EU leads investment in Euro future tech

The European Commission (EC) plans to boost the riskiest end of Europe’s future technologies research by doubling research investment at both national- and European Union-levels in that area by 2015. The EC itself will show a lead by increasing the current funding to €170m per year by 2013.

It also aims to launch at least two flagship research initiatives by 2013 that combine efforts across borders and scientific disciplines to achieve breakthroughs – such as in the development of biocomputers. The EC’s actions are also predicated to help young researchers engage in high-risk research, and support research-intensive high-tech SMEs that can turn initial research results into business opportunities.

Cited examples include thought-navigated wheelchairs that interpret brain signals to move, computer technology that models human brain processes information so that it can keep working after partial hardware failure, and a robot called COGNIRON that can learn how to cook by copying human behaviours.

Europe’s investment in ICT research is also lagging behind other regional markets. Although the EU produces around 30 per cent of the world’s scientific knowledge, research in this sector accounts for only 25 per cent of its overall research effort, says to Viviane Reding, commissioner for information society and media, at the launch of the European Future Technologies Conference in Prague last month.
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