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CORDIS Fifth Framework Focus

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Proposals for Council Decisions
concerning the specific programmes implementing the
Fifth Framework Programme of the European Community
for research, technological development and demonstration activities (1998-2002)

User-friendly information society


Systems and Services for the Citizen

Objectives and RTD priorities

The aim of this work is to foster the creation of the next generation of user-friendly, dependable, cost-effective and interoperable general-interest services, meeting user demands for flexible access for everybody, from anywhere, at any time. Work includes RTD addressing the whole of the key action, as well as specific RTD in the following fields: health; special needs, including ageing and disability; administrations; environment; and transport. Certain of the ubiquitous issues addressed throughout the whole of this programme will be taken up further in order to pay due consideration to the needs and expectations of the typical users in this key action, in particular the usability and acceptability of new services, including the security and privacy of information and the socio-economic and ethical aspects.

• Health.

Work will cover new generation computerised clinical systems, advanced telemedicine services and health network applications to support health professionals, continuity of care and health service management, and intelligent systems allowing citizens to assume greater participation and responsibility for their own health.

RTD priorities:

professional health care : systems enhancing the ability of health care professionals for prevention, diagnosis, care and rehabilitation, such as intelligent systems for non-invasive diagnosis and therapy, intelligent medical assistants, and advanced medical imaging; advanced telemedicine applications; "virtual hospitals" offering single-point-of-entry services; high-speed secure networks and applications for linking hospitals, laboratories, pharmacies, primary care and social centres for continuity of care; health service workflow management and re-engineering; new generation electronic health records and cards for sophisticated health data objects; personal health systems : systems for personal health monitoring and fixed or portable prevention systems, including advanced sensors, transducers and micro-systems; personal medical advisors for supervision of prevention and treatment; tele-systems and applications for supporting care in all contexts; user-friendly and certified information systems for supporting health education and health awareness for citizens; the work will be complemented by take-up actions including validations and assessments, together with first-user actions and other best-practice initiatives.

• Persons with special needs, including the disabled and the elderly.

Work will address person/system interfaces and adaptive and assistive systems to overcome problems caused by environmental barriers and by physical or intellectual impairments, as well as intelligent systems and services to support autonomous living, social integration and participation in the information society.

RTD priorities:

"design-for-all" products, systems and services , including improved participatory design methods, multi-modal terminals and universal interfaces; adaptive systems : communication tools for persons with special requirements, mobility support devices, both at home or in the wider environment, robotics control systems; multimedia applications for supporting daily living and social integration at home, work, education, transport, leisure, etc., social support and intervention networks, new methods of service delivery; take-up : a key aspect will be validations and demonstrations.

• Administrations.

Work will focus on multimedia systems and services addressing the specific needs of all types of administrations (e.g. Community, national, regional, local), in particular to support the widening and deepening of the EU, and offering interactive services to citizens and/or making them available at natural meeting-points for people, especially in remote and rural areas. Attention will be paid to improving effectiveness and internal efficiency.

RTD priorities

: technologies and systems for on-line support for the democratic process and for improved, distance- and language-independent, access to information and services , in order to support one-stop service access and transaction handling for citizens and businesses; multilingual personalised services and intelligent multi-functional systems facilitating interaction between citizens and administrations, including the development of virtual for a (public hearings, opinion polling, etc.); systems and tools for enabling statistics to play their role in enhancing the transparency and accessibility of administrations and for promoting multimedia data interchange between administrations; the innovative applications to support the adaptation of administrations to the information and processing systems needs of Community policies; take-up : best practice and other take-up measures will be a priority.

• Environment.

Work will focus on new generation monitoring, forecasting and decision-support systems and services, addressing both external and internal environments, for administrations, industries and the public, together with advanced systems and services for the identification, assessment, monitoring and prevention of risks, and for the management and mitigation of emergencies, both natural and man-made (including anti-personnel landmines).

