ERCIM Beyond-the-Horizon Action Coordinates European ICT Research for the Future

by Peter Kunz

The results of the Beyond-the-Horizon action, which identified future ICT research challenges, were highlighted at a meeting with members of the European Parliament on 10 May in Brussels.

Bits, atoms and genes define the scene of future European research into Information and Communication Technology (ICT). Computers, the physical world and living organisms will increasingly merge, leading to entirely new methods of computing and communication. Large-scale interdisciplinary research efforts in this direction will be crucial for Europe’s competitiveness in the long term.

This picture is the driving force behind the Beyond-the-Horizon action. Coordinated jointly by ERCIM and ICS-FORTH, it has identified six key research areas for developing the ICT of tomorrow’s world. The action is funded by IST-FET, the Future and Emerging Technologies activity of the EU Information Society Technologies programme. Several workshops held across Europe during 2005 were followed by extensive consultation using the Internet, thus involving all relevant European research communities in the action.

Beyond-the-Horizon was presented at a meeting with members of the European Parliament on 10 May in Brussels, where researchers and officials from ERCIM and the EU further elucidated the action.

ICT has always profited from cross-fertilization with other scientific disciplines, including mathematics, biology, materials science and psychology. This is reflected in the wide range of problems and challenges to be addressed in the identified research areas. For example:

Figure 1
ERCIM has published a booklet summarising the results of the Beyond-The-Horizon action - a European coordination action to identify ICT-related research trends and strategic areas that require support. The booklet is available for download from the ERCIM web site.

ERCIM has edited a booklet summarizing the results of the six thematic research areas identified by the Beyond-The-Horizon action.

These are:

Three additional research areas were brought in by IST-FET and are included in the report:

‘IST Results’, an online news service provided by the European Commission, has recently published a feature article on the Beyond-the-Horizon action citing Dimitris Plexousakis, scientific coordinator of the action from ICS-FORTH: "ICTs provide the glue that binds together multiple themes in European research. The time to address this multiplicity of themes and their inter-relationships is now."


Booklet presenting the results of the Beyond-The-Horizon action:

The full report is availble at the B-T-H project web site

Please contact:
Dimitris Plexousakis, ICS- FORTH
Tel: +30 2810 391637