What do they do? (Part 3)

5 examples of what EU research and innovation projects have done for you lately

Hate mobile phones? Blame the EU

The development of mobile phones and mobile internet has affected our personal and working life to an enormous extent. Worldwide, there are nearly as many mobile phone subscriptions as people. Many of our day to day activities can now be accomplished from a handheld device: communicating, navigating, shopping, researching and leisure.

But this wave of innovation did not come through a eureka moment. It was born from a swell of publicly funded research and innovation: Between 1990-2013 the EU’s Framework Programmes funded 380 projects related to mobile phones. And it goes back even further, to at least 1985 and the start of the RACE programme, a precursor to today’s Framework. All this phone research brought industry and research institutes together to set the standards for mobile phones – in the 1990s, far in advance of any other part of the world. While Europe’s dominance in this field is now past (ever hear of Nokia anymore?), European companies continue to compete globally and maintain the race for future technologies.

This sector has huge potential to revolutionise our communications, both among ourselves and with our surroundings, enabling a more efficient use of our resources. The depth of this potential requires both public and private research and innovation to realise. The EUs 5G public-private partnership — a collaboration between business, researchers and the European Commission — has been conducting research on the next – fifth – generation of technologies. This field could create new markets in smart cities, e-health, intelligent transport, education or entertainment and media.

Coming soon: the next generation of mobile phones (Source: European Commission)