The EU-GCC Cooperation Agreement established in 1988 recognized S&T as a priority sector for cooperation and the importance of cooperation in the research and innovation domains was re-affirmed during the 2008 EU-GCC Ministerial meeting. This resulted in the launch in January 2010 of the first INCONET project targeting the region, the GCC-INCO-NET project, with an FP7 contribution of 1.97M€. In parallel, the EU and the GCC endorsed in June 2010 a Joint Action Plan 2010-2013 to boost cooperation, including a specific chapter on scientific research. This chapter aims notably at establishing a bi-regional STI policy dialogue, transferring EU expertise regarding the funding and management of research programmes and providing opportunities for GCC researchers to participate in the EU FP.
During the past two and a half years, the GCC INCO-NET project has developed a wide range of activities to meet the Joint Action Plan objectives both at technical and policy levels, by assessing STI cooperation potential, establishing and training a network of GCC FP7 contacts, organising FP7 info-days in several GCC countries and identifying common cooperation priorities. A follow-up project, INCONET-GCC2 is expected to be launched on 1st October 2013.