Digital Agenda for Europe
A Europe 2020 Initiative

Mapping ICT professional societies in Europe: A first step to mobilize their community?

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Posted by Wout van Wijk, DG INFSO, Project Officer 'Trust and Security'

For a fruitful implementation of the Digital Agenda for Europe's pillar on Research and Innovation, we are dependent on a strong and unified ICT scientific society. The following study provides the necessary tools to build one. 

The final report of the study: "The Role and Impact of Professional and Scientific Societies in ICT Research, Education and Innovation"(1) is available online.

Summary:

The study examines the current situation and the dynamics of the ICT societies in Europe, and proposes strategies to help overcome ICT society fragmentation, increasingly seen as a major bottleneck to their future development and their impact on research, innovation and policy-making. The study also created and developed an online inventory describing 442 societies throughout Europe to be used as a reference tool.

Europe hosts a large variety of ICT societies covering a wide range of topics, engaging in different activities and operating on different geographical level, either regionally, nationally or internationally. Moreover, societies take various legal forms and types of membership (e.g. individual researchers, other societies or institutions). As a result, European ICT societies are highly fragmented and do not have the same impact as other long-standing international scientific societies on new developments in information and communication technologies.

Recommendations:

  • Setting up a novel, virtual environment for a step-by-step design and development, to allow the ICT societies or individual ICT professionals to meet, to self-govern and to coordinate their research or other ICT related efforts. This requires the consensus and participation of representatives of the 5-6 key EU ICT societies, as identified in the report, represented in an advisory board, to create a co-operative spirit and to remove any competitive fears that can develop in such ventures.
  • Setting up a think-tank in the EU, setting up a high-level intra-science communication board, establishing a strong global presence of the European ICT sector (marketing focus) and actions to develop new EU-wide, knowledge and communication-intensive services for the use of ICT professionals (horizontal view, internal services).
  • Targeted action to transform the online inventory of the ICT scientific and professional societies, developed as part of the study, into a dynamic and self-maintaining resource that has the potential to mobilize the community, leverage the interaction, and secure participation in the specification phase of the two tiers (technology, administration) of the strategy.

(1) SMART 2009/0061