Research and Innovation play a key role in economic and social development and in solving major global societal challenges.
The European Union is one of the world's leading regions in research and innovation. With 7% of the world's population, it accounts for 24% of the world expenditure on research, 32% of the high impact publications and 32% of the patent applications. However, as more and more knowledge is created in third countries, the Union must be in a position to access this knowledge, and the people creating it, in order to remain an attractive location for carrying out research and innovation and a partner of choice for engaging in international cooperation.
In September 2012, the Commission adopted the Communication 'Enhancing and focusing EU international cooperation in research and innovation: a strategic approach' The Communication sets out a new strategy for international cooperation in research and innovation, in particular with a view to implementing Horizon 2020. This followed the 2008 Strategic European Framework ( 373 KB ) for international cooperation in science and technology.
The EC has always encouraged, and will continue to encourage, international cooperation through its Framework Programmes. EC bilateral S&T agreements and bi-regional S&T agreements are important tools to promote the policy dialogue with partner third countries.