Blog 19 Oct 2023 

New horizons for CPI and UK entrepreneurs

In this blog, we reflect on CPI’s history with the Horizon 2020 programme, and look to its future as the UK rejoins Horizon Europe.

Adam Webb

Adam Webb

Director of Bid Development

As Horizon Europe invites applications for a fresh round of innovation funding, we reflect on CPI’s history with the Horizon 2020 programme – and look to its future as the UK rejoins the current scheme.

In 2021, Horizon Europe supercharged research and innovation across nations with an £85 million funding programme, open to EU member states and associated countries.

The UK has a strong reputation in the innovation space and CPI has a long history with Horizon Europe, partnering on at least five Horizon programmes funded projects in recent years. 

As the UK has joined the scheme at associate level, its organisations can now lead consortia, smoothing the process of engagement for UK companies and strengthening support networks. 

As part of Horizon Europe (HEu), we are able to access funding to support our continued advancement in market-leading technologies. HEu funding accelerates our work with innovative startups and SMEs across a diverse range of sectors, from research into cancer and infectious diseases to robotics, energy, food security and climate change action. 

Innovation drives society forward, enriching local, national and global communities. Through Horizon Europe funded projects, the UK’s home-grown talent can be nurtured and developed. The programmes run for a significant time period, enabling steady, focused progress supported by world-class expertise and collaboration. 

In this article, we look back on CPI’s history with Horizon 2020 programme, the predecessor to Horizon Europe, and which CPI has been closely involved with. From next-generation computing materials to low-waste snacks and light-based health treatments, a range of CPI projects have taken off thanks to Horizon 2020 funding. 

Thinking small, aiming big

The LEE-BED project gained more than €10 million to develop an infrastructure and open-access testing platform for the rapid development of nanomaterials for lightweight embedded electronics. This meant that companies looking to use embedded electronics in wearables, health devices, textiles, automotive parts and more would have access to a single knowledge and production base to test out innovations. 

The Horizon 2020 funding enabled LEE-BED to overcome the challenges of high cost and limited volume production for companies running the tests. This ambitious project required 17 different partners, each contributing different skills and capabilities. 

CPI was able to provide expertise in inks, adhesives and composite formulation, alongside printable device fabrication, flexible electronics and electronic system design.

We continue to play a role in LEE-BED’s open-access testing, in collaboration with other SMEs, entrepreneurs and start-ups, who can also benefit from established supply chains and the pipeline of funding from Horizon Europe. 

Personalised and sustainable

DIY4U, a consortium of 13 partners arrived at CPI’s National Formulation Centre after winning Horizon 2020 funding for its innovations in customised fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG).

There is a megatrend of consumers preferring personalised FMCG products ranging from home and personal care items to food and beverages. These need to be produced on a small scale, which can be difficult as the industry is set up for large-scale manufacturing. DIY4U is addressing the limitation and catering to the trend with its digital platform and new fabrication labs at CPI’s formulation facilities. The platform captures what consumers want, then marries this with small-scale, sustainable and customised manufacturing. 

DIY4U anticipates widespread use among thousands of customised product lines, from cosmetics and supplements to household products, snacks and soft drinks. 

Sustainability and circularity are high on the agenda, and fabrication labs can work as refill stations, reusing containers and minimising packaging, as well as reducing the waste associated with mass production. 

A better fit for more sustainable local supply chains, DIY4U aims to connect with both leading global FMCG companies and SMEs across Europe to support industry innovation. 

The vision is of a network of fabrication labs across Europe, in collaboration with complementary industries that share the same goals. 

A bright future for photonics

Photonics-enabled medical devices use light-based technologies to diagnose and treat medical conditions. They have already begun to revolutionise healthcare – and this trend is set to continue. Identified by the European Commission as a key enabling technology, they also have applications in agriculture and food. 

CPI’s photonics capabilities, based at the National Healthcare Photonics Centre Centre, made it a go-to partner for the Horizon 2020 EPRISE project which brought together organisations across Europe to support companies developing photonics-based products. 

The aim of the EPRISE project was to create a database of resources and publish guidance to help SMEs overcome market entry barriers and ensure that Europe’s innovators could compete robustly with the rest of the world. 

Resist to advance

Another promising project is MEMQuD, which is developing a model system for producing next-generation computing technology that mimics the human brain by using memristive devices.

Memristive devices are electronics that contain switches, called memory resisters or memristors, that can remember the flow of data. This means they don’t need to power up at each exchange of information, making them highly energy efficient, requiring only 1/​800th the power of a conventional computer. 

This efficiency makes memristive devices useful in building processors that have high computing demands, such as those in AI systems. However, they are an emerging technology, and there is much to be learnt and understood about how to standardise them. 

The MEMQuD project, funded by Horizon 2020, brought us together with partners in a consortium studying and controlling the behaviour of memristive devices at nanoscale. Through our work, we can learn how to standardise the build, and advance understanding of what could be the next paradigm shift in computing.

Funding to forge ahead

Horizon Europe is driving global innovation, and we are proud to have been involved in the Horizon 2020 projects and beyond. With a strong record for collaboration, we work across government, academia and within industry as facilitators, experts, and networkers. 

We understand how funding de-risks innovation and are well-versed in the processes of applying for funding from the most ambitious programmes. 

With the UK now a recognised associate member and part of Horizon Europe’s ongoing mission, we are ready and able to support breakthroughs across multiple sectors to create a better and brighter future for us all. 

If your startup is ready to take an innovation into the slipstream of international collaboration with CPI, talk to us now.

Let’s innovate together

Speak to a member of our team today

Contact us
Adam Webb

Adam Webb

Director of Bid Development


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