RTD priorities

: monitoring, forecasting and decision support : intelligent information systems on air/water/soil quality and for monitoring and management of natural resources; advanced systems for water/air/sea/soil/waste pollution monitoring, prevention and warning; high-performance systems and advanced tools for environmental data fusion, data mining and modelling, including geo-referenced data; integrated information tools and support systems for sustainable development and to improve ecological and resource efficiency; risks and emergencies : advanced management systems exploiting satellite imagery, remote sensing, sensor systems, real-time systems, and communication networks; take-up : a key aspect will be validations and demonstrations.

• Transport and tourism.

Work will address IST development, validation and demonstration of intelligent infrastructure and vehicle systems for the management of all modes of transport, including for intermodal operations and "mobility chains" for freight and passengers, for safety and operational efficiency in all modes, supporting inter alia actions in "Competitive and Sustainable Growth", as well as for information, mobility and tourism related systems and services.

RTD priorities

: surveillance, positioning and guidance systems and the necessary enhancement of terrestrial and satellite communication and positioning infrastructures, fixed, on-board and portable interactive multimedia devices, and tele-payment systems - in particular for traffic and demand management, collective and individual transport, fleet and freight operations supporting the whole logistics chain, and user information; new traffic control systems with advanced interfaces, simulation and prediction tools, including systems for managing large-scale events and crises; on-board human-centred systems for safety and efficiency, including vision enhancement, driver impairment watch, obstacle detection and advanced warning, crash-avoidance, and systems ensuring compliance with regulations (e.g. speed limits); telematic systems for intelligent vehicle operations in all modes of transport; on-board "info-mobility" services, including infotainment; multimedia personalised information systems for the transport and tourism sectors, including tele-reservation and tele-payment, systems and services addressing weather, leisure and tourism; decision support systems for increased efficiency and planning in the tourism sector; virtual mobility services; take-up : assessment of economic and technical viability, qualification actions, together with best practice actions.

New Methods of Work and Electronic Commerce

Objectives and RTD priorities

The aim of this work is to develop information society technologies to enable European workers and enterprises, in particular SMEs, to increase their competitiveness in the global marketplace, whilst at the same time improving the quality of the individual’s working life, through the use of information society technologies to provide the flexibility to be free from many existing constraints on both working methods and organisation, including those imposed by distance and time. It covers both the development and the trading of goods and services, in particular in the electronic marketplace, and takes into account the different requirements of the individual worker, consumer and of businesses and organisations, and includes the related training. Considerations of the global context, in particular the rapid evolution of the marketplace, and socio-economic factors will guide the work, and the objective will be to develop and demonstrate world-best work and business practices, exploiting European strengths such as electronic payments, smart cards, mobile systems, software for business process modelling and enterprise management and consumer protection.

• Flexible, mobile and remote working methods and tools.

Work will focus on enabling, validating and demonstrating competitive, flexible and human-centred work methods and organisation, including in administrations and non-profit organisations, by means of an integrated approach to the combination of business process and work organisation, human resource management, and information society technologies, informed by socio-economic and legal requirements analysis and considerations of the global context and actual business practice. It will address the needs of workers, enterprises and consumers alike. Best-practice pilots and scaleable demonstrations, together with dissemination actions to stimulate broad experimentation and adoption will be major features of the work.

RTD priorities

: work methods : telework and networked cooperative working; mobile working; simulation- and virtual-reality-based methods, for both individual and collaborative working; entrepreneurship and portfolio working; organisation : integrating new or re-engineered work methods and structures in all sectors, including administrations, taking into account existing practices; agile, extended, virtual enterprises and networks of individuals; management and integration of workflow; organisational methodologies, including benchmarking and scenario planning; transformation methods and change and risk management; socio-economic issues (including the necessary statistical methods and tools): analysis of change; human resources and training; human factors, usability and ergonomics and safety in the workplace; implications for and coherence with the legal and regulatory framework; the work will be complemented by take-up actions including validations and assessments, together with first-user actions and other best-practice initiatives.

• Management systems for suppliers and consumers.

Work will focus on seamless end-to-end support, covering both tangible and intangible products, for electronic trading and distributed virtual enterprises and marketplaces. It will cover applications or systems for interactions within and between consumers, individual entrepreneurs, businesses and administrations. It will address both business and work processes covering the full value chain and the information society technologies needed to support them.

