ERRIC Concept and Objectives

The Faculty of Automatic Control and Computers (Romanian name: “Facultatea de Automatică şi Calculatoare”, A&C) is part of the largest technical universityof Romania, University “Politehnica” of Bucharest. A&C itself is the most important faculty in the domains of Information Technologies and Control Systems Engineering in the country, both by number of students and by its existing research potential. The Faculty of Automatic Control and Computers is already well known as a national pole of excellence in Intelligent Information Technologies. As a result, A&C has well established contacts with many EU and international research units.

The idea of the ERRIC project emerged as a result of A&C's sustained efforts over the last number of years to enhance the overall excellence of A&C education and research activities. In today’s global economy, A&C now finds itself competing with other universities and research entities across Europe to attract and retain the best students in the face of both limited human resources and financing. Gaining a sustainable competitive advantage in today’s research environment is intimately linked with both the quality and visibility of the entity (Figure 1).

AC Positioning

The increasingly open and competitive global economy and the shift to high value production based on information and knowledge requires a strong and rapid response fromEurope. Higher education and research are vital ingredients in the European response to these challenges. In the convergence region countries (includingRomania), the level of investment in universities is low by EU standards. This severely disadvantages centers of research excellence, in particular in terms of international connections and exchange of know-how. On the other side, Romanian universities have to some degree failed to exploit research results and potential for excellence in three key aspects: in achieving full research potential and resulting visibility at European and international level; not adequately focusing on industry driven subjects and user-driven innovation; and preventing the "brain-drain". In the current global economic climate, scientific research has a lot to offer in terms of fighting the financial-economic crisis. High quality research-driven universities and units have the potential to bring their scientific contribution to alleviate this crisis.

In this context, the ERRIC concept is to leverage, support and further develop the existing high quality human and material resources of A&C with the goal of achieving international recognition for the Faculty as a world class research excellence pole in a complex domain, Intelligent Information Technologies, which require the synergetic gathering of several research areas converging to support the development and deployment of such systems. Moreover, A&C blossom to its full research potential and promotion of its excellence in research at European and international level have the capacity to attract high quality international researchers, financial resources at national, regional and European level, and make A&C an active contributor to the European Research Area (ERA).

Based on our SWOT analysis of existing competence and experience, the main goal of the ERRIC project is to empower A&C’s existing excellence in research by unlocking its significant research potential and enhancing its national and regional leadership position in selected areas of Intelligent Information Technologies (IIT): agreement technologies, semantic and collaborative technologies for the web, advanced Grid technologies and large scale distributed system services, and adaptive intelligent control. In order to achieve this goal, the following specific objectives have been put forth:

Strengthen Core Research Excellence

  • Strengthen the research and technological development capacities of A&C
  • Reinforce the A&C S&T potential by supporting, mobilising and enlarging human resources
  • Create an interdisciplinary working environment supporting co-creation of innovative new ideas and high risk projects in priority areas of FP7: Distributed Systems and Future Internet, Cognitive Systems, and Control Systems Engineering research
  • Develop and increase the international visibility and valuation of A&C research
  • Improving A&C’s ability to respond to ICT related socio-economic needs in Romania and Europe
  • Increase A&C's contribution to national sustainable development and employment growth

Networking, Community Building and Strategic Partnerships

  • Make A&C an international gateway to access Romanian research in IIT
  • Establish and adequately resource strategic partnerships and wide-ranging collaborations between A&C and high excellence research units across the  EU
  • Develop collaborations between A&C and high tech companies towards valorisation and commercial licensing of high potential research results

Promotion, Visibility and Dissemination

  • Promote A&C scientific research excellence and increase its visibility in the ERA and in EHEA (European Higher Education Area)
  • Disseminate scientific information and results of S&T research of A&C
  • Build the capacity of A&C for a better participation in European research cooperation programmes, in particular in the 7th Framework Programme and future FP8, and in international research programmes.