Commission grants €78 million to tailor grid technology and services to EU business needs

Brussels, 18 September 2006

The European Commission will launch tomorrow in Brussels 23 new research projects on "Grid" technologies with a total EU funding of €78 million. Grid technologies work by linking up thousands of computers and devices dynamically, to provide information processing power on demand, and more flexibly and cheaply than ever before. For several years already, EU-funded research in this area has been helping European industry to deliver high quality, competitive goods and services in, the automotive, aeronautics, financial, pharmaceutical and media sectors.

“Grid and service-oriented architectures are crucial enabling technologies for economy-wide productivity and growth", said Information Society and Media Commissioner Viviane Reding. “They will make today's information and communication technology infrastructures more flexible and agile, enabling businesses to adapt and innovate faster. Grid technologies, for example, enable competing manufacturers with common suppliers to develop fully integrated engineering environments that protect the commercial interests of all parties and boost their collective competitiveness. This is why I intend to earmark substantial EU funding for research in this field also in the future.”

Grids provide the backbone for new services that enable individuals and firms to generate, share and process knowledge for decision making, define and execute complex business operations, and cooperate via networks that are more secure than today's internet. A practical application of grid technologies is the automotive industry. For example, carmaker AUDI is deploying grid prototypes for computer-aided design, engineering and testing, as part of the EU-funded SIMDAT project launched in 2004. This application enables manufacturers and suppliers in different countries and locations to exploit data for instantaneous sharing of knowledge, and to optimise workflows within networked, "virtual" enterprises. As parts suppliers work with several manufacturers, other car manufacturers will have a strong incentive to join in, boosting the overall competitiveness of Europe's carmakers.

In view of the industrial importance of GRID, the Commission is launching this week a “new wave” of grid projects with substantial EU funding. An EU contribution of around €36 million is going to three of the new research projects on grid technologies:

  • The first of these projects, BEinGRID (EU contribution: €15.7 million), will run eighteen business experiments to test and accelerate the take-up of Grids in a range of European business sectors (entertainment, financial, industrial, chemistry, retail, textiles, etc). Thereafter, innovative grid service components and best practices will be created to help European businesses to take advantage of these technologies and services.
  • The second project, XtreemOS (EU contribution: €14.2 million), will extend the open source operating system Linux with Grid services and support for virtual organisations. Building on the popularity of Linux, XtreemOS will strengthen Europe’s competitiveness in operating systems, which are in an increasingly strategic sector for the entire information and communication technology market.
  • The third project, BREIN (EU contribution: €6.6 million), will adapt and deliver Grid technologies from academic environments to support critical applications for logistics management at airports.

Together with 20 smaller projects also now being launched, these three projects bring together about three hundred participants from academia and industry. Many of the more than 100 industrial participants are members of NESSI , the European Technology Platform on software, services, Grids and security (on Technology Platforms, see MEMO/06/331 ).

The 23 new research projects on grid technologies are funded under the EU’s sixth Research Framework Programme (FP6, 2002-2006), and build on the results of a “first wave” of research projects already under way, to which the EU made a contribution of €52 million (see IP/04/1072 ). Altogether, between 2002 and 2006, the European Commission has invested, about €130 million in Grid research and €250 million in Grid deployment, including an upgrade of GÉANT, Europe's high-speed electronic research network (see IP/05/722 ). Because of its importance in particular for making industry processes more efficient, research into grids will continue to receive substantial support under the EU’s seventh Research Framework Programme (FP7, 2007-2013).

Note for journalists:

The public launch event for the new “wave” of EU-funded Grid research projects will be hosted by the European Commission on 19 September 2006, starting at 09.30h, in the Charlemagne building, Rue de la Loi, Brussels. Journalists are welcome.
More information and event registration:

Item source: IP/06/1201 Date: 18/09/2006

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