These projects will help mobilise the necessary resources around key ICT research challenges and objectives. They notably feature a set of Public Private Partnerships: the 'Future Internet' Partnership focuses on the development of open network and service platforms; the three Partnerships 'ICT for Energy Efficient Buildings', 'ICT for the Fully Electric Vehicle' and 'ICT for Factories of the Future' will make sure that ICT play their full part in delivering smart and sustainable growth as set out in the Europe 2020 strategy.
Under the Digital Agenda for Europe the Commission has committed to maintain the pace of yearly increases of the ICT research budget. It has also invited EU Member States to double total annual public spending on ICT research by 2020, to €11 billion per year.
With a budget that supports more than 15000 researchers every year, ICT research projects funded from the EU's Seventh Framework programme (FP7) have an increasingly essential role in reinforcing Europe's underlying innovation capacity, helping industry to conduct ambitious and groundbreaking research which stimulates economic growth.
This funding increase for ICT research is in line with the Digital Agenda for Europe (see IP/10/581, MEMO/10/199 and MEMO/10/200), the EU's flagship policy programme, which calls for doubling investments through strategic public-private partnerships, more extensive use of pre-commercial procurement, and by using structural funds for research and innovation. The increase to €1.2 billion for 2011 is the first significant increase for EU ICT research in more than 10 years.
The Commission is doubling its financing for the Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) of the European Economic Recovery Plan (IP/09/1116). It is also launching a 'Future Internet' Partnership (IP/09/1596) with a budget for 2011-2013 of €300 million to advance Europe’s industrial know-how in Internet technologies and systems and to support the emergence of Future Internet-enhanced applications of public relevance.
This work programme provides major opportunities for innovative SMEs. They are very present notably in areas of high potential growth such as photonics, embedded systems, and ICT for health and ageing. Significant opportunities also exist for large SME involvement in areas focusing on the development of open platforms for digital content and service provision and delivery.
Key underlying principles of the EU's ICT research work programme are to support the competitiveness of industry in Europe, to ensure leveraging by the EU budget of private spending, and to increase synergies between the private and public sectors across Europe. The impact of EU support should extend beyond the ICT sector by fostering collaboration across various sectors and by addressing Europe's societal challenges.
Leveraging private spending is obtained notably by focussing the EU research budgets on risky areas where market failures may impede investment. The total spending on ICT R&D in Europe is around €37 billion per year. Approximately €34 billion of that amount is spent by the private sector on innovative development and only a limited part, probably 10-15%, is spent on high-risk, medium to longer term research. World-wide, the ICT sector spends more than twice as much on R&D ($130 billion) as the automotive sector and more than three times as much as the pharmaceutical sector.
This work programme announces ten calls for proposals (see Annex 1). Project participation is open to all organisations in Europe and beyond. Project consortia must submit a joint proposal which will then be evaluated by independent panels of experts. The quality of the proposals determines whether they will be successful.