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World Wide Web Consortium to Move European Host to ERCIM. INRIA Instrumental in Bringing Two International Initiatives Together


The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control (INRIA) and the European Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics (ERCIM) jointly announced organizational changes which aim to strengthen research relationships throughout Europe to better support Web technology development.

The change of W3C European Host from INRIA to ERCIM will take place on 1 January 2003. The change allows W3C to better leverage research relationships throughout Europe, while maintaining its historically strong relationship to INRIA, one of the ERCIM founders.

W3C Has History of International Organization, Beginning With INRIA

Since its inception in the United States at MIT’s Laboratory for Computer Science in October 1994, W3C has made sure that the World Wide Web lives up to its name and its promise. At the insistence of its Director, Tim Berners-Lee, the W3C has equal presence in North America, Europe and Asia. W3C identifies not-for profit institutions to serve as regional headquarters and provide physical locations for staffing. These institutions are identified as W3C "hosts."

When INRIA was chosen as the first W3C European host in April 1995, W3C had 50 Members in 4 countries; the only European country with W3C Members at that time was the United Kingdom. INRIA provided distinct and immediate advantages, driving awareness and Membership in France and throughout Europe. Over the next seven years, INRIA’’’’s resources attracted both Member organizations and technical staffing to W3C. It also provided crucial links to European research communities. Today, the W3C Membership exceeds 450 organizations, with representation in nearly every country in Europe.

During this time, W3C received financial support from the European Commission to build a network of Offices throughout Europe with initial staffing from INRIA. Currently, W3C has 13 Offices worldwide, with 8 in Europe. Offices work with W3C hosts promoting local languages, broadening W3C’’’’s geographical base, and encouraging international participation in W3C Activities. Seven of the European Offices are already based at ERCIM Institutes, including: CWI (Benelux); Fraunhofer IMK (Germany and Austria); FORTH (Greece); MTA SZTAKI (Hungary); CNR (Italy); SICS (Sweden) and CCLRC (UK and Ireland).

Moving From INRIA to ERCIM Is Natural for European Expansion

As the Web has grown into a more widespread and essential resource for industry, academia, governments, and their citizens, there is a pronounced need for an even more diverse infrastructure and support network. Establishing the W3C’’’’s European base at ERCIM will be beneficial to all involved.

"INRIA provided the necessary foundations for European involvement in Web infrastructure development, and now we have the opportunity to expand into a new phase," explained Bernard Larrouturou, President of INRIA. "Moving the host to ERCIM is consistent with our culture of incubating new initiatives and our commitment to strengthening the IT community in Europe. It will enable us to maintain our strong relationship with W3C while expanding into the boundless resources of a pan-European network of research institutes - benefiting both ERCIM and W3C."

W3C’s Move to ERCIM Opens New Opportunities to integrate Web Research and Industry in Europe

ERCIM was founded in 1989 by INRIA, GMD (now merged with Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, Germany), and CWI (Centrum voor Wiskunde en Informatica, The Netherlands), to build a European not-for-profit consortium dedicated to the advancement of information technology and applied mathematics.

Currently, research institutes from 16 countries are members of ERCIM. Each member institute is a leading research establishment in its own country with excellent links to both national and international research communities. All ERCIM members are national centers, independent of commercial ties. Each institute has strong involvement in the research programs of the European Union and joint projects with small and medium size enterprises as well as large industrial companies.

ERCIM is a European Economic Interest Grouping (EEIG), a legal entity in Europe. Gerard Van Oortmerssen, Director of CWI, is the current ERCIM President, and Bernard Larrouturou, INRIA’s CEO, acts as ERCIM’s General Manager.

"The ERCIM Directors were already aware of W3C. ERCIM member institutes have been active in W3C working groups, and several act as W3C Offices," noted Gerard van Oortmerssen. "As a network of IT research centers, ERCIM encompasses over 10,000 researchers. W3C will benefit from this reservoir of expertise. For ERCIM, this change brings an opportunity to enhance cooperation on a global scale."

"The Web grows stronger and more useful when there are real commitments to engaging international presence and influence in Web technology development," explained Tim Berners-Lee, W3C Director. "For W3C, it means having one headquarters - - supported by three global partners - MIT, Keio University and now ERCIM. With the move to ERCIM, there is the potential for considerable growth and synergies of Web technologies across Europe."

About the World Wide Web Consortium [W3C]

The W3C was created to lead the Web to its full potential by developing common protocols that promote its evolution and ensure its interoperability. It is an international industry consortium jointly run by the MIT Laboratory for Computer Science (MIT LCS) in the USA, the National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control (INRIA) in France and Keio University in Japan. Services provided by the Consortium include: a repository of information about the World Wide Web for developers and users, and various prototype and sample applications to demonstrate use of new technology. To date, nearly 450 organizations are Members of the Consortium. For more information see


The European Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics (ERCIM) is an organization dedicated to the advancement of European research and development in information technology and applied mathematics. Its sixteen national member institutions aim to foster collaborative work within the European research community and to increase co-operation with European industry. For more information see


Founded in 1967, the French National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control works at the heart of the information society and networks the skills of all French research and training organizations active in the areas of Information Technologies and Sciences. Consequently, half of the 95 research project-teams currently underway at INRIA are being carried out jointly with universities, leading schools and research organizations. INRIA plays a determining role in four areas of research: networks and systems ; software engineering and symbolic computation ; man-machine interaction, imaging, data, knowledge ; simulation and optimization of complex systems. INRIA is actively involved in technology transfer programs: it has concluded 600 contracts with industry and spun off some 60 private companies, notably through its INRIA-Transfert subsidiary, promoter of 4 seed funds: I-Source 1&2 in the field of ICST, C-Source (Multimedia) and T-Source (Telecommunications). For more information about INRIA, see: http//

Contacts W3C:
Americas, Australia -- Janet Daly, , +1.617.253.5884 or +1.617.253.2613
Europe, Middle East and Africa -- Marie-Claire Forgue, , +33.492.38.75.94
Asia -- Saeko Takeuchi, , +81.466.49.1170
Contact INRIA:
Christine Genest, , +33 1 39 63 57 29
Contact ERCIM:
Bruno Le Dantec, , +33 4 92 38 50 40

Christine Genest | alfa
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