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Council adopts specific programme on user-friendly information society

The Council of the European Union has taken the Decision to adopt a specific programme for research, technological development and demonstration on a "User friendly information society" from 1998 to 2002. The Decision was made on the 25 January 1999 and the programme will be o...
The Council of the European Union has taken the Decision to adopt a specific programme for research, technological development and demonstration on a "User friendly information society" from 1998 to 2002. The Decision was made on the 25 January 1999 and the programme will be one of the four Thematic Programmes under the Fifth Framework Programme.

The amount deemed necessary for carrying out the Programme is 3,600 million euro (see below for breakdown), including a maximum of 7.5% for the Commission's administrative expenditure. Of the total amount 857m euro is for the period 1998 to 1999 and 2,743m euro is for the period 2000 to 2002.

The Decision says that the Commission shall draw up a work programme specifying objectives and the RTD priorities.

The strategic objective for the Information Society Technologies (IST) Programme is "to realise the benefits of the information society for Europe both by accelerating its emergence and by ensuring that the needs of individuals and enterprises are met."

The context, rationale and objectives of the IST Programme necessitate a single, integrated programme, which reflects the convergence of technologies and media and of industries and markets, together with the increasing significance of content, and responds to the need to integrate research and development and take-up actions. To this effect, this programme consists of a set of four key actions centred on the four specific objectives and a specific activity on longer-term or higher-risk research on future and emerging technologies

The coordination and integration of the activities through a single work programme allows a "theme" that cuts across the programme to be addressed in coherent manner in more than one activity, each concentrating on and contributing from its particular perspective.

The technological scope of the activities provides the flexibility to re-focus over time, through the single rolling work programme, to respond to changes in industrial and societal needs and the technological context.

Realising the full potential of the information society requires technologies, infrastructures, applications and services, accessible and usable by anyone, anywhere, anytime, whether it be for business or individual use. Collaborative research and technological development is needed to create both the critical efforts and the interoperability necessary to ensure this in Europe. Pan-European research is also needed to ensure that content, together with its creation and use, properly reflects and exploits the EU's cultural diversity and many languages.

The outline of the IST Programme emphases the links and complementarity with the other thematic programmes under the Fifth Framework Programme. The nature of information society technologies requires close coordination with other programmes and relevant policy initiatives in areas where their deployment plays a critical role.

Global cooperation will play a major role in the development and take-up of information society technologies. This will be reflected in the participation in and operation of this programme, including support for international initiative.

The breakdown of the budget of 3,600m euro for the IST Programme:

- Key actions:

-- Systems and services for the citizen - 646m;
-- New methods of work and electronic commerce - 547m;
-- Multimedia content and tools - 564m;
-- Essential technologies and infrastructures - 1,363m;

- Research and technological development activities of a generic nature: Future and emerging technologies - 319m;

- Support for research infrastructures: Research networking - 161m.

Source: Council of the European Union, Research Secretariat

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