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Poles of Excellence

Many countries are keen to foster policies that help develop world class ICT centres. To this end, GIUDITTA DE PRATO and DANIEL NEPELSKI describe a European project that maps and measures ICT ‘poles of excellence’

Poles of Excellence

What makes an ICT hotspot? Take a look at Munich, London, Paris or smaller cities such as Darmstadt that are identified in The Atlas of ICT Activity in Europe.1 This atlas and a series of reports show where digital technologies thrive and examine the factors contributing to this success.

A 2009 European Commission (EC) communication entitled ‘A strategy for ICT R&D and innovation in Europe: Raising the game’ proposed reinforcing Europe’s industrial and technology leadership in ICT. Building on Europe’s assets, in particular its many ICT industrial clusters, the strategy seeks to step up the effort in ICT research and development and innovation (R&D&I). This strategy was confirmed in the later Digital Agenda for Europe.

In this context, in collaboration between the EC’s Connect directorate and the JRC Institute for Prospective Technological Studies, the European ICT Poles of Excellence (EIPE) research project was set up to investigate the issues of growth, jobs and innovation. The EIPE results are presented in a series of reports from a set of studies that attempt to identify ICT R&D&I-related ‘agglomeration’ economies that would meet world-level excellence, and to identify signals that would indicate the dynamics of a changing ICT-related economic geography in Europe. Both of those processes are built on a set of criteria leading to measurable indicators.

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