The world of technology evolves quickly. It is imperative that eu-LISA, with its ambition to be a key partner of Member States in the delivery of high-quality IT services, remains fully aware of all the advancements in technological domains relevant to its operations. It is only by remaining fully aware of new developments and analysing their potential relevance in the context of large-scale IT systems and their usage that the Agency and its expert staff can ensure adherence to the principle that the best available technologies are always utilised as well as optimally support users in their own developments. The research function of the Agency is responsible for monitoring technologies in order to fulfil these needs.
The importance of research has been recognised by the EU Institutions from the outset. Technology monitoring was included as a core Agency activity in Establishing Regulation 1077/2011. The research function is in place since the Agency's earliest days and has contributed significantly to its evolution ever since. A series of publically available reports have been produced that analyse technologies of relevance to the Agency and its activities; these have doubtless informed policy makers, system users and other stakeholders in their deliberations and decision making. Furthermore, technology monitoring and technology assessment has been a critical component of various feasibility studies, analyses and projects undertaken by the Agency. The research function has contributed intensively to the Smart Borders studies and pilots undertaken by the European Commission, a feasibility study on an EU Technology Hub and the various studies undertaken related to IT systems' interoperability.
The important contribution of the research function to the Agency's activities – a contribution growing over time as the pace of change quickens – was recognised by the Institutions when considering the evolution of the Agency's mandate. The new Agency Regulation (2018/1726) provided for a notable extension of the function's mandate. In particular, it is foreseen that the Agency play a role in the EU Framework Programmes for Research and Innovation (currently Horizon 2020, in the future Horizon Europe) that relate to large-scale IT systems. More particularly, the Agency's management and/or support of project or programme implementation, including financial aspects, is foreseen, subject to delegation of appropriate powers by the European Commission. The Agency's intended approach to this work will be elaborated in the coming months and years in collaboration with the Commission, with the goal of assuring maximal benefits for all parties involved.
The research function will also play a coordinating role going forward in pilot projects and proofs of concept as well as in the provision of support to Member States and the Commission, foreseen as new activities according to Articles 15 and 16 of the Agency's Regulation given the relevance of up-to-date knowledge for such efforts. Should the analyses and projects requested require technology analysis and the input of fresh knowledge on the state of development of various technological fields, the research function will be actively involved in order to assure the best outcomes for the Agency's partners and stakeholders.