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At the Lisbon European Council in March 2000, a new ambition was set for the European Union by 2010:
“to become the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world, capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion.”
Given the key role played by R&D in generating economic growth, employment and social cohesion, the development of the European Research Area (ERA) forms a key pillar of the Lisbon Strategy.
The strengthening of this pillar requires that R&D and innovation efforts be better structured, optimised and integrated into a larger process involving all actors crucial to achieving a successful outcome in a given domain. This is particularly important for the nano-electronics sector which has to face extremely rapid technological development and strong global competition. The sector is of very high strategic importance for the European industry since its products are key enablers for innovation in other sectors such as the multimedia sector, telecommunications, transport, health, environment, industrial processing, etc.
To that effect, the European nanoelectronics representatives called for the establishment of a European Nanoelectronics Initiative Advisory Council (known as ENIAC) with a wide membership of various actors in the sector and with a Steering Group consisting in a core group of senior experts from semiconductor manufacturing companies, equipment and materials suppliers, application/system integrators, research organisations, academia, Member States, Regions, Eureka and other public authorities, financial organisations, etc.
ENIAC's main goal is to reflect on and contribute to the realisation of the future research and innovation priorities necessary to support the further development of a truly competitive nanoelectronics industry in Europe. It will do so by establishing and implementing a 'Strategic Research Agenda' for the next decades for nanoelectronics stakeholders, inspired by the vision as will be presented by Commissioners Liikanen and Busquin on the 29th of June 2004.
The objective of achieving a global competitive industry in Europe implies that a wide range of European policies may interact with ENIAC, such as competition, trade, industry (IPR's), environment, education. Similarly ENIAC may provide inputs to information society and research policy development. Whilst the interactions with different EU policies will vary according to the challenges to be addressed, effective mechanisms will need to be developed to ensure adequate co-ordination between the relevant stakeholders.