Director of Eutema Technology Management GmbH and a Member of the Foresight Methodology Team within the Project

- Would you tell our audience about your expertise and experience in scientific research and in the ICT sector?

By training, I am a computer scientist with a special background in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Robotics. I have done research at the Austrian Research Institute of Artificial Intelligence and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) AI laboratory in the US. For more than 10 years I have been working in strategic research and technology management, most of the time with a focus on international collaboration.

- As a programme manager of the FIT-IT research program and in many other projects with a similar focus, which new technology segments would you define as key factors for the future development of information technologies in the European Union and in particular - in Central and Eastern Europe?

It is hardly possible to select a single such factor. In the past – but perhaps also in the coming years – major factors have been the component shrinkage in size at falling costs per MByte and MFLOP. At the same time, we have seen a massive increase in system interconnection, be it through the Internet or a range of wireless components. And a third factor is the social networking aspect that drives applications and technology in many areas. As a result, there has been an enormous interest in Embedded Systems, but also in mobile technologies and new hardware.

- You have years of experience in the study of artificial intelligence at the Austrian Research Institute and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). How do you see the future of research in this area in the European Union?

AI is a strange beast. Many people believe that it still does not really work. But the reality is that many results of AI research have hit the market. Many people make use of lawn-mowing robots, language translation systems and speech recognition every day. In some cases, we do not even recognise these systems as being Artificial Intelligence any more. And there is also increased use of recommender systems, agent-based systems and other solutions implementing many results of Artificial Intelligence research of the past decade. We will see more of this with increasing computing power in mobile systems and improved Internet connections as well as falling component costs.

- In what areas does the SEE region have the best chances for competing the U.S., China, Latin America and other emerging regional markets?

There are obviously some good opportunities in the area of multi-language technologies, but also such related to specific European strengths as Embedded Systems. Some education systems are of excellent quality, for example in more mathematical areas and analogue technologies.

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   In Focus: FORSEE Partner Organizations

Information Society Directorate within the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport is responsible for promotion and support for sustainable development of information society in Slovenia focusing both on building broadband infrastructure on one side and enabling research, development, innovation and uptake of Internet-based and other ICT-enabled services on the other. The Directorate works closely within the EU framework in support of ICT and information society, specifically covering Digital Agenda for Europe and related activities. Within the area of Research, Development and Innovation, the Directorate cooperates with different ministries in shaping the overall national strategies and programmes.

In the past years, Information Society Directorate has been actively involved in establishment of the National Technology Platforms (NTP) in the ICT area, together with preparation of the National long-term Strategic research agendas in 4 established NTPs. At the policy level, the Directorate was responsible for devising national strategies for information society (2003, 2007), that included Research, Development and Innovation policy priorities in ICT, according to which specific instruments of ICT support have been devised, based on the national and EU structural funds. With recent re-organisation of the Government in 2012, the Directorate has been incorporated in the newly established Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports that enables further integration of ICT priorities with other cultural, educational and research frameworks in support of more coherent ICT innovation diffusion lifecycle.

The Faculty of Economics (FELU) was established in 1946 and forms an integral part of the University of Ljubljana. The University of Ljubljana is a public institution and the largest university in Slovenia, while the Faculty of Economics is one of the largest schools within the University. It is the leading higher-education institution in business and economics in Slovenia with a well-established brand in Europe and worldwide. The highest standards of quality are of paramount importance to the FELU and, in 2006, it was the first business school in the SE European region with EQUIS accreditation. The FELU was EQUIS re-accredited in 2009. Since 2010, the FELU is both EQUIS and AACSB accredited, the first in the Central and Eastern Europe.

The FELU is both a national leader and an internationally recognised academic and research institution in the fields of business and economics. It strives to become a world known for the quality of its academic programmes and achievements in education and research. FELU has 2 undergraduate programmes that offer 12 areas of specialization for students, including two areas of specialization in English language; 15 graduate programmes, including 13 programmes offered in English language and 3 programmes conducted at FELU´s campuses abroad; PhD programme in English.

 

The National Open Consultation events are a milestone in the Regional Foresight process and have been implemented in each of the eight partner countries. The goal of the Open Consultations is to provide stakeholders and interested parties the opportunity to gain insight into the foresight methodology, through discussions based on the thematic SWOT analyses – the current state of the selected ICT themes, and ponder future-oriented questions together with likeminded experts from academia, industry, public policy, and civil society.
The results of the National Open Consultation will serve as an input to the Regional Open Consultation event that takes place in Ljubljana, Slovenia, in January 2013 (see forthcoming events) and will be focused on the SEE regional view.

National ICT RTD Foresight Open Consultation event - Montenegro (November 16th, 2012)

The University of Montenegro organised the National Open Consultation event on November 16th, 2012 in the Rectorate of the University of Montenegro, Podgorica, Montenegro.
The National OC presented the thematic SWOT analysis developed under the project on ICT RDI topics of great significance to regional, social and economic development, as e-Government and Digital Content. This event included a plenary session for all participants, two parallel sessions for research areas of e-Government and Digital Content, and a final wrap up and closing session.
The National Open Consultation has been attended by relevant ICT participants from government institutions, academia, ICT companies and civil society in Montenegro. The event provided an opportunity for ICT stakeholders to initiate a discussion about inclusiveness and authenticity of provided analysis and also on issues related to the specific research areas.

