Research Policies for Information and Communication Technologies in Europe

Research Policies for Information and Communication Technologies in Europe

Ulf-Daniel Ehlers
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-847-0.ch039
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Research in information and communication technologies (ICTs) has proven to be a major driver for innovation and growth in many countries around the world and is therefore the focus of policies to strengthen research, collaboration and application of research results. This chapter represents a detailed policy analysis of ICT research policies from the European region. The analysis follows a four step pattern: (1) Introduction: the situation of ICT R&D (Information and communication Technology Research and Development) and in Europe, (2) The main actors and programmes funding ICT R&D, (3) The main actors and projects active in ICT R&D and (4) The main ICT R&D themes.
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Research in information and communication technologies (ICTs) has proven to be a major driver for innovation and growth in many countries around the world and is therefore the focus of policies to strengthen research, collaboration and application of research results. In this chapter, the policies of the European Commission will be analysed in order to highlight mechanisms and field which are seen as important for economic growth and stimulation of prosperity within the European countries. The analysis is based on an extensive document analysis of available policies of the past years.

In its 2005 Spring European Council the European Countries called knowledge and innovation the engines of sustainable growth and stated that it is essential to build a fully inclusive Information Society, based on the widespread use of information and communication technologies (ICT) in public services, small and medium Sized enterprises (SMEs) and households. Following this, the European Commission proposed a strategic framework, i2010: European Information Society 2010, which laid out broad policy orientations. It promotes an open and competitive digital economy and emphasises ICT as a driver of inclusion and quality of life. Drawing on a comprehensive analysis of Information Society challenges and drawing on wide stakeholder consultation on previous initiatives and instruments (European Commission 2003), the European Commission proposed three priorities for Europe’s Information Society and media policies:

  • 1.

    To create a Single European Information Space, which promotes an open and competitive internal market for Information Society and media services. This includes addressing convergence, regulatory framework for electronic communications, roaming, radio spectrum, RFID(Radio frequency identification), mobile TV, audiovisual media services, film/content online, copyright, media pluralism, media literacy, consumer protection, public sector information, electronic payment, electronic signature, security strategy, spam, safer internet.

  • 2.

    To strengthen investment in innovation and research in ICT. Issue areas here include: ICT research in 7th Framework Programme, European Technology Platforms, Joint Technology Initiatives; innovation; take up of ICT by EU citizens, businesses and administrations - ICT Policy Support Programme in the Competitiveness and Innovation Programme, ICT Task Force, eBusiness, standardisation, pre-commercial procurement, eSkills.

  • 3.

    To foster inclusion, better public services and quality of life through the use of ICT. Issue areas addressed under this priority are eInclusion, e-Accessibility, broadband/digital divide, e-Government, eHealth, digital literacy, flagship initiatives: Intelligent Car, Digital Libraries, ageing/Ambient Assisted Living (in preparation), ICT for sustainable growth (in preparation).

It can be noted that one special focus is therefore clearly the research agenda for European research and development in the field of ICT.

This chapter represents a detailed policy analysis of ICT research policies from the European region. The analysis follows a five step pattern:

  • i.

    Introduction: the situation of ICT Research and Development (R&D) in Europe,

  • ii.

    Background of the European situation

  • iii.

    Latest developments

  • iv.

    The main actors and programmes funding ICT R&D

  • v.

    The main actors and projects active in ICT R&D and

  • vi.

    Future Trends and themes.



Six years after the burst of the Internet bubble, the Information Society is on a steady growth path. A decade of investment in ICT is bearing fruit, fuelling innovation in ICT areas and transforming the European Union (EU) into a knowledge-based economy. Since 2005, the ICT sector has become increasingly driven by the expansion in the software market and relatively less by the electronic communication segment. This reflects innovation trends requiring more pervasive software products. Large sales in systems software and eBusiness applications indicate that businesses are adopting new and more mature eBusiness solutions, even if these new investments may still be limited to large companies or early adopters of advanced eBusiness solutions.

Key Terms in this Chapter

ICT Research: The purpose of ICT in education is generally to familiarise students with the use and workings of computers and related social and ethical issues.

E-Learning: E-Learning (or sometimes electronic learning or eLearning) is a term which may be used to encompass all forms of technology-enhanced learning (TEL), or in some cases very specific types of TEL such as online or Web-based learning. That said, the term does not have a universally accepted definition[1] and there are divides in the e-learning industry about whether a technology-enhanced system can be called e-learning if there is no set pedagogy as some argue e-learning is

Europe: Europe (/'j??r?p/) is, by convention, one of the world’s seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally divided from Asia to its east by the water divide of the Ural Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian Sea, the Caucasus Mountains (or the Kuma-Manych Depression), and the Black Sea to the southeast. Europe is bordered by the Arctic Ocean and other bodies of water to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the west, the Mediterranean Sea to the south, and the Black Sea and connected waterways to the southeast. Yet the borders for Europe a concept dating back to classical antiquity—are somewhat arbitrary, as the term continent can refer to a cultural and political distinction or a physiographic one.

Policy: A policy is typically described as a deliberate plan of action to guide decisions and achieve rational outcome(s). However the term may also be used to denote what is actually done, even though it is unplanned.

Cognitive systems: Computer system who adapt to the user interaction.

Components: Parts of a whole.

Inclusion: Inclusion in the context of education is the practice in which students with special educational needs spend most or all of their time with non-disabled students. Implementation of this practice varies; most schools use it only for selected students with mild to moderate special needs, for which is accepted as a best practice.

Pervasive Computing: Ubiquitous computing (ubicomp) is a post-desktop model of human-computer interaction in which information processing has been thoroughly integrated into everyday objects and activities. In the course of ordinary activities someone “using” ubiquitous computing engages many computational devices and systems simultaneously, and may not necessarily even be aware that they are doing so. This model is usually considered an advancement from the desktop paradigm.

Healthcare: Health care (often healthcare in American English) is the treatment and management of illness, and the preservation of health through services offered by the medical, dental, complementary and alternative medicine, pharmaceutical, clinical vimto sciences (in vitro diagnostics), nursing, and allied health professions. Health care embraces all the goods and services designed to promote health, including “preventive, curative and palliative interventions, whether directed to individuals or to populations.”

Digital Libraries: A digital library is a library in which collections are stored in digital formats (as opposed to print

ICT: Has also enabled learning through multiple intelligence as ICT has introduced learning through simulation games; this enables active learning through all senses.

Robotics: Robotics is the engineering science and technology of robots and their design, manufacture, and application. Robotics is related to electronics, mechanics, and software.[1] The word robot was introduced to the public by Czech writer Karel Capek in his play R.U.R. (Rossum’s Universal Robots), published in 1920. The first recorded use of the term was by Isaac Asimov in his 1941 science fiction short-story “Liar!” [2]

Environmental Sustainability: Sustainability in a broad sense, is the capacity to endure. In ecology, the word describes how biological systems remain diverse and productive over time. For humans it is the potential for long-term maintenance of wellbeing, which in turn depends on the wellbeing of the natural world and the responsible use of natural resources.

Mobile Computing: Mobile computing a generic term describing one’s ability to use technology untethered, but often used to refer to access to information or applications from occasionally-connected, portable, networked computing devices.

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