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Structural Funds for European Regional Research Advancement (SFERA)
Start date: Nov 1, 2007, End date: Oct 31, 2009 PROJECT  FINISHED 

SFERA is a two-year Support Action (SA) intended to assist European regions on opportunities to make optimum use of structural funds regarding the deployment of ICT networks of the future. In order to combine the ERDF RandD recommendation with the ERDF ICTs access recommendation, SFERA will centre its efforts in the support to Member States and Regions for the utilization of Structural Funds (SF) to develop new opportunities for sustainable growth by means of ICT RandD investments, particularly in the development of satellite and hybrid based broadband networks, which are a very good solutions for fast deployment of ICT access infrastructures in underserved regions, taking into account the current trends for the Network of the Future.Many regions in Europe are entitled a great amount of funds from European Structural Funds (SF). Up to now, these funds have been efficiently spent mainly in the construction of infrastructures: roads, highways, For the new financial period 2007-2013, rules require that promotion of ICTs, Information Society, R+D be priorities for the use of Structural Funds. ERDF regulation states that under the Convergence objective, the first priority is "research and technological development (RandTD), innovation and entrepreneurship...". In addition, under the Regional Competitiveness and Employment objective of the above ERDF regulation, it is prioritized the access to telecommunication services by "promoting access to take up, and efficient use of ICTs by SMEs by supporting access to networks...".Consequenty, SFERA will organize, coordinate and support several conferences, workshops, and seminars to inform regions representatives.SFERA, as a specialist in the relationship between STRUCTURAL FUNDS and FRAMEWORK PROGRAMME FOR RandD, will be crucial to connect FP7, European Regions, DG INFSO/DG REGIO and Member States to provide assistance on roadmapping, benchmarking studies, awareness on ICT relevance and specific solutions.
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