The European Commission has issued a call for proposals after announcing that €780m will be made available for strategic ICT research to drive innovation in 2011.
Delegates at the ICT 2010 Digitally Driven event in Brussels were told that the funding will advance research in a number of key areas, including the internet, robotics, smart systems and energy efficiency.
Nearly €100m will be used for the Future Internet Public-Private-Partnership, addressing demands for innovative internet applications that make 'smarter' infrastructures for health systems, energy grids or traffic management systems.
Over €200m is to be made available to help strengthen Europe's position as a leading supplier of electronic systems and photonic components, while another €200m will be put into research targeting ICT for health and ageing.
The number of Europeans aged over 60 is increasing by about two million a year, according to the Commission, and ICT is essential in helping to create sustainable treatments.
Some €135m is to be invested in ICT research that improves energy efficiency in buildings, transport and logistics, and €120m has been earmarked for networking, digital media and service infrastructure.
Increasing overall investment into ICT research is crucial for the future of the region, but should not come from governments alone, according to Neelie Kroes, European commissioner for the Digital Agenda.
"The EU's support of our world-class researchers must be accompanied by substantial additional investments by the beneficiaries themselves. This research will help Europe's industry to strengthen its competitiveness," she said.
The Commission is committed under the Digital Agenda to maintaining a 20 per cent annual increase in the annual ICT research and development budget until 2013 at the earliest.
Universities, research centres, large and small companies and other organisations in Europe are eligible to apply for project funding under ICT Call 7.
Proposals can be submitted until 18 January 2011, after which they will be evaluated by independent panels of experts.
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