Government launches research project on digital inclusion

Summary

Nearly half of all Belgians have below average internet skills, which has led the minister for the digital agenda to launch a research project on current and future challenges of an increasingly digital society

Below average skills

The federal minister of the digital agenda, Alexander De Croo, has launched the research project IDEALiC on digital inclusion, or e-inclusion. The project, financed by the Belgian Science Policy Office, will develop a national e-inclusion policy over the next four years. The initiative is being carried out by Flemish research group iMinds-SMIT-VUB in collaboration with the French-speaking group FTU Namur.

“The internet is now an integral part of our daily lives,” said researcher Ilse Mariën (pictured) of iMinds-SMIT in a statement. “But we still see that not everyone possesses the necessary digital skills.”

Federal research statistics show that 47% of Belgians have below average internet skills, while a similar percentage of the elderly population has never used the internet. “The digital landscape in Belgium is changing fast; many public services are digitised,” said Gerard Valenduc of FTU Namur. “We have to make sure that everyone is able to use them.”

According to De Croo (Open-VLD), nine in 10 jobs of the near future will require one or more digital skills. “Attention to digital inclusion, therefore, is a priority,” he said.

Researchers will examine the influence of age on e-inclusion and the relationship between the government, which provides the services, and the citizens who use them. On the basis of the results, the IDEALiC team will produce a detailed advisory report. “After four years, we should know what the main problems are and how to solve them,” said Mariën.

iMinds

iMinds is an independent, non-profit ICT research organisation with departments spread over five universities across Flanders and Brussels. It was founded by the government of Flanders to stimulate ICT innovation in the region.
IBBT - The organisation was originally established as the Institute for Broadband Technology in 2004. The iMinds name was adopted in 2012 to reflect the expansion of the institute’s activities.
Action areas - iMinds supports research for innovative ICT services and applications in six areas: media, energy, health, ICT, manufacturing and smart cities.
Board - Board
380

completed research projects

850

iMinds researchers

5

2013 research budget in millions of euros