The international competitiveness of modern economies is linked increasingly to their ability to generate, adapt and use new knowledge. Science and technology (S&T) are considered to be key factors contributing to achieving sustainable development, prosperity and economic growth. S&T has also proved to be instrumental to enhancing and enriching many other policy areas with an impact on external relations: trade, development, environment, energy, telecommunications, etc.
A new approach is followed in the 7th Framework Programme to support the activities of international cooperation:
The latter foster international cooperation through support measures for third countries and regions. They support dialogues and information exchange activities with third countries and regions in order to enable the EU and the targeted countries and regions to discuss with different current and future research priorities. The outcomes of these dialogues provide intelligence for developing research policy, offer input to the respective FP7 Specific Programmes, and inspire research topics for international cooperation, in particular in the Cooperation Programme. The activities of international cooperation in the Capacities Programme also support actions to increase coherence in international research activities with and amongst the Member States that contribute to a better Europe-level coordination on aspects of international S&T cooperation, as well as to improve knowledge on the cooperation opportunities offered by third countries' research programmes.
The activities defined in the Specific Programme are:
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