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8 August 2017

Japan - EU Joint Research Programme: Development of New Materials for the Substitution of Critical Metals

The problem of natural resources is a big challenge for a sustainable society. Substitution of critical metals and the technology to reduce their use are important areas of research and cooperation. The importance of critical raw materials was underlined in the 6th EU-US-Japan Trilateral Conference on Critical Materials held in Brussels on 29 November 2016.

A call for collaborative research proposals between the EU and Japan was launched in this area which attracted 33 proposals. As a first step, the EU and Japan evaluated the proposals independently. Then, at a joint evaluation meeting with the Japan Science & Technology Agency (JST) and the European Commission (EC), three collaborative research grants were awarded for projects which clearly reflect the objectives of the programme, in the areas of catalysis, magnetic materials and electronic materials.

These three projects are:

NOVACAM, Novel cheap and Abundant Materials for catalytic biomass conversion, has made great progress in the realisation of catalysts without critical metals. Its significance for catalysis and solid state science is very high. Conversion of biomass to useful chemical materials will have a great impact on industry, the environment and other societal issues. Having established a strong international research network is also very important.

HARFIR, Heusler Alloy Replacement For Iridium, has addressed the big challenge of developing antiferromagnetic materials without Iridium with applications in the area of hard disk drive storage. It has made remarkable improvements thanks to the complementary collaboration between Japan and the EU. The practical contribution to the development of magnetic materials without Iridium and pushing forward the state of the art was significant.

IRENA, Indium replacement by single-walled carbon nanotube thin films, has accumulated steady achievements from the start of the project and was evaluated highly for paving the way for single carbon nanotubes to be applied to electronic devices. It has achieved more than was expected which was greatly facilitated by the international collaboration. IRENA developed high performance semiconducting and metallic carbon nanotube thin films to eliminate the use of critical metals in electronic devices i.e. indium in transparent conducting thin films for touch screens and indium and gallium in thin film effect transistors. Results of this research are already planned initially for screens in automotive applications.

At the start of the projects, improvements in the research area were expected by complementary and functional collaboration between Japan and EU. All the teams have met these expectations. The programme encouraged dissemination in the international arena and the writing of joint papers. The programme also encouraged researcher exchange which was taken up by all the consortia and led to significant progress and unique opportunities for the development of young researchers.

24 July 2017

Workshop on Migration Governance with African countries

Migration is in principal an overarching term and concept, encompassing several policy areas that are highly relevant for the EU, its Member States and to third countries (particularly Africa), such as labour, education, social protection and health, and development, among others. A result oriented approach is needed to support comprehensive migration governance, in the framework of existing legal migration directives and the new partnership agreements being discussed with third counties including several African countries. Research can plays an important role in establishing a stronger result-oriented approach. When used effectively, it can enhance the evidence-base of future policies, as well as the evident-base of intervention mechanisms.

In this framework a RTD workshop on Migration Governance took place on 10 July 2017 aiming at:

  • Identifying and synthesizing migration related research results for policy and programming DG's of the European Commission including RTD, both looking at its external and internal dimension, focussing on drivers, trends, policy and governance-related aspects
  • Identifying synergies between different EU instruments that address the full science to policy and implementation interface, including capacity building
  • Capitalizing on research results and discuss them from the perspective of research institutions of research institutions and researchers both from the EU and from African Countries, taking the Policy review "Facing realities and maximizing opportunities" and the Conference Report: "Understanding and tackling the migration challenge" as a starting point

The workshop organized by DG RTD provided the opportunity for exchange of perspectives and inter-disciplinary knowledge, and feed into the Evaluation and Fitness Check (FC) that DG HOME launched in the field of legal migration. Engaging in partitive roundtable discussions, the attendants identified and addressed challenges in the standing EU internal and external policies in the area of legal migration.

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13 July 2017

EU , Brazil & South Africa enhance cooperation in Marine Research

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Naledi Pandor, Minister of Science and Technology of South Africa, European Commissioner Carlos Moedas and Gilberto Kassab, Minister of State for Science, Technology, Innovations and Communications of Brazil (L-R)

The European Union, Brazil and South Africa signed today the Belem Statement on Atlantic Research and Innovation Cooperation.

This Initiative will improve the scientific knowledge of marine ecosystems and the links between oceans and climate change, food and energy systems, as well as the dynamics of the Atlantic Ocean and its interconnected circulation systems from Antarctica to the Arctic.

This Statement is building on previous bilateral Declarations of Intent on Marine Research and Innovation Cooperation signed by the EU with Brazil and South Africa, and the development of the South-South Framework for Scientific and Technical Cooperation in the South and Tropical Atlantic and Southern Ocean. It will also help to closely link research activities in the South Atlantic and Southern Ocean with those in the North Atlantic, and explore synergies with other initiatives.

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26 June 2017

EU-Russia Joint Science and Technology Cooperation Committee

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Group picture of the Russian and EU representatives

The EU-Russia Joint Science and Technology Cooperation Committee meeting took place in Brussels on 23 June 2017, co-chaired by the Director for International Cooperation of the European Commission's Directorate-General for Research and Innovation Ms. Cristina Russo and the Director of the Department of Science and Technology of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation Mr. Sergey Matveev. The discussion was held in a friendly and constructive spirit.

The meeting took stock of progress made in EU-Russia cooperation in research and innovation and confirmed joint flagship initiatives in the fields of research infrastructure, health and aeronautics. Russia confirmed its intention to host the EU Contest for Young Scientists in 2019 and to cooperate with the EU in Open Science policies and in young scientist exchanges.

22 June 2017

Commissioner Moedas visit to Norway

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Commissioner Moedas at the podium

Carlos Moedas, EU Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, has visited Norway on the occasion of the 4th edition of the Starmus Festival -an international star-studded gathering to celebrate science and the arts with the goal of bringing an understanding and appreciation of science to the public at large.

During his intervention, Commissioner Moedas discussed the importance of science communication with a wide range of speakers, including a panel of Nobel Laureates. He also engaged in discussions with a younger generation of scientists and met several Norwegian European Research Council grantees and Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellows.

Norway has been associated to EU research and innovation programmes since 1987 and -together with Iceland- it was the first country to be fully associated to Horizon 2020.

12 June 2017

11th EU-India Joint Steering Committee on Science and Technology Cooperation

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Group picture of the Indian and EU representatives

The 11th meeting of the Joint Steering Committee of the EU-India Agreement for Scientific and Technological Cooperation took place in Brussels on 6 June 2017 under the co-chairmanship of European Commission Director General for Research and Innovation, Robert-Jan Smits, and the Secretary of the Department of Science and Technology from the Indian Ministry of Science and Technology, Ashutosh Sharma.

The EU and India agreed to scale up their cooperation based on reciprocity and mutual benefit. The Indian representatives indicated that they would be in favor to extend the co-funding mechanism put in place in 2016 by the Department of Science and Technology and the Department of Biotechnology to all areas of Horizon 2020 and, especially in Water, Energy, Health, Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology, Bio-economy, Information and communication technology, Green Transport and Polar research.

India announced that their Science and Technology Programme, IMPRINT, is also open to EU researcher participation provided they come with their own funding. The two sides also agreed on fostering the mobility of researchers as well as developing innovation cooperation and cooperation on research policy such as Open Science and gender.

2 June 2017

EU-China Summit: new flagship initiatives in research and innovation

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Donald Tusk, Li Keqiang, Jean-Claude Juncker, Carlos Moedas, Wang Gang

The European Union and China will boost their research and innovation cooperation with a new package of flagship initiatives targeting the areas of Food, Agriculture and Biotechnologies, Environment and Sustainable Urbanisation, Surface Transport, Safer and Greener aviation, and Biotechnologies for Environment and Human Health.

This is one of the outcomes of the 3rd EU-China Innovation Co-operation Dialogue that took place on 2 June 2017 as one of the key events of the 19th EU-China Summit, and co-chaired by Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, and Wan Gang, China's Minister of Science and Technology. At the EU-China Summit Commissioner Moedas and Minister Wan signed an Administrative Arrangement renewing the Co-funding Mechanism for the period 2018-2020 to support collaborative research and innovation projects under joint flagship Initiatives and other areas.

This round of the Innovation Co-operation Dialogue also discussed progress on framework conditions and innovation cooperation. In particular, the two sides agreed to promote open science and to exchange best practices in open access to publications and research data, and have confirmed the principle of reciprocity in access to Science Technology and Innovation resources.

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24 May 2017

Horizon 2020 seminar for SADC in Gaborone

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Participants of the SADC workshop

International cooperation in Science, Technology and Innovation can be instrumental for the countries in their transition from one income group to the next, to do so in a successful and sustainable manner. Horizon 2020, the EU's research and innovation program that is 'open to the world', is one of the tools to achieve this. The seminar was opened by EU Ambassador to Botswana and SADC, Mr. Baum, the Deputy Executive Secretary of SADC, Dr Mhlongo and the Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Tertiary Education, research, science and technology in Botswana, Dr Baipoledi. The seminar allowed for an exchange of experience between experienced and potential Horizon 2020 National Contact Points (NCP), especially in regards to setting up a Horizon NCP network in the countries. A discussion also took place about open science policies in Africa, especially in regards to open access to data.

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22 May 2017

Open science workshop in Pretoria

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JC Burgelman speaking at the open science workshop

An Open Science workshop was organised in Pretoria last 10 May following the conclusions of the EU-SA Joint S&T Cooperation Committee meeting of October 2016. Open Science and the African research cloud were set as a priority for enhanced collaboration and the concrete discussions during this workshop in South Africa explored how to achieve it.

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30 March 2017

Commission fosters research and innovation dialogue with the 10 (5+5) Western Mediterranean countries from the EU and North Africa

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Commissioner Moedas at the podium

Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation attended in Tunisia the Forum for the Dialogue in the Western Mediterranean, referred to as the "5+5 Dialogue". With ministers and high level ministerial representatives responsible for research and higher education from the countries participating to this sub-regional forum (Algeria, France, Italy, Libya, Malta, Mauritania, Morocco, Portugal, Spain and Tunisia), as well as the Secretaries General of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) and the Arab Maghreb Union (AMU), they discussed ways of deepening cooperation in research and innovation.

