< Contents ERCIM News No. 60, January 2005

ERCIM assesses the Future of ICT

'Strategy for ICT in Europe' is the title of the report produced by ERCIM on the suggestion of European Commission officials. The report asseses the future of research and development in information and communication technologies (ICT) in Europe and is intended to serve as a basis for consultations on future framework programmes.

Some technologies that rely heavily on connectivity have already been widely adopted: the rapid development of mobile phones and their various features may be the most omnipresent example. But in the next 10 years, ERCIM foresees 'smart dust' that senses where you are and sends information about it to the network of your choice, virtual reality that allows you to hold meetings with co-workers around the globe, GRIDs with self-repairing, self-managing properties that allow the seamless networking of datastores and computers across Europe, and automated programs that check code for flaws and security problems as the code is being written.

This almost overwhelming landscape of opportunities raises the obvious question: how can European investment, both by government and industry, best be targeted so that Europe finds its niche in the information world? Existing abilities and limitations will be critical in deciding where best to put research money, the report states.

We have to consider both our ability to build the systems that are needed to create the good society and products that have the potential of financing the desired society, the ERCIM report says.

Universities are clearly key players in crafting this new landscape - and as such must provide their students with the best possible knowledge and tools. Graduates are critical in reducing the 'time gap' between the creation of new knowledge through research and the infiltration of new knowledge into industry, public administration and society at large. The report also sees the importance of forming research consortia in partnership with industry, where well-financed basic research helps fuel overall business growth.

The report looks at three aspects of future and developing ICT:

  • user- and system-centric components, including connectedness, for architected application systems
  • electronic, storage, computing and communication components to support these user and system centric components
  • system development methods to construct components for user- and system-centric components, and applications for these components.

More information:
The full report is available in pdf from the ERCIM website: