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European Technology Platforms for Information and Communication Technologies: Frequently Asked Questions

What are European technology platforms?

European Technology Platforms (ETPs) help industrial and academic research communities in specific technology fields to co-ordinate their research and tailor it to a common “strategic research agenda” (SRA), which sets out R&D goals, time frames and action plans for technological advances that are relevant to industry and society.

Strategic research agendas typically seek to overcome barriers to the development, deployment and use of new technologies. These barriers may have to do with, for example, how research is organised, outdated regulations, lack of common technical standards or a need for new ones, lack of funding, disinclination to accept new technologies, or a shortage of skills and training.

ETP stakeholders agree to support their strategic research agenda financially and to monitor its implementation. In the Commission’s view, each ETP should represent all major stakeholders, including small and medium-sized firms, provided that they are willing to pool their knowledge and resources and possess the requisite R&D expertise.

What do ETPs do for industry and academia?

For industry and academia, ETPs can help to:

build partnerships to share risk, pool resources, and compete worldwide,
speed up innovation, thanks to knowledge and experience sharing, and
build consensus around technology development strategies and other measures needed to turn research results into marketable products.
What do ETPs do for the European Commission?

For the European Commission, ETPs can help to:

improve the return on public and private research investment, boost industry’s competitiveness and meet society’s needs,
boost research investment in Europe, and
develop common approaches to accelerate technological progress and take-up of new technologies.
What does the European Commission do for ETPs?

The European Commission can help ETPs by:

providing advice and guidance, e.g. on the European dimension of their work,
drawing the ETP stakeholders’ attention to relevant EU-funded research programmes and policy frameworks, and
helping to establish appropriate links between ETPs and relevant national R&D programmes in the EU Member States.
What does the European Commission NOT do for ETPs?

The European Commission does not:

set up ETPs specifically to advise it. The Commission is not bound by ETPs’ decisions or recommendations, but it does consider them, along with other inputs to policy-making,
“earmark” EU research budgets for ETP members. A research projects that supports ETP aims must be submitted for EU research funding in just the same way as any other. It will be evaluated in the same way, and if selected, will be co-funded by the Commission, in the same way as any other research project, or
give ETPs any form of “privileged access” to the European Community budget.
How does the European Commission assess a would-be ETP?

To assess whether a proposed ETP could add value, the Commission must assess whether:

key stakeholders proposing an ETP in a given, clearly-defined, field are prepared to pool their resources to achieve common goals,
there are clear benefits to be had from structuring and co-ordinating a research effort and from linking research with regulation or deployment measures. This would include, for example, a need for consensus-building around technical standards, and
Commission help is really needed to foster co-ordination and structuring. There are areas where a research community is “self-organizing”, and Commission intervention would not add any real value. In the view of the Commission’s Directorate General for Information Society and Media, ETPs are needed only in exceptional cases, and should not become commonplace.
European Technology Platforms (ETPs) for
Information and Communication Technologies

ETP Aims Expected benefits Launched Founding Members
European Robotics Platform
(EUROP) Boost the development of robotic businesses within Europe and bring the benefits of capable robot services to European citizens. Firms: maintain Europe’s leadership in industrial robotics and expand it into the emerging service and security markets as well as to the space market through modularisation and standardisation.
Citizens: assistive technologies for a better quality of life, improved security, and intervention in hostile and dangerous environments. 07/10/05 KUKA, ABB, COMAU, Philips, Finmeccanica, SAFRAN, EADS, Thales, INDRA, Dassault Aviation, BAE Systems, Electrolux, Zenon, RURobots, OCRobotics, Qinetiq, CEA, Fraunhofer
Networked European Software and Services Initiative (NESSI) Develop new software and electronic services architecture, based on open standards. Firms: more flexible business models, easier to develop services
Citizens: wider range of services, easier to use, greater privacy and safety. 07/09/05 Atos Origin, British Telecom, Engineering Ingegneria Informatica S.p.A., IBM, HP, Nokia, ObjectWeb, SAP AG, Siemens, Software AG, Telecom Italia S.p.A., Telefónica.
Networked and electronic media platform
(NEM) Accelerate the pace of innovation and convergence of the audiovisual, content and telecoms sectors. Firms: increased competitiveness, more coherent regulation and standardisation policies worldwide.
Citizens: personalised services combining various media, to improve quality, enjoyment and value. 29/07/05 Alcatel, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), France Telecom, Intel, Nokia, Philips, Telefónica and Thomson.


Mobile and wireless communications technology (eMobility) Reinforce Europe’s world leadership in mobile and wireless communications and services. Firms: sustain world lead in mobile communication technologies.
Citizens: secure, easy-to-use, “always with you” services, e.g. mobile access to the web. 18/03/05 Alcatel, Deutsche Telekom , Ericsson, France Telecom, Hutchison 3G Europe, Lucent Technologies, Motorola, Nokia, Philips, Siemens, STMicroelectronics, Telecom Italia Mobile, Telefónica Móviles España, Thales Communications, and Vodafone.
European Nanoelectronics Initiative Advisory Council
(ENIAC) Master the transition to nano-scale devices, serve the future needs of European society, increase high-skilled employment, strengthen competitiveness of European industry, and secure global leadership in high-tech research. Firms: coordinated research and use of infrastructures to keep pace with technological developments
Citizens: leading-edge components enabling higher quality of life and reduced costs/function. 29/06/04 Aixtron, AMD, ARM, ASML, Bosch, CEA/CNRS, CSEM, Fraunhofer, Freescale, IBM, IMEC, Infineon, MEDEA+, NMRC, Nokia, Philips, STMicroelectronics, Thales, Unaxis, VTT
Advanced R&D on Embedded Intelligent Systems
(ARTEMIS) Sustain Europe’s world lead in embedded computing and electronic technologies, e.g. for aerospace, automotive, communications and consumer electronics. Firms: industry standards to ensure that systems developed by different vendors can work together.
Citizens: reliability, security and quality of service. 28/06/04 ABB, Airbus Industrie, ARM, AVL, BT, Continental Teves, Catalonia Technical University, Daimler Chrysler, Ericsson, Fraunhofer Institute, High Tech SME Federation, IMEC, ITEA, Medeaplus Nokia, Parades, Philips, Robert Bosch, ST Microelectronics, Symbian, Siemens, Telenor, Thales, Verimag, and Technical University of Vienna.

Pierre Perrin-Monlouis
Pierre Perrin-Monlouis
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