Commissioner Moedas said: "Horizon 2020, our research and innovation programme, is open to the world. Researchers or businesses from all over the globe can participate. I want to call on the Western Mediterranean countries to pursue their common objectives through our programme. It's the best means of addressing the common challenges that we face, such as water provision, agro-food systems, migration flows and climate change."

During his visit, Commissioner Moedas held high-level bilateral meetings with Slim Khalbous, Tunisian Minister for Higher Education and Scientific Research, Fadhel Abdelkefi, Minister of Development, Investment and International Cooperation, and Fatallah Sijilmassi, the Secretary General of the Union for the Mediterranean.

The Western Mediterranean Forum, referred to as the "5+5 Dialogue", was officially launched in Rome in 1990 as an informal sub-regional forum with the aim of fostering relations between European countries and the newly born Arab Maghreb Union. The 5+5 Dialogue comprises Algeria, France, Italy, Libya, Malta, Mauritania, Morocco, Portugal, Spain and Tunisia. As a trans-Mediterranean cooperation initiative, the rationale of the 5+5 Dialogue is to provide an informal forum in which the five EU member states and the five Maghreb countries have a chance to discuss subjects of topical interest for the region and to identify new areas for practical cooperation.

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30 March 2017

EU – Argentina enhancing cooperation in Research & Innovation

Photo from the meeting
The Argentinian delegation led by Mr Lino Barañao, Minister of Science, Technology and Productive Innovation (MINCyT) (second from the left)

The 9th Joint Steering Committee meeting was hosted by the European Commission in Brussels on the 27 of March 2017. The Argentinian delegation was led by Mr Lino Barañao, Minister of Science, Technology and Productive Innovation (MINCyT) and included Mr. Alejandro Ceccatto, President of the National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET).

It focused on exploring ways to enhance bilateral cooperation in science and technology. In this line, both delegations welcomed the renewal of the bilateral Agreement for Scientific and Technological Cooperation for five years. The agreement will continue to provide a stable political, legal and administrative framework for facilitating S&T cooperative activities.

Both parties agreed to continue developing common principles and adequate framework conditions needed to create a level playing field for Argentina and the European Union to cooperate in Research and Innovation on the basis of trust. In this framework, both parties acknowledged the need to promote gender equality in Research and Innovation activities, relating to male and female researchers careers and to the gender dimension in Research and Innovation content.

The major developments in R&I policies and programmes since the last Joint Steering Committee meeting were presented. In addition, both delegations exchanged views on and agreed to step up cooperation on bio-economy, marine research , climate action and resource efficiency among others activities.

At the end of the meeting, the co-chairs recalled the importance of EU-Argentina relations in the field of science and technology, to promote excellence of their research, to increase the competitiveness of their industries and to address common and global societal challenges.

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29 March 2017

13th EU-China Joint Steering Committee on Science and Technology Cooperation

Photo from the meeting
Group photo of the 13º EU – CHINA JSCM

The 13th meeting of the Joint Steering Committee of the EU-China Agreement for Scientific and Technological Cooperation took place in Brussels on 29 March 2017 under the co-chairmanship of European Commission Director General for Research and Innovation Mr Robert-Jan Smits and Chinese Vice-Minister for Science and Technology Mr Huang Wei.

The EU and China agreed to continue to promote closer cooperation based on reciprocity and mutual benefit. In particular, they agreed to develop a package of joint flagship initiatives to be launched in 2017 with co-funding from the EU and China. Areas targeted include Food, Agriculture and Biotechnologies, Environment and Sustainable Urbanisation, Surface Transport, Aviation, and Biotechnologies and Biomaterials. Exact topics and budget allocations are to be defined in the coming months. On Energy the dialogue to identify common priorities will continue in the framework of Mission Innovation for which China will host a ministerial meeting in June 2017.

The two sides recognised the importance of the EU-China Co-Funding Mechanism launched by MOST in December 2015 and confirmed their intention to continue working on reciprocity in access to respective STI programmes. They also welcomed the implementation of the Implementing Arrangement between European Research Council and the Natural Science Foundation of China, the excellent cooperation on GEOSS, as well as the rich cooperation that the European Commission's Joint Research Centre is pursuing with Chinese research institutions.

The meeting saw the participation of representatives from China's Ministry of Science and Technology, China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, the National Natural Science Foundation of China and the Chinese Mission to the EU on the Chinese side and from the European Commission Directorates General for Research and Innovation, Agriculture and Rural Development, the Joint Research Centre, and the European Research Council.

24 March 2017

The VI EU-CELAC Senior Officials Meeting on Research and Innovation drives forward the Common Research Area through concrete actions

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EU-CELAC representatives meeting in Brussels

One year after the official launch of the EU-CELAC Common Research Area, the meeting took stock of the important progress achieved so far and launched concrete actions in to empower the implementation of the Common Research Area, including under its three pillars: Mobility of Researchers, Research Infrastructures and Societal Challenges.

The meeting of the Senior Officials was chaired by Cristina Russo, Director for International Cooperation at DG Research and Innovation, and co-chaired by Erlinda Handál, Vice Minister for Science and Technology of El Salvador, representing the CELAC pro-tempore Presidency. The event gathered a high level audience and a high number of participation from both the EU Member States and the CELAC countries.

The meeting signalled the political importance that the cooperation between the two regions is acquiring and the role that Research and Innovation is playing as an indisputable driver for economic growth and sustainable development. During her intervention, Cristina Russo said: "we have a strategic, economic and political interest to provide a stronger cooperation framework in the area of Research and Innovation; we want to go beyond the project-based cooperation and lay the foundations of the Common Research Area; through Research and Innovation we can not only boost our scientific and academic ties but also construct an important building block of bi-regional cooperation".

One of the achievements of the meeting was the presentation of the Policy Advice Initiative to support CELAC countries in addressing the Sustainable Development Goals through Research and Innovation. The new instrument, launched by the European Commission, was well received by the participants and generated clear interest from a considerable number of countries.

In terms of additional concrete achievements on each of the Common Research Area pillars:

  • Mobility of Researchers: aside from supporting a more structured bi-regional academic and scientific dialogue, the participants committed towards the development of a regional mobility portal for researchers in CELAC, based on the EU experience with the Euraxess portal.
  • Research Infrastructures: the SOM endorsed the launch of the working group for policy coordination on Research Infrastructures (RI) as a first step towards establishing a more structured bi-regional cooperation on RI. The group will ensure policy coordination and sharing of good practices in policy development and mapping of research infrastructures.
  • Societal Challenges: the discussions focused on the progress made under the thematic groups and on the potential Horizon 2020 large scale topics specifically devoted to international cooperation with the CELAC region in the field of health, sustainable urbanisation and clean urban transport.

Building on the achievements in developing the Common Research Area, Senior Officials highlighted the importance of research and innovation in the overall EU-CELAC partnership and committed towards addressing prominently R&I cooperation at the debate of the next EU-CELAC Summit, which will take place in El Salvador on 26-27 October 2017.

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20 March 2017

Developing a future EU-Africa Research & Innovation Partnership on climate change and energy

Africe EU logo

In view of the Africa-EU Summit 2017, the EU-Africa High Level Policy Dialogue on science, technology and innovation is focusing its work on developing a R&I Partnership in a second priority area: climate change and sustainable energy. Scientists, program owners and stakeholders from Africa and Europe gathered in an expert meeting on Climate Change and Renewable Energy organized by RINEA in Brussels. The meeting aimed at further identifying joint research and innovation needs in the area of climate change, renewable energy and sustainability, thereby building on existing collaborative initiatives.

More information www.rinea.org.

20 March 2017

First meeting of the EU-Africa High Level Policy Dialogue Bureau Food and Nutrition Security and Sustainable Agriculture Working Group

The working group was set up to support the HLPD Bureau in providing oversight over the implementation of the EU-Africa R&I Partnership on Food and Nutrition Security and Sustainable Agriculture. The focus in the first year of the working group will be on monitoring and evaluation.

A kick-off meeting took place in Addis Ababa on 15-16 March 2017.

For more information check www.rinea.org.

20 March 2017

LEAP AGRI call for proposal open

LEAP AGRI is a consortium of 35 partners from Europe and Africa that jointly finances and implements collaborative research and innovation as well as capacity-building projects. It is the main implementation tool of the EU-Africa Research and Innovation Partnership on food and nutrition security and sustainable agriculture, adopted by the EU-Africa High Level Policy Dialogues on STI in Addis Ababa in April 2016.

For more information on the call.

27 February 2017

Advancing the EU-Africa Research and Innovation Partnership on Food and Nutrition Security and Sustainable Agriculture

The partnership was adopted in Addis Ababa last year by the senior officials of the EU-Africa High Level Policy Dialogue. Around €70 Million have already been invested in it through Horizon 2020, the African Union Research Grants and national funding from European and African countries.

The European Commission invited around 25 African and European experts to discuss the state of play of this cooperation and to further develop the "Food and Nutrition Security and Sustainable Agriculture" (FNSSA) priority themes with a view to contribute to Horizon 2020 work programme 2018-2020.

This meeting concentrated on pillar I (sustainable intensification) of the partnership and the outputs of the meeting are one of the inputs that the European Commission will consider for drafting Horizon 2020 calls for FNSSA projects.

Find more information about the workshop here.

24 February 2017

Horizon 2020 and ERASMUS Plus seminar in Mauritius

Opening ceremony of the seminar
Opening ceremony of the seminar

The two-day seminar was organised at the request of Commissioner Moedas and President Gurib-Fakim, who met in June 2016 at the European Development Days. Participation rates in Horizon 2020 for Mauritius are currently low, but research and innovation capacity are fully present in the country, especially in the domains of biotechnology, nanotechnology, ICT, food safety, agricultural research (sugar cane), oceanography and renewable energy.

Given Mauritius’ interest in ERASMUS Plus, part of the seminar was devoted to presenting the opportunities of this programme too.

Research and innovation are the focus sectors for EU support to Mauritius from the 11th EDF.

