European industry is facing the challenges of changing market conditions and technological progress. Companies have to adapt to individualization of customer demand, shorter delivery times, faster innovation cycles and they also have to reduce resource consumption. In particular, the digitalization of products and value chains will require substantial changes to the way in which production is organised. EU research policy has to support this process by ensuring international cooperation, access to knowledge and a world-leading research landscape. This must be implemented in a fair and efficient way which is accessible to a wide range of industrial companies, in particular SMEs and mid-caps.