The succes of Panda > Interview with PANDA coordinator Alain Bouscayrol

In the framework of a series of interviews on the benefits of taking part in a European project, HDFID (“Hauts-de-France Innovation Development”) Alain Bouscayrol was interviewed: – please note: the interview is in French.

Google Translated the interview:

The benefits of participating in a European project

# 6 contribute to the energy transition

European funding is second to none at national level, both in terms of the amount of aid and the level of risk and ambition it can take into account. Whether you are a researcher or an entrepreneur, getting involved in European projects means working with the leaders of a sector, having a head start in relation to the state of the art and to competitors on innovations to come or gain prospecting time to access new markets. However, the benefits and impacts of European projects are very often unknown and the way (to obtain them), widely understood.

This series of testimonials (episode 1, ep. 2, ep. 3, ep. 4, ep. 5) will shed light on some projects funded by the Horizon 2020 program. The carriers (researchers, entrepreneurs, R&D centers, clusters, etc. etc.) share their feedback with you. The goal ? Allow you to project yourself through concrete examples and why not, open up to European opportunities?

The project

  • Name: PANDA (Powerful Advanced N-level Digital Architecture for models of electrified vehicles and their components)
  • Type: Collaborative research and innovation project
  • Call for projects: H2020-LC-GV-2018: “Virtual product development and production of all types of electrified vehicles and components”
  • Regional partner: Lille Electrical Engineering and Power Electronics Laboratory (L2EP), University of Lille
  • Duration: 2018 – 2021
  • Grants received by partners in HDF: € 3.5 million

The call for proposals H2020-LC-GV-2018: “Virtual product development and production of all types of electrified vehicles and components” launched by the European Commission belongs to the societal challenge “Intelligent, green and integrated transport” whose objective is to achieve a resource-efficient, climate and environmentally friendly, safe and continuous European transport system for the benefit of all citizens, the economy and society.

Context and challenges

In order to limit global warming to 2°C by 2030 and reduce CO2 emissions in the transport sector by 60% (European Union targets), the number of alternative vehicles should be multiplied by 100 (battery electric vehicles , plug-in hybrid or fuel cell) on the roads, that is to say, going from 1 million vehicles in 2016 to 100 million in 2030. However, today, car manufacturers estimate that the time needed to develop an innovative electric vehicle (greater range, shorter charging times, improved comfort, etc.). This relatively long development time is partly due to the fact that today, the simulation tools used (essential for this phase of development) are weakly interconnected with each other and are not efficient enough. There is therefore an important need to unify these digital models to reduce this development time and achieve the sustainable development goals.

To meet these challenges, the PANDA project (Powerful Advanced N-level Digital Architecture for models of electrified vehicles and theirs components) therefore aims to develop an innovative digital model organization for electric vehicle components through the creation of a Efficient and integrated sharing “cloud” (virtual space), simplifying the simulation and testing of new electric vehicle concepts. In this perspective, the project partners notably used and supplemented industrial software (simcenter AMESIM © from Siemens Software).


  • 20% reduction in development and time to market, thanks to modular and flexible models and increased reliability by reusing models.
  • Facilitate the development and testing of new components / subsystems thanks to greater flexibility of connected models. Project results will lead to high-level jobs in European companies.
  • The development of an open interconnection method for organizing models according to standards.
  • The development of virtual installations and tests for the integration of components in future electrified vehicles.

“The birth of the PANDA project: learning by doing”

The PANDA project did not happen overnight! It is the result of several unsuccessful attempts (CROCODILE in 2015 then ELEPHANT in 2017) but very formative, which made it possible to develop the project and respond perfectly to the call for projects of the European Commission. These past experiences were able to teach Alain Bouscayrol the essential role of coordinator as well as the importance of a solidly established consortium. Listen to Professor Alain Bouscayrol’s testimony during the webinar “Persevere in European projects – how to optimize your chances of success?” »(From 27mn).

The benefits of the European project

European influence and momentum for the research unit

“This type of European-scale project allows for international influence. It is easier to have an impact on the construction of electrified vehicles via this European network than to do it locally in France. ” – Alain Bouscayrol

The PANDA project made it possible, first of all, to mobilize an international team of experts on an innovative project and, secondly, to participate in the influence of the L2EP research unit by greatly expanding its network. The dissemination of numerous research works (in particular the EMR formalism “Energetic Macroscopic Representation” already well known on the international level), new research perspectives and increased international visibility have boosted the recognition of the research unit at the international level. global. And this dynamic does not stop there with, for example, the application for other calls for projects facilitated by this experience (a first Marie Curie ITN project was submitted in 2020 but was not retained despite an excellent score of 93 , 5/100, another Marie Curie IF project has since been submitted).

