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HLT Policy Overview - Country-by-Country


Member States

CEEC countries

Portugal Spain France Italy Iceland UK Ireland Norway Denmark Sweden Finland Belgium The Netherlands Germany Switzerland Austria Greece Czech Republic Russia Poland Estonia Latvia Lithuania Belarus Ukraine Romania Moldavia Bulgaria Turkey Hungary Slovakia Slovenia Croatia Serbia Macedonia Cyprus Malta ARMENIA

The goal of the task force has been to produce a package of HLT policy data incorporating details from each National Focal Point (NFP) involved in the study. The objective is to inform and stimulate policy making in project countries by offering a detailed picture of what the situation is across Europe, and what other policy making bodies are offering.

The overview of each National Focal Point's policy presented below is intended to help draw some conclusions about the country-by-country similarities and differences of HLT policy. This information forms part the Euromap Final Report, allowing for summaries and conclusions to be made.

To access the summary table of each country, either click on the country name or the map of the country in question. The overview covers a subset of the EU countries Ireland, Luxembourg, Portugal and Sweden were not represented in EUROMAP. Bulgaria is the only CEEC country covered by the survey.




Policy situation overview

Austria's RTD is organised under the Ministry for Economic affairs and Labour. In 1995 this Ministry initiated plans to set up so-called "competence centres" to promote co-operation between academic institutions and industry. The first competence centre were established in 1999 and today 3 of the current 18 competence centres are conducting HLT research as part of their daily activities. These competence centres are particularly suited to stimulating further R&D investments on behalf of the private sector.

In Austria, there are no HLT-specific initiatives. There are however different initiatives for funding. For R&D there is the FFF (Forschungs-Förderungs Fonds Agency) ( which finances innovative technology projects. The FFF also manages two other programmes. A programme for young researchers ( and the ITF (Innovation and technology Fund). This fund promotes Industrial/Applied research (

Other programmes are:

  • K.Plus Competence Centers Programs ( This is a RTD programme under the auspices of the Ministry of Transport, Innovation and Technology (BMVIT).
  • A plus B Impulse Programme ( This programme aims at supporting academic spin-offs in Austrian academic institutions.


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Policy situation overview

In the Dutch speaking area (the Netherlands and Flanders) all organisations involved in HLT are united in the Dutch HLT Platform.

The HLT-platform is a supranational initiative aimed at strengthening the position of HLT in the Netherlands and the Flemish part of Belgium. The plan to set up this platform was launched by the NTU, which is an intergovernmental organization that has the mission of dealing with all issues related to strengthening the position of the Dutch language.

In addition to the NTU, the following Flemish and Dutch partners are involved in the HLT Platform:

  • the Ministry of the Flemish Community/AWI (Technology and Innovation)
  • the Flemish Institute for the Promotion of Scientific-technological Research in Industry (IWT)
  • the Fund for Scientific Research - Flanders (FWO-Flanders)
  • the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Sciences, (OCenW)
  • the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs (EZ)
  • the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO)
  • Senter (an agency of the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs)

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Policy situation overview

Policy situation overview in Bulgaria

A strategic HLT policy could not be specified in Bulgaria. While passing through difficult changes in all spheres of the socio-economical life, the country prioritized other seen as more significant problems. That is why there are not government departments involved in HLT R&D policy, neither in HLT path to market policy.

However, the Bulgarian government faces the challenges of the contemporary technologies development and is trying to outline some strategy. In 1999 was accepted the Government Strategy for Information Society Development, which specifies the HLT as an important component of the whole process.

In 2002 within the Ministry of Transport and Communications was established the ICT Development Agency - Republic of Bulgaria, which is supposed to formulate the national high-tech and innovation policy.