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8 February 2017

VIII EU-Chile Joint Steering Committee meeting

Photo from the meeting
Group Photo of the 8th EU - Chile Joint Steering Committee

The 8th Joint Steering Committee meeting was hosted by the European Commission in Brussels on the 2nd of February 2017.

It focused on exploring ways to revamp bilateral cooperation in science and technology. In this line, both delegations welcomed the recent extension of the bilateral Agreement for Scientific and Technological Cooperation for five years. The agreement will continue to provide a stable political, legal and administrative framework for facilitating S&T cooperative activities.

The major developments in R&I policies and programmes since the last Joint Steering Committee meeting were presented. On the EU side, the pillar 'Open to the World' is at the centre of the R&I policy, whether in Chile, the plans to establish a Ministry for Science and Technology provide grounds for further strengthening the scientific capacities of the country.

The EU encouraged Chile's further engagement within the context of Mission Innovation as a strategic area for cooperation in the field of clean-energy R&I. In addition, both delegations exchanged views on and agreed to re-launch cooperation in sustainable mining, health, climate action and resource efficiency.

Both parties agreed to continue developing adequate framework conditions for cooperation. They will enhance exchange of experience and best practices on Open science and women participation in research and innovation. Furthermore, the delegations decided to ensure a broader dissemination and hands-on training on H2020 opportunities.

At the end of the meeting, the co-chairs recalled the importance of EU-Chile relations in the field of science and technology, to promote excellence of their research, to increase the competitiveness of their industries, and to address common and global societal challenges.

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24 January 2017

Second Call for Proposals published for the EU-China Co-funding Mechanism for Research and Innovation (CFM)

On 19 January 2017, the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) published the second call for proposals for the EU-China Co-funding Mechanism for Research and Innovation (CFM).

The call covers the areas of agriculture including food, biotechnologies, Information and Communication Technology, space, aviation, energy, health, transport, water resources, energy conservation and emission reduction, advanced manufacturing, new materials, and sustainable urbanisation.

40 to 60 projects (project duration of 2 to 3 years) will be funded with a budget of CNY 200 million. Chinese partners in Horizon 2020 proposal consortia under Work Programme 2016/2017 can apply. The deadline is 6 March 2017.

The call is published as an integral part of the call for the Intergovernmental International Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Collaboration Key Project under China's National Key R&D Programme (NKP).

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20 January 2017

Horizon 2020 EU-US agreement: frequently asked questions

The European Commission and the Government of the United States of America concluded on 17 October 2016 an Implementing Arrangement that simplifies the cooperation between Horizon 2020 projects and US entities. A document containing a list of frequently asked questions for this type of cooperation is now available.

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12 January 2017

EU - Israel Research and innovation cooperation - 20 years of success, partnership and friendship

Photo from the event
Robert-Jan Smits, Director General of DG RTD and Avi Hasson, Chair of Israel Innovation Authority. © Shai Ashkenazi

The Jerusalem Theatre was the venue for an extraordinary conference on January 10 when hundreds of Israeli researchers and officials gathered to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Israel's association to the EU Framework Programme. Leading the EU's delegation to the event was Robert-Jan Smits, Director-General of the European Commission`s Directorate-General for Research and Innovation. The event was organized jointly by the EU Delegation to the State of Israel and ISERD - The Europe - Israel R&D Directorate and was financially supported by DG Research and Innovation.

Israel was the first non-European country to be associated to the EU Framework Programme back in 1996. Its participation in the EU Framework Programme has been a success story and represents an added value both for Israel and for the EU. Over the past 20 years of partnership, overall Israeli investment amounted to €1.375 billion, while the return to Israeli entities in the form of grants reached €1.7 billion. Over 3,000 projects submitted by Israeli entities were approved involving 4,435 participants. Of these, 2,450 were academic researchers, 1,270 were industrial researchers, and 715 researchers from other sectors.

Israel’s excellence in the programme has been especially notable in the European Research Council grants for outstanding researchers doing ground-breaking research, grants in the ICT, water, health sectors and many others.

In his remarks, Robert-Jan Smits said that, "The EU and Israel research and innovation cooperation represents 20 years of success, partnership and friendship. What has been achieved during these years is impressive. The Israeli and EU scientists have built sustainable partnerships and worked together on many challenges ranging from child tumours, smart irrigation to robotics and science education, advancing in this way the frontiers of knowledge and contributing to the well-being of our citizens".

Also addressing the conference, EU Ambassador to Israel Lars Faaborg-Andersen noted that, "Our scientific cooperation is the jewel in the crown of our relations and one that is a model for the type of close relations we hope will continue and which we would like to see in more fields in the future".

In a video message of congratulations, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin said: "In today's global world, we know very well that the development of science and technology must be done by collaboration across borders with a wide approach in a range of fields with the spirit of sharing experience and building on direct relations between researchers from different regions, religions and cultures."

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16 December 2016

Commission presents experts' recommendations on research and innovation in Ukraine

The European Commission has presented policy recommendations to help Ukraine to improve its performance in research and innovation. The recommendations were developed, at the request of Ukraine's Ministry of Education and Science, by a team of high-level experts and officials from eight different EU Member States.

The Horizon 2020 PSF Peer Review took place from May 2016 to December 2016. The Peer Review report contains seven headline policy messages to inspire the design and implementation of reforms. The report explains the rationale for each policy message and contains thirty more detailed recommendations on the reforms to be achieved.

Recommendations are made on a range of issues including reforming the STI system to boost efficiency and impact; increasing government investment in R&D; revamping STI institutions, funding and procedures, and improving international cooperation. The Ukrainian national authorities have expressed their strong political commitment to the Peer Review exercise, and will be responsible for the follow-up to the review and implementation of the resulting recommendations.

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16 December 2016

EU-Japan cooperation research and innovation project launched

The EU-Japan cooperation project, InRel-Npower, will focus on advanced materials for power electronics. Improvement in wide band gap material properties are expected to lead to a substantial improvement in device performance, reduced in-service degradation and lower maintenance needs and costs. The research consortium with nine European and two Japanese partners will start their research activities on 1 January 2017.

The European Commission launched a call for proposals to support research and innovation on advanced wide band gap materials for power electronics coordinated with co-funding for Japanese partners from the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) services. This is the first time the co-funding scheme developed by JST in close cooperation with the European Commission is applied. The co-funding scheme was agreed in May 2015 by the third meeting of the EU-Japan Joint Committee on Science and Technology Cooperation. The scheme is part of the 2011 Agreement between the European Union and the Government of Japan on Cooperation in Science and Technology.

In the first stage, the European Commission received 17 eligible proposals which were evaluated by independent experts. Out of these, six proposals were invited to submit a full proposal in stage 2. Five synchronised submissions were received by the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) to co-fund the work of the Japanese partners. At the end of this process, the InRel-Npower project was selected to be co-funded by both the European Union and the Japan Science and Technology Agency.

InRel-Npower - Innovative Reliable Nitride based Power Devices and Applications – will be coordinated by Dr. Gaudenzio Meneghesso from the University of Padova, Italy.

The main objective of InRel-Npower is to develop reliable GaN-based power devices and systems for high and medium power electronics targeting industrial and automotive applications and bringing GaN power devices another step towards wide use in energy saving environments. The project also contains the development of novel device architecture (dual channel, substrate removal, e-mode), as well as the exploration of new material systems Aluminum Nitride (Al-based) devices.

This initiative is expected to lead to more robust European – Japanese research cooperation in the important area of wide band gap power electronic materials research. In order to assure such genuine EU-Japanese cooperation, the project includes strong integrated and coordinated research activities, including intensive exchange and training of researchers.

More detailed information on this project is available on CORDIS. Information on the co-funded Japanese project will be found on the JST website.

The EU contribution for InRel-NPower is € 7.19 million and a budget of € 0.5 million is provided by the JST. The duration of the project is 36 months.

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14 December 2016

Building the European Research Area in partnership with Turkey

The 2 flags

Senior representatives from the Turkish research community met on 24 November with the European Commission and key European research stakeholders to discuss building the European Research Area (ERA) in partnership with Turkey. At the meeting the participants agreed to cooperate in order to achieve a high-performing research and innovation capacity in Turkey and in the EU, and to build a strong public science base where researchers, scientific knowledge and technology can freely circulate.

The meeting took place in the EU's Directorate General for Research and Innovation and confirmed the commitment of all participants to intensify cooperation. This event also showed the potential of science collaboration as a tool capable of strengthening the EU-Turkey relationships.

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8 December 2016

21st meeting of the Euro-Mediterranean Group of Senior Officials in Research and Innovation

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Networking reception at the 21st meeting of the Euro-Med GSO in Research and Innovation

The Directorate General for Research and Innovation of the European Commission organized on 22 November 2016, in Brussels, the 21st meeting of the Euro-Mediterranean Group of Senior Officials (Euro-Med GSO) in Research and Innovation with a view to preparing a Euro-Mediterranean ministerial conference on Research and Innovation, scheduled to take place in Malta, on 3-4 May 2017, under the auspices of the Maltese Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Acknowledging that water, food and migration remain among today's most pressing challenges for the Mediterranean, the agenda of the ministerial will be built around three pillars: "the Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area (PRIMA)", "Addressing the root causes of migration through research and innovation" and "R&I for blue jobs and growth in the Mediterranean (BLUEMED)".

The GSO meeting brought together participants from the EU member states, the EU institutions and countries from both shores of the Mediterranean as well as representatives of the Union for the Mediterranean and partners of EU-funded projects with a focus on the Mediterranean, who held a comprehensive discussion around the aforementioned topics.

The participants highlighted the importance of sustainable water, farming and food systems for local and regional development through innovative solutions. What is more, special focus was put on coordinating efforts to collect data across the region to avoid fragmentation and strengthen the ability of the research community to increase their understanding of complex drivers of migration. Finally, the participants reiterated the need to stimulate ‘blue’ jobs and growth in the Mediterranean by unlocking the potential of marine and maritime sectors while seeking more synergies.

