ICT permeates just about all areas of everyday life, be it work, leisure time or our interaction with the world around us.
Having started out as a niche discipline, ICT has become a fundamental and integral part of our lives and is now essential in linking the most diverse fields of science and business. This leads to the emergence of new application areas and disciplines at the relevant interfaces such as, for example, links between products or energy supply and informatics (Industry 4.0, smart grids), demographic challenges and informatics (AAL), automotive engineering and informatics (autonomous driving) or medicine, biology and informatics (bioinformatics) to name but a few examples.
Indeed, it is the increasing links between information (usually in the form of data) and communication in particular that are creating new challenges, opportunities and areas of application.
Effective applied research funding monitors and influences such developments and thus provides Austria's enterprises and research institutions with targeted support in their ICT research efforts.
The funding initiative "ICT of the Future" was launched by the Austrian Federal Ministry for Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology (BMK) in 2012 and offers a range of different programmes:
- The national funding programme "ICT of the Future", positioned as newly refocused successor to the "FIT-IT" funding programme, aims to give due consideration to the changing demands to be met by ICT research.
- The EU co-funded programmes "ARTEMIS" and "ENIAC", which were merged into the ECSEL initiative in 2014.
- The transnational funding programme "AAL" and the national funding programme "benefit", which both focus on ways in which ICT can contribute to improving quality of life (particularly for older people).
The ICT of the Future programme focuses on topics in which Austria is particularly strong, such as electronics-based systems, robotics, automated driving, trustworthy Internet of Things, big data, and artificial intelligence. The European Next Generation Internet (NGI) Initiative led to the interactive process for the NGI Scenario Report - The Internet for People 2040 in Austria. Participating experts from a broad spectrum of disciplines thus laid the foundation for the calls that are presented in this brochure.
In the framework of the present project, case studies were conducted in selected enterprises to investigate the specific impact of ENIAC/ARTEMIS/ECSEL projects on technological development and innovation. In the context of the case studies, the direct and indirect effects were identified and the contribution to economic development (growth, employment, securing the location, opening up markets, etc.) was captured.
The following report summarizes the findings of a future scenario process enabled by the Austrian Federal Ministry for Innovation, and Technology in Vienna 2019 focusing on a very human and responsibility centered approach to the potential future.