🇫🇮 6G Flagship Joins Hands with SUNRISE-6G Project in Major EU Funding Boost

Press release from 6G Flagship

October 24, 2023

Sunrise over Europe seen from space, with an overlay of a telecom network.

The Smart Networks and Services Joint Undertaking (SNS JU) announces a €130 million funding allocation to 27 projects under its second call for proposals, with the SUNRISE-6G project, involving the 6G Flagship programme at the University of Oulu, among the notable awardees.

The 6G Flagship programme, operated by the University of Oulu, is a consortium member in the Sustainable Federation of Research Infrastructures for Scaling-up Experimentation in 6G (SUNRISE-6G) project. This project, coordinated by ISI/ATH, was selected under the Smart Networks and Services Joint Undertaking (SNS JU) second call for proposals, with a financial commitment to SUNRISE-6G part of the total €130 million fund dispersed across 27 innovative projects. This association is set to enhance a robust experimental infrastructure throughout Europe, taking a significant step towards the realisation of 6G technology.

The SNS JU, aimed at advancing smart network services and the evolution of 6G technologies, recognises the potential of SUNRISE-6G in federating advanced wireless research platforms into a pan-European research infrastructure. With the official commencement on 1 January 2024, the project adopts a “network of networks” approach for 6G Networks to integrate all private and public infrastructures under a massively scalable internet-like architecture.

SUNRISE-6G aspires to federate 6G test infrastructures in a pan-European facility supporting converged Testing as a Service (TaaS) workflows and tools, along with a unified catalogue of 6G enablers publicly accessible by experimenters and cross-domain vertical application onboarding. This offering is facilitated via a Tenant Web Portal that acts as a single entry point to the facility, serving various stakeholders like experimenters, vertical developers, infrastructure owners, and 6G component manufacturers.

The project is centred around establishing and expanding a Pan-EU experimental infrastructure for 6G, validating end-to-end 6G architectures. The execution is based on four pillars:

  • The Implementation of New 6G Enablers: Introducing fresh technical elements to enhance the functionality and capabilities of 6G networks.
  • A Truly Scalable and 3GPP Compliant Federation Solution: Providing a harmonised network solution that ensures smooth access to a diverse range of resources across Europe, aligning with established telecommunications standards.
  • A Federated AI Plane: Promoting a collaborative approach to AI research which benefits from pooling resources and expertise.
  • A Commonly Adopted Experimentation Plane: Offering a shared platform for experimenters to test and validate new concepts, providing common workflows to facilitate this process.

6G Flagship’s participation in the SUNRISE-6G project signifies a notable contribution towards having an experimental platform for testing and validation of 6G enablers. This partnership is anticipated to enhance understanding of viable beyond 5G and 6G technical enablers for different verticals with diverse KPIs, marking a milestone in Europe’s transition towards a 6G-enabled digital paradigm.

In the words of 6G Flagship’s Vice-Director, Professor Ari Pouttu: “This endeavour not only combines the efforts of three previous  experimental platform projects from SNS JU call 1 but also involves the developments of SLICES-RI, an ESFRI road mapped ICT platform targeted to be operational until 2040’s”

The substantial financial backing by the SNS JU signals a firm endorsement of the project’s capability to drive novel innovations in 6G technology. As the project unfolds, it is envisaged to reveal bottlenecks and their solutions in different verticals, ensuring a robust leap towards realising a digitally interconnected global society.

“This involvement amplifies 6G Flagship’s engagement with players across various verticals and plays a crucial role in promoting a globally accepted 6G standard. The concerted efforts in the SUNRISE-6G project are poised to foster tangible advancements in 6G technology, with positive ramifications for both industry and societal technological advancement”, Professor Pouttu concludes.

About SNS JU

The European Smart Networks and Services JU (SNS JU) is a Joint Undertaking established in 2021 by the European Union Council Regulation No 2021/2085. This EU Partnership is jointly led by the EU Commission and the 6G Smart Networks and Services Industry Association (6G-IA). The mix of public and industry interest makes the Smart Network and Services Joint Undertaking the right platform for collaboration and the right instrument to foster world-class research and innovation on next-generation networks and services. The SNS JU two-pillar approach, in support of 5G deployment and for advanced research of 6G systems, creates a continuity for EU players but also provides tangible financial support to best research, SMEs and industry to strengthen the EU supply chain side. The SNS JU fosters alignment and synergies with Member States on 6G Research and Innovation Programmes and favours international cooperation towards setting a 6G global standard.

The SNS JU aims to contribute to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) towards sustainable, resilient, and climate-neutral network infrastructures and services. The combined EU funding for the first and second call of the SNS JU under the Horizon Europe programme is around EUR 380 million.

For more information about the SNS JU, please visit https://smart-networks.europa.eu.

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Originally published on 24 October.