28 November 2016

Research and Innovation in the Marrakech Climate Chance Conference

Poster

The annual United Nations Climate Change Conference, organized this month in Marrakech (COP 22), concluded last week with concrete results to put the Paris Agreement on climate change into action. In this context, the European Commission's Research and Innovation Directorate-General (DG RTD) organised two International Cooperation related events to discuss about climate services for Africa and the water-energy-food nexus in the Mediterranean.

During his intervention in the Climate Services session, Patrick Child -Deputy Director-general at DG RTD- stressed the added value of Horizon 2020, the EU's Framework Programme for research and innovation, in building "effective international and multi-stakeholders partnerships to address the climate-related global challenges we face today". Mr. Child also pointed to the important role of the Copernicus Climate Change Service, which is now in its preoperational phase and that will deliver a wealth of climate critical information for a variety of users: “Horizon 2020 is open to the world and our investments in climate services are to develop timely solutions for the benefit of everyone around the world and for broader deployment”.

Water, energy and food production are inextricably linked and their nexus increasingly draw the attention of the policy, research and industrial community. Speaking on behalf of the European Commission, Mr. Child expressed how “research and innovation are key elements to understand the complex interactions between the natural environment and human activities, to develop effective and sustainable solutions and to inform decision-making across such complexity”. During this second session, special attention was put to the role of PRIMA, the new Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area which focuses on sustainable water management and food production: “with a budget of 400Million Euros over 10 years, PRIMA is expected to boost local businesses and investment opportunities, addressing also unemployment and migration issues in the region and becoming a further vehicle of sustainable growth”.

Both panel discussions were followed by information sessions, highlighting EU-funded research and innovation projects and several initiatives on climate services and the energy-water-food nexus.

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24 November 2016

Director Russo opened Horizon 2020 seminar and attended EU-Nigeria Business Forum in Lagos

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European Commission visits the EU funded project gratitude - ©Gratitude

On 9 November, around 50, mostly Directors for Research and Deans of the major Universities and Directors of the major Research Institutions of Nigeria attended the information session on Horizon 2020 in Lagos followed by a second day of hands-on training about proposal writing, financial management and reporting in Horizon 2020. The seminar was opened by Michel Arrion, the EU Ambassador to Nigeria, Cristina Russo, Director International Cooperation at DG RTD and the Director-General of the National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP), Dr DanAzumi. The seminar was organised with the support of the FP7 funded policy-support project CAAST-NET Plus.

At the EU-Nigeria Business Forum on 11 November, Cristina Russo gave a keynote speech on Horizon 2020 in the session on ‘integrating Nigerian SMEs in the global market’. The other keynote speech was given by the Nigerian Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment. The panel was composed of the Nigerian Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (SMEDAN), Enterprise Europe Network, the European Investment Bank and Syntesa who referred in the presentation to their involvement in FP7 funded projects on mycotoxin reduction in the food and feed chain as an important contribution to trade enhancement of Nigerian agriculture products to the European market. Director Sandra Gallina from DG Trade also participated in the Forum.

Side-visits took place to the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture in Ibadan involved in several FP7 and Horizon 2020 funded projects mostly in the area of mycotoxin management and bio fortification and a discussion took place about their involvement in the EU-Africa Research and Innovation Partnership on food and nutrition security and sustainable agriculture. We were shown the facilities and discussed with a group of young people driving the IITA Youth Agribusiness initiative. We also visited the Medical School in Ibadan that was a strong participant in FP7 and participates in several projects funded by the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership.

On the last day, a visit was paid to Nobex company involved in the FP7 funded project Gratitude, that aimed at reducing the post-harvest losses of crops such as cassava and yam that are extremely high. Waste, such as cassava peal or cashew shell and palm kernel is dried through a drying technology (flash dryer) of which the prototype was developed in the Gratitude project. The waste is turned into flower (cassava, yam), mushroom and animal feed. The company now commercialises the technology on the Nigerian market and started exporting it to other countries in Africa (eg. Ghana, Uganda, Benin, Malawi). The company created 20 additional jobs and underlined the important contribution of FP7 funding to its success and the opportunities offered for knowledge exchange in this case with organisations in Vietnam and Portugal.

Horizon 2020 was also presented to the co-creation hub in Lagos, which is an extremely vibrant space were social innovation flourishes by offering a space and funding to the pre-incubation and incubation of solutions to local needs, such as in the domain of education, health-care or the sharing economy.

21 November 2016

EU and Eastern Partnership countries stepping up cooperation on innovation with the EU4Innovation initiative

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Commissioner Moedas

Commissioners Carlos Moedas and Johannes Hahn with Jean-Christophe Belliard, Deputy Secretary General of the European External Action Service launched today the EU4Innovation initiative together with the Eastern Partnership countries, in Yerevan, Armenia.

The launch took place during the eighth Eastern Partnership Informal dialogue, hosted by Armenia which brought together Ministers and high level officials of the six Eastern Partnership countries - Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova, Ukraine - for a high-level exchange on future developments in the Eastern Partnership and key areas of cooperation.

The new EU initiative, EU4Innovation, will combine all EU activities that support the development of Eastern Partnership countries (EaP) innovation capacities, notably those funded under the Horizon 2020 programme and the European Neighbourhood Instrument. EU Commissioners and the respective Research and Innovation Ministers of the six Eastern Partnership countries also discussed common challenges and responses to improving research and innovation cooperation. The Ministers reflected on how to integrate Eastern Partnership and EU Research and Innovation systems better and foster cooperation with and between the six Eastern Partnership countries further. This will bring new mobility opportunities for administrations, businesses, professionals, students and researchers and will foster research-industry partnerships amongst others.

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27 October 2016

New opportunities for Canadian researchers to join ERC funded teams

Today Commissioner Carlos Moedas and Dr Ted Hewitt, President, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council have signed an Implementing Arrangement under the framework of the S&T Agreement between the EU and Canada which has been negotiated between the European Research Council (ERC) and the Tri-agency Institutional Programs Secretariat (TIPS).

This Arrangement intends to provide opportunities for Canadian researchers to join temporarily ERC funded teams, located in Europe. The participant researchers are grant holders from the Research Chairs programme or the Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships programmes and will be selected by the Canadian side.

This is the 9th arrangement signed with a key R&I partner country after: USA, Korea, Argentina, Japan, China, South Africa, Mexico and most recently, Brazil.

ERC represents excellence in science and can be proud of having supported 6 Nobel prizes in 9 years, in addition to funding over 6500 ambitious projects in different fields

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21 October 2016

3rd EU-Japan Task Force meeting on S&T cooperation

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Participants of the 3rd EU-Japan Task Force meeting on S&T cooperation

On 20 October 2016, a third EU-Japan Task Force meeting on S&T cooperation was convened in Brussels, with the main objective to confirm concrete achievements, enhance future cooperation and to provide a substantial input for the upcoming EU-Japan Joint S&T Committee (JCM) meeting, planned in Japan during the spring 2017.

The meeting was opened by Ms Cristina Russo, Director for International Cooperation, Directorate-General (DG) for Research and Innovation (RTD), and it was co-chaired by Mr Kostas Glinos, Head of Unit, Directorate for International Cooperation (DG RTD), and Mr Junichiro Otaka, Director for International Cooperation, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) in Japan. Participants at the meeting on the Japanese side were representatives from the Cabinet Office, MOFA, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, and Science and Technology (MEXT), Japan's Science and Technology Agency (JST), the Europe Office of the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organisation (NEDO), and Japan's Mission to the EU. On the EU side, there were representatives from DG RTD Directorates B, C, D, E, G, H and I, DG Communications Networks, Content and Technology (CNECT) Directorates C and F, DG Joint Research Centre (JRC), and DG Education and Culture (EAC).

The meeting discussed thematic areas with substantial cooperation - ICT, Aeronautics and Materials research – and areas where there is cooperation and/or where cooperation can be developed, such as Environment/Climate change (including Arctic research), Health, Energy, Research Infrastructures (including in high-energy physics), EU Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) Flagship initiatives (Human Brain and Graphene), and Automated driving. This also included the cooperation between DG JRC and Japanese entities (such as the National Institute of Advanced Industrial S&T - AIST). The meeting further discussed framework conditions to facilitate STI cooperation, such as the implementation of the co-funding scheme developed by JST in relation to open Horizon 2020 calls. Information was also provided on actions that support increased EU-Japan S&T cooperation, and ongoing discussions on STI policies.

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20 October 2016

RTD-DEVCO Lunchtime debate on science and innovation for development

Brussels, 17 October 2016

Cooperation between the EU and developing and emerging economies is needed to effectively address the big economic and societal challenges nations face today, to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and to enhance inclusive growth both in the developed and developing countries. Social and economic transformations, in turn, require a strong investment in research and innovation. But countries, in particular Low Income Countries (LIC), Least Developed Countries (LDC) and (lower) Middle Income Countries (LMIC), need to have a minimum level of human capital and institutional infrastructure to be able to participate and ensure developmental outcomes and impact from such an investment.

DG Research and Innovation and DG International Cooperation and Development carried out a study and strategic evaluation that analyse the different activities funded by each programme, in what way these have contributed to achieving the EU's development objectives and how these activities have been complementary.

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17 October 2016

EU-US agreement offers new opportunities for research cooperation

Photo from the signing
Commissioner Carlos Moedas and H.E. Mr Anthony L. Gardner, Head of the Mission of the United States to the EU

European and American researchers will be able to work together more closely on projects funded under Horizon 2020, the European Union's research and innovation programme. This is thanks to an agreement concluded on the 17 of October between the European Commission and the US Government.

The agreement facilitates cooperation between US organisations and Horizon 2020 participants in cases where the US organisations are funded by the US and do not receive any funding from the Horizon 2020 programme. It simplifies cooperation between a selected Horizon 2020 project and a US entity by enabling researchers to organise their cooperation outside the formal Horizon 2020 Grant Agreement signed for each project, in accordance with applicable laws, rules, policies, and regulations of their respective funding programmes.

13 October 2016

New opportunities for Brazilian researchers to join ERC teams

Photo from the signing
Commissioner Carlos Moedas with the President of CONFAP, Sérgio Gargioni

The European Commission and the Brazilian National Council of State Funding Agencies – CONFAP signed today an agreement that will further enhance cooperation between the EU and Brazil in research & innovation.