RTD priorities

: information society technologies systems to address processes in development , including: life-cycle support, design, engineering and maintenance, logistics and distribution management, quality control, productivity measurement; systems to address processes in marketing and sales , including: customer interaction, negotiation and contracting, mass customisation, packaging and trading; systems to address processes in financial services , integrating where appropriate support for the EURO, including: ordering, billing and payment, accounting and taxation; public and private procurement; systems to address processes in management , including: decision support and planning; virtual and real marketplace management systems; systems for on-line business information search and management, including directories and catalogues; systems to address consumer processes , including: product and service selection and purchase; systems for supporting the protection of consumers' rights; take-up : best practice and other take-up measures will be a priority; work will be complemented by validation and assessment in trials, and by concertation measures to contribute to standards.

• Information security.

Work will focus on technologies to boost trust and confidence in the information infrastructure, and in its services and information resources, as being reliable, efficient and user-friendly for new methods of work and doing business. This includes protecting information integrity, managing intellectual property rights, enhancing privacy and techniques for combating computer crime.

RTD priorities

: electronic signature, certification and authentication techniques; representation of product data; prevention of fraud and misrepresentation of goods; electronic IPR management technologies; privacy enhancing technologies, including those avoiding the improper collection, recording and disclosure of personal and business data; secure electronic transactions and payments, including anonymous ones and integrating next-generation smart-cards; critical systems management and reliable next generation electronic commerce infrastructures; support for the development of and conformance to the legal and regulatory framework; technologies to generate confidence in meaningfully managing vast amounts of data by businesses and consumers, including user customisation; take-up : technology assessment, trials, demonstrators for building confidence and concertation for ensuring interoperability and contributing to internationally recognised standards.

Multimedia Content and Tools

Objectives and RTD priorities

The aim of this work is to improve the functionality, usability and acceptability of future information products and services to enable linguistic and cultural diversity and contribute to the valorisation and exploitation of Europe's cultural patrimony, to stimulate creativity, and to enhance education and training systems, in particular for lifelong learning. Work will cover new models, methods, technologies and systems for creating, processing, managing, networking, accessing and exploiting digital content, including audiovisual content. An important research dimension will be new socio-economic and technological models for representing information, knowledge and know-how. The work will address both applications-oriented research, focusing on publishing, audiovisual, culture and education and training and generic research in language and content technologies for all applications areas, and will include validation, take-up, concertation and standards.

• Interactive electronic publishing and digital heritage and cultural content.

For interactive electronic publishing , work will focus on new publishing and media paradigms for both commercial and private use (including the evolution of the World-Wide-Web). It will address future publishing systems able to handle new combinations of content and to provide users with new levels of interaction and control, and cover new forms of content such as virtual objects, in multi-user environments, or immersive, animated content. Three fast-evolving application areas will be addressed: knowledge publishing, in particular for scientific and business content; lifestyle publishing, in particular for news, entertainment and information for the citizen; and geographic and statistical information, including related socio-economic information, particularly where complex information needs new presentation forms for the non-specialist user. The work on digital heritage and cultural content will aim to improve access to cultural patrimony, facilitate its valorisation and stimulate cultural development by expanding the key contribution of libraries, museums and archives to the emerging "culture economy", including economic, scientific and technological development. Actions will particularly address new digital processes and cover business and economic models, especially those which stimulate new partnerships through networking and new services for the citizen.

RTD priorities

: for interactive electronic publishing: generating creative content through advanced tele-collaborative real-time authoring and design systems and skills development (for example for 3-D or virtual reality design and conceptual modelling); systems for the generation and re-use of content from different media; collaborative creative expression and publishing; managing digital content by supporting distributed and networked content; processing large sets of data in innovative ways (e.g. visualisation, scenario development or spatial analysis); devising new metrics for valuing information assets; personalising content delivery (via push or pull technologies), by cost-effective content packaging, advertising and transactions, customer profiling and individualised design and presentation (in a manner that respects the user’s right to privacy); exploring the limits between domain-specific and domain-independent content; the work will be complemented by take-up actions including validations and assessments, together with first-user actions and other best-practice initiatives; for digital heritage and cultural content: integrated access to heterogeneous distributed collections and repositories in digital and traditional form (e.g. library holdings, museum exhibition material, public archive contents, multimedia art or sound archives, digital film collections and digital cinematic distribution networks); improving the functionalities of large-scale repositories of content by providing rich and powerful interactive features and advanced management and copyright techniques; preservation of and access to valuable multimedia content from multiple sources, covering electronic materials and electronic surrogates of fragile physical objects; take-up : a key aspect will be validations and demonstrations.

