The European Commission has said that Europe must boost its IT research policy if it wants to catch-up with countries such as the US, Japan and China.

The Commission argued that the EU’s 27 members are not doing enough to promote IT research at the first European Future Technologies Conference in Prague, Czech Republic.

It called on EU member states to double their investment in high-risk IT research in order to catch up with the US, Japan and China, which are already investing vast amounts of money in this area.

The Commission acknowledged that despite the EU producing almost one third of the world’s scientific knowledge, “research in the sector accounts for only a quarter of its overall research effort, a dichotomy that must be changed if Europe is to develop a leading position in IT research.”

To aid the effort, the Commission has pledged to increase its own investment in IT research of €100m per year by 70% by 2013.

Viviane Reding, European Commissioner for Information Society and Media said: “Europe must be inventive and bold-especially in times of crisis. Research seeds innovation which is key for Europe’s long-term global competitiveness.

She added: “Combing efforts of the 27 EU countries and stepping up cooperation with global partners is essential for Europe to take the lead in future information technologies that can yield radical new solutions for European citizens.”

Examples of where Europe could lead were released at the conference. Papers highlighted projects such as a thought navigated wheelchair that can interpret brain signals and computers that can work faster than the speed of light to process unlimited amounts of information.