by Keith Jeffery
Since 2006 there has been discussion about creating a platform for cooperation among the European societies in Information and Communication Sciences and Technologies (ICST). The objective is to have a stronger, unified voice for ICST professionals in Europe. The forum will help to develop common viewpoints and strategies for ICST in Europe and, whenever appropriate or needed, a common representation of these viewpoints and strategies at the international level.
In 2006 and 2008, Keith Jeffery from STFC, UK, led expert groups on the topic at the request of the European Commission. The commission initiated a project to survey the views of ICST professionals in Europe; significantly this survey indicated that ERCIM was the best known and regarded organisation in Europe. Working closely with Informatics Europe and the European Chapter of the ACM, ERCIM has pushed steadily for progress. A meeting at the 2011 Informatics Europe annual conference confirmed a widespread desire to form such an association. An initial constellation of Informatics Europe, ERCIM, the European Chapter of ACM, CEPIS (Council of European Professional Informatics Societies), EATCS (European Association for Theoretical Computer Science), EAPLS (European Association for Programming Languages and Systems), and EASST (European Association of Software Science and Technology) was agreed, with Jan van Leeuwen, Utrecht University representing Informatics Europe, taking the chair, and ERCIM providing the coordinating website. On 2 February 2012, a meeting was hosted at INRIA, Paris where the objectives and structure of the European Forum for ICST (EFICST) were defined and agreed, with the vice presidents Keith Jeffery, STFC representing ERCIM, and Paul Spirakis representing EATCS and ACM Europe.
Keith Jeffery, STFC, UK
and EFICST vice-president