World Wide Web Consortium to Move European Host to ERCIM

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INRIA Instrumental in Bringing Two International Initiatives Together

Testimonials are also available -- 27 November 2002 -- The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control (INRIA) and the European Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics (ERCIM) jointly announced organizational changes which aim to strengthen research relationships throughout Europe to better support Web technology development.

The change of W3C European Host from INRIA to ERCIM will take place on 1 January 2003. The change allows W3C to better leverage research relationships throughout Europe, while maintaining its historically strong relationship to INRIA, one of the ERCIM founders.

W3C Has History of International Organization, Beginning With INRIA

Since its inception in the United States at MIT's Laboratory for Computer Science in October 1994, W3C has made sure that the World Wide Web lives up to its name and its promise. At the insistence of its Director, Tim Berners-Lee, the W3C has equal presence in North America, Europe and Asia. W3C identifies not-for profit institutions to serve as regional headquarters and provide physical locations for staffing. These institutions are identified as W3C "hosts."

When INRIA was chosen as the first W3C European host in April 1995, W3C had 50 Members in 4 countries; the only European country with W3C Members at that time was the United Kingdom. INRIA provided distinct and immediate advantages, driving awareness and Membership in France and throughout Europe. Over the next seven years, INRIA's resources attracted both Member organizations and technical staffing to W3C. It also provided crucial links to European research communities. Today, the W3C Membership exceeds 450 organizations, with representation in nearly every country in Europe.

During this time, W3C received financial support from the European Commission to build a network of Offices throughout Europe with initial staffing from INRIA. Currently, W3C has 13 Offices worldwide, with 8 in Europe. Offices work with W3C hosts promoting local languages, broadening W3C's geographical base, and encouraging international participation in W3C Activities. Seven of the European Offices are already based at ERCIM Institutes, including: CWI (Benelux); Fraunhofer IMK (Germany and Austria); FORTH (Greece); MTA SZTAKI (Hungary); CNR (Italy); SICS (Sweden) and CCLRC (UK and Ireland).

Moving From INRIA to ERCIM Is Natural for European Expansion

As the Web has grown into a more widespread and essential resource for industry, academia, governments, and their citizens, there is a pronounced need for an even more diverse infrastructure and support network. Establishing the W3C's European base at ERCIM will be beneficial to all involved.

"INRIA provided the necessary foundations for European involvement in Web infrastructure development, and now we have the opportunity to expand into a new phase," explained Bernard Larrouturou, President of INRIA. "Moving the host to ERCIM is consistent with our culture of incubating new initiatives and our commitment to strengthening the IT community in Europe. It will enable us to maintain our strong relationship with W3C while expanding into the boundless resources of a pan-European network of research institutes - benefiting both ERCIM and W3C."

W3C's Move to ERCIM Opens New Opportunities to integrate Web Research and Industry in Europe

ERCIM was founded in 1989 by INRIA, GMD (now merged with Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, Germany), and CWI (Centrum voor Wiskunde en Informatica, The Netherlands), to build a European not-for-profit consortium dedicated to the advancement of information technology and applied mathematics.

Currently, research institutes from 16 countries are members of ERCIM. Each member institute is a leading research establishment in its own country with excellent links to both national and international research communities. All ERCIM members are national centers, independent of commercial ties. Each institute has strong involvement in the research programs of the European Union and joint projects with small and medium size enterprises as well as large industrial companies.

ERCIM is a European Economic Interest Grouping (EEIG), a legal entity in Europe. Gerard Van Oortmerssen, Director of CWI, is the current ERCIM President, and Bernard Larrouturou, INRIA's CEO, acts as ERCIM's General Manager.

"The ERCIM Directors were already aware of W3C. ERCIM member institutes have been active in W3C working groups, and several act as W3C Offices," noted Gerard van Oortmerssen. "As a network of IT research centers, ERCIM encompasses over 10,000 researchers. W3C will benefit from this reservoir of expertise. For ERCIM, this change brings an opportunity to enhance cooperation on a global scale."

"The Web grows stronger and more useful when there are real commitments to engaging international presence and influence in Web technology development," explained Tim Berners-Lee, W3C Director. "For W3C, it means having one headquarters - - supported by three global partners - MIT, Keio University and now ERCIM. With the move to ERCIM, there is the potential for considerable growth and synergies of Web technologies across Europe."

About the World Wide Web Consortium [W3C]

The W3C was created to lead the Web to its full potential by developing common protocols that promote its evolution and ensure its interoperability. It is an international industry consortium jointly run by the MIT Laboratory for Computer Science (MIT LCS) in the USA, the National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control (INRIA) in France and Keio University in Japan. Services provided by the Consortium include: a repository of information about the World Wide Web for developers and users, and various prototype and sample applications to demonstrate use of new technology. To date, nearly 450 organizations are Members of the Consortium. For more information see


The European Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics (ERCIM) is an organization dedicated to the advancement of European research and development in information technology and applied mathematics. Its sixteen national member institutions aim to foster collaborative work within the European research community and to increase co-operation with European industry. For more information see


Founded in 1967, the French National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control works at the heart of the information society and networks the skills of all French research and training organizations active in the areas of Information Technologies and Sciences. Consequently, half of the 95 research project-teams currently underway at INRIA are being carried out jointly with universities, leading schools and research organizations. INRIA plays a determining role in four areas of research: networks and systems ; software engineering and symbolic computation ; man-machine interaction, imaging, data, knowledge ; simulation and optimization of complex systems. INRIA is actively involved in technology transfer programs: it has concluded 600 contracts with industry and spun off some 60 private companies, notably through its INRIA-Transfert subsidiary, promoter of 4 seed funds: I-Source 1&2 in the field of ICST, C-Source (Multimedia) and T-Source (Telecommunications). For more information about INRIA, see: http//


