The IST Program is part of the European Union Framework Program Six Research and Development Program. It is a follow-on to the IST program of Framework Program Five that replaced the three programs ACTS, ESPRIT and Telematics Applications Program (TAP) that were in the previous Framework Program Four. Most, but not all of the technologies and application areas covered by the previous programs appear in some form in this revised IST Program.
Historically, each Framework Program runs for four years. The first programs started in the early eighties and they were gradually combined into a single Framework Program, but initially they were not known as “Framework Programs”. That term was only applied retroactively to the early programs. Historically, the IST program derives from the ESPRIT Program that started in 1984. It encompassed various other activities in Information Technology into a more or less integrated program. For example the Multi-Annual Program “MAP” was a predecessor and it funded, inter alia, topics like software technology and included a broad Ada Technology activity that developed into part of ESPRIT.
Later in the eighties, other programs appeared that were eventually combined into the Framework such as RACE which became ACTS and covered telecommunication technologies. Various other programs in the application domain such as Health IT, Transport IT (such as the DRIVE Program), Education and Training etc. combined to form the Telematics Applications Program.
It is useful to remember these historical roots, as those communities and their practices still exist to some extent in the IST Program and tend to be semi-autonomous based on past practice. However, due to interchange of staff and a concerted effort at transparency differences are gradually disappearing.