18.03.2010 [News]

Research priorities for Belarus-EU cooperation in ICT for 2010 - 2015 defined

Up to now, there has been no formulated EU ICT research policy for the EECA region for the period 2010-2015. The EXTEND project of the FP7, “Extending ICT research co-operation between the European Union, Eastern Europe and the Southern Caucasus”, http://www.extend-ict.eu/, aims to contribute to the shaping of EU ICT research policy in the region, in a way that meets the interests and actual needs of regional ICT stakeholders.

Within the framework of a broad policy dialogue with EECA stakeholders in ICT for enhancing R&D cooperation and shaping the EU policy in the region the first Consultation Workshop aimed at defining the country’s research priorities for cooperation with EU was held in Belarus on 11 March 2010. It’s one of the 6 events to be organized in Eastern Europe and Southern Caucasus between March and July 2010 within the EXTEND project.

The Workshop was organized by Belarusian Institute of System Analysis and Information Support of Scientific and Technical Sphere (BelISA), EXTEND partner in Belarus with a support of the project consortium. It was moderated by Dr. Tatyana Lyadnova, ICT NCP, Belarus and Dr. Raphael Koumeri, EXTEND Coordinator, PLANET S.A., Greece. Dr. Vlassios Venner, DG Information Society and Media has welcomed participants on behalf of the European Commission.

Actually, the ICT policy consultations have been divided into 2 parts. At the first phase, the national experts were invited to fill in the questionnaire in order to get their opinion on the current Belarusian priorities in ICT within the areas included in FP7 ICT Programme, and also about the future prospective areas for 2010-2015 against such criteria as an existing potential to support the national ICT industry, private sector and SMEs, increase the effectiveness of public administration and meet actual development needs of the public sector, meet the key social needs, etc.

Of 45 experts to whom the questionnaire was sent 29 have replied. Their answers have been summarized and analyzed by BelISA by the Consultation Workshop which has actually become the second phase of the consultation process. The results of the analysis and preliminary conclusions on the list of top-8 future Belarus – EU ICT priority areas have been presented at the meeting by Olga Meerovskaya, FP7 National Coordinator, BelISA. Their ranking is the following:

  1. Computing Systems
  2. Personal Health Systems
  3. Internet of Services, Software & Virtualization
  4. Nanoelectronics Technology
  5. ICT for Governance and Policy Modeling
  6. Cognitive Systems and Robotics
  7. Digital libraries and digital preservation
  8. ICT for Patient Safety

This report has kick-started the discussion on the findings which was followed-up by the verification procedure (according to the methodology proposed by EXTEND), introduction of amendments in the preliminary list of priorities and, finally, its approval.

At the Workshop, over 25 national ICT stakeholders and top-researchers took part. They represented R&D organizations, universities, governmental bodies, private companies and ICT associations. Most of them were those who took part at the first phase of the prioritizing exercise. The experts confirmed that the preliminary list of priorities reflects, in general, the national R&D strengths.  Discussion was very fruitful. Lots of valuable comments, justifications and proposals have been provided.

As a result of the verification process, some slight changes in the ranking took place, e.g. Nanoelectronics Technology moved up while the rank of Personal Health Systems became lower.

Finally, it was agreed by the majority of participants to enlarge the list with 2 additional areas – 

    9.   Design of Semiconductor Components and Electronic-based Miniaturized Systems
    10. Photonics

According to the preliminary analysis, their ranking was rather high but not enough to include them in the list. The experts have voted for them because of high potential to support the ICT industry in Belarus, including SMEs.
The results of the Workshop will be included in the Policy Paper “Recommendations for shaping ICT research co-operation between the EU, Eastern Europe and the Southern Caucasus for the period 2010-2015”.

The ICT recommendations are intended to contribute to the shaping of future EU-EECA R&D co-operation, through relevant EC research policies and funding programmes (e.g. FP7 ICT work-programmes, input for the next calls for proposals of the ICT theme of the FP7).

Presentations and photos of the Consultation Workshop, as well as the short report in Russian are available at:
http://fp7-nip.org.by/ru/6rp/news/Sem_EXTEND_11_03.html.

Source: Olga Meerovskaya, BelISA, 17 March 2010