The European Commission has announced a large initiative to fund high-risk information and communication technology (ICT) research.
The commission believes such blue-sky research has in the past proven to be a significant economic boon.
The European Future Technologies Conference and Exhibition is a new European forum dedicated to frontier research in future and emerging information technologies. Leading scientists, policy-makers, industry representatives and science journalists will convene over 3 days to discuss today's frontier science, tomorrow's technologies and the impact of both on tomorrow's society.
The conference, dubbed Science Beyond Fiction, focuses on emerging technologies such as quantum computing, artificial intelligence, and robots.
The website describes how this initiative will target open-minded scientists and thinkers - young and established - who are willing to think out of the box of established disciplines, technologies, practices or theories. "Whether you're a scientist, a policy maker, an industry representative or a journalist, the multidisciplinary creative process will challenge conventional boundaries and take you beyond them."
Read more here: http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/events/fet/2009/index_en.htm
and here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/8010075.stm