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ITEA programme to strengthen European software competence gets EUREKA label

EUREKA Ministerial Conference, Istanbul, 29 June 1999

Major 8-year cluster project addresses the strategic challenges faced by European ICT industries

 

ITEA, the Information Technology for European Advancement programme, focusing on the development of European IT, software and software engineering competencies, has received the EUREKA label. This status was confirmed by the Eureka Ministerial Conference at its meeting in Istanbul on June 29, 1999.

 

ITEA is a major 8-year cluster project that addresses the strategic challenges faced by the European ICT (Information and Communication Technology) industries in closing the gap with other regions, most notably the USA. Reversing this trend and closing the ‘software gap’ is of vital importance for the development of the entire European industry. This is because of the strategic importance of software as a raw material, and its role in mastering the complex capabilities of digital systems. Software is the key to extending the functionality of hardware and determines the major part of added value of products and systems.

 

Focus on software-intensive systems

The ITEA project was initiated by nine leading companies in the IT, electronics and related fields: Alcatel, Bosch, Bull, DaimlerChrysler, Italtel, Nokia, Philips, Siemens and Thomson, later joined by Barco. The programme focuses on software, in particular in software-intensive systems. Based on the so-called ITEA Rainbow Book, which defines several relevant technical competencies for software-intensive systems, the ITEA organisation already started a series of open calls for proposals in November 1998, the first of which was recently completed.

 

The ITEA programme is being set up at a time when the digital revolution is creating enormous expectations among users. This revolution is setting completely new challenges for the ICT industries. For example, the Internet is driving new services for e-commerce, education etc. Software is the change agent in this revolution. In the future, the functionality of electronic devices may be changed by network-enabled updating. This places a premium on speed of development and methods, and at the same time makes it is imperative to retain control of the performance and reliability of systems and devices.

 

Accelerating innovation processes

Mastering the complexity and efficiency of developing, maintaining and supporting software is essential if a strong European industrial base is to be maintained. ITEA is expected to enable the European strongholds in software technology to accelerate their innovation processes. Strategic co-operation in pre-competitive R&D contributes to the creation of critical mass in early identification of new opportunities and the building of cross-industry relations among small, medium and large companies alike. ITEA will provide the framework for a common approach to software-intensive functionalities and the underlying software technologies. Examples of recently proposed projects are:

Creating synergies between enterprises

At European level, ITEA will contribute to the creation of synergies among small and medium enterprises, and between these and larger enterprises. It should enable companies to reverse the deficit in Europe’s trade balance in IT products, notably software. At development level, ITEA supports all types of standardisation efforts which fall within its scope and in which its partners are engaged. In its current projects, it is already aiming at recovering a leading role in Internet applications and in network enabled access of European cultural heritage.

 

Currently, ITEA projects are attracting interest from France, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Finland, Spain, Austria and others. More countries are expected to join as subsequent calls for proposals are issued. ITEA has a web site, which allows interested companies, universities and other research institutes to access all the necessary information for submitting proposals.

 

At its recent Board meeting of June 16 in Amsterdam, ITEA labeled 18 projects from the first call, totaling 2500 person years, involving 43 SMEs, 14 other industries, 51 public research institutes/universities in 14 different countries. The second call opens July 1, 1999. This call will be brought to the attention of all potential participants in the Eureka countries through focused publicity, the web site and a proposal preparation meeting.

 

Further information:

 

Vincent Evers
ITEA Office Director
[email protected]
Tel: +31 40 2733368
www.itea-office.org