EuroHPC JU FFplus Project: Open Call for Business Experiments and Innovation Studies Using HPC and AI

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Stuttgart, Germany – July 8, 2024 – The EuroHPC Joint Undertaking’s FFplus project, established earlier this year to provide SMEs resources to test new applications of HPC and AI, has invited proposals from companies interested in conducting business experiments and innovation studies to take their products, services, and operations to the next level. This includes supporting the development of applications of generative AI.

All submissions to the FFplus first open call must be received by Wednesday, Sept. 4th, 2024 at 17:00 Brussels local time. More information can be found here.

“By providing financial support, access to state-of-the-art EuroHPC resources, and expert advice on both technical and business development, FFplus aims to provide European SMEs and start-ups the framework they need to be successful and to create value in the digital economy,” says Dr.-Ing. Bastian Koller, FFplus Project Coordinator and Deputy Director of the High-Performance Computing Center Stuttgart. “In this way, FFplus is an important link in Europe’s strategy for HPC and AI, connecting SMEs and start-ups to powerful computational resources that offer enormous innovation potential.”

In its first open call for proposals, running until September 4, 2024, FFplus will give SMEs access to EuroHPC supercomputing resources, providing world-class tools and expertise in modelling and simulation, data analytics, machine learning, and AI. FFplus is also particularly interested in supporting the development of generative AI software solutions and services in order to strengthen technological development in European SMEs in this new and rapidly emerging area.

FFplus is the latest chapter in the Fortissimo story. Spanning a decade-long history in which they established a strong reputation across Europe, the Fortissimo 1, Fortissimo 2, and FF4EuroHPC projects successfully executed more than 130 experiments involving more than 300 partners. With a total budget of €42.8 million, these efforts produced 120 success stories from more than 20 EU countries, bolstering the EU economy and demonstrating how SMEs can effectively use HPC and AI to develop new products and services. As Anders Jensen, Executive Director of the European High Performance Computing Joint Undertaking (EuroHPC JU) explained, “FFplus is a strategic initiative funded by EuroHPC JU and designed to empower SMEs with cutting-edge HPC and AI technologies. By unlocking their innovation potential, FFplus will propel SMEs to success and accelerate Europe’s economic growth through impactful innovation.

Dr. Guy Lonsdale, CEO at scapos AG and Open Call Lead elaborated, “Over the last decade, we have seen high-performance computing evolve beyond numerical methods to include data analytics, machine learning, and AI. The completely new aspect in FFplus is our focus on generative AI technology development. In the innovation studies, which represent a new type of Fortissimo activity, SMEs or start-ups with existing AI business models and business prospects can gain access to large-scale computational resources on EU supercomputers. This will allow them, for example, to develop and customize generative AI models, such as foundation and large language models.”

FFplus is funded by Digital Europe Programme (DEP), an EU funding programme focused on bringing digital technology to businesses, citizens and public administrations, with a total budget of up to €30 million. FFplus has a project duration of 48 months. This open call is the first of six that will be issued in the coming years.

FFplus invites SMEs and start-ups to participate in two types of open calls:

Business experiments will support the uptake of high-performance computing in European SMEs that have no prior experience using HPC services, empowering them to solve specific business challenges.

The targeted start date for business experiments is January 1, 2025, with an expected duration of up to 15 months.

The indicative total funding budget for all business experiments funded under this call is €4 million. The maximum funding request per proposal is €200,000 (covering all participants).

More information

Innovation studies will support European SMEs and start-ups who are already active in the field of generative AI technology, but lack the necessary computational resources to scale up their applications.

The targeted start date for innovation studies is December 1, 2024, with an expected duration of up to 10 months.

The indicative total funding budget for all innovation studies funded under this call is €4 million. The maximum funding request per proposal is €300,000 (covering all participants).

FFplus is on LinkedIn and X.

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