EU and Ukraine set sights on stronger S&T activity
Solid research ties are on the cards between the EU and Ukraine thanks to the launching of the information platform S&T (science and technology) Gate UKR.EU which targets better S&T cooperation on a global level, and facilitates networking of research organisations and institutions in the EU and Ukraine, and scientific dialogue between EU Member States and Ukraine. The BILAT-UKR ('Enhancing the bilateral S&T partnership with Ukraine') project, funded under the EU's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) with more than EUR 496 000 in support, developed and financed the S&T Gate UKR.EU platform. BILAT-UKR seeks to be a factor in the fuller integration of Ukraine into the broader European Research Area (ERA).
Sources say the S&T Gate UKR.EU platform offers information about projects and programmes that interested parties can take part in, as well as partner organisations that could be established. The platform also provides detailed and new information about how research and technology development in the political sphere is being developed in the former Soviet republic. Users will also have access to contact information for local experts. Ultimately, the S&T Gate UKR.EU will identify and assess the S&T potential of EU-Ukraine cooperation.
The platform also offers scientists, researchers and developers that have expressed an interest in conducting cross-border research projects and further research on the results of joint projects, as well as in gaining experience in cooperating with the EU, the information they need to move forward with their plans. However, the S&T Gate UKR.EU is also targeting decision-makers in the political and private spheres.
The BILAT-UKR project, meanwhile, is also a pivotal player in the EU-Ukrainian Action Plan, which is the key guiding tool of the European Neighbourhood Policy with Ukraine. This policy aims to share EU stability, security and prosperity with Ukraine. Sources are quoted as saying that Ukraine has a great deal of potential as regards the FP7, despite it's not having reached its full potential in the past.
The S&T Gate UKR.EU says Ukrainian-based science is concentrated in more than 1 400 scientific institutions that represent 4 sectors of science: academic (26%); field (56%); university (13%) and industry (5%).
Significant contributors to academic science include the National Academy of Science and Ukraine, as well as the Ukrainian Academy of Agrarian Sciences, the Academy of Medical Sciences, the Academy of Pedagogical Sciences, the Academy of Legal Sciences, and the Academy of Arts.
The BILAT-UKR partners also note that financing of international S&T cooperation constitutes 4% of the overall amount of the budget expenditure for research and technology development (RTD) in Ukraine.
Sources say the key priority areas of S&T development include fundamental research into problems impacting natural sciences and humanities, as well as new biotechnologies and methods of treatment of common diseases and new technologies and resource-saving technologies in industry, agriculture and power engineering.