A brief refresher on Technology Readiness Levels (TRL)

 

EC Projects traditionally focus on the advancement of technical maturity of the topic at hand. This is a natural consequence of FP7 and also H2020 offering calls themed as “Research” (RA), “Innovation” (IA) or “Research and Innovation” (RIA) actions, along at times with “Coordination and Support Action” (CSA). With RA, IA and RIA consuming the largest amount of funds available in either programme, Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) are naturally an important measure of progress for EC funded projects.

However, with H2020 raising the importance of exploitation and market introduction of project outputs, TRL should no longer be the sole means of measuring project progress.

In this context, we consider it important to briefly reiterate concept and context of Technology Readiness Levels. The very existence and inclusion of a definition of Technology Readiness Levels in Annex G of the H2020 programme’s call documentation emphasises the importance of TRLs to the European Commission.

For the purpose of the methodology our definition of Technology Readiness Levels is as follows:

 

Compared to the definition of TRL in the H2020 Annex G, this version puts up a slightly higher barrier on technology maturity in that it emphasises on technology validation closer to the market on TRLs 6 and 7.

The reasoning behind this is two-fold. Firstly, to put more emphasis on and differentiate more between Research (TRL 0 – 3) and Innovation (TRL 4 – 5), and align with the H2020 SME Instrument’s requirement for technology to be at TRL 6 or better. Secondly, to recognise industry’s need of mature technology which is easier and quicker to develop for market entry. This in turn lowers the cost of implementing a go to market strategy.