3. Present Participation in ACTSContents
Any organisation can participate in the ACTS Programme as long as it is a legal entity able to enter into a project contract with the Commission. Organisations based in the Member States are eligible for Community funding. There are presently slightly over 1060 individual organisations participating in ACTS (a full list may be found in Annex B).
The level of participation among western European countries is shown in Figure 5 below. In these statistics, a "participation" is defined as the presence of any given organisation in a project consortium. For example, if the same organisation is working within five different projects, this is represented as 5 participations, on the vertical scale of the figure. The dateline used is 1 July 1998. Note that though Switzerland is included in Figure 5 for presentation purposes, Swiss organisations are participating without financial support from the European Union.
Figure 5: ACTS participation by Western Europe (as of 1 July 1998)
Given the global nature of the communications business, ACTS has actively encouraged participation from non-EU countries. Indeed, organisations from anywhere in the world can participate in the programme, without financial support from the Union, provided they are able to contribute effectively and their participation is accepted as being of mutual benefit to the various parties involved. Special funding arrangements apply to organisations from Central and Eastern Europe and the countries of the former Soviet Union. The 2nd and 3rd Calls did much to increase the so-called "third country" participation in ACTS, in particular by organisations from Central and Eastern Europe. Details are given in the Figure 6 below.
Figure 6: ACTS participation by Third Countries (as of 1 July 1998)
A full listing of ACTS participation is given in Annex B. This is presented by country, and additionally by region within country for the Member States. Complementary listings of participation within each ACTS project are given in the ACTS98 and ACTS97 Project Summaries (separate documents in this series).Contents
There are now about 60 participants from Central and Eastern Europe involved in nearly 30 ACTS projects. These are supported by the International Co-operation Programme (INCO) which is a separate action line of the 4th Framework Programme of EU Research. In comparison to the level of participation from CEE countries in other EU research programmes, ACTS has been extremely successful in attracting support from the East. Researchers are working throughout the Programme, and many ACTS projects are also undertaking practical experiments which involve organisations in CEE countries (see the Practical Experimentation and Trials volume of this series).Contents
The specific rules for implementing ACTS defined in Annex 3 of the Council Decision  sets a target for SME participation of up to one-third of the total. In view of this, each of the ACTS Calls has strongly encouraged consortia to include SMEs among their participants. Approximately 20% of ACTS participants resulting from the 1st Call were SMEs. The 2nd Call included additional measures to support the preparation of outline proposals by SMEs. These led to an overall increase of SME participation to about 22% of total participations, as of 1 July 1996. Since these statistics were originally prepared, a standardised definition of 'SME' was introduced for use by all RTD programmes  . This led to a review of participation statistics for ACTS, and the conclusion that SME participation stood at 23% of the total after two Calls (as of February 1997).
Though additional measures to support the participation of SMEs were taken in the 3rd Call, the overall participation remained little changed (23%).Contents
The 3rd Call resulted in no significant changes in the balance of participation in ACTS by the industry sectors. All major European equipment manufacturers are active within the programme, one or more being present in about 60% of all projects. Evidently, the larger companies are the most frequently represented.
All the major European telecommunications operators are also participating in the programme. One or more is present in about 40% of all projects; and this includes projects in which several operators are working together towards common strategic or technical goals. In several countries, the new "competitive" operators are now participating in the programme alongside those having the more extensive and established research facilities, that pre-date liberalisation moves. Cable television companies are also now making their presence felt in the programme, though as yet in more modest numbers than the telecoms operators.
Major European broadcasters are of course represented, and two other significant groupings of content providers are apparent: those for interactive-services (including retailers, mail order companies, publishers etc) and those from cultural institutions (such as museums, galleries etc).
It is no surprise to learn that the major European telecommunications research laboratories are substantially represented in ACTS. One of Europe's strengths is the number and size of these organisations. One or more research lab is present in over 60% of projects.
Figure 7: ACTS Participation by Industry Sector
Figure 7 provides a different viewpoint on ACTS participation. Here, the 1060 or so different organisations listed in Annex B have been classified by industry sector. The chart takes no account of the scale of participation by any given organisation. Within the category "Other" are the many individual industry sectors classified as consumers of communications, and some specialised consultants etc, which are neither classified as research institutes nor as industry.Contents
A 'Visiting Scientist' scheme was implemented within ACTS, to give greater numbers of people an opportunity to participate and to work with a partner of an existing project for a period of 2-12 months. The key principle used is one of mutual benefit to both the home organisation of the visiting scientist and to the host organisation where he/she works. Such secondments can help to reinforce training in the development and use of advanced communications, by: