Information and Communication Technology (ICT) provide people new opportunities for employment, education and training, inclusion, participation and citizenship. European policies on the information society are aimed at developing these opportunities, leading to more growth, jobs and cohesion (cf. Lisbon objectives). The problem is that Europe is not sufficiently able to grasp these. Research is needed to support EU policymakers to better understand how to maximise the benefits of "ICT applications for Society" (ICTAS).
The mission of the ICTAS Action is to provide that research and policy support in three broad areas: Inclusion, Learning and Government.
At European level, there are specific several Commission services dealing with these four policy areas. ICTAS collaborates with DG Information Society and Media and DG Education and Culture. Cooperation with other European institutions and departments and with other European and national organisations is also undertaken.
The research and policy support activities delivered to our customers consist of study reports, policy briefs, presentations at policy conferences and workshops, contributions to online knowledge platforms and reviewing policy documents, amongst others. Most of these deliverables are available online, on our website.
Our work is also published in journals, books, conference proceedings, etc.
ICTAS studies the socio-economic impact of current ICT but is also looking forward to envision for instance, the future of learning, inclusion and governance in Europe beyond 2010. The current and future impact of social computing is also being looked into.
ICT for Inclusion
ICT provides people with new opportunities for employment, education and training, self-development and participation in society. However not everybody is able to grasp these opportunities. There are many reasons for that: skills, interest, resources, support, language, content, etc. ICTAS carries out research to better understand how to maximise the benefits of ICT applications for realising an inclusive Information Society in Europe and beyond.
ICT for Learning and Creativity
Learning encompasses formal education and training but also non-formal learning (intentional learning without degree or certificate) and informal learning (unintentional learning in everyday life). It is in the Commission's policy agenda to harness the power of ICT to develop innovative education and training practices, improve access to lifelong learning and to deal with the rise of new (digital) skills and competences for employment, personal development, inclusion and citizenship.
The contribution of ICT to the 2009 European Year of Creativity and Innovation is also on the agenda. Research is needed to understand better how to realise the potential of ICT applications for making learning more efficient, equitable and innovative.
ICT for Governance
ICT are at the core of public management modernisation and reform. Technology is used as a strategic tool to modernise structures, processes, the regulatory framework, human resources and the culture of public administrations to provide better government and increased public value. This encompasses the various democratic, social, economic, environmental and governance roles of governments.
ICTAS is carrying out research to better understand how ICT are shaping new models of public services provision, delivery and governance at all levels in the Information Society in Europe.