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Latin America and Caribbean


6 October 2016

Cristina Russo’s visit to Uruguay and Paraguay : Strengthening the political dimension of the EU-CELAC Common Research Area

Cristina Russo attending a bilateral meeting with the Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs and the President of the National Council for Science and Technology – CONACYT in Paraguay

Cristina Russo, Director for International cooperation at DG Research and Innovation participated at the 9th Plenary session of the European-Latin America Parliamentary Assembly – EUROLAT on 21 September 2016 in Montevideo, Uruguay, to present the strategic importance of the EU-CELAC Common research area for strengthening bi-regional cooperation. The opportunities provided by the EU-CELAC Common Research Area were also discussed in the Parliamentary Committee on Sustainable Development, the Environment, Energy Policy, Research, Innovation and Technology in view of the preparation of a dedicated parliamentary report on its benefits and further needs.

During her visit to Uruguay, Cristina Russo had high-level bi-lateral meetings with the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Education & Culture, as well as with the National Agency for Investigation & Innovation- ANII and the Uruguayan Agency of International Cooperation- AUCI to discuss opportunities for increased bi-lateral and bi-regional cooperation with Uruguay. The main STI areas of common interest discussed focused on the promotion of mobility of researchers, audio-visual industries and ICT engineering, as well as the opportunity of a potential Uruguayan participation in the “South Atlantic Flagship Initiative” on marine and maritime research together with Brazil and Argentina.

On 23 September, Cristina Russo, accompanied by Alejnadro Zurita, the EU Science Counsellor in Brazil, visited Paraguay to participate in a seminar on “Opportunities and Alliances on R&I with the EU through Horizon 2020”, which has generated a high interest amongst the Paraguayan scientific community with more than 170 participants.

Cristina Russo hold also bilateral meetings with the Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs and the President of the National Council for Science and Technology - CONACYT, as well as relevant authorities from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Education & Culture to strengthen cooperation and reinforce national synergies with European and regional partners. The STI areas of common interest discussed have focused on cooperation in the field of health and agricultural, as well as water management and renewable energy.

27 September 2016

Building an EU-CELAC Common Research Area : a regional approach to enhance access to research infrastructures

Brussels, 20 September

Photo from the event
EU – CELAC cooperation: Research Infrastructure Pillar Workshop: view of the room

The European Commission organised a workshop with CELAC Embassies and Heads of Delegations in Brussels to follow-up on the commitments made at the Senior Officials Meeting of the EU-CELAC Joint Initiative on Research and Innovation (JIRI) on 14 March 2016, to implement the Common Research Area (CRA) Pillar on Research Infrastructures (RI).

The workshop aimed at raising awareness, understanding what cooperation at regional level on research infrastructures implies, showcasing the European experience in developing an European Roadmap within the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures, and outlining possible steps forwards in the development of a EU –CELAC structured dialogue on research infrastructures.

Overall 21 countries from CELAC have been represented, including Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Mexico, who are already integrated in a number of RI projects.

The next steps in establishing a strategic alignment and dialogue on RI to support the implementation of the CRA should result in the identification of a national RI contact points from the respective national funding agencies and decision makers in CELAC countries, to create a dedicated Working Group on RI ahead of the next JIRI SOM in 2017.


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Policy background

Science & Technology Cooperation with CELAC region

Cooperation in research and innovation with Latin-America has a long history, based on common cultural roots and shared interests.

During the seven years of the EU 7th Framework Programme (FP7), from 2007 to 2013, 707 Latin-American and Caribbean partners were supported in various projects, mainly in the areas of Environment; Food, Agriculture and Biotechnology; ICT and Health. Over €100 million has been granted to 720 CELAC participants for these activities. In addition there have been over 250 participations of institutions from the region in completed or on-going Marie Curie Actions, including in the staff exchange programme IRSES.

Cooperation with these countries will continue and grow under the new Framework Programme of the EU, Horizon 2020, which is fully open to the world.

The EU has formal Science and Technology Cooperation Agreements with four countries of the region: Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Mexico.

