In early 2009 the European Commission launched three public-private partnerships (PPPs) as part of its European Economic Recovery Plan (adopted in November 2008) to tackle the economic downturn that badly affected industry in Europe. These PPPs are designed to fund research and innovation in the manufacturing, construction and automotive sectors to boost competitiveness and increase employment. Progress over the past four years has shown that the scheme is having a positive effect in manufacturing, in the automotive industry and is starting to boost energy efficiency in construction.
Manufacturing plays a vital role in Europe. Some 230,000 enterprises, mostly SMEs, directly provided more than 30 million jobs – some 20 % of EU employment and with twice that number in related services. Therefore the Factories of the Future PPP aims to support the development of enabling technologies to foster greater innovation in Europe’s manufacturing industry while securing its competitiveness and sustainability.