The purpose of the agreement is to encourage the best Brazilian scientists to join research teams funded by the European Research Council (ERC). Brazilian researchers would undertake short or long term research visits, in Europe, and collaborate with ERC-funded teams, conducting frontier research across Europe.

These opportunities are intended for active Postdoctoral Grantees from the State Funding Agencies (FAPs), from the Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES) and from the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq).

This is the 8th arrangement of its kind and the third one with Latin American countries, after the agreements with Argentina and Mexico that were signed in 2015.

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7 October 2016

7th EU-Japan Science Policy Forum
Nurturing Future Human Resources for STI

Photo from the meeting
The Head Table at the event, with Koji Omi, Paul Rübig, Yuko Harayama, Viorel Isticioaia-Budura, Antonio Vicente, and Atsushi Sunami (L to R). Photo: Tom Kuczynski

On Saturday 1 October, the Delegation of the European Union to Japan, in cooperation with Japan's National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS), hosted the 7th EU-Japan Science Policy Forum at the Westin Miyako Hotel, in Kyoto, Japan.

The topic this year was on Nurturing Future Human Resources for Science, Technology and Innovation (STI). The event brought together just over 40 leading research policy makers, research funding presidents, university presidents, and industrialists, as well as around 40 observers, all of whom were from Europe and Japan.

The event takes place in the context of a deepening partnership of STI between the EU and Japan, which includes deepening our mutual understanding of our STI policies, as acknowledged by Viorel Isticioaia-Budura, Ambassador of the European Union to Japan, at the beginning of the event. This point was reaffirmed by Koji OMI, Chairman of the STS Forum, who saw the event as basis for developing cooperation in the future. Professor Atsushi SUNAMI, from GRIPS, recognised the importance of the event not only for deepening connections but also for encouraging frank and informal discussion.

The Head of Cabinet for Commissioner Moedas, Antonio Vicente, gave an update on future directions for the 9th Framework Programme, on the important role for excellent science, and building connections with other sections of society and with international partners. He noted the close alignment between the research priorities and agendas of Europe and Japan, which should facilitate closer cooperation between the two sides.

Paul Rübig, Chair of STOA in the European Parliament emphasised the importance of breaking down barriers and building bridges between sectors, institutions, and research fields. Professor Yuko Harayama, Executive Member of the Council for Science, Technology and Innovation (CSTI) in Japan's Cabinet Office, outlined key aspects of the 5th Science and Technology Basic Plan for human resource development, and mentioned Society 5.0, which combines the digital and physical worlds, as well as noted the need for closer engagement between STI and society. Professor Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, President of the ERC, noted the situation for researchers in Europe, the importance of university-industry linkages, and important role of the programmes implemented by the ERC.

In what turned into a broad ranging series of presentations and discussions, other issues touched upon included entrepreneurship, diversity, public engagement, international research mobility, facilitating linkages between research and industry, pensions and dual careers, metrics, the duration of doctoral degrees, engagement with SMEs, nurturing talent in the global context, the need for professional research managers, innovative educational programmes, and training people in emerging key areas of research and technology.

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.

4 October 2016

EU and South Africa join forces to better understand the oceans and climate

Pretoria, 4 October 2016

The European Union and South Africa are strengthening their scientific collaboration in order to better understand and protect marine ecosystems and the link between oceans and climate.

The European Commission and the South African Department of Science and Technology (DST) signed on October,3 2016 in Cape Town a Declaration of Intent on Marine Research and Innovation Cooperation. The declaration aims to develop a common understanding and deepen scientific knowledge of marine ecosystems. It will also encourage and support research collaboration and development of relevant technologies, to facilitate human capital development and scientific exchange, and to explore regional opportunities for sustainable marine cooperation.

The Declaration was signed on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Science and Technology (S&T) Agreement, the first agreement that the EU and South Africa signed since the advent of democracy in the country in 1994. This anniversary was celebrated in the margins of the International Conferences on Research Infrastructures (ICRI 2016). The event was opened by Naledi Pandor, South African Minister of Science and Technology, Robert-Jan Smits, Director-General for Research and Innovation of the European Commission, and Phil Mjwara, Director-General of the South African Department of Science and Technology.

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.

Presentations

26 September 2016

The EU-CELAC Common Research Area discussed at the I Latin American and Caribbean Open Science Forum

Montevideo, 6-9 September

Photo from the event
Roundtable of the I Latin American and Caribbean Open Science Forum ©AUCI

The new European Union’s Science Counsellor in Brazil, Mr. Alejandro Zurita, presented the vision and strategic pillars of the EU-CELAC Common Research Area at the I Latin American and Caribbean Open Science Forum, held in Montevideo, Uruguay from 6 to 9 September 2016. The discussion took place in a roundtable, reflecting on the challenges and opportunities to promote synergies between international development cooperation and cooperation in science, technology and innovation for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Building on ongoing regional partnership, the development of the EU-CELAC Common Research Area was agreed as an opportunity to demonstrate with concrete actions what researchers, knowledge and technology can develop together.

Other participants at the Roundtable included Ernesto Fernandez Polcuch, Head of Section for Science Policy and Partnerships in the Natural Sciences Sector of UNESCO Paris, Liliana Borzacconi, representative of the National Academy of Uruguay and Luis Porto Sciences, Senior Advisor Strategy and Organizational Development of the Organisation of the American States.

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23 September 2016

EU-India Science, Technology and Innovation Cooperation Days 2016

7 September 2016, Brussels

Photo from the event
H.E. Mr. Tomasz Kozlowski, Ambassador of the European Union to India

Under the framework of the India-EU S&T cooperation agreement, the seventh edition of the EU-India Science Technology and Innovation (STI) Cooperation Days was inaugurated by Prof. K. VijayRahavan, Secretary, Department of Biotechnology on behalf of Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India and H.E. Mr. Tomasz Kozlowski, Ambassador of the European Union to India on 21 September 2016 at the National Institute of Oceanography,Goa, India. The event was organized jointly by the Ministry of Science and Technology (DST, DBT and CSIR) and the European Commission (Directorate-General for Research and Innovation).

More than 200 participants from India and Europe comprising of government officials, funding agencies, policymakers, researchers, innovators, students and representatives from Industry and NGO's attended.

This edition focused on bio-economy, including marine and maritime research, in order to maximize future scientific and business collaboration in these fields. The two day event showcased results and shared best practices in particular on sustainable food security, rural renaissance, bio-based innovation and blue growth economy. New funding opportunities in Horizon 2020 were also presented.

Both India and EU encouraged participants to take advantage during these two days to seek actively R&I cooperation opportunities in Horizon 2020 and make full use of the agreed Co-Funding Mechanisms (CFM) between India (DBT and DST) and the European Commission. The Open House session on funding opportunities and support allowed interactive discussion and networking.

14 September 2016

1st Meeting of the EU – Iran Working Group on Science, Research, Technology and Innovation

7 September 2016, Brussels

Photo from the meeting
Group photo from the Meeting

During the April 2016 EU mission to Iran, led by HR/VP Mogherini, to which Commissioner Moedas participated, a Joint Statement in Science, Research, Technology and Innovation was endorsed. The Joint Statement foresees the establishment of a Working Group which aims at creating an official platform to exchange and cooperate on issues of common interest and paving the ground for strengthening and improving the cooperation in science, technology, research and innovation between Iran and EU.

The first meeting of the above-mentioned Working Group took place in Brussels on 7 September. The Iranian delegation was led by the Acting Minister for International Cooperation in the Ministry of Science Research and Technology – Dr Salar Amoli. It included also representatives from the Ministry, Vice-Presidency Office, Ministry of Health and the Presidents of two major Iranian Universities – Isfahan and Kharazmi Universities. The meeting was chaired by Ms Maria Cristina Russo, Director for "International Cooperation" in DG "Research and Innovation" (RTD) in the European Commission. Relevant services from DG RTD, other Commission services and the EEAS were associated to the meeting.

Both parties agreed that cooperation under the EU Horizon 2020 programme will be strengthened, particularly in the scientific fields of Health, Energy, Food, Water, Environment, Climate Change, Social Sciences and Humanities, in particular migration and Key Enabling Technologies. It was also agreed to deepen the cooperation in the field of higher education, students, researchers and academic staff mobility.

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13 September 2016

Innovative firms in Ukraine to benefit from EU-guaranteed loans

The European Investment Fund (EIF) and ProCredit Bank Ukraine today signed a loan guarantee deal that will offer small and medium-sized companies in Ukraine easier access to risk capital for the development of innovative ideas.

The EU-funded deal will allow the bank to more securely enter into loan agreements with companies of below 500 employees, as any potential losses on loans for innovative activities will be guaranteed by 50% by the EU under the loan guarantee scheme. Overall, the scheme is to generate a portfolio of €50 million in loans to innovative companies over the next two years.

This deal falls under the InnovFin SME Guarantee Facility, which is part of the new generation of financial instruments supported under Horizon 2020 (IP/14/670). Under this facility, financial intermediaries are guaranteed against a proportion of any losses incurred on the debt financing covered under the facility.

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7 September 2016

Goals and Governance for Global health – Go4Health

Go4Health Logo

From 2012 to 2016, the EU funded Go4Health research consortium (http://www.go4health.eu/) provided expert analysis and engagement in high-level debates on the positioning of health in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The strength of the Go4Health collaboration arose from three key things; its regional diversity (including Latin America, Sub-Saharan African and Asia), its institutional diversity (comprising 13 institutions with a mix of academic and non-governmental organisations -NGOs), and rich multidisciplinary dialogue— combining public health, economics, health systems and policy analysis, international relations, international law and human rights.

The bulk of Go4Health data was gathered through multiple consultations with global health policymakers and communities, the latter largely conducted by local and national NGOs in Bangladesh, Guatemala, Vanuatu, Uganda and Zimbabwe. A key innovative feature of Go4Health was the engagement with marginalised communities which helped researchers to better understand communities’ health priorities, and this unique evidence base, published in academic journals, is a key resource for health policy makers working on implementation of the SDGs.