At the Council of Ministers was newly established a Coordination Center for Information, Communication and Management Technologies. Its goals of the are as follows:

  • To improve the effectiveness of the state administration through a systematic and coordinated implementation of information, communication and management technologies and introduction of e-Government services;
  • To increase the efficiency of budget and donor funds invested in information, communication and management technologies in the public sector and to attract new investment;
  • To establish effective partnerships with the private sector for the implementation of e-Government projects and to encourage the overall progress of technology and enable improved business and social environment.

Funding bodies

The only local funding institution is the National Scientific Research Fund at the Ministry of Education. It provides small grants not only for HLT, but also for different kind of scientific researches. NSRF opens annual calls for projects and funding.

Soros Foundation also funds scientific researches, thus including HLT related.

The other sources are mainly European Union programs.

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Policy situation overview

The Ministry of Science Technology and Innovation

In Denmark the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (Ministeriet for Videnskab, Teknologi og Udvikling) is the most influential government body with regard to HLT policy. This Ministry is behind most research agencies, research councils and research programmes related to HLT.

The Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation was created in November 2001 in extension of the former Ministry of Information Technology and Research to comprise the universities (research and education), industrial research and Denmark's policy on technology and innovation.

The object of the Ministry is to promote the interaction of trade and industry, centres of research and education and to strengthen coordination in pursuance of industry and research policy.

Below the most HLT-relevant departments and divisions within the Ministry of Science Technology and Innovation are described.

Research Department
The Research Department is responsible for co-ordinating Danish research to ensure high quality and large benefits while at the same time promoting knowledge based production

  • Analyses and Strategies Division This Division carries out strategic analyses of Danish research. The Division is in charge of drawing up technical strategies and result-oriented contracts, and it participates in international work on research policies.
  • Research Policy Division This Division draws up proposals for national and international research policy - not least in relation to the EU. Furthermore, the Division services a number of councils and committees under the Government and the Folketing (the Danish parliament), and is responsible for annual reports to the Folketing and for co-ordinating Government-financed sector research.

Innovation Department
The Innovation Department is designed to provide optimum conditions for the technological development, innovation and competency building of the Danish corporate sector. One of this department's tasks is to bridge the gap between research and the private sector through establishment and financing of projects.

IT Department
The IT Department contributes towards the realisation of the Government's objective that Denmark should become a pioneer country in the areas of IT and telecommunications. The Department, which takes care of its tasks within a matrix organisation, is divided into three divisions: IT-political Division, Division for IT and Telecom and International Division for IT and Telecom.

  • IT-political Division This Division is responsible for the Danish Government's national IT policy as well as responsible for a number of central IT projects including:
    o E-government
    o IT Government
    o IT Security
    o Inclusion in the Information Society
    o Electronic Commerce
    o Digital Economy and IT Statistics
    o IT and Society

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Policy situation overview

National science, technology and innovation policies in Finland are formulated by the Science and Technology Policy Council
(< /a>).

The foremost science and technology policy organisations are the Ministry of Education ( ) and the Ministry of Trade and Industry ( m/bulletin.nsf/KTMeng!OpenForm).

The Ministryof Education is responsible for matters relating to education and training, science policy, higher education and the Academy of Finland ( The Ministry of Trade and Industry is responsible for matters relating to industrial and technology policies, the National Technology Agency Tekes ( and the Technical Research Centre of Finland ( Nearly 80% of government research funding is channelled through these two ministries.

Tekes, the National Technology Agency is the main public funding organisation for R&D in Finland. Natural language applications and retrieving, compiling and processing information were among the key programme areas in the USIX - User-Oriented Information Technology programme 1999-2002 ( rce.phx/tivi/usix/en/index.htx). Total funding of the USIX programme was 77 mill. euro, participating organisations included 80 companies and 45 research units.

Tekes launched a new FENIX - Interactive Ínformation Technology programme 2003-2007 ( in December 2002. The new programme invests partly in the same areas as the USIX programme. The five key areas of the programme are knowledge management applications, game and entertainment applications, network services for community building, network services for industry and service providers and mobile applications and services. E.g. language technologies, context awareness, new interface technologies, user-oroientated design, and semantic web are considered as key technologies in the new programme.

