The programme outlines three technology-specific targets:

- development of reliable and interoperable mobile, wireless, optical and broadband communication infrastructures;

- increased miniaturisation of microelectronic components and micro-systems in order to reduce costs and power consumption; and

- development of user friendly interfaces that can interpret all senses, such a speech, vision and touch, and can understand multiple languages.

The participation of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in IST research initiatives is described as essential, given their role as promoters of innovation. Under the previous framework programme, one or more SMEs were involved in more than 70 per cent of projects, and received around a quarter of the total funding. The new work programme states that the Commission hopes for a similar or higher level of SME participation, and envisages that specific actions may need to be taken to ensure that the target is met.

The Commission indicates that up to two-thirds of the budget for these calls will be channelled towards the new instruments: integrated projects (IPs) and networks of excellence (NoEs). As funding for each NoE could stretch to several million Euro, and several tens of million Euro for larger IPs, the Commission envisages an average of two or three for each strategic objective.

The strategic objectives to be included in the first call for proposals, due to be published on 17 December by the Commission and on CORDIS, come under three headings.

- Initiatives under the heading of technology components will focus on: pushing the limits of CMOS, micro and nano-systems :

- Under the...

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