COPRAS is a consortium put together with the objective to improve the interface between research and standards set up by the three European Standards Organizations, CEN, CENELEC & ETSI, together with the Open Group and the World Wide Web Consortium. The project is a 3-year Specific Support Action under the European Union's Information Society Technologies (IST) program. The COPRAS consortium partners are all members of the ICT Standards Board, the coordinating forum for ICT standardization activity in Europe.
In the fast-moving world of information and communications technologies, research and standardization are very closely inter-linked. It is widely recognized that the interface between standards and research is crucial to the success of both activities: technologies need standards, preferably global, in order to be fully usable by the market; therefore the results of near-market research need to be brought into the standards environment as quickly as possible in order to guarantee their interoperability.
COPRAS started its activities early 2004, when it set out to analyses the requirements for standardization support among projects across virtually all Strategic Objectives in FP6 Calls 1 & 2. Addressing this issue at a relatively early stage, enabled COPRAS to encourage communication between research projects and standards organizations at a relatively early point during the projects' lifespan, leading to a better synchronization between their road maps. This allowed for the development of standardization action plans with some 40 different projects, structuring the process leading to tangible standardization deliverables.
In order to support projects in subsequent calls in FP6 as well as in FP7, COPRAS developed a set of Generic Guidelines for IST projects interfacing with ICT standards organizations', based on experiences and results it achieved through working with research projects as well as standards organizations. The Guidelines are accessible as a document as well as as an interactive platform, addressing the separate issues relevant to specific stakeholders involved in the process and thus providing a single focal point for RTD/standards interfacing.
An important target for the COPRAS partners is to disseminate its knowledge and results to the various constituencies it focuses on. Throughout its lifespan, it has therefore presented its findings and deliverables at many occasions, and has organised several events, dedicated, or partially dedicated to the interfacing process between ICT research and standardization.