The European Commission on Tuesday unveiled a strategy to boost high-risk research into future information and communication technologies (ICT) by doubling research investment at national and European Union (EU) levels by 2015.
The Commission, the executive body of the EU, will increase the current funding of 100 million euros (130 million U.S. dollars) per year by 70 percent by 2013. It called on EU member states to double their investment in high-risk ICT research by 2015, and to join research efforts between national and EU programs.
The envisaged future research projects include a thought-navigated wheelchair that interprets brain signals to move; computer technology that copies the way the brain processes information so that it can continue to work even when parts of its hardware fail; and more secure computers that can function faster than light speed and process unlimited amounts of information thanks to the first breakthrough of quantum technology research.
"Europe must be inventive and bold -- especially in times of crisis. Research seeds innovation which is key for Europe's long-term global competitiveness. Scientific and revolutionary breakthroughs constitute enormous opportunities and we must bring the best brains together to make the most of them," said Viviane Reding, EU commissioner for information society and media.
Europe's investment in ICT research is lagging behind other regions, such as the United States and Japan. Although the EU produces almost one third of the world's scientific knowledge, research in this sector accounts for only a quarter of its overall research effort.