• Education and training.

Work will aim at providing the EU with a blueprint for a seamless and cost-effective implementation of advanced technologies for enhancing both education and training systems. This work will focus on the common needs of different teaching and learning processes, on new approaches to lifelong learning, and on innovative ways of integrating multimedia pedagogic material.

RTD priorities

: improving the learning process through more autonomous and more individualised learning: work will include local learner support, peer learning, remote tutoring, curriculum/course design systems, and accreditation systems; developing higher quality learning material by improving the quality of the content itself, the embedded pedagogical or didactic approaches, and the adaptability to learner needs: work will address new instructional design tools, learner modelling techniques, modelling methods for knowledge transfer, as well as learning ergonomics, and will cover content ranging from simple hypermedia to advanced simulations; broadening access to learning resources and services for all: work will address common platforms allowing full access to services across heterogeneous networks, including harmonised identification and retrieval of knowledge resources.

• Human language technologies.

Work will focus on advanced human language technologies enabling cost-effective interchanges across language and culture, natural interfaces to digital services and more intuitive assimilation and use of multimedia content. Work will address written and spoken language technologies and their use in key sectors such as corporate and commercial publishing, education and training, cultural heritage, global business and electronic commerce, public services and utilities, and special-needs groups. Work will also include the development of electronic language resources in standard and re-usable formats.

RTD priorities

: adding multilinguality to systems at all stages of the information cycle, including content generation and maintenance in multiple languages, localisation of software and content, automated translation and interpretation, and computer-assisted language training; enhancing the natural interactivity and usability of systems where multimodal dialogues, understanding of messages and communicative acts,

unconstrained language input-output and keyboard-less operation can greatly improve applications; enabling active assimilation and use of digital content, where work will apply language-processing models, tools and techniques for deep information analysis and metadata generation, knowledge extraction, classification and summarisation of the meaning embodied in the content, including intelligent language-based assistants; the work will be complemented by take-up actions including validations and assessments, together with first-user actions and other best-practice initiatives.

• Information access, filtering, analysis and handling.

Work will focus on advanced technologies for the management of information content to empower the user to select, receive and manipulate (in a manner that respects the user’s right to privacy) only that information required when faced with an ever increasing range of heterogeneous sources. Improvements in the key functionalities of large-scale multimedia asset management systems (including the evolution of the World-Wide Web) will support the cost effective delivery of information services and their usage.

RTD priorities

: mastering information : rich descriptive models of digital information content, covering all media types and supporting all human senses, in addition to spatial and temporal aspects; associated tools to enable users to develop information profiles, possibly based on vague concepts and enabled via personalised agents; radically new cognitive relations between the system and users via individualised metaphors or visualisation techniques; information management systems : new organisation and management methods for multimedia information sources: work will explore advanced techniques for data warehousing integrating access control mechanisms, quality assurance, integrity control and technical protection of multimedia "fragments"; information categorisation, labelling and filtering enabling selective information retrieval and filtering (including for the control of illegal and harmful content); take-up : first-user and other take-up measures will be a priority; work will be complemented by validation and assessment in trials, and by concertation measures to contribute to standards.

Essential Technologies and Infrastructures

Objectives and RTD priorities

The aim of this work is to promote excellence in the technologies which are crucial to the information society, to accelerate their take-up and broaden their fields of application. The work will address the convergence of information processing, communications and networking technologies and infrastructures. The focus will be on technologies and infrastructures common to several applications, while those specific to one application only would be addressed in the context of that application in other parts of the Framework Programme.

