EU invites tech firms to bid for research cash

The European Commission is to invite technology companies to bid for parts of its €3.6bn (£2.28bn) information society...

The European Commission is to invite technology companies to bid for parts of its €3.6bn (£2.28bn) information society technology research budget for 2002-2006.

The Commission will display all calls for tenders from 17 December onwards on its Web site at www.cordis.lu/fp6/.

The budget covers a wide range of IT areas including communication and network technologies; software technologies; micro, nano and optoelectronics; microsystems; knowledge technologies, and digital content.

The new budget, part of a €17.5bn research budget known as the Sixth Framework Programme, will place a greater emphasis on projects that develop content, said Per Haugaard, commission spokesman on technology matters.

Content is what draws people to the new technologies, such as third generation (3G) mobile phone services, Haugaard said. "Helping develop it is important for ensuring demand for future services."

The IT budget is an important tool for the EU to ensure that its industries remain competitive in the future, according to Haugaard. "Especially now, during difficult times, it is important to remain focused on research and development."

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