Saturday, May 20, 2006

Silence around Quaero

The EU assignment in Brussels ended last night and I could take the train home. This had been a week of going back and forth to the hotel by metro; the new stations of the metro are very arty with such nice stations as the station Eddy Merckx. But it had also a week in which I missed my lunch with an EU official as he caught the flu. However I met after almost 11 years Ana from Sheffield University; at that time we did evaluations on multimedia projects in Luxembourg. This time we were not in the same evaluation team. So with the weekend ahead I could back into the normal rhythm, get my administration done and start editing and writing again.

Looking back at the assignment I can little say about as I have signed a confidentiality declaration, which forbids to disclose anything about the proposals; and rightly so. What is known are the themes of the proposals as the call closed last month. The major areas were: advanced robotics; ambient Assisted Living (AAL) in the Ageing Society; advanced search technologies for digital audio-visual content; accompanying actions in support of participation in Community ICT research; international cooperation.

Of course a lot of attention was going to the advanced search technologies for digital audio-visual content. For this part of the programme some 30 million euro had been set aside. Everyone expected of course that the called would be jammed with proposals which would cover a part of the development of the European search engine Quaero. But as I was talking with an EU official he told me that Quaero was a matter he could not talk about. The Commission had asked the officials to forgo any comment as the matter is very political with the players in France and Germany. So it is safe to believe that no official applications for Quaero were entered in the section advanced search technologies for digital audio-visual content and will be diving into the EU money coffers. On the other hand this will not say that the EU is not considering co-funding such a project. For the time being Quaero is a project of French and German industries with research funded by the countries’ governments. When and with how much the EU will step into the project is still unclear. But the embargo of the officials forebodes an EU involvement.

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Blog Posting Number: 382

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