EC invests €1.5bn in IT research

The European Commission (EC) has announced funding for research into IT totaling almost €1.5bn

The European Commission (EC) has announced funding for IT research totaling almost €1.5bn.

The cash is part of a larger €8.1bn pot the EC plans to invest in various research projects proposed by businesses and organisations within the European Union (EU), under the umbrella of the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7).

The FP7 brings together all research initiatives into one fund, which the EC says it believes plays a crucial role in reaching the goals of growth, competitiveness and employment for knowledge-based economies.

"Knowledge is the currency of the global economy,” said Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, European research, innovation and science commissioner for the EC. 

“If Europe wants to continue to compete in the 21st century, we must support the research and innovation that will generate growth and jobs, now and in the future.

“The high level of competition for EU funding makes sure that taxpayers' money goes to the best projects that tackle issues that concern all of us."

Which projects the ICT money will be invested in has yet to be revealed, but the EC did say around €365m of the overall fund would go into technologies to transform urban areas into sustainable ‘Smart Cities and Communities’ as well as €1.2bn funding focused entirely on helping SMEs.

There will also be opportunities for research institutions, including universities, to apply to become one of five European Research Area Chairs in less developed areas of the EU. 

The project to appoint and run the five groups will cost €12m.

Most of the approved proposals being awarded funding will be announced tomorrow. However, some additional projects won’t be confirmed until autumn. 

Overall, the EC hopes to help 55,000 researchers by 2013.  

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