SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Germans and Portuguese forge research venture
Germany and Portugal have entered into an agreement for the advancement of applied research on emerging technologies. These two EU Member States will explore mutual interests concerning the social well-being, economic growth and quality of life in science and technology. The partners are targeting the foundation of a collaborative framework endorsing uninterrupted and systematic cooperation actions between Fraunhofer institutes and Portuguese research and development centres.
The research cooperation agreement was signed in the Portuguese city of Porto on April 18. Attending the signing ceremony were the Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates, the German Secretary of State for Education and Research, Professor Frieder Meyer-Krahmer, senior Fraunhofer officials, Portuguese academic partners and key players in the industrial world.
|The researchers have set their sights on the development of nanotechnology.|
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‘The Portuguese government is launching a technological plan as a political idea to mobilise the state, business and citizens around key drivers of modernisation: knowledge, technology and innovation,’ said Mr Socrates. ‘The duty of a responsible, forward-planning government is to foster scientific and technological skills, and to recognise the essential role of research and development activities.’
Once the programme is up and running and a new Fraunhofer institute opens its doors, the focus of study will be on content applications and services based on information and communication technologies for ambient intelligence – a vision of the future where people are surrounded by sensitive and responsive electronic environments. This new venture, which seeks to promote ways to provide access to information and communication technologies, will effectively give people the means to enrich their lives with information and knowledge.
By maintaining the use of innovative content, applications and services for everyone and by encouraging people to constantly learn through emerging forms of educational entertainment, the institute's experts will dedicate their time and resources into helping people with low qualifications, the elderly and citizens with special needs.
Under the partnership agreement, the Fraunhofer institutes and R&D centres in
Portugal will target the development of production, logistics, biotechnology,
nanotechnology and grid computing. The experts set apart those areas on the basis
of preliminary assessments. Both Germany-based Fraunhofer institutes and a number
of research centres in Portugal will work together with German and Portuguese
firms, as well other European companies, to make this programme successful.
The process for this partnership kicked off a year ago. Lisbon approached the
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft and other top research and educational centres to examine
what joint programmes could be viable. ‘In the coming years, internationalisation
will become the key to success for applied research organisations such as Fraunhofer,’ explained
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft President Hans-Jörg Bullinger. ‘The cooperation with Portugal
is a major step in this endeavour.’
Portugal's Secretary of State for Science, Technology and Higher Education Manuel Heitor commented that the German-Portuguese deal creates a window of opportunity for Europeans to facilitate new knowledge networks involving businesses and markets. ‘It will promote Portuguese research teams and institutions at a European level,’ he said.
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