- May 23, 2006
- Posted by: EARSC
- Category: EARSC News
Over 500 participants, representing industry, the research community and policy makers, converged on Vienna on 4-5 May 2006 for a conference on European Technology Platforms (ETPs). The theme of the event, organised by the Austrian presidency and the European Commission, was ?´Strengthening European competitiveness in the era of globalisation??. On hand were all currently active ETPs, including the Integral Satcom Initiative (ISI).
According to conference organisers, European Technology Platforms offer an effective means of defining research and development priorities, timeframes and action plans on a numbers of strategically important issues where achieving European growth, competitiveness, and sustainability is dependant on major research and technological advances.
?¨ETPs represent the best way forward for Europe,?Æ said EU Research Commissioner Janez Potočnik. ?¨They have now been recognised at the highest political levels as crucial instruments for achieving a more strategic approach to research activities. We believe it is very important that industry has taken a leading role in this process, ensuring a real focus on important market applications.?Æ
Speaking on behalf of the Austrian Presidency of the EU, Martin Bartenstein, Minister of Economics and Labour, said, ?¨The Austrian Presidency has defined jobs and growth as a priority and we believe the ETPs are a powerful approach to achieving the EU??s Lisbon Strategy. There are still some important questions to be answered, about openness and transparency, and about the inclusion of SMEs in the process, but we do believe that the ETPs are flagship initiatives that can lead to a better European future.?Æ
Key role for DG Enterprise
Bartenstein paid tribute to the work of the European Commission. ?¨Vice-President Verheugen has been doing a terrific job,?Æ he said, ?¨along with all of his team at the Commission??s Industry and Enterprise Directorate-General, and we are all looking forward to future collaboration with him and with the other Commission services.?Æ
Michael Losch, Director-General of the Austrian Federal Ministry of Economics and Labour, also thanked the DG Enterprise head, saying, ?¨Mr Verheugen has played a key role as we move towards the Lisbon goals. In particular, he has been a major force within the Competitiveness Council, which recently had its informal meeting not far from here, in Graz.?Æ
The ETP conference, organised by the European Commission and the Austrian Research Promotion Agency, under the aegis of the Austrian Presidency, gathered participants from around Europe and beyond to discuss the theme of European competitiveness. It was the first time all of the existing ETPs were present at a single event. Importantly, this gave members of the different ETPs, representing widely dispersed areas of industrial research, to compare their knowledge and experiences of the ETP process.
Space a critical tool for European competitiveness
ISI was inaugurated in February 2006 and is aimed at bringing European satellite communications together around a common strategic agenda. ISI is addressing broadcasting, broadband, and mobile satellite communications, as well as their convergence and integration within the global telecommunication network infrastructure. Like the other ETPs, ISI has had, as its main goal, the elaboration of a Strategic Research Agenda (SRA), defining priorities for future satcoms research.
?¨Satellite communications is an international endeavour,?Æ said ISI coordinator Giovanni Corazza of the University of Bologna, ?¨and the ISI Technology Platform is a way to bring everyone together who is working on this subject.?Æ
Today, satcoms account for 40% of the total turnover for the space sector. ISI can help to increase important private investment in an already profitable industry. Here, unlike in many industries, there are real prospects for growth, including new jobs for European citizens.
?¨Satcoms can provide real and important services to support global challenges all over the world,?Æ said Corazza. ?¨From ICT integration to broadcasting to disaster relief and space-based navigation services, sitcoms makes a real difference to people from all walks of life and in every European region?Æ;
Setting clear priorities
ISI is expected to become a key guiding force in the planning of research and implementation under public, private, national and EU programmes. It has already published its SRA, which is now available on the ISI website (see link, below). This important document will serve as a major source of input throughout the work programme of the Union??s next Research Framework Programme (FP7).
ISI will also contribute to the harmonisation of the European and International regulatory frameworks for satellite communications, helping in the removal of barriers and promoting the allocation of sufficient spectrum for all satellite communication applications and services.
The conference in Vienna gave many of the newer ETPs a chance to learn from the best, providing ample opportunities to review approaches and practices with more established ETPs.
Speaking at the closing session, Jos?à Manuel Silva Rodr?åguez, Director-General of Research at the European Commission, said, ?¨You are all helping to focus efforts on clear European challenges. Of course, there need not be a single approach for all; each ETP will decide for itself how best to deal with its specific problems in its specific sector, but increasing interaction among you is important. This kind of exchange can help to identify areas of common, cross-platform interest, and with the ETPs playing an increasing role in the development of national, regional and European research and competitiveness strategies, your SRAs will have a big impact on our future plans and on our prosperity.?Æ