Innovate, Connect, Transform. ICT 2015

The conference Innovate, Connect, Transform 2015 (ICT 2015) took place in Lisbon on 20 to 22 October 2015. Senior representatives of the European Commission presented the Horizon 2020 Work Programme 2016–2017, which was adopted in October 2015. Topical sessions were also held on the broad field of information and communication technology. Thanks to their excellent organisation and a healthy dose of enthusiasm, the organisers more than managed to live up to the motto of the conference, “Innovate, Connect, Transform”. This blog post provides some personal impressions from the conference.What was the first thing I noticed as a participant? A large, red bridge spanning the water; a city with hills and old trams, which you can see from the congress centre; and finally an atmosphere that encourages and generates innovation. No, not San Francisco or the Bay Area; I was in Lisbon – the European city that hosted ICT 2015 with open arms.

What were the standout topics?

Horizon 2020 and the Work Programme 2016–2017 (pdf, 513 kB) are geared towards realising the digital agenda for Europe. Significant funds have been earmarked, which are not just open to public facilities, but also small and medium-sized enterprises and start-ups. Moreover, Horizon 2020 allows international facilities and organisations that aren’t based in Europe to apply to the programme, which is something exceptional and just goes to show the openness of Horizon 2020.

One important topic that Günther Oettinger, the incumbent Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society, touched upon in his opening speech is the 5G infrastructure, which has been hailed as the future of mobile technology at the European Commission. With the so-called “5G Public Private Partnership” (5G PPP), for instance, the European Commission is promoting the development of European and global technology in the 5G range.

What was surprising?

The presentation of the programme StARTS (Science, Technology and the Arts), where the space is created at experimental level to combine science, technology and art and facilitate co-creations between these fields. A prime example of how the talks and discussions on information and communication technologies were enriched at the conference was the use of visual “storytelling” by the artist Verity Harrison to accompany individual talks and panel discussions with.

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Figure 1: visual storytelling

Who stood out?

The panel discussions on the topics of “Transforming Research and Innovation into Growth and Jobs” and “Driving Innovation through Creativity and the Arts” especially demonstrated the high degree of commitment and innovative approaches among the panel members. Proper discussions took place on stage, all outstandingly chaired – e.g. by Robert Madelin. Other people who stood out were those with whom direct contact could be made within the scope of the conference’s structured and free network options. So-called “Face to Face Brokerage Sessions“, for instance, served as a platform to discuss project ideas and explore potential partnerships for scheduled project applications in Horizon 2020.

Fringe programme and conclusion

Various awards were also presented against the backdrop of the conference – including the Innovation Radar Prize, which was awarded to the Slovakian company Broadbit for innovations in the development of batteries for electric vehicles. Moreover, numerous projects were presented and put up for discussion on the conference exhibition area.

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Figure 2: exhibition area

What was the last thing I noticed as a participant? A large, red bridge spanning the water; a town with hills and old trams, which you can see from the congress centre; and finally an atmosphere that encourages and generates innovation. Now I know: it’s Lisbon – a city that demonstrated the potential of Europe’s innovative information and communication technology with such enthusiasm at ICT 2015.


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DOI Link: 10.16911/ethz-ib-2168-en

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