New regional research initiatives in advanced communications and telematics
In June 1993, further Community resources were made available for new initiatives to stimulate the establishment of research and supporting facilities in less-favoured regions (LFRs). These initiatives take the form of accompanying measures supporting RTD undertaken in the context of the Third Framework Programme in the field of advanced communications and telematic systems. Their objective is the stimulation of a greater participation of organizations, particularly SMEs, in future RTD in these and other areas under the Fourth Framework Programme. Following a call for proposals published in the Official Journal (OJ No C 214 of 7.8.1993 p. 23.) for accompanying measures and preparatory actions in the area of advanced communications developments, 19 proposals were received in relation to regional initiatives, with a total value of ECU 20.3 million and requesting an overall Community contribution of ECU 15.7 million. After technical evaluation, five proposals were retained. Scheduled to start on 1 January 1994 they will receive financial support to a total of ECU 5.95 million. They involve a complementary set of actions which aims to make a major contribution to the ability of small businesses and universities in less-favoured regions to obtain information on RTD actions, to find partners with similar interests and to participate in the Fourth Framework Programme. The projects represent a balancing of effort in the less-favoured regions with a considerable strengthening of links between them. Two of the projects involve a reinforcement of information exchange services in remote and rural areas, using inexpensive satellite communications links. The core project will be coordinated by the Teleport Sachsen-Anhalt, an organization founded in Magdeburg in 1991 with the support of the Laender Ministry for Economy. The five projects are: - Broadband Interconnection Network: To develop, install and operate an Advanced Broadband Interconnection Network linking four telecommunications RTD centres in Spain and Portugal and a high-tech industrial park in Portugal; - Satellites used in networking to support RTD in LFRs: To develop, install and operate a VSAT-based system for research collaboration between SMEs and universities in the less favoured regions of Greece, Italy, Portugal and Ireland; - European Research Initiative: The core project to establish and support facilities in the less favoured regions of Spain and East Germany to permit greater participation of organizations, particularly SMEs, in future RTD in advanced communications and telematics; - Innovative Telecommunications for Research Collaboration in Ireland (INTELEC): A project to facilitate and stimulate research cooperation between SMEs and universities, in both the Irish Republic and the UK province of Northern Ireland, with organizations in other regions of the European Union, involving a significant improvement to the international inter-operation of systems for research information exchange; - World Wide Information Systems for Support of RTD Activities: Building on the very extensive INTERNET systems of inter-operating research information networks to facilitate access to information in a simple and consistent way by organizations throughout Europe, including SMEs in less favoured regions. Advanced communications systems are now a vital tool for the effective collaboration of businesses and research organizations, particularly in remote areas. The chosen activities are expected to demonstrate how such systems can be used both to stimulate and facilitate research collaboration and as a basis for future research on applications of advanced communications and telematics.