Intelligent Tools for Policy Design: FP7 research project FUPOL announced

Josef Janisch, CEO of Cellent AG (Austria) announces that the company acting as coordinator of a consortium has signed a contract with the European Commission for a 9 Mio Euro research project called FUPOL (Future Policy Modeling).

Between 2011 and 2015 a team of political experts, simulation and computer scientists will develop advanced ICT tools to support policy design and implementation. FUPOL is funded under the 7th framework program of the European Commission and undertaken by a consortium of 17 partners from Europe and China. Initially it is focused on local authorities and urban policy domains, but the technologies and innovations developed will be generic and could be used on any level and for any policy domain.

Project director Peter Sonntagbauer is convinced that governments can gain a lot from using advanced ICT in designing policies and communicating through social web with citizens and businesses. FUPOL will provide them with innovative tools to shape the wealth of information coming from the Internet and other sources into policies. Political organizations and politicians, which will use this new technology, will have better means to serve public interests.

Giorgio Prister, president of Major Cities of Europe (MCE) association concludes that an important motivation to participate in the project is to strengthen the participation of citizens and businesses in the political process by “Putting citizens first”. Some MCE member cities will be pilot sites for the project. FUPOL will contribute to the sustainable development of MCE member cities as well as to the overall digital agenda of the European Commission and will lower the barrier between citizens and politicians. Bremerhaven will not be a pilot site, but the b.i.t. as secretary of Major Cities will coordinate the whole dissemination effort of the FUPOL project.

FUPOL aims at a completely new approach to traditional politics. Major innovations like multichannel social computing and crowd sourcing will change the way politicians communicate with citizens and enterprises and take decisions. The system will be able to automatically collect, analyze and interpret opinions expressed on a large scale from the Internet. This will enable governments to gain a better understanding of the needs of citizens. Likewise the software will have the capabilities to simulate the effects of policies and laws and to assist governments in the whole policy design process.

The project already generated significant interest even beyond the European Union. One of the partners in the project is the City of Yantai, which is some 10.000 km away in the Shandong province of the Peoples Republic of China. Like in most cities of China the economy drives a fast development of the city. Project Manager Wang Boyong is convinced that the FUPOL project will provide the tools and methods for a sustainable development and a prosperous future. It could serve as a blueprint for other large fast developing urban areas in China.

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