Local and Regional governments can be a powerful booster of the Information Society. But they lack consistency to apply ICT, in particular because they are too much on their own and do not perceive sufficiently the benefits of acting as part of a system. This situation can change by launching mainstream ICT-driven projects as catalysts for innovation and for reengineering of their working methods.
Such projects must solve a key issue: provide solutions that allow data retrieval and information exchange between Local and Regional governments without forcing radical changes to their actual information systems, or requiring complex organisational models, or costly investments in externally driven systems. EUSlanD addresses all these problems by providing a creative model, through co-operation between civil servants and experts from Local and Regional governments, aiming at a web information retrieval and networking system to be used by thematic networks. The searching system is based on information abstracts leading to the relevant data stored in the databases managed by EUSlanD providers, complemented by telematic/multimedia service packages to gradually increase the exchange of knowledge between these civil servants and experts, in a European environment.
EUSlanD will create a flexible and open system for the use of Local and Regional governments, based on a shared knowledge management model. The research system will enable deployment and integration of existing information at local and regional government level, through intelligent supports favouring their provision, semantic classification and exchange.
To demonstrate and prepare the exploitation of the system, making use of actual transnational experiences in need of ICT tools to increment the number and range of participants, the project will create knowledge thematic networks on key European areas for these authorities:
financial opportunities through EU programmes;
implementation of European legislation at regional level;
benchmarking of urban transport solutions among larger cities;
employment policies by Local and Regional Authorities;
local and regional innovation based on ICT; technology watching.
Each information provider or user of the EUSlanD services will become a EUSlanD node. The project results will be disseminated for further exploitation through the ELANET network of CEMR.
The research and demonstration work is tuned over a 24-months timeline, starting January 2000. EUSlanD will produce, however, exploitable results in all the project stages. On the other hand, users groups for the different thematic networks, formed by civil servants and local experts, will guarantee continuous users feedback.
Divided into eight work packages, the project will deliver through its life the following results:
a) by month 4 the user needs shall be better identified to determine the user requirements that the system and service applications forming part of the EUSlanD demonstrator prototype must meet;
b) after twelve months, a first prototype will be ready for evaluation. It will basically contain the system applications: the searching engine for data retrieval and exchange of information, the certification system and other utilities, included a secured payment system;
c) by month 18, the prototype will be completed with all the service applications to support the activities of the knowledge thematic networks previously indicated;
d) a quality assurance master plan and periodical evaluations on the research progress with the participation of the users groups will back up the verification process of the demonstrator prototype in the first part of the year 2001, providing additional feedback for its fine tuning before demonstration;
e) demonstration, in the second half of 2001, will validate the web prototype as well as the information notes of the system, through extensive use by a large number of civil servants and local experts;
f) dissemination on a European scale of project progress and results will be carried out according to a specific plan, mainly through ELANET (CEMR), the European IS network formed by the Associations of Local and Regional governments and their ICT-based service providers.
g) the project will end with a European Symposium leading to full exploitation of the EUSlanD system.
EUSlanD milestones will be reached in month 4, 12, 18 and 24, respectively:
M1: User requirements and the system specifications of the EUSlanD prototype are ready;
M2: The first version of the demonstrator is available;
M3: Demonstrator prototype is finished and technically assessed;
M4: EUSlanD is extensively demonstrated and information on usage and market potentialities is available to support exploitation.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts