The use of Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs) is used in Horizon Europe programmes as a measurement of the maturity level of particular technologies. This measurement system was introduced in Horizon2020 and provides a common understanding of technology status and addresses the entire innovation chain. By evaluating a technology project against the parameters for each Technology Readiness Level (see below), one can assign a TRL rating to the project based on its stage of progress. There are nine technology readiness levels; TRL 1 being the lowest and TRL 9 the highest.
Figure 1 – TRL system in Horizon Europe
As Figure 1 schematically shows, funding for technologies with lower TRLs is addressed in the Future and Emerging Technologies section of the Horizon Europe and Horizon2020 Work Programme, while funding for technologies with higher TRLs can be found in the ‘Leadership in enabling and industrial technologies’ (LEITs) section. The LEITs are: ICT, nanotechnologies, advanced materials, advanced manufacturing and processing, biotechnology and space. Available funding is typically in the format of Innovation Actions (IA) or Research and Innovation Actions (RIA). Many of the call topics have a defined TRL at which the implementation of the proposal is intended to start, as well as a target TRL.
The TRL system certainly seems to be a useful update and it will be interesting to see what effect it has, if any, upon the decisions concerning technology funding.
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