ATTRACT: Bridging good ideas with good business cases


ATTRACT is a new pan-EU initiative that wants to ensure that great technological ideas in the fields of detectors and imaging are taken to the market. It has nine partners and this week the ESRF is hosting an information event, which can be followed at on 4 October at 2pm CET.

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A lot of engineering work, entrepreneurship, ingenuity and creativity goes into building large research infrastructures. In many cases, all the knowledge stays inside the walls of the labs, when they could benefit our society. The expertise and breadth of knowledge at ATTRACT’s labs are an unparalleled resource – but require an ecosystem around them for investment, entrepreneurship and innovation. ATTRACT is an opportunity to go beyond the basic research of detector and imaging technologies and to reach the commercial market. This programme will address demanding challenges in both science and societal needs, for example in the field of information and communication technologies or sustainable materials. “A simple way to understand it is that we all make the best fishing rods and then each of us decides what to fish with it”, explains Michael Krisch, member of the ATTRACT Project Consortium Board and Head of the Instrumentation Services and Development Division at the ESRF.

ATTRACT proposes a new co-innovation paradigm between industry, business, investors, innovation specialists and European Research Infrastructures. The ATTRACT partners are CERN, EMBL, ESO, ESRF, European XFEL, ILL, Aalto University, ESADE Business School, and the European Industrial Research Management Association,. Their mission is to organise open calls for projects to receive seed funding of 100 k€ and to organise the review of these projects by an independent expert panel.  Eligible projects need at least two partners from the European Union or associated countries and must cover one of these topics: sensors, front- and back-end electronics, data acquisition systems, software and integration.

The first launch for open calls will take place in Spring2018, with a final assessment of the outcome in 2020. It is ATTRACT’s aim to create the conditions where the most promising seed-funded projects receive full project funding in a second stage.

 The ATTRACT information event can be followed at on 4 October at 2pm CET.‚Äč

View the talks (pdf):


Top image: The Frelon camera is widely used on beamlines at the ESRF (the picture is on ID06 beamline). Credits: Pierre Jayet