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.
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).