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EU Breakthrough Projects with a TNO twist

In any given year, the European Commission’s (EC) provides funding and support for more than 5,600 research projects. All of them aimed at solutions to key societal issues and challenges. Among these, in 2020, the EC Research Executive Agency (REA) promoted ten projects that showed significant impact or accomplishment. TNO is proud to have participated in two of the ten projects. We spoke to Marc Tachelet, REA Director, to find out more.

A moment in the sun

There’s no question that 2020 was an extraordinary year, filled with unprecedented challenges. An ideal time, therefore, to bring more positive news to the forefront. So REA promoted ten projects that highlight the impact of European collaborative research to EU citizens and industries. With the Twitter campaign #BrightSideof2020, REA aimed to add some optimism to what was often a difficult year.

Making the selection

To identify the most impactful projects, REA asked the Project Officers who work directly with researchers in EU-funded projects to identify those projects that were especially remarkable, whether because of the level of innovation or the potential impact. ‘Our goal was not only to give these projects some extra recognition, but also to show how the projects we fund benefit society,’ Marc explains. ‘As the guardians of taxpayer money, we want to show that our focus remains on solutions that directly address critical needs in the EU.’

Achieving the Goals of the Paris Agreement

One of the promoted projects was CO2 Human Emissions (CHE) – a consortium of 22 organisations in 8 European countries that aimed to develop a system to monitor and track CO2 emissions caused by humans. The consortium designed a system that, by combining space, ground-based and aircraft data with models, could accurately, consistently and independently monitor these emissions at global, regional and local scales.

The developments within CHE will help ensure that EU countries are able to meet their commitments to the Paris Climate Agreement. TNO contributed its expertise in simulation techniques and emission inventories to develop a library of simulations and models that form the foundation for CO2 monitoring.

Making Europe safer, together

TNO was Technical Coordinator for a second promoted project: Driver+. The project aimed to improve crisis management throughout Europe by consolidating data, tools, experiences and information. Since the scale and pace of crises are continuously accelerating, Driver+ aimed to also accelerate the innovations and solutions to deal with them.

This broad-scale, open-source portfolio will help EU countries better manage crises by accessing validated tools, a portfolio of technological solutions, and a network of crisis management professionals throughout Europe that can help them address their most pressing challenges. The size, scope and impact of Driver+ means a safer European Union for all its citizens.

REA and TNO for a Better Tomorrow

The 10 projects promoted are merely a glimpse into the significant and impactful work that EU funding makes possible. They are a reminder that every EU-funded project aims to support excellence and impact – especially through innovations that can be implemented in society, and in line with the EC’s Greening and Securing Europe priorities. TNO is proud that two of the projects it participated in have been recognised in this way, which further reinforces our ambition to innovate for the good of national and European industry, and society as a whole.


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