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Europe unveils strategy to become a global leader in high-risk IT research

Posted by benjamin-nicolau en abril 22, 2009

Science beyond fiction: Europe unveils strategy to become a global leader in high-risk IT research

Unlimited computing power, computers mimicking the brain, mind-controlled wheelchairs and friendly robotic companions are part of a new European plan to boost visionary research, unveiled by the European Commission today. With more investment and cooperation in high-risk research on future information technologies, Europe can lead the way in turning bright research ideas into future technologies. The Commission today proposed to boost Europe’s high-risk research into future technologies by doubling research investment at national and EU level in this area by 2015. The Commission will lead by example, increasing the current funding of € 100 million per year by 70% by 2013.

Europe must be inventive and bold – especially in times of crisis. Research seeds innovation which is key for Europe’s long-term global competitiveness. Scientific and revolutionary breakthroughs constitute enormous opportunities and we must bring the best brains together to make the most of them,” said Viviane Reding, Commissioner for Information Society and Media, when launching the first-ever ‘European Future Technologies Conference’ in Prague. “Combining efforts of the 27 EU countries and stepping up cooperation with global partners is essential for Europe to take the lead in future information technologies that can yield radically new solutions for European citizens in domains such as health, climate change, the ageing population, sustainable development or security.”

Europe’s investment in information and communication technologies (ICT) research is lagging behind other regions. Although the EU produces almost one third of the world’s scientific knowledge, research in this sector accounts for only a quarter of its overall research effort 

The Commission today called on Member States to catch up with the US, China and Japan by doubling by 2015 their investment in high-risk research in ICT, by joining research efforts between national and European programmes and by new flagship research initiatives that can drive large and sustained effort of several hundred millions of euro.

For its part, in 2010 the Commission will start increasing per year its spending on research for future information technologies from €100 million to €170 million by 2013. It also aims to launch at least two flagship research initiatives by 2013 that combine efforts across borders and scientific disciplines to achieve research breakthroughs – the development of biocomputers, for example. The Commission’s proposed actions will also help talented young researchers engage in high-risk research and support research intensive high-tech Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) that can turn early research results into new business opportunities.


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