Supporting the development of the information society is taking on more and more importance in both European and Belgian economic and social recovery policies.
The ‘eEurope - an Information Society for All’ initiative that was officialised at the Lisbon and Feira European Summits in March and June 2000, respectively, gives a measure of Europe’s ambitions to become a highly competitive ‘knowledge economy’. The aim of the action plan is to accelerate the adoption of digital technologies throughout Europe and give all Europeans the knowledge required to use them.
As for Belgium, the federal government has taken many initiatives in this area, especially as regards the regulatory and legislative framework, infrastructure management and regulation, network access conditions and prices, promoting the new technologies among the citizens and enterprises, and modernising public services.
The Multiannual Information Society Support Programme (2001-2008) deployed by the Federal Science Policy, backs up the various initiatives taken elsewhere. Its aim is to stimulate the use of information technologies in target sectors through application projects that give priority to the calibration and mastery of the many applications that can be developed through the new technical tools.
The technologies concern the complete array of tools for, e.g., digitising, processing, exchanging and disseminating information of all kinds, emphasizing what is actually at stake with respect to the interoperability of existing systems. Technological arbitration will be based on a functional cost/benefit evaluation, bearing in mind the regulatory context specific to the areas of application.
The programme rests upon an approach that
- is experimental: The projects involve specific applications; they are ‘test bed projects’ to test the conditions - constraints and opportunities - of using available technical tools;
- targets specific sectoral fields, i.e., the federal administration, federal scientific establishments, non-market sector, and Belnet users community;
- is bottom-up, i.e., based on the individual and institutional users’ needs and capacities for initiative; and
- does not give overriding priority to technological innovation: instead, priority is given to innovation in achieving the functional integration of mature or maturing technologies in organisational schemes.
Special attention is given to applications that meet the programme’s objectives regarding multilingualism, enhanced mastery of content in line with the various types of use, and consideration of the entire implementation chain (back-office reorganisation, regulatory context, and long-term manageability of the systems).
The programme hinges on application projects initiated by or with the participation of bodies from four specific sectoral fields in partnership with technical and/or academics service providers.
The four sectoral fields that the programme covers are both vast and broadly overlapping. The aim is to trigger common approaches bringing together users from several of these fields, which are outlined below:
- The federal administration and federal agencies. The application projects concerning this field must support and be consistent with the government’s overall modernisation policy. In particular, properly calibrated projects are expected in the following three niches: the development of electronic administrative windows to improve relations between the administration and its users; inter-administration cooperation applications, notably as concerns integrated database management and harmonisation of communication and management procedures (workflow); and operational projects to adapt back-office functions, which the administrations’ networking makes necessary.
- The federal scientific establishments (FSEs), that is, the research centres, museums and libraries, and establishments for the country’s scientific and cultural heritage which are the competence of the federal government. Here the programme gives preference to projects that use a cooperative approach to tackle the digitisation of these highly specialised establishments’ collections and information holdings with the purpose of ensuring their conservation and facilitating their use. What is more, in line with the European initiatives taken in this area, we expect to see the development of innovative application projects on accessing this patrimony, especially when it comes to access for users outside the FSEs themselves, that is, the scientific community, education sector, the broad public, ...
- The non-market sector, broadly defined, includes health, education, information and cultural activities. The programme must enable the actors in this sector, which often operate informally, to take advantage of the new communication technologies so that they can work together, network, and pool their resources and skills to adopt the appropriate available technologies.
- The Belnet users community, in order to back up its offer of an increasingly powerful and efficient network infrastructure, has to strengthen its tender of cooperative applications concerning common problems, be they thematic or generic, especially as concerns security and multilingual access.
The market sector, especially SMEs or their sectorial or intersectorial representative bodies, also has the opportunity to work with the bodies from the sectoral fields covered by the programme to participate in projects that meet their specific needs.
In addition, the application projects can be supported by a cluster of expertise, composed of non-profit research centers (of which academic), working on themes inherent in or connected to the application.
The projects carried out under this programme are identified on the basis of two public calls for proposals published in Belgium’s official gazette, Le Moniteur Belge/Het Belgisch Staatsblad. These two calls for proposals are giving rise to two rounds of projects. The first round of projects, based on the call for proposals published in November 2000, has been launched.
The second round of projects, based on the call for proposals published in September 2002, has been launched.
The programme is managed by the Federal Science Policy. An Interdepartmental Steering Committee helps the Federal Science Policy to carry out the programme, including disseminating and making use of its final outcomes.
The programme has a pluriannual budget (2001-2008) of EUR 15,24 million affected to the financing of the projects and distributed between two rounds of projects, respectively beneficiating of EUR 6,94 million and EUR 8,3 million.
FIRST ROUND OF PROJECTS (FROM I2/../101 TO I2/../110)
The first call for proposals has lead to the selection of 10 projects for a total budget of EUR 6.941.018. Most of the projects are implemented in two phases of two years. The implementation of the second phase is conditioned by the result of an extern evaluation who takes place in the end of the first phase.