Tekes has bilateral cooperation agreements with several organisations abroad, ie. the University of Berkley. The Finland-Berkeley Program for Information Technology and Society ( national/berkeley/index.html) was created to promote international R&D cooperation of Finnish research projects. The program started 1st of February 2001. Currently running HLT
related projects within the Finland-Berkley program include: Noise Robust Multilingual Speech Recognition, Human-Oriented, User-Driven Interactive Navigational Interface, and Speech Recognition.

Language technology research projects have been funded also through other long-term national programmes in the Information and Communications Technology sector. HLT research labs and companies have also used several other forms of funding offered by Academy of Finland and Tekes. E.g. The Academy launched a targeted call in 2001 on the Production, Management and
Use of Digital Information Resources. HLT related projects resulting from this call include e.g. Integrated Resources for Speech Technology and Spoken Language Research in Finland, and Methods and Techniques for next generation information retrieval and management of digital resources. The Academy has also funded HLT related research projects and centers of excellent, e.g. Multilingual Language Technology Unit at the University of Helsinki in 1995-1999. Also Tekes programme SPIN - Software products- a launch pad for global success 2000-2003 ( rce.phx/tivi/spin/en/index.htx) includes language technology enterprise projects.

KIT, Finnish Network for Language Technology Studies 2001 - 2003 ( teknologia/verkosto/) is a network of university departments specialising in language technology. The network, coordinated by the Department of General Linguistics at the University of Helsinki, comprises of 29 departments from 10 universities inclucing computational linguistics, cognitive neuroscience, information sciences and applied linguistics. The Ministry of Education is funding the network.


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Policy situation overview

HLT policy making in France

In France, the Ministry of Research and Technologies, the Ministry of Economy, Finances and Industry and the Ministry for Culture and Communication/General delegation for the French language and the languages spoken in France, (DGLF LF) have been the key players in the implementation of HLT policies and funding.


The High Council for the French Language which is established under the authority of the Prime Minister set up in 1999 a committee dedicated to Human Language Technology (CTIL). This committee, chaired by André Danzin made a white paper on Human Language Technology in France. Further to this white paper called the "Danzin Report" at an inter-ministerial meeting, it has been decided to launch three action programmes to be steered by the related French Ministries and aiming to:

- Boost technology watch and evaluation of language processing tools for French (Ministry of Research and Technology)
- Boost the use of language processing for French (Ministry for Culture and Communication/DGLF LF, Ministry of Public Function and State Reform)
- Provide better training for digital content librarians (Ministry of National Education )


Following this report, the French government has decided to devote more funding to language technology and in July 2002, the three French Ministries of Research and Technology, Culture and Communication and Economy, Finances and Industry launched the Technolangue Programme ppel/2002/technolangue.htm regarding spoken and written language technology on four topics: evaluation, standards, language resources and technology watch.

The 3 year programme Technolangue has a budget of 20 million Euros and aims to build a strong infrastructure in order to feed other existing language technology related development projects. Technolangue's emphasis on creating resources and evaluating technologies would appear to respond to a constant complaint among language technology firms-the lack of good, industrial-strength data for testing tools and extracting linguistic information for further development, among other needs.

French networks supporting HLT R&D projects

The French National Network for Research in Telecommunications (RNRT) .htm, the French National Network for Technologies Research and Innovation (RNTL) and the French Network for Audio-visual end Multimedia Research (RIAM) support R&D projects and gather researchers and industrials who develop or use HLT.

Other bodies involved in HLT R&D activities
Apart from these ministries other national bodies and networks are involved in HLT R&D activities :

- CNRS French National Centre for Scientific Research

- AUPELF French Agency for the French Language

- INRIA French National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control

- ANVAR French National Agency for the Innovation Valorisation

ANVAR is an public organisation which depends on the French Ministries of Research, and Industry and promotes and funds innovative projects in French industry particularly for SMEs. ANVAR facilitates the emergence of new products and processes in all fields of activity by providing grants, financial advances reimbursable in case of project success, shared costs, etc.

