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Interdisciplinary, synergic and comprehensive: introducing the ECS-SRIA 2022

The Electronic Components and Systems (ECS) Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRIA) is an open, living document, edited by the ECS Community, which describes the major challenges and priorities for ECS and ECS-based applications and identifies the research, design and innovation efforts required to address these challenges and priorities. The document addresses the entire ECS value chain, including materials, manufacturing processes, semiconductors, micro & nano electronic components, smart sensors, integrated devices, edge AI, embedded software, complete systems, systems of systems and vertical applications. It also covers the design methods and tools required to support the entire ECS engineering cycle. Industrial competitiveness, value creation, societal goals, trustworthiness creation, support for sustainability & green objectives and strategic advantages for Europe represent key targets which guide the editing of the ECS-SRIA and inspire the ECS community vision.

The ECS-SRIA is not a policy document: this is funding programme agnostic and covers a timeframe of 10-15 years. The ECS-SRIA is the reference document for the Key Digital Technologies (KDT) SRIA and for the EUREKA Clusters (e.g. Xecs), but it can also inspire other EU programmes. The ECS-SRIA is edited every year by the three Industry Associations that are active in the area of ECS – AENEAS, EPOSS and Inside Industry Association (formerly ARTEMIS-IA) – with a team composed of more than 300 experts from the industrial and scientific community. The current version can be download at the following address: https://ecscollaborationtool.eu/news-overview/news-ecs-sria-2022.html

The fifth edition of the ECS-SRIA may be the most interdisciplinary and synergic update yet: through an analysis of foundational technology layers, cross-sectional technologies and key application areas, the ECS-SRIA identifies challenges and pathways to unleashing the full potential of intelligent and autonomous ECS-based systems for the key EU application domains (mobility, energy, digital industry, healthcare & wellbeing, agrifood & natural resources and digital society). By covering the entire value chain and providing a systemic perspective on technology and innovation which is strongly linked to the European Commission Strategic Targets, this document can serve as a solid and comprehensive basis for a truly European digital era.

Interdisciplinarity and synergies

Today, technology is built on wide-reaching relations and mergers that create more than the sum of their parts: technology domains are not silos. These have been highlighted more than ever before in the revamped approach to the ECS-SRIA, which aims at ensuring that the results of interdisciplinary research and innovation combine and interact to generate systems and system of systems. This provides a systemic perspective that allows for concrete inspiration on complete solutions for vertical applications.

By highlighting the synergies between its chapters, the document emphasises how silos between technologies, companies, countries and domains form one of the main obstacles to achieving the European Commission’s short, mid and long-term strategic priorities. Indeed, the strength of the ECS-SRIA lies in its interdisciplinarity and the opportunities that this provides for technological cross-fertilisation and reuse in new areas. Synergies and interconnections characterise the entire ECS-SRIA:

· Hierarchical dependencies between technologies

· Technologies enabling new technologies, solutions and applications

· Architectures harmonising the composition of modules, devices, systems and entire solutions

· Requirements from vertical application which inspire new technologies and technologies which inspire new vertical applications

· Cross-vertical applications, etc.

Intelligent Digital Systems are one example of interdisciplinarity and synergies between different technology domains, as these are enabled by new chips that support AI (requiring new materials, technologies and processes for chips design, development & manufacturing, new low-power solution for the edge, etc.). In turn, these enable the possibility of conceiving new intelligent embedded software (capable of analysing data and extracting valuable knowledge and actionable information on the edge), empowering connected devices that can cooperate in forming systems and systems of systems which can eventually enable/support vertical applications (such as automated driving) and inspire new interoperable cross-verticals (e.g. mobility management in smart cities).

To further remark on the ECS-SRIA’s interdisciplinarity and highlight the synergies that make document navigation so effective, the ECS-SRIA now includes a global outline, chapter cross-references and a keyword index, allowing for straightforward analyses of the intersections between foundational technology layers and cross-sectional technologies.

In addition to its greater cohesiveness, the ECS-SRIA 2022 features an extended scope that now incorporates quantum technologies, integrated photonics, flexible electronics and open-source hardware. Moreover, an increased spotlight has been given to edge computing and artificial intelligence, focusing specifically on their convergence process towards embedded intelligence, also known as edge AI – a key focus area for Inside Industry Association. These updates have been developed in collaboration with the ECS community and the European Commission, both of which provided a large amount of input in six thematic workshops organised by the three associations in 2021. Following the same approach to updating this living document, the ECS-SRIA 2023 will prepare for the challenges and opportunities of the Chips Act by looking towards the frontier semiconductor technologies and promising open hardware architectures (e.g. RISC-V), software technologies & engineering tools required to ensure a real impact for EU research and innovation in the ECS domain and its applications.

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