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e Accessibility for All

Important! Information available on the 'Special Needs' pages is related to activities undertaken during the EU's Fifth Framework Programme (1998-2002). Follow this link to access the Sixth Framework Programme site .

An important goal of the FP5/IST Programme was to ensure that all of Europe's citizens benefited from the opportunities presented by new research and emerging technologies.

To this end, the Unit then called "Elderly and Persons with Disability" of the European Commission (Directorate General Information Society and Media) coordinated projects, to facilitate research and technological development that allowed the target population to live independently, move freely, and to have access to a wider range of services and facilities.

Funded projects sharing common sub-themes were organised into co-operative clusters. These 'thematic clusters' served as value-adding networks to support the projects and the various participants involved, whether researchers, proposers, universities, government agencies, industry or general-interest groups.


The objectives of the unit now called " e Inclusion" are of course in line with the broader aims of the IST Programme, which promotes an 'Information Society for all' and encourages research and development that is ubiquitous and universal.

The site supported people carrying out research and development in this important area by providing the following:

  • Information on projects and how to participate in projects or find partners for a project;
  • Information on 'Clusters', Horizontal Programmes and Cross-Programme Actions;
  • Information for people wishing to assist the European Commission as experts;
  • Avenues to apply the results of research; and
  • General information and news, plus links to IST home page and to related matters, targeting a wider audience.


This FP5/IST theme provided general support for technology-based projects and services aimed at improving autonomous living, social integration and participation in the Information Society, such as:

  • Design-for-all products, systems and services, including improved participatory design methods, multi-modal terminals and universal interfaces;
  • Intelligent Assistive Systems and Technology: communication tools for people with special requirements, mobility support devices - 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; and
  • Take-up: a key aspect will be the validation of research and demonstrated benefits and results.