The first phase of a €600m (£538m) innovation partnership between the European Commission (EC) and EU industry was launched today by EC vice president Neelie Kroes.
The Future Internet Public Private Partnership (FI-PPP) aims to prepare Europe for the predicted exponential increase in online data.
"The internet economy will grow to 5.8 per cent of GDP, or almost €800bn (£717bn), by 2014," said Kroes.
"However, we are only at the beginning of the internet era. Europe must mobilise all its talent to keep ahead in this sector, not only to ensure Europe's future competitiveness and unlock European creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship, but also to safeguard European values like privacy, openness and diversity," she added.
"Therefore we should use public finances to leverage industry investment – if we don't invest and innovate first, our global competitors will."
The EC has made €300m (£269m) available in funding over five years, while some 152 research, public sector and industry organisations will provide an equal amount.
The following eight projects launched today will each receive about €5m (£4.4m) in funding over the next five years, as part of the first phase of the FI-PPP:
• Environmental data in the public domain
• Making the food value-chain smarter
• Reaping the benefits of electricity management at community level
• Making public infrastructure in urban areas more intelligent and efficient
• Networked media
• Increasing efficiency in international logistics value-chains
• Personal mobility
• Making urban public areas safer
To develop the set of core platform tools needed to build innovative future internet services, such as privacy, real-time processing and cloud computing, €41m (£36m) in funding will also be allocated to a project called Fi-Ware.
This initial phase of the FI-PPP will last for two years (2011-12).
The second phase (2013-14) will see large-scale trials of innovative and complex internet services and applications in a wide range of domains across Europe, while the third phase (2014-15) will aim to transform these trials into "fertile digital ecosystems" on a regional level, Kroes said.