• Technologies for and the management of information processing, communications and networks, including broadband, together with their implementation, interoperability and application.

The work will focus on the development and convergence of information processing, telecommunications and broadcast network and system technologies.

RTD priorities

: concurrent systems: technologies and tools for the sharing and interactive use of remote resources and concurrent activities in geographically dispersed locations, in the context of heterogeneous hardware and software architectures and systems; real-time systems handling large volumes of data; basic technologies and tools supporting real-time embedded systems applications - related work should actively contribute to, or adhere to, standards; broadband telecommunications networks : reliable high capacity terabit optical transmission; a major effort in photonic technologies for end-to-end optical transparency in core and access networks; technologies and architectures, including specifically all-optical networks: topological and functional layout, switching and routing, operation and management; technologies for network integration (notably for the convergence of fixed and mobile, including satellite, networks) and new service independent architectures and systems, to ensure all users have affordable access to broadband multimedia nomadic services; interoperability and interworking of networks particularly at the network management and service levels, to increase capacity, flexibility and functionality and to promote the introduction of competition and new intelligent network services (including the evolution of the Internet); generic service management models capable of handling the increased network complexity, new architectures and the requirements for network dependability and security; take-up : measures to promote and transfer best practice, for concertation to contribute to standards, and to test and validate technologies and services in field trials.

• Technologies and engineering for software, systems and services, including high-quality statistics.

Work will centre around the development, deployment, operation and evolution of software-intensive systems embedded in goods and services as well as facilitating production and enterprise processes, including technologies and tools for testing and validation at all stages.

RTD priorities

: software and systems engineering: work will focus on dependable, survivable and scaleable systems and address the reduction of the development cycle and costs; the use and further development, as required, of reliable methods and tools will be a central issue; the integration of custom and off-the-shelf components into systems will be a key aspect; service engineering will address the integration of heterogeneous platforms and networks and the increasing complexity and sophistication of the new services and their creation and provision - the objective will be to develop technologies and tools for rapid, customised and cost-effective service creation, deployment, provision and management that provide for an open information and communications service infrastructure, with the necessary reliability, security and quality of service; software technologies work will foster knowledge-based methods and tools, which increase the usability as well as the capability of systems and the intelligence in the network, this includes the timely collection, production, dissemination and communication of high-quality information (including statistical and management information); take-up : best practice and other take-up measures will be a priority; work will be complemented by the validation and assessment of technologies, systems and services in field trials, and by concertation measures to contribute to standards.

• Real-time and large-scale simulation and visualisation technologies.

Work will address the development and integration of advanced simulation and visualisation technologies and environments in all applications. Work will include distributed simulations and shared virtual environments.

RTD priorities

: simulation and visualisation : work on simulation environments will include pre-processing, advanced post-processing (including visualisation and virtual reality) and tools for the validation of simulation with experimental and archival data; tools to support the integration of simulation in industrial and business processes will be a priority; technologies and tools for distributed simulations with emphasis on support for the interoperability of heterogeneous software and hardware systems; shared virtual environments scaleable over large networks; population with autonomous agents and visualisation, such as through avatars; the work will be complemented by take-up actions including validations and assessments, together with first-user actions and other best-practice initiatives.

• Mobile and personal communications and systems, including satellite-related systems and services.

Work will target the move to an integrated seamless network that ensures global personal connectivity and enables access to wireless multimedia communications and services by anyone, from anywhere, at any time, with capabilities, quality and performance comparable to those of fixed network services.

RTD priorities

: work will focus on the development and evolution of new generations of affordable terrestrial and satellite broadband wireless architectures, systems and technologies, exploiting new spectrum frontiers, for both private and public environments, supporting advanced services and maximising spectral efficiency and network performance; addressing full coverage through a multiplicity of radio systems deployed in a multi-layer, multi-dimension cell architecture; service mobility and terminal roaming across terrestrial and satellite wireless and wired networks will be a priority; software reconfigurable networks, systems and terminals, to facilitate improved network planning, interoperability and interworking; miniaturised, low-cost, low-power mobile and portable communication terminals (both hardware and software aspects); technologies, services and applications supporting interactive mobile and personal multimedia services, with regional or global coverage and integrated where appropriate with terrestrial and satellite navigation services; take-up : a key aspect will be validations and demonstrations of broadband interactive mobile multimedia technologies and services; a major effort will be dedicated to technology assessment and concertation measures to contribute to standards.

