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€1.2bn EU fund for technology research announced

The EU is to make €1.2bn available in R&D funding for technology projects and has issued a call for applicants.

The EU is to make €1.2bn available in research and development funding for IT projects across the region, coupled with its largest call for candidates to request funding for projects.

More than 2,000 researchers meet today in Cologne for an 'Information Day' to discuss priorities for the projects, which will focus on areas such as communications, software systems and services, networked media, electronics, photonics and embedded systems.

Applications for funding run until March 8th.

'With our 7th Framework Programme of research now up and running, this represents a real opportunity for European organisations to forge ahead in key ICT sectors of our economy,' said Viviane Reding, EU Commissioner for Information Society and Media. 'It is fitting we meet here in Germany, a strong ICT player that has greatly benefited from being part of EU-funded ICT research.'

Alongside the funding itself, there are other R&D developments taking shape. European Technology Platforms unite private industry and academia to pursue research into strategic areas, while Joint Technology Initiatives bring in member states and the EU too. These ventures will look into nanoelectronics and specialised intelligent computer components dedicated to a specific task that are part of a larger system.

The push is a bid to motivate European industry to invest more heavily in technology research at a time when R&D growth has been stagnating.

In 2005, things were so bad that R&D growth almost stalled altogether leaving Europe far behind the likes of the US and Japan.

In 2002, business financed 55.6 per cent of domestic R&D expenditure in the EU, compared to 63.1 per cent in the US and 73.9 per cent in Japan. The goal of the EU is to have two-thirds of R&D expenditure financed by the private sector in 2010.

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