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Information & Communication Technologies

See more Results & Next steps

Broad topics are published here , see individual topic pages for comments.

Contributions and comments are published here .

If you wish to keep tuned with latest ideas in Future and Emerging Technologies, please just reply us !

The results will be used as input for identifying future FET Proactive Challenges and Topics.





contact CONTACT US

Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology
Future & Emerging Technologies (FET) Unit
Office BU33 07/23
B-1049 Brussels, Belgium


Consultation on directions for Future and Emerging Technologies research

The consultation of future FET research orientations is now closed. Some of the topics mentioned below are being funded as proactive initiatives in the current FET workprogramme 2014-2015 . All topics remain valid sources of inspiration for submission to FET, and in particular for FET-Open. Note that the consultation will be reopened for collecting research orientations for FET in the next workprogrammes of Horizon2020.

Objective & guiding criteria

As part of our ongoing effort to chart and shape the evolving landscape of future and emerging technologies, we are launching a public consultation to identify promising and potentially game-changing directions for future technological research.

The research directions we are looking for should be more general than an idea for a single research project. They may, for instance, identify a crucial but underdeveloped scientific/technological domain that requires development and structuring 1 ; they may stimulate multi-disciplinary explorations around inspiring questions , even non-technological ones 2 ;they may propose unifying concepts that can lead to new synergies from previously unrelated research; or they may set an ambitious and concrete challenge that is far beyond the state-of-the-art , the achievement of which would open up radically new possibilities for technology.

Importantly, we expect such research directions to go beyond established approaches , typically through unexpected combinations of disciplines, ideas and people around a common vision. We also expect to see from them structuring effects on multidisciplinary communities that can tackle all aspects of such a vision in a systemic way. Ultimately such visions should hold the keys to a better future for all, and put Europe on a new road towards future technological competitiveness in the next 20 years .

Therefore, we are inviting, among others, scientists, researchers, engineers, innovators, artists, entrepreneurs and citizens to submit their ideas on such directions of research for future technologies before November 30th 2012.

Background 3

"FET Proactive: nurturing emerging themes and communities.
Novel areas and themes need to be matured, by working towards structuring emerging communities and supporting the design and development of transformative research themes. The main benefits of this structuring yet explorative approach are emerging novel areas that are not yet ready for inclusion in industry research roadmaps, and building up and structuring of research communities around them. It makes the step from collaborations between a small number of researchers, to a cluster of projects that each address aspects of a research theme and exchange results."

"The objective of the Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) research is to foster radically new technologies by exploring novel and high-risk ideas building on scientific foundations. By providing flexible support to goal oriented and interdisciplinary collaborative research on various scales and by adopting innovative research practices, the aim is to identify and seize opportunities of long-term benefit for citizens, the economy and society.
FET shall promote research beyond what is known, accepted or widely adopted and shall foster novel and visionary thinking to open promising paths towards powerful new technologies, some of which could develop into leading technological and intellectual paradigms for the decades ahead. FET shall foster efforts to pursue small-scale research opportunities across all areas, including emerging themes and grand scientific and technological (S&T) challenges that require federation and collaboration between programmes across Europe and beyond. This approach shall be driven by excellence and extends to exploring pre-competitive ideas for shaping the future of technology, enabling society to benefit from multi-disciplinary research collaboration that needs to be engaged at European level by making the link between research driven by science and research driven by societal challenges or by industrial competitiveness."

( Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and Council establishing Horizon 2020 - the Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (2014-20 ).

Privacy Statement & Protection of personal data

  • Received contributions and identity of the contributors to this consultation will be published on the Internet. It is important to read the specific privacy statement ( 92KB) for information on how your personal data and contribution will be dealt with.
  • If you don't want your coordinates (name, affiliation, country) to be published on the internet, tick the appropriate box when completing the reply form.
  • If you prefer your contribution not to be published on the internet, pease send us by email your ideas.


  • Responsible service: Future and Emerging Technologies Unit (DG CONNECT)
  • Contact person: Julian ELLIS contact form
  • If you wish to keep tuned with latest ideas in Future and Emerging Technologies, please just reply us !
1 You can consult examples of previous FET Proactive Initiatives .
2 Much in the style of some of the calls that were practiced within the former FP6 NEST programme (e.g., 'Measuring the impossible', 'What is life?').

3 These activities would correspond to the follow-up of the successful Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) actions named "FET Proactive initiatives", conditional to the approval of the European Commission proposal for the next Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, Horizon 2020, by the EU Parliament and Council.