NMP-2008-4.0-9 Reducing the risk of injury in complex systems through advanced personal protective equipment
Technical content/scope: Driven by regulatory and performance considerations, a new generation of intelligent personal protective systems is needed to respond to the increasing societal concerns for personal safety and security in industrial (old and new) environments in Europe and beyond.
Projects should address entire system solutions for application areas such as work safety, construction, fire fighting, emergency operations and civil protection and be attuned to holistic industrial strategies of industrial risk minimisation and mitigation. The activities include the integration of state of the art materials, components and ICT solutions and the development of new speciality and high-performance protective materials and components such as technical textiles and smart materials, enhancing product multi-functionality. ICT solutions to be integrated include realtime risk monitoring systems for early detection of hazardous situations, soft computing and augmented reality techniques for training and for decision-supporting systems, data management, communication technologies and micro-electronic components (sensors, actuators). The research includes ergonomic design and usability tests of new products, such as clothing, reassuring operator's safety, comfort and high-level performance/productivity. Manufacturing concepts of the new products including prototyping and customisation should also be adequately addressed.
Practicable normative solutions and support mechanisms in the form of pre-normative research and training are needed in order to avoid delays in translating new developments into generally used innovative products. In this sense the participating industry should define and implement a clear strategy of tackling regulatory and standardisation issues taking into account international cooperation in this area.
Funding scheme: Collaborative projects targeted to SMEs.
Specific features: In order to ensure industrial relevance and impact of the research effort, the active participation of industrial partners represents an added value to the activities and this will be reflected in the evaluation. SME dedicated collaborative projects are specifically designed to encourage SME participation in research and innovation representing the complete value added of the targeted sectors. Research and innovation activities need to be covered by the projects. At least 35% of the requested EC contribution should be allocated to the participating SMEs. Proposals not addressing this requirement will be considered ineligible. To ensure a larger industrial impact, priority will be given to proposals showing that the projects will be led by SMEs with R&D capacities (the coordinator does not need to be an SME but the participating SMEs should have the decision making power in the project management and the output should be for the benefit of the participating SMEs and the targeted SME dominated industrial communities.) The following specific requirements will be reflected in the evaluation: (i) the projects are expected to set up an engineering framework for the new product and process concepts.
The topic has to be considered as a necessary compliment to the previous NMP topic of 2007 for "Integrated risk management in Industrial systems".
Expected impact: The sector of personal protective equipment has an estimated annual turnover of EUR 7 to 8 billion. The strategy of performance driven development should lead to an expected growth of at least 50% in turnover in the sector of personal protective equipment (PPE) alone in real terms in the next 10 years. The development and integration of new technologies for advanced personal protective systems will lead to significant reduction of work-related accidents including emergency and rescue operations. As a result it is expected that occupational diseases and injuries related to working in hazardous environments are to be significantly reduced. It is expected that social losses will decrease; while workers satisfaction and societal welfare will benefit measured in terms of increased productivity and reduced absenteeism. The research should also reinforce European leadership in terms of quality and innovation of personal protective systems and contribute positively to the Lead Market Initiative in the domain6.

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