The French National Research Agency Projects for science

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Projects and Results2013 and previous editionsInformation and Communication Sciences and Technologies

2013 and previous editions

Information and Communication Sciences and Technologies

We are currently living through a period of transition marked by considerable disruptions in the Information and Communication Sciences and Technologies (ICSTs), the emergence of the digital society with the explosion of embedded systems and communicating objects, the dominating role of the Internet, the dematerialisation of systems / computation and communication infrastructures offered in particular by the cloud and the multiplication of smart devices, the growing place of digital simulation and supercomputing in the design, production and optimisation of processes, manufactured goods and services.

According to the "Key Technologies 2015 report", the information and communication technologies (ICT) sector has become a major segment of the economy of the main industrialised countries with a direct contribution of 5.9% of GDP in Europe (and 7.5% in the USA). Over and beyond the sector itself, the ICTs contribute to the development of all the other economic sectors, effectively representing more than 50% of the growth of productivity in Europe (source: European Commission). Furthermore, the growth prospects of the ICST sector are considerable, with +8% growth per year for the Internet economy between now and 2016, according to the Boston Consulting Group.

Information and Communication Sciences and Technologies (ICST) therefore constitute the foundation of this momentum and justify the importance that ANR places in dedicated research, both fundamental and applied. The issues at stake include not only the competitiveness of the national and European ICST industry, but also advances and progress in training, health, sustainable development, access to culture, design and production of manufactured goods, services and complex systems. They also concern the development of a secure digital world that wins users' confidence. In terms of research and development organisation, the ICSTs are necessarily multidisciplinary, "enabling" by nature, combining fundamental and finalised research, and giving ample space for public/private partnerships.

Research programmes

The ICST programme planning cycle for 2011-2013 is structured around 4 main lines:

  • the development of communication infrastructures, data and supercomputing, encompassing cloud computing, the components/subsystems equipping and ensuring the operation of these infrastructures (INFRA Programme: Hardware and Software Infrastructures for the Digital Society),
  • the methods and software aids for services engineering and digital systems, embedded systems and the security of information systems and the confidence in these systems (INS Programme: Digital Engineering & Security),
  • the production and exchange of content and knowledge (creation, publishing, mining, interface, use, economy, confidence, enhanced reality, social networks, Internet of the future), the associated services and robotics (CONTINT Programme: Digital Content and Interactions),
  • the development of a "digital double" through the modelling and simulation of the physical world, of objects, services and human interactions and behaviour (modelling, simulation, supercomputing, production and processing of massive or complex data, virtual reality and visualisation) (MN Programme: Digital Models).

As a complement to the national programmes, ANR supports the continuation and expansion of the CHIST-ERA ERA-NET and CRCNS Programme:

  • ANR has coordinated the CHIST-ERA ERA-NET since the end of 2009. Its objectives are to develop the coordination and cooperation of research funding agencies in Europe, on emerging and promising subjects in the ICST sector.
  • Since 2012 ANR has been collaborating with the NSF in the United States within the framework of the CRCNS (Collaborative Research in Computational Neuroscience) implemented jointly by the two agencies. This programme is situated at the interface of the life sciences and information and communication sciences and technologies.