production processes and increasing resources efficiency through digital solutions
👨‍🌾 Socially sustainable and human-centric manufacturing
♻️ Environmentally sustainable manufacturing through circular business models and new technologies
🔔 Winning EIT Manufacturing yearly Call can boost your professional profile and open up new opportunities for growth and development. Discover how from yesterday’s info day recordings & slides:
Deadline: 19.06.2023