A consortium of leading European institutions announces the launch of OPENVERSE, a new Horizon Europe Coordination and Support Action (CSA) positioned to lead the creation of human-centered European virtual worlds, based on open collaboration and transparent standards. This ambitious initiative aims not only to support the creation of unique virtual worlds that would serve their users effectively but also seeks to strengthen the European industry’s global technological leadership.

Virtual worlds, are persistent, 3D, real-time, immersive environments, blurring the line between real and virtual, for socialising, working, learning, making transactions, playing and creating.

The OPENVERSE CSA emphasises the critical integration of the “human factor” into these evolving virtual worlds. This will be achieved by cultivating an expansive EU-wide ecosystem, featuring co-creation sessions that engage real end-users, enabling them to design, experiment and develop new technologies for the virtual worlds that meet their needs and preferences. This approach is expected to lead to a more equitable and inclusive digital realm.

OPENVERSE is also set to provide concrete knowledge, backed by thorough technology assessments and foresight exercises. A comprehensive roadmap will chart Europe’s course in the global virtual worlds scenario, presenting unparalleled opportunities for European industries to invest and innovate.

Key highlights of the OPENVERSE CSA:

  • Human-centric approach: Putting users at the heart of the digital experience, emphasising real end-user engagement and co-creation.
  • Collaborative ecosystem: An expansive EU-wide network, fostering collaboration, innovation, and technological evolution.
  • Roadmap for an open and co-created virtual worlds: Detailed assessments and foresight exercises to shape Europe’s trajectory in the global Metaverse landscape.

Francesco Mureddu, OPENVERSE’s Project Coordinator, stated: “In a world where technological advancements are rapidly reshaping our realities, Europe stands at the forefront, championing the emergence of virtual worlds that embody openness, transparency, and inclusivity. Our vision for the European virtual worlds is not just about technology, but about fostering greater accessibility, ensuring user-centric experiences, and paving the way for innovative collaborations.”

A group picture of OPENVERSE partners' representatives

The OPENVERSE partners represent a blend of research institutions, technological enterprises, and innovative organizations from across Europe. Each brings their distinct expertise to this collaborative venture, ensuring its success and influence in shaping the future of the virtual worlds. The Consortium features: The Lisbon Council for Economic Competitiveness (Belgium) as coordinating partner, IDC (Italy), Martel Innovate (Switzerland), Trust-IT (Italy), COMMpla (Italy), Inspiring Futures (Switzerland), Politecnico di Milano (Italy), University of Galway (Ireland), Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Belgium), XR4EUROPE (Belgium), International Data Spaces Association (Germany), Data AI and Robotics -BDVA (Belgium).