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Spain allocates €116m towards 5G-Advanced and 6G R&D

The Official State Gazette has published the bases that regulate the granting of aid to promote research and development around next-generation mobile technology, advanced 5G and 6G, and its first call for 2022-2023 within the framework of the Plan of Recovery.

Within the Strategy to Promote the Deployment of 5G included in the Digital Spain agenda, this second phase of the UNICO I+D program complements the first call, resolved in 2021, and which awarded more than 90 million euros to 113 research projects of public centers with a low level of maturity, targeting the most advanced phases of the R&D cycle in order to strengthen the business fabric, generate quality jobs, promote entrepreneurship and start-up startups, and promote public-private collaboration.

With a budget for 2022 and 2023 of 116 million euros -86 million for this year and 30 for next year-, the aid will be allocated to two programs; one for the financing of 6G research infrastructures and the acquisition of scientific-technical equipment and another for the development of 5G+ R&D projects led by Spanish companies.

Universities and public research centers focused on R&D&i will be eligible for aid from the program aimed at financing infrastructures and scientific-technical equipment -endowed with 23 million euros- that allow research projects to be carried out in the field of 5G+ and 6G technologies. The projects they present must be individual and with a budget of between 300,000 and 2 million euros.

The aid aimed at Spanish companies to develop R&D projects in 5G+ – endowed with 93 million euros – will promote public-private collaboration in areas such as optical and photonic technologies, machine learning , improvements to RAN systems, edge computing , privacy and security.

The global GDP growth potential linked to 5G and 6G networks and services, according to different studies, will reach 3,000 million euros in 2030.

Single R&D
The Recovery Plan, which has among its objectives to favor the consolidation of Spain as one of the leading countries in the deployment of 5G and 6G by promoting R&D&i in this field, foresees a financing of 230 million until the year 2023 for the creation of a research and innovation ecosystem around this technology.

In 2021, with the resolution of the first UNICO I+D call, the Government approved the granting of aid of more than 90 million euros for research and innovation projects in the deployment of advanced 5G and 6G technologies carried out by: Technological Center of Telecommunications of Catalonia, Intelligent Infrastructure Innovation Center Foundation, Madrid Institute Foundation for Advanced Studies in Networkds; i2CAT Private Foundation; Carlos III University of Madrid, Complutense University of Madrid; University of Granada; Malaga University; University of Murcia; University of the Basque Country; Polytechnic University of Catalonia; Polytechnic University of Madrid; Polytechnic university of Valencia .

Among the requirements of that call, it was established that these centers subcontract 70% of their activity with Spanish companies, so that the public sector acts as a lever and guide over the private sector.

To complete the path started with the first call -focused on projects with low technological maturity (2-4)-, this second phase has begun, which favors the creation of a research and innovation ecosystem, including aid for projects that are in more advanced levels of development (3-6), with a prominent role for the private sector.

The European Horizon 2020 program includes different levels of maturity of R&D&i projects, in accordance with the TRL (Technological Readiness Level) from its original idea to its commercial deployment: Basic research (TRL 1); technological concept, proof of concept and laboratory validation (2-4); validation in relevant environment (5); demonstration in relevant environment (6); demonstration in operational environment (7); complete and certified system (8); and deployment (9).

CT Bureau

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