HLT enterprise building in France

In addition, there are a good dozen active language technology companies in France, plus another dozen speech technology suppliers, making a comparatively healthy enterprise score when aligned against other countries. Most are small operations, though the last few years have seen several large enterprises such as Xerox, IBM, France Télécom and Thales which have long had major R&D centres in France, and which have spun off language tech companies such as Kalima from IBM and Telisma from France Télécom.


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Policy situation overview

Two federal German Ministries are responsible for HLT-research and funding: The BMBF (Federal Ministry of Education and Research) funds technological development whereas, the BMWA (Federal Ministry of Economics and Labour) supports more general the innovation framework.

The funding itself is executed by specific programme management agencies; for HLT, it is mainly the DLR (German Aerospace Center) under authority of the BMBF which funds HLT research.

The public funding was marked for years by the lead project VERBMOBIL (1993-2000). In this time, almost all funding went into this single project. The VERBMOBIL project led to many University spin-offs now establishing themselves as innovative SME.

Actually, the funding strategy has changed, several independent projects are now funded simultaneously, focussing on the man-machine-interface.

The German HLT-sector is also strongly influenced by German industrial structures. The important automotive sector is quite engaged in HLT-R&D, as it is also the case for other mayor industrial players, e.g. Siemens.

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Policy situation overview

The major body qualified with policy making regarding Language Technology issues in Greece is the of the Ministry of Development. GSRT:

  • Supports through its programmes, the research activities of both the country's scientific research institutes and those of its productive industry, focusing on areas that are important for the national economy and for the improvement of the quality of life
  • Represents Greece in relevant institutions of the European Union, thus bringing the country's research and technology activities into line with the requirements of the European community
  • Encourages activities aimed at raising awareness of the general public about research and technology issues

The priorities of GSRT include:

  • the increase of demand for new knowledge and research results
  • the reorganisation of the research system and provision of knowledge in Greece
  • the deregulation of the Greek research system and opening it further to the international field
  • the development of the technological infrastructure in the context of a policy for science and technology

Since 1992 GSRT has funded five HLT related programmes. A new project with a significant focus on language technologies is about to be launched.

In 1992 GSRT supported the foundation of a research centre devoted exclusively to development and promotion of Language Technology in Greece. The Institute for Language and Speech Processing has since become a European centre of excellence in the field.


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Policy situation overview

In Italy RTD is mainly organized under the Ministry of Education, University and Scientific Research (Ministero per l'Istruzione , l'Universitŕ e la Ricerca Scienfica: that defines the Guidelines for the Scientific and Technology National Policy (

Both the Ministry for Innovation and Technologies and Ministry of Communication play an important role in the definition of the R&D programme for Information and Communication Technologies.

The Ministry of Communication established in 2000 Ugo Bordoni Foundation, a non-profit organization with the purpose of "...promoting scientific and applied research in the field of telecommunications, informatics, electronics and postal services..."

The Ministry for Innovation and Technologies ( t/ita/intervento/pol_soc.shtml) coordinates and encourages action plans and programmes for the deployment of information technologies in order to bring better, more effective and efficient services to citizens and business. For this purpose a "Committee of Ministers for the Information Society" has been set up. Its tasks are:

  • to coordinate the action of the public administrations;
  • to oversee the definition and realisation of a coherent strategy for the development of the Information Society and related policies.

The Committee, chaired by the Minister is composed of the Under-Secretary of State to the Prime Minister's Office and the Ministers responsible for:

  • production activities
  • the implementation of the Government programme
  • cultural heritage and activities
  • communications
  • the economy and finance
  • the public administration and the coordination of information and security services
    • the interior
  • labour and social policies
  • EU policies
  • education, universities and research
  • health.