SECOND ROUND OF PROJECTS (FROM I2/../201 TO I2/../213)
The second call for proposals has lead to the selection of 13 projects for a total budget of EUR 8.304,000. All of the projects are implemented in two phases of two years. The implementation of the second phase is conditioned by the result of an extern evaluation who takes place in the end of the first phase.
I2/AE/101: UniCat : Towards a Belgian Virtual Union Catalogue (First phase: January 2002 - December 2003)
I2/2F/101: UniCat - Towards a Belgian Virtual Union Catalogue (Second phase: January 2004 - December 2006)
I2/AE/102: Document management Integrated System for Scientific Organisations (DISSCO) (First phase : december 2001 - november 2003)
I2/2F/102: Dissco - Document Management: Integrated System for Scientific Organisations (Second phase: April 2004 - March 2006)
I2/AE/103: Digital access to aerial and astronomical photographic archives (First phase : January 2002 - December 2003)
I2/AE/104: Telematic network for teaching art history in universities (First phase : January 2002 - June 2003)
I2/2F/105: Radioswap.net (Second phase: March 2004 - February 2006)
I2/AE/105: Radioswap.net (First phase : January 2002 - December 2003)
I2/AE/106: Telecare for eldery - A socio-economic analyse of the use of Videotelephony in the care for eldery (First phase : November 2001 - October 2003)
I2/AE/107: Nursing path optimisation of home-care patients by using telematics applications (First phase : November 2001 - October 2003)
I2/2F/107: Nursing path optimisation of home-care patients by using telematics applications (Second phase: March 2004 - February 2006)
I2/AE/108: UpCase - Users plat-form and development of co-operative applications for the social economy (First phase : January 2002 - December 2003)
I2/2F/108: UPCASE - Users plat-form and development of co-operative applications for the social economy (Second phase: January 2004 - December 2005)
I2/AP/109: Integrated Aviation Information and Communication System - Application project (One-phase project : January 2002 - December 2003)
I2/CE/109: Integrated Aviation Information and Communication System - Cluster of expertise (One-phase project : January 2002 - December 2003)
I2/CE/110: Standardisation of a digital counter for citizens and XML data exchange - Cluster of expertise (One-phase project :December 2001 - November 2003)
I2/AP/110: Standardisation of a digital counter for citizens and XML data exchange - Application project (One-phase project : November 2001 - October 2003)
I2/AE/201: TOPO - Teletext: optimising the publication of employment offers
I2/2F/201: TOPO - Teletext : optimising the publication of employment offers
I2/AE/202: ODIN - Techno-economic modelisation of information flows
I2/2F/202: ODIN – Organisation et Diffusion de l’Information
I2/2F/203: ANCHORA – Rooting of a collaborative platform of actors in education towards a sustainable development
I2/AE/203: ANCHORA - Rooting of a collaborative platform of actors in education towards a sustainable development
I2/AE/204: INFO GENERATION - Development Program for Youth Information
I2/2F/204: INFO GENERATION – Development Program for Youth Information
I2/AE/205: SALIPAE - Administrative, logistical and data-processing support to extracurricular child care promoters
I2/2F/206: Black skin dermatology online : contribution to teledermatology
I2/AE/206: BLACK SKIN - Black skin dermatology online: contribution to teledermatology
I2/2F/207: RESOPRIM – Primary health Care Research Network
I2/AE/207: RESOPRIM - Primary health Care Research Network
I2/AE/209: QUETELET.NET - Critical system for integration, digitisation and retrieval of the Belgian penal statistics
I2/2F/209: QUETELET.NET - Critical System for Integration, Digitisation and Retrieval of the Belgian Penal Statistics
I2/2F/210: PLANTCOL – Centralised electronic information system on genetic resources of living plantmaterial. A prototype for woody plants
I2/AE/210: PLANTCOL - Centralised electronic information system on genetic resources of living plantmaterial. A prototype for woody plants
I2/2F/211: DEKKMMA – Digitalisation of the ethnomusicological sound archive of the RMCA (Royal Museum for Central Africa)
I2/AE/211: DEKKMMA - Digitalisation of the ethnomusicological sound archive of KMMA
I2/2F/212: MARS - Multimedia Archaeological Research System
I2/AE/212: MARS - Multimedia archaeological research system
I2/2F/213: GNOSIS – Generalized Natural sciences Online Spatial Information System
I2/AE/213: GNOSIS - Generalized Natural sciences online spatial information system
Programme pluriannuel de soutien au développement de la société de l'information: premier train de projets, première phase (2001-2003)
Bruxelles: SSTC, 2002 (SP0973)
Meerjarig ondersteuningsprogramma voor de uitbouw van de informatiemaatschappij: eerste reeks van projecten, eerste fase (2001-2003)
Brussel: DWTC, 2002 (SP0974)
Multiannual information society support programme: first round of projects, first phase (2001-2003)
Brussels: OSTC, 2002 (SP0975)