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10th European e-Accessibility Forum
e-Accessibility in a connected world

30 May 2016, 9am-6pm
Cité des sciences et de l'industrie, Paris

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EU-funded research and innovation of ICT for people with disabilities: ongoing action and future opportunities

Marco MARSELLA (Brussels)
CONNECT Directorate-General, European Commission

Speaker's information

photo Marco Marsella

Marco Marsella is Acting Head of the Unit Inclusion, Skills and Youth (G4), at CONNECT Directorate-General. The Unit contributes to policy development, innovation and research implementation in the areas of Inclusion, Learning and Better Internet for Kids (safer internet). Previously, Marco has worked in the Unit dealing with Safer Internet and eContent. He has also served as project and policy officer in the Unit "Cultural Heritage & Technology Enhanced Learning".



The Inclusion, Skills and Youth Unit is based in Luxemburg and works in three areas which are very important for the digital society.

  1. Education and Learning - to promote inclusive 24/7 digital learning for all so that Europe's youth, workers and citizens have the relevant knowledge and skills to work and live in the 21st century.
  2. Better Internet for Kids - to give children access to positive experiences and content online, in a trusted and secure environment.
  3. Inclusion - to provide all citizens, particularly those with disabilities or at risk of exclusion, with the digital skills and tools needed to access the internet as part of daily life.

The Unit uses two major instruments to carry out these missions: a policy legislation initiative and financial support for projects that improve social inclusion for EU citizens.

Our efforts to push forward the web accessibility directive which will provide the first EU-wide rules for making websites and mobile apps of public sector bodies more accessible, is central to our mission to help people with disabilities to participate fully in society. A political agreement was reached on 3 May and the directive is expected to become law by the end of 2016.

The Unit provides financial support for a host of digital projects. These must include at least three partners from three European countries and push forward the state of the art of technology to help people with disabilities. Many of these projects contribute not only to improving the lives of EU citizens, but to a global public inclusion infrastructure.

40% of these projects are geared towards the visually impaired and motor impaired, but the rest cover a wide spectrum of disabilities including intellectual disabilities. The Unit works with different stakeholders, from disability groups and their carers to developers and industry players.

More effective solutions, designed with people with disabilities and their carers, are needed to mediate communication experiences and enhance cognitive accessibility. As part of H2020 ICT-23-2017 Interfaces for accessibility, the Commission will be opening its next call for projects in December 2016 (deadline: 25th of April 2017).

The Commission will be looking for projects that propose intelligent, affordable and personalised interfaces for people with cognitive disabilities.

With the imminent arrival of the Web Accessibility Directive, it is also looking for support tools to help public sector bodies assess of compliance to Web accessibility standards and guidelines.

For more details, see http://ec.europa.eu/research/participants/portal/desktop/en/opportunities/h2020/topics/5067-ict-23-2017.html

Watch Marco Marsella's presentation on YouTube. For subtitles, please use the CC button, and if you require a transcript do not hesitate to contact us at contact[at]braillenet.org.


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