Digital Agenda for Europe
A Europe 2020 Initiative

EU-India workshop on ICT research and innovation

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The Indian Department of Electronics and IT organised a workshop with high level participation from key Indian organisations and European participants on 29 April 2014. Electronics has strong potential for closer cooperation at industrial and research level. STMicroelectronics is a technology leader in a consortium negotiating financial closure with the Government of India for setting up a multi-billion dollar wafer fab, and IMEC is launching complementary research activities in India. Other potentially promising areas could include language technologies, smart cards, cyber-physical systems, High Performance Computing, cloud computing, Internet of Things, software, and digital (incl. 3D) heritage preservation.
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The workshop had been pre-announced by the Indian delegation in the last meeting of the EU-India Joint ICT Working Group (Brussels, 4 September 2013). It was organised by the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY) in close cooperation with the EU Delegation, and held on 29 April 2014 in New Delhi. DeitY Secretary J. Satyanarayana and Acting Ambassador and Head of Delegation of the EU to India Pavel Svitil opened the event. About 60 participants (by invitation only) attended, including high level representatives of leading Indian research organisations focusing on ICT, e.g. from different Indian Institutes of Technology, the Indian Institute of Science, the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), the IT Research Academy or Software Technology Parks of India. European participants came mainly from industry and academic research institutions, as well as support initiatives.

 

The introductory part of the workshop focused on the Indian and European R&I systems and funding mechanisms. Morten Moller, Head of Unit for Programme Coordination at DG Connect, presented Horizon 2020 and its ICT elements (by videoconference) while the Spanish S&T Counsellor illustrated his country's ICT landscape and the Spanish Programme of R&D cooperation with India, and referred to a call for proposals with ICT focus currently under evaluation and to another upcoming call in 2014/15 (other Member States with similar initiatives include Finland, the UK, the Netherlands, Ireland, Germany, and France).

For the rest of the day, the workshop provided many participants with the opportunity to give short - "elevator pitch" style - presentations. European participants introduced examples of European research institutions (CNRS, INRIA), past cooperation projects (FP7 ICT BIC project on trust and security; EU-India Grid and Chain-Reds were mentioned by Indian participants), the European Business and Technology Centre (which will in future also work on ICT), IPR in the context of European research, as well as the support action project EURAXESS Links India.

Several Indian institutions presented relevant ICT work, and expressed interest in cooperation with European institutions. For example, the Society for Applied Microelectronics Engineering/SAMEER in Mumbai (and Chennai, Kolkata) is working on medical electronics for diagnostics (cancer, diabetes, malaria, dengue fever), microwave-based technologies for agro-food products, or environmental monitoring (e.g. a lightning detection system). IIT-Bombay mentioned work on electronics for disease diagnosis or the detection of explosives. C-DAC and IISc highlighted their work and cooperation interest on High Performance Computing, and several participants mentioned cloud computing, language technologies (C-DAC e.g. a semantic search engine), software (FOSS) and digital heritage preservation. IIT-Delhi expressed interest in the EU's Human Brain Project. Interesting to note is that both a representative of DeitY and IIT-Madras mentioned their experience and interest in work on wireless communications standards (3GPP).

Klaus Pendl, EU Counsellor for ICT, summarised the overall cooperation possibilities:

  1. Horizon 2020 - collaborative research and innovation: the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation now covering the full value chain; the possibility of "a la carte participation" by Indian organisations, targeted openings and coordinated calls were described, underlining however the complexity of the task and the need for thorough long-term preparation.
  2. Horizon 2020 - e-Infrastructures: Link between GEANT and TEIN (Asia-Pacific) with Indian National Knowledge Network/NKN as important partner representing an important foundation for scientific cooperation (e.g. India-CERN).
  3. Mobility actions (and related): Horizon 2020 Marie Curie and European Research Council Grants, Erasmus Mundus, EU Delegation Call for Proposals in support of mobility for cluster-to-cluster cooperation.
  4. Joint calls between funding institutions from several EU Member States and India: Interesting flexible model established by the FP7 "New Indigo" project, under which several Indian and EU Member States' funding institutions have defined and implemented joint calls for proposals (continued by the new "Inno Indigo" project).
  5. Individual EU Member State – India cooperation initiatives.
  6. Cluster-to-cluster cooperation (industry/research): e.g. significant cooperation openings around a potential wafer-fab.
  7. Institutional cooperation between research organisations (ex. C-DAC & INRIA).

For more information, please see the Meeting announcement

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