INESC TEC has a vast experience and a significant impact in the Manufacturing domain. In addition to the commitment to this type of work, INESC TEC acknowledges the importance of the sector for the economic, social and environmental sustainability, at national and European level.
In 2017, manufacturing accounted for 83% of European exports, with a surplus of 233 billion euros, contributing significantly to a positive trade balance, more than balancing the weight of oil products – which is particularly relevant in the present context. Moreover, and considering that manufacturing is a complex ecosystem steering many complementary high added value services , it is recognised that each direct job in industry contributes to the creation of two jobs in services – which, in 2017, justified that 42,6% employment in Europe were jobs related to manufacturing (the direct employment in manufacturing accounted for 14.2%, please check ManuFUTURE Vison 2030).
However, the latest statistics show that Europe has lost this leading position, with the share of the gross value added of the European Union industry (EU-27) falling from 20.8% in 2000 to 14.3% in 2020, and the gross value added for medium and high-tech products falling from 23.3% in 2000 to 18.4% in 2020. During this period, China clearly exceeded the market share of Europe and the United States, even in medium and high-tech products (please check ERT European Competitiveness and Industry – Benchmarking Report 2022).
The fourth industrial revolution, led by Europe and supported by programmes such as the National Initiative for Industry 4.0, aimed to strengthen Europe’s role in providing advanced technology for manufacturing, as well as in terms of leadership in its adoption.
More recently, the European Union has defined an industrial policy that includes a considerable focus on the green and digital transition (Twin Transition), towards strengthening the competitiveness of European companies and ensuring that environmental objectives are met, including a carbon neutrality by 2050.
INESC TEC aspires to a relevant contribution to these objectives, within the scope of several of the recently approved 20 Agendas for Business Innovation from the Recovery and Resilience Plan (PRR), but also within the scope of the European Digital Innovation Hub coordinated by INESC TEC (ATTRACT – Digital Innovation Hub for ArTificial InTelligence and High-PeRformAnce CompuTing), the SoTecInFactory (Social And Technological Innovation Factory For Low-Carbon And Circular Industrial Value Chains) European project that the Institute coordinates, or the European projects in which INESC TEC participates: CircThread (Building the Digital Thread for Circular Economy Product, Resource & Service Management) and Waste2BioComp (Converting organic waste into sustainable bio-based components). Also relevant will be the permanent updating of the scientific and technological infrastructures, with emphasis on iiLAB (Industry and Innovation Laboratory) and the active participation in national and European initiatives like EFFRA (European Factories of the Future Research Association), the European Technology platform ManuFUTURE, the Vanguard initiative and EIT Manufacturing.
Luís Carneiro, Member of the Executive Board