collage of dollar signs, a graph, and a building with columnsThe Future of European Funding

TIDE in the 5th Framework

William Harwin, Department of Cybernetics, University of Reading

The final call for funding from the 4th Framework of the European Community has come and gone; now researchers, healthcare workers, and manufacturers are looking to the 5th Framework proposals--due to start in 1998--for future research funding. The initial news is hopeful with the total budget for the 5th framework being increased from 13.2 to 16.3 billion ECU. The proposals for the 5th Framework will also include a programme specifically for innovation and small to medium size enterprises (SMEs). Acknowledging that most small business enterprises do not have extensive R&D efforts, the programme will allow SMEs to participate in co-operative research efforts by sub-contracting its share of the research. Since most assistive technology enterprises are small, this is, I hope, good news.

TIDE--currently Telematics for the Integration of Disabled and Elderly People, formerly Technology Initiative for Disabled and Elderly people--itself will continue under one of the three thematic programmes, "Creating a user-friendly information society." Under this theme are four key actions including an action called "services and systems for the citizen." It is under this action that TIDE will organize its funding. The rhetoric explains the research priority on health and the elderly to be...

"...on computerized medical systems, on secure high-capacity health networks and telemedicine, on advanced interfaces and on tele-systems to integrate the elderly and the disabled into society;"

Thus TIDE will be included in the 5th Framework programme for Research and Technical Development, and rehabilitation robotics in its multitudinous forms can certainly help to integrate the disabled and elderly into society. It remains to be seen how TIDE will function in the new structure but although reorganization and rationalization is likely, the TIDE initiative will continue to be the principle source of research funding for technologies to assist disabled and elderly people for European researchers into the next century. EC administrative delays may however mean that the programme will not be in place in 1998!

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Last updated: November 1997
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