DG Information Society has published a final version of its 2003 to 2004 work programme for adoption, outlining research priorities for information society technologies (IST) under the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6).

The document explains the vision behind the IST section of FP6, including the goals of the programme and the scope of participation, while providing practical   information such as the strategic objectives of the first two calls for proposals   and the evaluation and selection criteria.

The work programme's key principle is that all initiatives will focus on a   limited set of strategic objectives that, by their   nature, must be addressed at a European level. The main objectives of IST in   FP6 are to ensure European leadership in those   technologies at the heart of the knowledge economy, to bring IST applications   and services to all citizens and to facilitate the   creation of a European research area in IST.

The document identifies the key societal and economic challenges facing IST   in Europe, and the means that will be employed to overcome them. Gaining the   trust and confidence of users, the report explains, will mean ensuring security   and privacy, and   protecting property and individual rights. Strengthening social cohesion will   involve the provision of efficient and easy to use   systems for areas such as health, learning and cultural heritage.

Three technology-specific targets are outlined in the programme: development   of reliable and interoperable mobile, wireless, optical and broadband communication   infrastructures; increased miniaturisation of microelectronic components and   micro-systems in order to reduce costs and power consumption; and development   of user friendly interfaces that can interpret all senses, such a speech, vision   and touch, and can understand multiple languages.

The participation of small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in IST research   initiatives is described as essential, given their   role as promoters of innovation. Under the previous framework programme, one   or more SMEs were involved in more than 70 per cent of projects, and received   around a quarter of the total funding. The new work programme states that the   Commission hopes for a similar or higher level of SME participation, and envisages   that specific actions may need to be taken to ensure that the target is met.

The instruments for participation in the first two calls for proposals are   dealt with in the report, and the Commission indicates that up to two thirds   of the budget for these calls will be channelled towards the new instruments:   integrated projects (IPs)  and networks of excellence (NoEs) . As funding for each NoE could stretch to   several million euro, and several tens of million euro for larger IPs, the Commission   envisages an average of two or three for each strategic objective.

The strategic objectives to be included in the first call for proposals, due   to be published on 17 December by the Commission and on CORDIS, come under three   headings.

Initiatives under the heading of technology components will focus on:
  – pushing the limits of CMOS
  – micro and nano-systems
  Under the heading of integrated systems, projects will cover:
  – broadband for all
  – mobile and wireless systems beyond 3G
  – towards a global dependability and security framework
  – multimodal interfaces
  – semantic-based knowledge systems
  – networked audiovisual systems and home platforms
  – and networked businesses and governments
  The final heading is sectoral applications, and will look at:
  – e-safety of road and air transports
  – e-health
  – technology-enhanced learning and access to cultural heritage

The second call for proposals is scheduled for 17 June 2003, and will use the   same headings as the first.

Technology components:
  – advanced displays
  – optical, opto-electronic, and photonic functional components
  – open development platforms for software and services
  Integrated systems:
  – cognitive systems
  – embedded systems
  – applications and services for the mobile user and worker
  – cross-media content for leisure and entertainment
  – GRID-based systems for solving complex problems
  Sectoral applications:
  – improving risk management
  – e-inclusion

To see the final version of the work programme in English, please consult the   following web address: http://www.ukishelp.co.uk/framework6/07Documentation.php

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