Contacts W3C:
Americas, Australia -- Janet Daly, <>, +1.617.253.5884 or +1.617.253.2613
Europe, Middle East and Africa -- Marie-Claire Forgue, <>, +33.492.38.75.94
Asia -- Saeko Takeuchi, <>, +81.466.49.1170
Contact INRIA:
Christine Genest, <>, +33 1 39 63 57 29
Contact ERCIM:
Bruno Le Dantec, <>, +33 4 92 38 50 40

Testimonials for "W3C to Move European Host to ERCIM"


As an ERCIM Member, CCLRC is pleased to belong to the new European host for W3C. CCLRC's Rutherford Appleton Laboratory has been home to the W3C's UK and Ireland office since 1997, and has brought W3C awareness not only to those in CCLRC, but also through communications campaigns throughout the UK and Ireland. CCLRC's association with W3C has provided industrial relevance contributed to our success in acquiring funding. In particular, developments towards the vision of the Semantic Web provide both exciting research opportunities and the prospect of overcoming long known of limitations in globally interoperable IT services.

-- Professor John Wood, Chief Executive, CCLRC


As a longstanding member of both ERCIM (since 1992) and W3C (since 1995), CNR is pleased to belong to the new European host for W3C. CNR has been home to the W3C's Office in Italy since 1999, which has brought awareness of W3C technologies throughout Italy. In particular, as part of the new European host: we expect to extend the invaluable opportunities for technology transfer offered by operating as a W3C Office; and we believe the vision of the Semantic Web provides for exciting collaborative research opportunities across ERCIM.

-- Professor Piero Maestrini, Director, Istituto di Scienza e Tecnologie dell' Informazione "A. Faedo" (ISTI-CNR), Pisa


CWI, The National Research Institute for Mathematics and Computer Science in the Netherlands, is one of the founders in 1989 of ERCIM, the new European host for W3C. CWI has been and is actively involved in W3C Working Groups (SMIL, (X)HTML, SVG, Semantic Web, etc.), and hosts the W3C Benelux Office since 1998. The organisational change is welcomed by CWI. Both W3C and ERCIM will greatly benefit from the synergy and complementary effects.

-- Gerard van Oortmerssen, President of ERCIM and Director of CWI - Centre for Mathematics and Computer Science, The Netherlands.


Digital Media Institute (DMI) is pleased to belong to the new European host for W3C. DMI has hosted the W3C Finnish Office since 2002 and >stimulated W3C awareness in Finland. DMI thrives to lead the Web to its full potential not only as a office host but also as a W3C Member, by doing significant research and development work in the field of digital media.

-- Hannu Eskola, Director, DMI


ERCIM, established in 1989, views the hosting of the World Wide Web Consortium for the European zone as an opportunity for increasing cooperation already in existence between ERCIM members and the W3C. As the development of web technologies requires further research activities, technology transfer and standardisation, developing the relationship and increasing the synergy between the W3C team and the research teams of the ERCIM institutes is of high mutual interest.

-- Bruno le Dantec, ERCIM Deputy Manager


As the representative of Greece in the European Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics, the Institute of Computer Science (ICS) of the Foundation for Research and Technology Hellas (FORTH) welcomes this organizational change. ICS-FORTH, host of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Office in Greece since 1998 and pioneering contributor towards the deployment and adoption of Information Society Technologies, conducts cutting-edge Research and Development in W3C-related areas including Accessibility, the Semantic Web, and Device Independence.

-- Stelios Orphanoudakis, Vice-President of ERCIM and director of ICS-FORTH

Fraunhofer IMK

The "Fraunhofer Institute for Media Communication" (IMK) is hosting the W3C office in Germany and Austria now for more than 4 years. Web multimedia technologies based on W3C's XML standards are an important foundation of future media communication. Being one of the first German members of W3C and a founding member of ERCIM we welcome opportunities for closer cooperation that result from ERCIM becoming a host of W3C.

-- Professor Martin Reiser, Director, Fraunhofer IMK


It is with great enthusiasm and anticipation that we entrust ERCIM with the responsibility for Hosting W3C in Europe. This will represent a major expansion for our Consortium. We have the honor to continue our productive relationship with INRIA, while expanding existing and establishing new partnerships with 15 other prestigious research institutions throughout Europe. As a result, new opportunities to expand and establish connections with European industry, academia and the public will open. The expanded network will help both W3C and the ERCIM institutes develop new ideas and technologies that may better lead the Web to its full potential.

-- Dr. Steve Bratt, Chief Operating Officer, W3C/MIT


The Swedish Institute of Computer Science (SICS) is already the regional host of W3C, as well as an active member of ERCIM since 1992. We consider closer cooperation between the two organisations most natural and well-founded as it offers clear advantages for both. SICS is proud to contribute to this powerful research network especially in the areas of infrastructure and global, mobile access to rich information sources for all.

-- Gunnar Bjurel, Managing Director, SICS


MTA SZTAKI, the Computer and Automation Research Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences is pleased to address the moving W3C European Host to ERCIM because of the 7 year old strong relationship. SZTAKI is active member in working groups and activities (eg. DELOS digital library initiative) of ERCIM and hopes the new relation - SZTAKI as W3C Hungarian Office and ERCIM as W3C European Host - will drive W3C Membership and awareness in using W3C technologies in Hungary.

-- Dr. Peter Inzelt, Director of MTA SZTAKI - Computer and Automation Research Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences

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