Through the over 50 peer reviewed academic publications in legal and health related journals Go4Health research and analysis influenced the policy literature and debate around the SDGs and health. In line with the European Commission and World Health Organization, Go4Health argued that working towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC) best advances SDG goal 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages, especially for those in low and middle income countries. The influence of Go4Health research on the global debate is also reflected in the dozens of speaking engagements including invitations to speak at numerous international conferences on global health, like the prestigious Prince Mahidol Award Conference in Bangkok, Thailand in 2015 and 2016. Go4health has frequently provided active input and reflection on global health policies at the EC global health policy forum. Global support for advancing UHC, which Go4Health research, analysis and engagement contributed to, continues with the EU and G7 prioritising expanding UHC globally. Concretely, numerous Go4Health researchers are engaged with the new UHC 2030 Alliance.

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28 June 2016

Ukraine joins the Euratom Research and Training Programme

Photo from the signing
Pavlo Klimkin, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, President of Ukraine, Carlos Moedas EU Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation at the signing ceremony

On June 27, the European Union and Ukraine conclude an agreement on the association of Ukraine to the Euratom Research and Training Programme. The agreement was signed in Brussels by Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, and Pavlo Klimkin, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, in the presence of Petro Poroshenko, President of Ukraine.

The new agreement comes one year after Ukraine joined Horizon 2020, the EU's research and innovation programme. While Horizon 2020 covers a wide range of activities from fundamental research up to close-to-market activities, the Euratom Research and Training Programme is specifically aimed at improving the levels of nuclear safety and radiation protection.

The association agreement will still need to be ratified by the Ukrainian Parliament. Nevertheless, Ukrainian legal entities will be able to already participate in the Euratom call for proposals funded under the 2016 and 2017 budget, as this association covers the period 2014-2018.

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20 June 2016

The EU Horizon 2020 Liaison Office in Peru : a success story of bilateral cooperation

Photo from the event
Organisers of the Horizon 2020 event in Arequipa

The Peruvian National Council for Science, Technology and Technological Innovation – CONCYTEC has organised a research seminar on Horizon 2020 in the Catholic University of Santa Maria in Arequipa targeting a large audience of more than 150 researchers , universities, entrepreneurs , project managers and representatives of institutions interested in participating in Horizon 2020 to promote global partnership and cooperation. The seminar also provided opportunities for remote connection, and was followed by more practical workshops with the objective to identify the local strengths of the research community, including private sector in the Southern region of the country in line with Horizon 2020 societal challenges and opportunities.

The event is part of a series of regional and international events which CONCYTEC has organised in the past two years and half following the visit of Cristina Russo, Director for International Cooperation in DG Research and Innovation to Peru in 2014 and the setting-up in place of an EU Liaison Office within CONCYTEC. The main objectives of the EU Liaison Office are to disseminate information on Horizon 2020 in a coordinated way and provide support to the Peruvian research community on their participation in Horizon 2020. Further to that, the EU Liaison Office has developed a solid network of researchers, key stakeholders and national contact points with the objective to promote the Peruvian areas of excellence in Research and Innovation, as well as to develop strategies, joint activities and proposals with other Liaison Offices from Latin America and Europe.

The commitment of CONCYTEC towards bilateral cooperation with the EU, as well as intra-regional within CELAC has been translated into concrete and tangible results, namely the organisation of 3 regional Horizon 2020 seminars benefiting other CELAC countries from CONCYTEC’s knowledge, network and experience and more than 15 national workshops providing targeted trainings on Horizon 2020 to Peruvian research community.

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16 June 2016

EU- Mexico Joint Committee meeting

27 May 2016, Brussels

Photo from the meeting
Group Photo of the 8th EU - Mexico Joint Steering Committee

The 8th Joint Steering Committee meeting was hosted by the European Commission in Brussels on 27th May, 2016. Both parties agreed to continue developing common principles and adequate framework conditions needed to create a level playing field for researchers from Mexico and the European Union to cooperate with each other on the basis of trust.

In this respect, CONACYT informed about the simplification of the evaluation procedure of the CONACYT-H2020 co-funding mechanism in place and confirmed its commitment to continue funding Mexican institutions and researchers participating in the Horizon2020 calls.

Both parties recognized the importance of reinforcing the links between industry and research and fostering the innovation process to stimulate job creation, economic growth and social welfare.

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14 June 2016

Celebrating 20 years of cooperation under EU-Canada Science and Technology Agreement

Photo from the signing of the Agreement
Robert-Jan Smits, Director-General at DG RTD and Louis Marcotte, Director General Investment and Innovation for Global Affairs Canada

The 13th Meeting of the EU-Canada Joint Science and Technology Cooperation Committee (JSTCC) was hosted by the European Commission in Brussels on 14th June, 2016. The meeting took place in the context of 20 years of cooperation under EU-Canada Science and Technology Agreement and 40 years since the opening of EU diplomatic representation in Ottawa.

A large and high level Canadian delegation was led by Louis Marcotte, Director General, Investment and Innovation and the European Union delegation was chaired by Maria Cristina Russo, Director for International Cooperation, Directorate General of Research and Innovation.

Both parties recognized the importance of cooperation in Research and Innovation, the advantages in reinforcing the links between industry and research and fostering the innovation process to stimulate job creation, economic growth and social welfare.

It was agreed to continue and foster cooperation in key areas like Marine and Arctic research, Health Research, Aeronautics and ICT research, Agricultural research and Research Infrastructures. While as new area for cooperation security research has been agreed, Climate Change related research will be further exploited between the services involved.

Both parties agreed to continue developing common principles and adequate framework conditions needed to create a level playing field for researchers from Canada and the European Union to cooperate with each other on the basis of trust.

EU and Canada signed an Administrative Arrangement, intending to facilitate cooperation from Canadian participants in Horizon 2020 projects.

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9 June 2016

Strengthening NCPs capacity in Latin America

Photo from the Workshop
Workshop on Horizon 2020 and NCP, Colombia - © COLCIENCIAS

In the context of the building of the EU-CELAC Common Research Area, which was officially launched in March 2016 at the fifth Senior Officials Meeting of the Joint Initiative for Research and Innovation, Piero Venturi, the EU’s Research and Innovation Counsellor in Brazil, attended an extensive workshop on Horizon 2020 and National Contact Points (NCPs) Capacity building. The event was hosted by the Administrative Department of Science, Technology and Innovation of Colombia (COLCIENCIAS), with the support of the Ministry of Education and Culture of Uruguay (MEC), The Deutsches Zentrum Fuer Luft of Germany (DLR) and the Ministry of Science, Technology and Productive Innovation of Argentina (MINCyT). The event gathered more than 140 Colombian researchers from public and private universities, as well as national entrepreneurs and innovators, and it was regionally disseminated via webstreaming reaching more than 1100 virtual participants.

At the occasion of the event, COLCIENCIAS presented its Horizon 2020 strategy and its new mobility funding programme paving the way for higher participation of Colombia in Horizon 2020.

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7 June 2016

EU and Mexico launch the first joint geothermal research project

European and Mexican researchers will work together on tapping into new sources of geothermal energy in the context of GEMex, an international project that was selected in a joint call launched by the European Union and Mexico.

The EU and Mexico contribute equally to the €20 million project. The EU's share comes from Horizon 2020, its €77 billion research and innovation funding programme (2014 – 2020), and the other from Mexico's Fondo de Sustenibilidad Energética (SENER) - Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACYT).

GEMex will develop innovative methods for accessing the earth's vast resources of heat now trapped in variable geological formations. The ultimate objective is to make this renewable energy source cost-effective and affordable both for electricity and heat production. The project will adhere to the strictest environmental standards and address issues around social acceptance of the technology.

The three-year project will start in the autumn of 2016. The coordinated call was launched by Secretary Coldwell and Commissioner Moedas during his visit to Mexico in November 2015.

30 May 2016

EU-AU-IIASA Evidence and Policy Event

30 August – 02 September, Ispra, Italy

In a complex world, evidence-based policymaking can enhance the effectiveness of public policies. To develop the necessary skills for improving practices in better integrating evidence into policy-making, the European and African Union Commissions together with the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) are organising a highly participatory evidence and policy event. Participants will develop their working practices, skills, behaviours and methods, in both the scientific and policy-making domains via masterclasses and group work.

This year, we invite applications from policy officers and scientists developing policy and conducting research in the field of the Water-Energy-Food nexus.

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20 May 2016

EU-China Week on Aviation Research in Brussels

18–22 April 2016

Photo of the participants
GRAIN2 Policy Day in the Karel van Miert Auditorium (Place Madou)

The cooperation of the EU and China in aeronautics research started by a first co-funded support action in 2005 and continued with jointly funded networking actions and two coordinated calls for proposals.

The EU-China Week on Aviation Research took place in Brussels on 18-22 April 2016, hosted by the Von Karman Institute of Fluid Dynamics (VKI) and the European Commission. It included a technology workshop and the concluding event of the GRAIN2 project, the kick-off of the four new joint EU-China projects and a policy meeting with the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT). More than 120 European and Chinese representatives from industry, research centres, universities and government bodies attended different events of the EU-China Aviation Week.

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19 May 2016

Armenia joins Horizon 2020 to work with EU in research and innovation

Photo from the signing
Carlos Moedas, Commissioner of Research, Science and Innovation, and Levon Mkrtchyan, Armenian Minister of Education and Science

The agreement associating Armenia to Horizon 2020 was signed today by Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, and Levon Mkrtchyan, Armenian Minister for Education and Science.

Armenia has until now been able to participate in Horizon 2020 only as a third country. This means its entities have not counted towards the minimum number of participants required for a project, and have not had access to some important parts of the programme such as support to innovative businesses. Its representatives have not had access to key policy bodies.

Thanks to this agreement, its research institutes, universities and individual researchers will now have access to all opportunities offered by Horizon 2020 in diverse areas, from fundamental science to demonstration projects, on an equal footing with researchers and organisations from EU Member States and other countries associated to the programme. Armenian SMEs and businesses will also be able to benefit from increased support to develop new ideas and bring products and services to the market.

