VEDLIoT Open – Details
VEDLIoT is an EU H2020 ICT-56-2020 funded research project running for 36 months, driven by challenging use cases in key use case sectors like automotive, automation, and smart home. The VEDLIoT-Open call for cascaded funding is foreseen to explore new opportunities by extending the application of the VEDLIoT platform to a more extensive set of new and relevant use cases. It is expected that open call projects leverage VEDLIoT technologies for their own AI-related IoT use case, thereby broaden the VEDLIoT use-case basis and help making the overall concept more robust.
The ever increasing performance of computer systems in general and IoT systems, in particular, delivers the capability to solve increasingly challenging problems, pushing automation to improve the quality of our life. This triggers the need for a next-generation IoT architecture, satisfying the demand for key sectors like transportation (e.g. self-driving cars), industry (e.g. robotisation or predictive maintenance), and our homes (e.g. assisted living). Such applications require building systems of enormous complexity, so that traditional approaches start to fail. The amount of data collected and processed is huge, the computational power required is very high, and the algorithms are highly complex, making it difficult to compute the required solutions within the tight time constraints. In addition, security, privacy, or robustness for such systems becomes a critical challenge.
An enabler that aims at delivering the required keystone is VEDLIoT, a Very Efficient Deep Learning IoT platform. Instead of traditional algorithms, artificial intelligence (AI) and deep learning (DL) are used to handle the large complexity. Due to the distributed approach, VEDLIoT allows dividing the application into smaller and more efficient components and work together in large collaborative systems in the Internet of Things (IoT), enabling AI-based algorithms that are distributed over IoT devices from edge to cloud.
In terms of hardware, VEDLIoT offers a platform, the cognitive IoT platform, leveraging European technology, which can be easily configured to be placed at any level of the compute continuum starting from the sensor nodes and then edge to cloud. Driven by use cases in the key sectors of automotive, industrial, and smart home, the platform is supported by cross-cutting aspects satisfying security and robustness. Overall, VEDLIoT offers a framework for the next generation internet based on IoT devices required for collaboratively solving complex DL applications across a distributed system.
Twelve partners from four European countries – Germany, Poland, Portugal, and Sweden – as well as Switzerland, an EU association state, are working together on the project with Bielefeld University as Coordinator.
VEDLIoT platform and toolchain
VEDLIoT aims to provide a modular, scalable hardware platform for the next generation of AIoT devices (Artificial Intelligence of Things), covering the full spectrum from the cloud via near edge to far edge or embedded applications. Based on a modular approach, the platform provides a flexible and scalable architecture that supports the full spectrum of heterogeneous processing technology and supports regular CPU technology based on x86, ARM, RISC-V, and specialised accelerator ASICs.
The VEDLIoT toolchain addresses the task of interfacing AI software to hardware in a comprehensive fashion leveraging and building on existing open-source components.
Using VEDLIoT’s security mechanisms like the Secure IoT Gateway, an easy to configure network security and VPN solution, and further CPUs built-in security features can significantly enhance applications’ security trustworthiness and safety.
VEDLIoT is driven by challenging project use cases in the key automotive, industry, and smart home sectors. In addition, the projects selected in the open call will explore additional, new opportunities by extending the application of the VEDLIoT infrastructure – VEDLIoT toolchain, security mechanisms and the cognitive IoT hardware platform – to a larger set of relevant and new use cases.
Projects will be supported by technical VEDLIoT mentors, who will help to extend the application of the VEDLIoT platform to a more extensive set of new and relevant use cases.
Applicability and eligibility criteria
Applicants for VEDLIoT-Open can be small consortiums or single participants of any size or type (legal persons, e.g., Universities, Research Institutes, SMEs, startups, or bigger companies). The organisations shall bring use-cases that involve AIoT, Edge or related technologies, covering application areas such as wearables, transportation, agriculture, smart homes, health, energy and manufacturing.
Legal persons must have a registered office in one of the eligible countries. Financial support will be provided to legal entities with a permanent Participant Identification Code (can be a provisional one at the moment of proposal submission).
Eligible countries are:
- The Member States of the European Union.
- Associated Countries according to the H2020 rules
Operational eligibility criteria for proposals will also be:
- Proposals must clarify how they will use the VEDLIoT hardware, toolchain and platform.
Administrative (and other) criteria are as follows:
- Proposals must be written in English in all their parts in order to be eligible.
- The applicants must base their proposals on original work. Going forward, any foreseen developments should be free from third party rights, or they are clearly stated in a specific section (Previous IP background – see Section 7 of the Proposal Template).