In 1997, following an important conference organised by the Institute for Computational Linguistic of Pisa, the Government defined HLT as one of the priority of R&D National policy. Two important projects were financed: TAL - National Framework for linguistic resources in for Human Language Technologies with a consortium of 15 partners (under the law 46/82 for applied research) and LCRMM - Computational Linguistic: monolingual and multilingual research with a consortium of 13 partners (under the law 488 for Innovation and new Technologies). Both projects were closed in 2000.

Recently the Government has allocated 225 millions euros for research projects in the Information and Communication Technologies sector in 2003 and 100 millions euros for 2004.

During the last conference for Information Technologies for the promotion of the Italian Language held in Rome on June 2002, the Minister of Communication encouraged the establishment of a permanent forum for the sector composed by different actors (such as public institutions, research laboratories, Universities and companies).

In 2002 The new faculty of Computer Science for Human Science has been established at the University of Pisa.


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Policy situation overview

An assessment of HLT policy in Spain has to take into account two different levels: on the one hand, the Central Government initiatives and, on the other, the programmes carried out by the Autonomous Communities.

As far as national policies are concerned, R&D in HLT is included mainly in the Information Society Programme of the National R&D Plan - designed by the Interministerial Committee on Science and Technology, implemented by the Ministry of Science and Technology and updated every 4 years - but does not have a strong visibility due the lack of a specific programme and specialised committees or programme leaders.

Organizations such as the Centre for Industrial Technological Development and programmes such as the Programme for Promoting Technical Research provide support for industrial R&D.

Autonomous Communities have their own R&D Plans, some of which include HLT. Communities where Basque, Catalan or Galician are spoken do implement specific HLT policies to support their languages.

Spain is divided into 15 Autonomous Communities and 2 Autonomous Cities (Ceuta and Melilla, in Northern Africa). All Autonomous Communities have their own parliaments and governments, which are elected every four years. Based on the Spanish Constitution, during the last two decades the National Government has progressively transferred political competencies to the Autonomous Communities, keeping the role of establishing a basic regulatory framework that every Autonomous Community has to meet as a minimum, although they can further expand it by passing their own more stringent and broader regulations. Universities and R&D are two of the competencies which have been fully transferred to the Autonomous Communities.

In this context, Law 13/1986, April 14th, about Scientific and Technical Research Promotion and Co-ordination, also known as the "Science Act", co-ordinates the Science Policy of the Ministries (National Government) and the Autonomous Communities.

An analysis of the situation of HLT policy in Spain requires taking into account the state of play pertaining HLT in each Autonomous Community (AC), thus, the Spanish NFP has analysed the available R&D Autonomic plans of all the Autonomous Communities, in order to provide an accurate view of what is the HLT policy situation in Spain. Follow this link for a table that states which ACs have included HLT issues in their R&D Autonomic Plans (those cases in which there is not an available R&D Autonomic Plan, are indicated as N/A).

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Policy situation overview

In the UK the ministry most relevant to HLT is the . The DTI houses the Office of Science and Technology (OST), which is responsible for funding basic research via the seven Research Councils. It also supports Professor David King, the Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK Government, in his role co-ordinating science and technology across Government.

The UK's RTD is organised under Research Councils UK (RCUK). This is a strategic partnership set out to champion science, engineering and technology supported by the seven UK Research Councils. Statutory control of the Councils is exercised by the DTI, supported by the Director-General of Research Councils within the OST.

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) is the Research Council most suited to funding HLT research.

The majority of DTI's science, engineering and technology (SET) expenditure is devoted to (a) funding the UK's science and engineering base and (b) supporting the development and use of science and technology in industry, for the benefit of the economy as a whole. The DTI therefore sets out the UK's Science and Innovation Strategy. The DTI's sets a framework for the Government's role as the key investor in the science base; the facilitator for collaboration between universities and business; and the regulator for innovation, including the promotion of public confidence in science.

The UK no longer has a specific HLT policy (in the past, the SALT initiative ran from 1994 to 1998), and therefore related policy measures are included in broader programmes, chiefly within the DTI.

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