The objectives of the Requirements Engineering Network of International Co-operating Research Groups outlined in this proposal, RENOIR for short, are: to provide a framework for co-ordinated joint research in requirements engineering related to industrial needs; to support the diffusion of requirements engineering research; to provide requirements engineering research training; to support technology transfer in requirements engineering.
RENOIR brings together all the key European research teams from industry, academia, and research centres. RENOIR focuses on a set of shared technical goals relating to: the context in which the requirements engineering process takes place; the groundwork necessary for requirements engineering; the acquisition of the "raw" requirements; rendering these requirements usable through modelling and specification; analysis of the requirements; measurement to control the requirements and systems engineering process; communication and documentation of the results of requirements engineering. RENOIR will combine process and artefact-centred approaches to requirements engineering and will draw on experimental, conceptual and formal research methods.
Requirements engineering is the branch of systems engineering concerned with the real-world goals for, services provided by, and constraints on a large and complex software-intensive system. It is also concerned with the relationship of these factors to precise specifications of system behaviour, and to their evolution over time and across system families. Put crudely requirements engineering focuses on improvements to the front-end of the system development life-cycle. Establishing the needs that have given rise to the development process and organising this information in a form that will support system conception and implementation.
Requirements engineering provides the tools, concepts and methods which mediate between information technology service and product providers and information technology service and product users or markets. It is difficult to overstate the importance of requirements engineering to industrial and commercial competitiveness or to the provision of societal services. An information technology product or service which does not meet the requirements of users, or which cannot be identified with the requirements of a market sector, will not be used, sold or yield social benefit.
The concerns addressed by RENOIR are central to the overall objectives of an IT programme which is led by the needs of users and markets. The activities of RENOIR have wide implications across the IT work programme, for example in the development of Technologies for Components & Subsystems, Multimedia Systems, and strongly to Technical Domain 7 - Technologies for Business Processes. More widely it relates to other programmes such as Telematics Applications and Advanced Communication Technologies & Services.
Requirements engineering as a research field relies on a balance of skills between teams drawn from information systems and from software engineering; between those whose approach is experimental, or conceptual or formal; between those whose stance is theoretical and those who are technology-oriented; between computer science, systems engineering, and the broader social and cognitive sciences. RENOIR comprises all the key research teams working in the area of requirements engineering within Europe. A particular feature of this proposal is that RENOIR has the commitment of these teams at start-up and that a viable and balanced Network of Excellence is, effectively, in place. It has a broad range of participation with strength across the range of interdisciplinary skills needed to conduct research in this area.
This proposal sets out a clear and carefully defined support structure covering research co-ordination, research training; infrastructure, industry & technology transfer. This structure provides a common plan of activities which include: research area circles; exemplar circle; meetings; tutorials; summer schools; radicals workshops; newsletter; bulletin; network services; short courses; challenge and opportunity meetings; research broker service. The resources requested cover labour, travel, equipment and other costs associated with these activities and the associated infrastructure.