Wspólnotowy Serwis Informacyjny Badan i Rozwoju - CORDIS

To bring together in European Technology Platforms companies, research institutions, the financial community , regulatory authorities, users and consumers to define a common research agenda mobilising a critical mass of - national and European - public and private resources. This approach has been, or will be, adopted in areas such as energy (hydrogen and fuel cells, photovoltaics ), transport (aeronautics), mobile communications, embedded systems and nanoelectronics. In a limited number of cases, a pan-European approach may appear appropriate, involving the implementation of large-scale joint technology initiatives


Launching European technological initiatives is one of the six major objectives proposed by the Commission for shaping the future of European research (see Communication COM(2004)353 'Science and technology, the key to Europe's future - Guidelines for future European Union policy to support research'). In this context, 'Technology Platforms' are being set up. These platforms are expected to contribute in defining RTD priorities, timeframes and budgets on a number of strategically important issues for Europe's growth, competitiveness and sustainable development.

Platforms are being set up in very large and technically complex areas. They will bring together the main stakeholders - research organisations, industry, regulators, user groups, etc. - around key technologies, in order to devise and implement a common research agenda and a strategy for the development, the deployment and the use of these technologies in Europe.


The following information was based on the official information available at the time of writing. Priorities and activities may change.
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The stakeholders have already organised themselves within this type of framework (or are planning to do so) in a series of diverse technological challenges. New areas continue to emerge. The specific topics have been identified through their potential contributions to a number of key policy objectives, which are vital for Europe's future competitiveness. These topics include:

- New technologies leading to radical change in a sector, if developed and deployed appropriately and in time (examples: hydrogen and fuel cells, nanoelectronics, nanomedicine, gas cooled reactors).
- Reconciliation of different policy objectives with a view to sustainable development (examples: plant genomics and biotechnology, water supply and sanitation, photovoltaics, sustainable chemistry, sustainable benefits from renewal forestry resources, global livestock development partnership, road transport, rail transport, maritime transport).
- New technology based public goods or services with high entry barriers, uncertain profitability, but high economic and social potential (examples: mobile and wireless communications, innovative medicines for Europe).
- Ensuring the development of the necessary technology breakthroughs to keep at the leading edge of technologies in high-technology sectors which have significant strategic and economic importance for Europe (examples: aeronautics, embedded systems).
- Renewal, revival or restructuring of traditional industrial sectors (example: steel).

These examples may provide starting point for discussions on the potential suitability and eligibility of the various technological fields to be considered as priorities for further development and support at the Community level.


The Community anticipates that support to the implementation of many of the technology platforms' research agendas could be envisaged through existing instruments for Community research.. In the case of really large scale and highly ambitious projects however, a much wider European level response could be needed. The structures which the Community may set up under the terms of Treaty Article 171 may provide such a mechanism.

A Technology Platform first brings together all the key stakeholders together to agree on the vision and structure of the platform: Stakeholders usually develop a 'Vision Document' for the technologies concerned. The document typically covers a horizon of 10-20 years. Once all stakeholders have agreed on the way forward and on the suitable structure for the platform, a launch event for the platform is often held, signalling the formal start-up of the platform's operations.

In the next stage, the platform activities are launched:
a) Defining a Strategic Research Agenda and formulating a Deployment Strategy: Stakeholders define a Strategic Research Agenda setting out the platform's RTD priorities for the medium to long-term. The research agenda will need to take close account of the technological framework (regulatory issues, intellectual property rights etc.) and the business environment for future market penetration. Therefore, a Deployment Strategy is needed.
b) Examination of potential funding mechanisms : Mechanisms to mobilise the private and public investments required for the implementation of the research and development strategies need to be developed. The potential range of funding sources could include the Community Framework Programmes, the programming documents of the Structural Funds, national, regional and private research funding, the European Investment Bank (EIB), and the intergovernmental EUREKA Initiative. Ways to enhance the use of guarantee mechanisms in attracting both debt and equity financing for implementing RTD activities should also be explored.
c) Identifying challenges and actions related to education and training opportunities in the framework of the platform.
d) Establishing an ongoing communication process as part of the drive to raise public awareness in the technological field concerned. Communication is also essential to enhance dialogue on the justification for concentration of efforts at a European level in the technological field concerned.

The participating stakeholders need to cover the complete chain from research and technological development to future market penetration. . A networked approach should be followed, including mechanisms to facilitate the activities of existing networks and the creation of new ones.

Given their scale, complexity and global reach, Technology Platforms should not close their doors to the potential benefits from building alliances with third countries. International co-operation should be considered on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the political motivation, the need for reciprocity and the potential for real added value.


A limited number of the Technology platforms' research agendas are expected to be specifically included in the Commission's proposal for the EU's Seventh Framework Programmes for Research and Technological Development. However, they need fi
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