|2-4 October: Europe's ICT leaders look to "The Opportunities Ahead"|
|"IST 2003: The Opportunities Ahead" (2-4 October, Milan) is the year's most important Information Society event organised by the European Commission to support European ICT industrial competitiveness.
Today, the European Commission unveiled the Conference Programme and Exhibition and announced the 20 Winners of the European IST Prize. Plenary conference sessions will feature contributions from Erkki Liikanen, European Commissioner for the Information Society, Lucio Stanca, Italian Minister for Innovation and Technology and President Roberto Formigoni of the Lombardy Region, as well as leading industry personalities.
In addition to the plenary sessions, over 30 parallel conference workshops will feature top-level speakers from industry, academia and civil society, while the Exhibition will show around 100 state-of-the-art research projects from around Europe.
"Europe is still far from taking full advantage of the possibilities that advanced Information Society Technologies can offer," noted Commissioner Erkki Liikanen. "The annual IST Event is a key milestone to realising these opportunities."
The European IST Prize (EISTP) is the most distinguished award for groundbreaking products, representing the best of European innovation in Information Society Technologies. 420 innovative projects from 28 countries competed for this year's Prize.
20 prize winners were announced this morning by EUROCASE(1), which runs the competition with the support of the Information Society Technologies programme. All 20 Winners will exhibit at "IST 2003: The Opportunities Ahead", where three of them will be awarded the Grand Prize, worth 200,000 euros each.
The Winners will be joined at the IST 2003 Exhibition by around 75 other research projects, all of whom were selected from a Call for Exhibition Ideas, run by the Commission (Directorate General Information Society), earlier this year. The Conference programme was also developed via a Call for Ideas, while the Call for Networking Ideas opens today, allowing Europe's ICT community to propose and debate topics of common interest on-line and organise meetings at the event itself.
Together, the conference workshops and exhibits announced today amply illustrate the main theme for the event: 'The Opportunities Ahead'. There is a particular focus on five areas: SMEs, broadband and wireless applications, the "NanoWorld", advanced interfaces and machine cognition, and harnessing computing and knowledge resources, which involves Grids, P2P and the next generation Internet.
Apart from the plenary and parallel conference workshops, the conference programme also features Information Sessions on the IST priority in 6th Framework Programme and workshops on venture capital, particularly for SMEs. These are organised by the European Investment Forum, which is meeting earlier that week in Milan.
IST 2003 is organised within the framework of the Italian EU Presidency by the Commission's Directorate-General Information Society, the Italian Ministry of Technology and Innovation and the Lombardy region. It will address European policies, strategies and research activities in all areas of the Information Society and will be held in partnership with SMAU, one of the largest events in Europe in the ICT sector.
Marseilles,06 30 2003
European Union Redaction