National ICT RTD Foresight Open Consultation event – Romania (November 27th, 2012)

The event was organised by the FORSEE Romanian partner – the National Institute for Research and Development in Informatics Bucharest, on November 27th, 2012. According to the project methodology, the main objectives on the agenda were to discuss the SWOT analysis documents for three priority thematic domains – e-Government, e-Health and Digital Content – and to facilitate a brainstorming on domain specific futureoriented paths.
The attendees represented relevant stakeholder target groups: RTD policy makers, academia (universities, research institutes), ICT industry (SMEs, large companies), and other organisations.
By thematic domain the distribution was the following: 50% represented e-Health domain, 30% - e-Government and 20% - Digital Content.

National ICT RTD Foresight Open Consultation event – Austria (December 12th, 2012)

The Austrian Open Consultation event took place on December 12th, 2012. It was organised by the Centre for Social Innovation and brought together representatives from each stakeholder group, i.e. from academia, industry, public policy, as well as civil society.

The event was the first opportunity to introduce the FORSEE foresight process to a wider audience. Based on the event evaluation results, the interest raised, and the output produced in the thematic break-out sessions, the Austrian Open Consultation can be considered a success.
The event output will be further refined through an online consultation that will address a higher number of national experts to eventually enrich the discussions at the Regional Open Consultation event in January 2013.

National ICT RTD Foresight Open Consultation event – Greece (December 14th, 2012)

Potential images of the future in e-Health, Digital content and e-Government for Greece and the region of South-East Europe were discussed during the Greek Open Consultation (OC) event organised in Thessaloniki, Greece, by the University of Patras, the University of Macedonia> and the Industrial Systems Institute, on December 14th, 2012.
More than 50 representatives from the academic sector, industry, government, regional authorities, other policy making organisations and NGOs actively participated in the three thematic parallel sessions. The sessions were facilitated by experts in the relevant ICT fields with expertise in foresight exercises. During those sessions the participants offered valuable input towards a) the evaluation of the work that has been undertaken in the FORSEE project regarding the description of the current situation in e-Health, Digital content and e-Government, b) the evaluation of the foresight methodology that will be applied throughout the project and c) future oriented questions that will in turn support the project to shape the possible images of the futures in the related ICT fields on a South-East European level.

National ICT RTD Foresight Open Consultation event – Bulgaria (December 14th, 2012)

How do we imagine the future of e-Health, Digital Content and e-Government, which technologies and social phenomena will influence their development and how it will reflect on the social life – these were part of the questions which were discussed during the National Open Consultation event on December 14th, 2012 in Sofia, Bulgaria. Organisers of the event were the Ministry of Education, Youth and Science (MEYS) and the Bulgarian Association of Software Companies (BASSCOM).
The Bulgarian National Open Consultation event gathered more than 50 representatives from the public administration, academia, business and other experts interested in the discussed themes. Three thematic SWOT analyses developed under the project on the following themes - e-Health, Digital Content and e-Government were presented during the event. There was a fruitful discussion in all of the three parallel sessions where the analyses were introduced in detail. Among the important points raised were how the level of countries with well-developed and functioning e-Government such as Estonia can be reached; tendencies as the expected substitution of personal computers with new devices – which is relevant to the need of more services for mobile interfaces etc.

National ICT RTD Foresight Open Consultation event – Hungary (December 14th, 2012)

The Hungarian NOC took place on December 14th, 2012, at the Jakobinus Room of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in Budapest, Hungary. The organisers invited more then 60 people, 25 from whom took part at the event. Practically, all the participants were members of the professional elites in the ICT society, representing major policy traditions, research sites, public stakeholders and universities.

Following the Regional Foresight Methodology, the project team in collaboration with external experts created a SWOT analysis for each of seven selected ICT themes. Three themes were selected for the National Open Consultation events, based on the SWOT analyses as a result of an online assessment by experts from the region and having in mind the potential impact on society:

  • ICT for Health
  • e-Government
  • Digital Content, Languages, and Culture

The Open Consultation events were organised according to the carefully crafted Open Consultation Guidelines that were in turn informed by the Good Practice Guide on the Regional Foresight compiled earlier this year. Readers can find out more about the FORSEE foresight process in the Green Paper that is made available.

 

On November 24-25, 2012, the Industrial Systems Institute/RC Athena (ISI) participated in the “Forum Anaptixis 2012”, a multi-themed event held annually in Patras, Greece that includes conferences, special sessions, and a two-day exhibition with participation and visitors from all academic, government, NGO, business, and industry actors from the whole Patras and the broader Western Greece area.

The event provided a first-class opportunity to raise awareness about the FORSEE project and invite stakeholders from all sectors of the economy to the National Open Consultation in Thessaloniki, Greece on December 14th, 2012.


ISI organised a well-attended 1-hour special session entitled “Promoting Innovation Policies” on the first day of the event, in which the FORSEE project was presented in detail. During both days, the booth of the ISI in the exhibition area promoted the FORSEE project, distributed project brochures, and made all interested parties acquainted with the development of the FORSEE project.

On December 3-4, 2012 in Geneva, Switzerland, the WHO Forum on Health Data Standardisation and Interoperability was held. Interoperability has been recognised as an essential for achieving full potential of information and communication technologies (ICTs) and medical devices in support of health systems as a part of the overall socioeconomic development of countries. The e-Health unit within the Department of Knowledge Management and Sharing at the World Health Organization has been leading this work in collaboration with technical programmes and member states to advance the appropriate use of ICTs to deliver quality of health services, reduce cost and achieve universal health coverage.

More information about the event can be found here

On December 3-4, 2012 in Nicosia, Cyprus, the European e-Government Conference was held. The purpose of the event was to discuss and exchange ideas/experiences on how to empower European citizens and businesses to improve their mobility across Europe. Discussions were also focused on the Governments´ transformation for better efficiency, productivity and for pushing economic growth in the difficult global times. The event was organised within the Cyprus Presidency of the Council of EU.

More information about the event can be found here

 

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