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Stronger together in ICT: Europe to pool private, national and EU research efforts in order to become more competitive

Commission Européenne - IP/06/1589   21/11/2006

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IP/06/1589

Brussels, 21 November 2006

Stronger together in ICT: Europe to pool private, national and EU research efforts in order to become more competitive

For the first time ever, the European Union is changing the method of financing key technological research by launching Joint Technology Initiatives (JTIs). The idea for JTIs came from the European Commission and was supported by EU Heads of State and Government at their recent informal summit in Lahti (Finland). JTIs will pool the resources of private industry, EU and national programmes to pursue ambitious common research objectives. The first JTI to be launched in early 2007 will be ARTEMIS. The ARTEMIS JTI will steer Europe's research in embedded computing systems, which are increasingly essential for many key industrial sectors. This initiative will act as a beacon for further such initiatives to follow. Industrial leaders and national and EU research experts are meeting today in Helsinki to further discuss this new method of European research funding.

"I have said repeatedly that Europe needs to pool resources and increase its research investment in information and communications technologies," said Viviane Reding, EU Commissioner for Information Society and Media. "ARTEMIS is already living proof of how the main stakeholders in Europe can work together, laying the foundations for a prosperous and competitive future. Having shown the way in the key field of embedded systems, other such initiatives must soon follow if Europe is to catch up with competing nations and truly build its information society of growth and jobs."

In the coming years, JTIs are expected to become an important means to boost Europe's innovative capacity. They will allow the most interested industry partners and Member States to align their investment with those of the European Union around common goals and agendas. Under Article 171 of the Treaty, JTIs can be established as independent legal entities that pursue industry-driven research agendas. They can receive and manage funding from any source, including national, and Community funding and they remain open for other partners – public or private – to join in.

As an open and pioneering model for public-private partnership, JTIs are expected to stimulate European research investment and to build critical mass by uniting currently fragmented efforts, while ensuring effective and efficient programme management.

The ARTEMIS initiative will sustain Europe’s world lead in embedded systems. European industry's own research investment in this field is estimated at around €15-20 billion per year. Today nearly 50% of the 100 biggest European companies invest in embedded systems research and most of the top 25 European research spenders rely on embedded systems for their products and services. As the essential building blocks for future applications in all industries, maintaining this lead will be vital to increased productivity and jobs and will also have strong societal benefits.

The budget of the ARTEMIS initiative is expected to be around 3 billion EUR over seven years, of which more than 50% would come from industry and the rest would be financed by the EU Member States and Associated States involved, and by the Commission. It is expected that the proposed mechanism will leverage 7 euros of overall R&D effort for every Euro of Community contribution.

ARTEMIS was established in June 2004 as a European Technology Platform (see IP/04/804 and MEMO/06/331) which to date comprises 17 major European companies, including Philips, Nokia, Thales, Daimler Chrysler and ST Microelectronics. Some 14 European governments have also expressed their willingness to join in the planned ARTEMIS joint technology initiative. This will remain open to all EU Members States and other partners who want to join at later stage. At a meeting in Helsinki today, European industries and other R&D actors active in the field have continued their efforts to set up a formal industry association for participating in the joint initiative, which is expected to be operational in 2008.

Another JTI on nanoelectronics (ENIAC) is also being prepared.

Background:

The digitisation and networking of consumer electronic devices, home appliances, entertainment and the convergence of PCs and communications, is already giving rise to a new breed of intelligent consumer electronic devices. For example, future digital TVs will allow you to access all sorts of content such as digital photos or stored movies as well as the internet or games. Linking up embedded systems provides scope for building “collective intelligence” that in turn can achieve new levels of comfort, safety and productivity in all areas, from the individual to industrial environments.

Joint Technology Initiatives help to achieve critical mass and synergies in research, and help to avoid the duplication and wastage that may otherwise occur though many separate initiatives running in parallel in different Member States and consortia. These initiatives can be established on the basis of Article 171 of the Treaty. This allows the Commission to set up joint undertakings – independent legal entities that can receive funding from any source and are open to all - for the efficient execution of Community R&D programmes.

For further information about the €9 billion to be injected into European ICT research, see IP/06/1590.


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