Brussels, 28th September 2010
Digital Agenda: European Commission announces €780 million boost for strategic ICT research
The European Commission has today announced one of the biggest calls ever for information and communications technology (ICT) research proposals under the EU's research framework programmes. The announcement was made at Europe's largest event for ICT research and innovation, ICT 2010-Digitally Driven. It will result in project funding of € 780 million in 2011. This funding will advance research on the future internet, robotics, smart and embedded systems, photonics, ICT for energy efficiency, health and well-being in an ageing society, and more. Under the Digital Agenda for Europe (see IP/10/581, MEMO/10/199 and MEMO/10/200), the Commission has committed to maintaining the pace of a 20% yearly increase of the annual ICT R&D budget at least until 2013.
Commission Vice-President for the Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes said: "Increasing overall investment into ICT research is crucial for our future. The EU's support to our world-class researchers announced today must be accompanied by substantial additional investments by the beneficiaries themselves. This research will help Europe's industry to strengthen its competitiveness."
The €780 million call for proposals (ICT Call 7) is part of the biggest ever annual Work Programme under the EU's 7th Framework Programme for Research. Almost €1.2 billion has been budgeted for 2011. €220 million were made available already in July 2010 for public private partnerships focusing on ICT for smart cars, green buildings, sustainable factories and the future internet (see IP/10/966, MEMO/10/339, Newsroom).
In this call, €120 million will be available to fund research and technological developments in networking, digital media and service infrastructure for the future internet. This is crucial if Europe is to stay ahead of the challenges that its increasingly digital society will face in the next decade. Nearly €100 million have already been earmarked for the 'Future Internet' Partnership (IP/09/1596) to take advantage of the increasing demand for innovative internet applications that make infrastructures like health systems, energy grids or traffic management systems 'smarter'.
To strengthen Europe's position as a leading supplier of electronic systems and photonic components, more than €200 million are available for research in this field. This supports the competitiveness of the automotive, telecoms, industrial automation, lighting technologies and medical industrial strongholds in Europe. Their success depends on integrating innovative components and systems into products and services across all sectors. Advances in laser technology for instance are crucial to boost growth in optical communications and getting ultra fast internet connections to all Europeans.
This latest call also foresees close to €200 million for research in ICT for health and ageing. The European population aged 60 plus is increasing by about 2 million every year. ICTs are essential to creating sustainable solutions and to maximising market opportunities that help reduce related social and health care costs.
In addition, €135 million are available for ICT research that improves energy efficiency in buildings, in transport and logistics. This complements the €220 million made available in July 2010 for public private partnerships for an economy based on low carbon cars, buildings and factories (see above).
Universities, research centres, SMEs, large companies and other organisations in Europe and beyond are eligible to apply for project funding under ICT Call 7. Proposals can be submitted until 18 January 2011, after which they will be evaluated by independent panels of experts for selection on the basis of their quality.
ICT 2010-Digitally Driven gathers researchers, business people, investors and policy makers in the field of ICT and digital innovation in Brussels Expo from 27 to 29 September. The major themes of the conference are research for sustainable growth in a low-carbon economy, ICTs' constructive impact on everyday life and the importance of public funding and support in ICT research and innovation. In addition, more than 100 exhibits of the latest digital advances funded by the EU will be showcased. The event is organised every two years by the European Commission and this year is hosted by the Belgian Presidency of the EU's Council of Ministers.
FP7, the EU's Seventh Framework Programme runs from 2007 until 2013, with more than €9 billion allocated to ICT research and development. The yearly funding increase for ICT research is in line with the Digital Agenda for Europe, the EU's flagship policy programme, which calls for doubling of annual public spending on ICT R&D by 2020 and to leverage an equivalent increase in private spending to achieve the goals of Europe's 2020 strategy for jobs and growth.
EU-funded ICT research projects support more than 15000 researchers every year, stimulate Europe's capacity to innovate and the industry's economic growth. It also provides major opportunities for innovative SMEs who are very present in these strategic areas for growth.
Read more about the call for proposals: