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America assesses EU funding for IT research

American efforts for funding IT research in the future will have a lot in common with the European Union's Fifth Framework Programme (FP5), according to a recently released report by the US President's Information Technology Advisory Committee (PITAC), entitled "Information Te...

American efforts for funding IT research in the future will have a lot in common with the European Union's Fifth Framework Programme (FP5), according to a recently released report by the US President's Information Technology Advisory Committee (PITAC), entitled "Information Technology Research: Investing in Our Future." The report, PITAC's final report, was released just as FP5 was unveiled. The US report emphasizes the importance of the information technology (IT) sector, which is of not only national, but also global, economic importance. With the time between basic research discoveries in this area and their application in products and services becoming shorter and shorter, basic research discoveries, many of them too high risk for private sector investment, must be supported by the US Government. This, according to the NECTAR Information Update, appears to mirror the European Union's policy. The report calls for budget increase over the next five years, from an increase of US$472 million in 2000 to US$1.37 billion in 2004. The proposed budget increases are divided between software, infrastructure and socio-economic research, acquisition of hardware and basic IT research. The creation of an effective US federal IT management organization is seen as the key. The Committee acknowledged that there is no central agency responsible for funding all the information technology research. This is considered a benefit in that it spreads. However, it means that necessary research is often overlooked. The report calls for increased coordination across the Federal Government agencies involved in information technology research.