Based on the mutual recognition that research and innovation are key drivers for socio-economic growth, the achievement of a Common Knowledge and Innovation Space was highlighted as a priority objective for EU cooperation with EaP countries¹. In order to achieve this ambitious goal, a joint work programme was defined in the context of the EaP Platform IV "Contacts between people", covering in parallel the education and training, culture, youth and information society domains.
The scope of activities to be covered in the research and innovation cooperation domains is very wide, including dialogue at policy level as well as field measures to mobilize stakeholders and promote cooperation from basic research up-to close-to-market initiatives. Building-up sound cooperation on innovation requires indeed additional framework conditions than traditional scientific cooperation, especially regarding non-technological issues such as intellectual property rights, access to risk financing, business environment, management skills, etc.
A number of structuring support activities for assessing such framework conditions for cooperation have been included in the Work Programme 2013 of the EU 7th Framework Programme for Research and Development (FP7), and related Calls for Proposals have been published in July 2012. The objective is notably to prepare the cooperation opportunities to be offered through the upcoming EU Horizon 2020 Programme to be launched in early 2014 that will be fully open to EaP countries participation.
In this context, it is proposed to set-up a dedicated Panel on Research and Innovation under the current EaP platform IV. The objective will be to address the current dynamics related to research and innovation cooperation and the corresponding broad spectrum of issues through an expert-level working group. This will notably facilitate coordination between EU and EaP countries’ policies and programmes by sharing information and experiences, as well as the development of joint activities.
The dialogue and the concrete activities organised in the framework of the Panel will build-up on the achievements and experiences developed through the FP7 programme and bilateral cooperation programmes established between EU Member States and EaP countries.
¹ COM(2011)303 of 25.5.2011 "A New Response to a Changing Neighbourhood: a Review of European Neighbourhood Policy"
The Panel implementation will follow the same guidelines and rules of procedures as the EaP Platform IV and will be attached to it. The European Commission, DG Research and Innovation, will provide the Chair of the Panel at Director's level. The ENPI and its successor programme could provide financing for the panel meetings.
All Platform IV full and permanent participants will nominate representatives to the Panel. It is notably expected that EU Member States and EaP countries nominate representatives to the Panel from national research and innovation programme owners or managers. Participation would be limited to one representative per EU Member State and EaP country. The Panel will include the Civil Society Forum as permanent participant.
Ad hoc participants will be eligible to participate on a case-by-case basis in specific meetings. Case-by-case decisions on ad hoc participation based on proposals submitted by any full participant will be taken prior to the respective meeting, project or activity either by the platform sessions or by way of written procedure involving all full participants. A wide range of research and innovation stakeholders can become ad hoc participants, including inter alia, third countries, European and international organisations, financing institutions and representatives of civil society, including industry associations.
It is proposed that panel meetings would be generally attached to Platform IV meetings with the possibility of being organised independently on an ad-hoc basis. In any case reporting on the outcomes of each Panel meeting will be made to Platform IV.
It is to be noted that a project has been selected out of the FP7 2013 Call for Proposals for better coordinating and promoting the S&T cooperation between the EU and Eastern Partnership countries. Such project would bring support to the organisation and implementation of the panel activities by providing input to the discussions such as studies and analysis (e.g. identification of joint cooperation priorities, mapping of research and innovation excellence) or outcomes of technical workshops or promotion activities it would organize.
Activities to be implemented in 2013
The first Panel meeting will be held in Brussels on 13 November 2013.
The topics to be addressed would be in line with the jointly adopted Platform IV Work programme 2012-2013 and would include:
- Promotion of EaP countries participation in the Horizon 2020 programme;
- Identification of joint cooperation priorities and initiatives;
- Support to EaP countries national and regional capacity-building in the field of research and innovation;
- Exchange of information and best practices regarding the setting-up of national and regional innovation systems.