The network around this project is made up on the one hand of the partners of the PANDA project and on the other hand, other European consortia on similar issues: Alain Bouscayrol participates in a network of projects funded under the same call for projects, bringing together all the other European partners in these complementary projects which pursue the same objective*. Moreover, the interdisciplinarity required within the framework of such a project – first experienced as a constraint by Alain Bouscayrol – appears to him today as really enriching.

All this ultimately makes it possible to refine the strategy of the Command team for which Alain Bouscayrol is responsible, and by emulation, that of the L2EP research unit as a whole.

* European H2020RTR conference on road transport research results organized by EGVI (European Green Vehicles Initiative).

New living forces

In addition, the funding made the creation of three jobs within L2EP possible such as: a study engineer (IE), a European project engineer (IPE) allowing the administrative coordination of the project and a post-doctoral fellow. One of the jobs should be made permanent after the project.

“One of the jobs should be made permanent and we hope that the other two are too!” Amandine Lepoutre (European project engineer affiliate) helps me coordinate this project every day. His high quality work demonstrates the value of having this “new” type of Human Resource within the University and, perhaps, of advancing mentalities!” – Alain Bouscayrol

Participation in the fight against global warming

“What is very rewarding and motivating is to be part of something bigger than the project itself: we can say that at our level, we are contributing to the energy transition and to the reduction of gas emissions. greenhouse effect by accelerating the manufacturing process of electric vehicles. All the more so since we work in “open access”: the objective is therefore to set up tools that can be used by as many manufacturers as possible!” – Alain Bouscayrol

The success factors of the PANDA project

“Basically, when you understand the mechanics, it’s not that complicated. The big challenge is to remember nothing and get a lot of work done in a very short time. Many points are very logical, but the coordinator must think of everything and therefore these various support structures are essential for success!” – Alain Bouscayrol

This project was set up with the support of several structures such as:

  • The University of Lille: the research valuation department as well as the Transversal Expertise and Project Setting Service (STEMP)
  • Two consulting firms financed on the one hand thanks to the regional mechanism FRAPPE (regional fund for aid to European project promoters) (AYMING firm) and on the other hand by the MRSEI* tool of the ANR (Assembly of European Scientific Networks or International)
  • Uniresearch in the Netherlands, also partner of the PANDA project
  • The MEDEE Pole (Energy Control of Electrical Drives)
  • The Transport and Legal National Contact Points (NCPs)

These various actors provided their support and shared their experience throughout the setting up of the project (analysis of the call for proposals, assistance in preparing and drafting the application, proofreading, etc.). Their complementary skills and expertise really helped consolidate the project.

* MRSEI also made it possible to finance travel and hold consortium meetings in Lille. This made it possible to create links and to be much more unifying.

A strong consortium that is built over time

Most of PANDA’s partners already knew each other from past experiences (ELEPHANT and CROCODILE) which made things much easier. Alain Bouscayrol got to know the Universitatea Tehnica Cluj-Napoca (PANDA partner) through another European project: the European TWIN “ESPESA” project (2015-2018).

Starting from this “core” of partners, to guarantee the success of PANDA, it appeared necessary to involve more industrial partners, and in particular SMEs. This was not easy because the industrial partners are in great demand. It is necessary to convince them and to secure them!

A very refined positioning

The European Commission does not fund the same project twice. Before setting up the project, it is therefore necessary to learn about European projects already funded under the same call for projects in order to refine its positioning and avoid redundancies. In addition, the European political and strategic contextualization of the project is essential: immersing yourself in European strategic documents (roadmaps, position papers of European associations and platforms, etc.) is a prerequisite! The European Information Days are a great source of information and they allow exchanges with other coordinators of the same call.

An experienced and available coordinator

The success factor is also to define a guideline by consensus and surround yourself with an experienced coordinator, able to take the leadership from the partners, to establish a climate of trust in order to allow the effective progress of the project. Alain Bouscayrol was an expert project evaluator within the framework of the 7th research and innovation program (FP7, predecessor of H2020), which was a fundamental and formative experience, not to mention the previous submissions of CROCODILE projects as partner and ELEPHANT as coordinator.

It is important for the coordinator to focus only on setting up the project for several months without accumulating other professional activities and to consider all aspects of the call, even the most minor ones. In addition, holding weekly meetings is a necessary asset for team cohesion as well as having the support of recognized expertise to motivate partners and coordinate the consortium.

What about the future?

“For our part, it is clear that if these tools pass into the industry, our students will have a lot of opportunities and this is already starting to be the case and eventually we will be asked to do training. We are already thinking about providing training in line with what we are developing. This is an indirect added value for us. ” – Alain Bouscayrol

Working in “open access”, the objective is not to patent but to put in place tools that can be used by as many manufacturers and researchers as possible. The future possibilities of PANDA are therefore very open! At this stage, a local authority and businesses in the area contacted Alain Bouscayrol and they could thus indirectly benefit from the benefits of the project.

One of the future avenues could also be to go towards standardizing what has been developed with higher TRLs, by pooling the results of other projects funded through the same call for projects (for more economic impact).