Information Society Technologies (IST) Information Society Technologies (IST) is one of the key thematic priority of the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6). It aims to find solutions for the social and economic challenges that the emerging knowledge-based society will face. What instruments are available?In the 6FP two main new instruments are made available:– IP Integrated ProjectThe Integrated Projects instrument is designed to generate the knowledge required to implement the priority thematic areas. This instrument will support objective-driven research where the primary deliverable is new knowledge. In addition, by mobilising a critical mass of resources, integrated projects should also have a structuring effect on European research.– NoE Network of ExcellenceThe Network of Excellence instrument is designed to strengthen excellence on a particular research topic by networking together the critical mass of resources and the expertise needed to provide European leadership and be a world force on that topic. This expertise will be networked around a Joint Programme of Activities (JPA) aimed primarily at creating a durable integration of the research capacities of the network participants, while, at the same time, advancing knowledge on the topic.Other instruments will be also in use:– Specific Targeted Research Projects (STRePs)– Co-ordination Actions (CA)– Specific Support Actions (SSA) What are the strategic objectives?In order to ensure concentration of effort and critical mass, the activities foreseen in the work programme for 2003-2004 will focus on a limited set of strategic objectives that are essential to realise the IST in FP6 goals.These strategic objectives fall in five thematic areas:1. Applied IST for major societal and economic challenges2. Communication, computing & software technologies3. Components & systems4. Knowledge & interface technologies5. IST future and emerging technologiesIn the period 2003-2004 the strategic objectives most relevant to regional and local actors may be:· Networked organisations, businesses and governments· Technology-enhanced learning and access to cultural heritage· eInclusion Which countries are involved?The participation to IST is open to Member States, Associated States and Third Countries. The financing schemes and rules for participation in RTD activities may vary from country to country. Who may apply?Any legal entity can apply, i.e. any natural or legal person. In practical terms this means that universities, research institutes, SMEs and big companies are equally eligible – as are potential users of technologies and technological applications. How to apply?The IST work programme defines the priorities for the calls for proposals in these two years, the implementation plan, the procedures to be followed to make a proposal and the criteria for evaluating proposals responding to these calls.Both IPs and NoEs need at least three participants from three different Member or Associated States, of which at least two are Member States or Associated Candidate Countries. In practice, however, to achieve ambitious objectives there are likely to be significantly more partners per consortium.