• Interfaces making use of the various senses.

Work will address the provision of intuitive ways to capture, deliver and interact with systems. Work will include the development and integration of advanced sensor, actuator and display technologies.

RTD priorities

: multimodal, multisensory interfaces and novel tools and devices, validation and assessment will be central to this work; technologies including image and auditory scene processing, understanding and synthesis will be developed and integrated to provide new solutions for the work and leisure/entertainment environments; the work will facilitate the introduction of technologies such as augmented and virtual reality; the development and integration of a range of advanced display technologies for professional and consumer applications will be addressed; emphasis will be given to the development of low-cost and low-power interfaces, as well as the use of new flexible materials for portable and mobile subsystems; included are issues such as user adaptability, user interaction modelling and profiling; take-up will be stimulated, in particular, by first-user actions.

• Peripherals, sub-systems and microsystems.

Work will address the need for advanced intelligent (computing and communications) network peripherals which can have multiple functionality yet remain user-friendly. Work on sub-systems will cover the building blocks of information processing and communications systems and networks. Work on intelligent microsystems will, in this context, cover miniaturised systems comprising sensing and/or actuating with processing functions, and normally combining two or more of electrical, mechanical, optical, chemical, organic, biological, magnetic or other properties, integrated onto a single chip or a multichip hybrid.

RTD priorities

: integration, low-power consumption and miniaturisation will be the drivers for technology development for peripherals and terminals , as well as software and hardware modules for content capture, storage and manipulation; the development of advanced mass storage methodologies is a key requisite; sub-systems : in addition to basic building blocks a major focus will be home systems; microsystems work will be concentrated on facilitating the broader application of intelligent microsystems, primarily for the medical, biochemical, environmental, automotive and aerospace applications, as well as their use in measurement and control systems or sub-systems; the primary aim is to transfer competence from research to industrial use and to facilitate access to existing technologies for prototyping and small volume production; the integration of optical interconnects into microelectronic subsystems and microsystems for high-performance applications (e.g. electro-optical circuit boards); the work will be supported through measures complementing those in "Competitive and Sustainable Development" addressing the manufacturability of intelligent microsystems and the associated assembly, interconnect, packaging, materials and equipment technologies, together with support for the appropriate design and simulation activities; take-up : the work will be complemented by concertation for coordination and to contribute to standards, and in particular for microsystems by first-user actions.

• Microelectronics.

Work will address materials, equipment, processes, design and test methodologies and tools which enable the development of electronic components, their packaging, interconnection and application. The approach will be system-oriented and application-driven, and will aim at reinforcing strengths and exploiting technological opportunities drawing on appropriate microelectronic technology solutions best filling generic application requirements.

RTD priorities

: application and hardware/software co-design methods and tools; the key technology requirements will be addressed through support for semiconductor materials and equipment development and assessment, packaging and interconnect technology, notably for the most advanced generations; the focus will be on broadening applicability through the development of cost-effective active and passive silicon, silicon-based, or compound semiconductor components and subsystems for applications with generic characteristics, in particular mobility (low power, high frequency wireless communications), high complexity/high performance systems, systems resistant to hostile environments in terms of reliability and endurance, measurement and control; the development, integration or customisation of advanced signal and data processing functions into sub-systems together with their associated memory and input/output functions will be a priority, together with macrocells and support tools for classes of applications; optical technologies : new optical sources, optoelectronic integrated circuits, active and passive optical components and devices at new wavelengths, including optoelectronic devices based on organic compounds; take-up : promotion of application and design competencies will be addressed in thematic clusters; a major effort will be devoted to technology assessment, first-user and other best-practice measures.
NB : While the Commission Services do their utmost to avoid any errors or omissions, the Commission disclaims all liability for the documents circulated, and the only authentic version is that published in the Official Journal of the European Communities.

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