In January 2006, the European Commission awarded a Framework 6 grant to a group of industrial and academic organisations who proposed a project to study the status of data storage and memory technologies from a European perspective. They argued that a wide array of mixed technologies and competencies are needed to create the memories which are used in many everyday products (e.g. health, transportation, avionics, satellites, telecommunications, automotive, process machines and home systems). In the new era of ambient intelligence, memory modules will take a major place, as no intelligence function is possible without a memory function. They thus felt that technologies to develop the future generation of “intelligent” memories are strategic for Europe, since they will give a competitive advantage in the production of complex systems (produced in Europe) and contribute to European job creation.
The project – entitled “WIND” (Wide INtegrated Technologies Diffusion) – aims to provide an overall vision on these technologies, and a clear road map and dissemination of information – not only towards leading laboratories and industrials in the memory domain, but also towards leading European user companies and the SME community. It has often been pointed out that the negative gap of productivity currently observed between the USA and Europe is largely due to the difference in usage of the information technologies available, so this is an attempt to improve this situation as WIND will help fill this gap for memory technologies and related technologies (e.g software, telecoms) and their numerous applications.
As part of the project, it was felt that there was a need to understand the depth and breadth of activities in this field throughout Europe, so that this information could be made more widely available and also so that EU funding and other forms of local, national and regional assistance could be targeted in the most appropriate fashion.
Accordingly, this part of the project was subcontracted by the project leader – Exeter University – to Mackintosh Consultants, data storage industry specialists who have undertaken similar activities for the likes of the DTI, Scottish Enterprise and other private clients. The goal is to uncover all European activity in this field and so create an EU Who’s Who of data storage and memory technology by publishing on this website a directory of all EU-based research, development and manufacturing organisations involved in mass storage.