Brussels, 28 Nov 2002
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has announced organisational changes aimed at strengthening European research relationships in the field of web technology.
The W3C is moving its European headquarters from the French national institute for research in computer science and control (INRIA) to ERCIM, the European research consortium for informatics and mathematics. The W3C, an international industry consortium committed to ensuring interoperability and global development of the Internet, identifies 'hosts', which are not-for-profit institutions around the world that serve as regional headquarters and provide staffing locations.
When INRIA was selected as the European host in 1995, W3C had 50 members in four countries. But with support from the European Commission and INRIA, membership today exceeds 450 organisations, and W3C has eight offices throughout Europe, seven of which are based at ERCIM institutes.
As Bernard Larrouturou, the President of INRIA, explains: 'INRIA provided the necessary foundations for European involvement in Web infrastructure development, and now we have the opportunity to expand to a new phase. Moving the host to ERCIM [...] will enable us to maintain our strong relationship with W3C while expanding into the boundless resources of a pan-European network of research institutes - benefiting both ERCIM and W3C.'
ERCIM's membership is made up of leading research institutes from 16 countries, each enjoying excellent links to both national and international research communities. All ERCIM members are also active participants in EU research programmes and joint projects with small to medium sized enterprises as well as large industrial companies.
'As a network of IT research centres, ERCIM encompasses over 10,000 researchers,' said Gerard van Oortmerssen, the current ERCIM President. 'W3C will benefit from this reservoir of expertise. For ERCIM, this change brings an opportunity to enhance cooperation on a global scale.'
Tim Berners-Lee, W3C Director and inventor of the World Wide Web, is positive about the changes. 'The Web grows stronger and more useful when there are real commitments to engaging international presence and influence in Web technology development,' he said. 'With the move to ERCIM, there is the potential for considerable growth and synergies of Web technologies across Europe.'