List of Key Challenges

The List of Key Challenges identifies cross-cutting issues that combine societal relevance with ICT fields of research and innovation. This resource provides a problem-oriented view, focusing on shared challenges and issues.

  • The key challenges defined that will be the focus of the HubIT stakeholder network activities.
  • Cross-cutting issues that combine societal relevance with ICT fields of research and innovation These resource provides a catalogue of such challenges relevant in ICT and SSH. Each of these key challenges will be expanded and emphasize shared concerns among stakeholders.
Benefiting from personalised care

More effective care starts with a more precise diagnosis, based on the patient’s health history and current situation. ICT helps health professionals to improve diagnosis and to adapt treatments to the patient’s specific needs and profile.

Quality care to everyone, everywhere

Providing patients with needed treatment, wherever they are, is one of biggest challenges of eHealth. On the one hand this implies sharing good practices in diagnosis and treatment of diseases. On the other hand, it means giving people the opportunity to travel freely throughout Europe – knowing that they or their carers can access their health information from anywhere. The number of potential beneficiaries is enormous: 12,3 million EU citizens are resident in a Member state different from their origin and every year millions more make trips to other EU countries. The resulting impact on health safety and quality of life is massive: the availability of vital information, especially for patients suffering from chronic diseases, enables them to move across borders without anxiety and to receive the most appropriate treatment whenever needed.

Helping elderly people to live independently and safely at home

Active involvement in society of elderly, disabled and people with physical impairments starts by improving their living conditions in their own environment, and facilitating their social life and contacts. This has also a positive impact on their families and caregivers, enabling them to rebalance the time devoted to care in favour of quality aspects, nurturing the relationship with the older persons. “Smart houses” – i.e. houses with automatic systems for lighting, temperature control, multi-media and many other functions – are designed for this purpose, but their functioning has to be simplified.

Technology to communicate and socialise better

Only 20% of the elderly are active internet users. They can communicate more and better using devices they are more familiar with, such as TV screens and remote controls.

Moving about

It is estimated that one in three people aged over 65 is at risk of falling – going up to one in two for those over 80. Falls often have very serious psychological and physical consequences, including a real risk of fatality. Technology permits the development of solutions which enable the elderly and the disabled with severe injuries to walk and move safely.

Making technologies accessible to the ageing population

The solutions mentioned above show how ICTs can offer better chances for people with disabilities. Yet, technologies, in their pervasiveness, can also represent a barrier.

Cross-border public services for an easier life

In many European countries, citizens have identity cards and use them when interacting with public authorities. Electronic identification (eID) schemes can make these interactions much simpler for citizens and more cost-effective for administrations. However, most online public services do not work across borders, or else involve heavy procedures. A citizen from one EU country cannot easily apply for public services in another, using the national electronic identification. This reduces the mobility of citizens and businesses, and hampers the development of the Digital Single Market administrations.

Citizens on the move

More than 12.3 million Europeans have moved to live and work in a different country. Effective transmission of individual data between national authorities must therefore be a priority.

Active participation in political life and decision-making

Is participation in politics and decision making still something which is limited to a few groups? Thanks to ICT - particularly social media - more and more citizens are able to take direct part in political debate. However, the information and resources that governments and public administrations make available to citizens can be difficult to understand. This leads to a sense of detachment and disillusionment towards public bodies and the democratic process itself. The better we understand our rights as EU citizens, the more informed the decisions we can take and the more we can contribute to the democratic life with our engaged contributions. With this aim in mind, the European Commission decided that 2013 should be the European Year of Citizens. Also, the Europe for Citizens Programme (2007-2013) promotes initiatives that facilitate the active participation in the civic and democratic life of the EU.

Defending ICT infrastructures

The Internet has evolved significantly over time, and people have come to depend on it for a number of activities such as voice and video communications, social networking, online banking, e-government and shopping. Trust is the core of social and economic activity in the Internet, and is the basis of economic transactions, social connections, and communication between people and organisations. As we increasingly rely on broadband networks, it is extremely important to make them more secure and trustworthy and protect them against any kind of accidental or deliberate failure. Over the past decade we have witnessed an ever-increasing amount of cyber attacks on the Internet. Ranging in style from large-scale worms to phishing attempts, cyber attacks have evolved to unprecedented levels of sophistication. To counter these phenomena, defenders are (mostly) developing safeguards after the attacks are made. In the meantime, while defenders are busy with mending the fences, attackers have already developed and planned their next strike. We are facing an asymmetrical threat; unless addressed, this asymmetrical threat will have the defenders locked into a vicious cycle: chasing after attackers without ever being able to catch up.

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