Microsoft' s European Microsoft Innovation Centre (EMIC), based in Aachen, opens officially today.
EMIC, which was first announced in early 2003, will focus on collaborative research with other technology companies and also with local academic institutions. The centre's staff will take part in research projects sponsored by the European Commission and European national governments.
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Microsoft said the centre was set up partly in response to the commission’s call for private investment to help Europe achieve the "Lisbon agenda" - to become the most competitive knowledge-based economy in the world by 2010.
The centre was due to open last May, but Microsoft chief executive for Europe, Middle East and Africa admitted that collaboration with other European companies, universities and research institutions took time.
"You start bidding for an EU project and it takes six to nine months for a response. And it also takes time to set up the team. The time has been well used," he said.
Microsoft already has centres in Cambridge, Copenhagen and one at its Redmond headquarters.
"It's another dimension of research and development, said Courtois. "EMIC is doing applied research. It's using existing technology and the results will be seen sooner than in the other centres, in two or three years."
Gillian Law writes for IDG News Service