Just back from a trip to Vilnius. A beautiful city: not just the capital of Lithuania, the current Presidency of the Council of the EU, it is also this year the site of ICT 2013 – a place to get together and talk about what matters in the latest digital research and innovation. A gathering of thousands of Europe's top talent in that field, from scientists to entrepreneurs, it's the largest event of its kind in Europe.
So a varied mix of people from across Europe, and a correspondingly varied mix of things to do. Just a few highlights from my visit:
- Seeing some of the great ideas for projects that could be funded under the EU's ICT research and innovation programme – Horizon 2020. From an Internet of Things that supports European business; to collaborations between digital experts and artists.
- Seeing some cool visions of the future – like what the world might look like with many of our citizens aged over a hundred, or where billions of devices are connected. Thought-provoking stuff. And you can take part.
- Rewarding some very talented women, girls and organisations working hard to improve the situation of women in ICT – really inspirational to see such hard work, and such confident young women.
- Making big announcements about big data - an essential fuel for innovation, but where a lack of European capability means we must rely on tools from abroad – with well-known consequences.
- And launching the Lithuanian digital coalition. Plugging the digital skills gap of nearly one million jobs is something we've been working on for some time at EU level, essential to boost competitiveness and support employment. But much of the activity needed to fix this takes place at national or grassroots level: so I'm delighted many countries have launched their own "national" or regional initiatives within the EU framework.
To those of you who were there – thank you for coming and please take a few minutes to give us your feedback. For those who couldn't be there - check out some more highlights here (or the event website).