EU launches € 700 million fund for robotics
The European Union launched its fund dedicated to financing the robotics sector on Wednesday June 4, amounting to 700 million euros. Gathered under the euRobotics banner, 180 European companies and research funds will complete this envelope to the tune of 2.1 billion euros.
This initiative is part of the European SPARC policy, intended to increase by 42% per year (or 4 billion euros per year) the European share in the global robotics market which should weigh 60 billion euros in 2020 according to figures from the European Commission.
The development of robotics concerns the sectors of industry, agriculture, health, transport, civil security and home automation (domestic robotics). Its promotion should allow the creation of 240,000 jobs in Europe, according to the Commission. However, some sectors should be affected. However, in the short term, certain sectors should be affected.
The Vice-President of the European Commission, and Commissioner for Digital Society, Neelie Kroes said: “Europe needs to be a producer and not just a consumer of robots. Rather than replacing humans, robots perform tasks that humans cannot or will not do. Their presence can only improve our quality of life and our safety. Integrating robots into European industry will allow us to create and keep jobs in Europe. “
For his part, euRobotics President Bernd Liepert said: “SPARC will strengthen the competitiveness of the European robotics industry. Automation solutions with robots are essential to overcome today’s most pressing societal changes, such as demographic change, mobility or the development of a sustainable industry. “
The financing of the SPARC fund is open to all European companies and research institutes. The partnership inaugurated with euRobotics was signed on December 17, 2013. The second round of this fundraising will be launched in October 2014, until April 2015.
In France, the first investment fund entirely dedicated to service robotics, Robotlution Capital, raised 80 million euros. Partner of Robotlution Capital, Bruno Bonnell had presented it to the Ministry of the Economy in the presence of Arnaud Montebourg. [ Voir l’interview M. Bonnell chez FrenchWeb dans notre émission Le débrief de la semaine en mars dernier]. It brings together public actors with Bpi France (public investment bank, editor’s note) and the EIF (the European Investment Fund, editor’s note) as well as private actors like AG2R La Mondiale, Orange, EDF, Thalès or entrepreneurs like Marc Simoncini (founder of Meetic, editor’s note).
“The robot is not the enemy of employment, but a provider of jobs” said Arnaud Montebourg, then Minister of Productive Recovery before adding: “we have fewer robots than the Germans, and that are we who have more unemployment ” [lire notre article : 80 millions d’euros pour la robotique en France : « ces petites entreprises françaises vont bientôt devenir grandes » (Arnaud Montebourg)].