Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Programme funding

EUR 25 million

Official Journal Reference

L 107 of 1998-04-07

Legislative Reference

98/253/EC of 1998-03-30
To increase public awareness of the information society; to help to establish the information society in Europe; and to consider the global dimension of the information society.


On 6 July 1996, the Commission sent a communication to the budgetary authority establishing a legal basis for a number of budget lines, one of which covers a multiannual Community programme to stimulate the establishment of the information society in Europe (B5-722).

Complementing other information society-related activities in such areas as research and development, trans-European networks, information content and standardization, the "Information Society" programme has three main objectives:

- To increase public awareness and understanding of the potential impact of the information society and its new applications;

- To help to establish the information society in Europe by promoting widespread access to and familiarity in the use of new information services and applications;

- To give consideration to and make use of the worldwide dimension of the information society.


Three domains:

Measures to raise awareness in Europe:

- Adding value where necessary to local, national and crossborder initiatives promoting a better understanding, for instance through the dissemination of information, of the opportunities, benefits and possible risks of the Information Society, whether aimed at the general public or at specific target groups;

- Gathering and dissemination of information on citizens' and users' needs with respect to Information Society services and applications;

- Enhancement of the visibility to the general public and other interested parties of real projects being implemented to service their needs;

- Monitoring of peoples' awareness of and familiarization with the Information Society services and applications, in particular through the fostering of regular surveys and the integration of national surveys into a European picture;

- Stimulation of the interest of industry, in particular small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), in providing services and applications that meet the needs expressed by citizens and users, for instance, through presentations of Information Society activities, networks, applications and concrete opportunities to exploited;

- Demonstration of the potential impact of the Information Society at regional level, including within its crossborder dimension, the promotion of exchange of relevant information between cities and regions;

- Support for the Information Society Forum consisting of experts representing a broad range of interests from industry, academia, media, trade unions, consumer and user groups, advising the Commission on the challenges to overcome for the development of the Information Society;

Measures to optimize the socio-economic benefits of the Information Society in Europe:

- Assessment of the opportunities and barriers which disadvantaged social groups and peripheral and less-favoured regions may face in accessing and using Information Society products and services; the identification of appropriate measures to overcome these obstacles and to grasp the related benefits;

- Analysis of current initiatives at European and national level regarding the provision of applications, based in particular on a permanent inventory of projects which facilitate the deployment of the Information Society;

- Provision of transparency, based in particular on a permanent inventory, concerning ongoing policies and programmes at European and national level;

- Contribution, on the basis of identified best programmes and practices, to the European wide take-up of successful examples in Information Society policies, projects and services;

- Promotion of exchange of expertise and experiences between ongoing studies and activities at European and national level;

- Identification and evaluation of the financing mechanisms needed to develop the Information Society, in particular those able to help stimulate public/private partnerships for the deployment of applications of public interest;

- Identification of obstacles to the functioning of internal market in the area of the Information Society and the consideration of measures to guarantee the full benefit of the area without frontiers for its development, taking into account the linguistic diversity;

- Launching of actions to ascertain the priorities of SMEs and regarding the obstacles hampering the use by SMEs of information and communications technologies (ICT), in close coordination with Commission efforts to mobilize different groups of ICT users;

- Promotion of electronic literacy in the educational sector through the dissemination of relevant experience gained at national and European level;

Measures to enhance Europe's role and visibility within the global dimension of the Information Society:

- Establishment of an inventory of initiatives taken worldwide;

- Exchange of information with third countries, in particular with a view to encouraging their access to the potential of the Information Society;

- Collaboration in the preparation of demonstration actions, either bilaterally or in collaboration with international organizations.


The Commission is responsible for implementing the multiannual programme, assisted by an advisory committee composed of representatives of the Member States and chaired by a representative of the Commission.

Three main types of activities are supported by the programme:

- Measures to raise awareness;
- Measures to help establish the information society in Europe;
- Measures to take into consideration and make use of the global dimension of the information society.

More detailed information on the activities to be carried out under these headings is contained in the "Subdivisions" section of this summary.

The programme is implemented by calls for proposals based on a work programme to be drawn up by the Commission. Funding of up to 100% of the costs may be allocated for the following measures:

- Award of contracts for the execution of tasks relating to analyses, exploratory studies, detailed studies of specific fields, realization of demonstration actions, as well as the coordination, evaluation and cofinancing of actions;

- Organization of, participation in, and granting of support for meetings of experts, conferences, consultations of persons or groups having common interests, seminars, and the publication and dissemination of information;

- Contribution to the activities of international organizations in relation to the information society, and in particular those aiming to encourage the access of developing countries to the potential of the information society.

Provisions are also made for shared-cost actions with other sources in the public and private sector.

The financial resources to implement the actions under the programme are decided on an annual basis by the budgetary authority.

A mid-term evaluation report is to be drawn up by the Commission after the first two years of the programmes implementation detailing the activities launched, as well as the results obtained. The Commission will prepare a final evaluation report upon completion of the programme.
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