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Home  > Emerging Technologies  > News  > European Union National ICT Research Directors Forum, Brussels

European Union National ICT Research Directors Forum, Brussels

 - 11/10/2005

The half-yearly meeting of the National ICT Research Directors Forum was held in Brussels, Belgium on 11 October 2005. This forum hosts Directors-General responsible for the Information and Communication Technologies area in the 27 EU Member States and the external associate countries of the EU Framework Research Programme.

The meeting was opened by the Commissioner for the Information Society and Media, Viviane Reding. Her speech focussed on the need for the EU to increase investment in R&D substantially, and the proportion of this investment in ICT, given that current levels are much lower than in the USA and Japan.

EU ICT research policies and how they relate to the i2010 initiative were discussed, with special mention of the role that can be played by eProcurement, the planned Joint European Technology Initiatives (JTI), in particular in Nanoelectronics (ENIAC), Embedded Systems (ARTEMIS) and Aeronautics(Clean Skies), and by the initiative to coordinate national AAL – Ambient Assisted Living programmes.

Portugal emphasised the following:

  • the success of the new initiatives will greatly depend on the project evaluation, selection and monitoring procedures, which require special attention;
  • SMEs and research centres must be afforded quality opportunities to participate, given that they play a special role in the initial phases of main innovations;
  • the mechanisms introduced in FP6 for managing large projects have resulted (as Portugal said when they were being designed) in a decline in SME participation in the FP, which must be remedied for the future;
  • special care is needed with the legal structures being planned for managing the JTIs and AAL, particularly because, in addition to looking overly cumbersome, they are based on the involvement of large companies and do not bear in mind mechanisms for the involvement of SMEs.

France presented its Competitiveness Campuses and Industrial Innovation Agency, Finland presented its Research and Innovation Strategy, and the President of the ISTAG – IST Advisory Group, J.  Cornu, presented the work planned for the IST – Information Society Technologies Advisory Board.

As regards how these meetings are organised, Portugal commented that there was an impressive wealth of knowledge and tangible experience of ICT research policies held around the table by the National Directors-General and that the meeting format did not make the most of the contributions they might make, given the excessive number of participants or an effective debate and thus the meeting tended to be purely informative. As well as not being particularly beneficial, this format has the disadvantage of putting off Directors-General, who most definitely would consider having someone represent them rather than attending in person as they can obtain this information more efficiently in other ways.

As an alternative way of organising the meetings, Portugal suggested that during the work period participants could be divided into groups that are organised in such a way as to be of an appropriate smaller size for effective debate and to ensure that different realities within the EU are represented in them to discuss a small number of ICT research policy topics. In this way, it should be possible to obtain contributions of strategic interest from Directors-General and ones that would be richer than at a large meeting of everyone together, given that the discussion dynamics in each group would be different and explore different avenues in the discussion, thus enriching the results that can be obtained in the limited time available.

Portugal is represented by the President of The Knowledge Society Agency (UMIC) at the National ICT Research Directors Forum.

Last updated ( 24/08/2011 )