For two days, Florence will serve as Europe’s ICT capital. Indeed, approximately 3,000 information & communication technology stakeholders are expected at the ICT Proposer’s Day, scheduled to take place on October 9th and 10th. The convention represents a key step in analyzing the opportunities offered by the 2015 tenders by Horizon 2020, the European Commission’s instrument to support research and innovation in the 2014-20 period. The event – organized by the European Commission in collaboration with the Italian Presidency at the EU, the Region of Tuscany, and the Municipality and University of Florence – will see the participation of representatives from political institutions, researchers, start ups, and international investors and entrepreneurs: this will therefore create an appropriate context for partnerships and collaborative networks geared towards the development of information technology initiatives.

The primary focus will be on themes prioritized by the European program and on tools to obtain financing. Therefore, the ICT Proposer’s Day will include informational sessions on the presentation of proposals and projects for the various tenders, stands where European Commission officials will discuss in depth the research and innovation themes that are pivotal to the 2015 work program, meetings where some of the projects will be presented by the creators. Horizon 2020’s first ICT work program is comprised of six guidelines: a new generation of components and systems, advanced computing, future internet, content technologies and information management, robotics, micro-and nano-electronic technologies, and photonics.

According to statistics and forecasts provided by the European Commission itself, the ICT sector currently represents approximately 4.8% of Europe’s economy and attracts 25% of total R&D expenditures. The EU Commission estimates that investments in ICT will account for 50% of the overall productive growth. The Horizon 2020 programs rests on three hinges for the development in this sector. The first is the “science of excellence”, targeted to finance projects and support researchers – specifically in the field of the so-called emerging or future technologies. The second is “industrial leadership”: the incentive for large investments in some key industrial technologies, and encouraging a more structured R&D activity in companies. The third is constituted by “social challenges”: innovation projects in the fields of health, food safety, safe energy and intelligent transportation. Contributors to the Horizon 2020 have indicated a budget of nearly €80 billion. 

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