Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) provide the backbone for the knowledge economy in the European Union (EU).  At the beginning of the millenium, they represented about 8% of the EU's gross domestic product, and 40% of productivity growth was due to them.  In its communication "Working together for growth and jobs:  A new start for the Lisbon Strategy" (2005) the Commission highlighted the importance of ICT for Europe's economy and society, and underlined that "our innovation performance is crucially depending on strengthening investment in and the use of new technologies, particularly ICTs, by both the private and public sectors".

Upon this background, the EU launched the i2010 initiative, setting the strategic framework for ICT policies, as well as the Seventh Framework Programme (7FP). This programme is the chief instrument for research, technological development and demonstration over the period 2007 to 2013.  Trans-national cooperation is among its objectives.  Here support will be provided in a number of thematic areas corresponding to major socioeconomics fields.  ICT is considered one of them, being also the area with the highest portion of the budget (€9.11 billion) to be distributed over the duration of the programme. The Ambient Intelligence vision is built on and extended under the challenges of the ICT theme.  A leitmotiv is the creation of intelligent environments (physical, virtual or mix) where every individual user can benefit from services responding to his presence and/or context, able to proactively adapt to his habits, gestures and emotions and serve his needs in a way that could ease the realisation of daily tasks, either work or leisure ones, and help in emergency situations.  For this purpose, research in "intelligent contents" will be supported, enabling the creation of a variety of new types of services and progressing in formalisms for its semantic description.  One of the ICT challenges to be mastered by researchers is the development of infrastructures that will gradually replace the current Internet network, allowing the creation of dynamic services according to user objectives and context, with flexible coordination, and automatic adjustment in case of contingency.  Another challenge is to develop new intelligent ways of interaction between user and system, based on language, cognition and human emotions models, capable of natural and effective interaction without the need of a specific learning.  There are also challenges in the fields of health (personalised monitoring services, aid services to elderly), and mobility (transport management systems, intelligent and safe vehicles).  A last challenge is to integrate people at risk of exclusion and empower individuals to fully participate in the knowledge society.

In Spain, the National Plan for Scientific Research, Development and Technological Innovation 2008-2011 includes a strategic action on "Telecommunications and Information Society".  Here topics related to Intelligent Information Technologies (IIT) are mainly present in the field of intelligent systems, although they also contribute to the challenges of open and distributed systems, information management, and software engineering.  Apart from that, the innovative and socio-economic potential of IIT is demonstrated by its strong relevance to the business strategies of a variety of companies.

The strong international vocation of  Universidad Rey Juan Carlos (URJC) compels itself to fully assume the challenge of the European Research Area (ERA).  This challenge requires to foster the creation of powerful research entities, capable of competing at the forefront of  strategic fields, both at European level and worldwide.  For that purpose, URJC counts on a team of renowned researchers, with proven national and international acknowledgement in the field of IIT, which constitutes CETINIA's human base.  Furthermore, it should be highlighted that URJC's priority is the permeability to the socio-economic environment in order to strive for academic excellence and professional qualification of students.  CETINIA will bring research in the field of IIT to the businesses, both at national and regional levels, promoting the dissemination of knowledge in the socio-economic environment by means of training, innovation and technological development. Accordingly, CETINIA conceives itself as an institution dedicated to R&D&I, a service provider in the field of IIT that pools and coordinates resources as well as scientific and technological potential in a Centre ready to cope with the challenges of the ERA.  CETINIA is born with a vocation for applied research, innovation, and dissemination of knowledge and technology to the society, and particularly to the local business environment, although more fundamental research may be carried out as well.