ESM Pilot: a year of consolidation and improvement of demo-cases

ESM Pilot: a year of consolidation and improvement of demo-cases

Ryan Titley 5 minutes

On 18 December 2018, the Vanguard ESM Pilot held a plenary meeting in Brussels, hosted by the Lombardy Region. The meeting delivered the state of the art of the ESM Pilot, showing the progress of demo-cases and highlighting the challenges for 2019.

40 Participants from 23 Vanguard member regions attended the ESM plenary meeting, which was organised in Brussels on the 18th of December 2018. The participants  took the opportunity to have bilateral meetings and matchmaking sessions with pilot and demo-case coordinators, while receiving the latest updates of the pilot.

ESM co-coordinator Giacomo Copani (AFIL) opened the meeting presenting the current configuration of the ESM network, which includes 20 EU regions. He welcomed 4 new regions that joined the pilot in 2018, whose participation will be further integrated at demo-case level in the upcoming year.

Concerning the activities performed in 2018, actions were mainly addressed to boost the progress of demo-cases, identify and establish interlinks among them, as well as to position the ESM Pilot in the EU-framework to increase awareness around it in the industrial and innovation community. The main outcomes achieved can be summarized in three areas:


At pilot level, a new region will join Lombardy and Catalonia as coordinating regions in managing the activities and the relationships within the growing network. The process for identifying and selecting the new co-coordinator will start in 2019 by the Steering Committee.

At demo-case level, the demo-case coordinators were asked to confirm their commitment in leading the demo-cases related activities. Accordingly, a new configuration of demo-case coordinating teams has been established for a stronger governance.


In order to ensure the progress of the pilot, ESM has been promoted in the frame of several synergic initiatives. Among these, the Industrial Modernisation S3 Platform, in which ESM is a registered partnership. During 2018, besides the participation to Platform events, the ESM De- and Remanufacturing demo-case is receiving technical assistance by DG REGIO, finalised to the fine-tuning of its business model and investment plan.

In addition, representatives of the network are participating in INTERREG and Horizon 2020 projects, supporting the development of the demo-case projects as well as the empowerment of the cooperation network and the relationships among the participating regions. Some examples are S34Growth Interreg Europe,  GREENOMED Interreg MED, SCREENFIBEREUSE and CarE-Service H2020 projects.


Several events were organised at pilot level and by the demo-case coordinators in order to disseminate the progress achieved and work further to develop the contents of the demo-cases. In particular, ESM representatives participated in events with the aim to disseminate ESM pilot actions among the European Commission and external stakeholders (as for example the EU workshop on Technology Infrastructures and DIH Conference in Warsaw).

After this general introduction, the demo-case coordinators took the floor to extensively report the results and achievements of their 2018 activities.

The De- and Remanufacturing demo-case reported a vivid activity in 2018 with more than 30 intra-regional, inter-regional and working meetings. The demo-case has also carried out activities on the investigation of possible funding synergies mechanisms. Moreover, the network started the activities of the S3Platform Interregional pilot action with the support of the expert appointed by DG REGIO, while continuing at the same time relevant actions in the ongoing Horizon 2020 projects that demo-case partners successfully launched.

Particular attention is devoted to synergies with European initiatives, such as the Interregional Partnership on Batteries, DIH and Water Technologies, ensuring the presence of De-and Remanufacturing representatives at key meetings end events.

Concerning the configuration of the network, 6 new regions declared interest in joining the demo-case during 2018 and actions will be implemented to ensure their integration to the already consolidated network of 9 regions.

After the re-definition of demo-case governance, the Polymer-based functional products demo-case intensively worked on the consolidation of demo-case scope and domain and on the identification of new use-cases.

Accordingly, during 2019 it will focus on the elaboration of a strategic roadmap for the demo-case and on the development of use-cases business plans. A particular effort will be devoted to the involvement of industrial stakeholders in the network, that will be concretised by the collection of LOI in the participating regions.

During 2018, “Smart and Adaptive” and “Digital and Virtual” demo-cases capitalised the synergies identified in the previous period and formalised the decision of merging in the Digital Transformation demo-case. This process required several interactions among the demo-case coordinators to re-shape the governance, as well as meetings among the extended group of stakeholders to re-define the scope of the demo-case. Accordingly, the actions for 2019 will be addressed to the identification and development of use-cases.

Finally, the demo-case EFREFO - Energy-flexible and resource-efficient factory operation introduced the audience to the revised scope and concept of the demo-cases  highlighting the contribution provided by the new regions interested in the demo-cases as well as the use-cases defined by the consolidated network. In 2019, EFREFO will investigate the opportunity to expand the content of use-cases, as well as to move some existing use-cases into othe demo-cases due to thematic coherence.

The demo-case session was closed with the remark that the demo-case areas identified so far are necessarily dynamic and their continuation in the ESM Pilot will depend on the effective achievements and mobilised industrial commitment. Finally, it was highlighted that the pilot is open to coherent and well-structured new cases.

In the wrap-up session, the 2019 challenges and priorities were discussed by the audience. Shared priorities of the ESM network for the upcoming year are:

  • Implementation and funding for pilot plants according to demo-cases’ business plans
  • Concrete progress of demo-cases and identification of synergies
  • Positioning with respect to digital EU initiatives
  • Optimisation of activities within S3Platform
  • Establishment of new demo-cases (i.e. food manufacturing)
  • Improvement of ESM Pilot outreach through targeted communication actions