Brussels, 07 May 2004
Global markets confront research and development with new challenges in introducing new technologies, often reflected at a later stage in standardisation activities. A new support action, involving all the recognised European Standards Organisations (ESOs), as well as major international specification providers, aims to improve the interface between research and standardisation.
The European Commission is providing 1.06 million euro for the COPRAS (cooperation platform for research and standards) project as a three-year support action under the information society technologies (IST) priority of the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6). The IST programme targets a number of key areas where research can help European innovation and competitiveness, such as broadband access, eHealth, mobile and wireless communications, and semantic knowledge systems.
The project consortium includes the ESOs - CEN (European Committee for Standardization), ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute), and CENELEC (European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization) - as well as other ICT Standards Board members, The Open Group and World Wide Web Consortium. Currently these bodies also cooperate on standardisation in support of the eEurope initiative.
COPRAS aims to bring together the IST research and eEurope standardisation policy initiatives by surveying FP6 projects for standards-related technologies. 'We are aiming for enhanced coordination between IST projects and standardization, so there is no reinventing the wheel' explained James Boyd, project coordinator and Strategy Manager of CEN/ISSS (Information Society Standardization System).
The project will not develop standards as such, but for each of the selected projects COPRAS intends to develop tailored standardisation action plans, in order to bring new technologies into the standardisation environment. 'Standards offer an opportunity to enhance the status of research projects' results, validating them with a wider consensus,' continued Mr Boyd, 'and furthermore, COPRAS can help projects meet their obligations under FP6 to interface with standardisation.'
The project also aims to provide guidance for future calls under European framework programmes in order to create a harmonised and efficient interface between research projects and standardisation.
'The world of IT [information technology] and communications technologies moves very rapidly, and research and standardisation are closely interlinked,' said Jørgen Friis, member of the COPRAS Steering Group and Deputy Director-General of ETSI, one of the project partners. 'The results of near-market research therefore need to be brought into the standards environment as quickly as possible in order to ensure interoperability.'
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