- Applicants are not allowed to submit multiple applications. Only the first submitted application will be considered if that is the case. However, submitting refined versions of one application is permitted and encouraged.
- No entity with an economic interest, family or emotional ties or any other shared interest (‘conflict of interest’) towards VEDLIoT consortium partners will be accepted as candidates for funding.
- All cases of conflict of interest will be assessed case-by-case, based on pertinent EU stipulations.
- Incomplete proposals will not be evaluated.
Applicants may consider an indicative budget of up to 120,000 € for their proposals. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts. This budget includes 25% indirect costs, at a funding/reimbursement rate of 70%.
- Indicative budget for each proposal: up to 120,000 € (Total costs)
- 25% overhead / indirect costs for all direct costs except subcontracting
- 70% funding / reimbursement rate
In VEDLIoT-Open, eligible costs are personal expenses (staff, travel) and other direct costs (e.g. consumables, hardware costs) needed to implement the project proposal. Subcontracting can be foreseen as well. However, overhead does not apply to subcontracting. If possible, a brief explanation of the costs (e.g. payment group of staff, estimated costs for hardware and travel, etc.) should be given. Durable equipment is not foreseen to be included in the funding.
Selected parties will be funded 70% of their total cost (direct and indirect costs). They may receive a pre-financing of up to 40% of their respective total funding amount. Final payment will be made at the end of the project after successfully completing the activity and delivering the final report. A proposal may define additional payments during the project by including payment milestones coupled with additional deliverables.
The selected projects will be supported by one of the partners of the VEDLIoT consortium. The call and the selection of the third parties to be funded will follow the same principles which govern the Commission calls as described in the “Good practices and templates for organising open calls under the H2020 Financial Support to Third Parties scheme”, namely:
- The proposal(s) selected for funding must demonstrate a high quality in the context of the topics and criteria set out in the call;
- Funding decisions must be based on clearly described rules and procedures, and all applicants should receive adequate feedback on the outcome of the evaluation of their proposals;
- Fairness and impartiality. All proposals submitted to a call are treated equally. They are evaluated impartially on their merits, irrespective of their origin or the identity of the applicants.
- All proposals and related data, knowledge and documents are treated in confidence;
- Efficiency and speed. Evaluation of proposals and award of the financial support should be as rapid as possible, commensurate with maintaining the quality of the evaluation, and respecting the legal framework.
Proposal preparation and submission
Proposal template and instructions
Applicants must prepare a written proposal with a maximum of up to 15 evaluable pages (cover and last pages excluded) following the template available. Evaluators will be instructed to disregard any excess pages above the 15-page limit. The page limit should not be considered as an indicator for a minimum page count. Please keep the proposal concise and short, e.g., submitting a complete proposal with just 10 pages is totally ok. The minimum allowed font size is 10, and the font to be used is Arial. The format provided in the template must be respected, including same page margins (25 mm for left/right/top, 20 mm for bottom). A MS Word template is provided. Other software (Libre Office, Latex, etc.) may be used as well, as long as the template is respected. The final proposal shall be submitted in PDF format.
Proposals shall be submitted to email@example.com, you will receive an automatic mail indicating your proposal has been received. If you want to submit a refined version of the proposal, simply respond to this mail to submit the updated proposal. For any questions during proposal preparation, please use firstname.lastname@example.org.
The content should cover (at least, but not limited to) the following information:
- Details for each partner of the proposed consortium
- Abstract of the project
- Main idea of the proposed project and how it is related to the VEDLIoT hardware, platform, framework or use cases.
- Innovation and excellence (how the project goes beyond already existing solutions and the state of the art)
- The technology underlying the project and how it will work interacting with VEDLIoT.
- Observable and tangible results (i.e. application, GUI, software, hardware, protocol, methodology).
- Brief deciption of Impact and sustainability, how the results are used after the project (i.e., products, services, further research, contribution to open-source projects).
- Background of the solution (where it comes from, hardware/software/frameworks it builds atop, etc.).
Relevance to VEDLIoT
- Describe which VEDLIoT technologies (e.g., hardware, accelerators, toolchains) are planned to be used and integrated by the proposed project.
- Describe if and how the application will extend or enhance the VEDLIoT toolchain and cognitive IoT hardware platform
- Describe if and how the solution will contribute to a larger set of relevant use cases.
Impact and sustainability
- Decribe the expected short-term impact of the proposed project (i.e. during runtime of the VEDLIoT project).
