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Microsoft cuts ribbon on EU research center

The Aachen, Germany-based facility will serve as the software giant's prime center for European collaborative research and opens the door to EC-funded projects.

Microsoft on Monday officially opened a research center in Aachen, Germany, a move that makes the company eligible to take part in projects funded by the European Commission and by individual European countries.

The European Microsoft Innovation Centre will conduct research into Web services, security and privacy technologies, and wireless technologies, according to the company. It will focus on three areas: enterprise computing, embedded devices and the extended home. Projects will be developed jointly with European academia and industry partners.

The EMIC, which was set up earlier this year, is already a partner in several projects cofunded by the European Commission. For these, the center is developing Web services for e-health and e-learning; security and privacy technologies; and networking technologies. These projects are a part of the Sixth Framework for Research and Technological Development, a 17.5 billion-euro set of programs with deadlines stretching up to 2006.

Microsoft said it currently invests 20 percent of its revenue in research and development--a figure expected to hit $6.8 billion this year--and already has linkages with many universities in Europe.

EMIC currently has 12 staff members, which will be increased to 20 in coming months, according to Microsoft.