Information Society Technologies (IST): a user-friendly information society [Archived]

The IST 2004 event took place from 15-17 November 2004 in The Hague (Netherlands) under the theme “People and the economy”.  IST 2004 consisted of conferences and exhibitions and provided ICT professionals with networking opportunities.

From 15-17 November 2004, the IST 2004 event took place in The Hague (Netherlands). Under the theme "people and the economy", the 2004 event consisted of conferences and exhibitions - including the IST prize event - and provided ICT professionals with networking opportunities.

Information Society Technologies (IST) are a key priority under the EU's Sixth Framework Programme (FP6) for research, which serves as the financial instrument to strengthen the European Research Area (ERA). IST was also one of the major tools of the e-Europe 2005 Action Plan which aims to bring citizens, businesses and administrations into the digital age. In i2010, the follow-up to e-Europe 2005, the term Information Society Technologies has been replaced by Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). 

The IST programme is meant as a single, integrated research programme that builds on the convergence of information processing, communications and media technologies. IST has an indicative budget of 3.6 billion euros, and is managed by the Information Society Directorate General of the European Commission, with the assistance of the IST Advisory Group (ISTAG), which consists of representatives of each member state and of each EU associated country.

The programme has four inter-related strategic objectives which are considered essential to realise the IST objectives of FP6:

  • To reinforce European strengths in areas where it has established industrial and technology leadership. This is the case for example in mobile and wireless communications, microelectronics and microsystems embedded systems, and applied IST for health, transport and business support tools.
  • To overcome weaknesses in areas which are critical for European competitiveness and for addressing challenges faced by society. This is the case for the areas of generic software and computing systems, and in content development tools.
  • To exploit new opportunities and respond to emerging needs. Examples include advanced interaction techniques, new sensors and Microsystems, context-aware knowledge handling and Grid-based systems to solve complex problems in the areas of environment, health or engineering.
  • To ensure the co-evolution of technology and applications so that technology advances are exploitable in innovative products and services. Particular attention will be paid to users' needs and to usability and accessibility of technologies and applications.   

Research activities are eligible for funding under these objectives with specific calls for proposals issued for IST projects.

As part of the effort to strengthen the foundations of the European Research Area (ERA), a programme was launched to achieve co-ordination of national ICT programmes with each other and with European RTD programmes. Called CISTRANA (Coordination of IST Research and National Activities), the programme is designed to pave the way for interconnected transnational research by establishing mechanisms to co-ordinate activities.

  • The IST 2004 event closed with submission proposals for the IST 2005-2006 work programme. 
  • Preparations are currently underway for the next generation of IST projects to be funded under the 7th Framework Programme for research (FP7) due to begin in 2007.
  • The next IST event will most likely take place at the end of 2006 in Helsinki, Finland. 

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