In the Seventh Framework Programme (2017-13), which preceded Horizon 2020, Armenian organisations participated in 35 signed projects. In Horizon 2020, they are already participating in five projects.

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18 May 2016

African Union Research Grants II – Calls for proposals are now open

The African Union Commission launched the Phase 2 of the African Union Research Grants programme with an open call for proposals for Research and Innovation in Africa supported by the European Union.

The programme responds to the implementation of the EU-Africa Research and Innovation Partnership focusing on Food and Nutrition Security and Sustainable Agriculture (FNSSA) adopted at the EU-Africa High Level Policy Dialogue in Addis Ababa on 4-5 April 2016.

The call supports research on: Food & Nutrition Security and Sustainable Agriculture (FNSSA) with particular attention on Sustainable Intensification.

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9 May 2016

India and the EU join forces in water-related research and innovation

On April 21-23, more than 200 persons attended the "International Conference on Innovations in Sustainable Water & Wastewater Treatment Systems" (ISWATS), in Pune, India.

Jointly organised by the Indian Departments of Science & Technology and of Biotechnology, and by the European Commission, the conference was opened by Mr Bapat, Minister for Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Protection in the Government of the Maharashtra state.

Most of the discussions focused on the assessment and follow-up of 5 joint EU-India projects.

These projects were quite concrete and impact-oriented as they included the construction of 20 fully-functional pilot installations for the treatment of wastewater in urban, peri-urban as well as rural settings in various parts of India. The presence of entrepreneurs, start-ups, SMEs and investors at the conference made it possible to explore options for further partnerships and investments, in order to translate the projects' results into full-scale commercial applications.

This conference illustrates the concrete impact that international EU research actions may have on the daily lives of populations across the world, and also contributes to broader policy and diplomatic objectives.

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29 April 2016

Georgia joins Horizon 2020, the EU's Research and Innovation Programme

Photo from the signing
Tamar Sanikidze and Carlos Moedas

The agreement associating Georgia to Horizon 2020 was signed today by Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, and Tamar Sanikidze, Georgian Minister for Education and Science.

Researchers and innovators from Georgia will now be able to participate in Horizon 2020, the EU's framework programme for research and innovation, under the same conditions as their counterparts from EU Member States and other associated countries. Georgian research institutes, universities, individual researchers, SMEs and businesses will now have access to all opportunities offered by Horizon 2020.

The Agreement allows for Georgia's enhanced cooperation with the EU in research and innovation, which are vital for successful and modern economies. It shows the commitment of the Union to develop the scientific and innovation capacity of its neighbours in the Eastern European Partnership. And it also represents another step towards reaching the EU goal of opening research and innovation to the world.

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20 April 2016

Two Indo-European Joint Calls for proposals are now open

INNO Indigo Logo

Innovation Call on Bioeconomy
Under the Innovation call, collaborative Indo-European projects designed to lead to innovative products, services or processes of significant economic and/or societal value will be funded.

Joint innovation projects shall also address applied research and technological development implemented in partnership between innovative SMEs and research performing institutions based in India and Europe.

Consortia have to involve at least three partners: two from two different European countries participating in the Innovation call (France, Germany, Norway, Spain) and one from India.

The deadline to submit Innovation proposals is 31 August 2016.

S&T Call on Biobased energy
Under the S&T Call, collaborative Indo-European excellent research projects with a maximum duration of 3 years will be funded. The topics covered by the call will be Biofuels and From waste to energy.

Consortia have to involve at least three partners: two from two different European countries participating in the call (Belgium - Wallonia region, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia) and one from India.

The deadline to submit Research proposals is 12 July 2016

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8 April 2016

EU-AFRICA: increased cooperation in Research and Innovation

Addis Ababa 4-6 April 2016

Photo from the Meeting
Group photo of the EU-Africa High Level Policy Dialogue - ©CAAST Net Plus

At the third meeting of the EU Africa high level policy dialogue (HLPD) senior officials adopted a roadmap towards an EU - Africa research and innovation partnership on food and nutrition security and sustainable agriculture.

This research and innovation partnership has been jointly designed and is expected to be jointly governed and funded. It will enhance the coordination of Research and Innovation (R&I) programmes relevant to food and nutrition security in Europe and Africa. The EC has launched an Eranet cofund of 10 million euros in Horizon 2020 to achieve this. European and African countries are expected to contribute with around 20 million euros.

The R&I partnership takes a food system approach and addresses issues of sustainable intensification, nutrition, agricultural markets and trade and integrates earth observation tools, capacity building (human, institutional and research infrastructures) and innovation processes. The final aim is to make better use of Research results and translate these into products and processes that increase the production of high quality food with appropriate inputs, enhance income growth and promote rural development in both regions.

The EC has committed a total of 47.5 million euros, which combines 30 million euros from the EU research and innovation programme Horizon 2020 and 17.5 million euros from the EU development programme in support of the African union research grants, to its implementation over 4 years and is ready to commit additional funding if the immediate results are satisfactory.

Discussions on long-term implementation have already taken place with a wide range of stakeholders from government, private sector, civil society and research at the Stakeholder Conference that immediately followed the HLPD in Addis. The roadmap was endorsed at the highest level by both commissions at their yearly College to College meeting in Addis Ababa on 7 April.

In addition, potential and future areas of cooperation, such as global health and global change, were also discussed. The HLPD was mandated to work on a proposal by 2017.

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In the Press

1 April 2016

EU-China Week in Aviation Research

18th – 22nd April 2016

With the joint support by the European Commission Directorate General for Research and Innovation (DG RTD) and the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), the EU-China Week on Aviation Research will take place in Brussels on 18 - 22 April 2016. The event is hosted by the Von Karman Institute (VKI) and the European Commission. A series of activities will be organised during the Aviation Research Week which comprises an Open Workshop/Forum focusing on the state of the art in the different technologies involved in the Key Green Technologies (KGTs) of GRAIN2, Kick-off Meetings of new starting EU-China aviation projects co-funded by Horizon 2020 and MIIT, and official meetings between DG RTD and MIIT dedicated to ongoing and future cooperation in aviation research.

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31 March 2016

ASEAN-EU STI Days 2016

10-12 May, Hanoi, Vietnam

STI Days logo

The ASEAN-EU Science, Technology and Innovation Days are a forum style event, initiated by the European Commission’s 7th Framework Programme funded SEA-EU-NET II project. The ASEAN-EU STI Days 2016 will be organised in Hanoi, Vietnam, from 10-12 May, 2016. This year’s edition of the event will focus on presenting academic/industry collaborations in and between ASEAN and the EU in the context of common key societal challenges for both regions.

The number of scientific workshops and expert sessions on various topics – like infectious diseases, water, food, energy nexus, metrology, ASEAN Economic Community and innovation – is expected to amount to 15, the expected number of participants ranges between 300-400, mainly from Southeast Asia and Europe. The STI Days are an ideal occasion for networking and exchange of ideas in thematic areas like Health, Environment, Water, Food Security & Safety or Innovation. A Brokerage Event connected to the previously mentioned topics, field visits to major research and innovation organisations in and around Hanoi as well as a paper and poster competition make the programme even more attractive. The STI days are generally visited by policy makers, company representatives, researchers and research administrators from both regions.

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30 March 2016

EU-India co-funding mechanism for H2020 projects

EU-India Summit, Brussels, 30 March

EU-India

In the margins of the Summit held in Brussels on 30 March, the Indian Department of Biotechnology (DBT) reaffirmed its commitment to fund (subject to its own internal evaluation procedures) Indian research and innovation teams participating in Horizon 2020 collaborative projects.

The co-funding mechanism set up with DBT will strengthen collaboration between European and Indian researchers and innovators to work together in thematic areas of high interest for both sides, such as biotechnology and health. DBT has published the list of the calls for proposals concerned.

A similar co-funding scheme is currently being evaluated by the Indian Department of Science and Technology (DST), potentially paving the way for an even stronger Indian participation in Horizon 2020's collaborative research and innovation actions.

In addition, the EU side still makes direct European funding available for Indian researchers receiving an individual grant of the European Research Council (ERC) or a Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellowship (MSCA), which are two other specific components of Horizon 2020.

The European Union and the Republic of India have also renewed their Agreement for Scientific and Technological Cooperation. The agreement was signed in 2001 and has been renewed twice – now up to 2020.

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16 March 2016

Algeria - EU cooperation in Science and Technology

Algeria, 8-9 March 2016

Photo from the meeting EU-Algeria Joint S&T Coordination Committee (JSTCC)

The 2nd meeting of the Algeria - EU Joint Science & Technology Coordination Committee (JSTCC) took place on 8 March 2016, in Algeria. The meeting was co-chaired by Ali Mokrani, Ministry of Foreign affairs and by Maria Cristina Russo, Director for International Cooperation at the European Commission Directorate- General for Research and Innovation (RTD). Both parties exchanged views on recent policy development as well as R&I cooperation priorities. Existing cooperation instruments and projects, as well as regional policy dialogue platforms were also presented. Among these, particular attention was paid to the High Level Policy Dialogue (HLPD) with Africa, supported by a Horizon 2020 Project (RINEA) and cooperation in the EU-MED context supported by MEDSPRING (another EU funded project).

On March 9, the European Commission and the Algerian Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research organized an information session on the EU research and Innovation programmes. Ms Maria Cristina Russo, Director for International Cooperation at RTD presented the EU Research and Innovation funding programme, Horizon 2020 that counts already with the participation of Algerian entities in 2 projects. Ms Russo also highlighted the important role that Algeria plays in multiple bi-regional platforms including the EU-Africa and EUROMED.

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15 March 2016

Empowering the EU-CELAC Common Research Area

Senior Officials meeting 14 March 2016, Brussels

Photo from the meeting EU-CELAC Seniors Officials Meeting in Brussels

Cristina Russo said : "We have put Research and Innovation on the EU-CELAC map; now let's make the Common Research Area a destination of choice for researchers, innovators and politicians".

Based on long-standing links in science and technology between the EU and the CELAC countries, the fifth Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) on Science and Technology of the EU-CELAC Joint Initiative on Research and Innovation launched the Common Research Area .