- Decribe the planned exploitation of the proposed project during and after the project runtime (i.e., products, services, further research, contribution to open-source projects).
- Decribe the mid- and long-term indicators that could be monitored to measure the impact of your proposed project. Attempt to quantify such estimated impact.
- List dissemination activities that you foresee (e.g. scientific publications, attendance at conferences or exhibitions)?
- Gantt chart of the project
- Detailed explanation of the work plan (divided into tasks)
- Describe the necessary means to realise the idea (data, equipment, connectivity, access to infrastructure, systems, etc.).
- Describe the intended/required support from VEDLIoT (e.g., hardware, accelerator, toolchains, mentoring).
- Indicate milestones and deliverables. The proposed project should produce at least one deliverable at the end of the project (Final project report). You can add additional milestones and deliverables as required by the proposed project. If you plan to request an interim payment (i.e. after project half-time), please indicate a payment milestone coupled with a deliverable.
- List the relevant members of your team, their relevant skills and experience.
- Indicate the structure of the team and the roles and responsibilities that each member will be taking.
- Experience of the organisations (relevant previous projects, services, contracts, etc.).
Other relevant aspects
- Mention any existing IPR background.
- In case you apply as multiple partners, briefly mention the planned consortium agreement.
- Which (if any) data do you intend to gather or produce? How much of this will be openly available?
- Do you rely on personal data? If so, how will you store and process this data? All Open Call projects will be expected to comply with the General Data Protection Regulation 2016/679 (GDPR).
- Costs for implementation of the project
- Brief explanations regarding the different items
The focus of the open call (OC) in VEDLIoT is the involvement of additional use cases in the project utilising the developed technologies, i.e., the VEDLIoT toolchain and the cognitive IoT hardware platform. Typical open call projects will leverage VEDLIoT technologies for their own AI-related IoT use case, thereby broaden the VEDLIoT use-case basis and making the overall concept more robust.
A thorough sequential filtering process is implemented to select the VEDLIoT-Open proposals, as illustrated below, ensuring that all proposals will be fairly and transparently evaluated and the call is open and competitive. It will be aligned with all formal H2020 requirements and be published (amongst others) on the H2020 Participant Portal.
The evaluation of the VEDLIoT proposals will be done by independent external experts. Two external experts from academia and industry will evaluate each submission, a third evaluator will be added in case of an unbiased outcome. The external experts appointed are independent of the organisations involved in the consortium and from any proposer.
The evaluation process will be composed of four main steps: (1) Eligibility check, (2) External Evaluation, (3) Consensus Meeting and Report, and (4) Selection Committee (SC), which is composed from the VEDLIoT Steering Committee. The final decision on the proposal to be funded will be taken by the SC, based on the result of the evaluation process.
Eligible listed proposals will be evaluated by two independent and confidential evaluators on the following criteria and according to the fitting accuracy to the VEDLIoT topics.
- Adequacy and progress concerning state of the art in AI in the topic area chosen by the proposal.
- Ambition: The applicants have to demonstrate to what extent the proposed approach is beyond the State of the Art and describe the innovative ideas behind it.
- Technical Approach: The applicants should provide information about the level of innovation within their domain and about the degree of differentiation that this component will bring.
- Expected impact of the solution during VEDLIoT project.
- The foreseen degree in which goals stated in the addressed AI challenge will be achieved.
- Direct Impacts (short term impacts for your organisation/consortium).
- Indirect Impacts (longer-term economic, social and/or environmental impacts).
- Resources: The adequacy between objectives and allocated resources (including equipment) is taken into account as well as the overall organisation of the work.
- Team: What is the team members expertise and motivation?
The project activities and impact will be scored by the evaluators. Each evaluator will rank the application assigning a score from 0 to 5 for each criterion and produce an Individual Evaluation Report. These two reports will be combined to the Consensus Report. The final score will be calculated as the average of the individual assessments provided by the evaluators. Then the applications will be finally ranked according to their overall score.
The threshold for individual criteria will be 3. The overall threshold, applying to the sum of the three individual scores, will be 10. All proposals above the threshold will be passed to the consensus meeting.
Joining the Consortium
The selected applicants will sign a combined grant and collaboration agreement with VEDLIoT’s coordinator (Bielefeld University), defining all the necessary aspects of the project and its collaboration with VEDLIoT. The targeted date for grant signature is the first week of July 2022. Projects shall target June 2023 as the latest date for completion of the proposed project. After completion of the project, in addition to the final report, a final project presentation needs to be given to the VEDLIoT project.