26 March, Brussels - The establishment of a Joint European Disruptive Initiative (JEDI) to rapidly accelerate the development of emerging technologies is at an ‘advanced’ stage, according to officials behind the project.
The initiative is modelled on the US DARPA agency and will fund projects that develop operational prototypes in short timescales, with projects lasting no more than two years.
DARPA is an agency of the United States Department of Defence which fills the gap between academic work and the incremental innovation done by the military. It has contributed to technologies such as the internet, GPS, driverless cars, and Siri.
The proposed JEDI would have seven technology priorities: AI, cybersecurity, components, computing power, biotechnologies, energy storage and nanotechnologies.
So far the initiative is being driven by France and Germany but the aim is to gain the backing of other EU member states.
The provisional budget is estimated at €235 million for 2018, the launch year, with €228 million for project funding and €7 million for operating costs. The aim is to go up to €1 billion a year once the initiative gets going.
The chances of Commission endorsement for the initiative look slim, with Carlos Moedas, EU Research Commissioner, previously having said the idea was identical to the European Innovation Council (EIC).