The meeting of the Senior Officials took place in Brussels, on March 14 and was chaired by Cristina Russo, Director International Cooperation, DG RTD, European Commission and co-chaired by Plácido F Gómez Ramírez, Vice Minister for Science and Technology, Dominican Republic, representing the CELAC Presidency. The event was very successful in gathering high level audience and a high number of participation from both EU Member States and CELAC countries. The opening session provided a clear signal on the political importance and visibility of research and innovation in the overall EU-CELAC Partnership. It was attended by the Chair of the EP delegation to the Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly, MEP Ramón Jàuregui Atondo, the EEAS deputy Director for Americas, Roland Schaefer, the Director for Latin America and the Caribbean in DG DEVCO Jolita Butkeviciene, and the Director for Excellence in Science from CNECT Thiery. Van der Pyl and Professor Bourguignon, President of the ERC.

Senior officials agreed to step-in cooperation and commit to deepen strategic partnership in research and innovation focusing on three key pillars: mobility of researchers, access to research infrastructures and strengthened thematic cooperation to jointly address global challenges.

Finally, jointly addressing common challenges requires opening up of national programmes and coordinating EU and CELAC research agendas, as well as increased synergies with instruments of external cooperation. The senior officials identified cooperation area of Climate Change and Environment as a flagship initiative, including in the field of sustainable urbanisation, acknowledging the importance of linking policy making with research and innovation actions, reflected also in the forthcoming mobilization of EU funds to support synergies in the area of Knowledge Management for Climate Services.

It was agreed that participation in multilateral initiatives of global relevance is key for tackling global challenges, such as for instance the role of GloPID-R in rapidly responding to the ZIKA virus outbreak, mirrored in the European Commission ad hoc call for proposals published on 15 March 2016.

To translate the strong political will and commitment towards a Common Research Area into palpable results, the CELAC Presidency announced a high level Senior Officials Meeting on Science and Technology to take place back-to-back to the EU-CELAC Foreign Affairs Ministerial Meeting in the Autumn 2016 in the Dominican Republic.

7 March 2016

Kick off Meeting for ESASTAP 2020

25 & 26 February 2016, Cape Town (South Africa)

Photo of all the participants ESASTAP 2020 group photo

The kick-off meeting of the ESASTAP 2020 project took place on 25 and 26 February 2016, in Cape Town in South Africa. The meeting effectively launched the activities of the latest incarnation of a project series which has been supporting R&I cooperation between the EU and South Africa since 2005.

On the first day of the kick-off meeting, ESASTAP 2020 also hosted its first workshop entitled "ESASTAP 2020 workshop on Science for Policy Advice". The workshop took place on the occasion of the "Global Network of Science Academies-Inter Academy Partnership (IAP) conference on Science Advice and General Assembly 2016" which was held on 28 February to 2 March 2016 in Hermanus, Cape Town, South Africa hosted by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf).

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3 March 2016

Indo-European Innovation Joint Call for proposals - Bioeconomy

Inno Indigo Policy logo

Within the framework of the INDIGO Partnership Programme an EU-India Innovation joint call for proposals on « Bioeconomy » is planned to be launched in April 2016.

Within the framework of this Innovation Joint call for proposals, joint R&D projects designed to lead to innovative products, services or processes of significant economic and/or societal value will be funded. Joint innovation projects shall also address applied research and technological development implemented in partnership between innovative SMEs and research performing institutions based in India and Europe.

Consortia that wish to apply for funding of an innovation project have to consist of at least three partners: two from two different European countries participating in the call, and one from India. Countries which are likely to participate in the Call are: India, France, Germany, Norway, and Spain. This list of funding organizations is not definitive and until the launch of the call, some organizations/countries might be added or removed. Partners from countries other than those participating in the IPP Innovation Call can join a consortium but have to secure their own funding.

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24 February 2016

A Joint Africa – EU strategy on Food and Nutrition Security and Sustainable Agriculture

Addis Ababa, 4-7 April

Logo

'HLPD' is short for EU-Africa High Level Policy Dialogue Platform on Science, Technology and Innovation. Senior officials from African and EU countries use this platform to discuss research and innovation policies. They aim to formulate and implement long-term priorities to strengthen bi-regional STI cooperation, in the framework of the Joint Africa-EU Strategy (JAES) .

In 2014 the HLPD Bureau commissioned a balanced group of African and European experts to prepare an input to a roadmap towards an Africa‐EU R&I Partnership on Food and Nutrition Security and Sustainable Agriculture (FNSSA), with mutual priorities in the FNSSA domain for collaborative research and innovation, taking the whole value chain into consideration.

The roadmap is now ready and will be proposed to the Senior officials for adoption at the high level policy dialogue on 4 and 5 April 2016 in Addis Ababa. The HLPD takes place in association with a stakeholder forum on 5 and 6 April and the College‐to‐College meeting on April 7, to which Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation should attend.

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19 February 2016

Joint call published by CONCERT-Japan

Concert japan

A joint call on the theme of “Food crops and Biomass production technologies”PDF icon has just been published by the European Interest Group (EIG) CONCERT-Japan, with a deadline on 28 April 2016.

The European Interest Group (EIG) CONCERT-Japan is the successful continuation of the ERA-NET CONCERT-Japan project funded by the 7th EU Framework Programme for Research and Technical Development (FP7) from 2011 to 2014. It is an international joint initiative to support and enhance science, technology and innovation (STI) cooperation between European countries and Japan.

The overall aim of this call is to support scientific research to further our understanding of the various phenotypes of useful food crops and biomass (including also algae biomass) plant species under a variety of environmental conditions towards improved yield and quality/functionality of those species under changing global climate.

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8 February 2016

EU-Egypt Innovation Day brings together stakeholders

Cairo

Egypt conference

The European Commission and the Egyptian Ministry of Scientific Research organized an "EU-Egypt Innovation Day" on 8 February, 2016 to raise Egyptian awareness of EU Research &Innovation (R&I) programmes. The event also aimed at creating cooperation opportunities and new networks between public/private sciences, technology and innovation players from Europe and Egypt.

Ms. Maria Cristina Russo, Director of International Cooperation at the Directorate General Research and Innovation of the European Commission and H.E Ambassador James Moran, Head of the EU Delegation to Egypt, and Dr. Essam Khames, Deputy Minister of Scientific Research opened the event. The opening session also included a key note speech by the Vice President of SIEMENS Egypt.

The Innovation Day brought together around 300 stakeholders from academic institutions, researchers and representatives of industry, financial institutions, NGOs and government as well as innovators, entrepreneurs and start-ups. The EC presented research and innovation funding and collaboration opportunities under the EU new framework programme for research and innovation Horizon 2020. Egypt successfully participated in 20 new projects under H2020 which covered topics including cancer research, eco-fishing, nano-technology, virtual simulation and water research, and benefitted of various initiatives supporting Egyptian researchers' mobility.

The Innovation Day included "Research and Innovation cafes", where EU MS – including Spain, France, UK, Germany, Austria, and Czech Republic - presented their research and innovation programmes that enable cooperation between European and Egyptian organizations. Alongside the event, the EC organized a roundtable with key research and innovation stakeholders. The roundtable aimed at enhancing current EU-Egypt R&I cooperation by bringing together key stakeholders under a single forum to initiate dialogue, share knowledge and network over current challenges and opportunities of EU-Egypt cooperation.

2 February 2016

European Commission at AAAS 2016

11-15 February 2016, Washington DC

Destination Europe

The AAAS annual meeting is among the world's largest and most prestigious general scientific events, gathering thousands of international scientists, policy makers and science journalists. The programme typically includes keynote speeches, scientific symposia, an exhibition, and press briefings on recent scientific discoveries.

This year's event focuses on " Global Science Engagement", and the European Commission is organising a number of scientific symposia:

The Commission will also have a booth (No. 1717) at the exhibition where conference participants can find out about career and funding opportunities in the EU.

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1 February 2016

First calls launched under the co-funding scheme between Japan Science and Technology Agency and the European Commission

Further to the positive interaction between the European Commission (EC) and Japan's Science and Technology Agency (JST) over the past year, the 3rd EU-Japan Joint S&T Committee meeting in May 2015 endorsed a co-funding scheme developed by JST in close cooperation with the EC. This scheme has the intention to support EU-Japan collaboration in research and innovation, and to provide funding to successful Japanese participants in open calls for proposals in Horizon 2020.

The co-funding scheme is initially applied to the following two call topics in Horizon 2020, Work Programme 2016-17, which opened in October 2015 (Deadline: first stage - 8 December 2015; second stage - 24 May 2016):

  • NMBP-02-2016: Advanced Materials for Power Electronics based on wide bandgap semiconductor devices technology
  • NMBP-03-2016: Innovative and sustainable materials solutions for the substitution of critical raw materials in the electronic power system

In these topics, Japanese participants may apply for funding from JST. JST will carry out its own evaluation of Japanese applicants prior to that on the EC side.

The EC-JST co-funding scheme is one of the support schemes put in place by EU international partner countries to enable a stronger and more balanced collaboration between their universities, research institutes and enterprises with European ones under Horizon 2020.

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18 January 2016

Information on the fourth Call to be launched by Mexico under the EU-Mexico Research and Innovation Co-Funding Mechanism

Photo of two folders withe the Mexican and EU flags

The Conacyt-H2020 co-funding mechanism, in place since 2014, has been the first support scheme put in place by EU international partner countries providing a source of financing "project-by-project participation" to Mexican partners in successful Horizon 2020 projects covering all thematic areas under Horizon 2020.

This complementary funding mechanism has the objective of reinforcing EU-Mexico STI cooperation by increasing the participation of Mexican research institutions and companies in Horizon 2020 to work closely with European partners.

To this end, the National Council for Science and Technology of Mexico (CONACYT) will publish in March 2015 the fourth call under the co-funding mechanism covering thematic areas, such as renewable energy, health, environment, ICT and climate change among others.

Within the Horizon 2020 work programme for 2016/17, published in October 2015, a number of topics specifically encourage cooperation with Mexico.

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