Tag Archives: technology

€2 million for Big data Technologies Horizon Prize

The European Commission launch the Big Data Technologies Horizon Prize for optimising the use of energy grids through a more precise forecasting system.

A total sum of €2 million will be awarded to the winning data analytics solutions that devise an energy grid traffic forecasting system that is accurate, fast and scalable.The three top ranked contestants will have to develop software solutions that will be designed to analyse extremely large collections of datasets, from time recordings of weather conditions to operation of energy grid management. More information on the big data prize is available here. What the Commission is doing to facilitate cross-border access to non-personal data is outlined in this press release. Another emerging technology prize was launched last week, when the Commission announced the €5 million European Innovation Council (EIC) Horizon Prize on Blockchains for Social Good.It will award 5 prizes of €1 million to social innovations using Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), including blockchain based solutions. The prize is the third of six EIC Horizon Prizes. Both prizes are funded under Horizon 2020, the EU’s research and innovation programme.

Is EU Regulation Ready for Fintech?


Serge Turbin, OPINION

Fintech is a booming sector at the intersection of financial services and technology. Increasingly, fintech startups and technology companies are entering the marketplace traditionally reserved for large financial institutions and intermediaries, such as banks and insurance companies. From TransferWise to Funding Circle, fintech firms are disrupting the status quo, by offering new products and services powered by digital technology. Fintech solutions are also widely impacting productivity, efficiency and innovation in other sectors and parts of society.

There is a huge potential for technological innovation, but it is exactly the financial sector that remains most heavily regulated by definition. Quite often, the policy solutions developed for the industrial reality of the 20th century come clashing with the present-day developments of the digital age. Fintech faces a complex regulatory environment that was designed for older business models and is slow to adopt change and embrace such developments and technologies as blockchain, algorithms and artificial intelligence, data analytics and the like.

Many countries launched policy initiatives to address the challenges and leverage the opportunities offered by fintech. The United Kingdom, an incontestable fintech leader in Europe, has developed a consistent approach to support the development of fintech. The Financial Conduct Authority engages constructively with innovative businesses, and seeks to remove unnecessary barriers to innovation. The Innovation Hub helps innovative businesses gain access to fast, frank feedback on the regulatory implications of their concepts, plans, and choices, so that new and established businesses are able to introduce innovative financial products and services to the market. Advice Unit provides regulatory feedback to firms developing automated models to deliver lower cost advice to consumers. And the regulatory sandbox is a programme allowing fintech firms test their innovative products, services, business models and delivery mechanisms in a controlled environment. With a view on the Brexit prospects, the French regulator, Autorité des Marchés Financiers, is pursuing its commitment to making the Paris financial market more appealing by launching AGILITY, a programme devoted to guiding financial firms through the French authorisation process. It will provide a range of services, notably helping financial firms authorised in the UK set up in France.

The European Commission realises the need to develop a pan-European regulatory response and a common approach to fintech. On 14 November 2016, it launched a Task Force on Financial Technology that aims to assess and make the most of innovation in this area, while also developing strategies to address the potential challenges that fintech poses. This internal task force brings together the expertise of Commission staff across several areas, such as: financial and digital services, digital innovation and security, competition and consumer protection. Fintech gained prominence in the mid-term review of the Capital Markets Union – the Juncker Commission’s flagship initiative of reducing fragmentation in financial markets, diversifying financing sources, strengthening cross-border capital flows and improving access to finance for businesses, particularly small- and medium-sized enterprises. The findings of the Task Force on Financial Technology will be presented at a high-level conference “#FinTechEU: Is EU Regulation Fit for New Financial Technologies?” on 23 March 2017. European Commission Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis, overseeing the dossier, has signalled that the executive is cautious about overregulating the nascent sector. Rather than preparing a wide-ranging policy package on fintech, the European Commission will adopt a watchful policy response, sharing best national practices and introducing minor amendments in the existing laws.

Illustration: Marinus van Reymerswaele, The Money-changer and his Wife, 1540,


Vienna Motor Symposium 2015: Power eDrive for future driving pleasure


Klaus Fröhlich, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG Development, presents an innovative configuration of two electric drives and a combustion engine. Following the successful market launch of BMW eDrive technology in the first models of the BMW i brand, the BMW Group’s future focus is also on in-house development of electric drives that combine high levels of efficiency with brand-typical driving fun.

As part of his address at the 36th International Vienna Motor Symposium, Klaus Fröhlich, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Development, presented the concept of a forward-looking plug-in hybrid drive. In addition to offering an all-round electric driving experience and even further enhanced dynamics at higher speeds, it also promises the long-distance driving capability familiar from conventionally powered vehicles – and for larger cars as well.

A demonstrator model featuring Power eDrive technology has already been built to glean insights into potential deployment in future vehicle architectures for the medium and larger vehicle segments.
“In the future there will be a variety of drive systems for different requirements,” said Fröhlich. The positive response to the BMW i3, he pointed out, showed that a pure battery-electric drive in small to mid-sized vehicles already represents an attractive solution today for urban mobility based on typical daily driving distances even beyond 100 kilometres (62 miles).