During FP7, we developed, in parallel, an increased cooperation at regional level, on topics of mutual interest, and in line with the new EU International Cooperation Strategy for Research and Innovation and the report on its implementation.


The EU-CELAC cooperation is in charge of the implementation of the EU-CELAC Action Plan, originally agreed on at the 2010 EU-LAC Summit in Madrid and expanded at the 2013 Santiago EU-CELAC Summit PDF icon. The first item on the Action Plan addresses Science, Research, Innovation and Technology and includes the setting-up and implementation of a Joint Initiative on Research and Innovation (JIRI) and the creation of an EU-CELAC Knowledge Area.

CELAC has a rotating presidency among its members for one year at a time. The three presidencies (past, current and future) work closely together as a ‘troika’. CELAC convenes Summits among its members, and about every second year an EU-CELAC Summit takes place.

The EU-CELAC Action Plan for 2013-2015 PDF icon (updated and adapted at the 2013 Summit) has 8 key areas of activity, the first of which is Science, Research, innovation and technology:

  1. Science, research, innovation and technology
  2. Sustainable development; environment; climate change; biodiversity; energy
  3. Regional integration and interconnectivity to promote social inclusion and
  4. cohesion
  5. Migration
  6. Education and employment to promote social inclusion and cohesion
  7. The world drug problem
  8. Gender
  9. Investments and entrepreneurship for sustainable development.

DG RTD oversees the implementation of this first item on the Action Plan together with the country in the presidency of CELAC. Regular Senior Officials Meetings (SOMs) are convened to discuss the cooperation in the JIRI, alternating between Europe and the CELAC region. These meetings report back to the political SOMs which are organised and co-chaired by EEAS and take place more frequently.

Five thematic Working Groups have been set up under the JIRI to discuss and make suggestions for joint actions. A sixth Working Group on Instruments has also been put in place and its mandate was expanded at the last SOM to include researchers’ careers.

  1. Bioeconomy including food security, co-chaired by Argentina and France
  2. Renewable energies, co-chaired by Mexico and Spain
  3. Biodiversity and climate change, co-chaired by Colombia and France
  4. ICT for meeting societal challenges, co-chaired by Chile and France
  5. Health, co-chaired by Spain and Brazil
  6. Cross cutting WG on instruments and funding, co-chaired by Portugal and Mexico

The main achievements of the JIRI include the following:

  • A consolidated Science and Technology bi-regional dialogue on all these issues through the working groups mentioned above, which are each co-chaired by one CELAC and one EU country and which identify concrete areas for thematic cooperation
  • The launch of the ERANet-LAC project which started in 2013 and brings together 17 funding agencies from Europe and CELAC. Under this project two joint calls for research projects co-funded by these agencies (without further funding from the EC) are foreseen: the first was launched in 2014 with a pre-committed budget of €10 million allocated by 17 funding agencies. The second call will be launched in 2015



ALCUENET (2012-2017)

Latin America, Caribbean and European Union Network on Research and Innovation intends to establish an EU-LAC platform bringing together actors involved in R&I orientation, funding and implementation, as well as other relevant stakeholders from the public and private sector and the civil society, in an effort to:

  1. generate relevant information for the design and implementation of specific plans and projects including R&D activities and set the basis for the establishment of an enabling policy and institutional environment for R&I better focused on addressing societal challenges and, where appropriate, key enabling technologies of common interest
  2. to support the development of more strategic and result-oriented partnerships in the context of bi-regional policy cooperation frameworks


ERANet-LAC (2013-2017)

The Network of the European Union, Latin America and the Caribbean Countries on Joint Innovation and Research Activities will strengthen the bi-regional partnership in Science, Technology and Innovation by planning and implementing concrete joint activities and by creating a sustainable framework for future bi-regional joint activities.


EU-LAC Health (2011-2016)

"Defining a Roadmap for Cooperative Health research between the EU and Latin America-Caribbean countries: a Policy Oriented Approach". Intends to define a detailed roadmap to guide policy-makers and other stakeholders on future actions to support cooperative health research between European and Latin America and Caribbean countries.



Framework documents

Background documents