D10 — Progress report - Executive summary

Full Text of the Deliverable

Research that is carried out under European Framework Programmes is often closely connected to standardization. Projects addressing technical or scientific issues in many cases will produce results that can be used to develop a new standard, to improve an existing one, or to anticipate a future standard. Even projects that do not primarily aim at developing standards, may contain elements supporting ongoing or new standardisation processes and may benefit from interfacing with standards bodies for the dissemination of their results.

To optimize interfacing and cross-fertilization, standardization and research will have to proceed in parallel as much as possible. This will ensure the standards community receives contributions at the earliest possible point in time, while at the same time safeguarding research projects from missing out on the latest developments and state-of-the-art in standardization. The ICT standardization environment is however a dynamic environment with several hundreds of standards bodies, trade organizations and industry consortia worldwide operating in the same arena, making it relatively hard for research projects finding the organization(s) that best fit their needs and objectives, although they are required to keep standards bodies informed on contributions they could make to standardization processes. As a consequence, windows for standardization often appear too short or are even missed out on, causing resources being wasted (both on the side of research projects and standards bodies), and projects' output not becoming available to industry and society.

These issues are addressed by the Cooperation Platform for Research and Standards (COPRAS), an FP6 Specific Support Action (SSA), initiated by the European Committee for Standardization (CEN — also the coordinating partner), the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization (CENELEC) and the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), together with the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and The Open Group. The project started its activities on 1 February 2004 and has the following two main objectives:

  1. to act as a cooperative platform for FP6 projects in calls 1, 2 and 3, wishing to upgrade their deliverables through standardization, and to develop "Standardization Action Plans' with these projects;
  2. to prepare generic information on the RTD/standards interface to be used to provide guidance to Commission Project Officers, as well as to those proposing and evaluating projects in subsequent calls (e.g. FP6 calls 4 and 5) and future Framework Programmes.

By achieving the first objective, COPRAS would be able to support current FP6 projects seeking to interface with standardization to find the right partner(s), and provide them with a platform for synchronizing their planning with ongoing standardization processes, for sharing resources with other projects and for broader dissemination and exploitation of their results. In addition, by achieving the second objective, COPRAS would build a basis for future projects building in the interface to standardization into their project proposals already at an early point in time, and in the most efficient way.

However, there are several hundred IST projects in FP6, and COPRAS' resources do not allow to provide all of these with the same (high) level of support for achieving their standardization goals; moreover, many projects, for various reasons, will not even require this support. Therefore, in order to determine which projects would benefit most from COPRAS' support, a 4-step methodological process, spread out over 3 Work Packages was designed, and applied to all of the 3 calls addressed by COPRAS in a cyclical way:

WP2, in which information, relevant to projects' standards related activities is gathered (step 1);

WP3, in which information gathered is analyzed, projects are clustered around specific standardization areas (step 2), and those projects that are expected to benefit most from cooperation are selected (step 3);

WP4, encompassing the development of appropriate standardization paths with selected projects (step 4).

During its first year (1 February 2004 - 31 January 2005) COPRAS has rolled out these steps addressing projects in call 1, focusing on 10 out of the 12 Strategic Objectives, as specified in the table below:

Broadband for all

Mobile and wireless systems beyond 3G

Towards a global dependability and security framework

Multimodal interfaces

Semantic-based knowledge systems

Networked audio-visual systems and home platforms

Networked businesses and governments

eSafety of road and air transport


Technology-enhanced learning and access to cultural heritage

Between April and June 2004 (i.e. for most call 1 projects already within the first 6 months of their lifespan) information related to (planned) standardization activities and deliverables was gathered by means of targeted questionnaires and surveys of publicly available material. This information was analyzed, in order to define the most important standardization areas targeted, and to match these with the work areas covered by the COPRAS consortium members, members of the ICTSB1, associated standards bodies2, and other industry consortia.

Based on this analysis, almost a quarter of the projects addressed were identified as being likely to benefit from closer cooperation, and hence were selected to participate in the "COPRAS Programme'; criteria for this selection process were transparent and focused on the question whether projects (as well as targeted standards bodies) had a clear perspective on the standardization objectives pursued, and whether projects' timing and available resources matched the COPRAS work plan.

Following their selection, projects were contacted and meetings were arranged with several of them to obtain a more precise understanding of the standards issues they planned to address. The following table provides an overview of the results achieved for call 1, when carrying out the methodological steps, against the targets originally set.







Projects addressed with questionnaire





Responses received and analysed





Projects selected and invited to kick-off meeting





Selected projects attending kick-off meeting1





Projects developing Standardization Action Plans




Following the initial contacts, all selected projects, together with representatives from the applicable standards bodies, were invited to a "kick-off' meeting on 14 October 2004. The kick-off meeting clustered projects and standards bodies around 5 areas of standardization as indicated in the table below. This also shows Strategic Objectives — at least for call 1 — do not necessary run parallel to standardization areas.

Standardization area or cluster

Encompassing projects from Strategic Objectives:

Broadband access (5 projects); (3 projects); (1 project)

Security issues (3 projects); (2 projects)

Semantic-based systems & languages (1 project); (1 project); (1 project); (2 projects); (1 project)

Smart houses & home networking (4 projects)

eLearning (4 projects)

With 47 participants from projects in almost all targeted Strategic Objectives, as well as from 13 standardization working groups (also some of whom do not participate in COPRAS), the kick-off meeting was very successful. Of the selected projects, 60% attended and presented the standardization issues they planned to address, while representatives from standards bodies gave an overview of their organizations' activities towards the issues addressed by the projects. Both sides discussed the possibility of developing closer cooperation throughout the course of their projects' lifespan.

For 14 out of the 28 participating projects in call 1, the kick-off meeting marked the start of work on Standardization Action Plans, which will be concluded early spring 2005. These plans define in concrete terms the actual deliverables from research projects to standards bodies, including the timing for this delivery. Also they define actions and steps (e.g. technical work, dissemination activities, consensus building) for research projects as well as for COPRAS, that will systematically lead to the targeted standardization results.

The following 14 projects decided to develop these plans together with COPRAS, either on an individual basis, or as a cluster, together with other projects; a number of additional projects are in discussion with COPRAS.

Standardization area or cluster




Strat. Objective

Broadband access










Security issues




Semantic based systems & languages / Multimodal interfaces1







Smart houses & home networking


























Throughout the first year of its activities, intensive dissemination and promotional activity has been proven to be one of the key elements for COPRAS achieving its initial targets for call 1. In order to establish the project as a new "brand' improving the interface between research and standardization, and to communicate its objectives, benefits, targets and (interim) results to the IST research community, to Project Officers and to other stakeholders, presentations were given at concertation meetings, workshops, conferences and other events. Moreover, a COPRAS web site was installed at an early stage, serving as a tool for communication and collaboration, and the project presented itself at the IST exhibition and through brochures.

The project's initial results and positive feedback received from many IST research projects indicate the promotional efforts have been successful. This will provide a good basis for the COPRAS continuing its activities in a successful manner towards projects in call 2 (which activities, targeting 8 out of 10 Strategic Objectives, started only late autumn 2004) and to produce its first release of generic material late spring 2005, providing guidance on interfacing between IST research and standardization to future projects, project reviewers, and Commission Project Officers.

Rigo Wenning, Bert Bos
modified: $Date: 2006/10/25 16:01:34 $