Driving requirements that exceed this in terms of dynamics and long-distance suitability, on the other hand, are best served by innovative plug-in hybrid drives. In this area, Power eDrive technology – in the wake of the successful introduction of BMW eDrive in the BMW i8 and the BMW X5 – represents the next stage of development, announced Fröhlich.
With Power eDrive, the strengths of the plug-in hybrid drive will be rigorously developed going forward. A total range of some 600 kilometres (some 370 miles) guarantees a long-distance capability that is also adequate for large vehicles. In statistical terms, some 80 per cent of the average annual mileage of a typical commuter could be covered in all-electric mode.

Power eDrive technology, moreover, comes with the kind of sporting potential traditionally associated with a BMW. With an electric drive on both front and rear axles, electric driving fun becomes a palpable experience. But the dynamic potential of this drive concept really comes into its own when accelerating from standstill and during mid-range acceleration on the open road. At higher speeds the combustion engine can also be called on as a supplementary drive source. Thus, as well as providing dynamics as required, Power eDrive also guarantees a significant boost in efficiency during everyday operation.

“Highly dynamic responses are a key attribute, which in the higher speed ranges become continuous thrust,” explained Fröhlich. “Power eDrive combines electric driving fun with the long range of a combustion engine.” With this innovative form of high electrification and the ongoing development of purely electric drive, he added, the BMW Group would in future be able to offer the ideal electric driving experience for each vehicle segment. This flexible concept opens the door to further enhancement of both efficiency and hallmark BMW driving pleasure, while at the same time meeting the demands of the most diverse markets and target groups.



Turkey was holding the EUREKA Program chairmanship since July of last year. Recently, the chaimanship was handed over to Norway.  

Eureka - Copy

“EUREKA is a critical platform which supports international strategic partnerships formed by businesses, research centres and universities carrying out market-oriented research projects,” EUREKA Chairman Okan KARA stated. “Turkey was one of the founding members of EUREKA in 1985.  Though not actively taking part in the program until 2006, Turkey has been drawing a lot of attention in recent years with both increase in number of involved projects and critical technologies developed by Turkish companies through the programme,” Okan KARA added.


Throughout the Turkish EUREKA Chairmanship, Turkey moved up to 4th place from 11th among 42 countries

“Every company should think to benefit from the global cooperation and collaboration opportunities in which one of the opportunities is EUREKA Programme whose main agenda is to enhance the global cooperation in the scope of high technology product and processes” Okan Kara, former EUREKA Chairman, stated. “Turkey undertook the EUREKA Chairmanship; it is aimed to become very active towards the number of projects and ranked in top 10 EUREKA countries. As today with a great success, Turkey became the 4th country with respect to project number among the EUREKA Member countries. Turkey was ranked as 28th country in 2007, 11th country in 2012. Turkey is ranked in the 4th place after Germany, France and Spain with 48 projects. Hence Turkey is considered to be the “Shining Star” of the EUREKA Programme,” he continued. “In the period 2010-2012, 120 Turkish company took part in 42 projects with a total budget 50 Million Euros and more than half of these companies are SMEs which followed by large enterprises and universities. The rising technology area in Turkey is information and communication technologies which is followed by environment and biotechnology,” he added.


Creating tenfold value-added

“TUBITAK is responsible for the coordination of EUREKA Programme in Turkey and TUBITAK aims to increase the number of Turkish companies participated in the programme through organizing international brokerage events, information days and supporting Turkish companies for the development of project proposals” former Head of EUREKA Executive Group, Okan KARA stated. Okan KARA draws attention to the importance of the programme with an analysis showing that 1 million Euros public funding to a EUREKA Project creates 10 million Euros value-added. “Besides, this programme provides crucial technology transfer and international cooperation opportunities to the companies intending to run in the high-tech race,” he said.


Turkey has determined the R&D agenda of EUREKA Programme“During the EUREKA Chairmanship period, Turkish Chairmanship determined the R&D agenda of EUREKA Programme and developed strategies to adopt the programme for the future challenges” Okan KARA emphasized. “We endeavoured in order to turn the chairmanship into an opportunity for Turkish industry and SMEs through organizing so many international events in the scope of annual work programme. By this means, member states were aware of the R&D capabilities and potential of Turkish companies as well as increasing awareness of Turkish companies about the programme,” he added.

What is EUREKA ?EUREKA is a Europe-wide, bottom-up initiative which was established to enhance Europe’s competitiveness by supporting businesses, research centres and universities which carry out pan-European, close-to-market research projects. EUREKA offers flexible and decentralized support for innovative and close to market research and development projects by facilitating access to national public and private funding schemes. Over the 27 years since the foundation of EUREKA in 1985, more than 4000 projects and nearly 30 million Euro R&D volumes have been created. Also participation of SMEs has significantly increased and has risen to 50% level of total participation. Many important Turkish companies including Turkcell Technology, Turk Telekom and TUPRAS are board members of clusters focused on specific technology areas.