Brussels, 13 May 2005
A projected intended to increase cooperation between Canada and the European Research Area (ERA) is to get underway at the end of May.
During the Fifth Framework Programme (FP5), over 120 Canadian researchers were involved in some 80 research projects. While this makes Canada one of the most successful third countries in absolute or per capita terms in the context of FP5 participation, the Canadians believe that untapped potential remains. Canadians were involved in only 0.5 per cent of all FP5 projects, and European involvement in Canadian research projects could also be increased.
The ERA-CAN project will seek to tackle those factors that limit EU-Canadian cooperation, including: insufficient awareness of opportunities; inadequate connections among researchers; the difficulties in building up trust and confidence due to distance; the complexity of research programmes on both sides; the lack of assistance for navigating programmes; and the need for synchronisation between research funding and peer review systems.
Two key aspects of the project will be the provision of information and services; and the organisation of events. The services will include a 'one-stop-shop' website; a targeted e-mail alert system for Canadians; regular e-mail updates for Europeans; a partnering database; advice on logistics and funding; the establishment of a National Contact Point (NCP) for Canada; and the creation of a contact database of researchers and institutions. A series of 12 events will also take place over the three-year duration of the project.
Currently eight Canadian stakeholders are involved in ERA-CAN, but the project is open to other relevant organisations. Partners from Europe will also be sought; their involvement will vary in duration, focus, formality and intent.
A formal partnership, based upon a Memorandum of Understanding, has already been established with the German office within the Informal Group of R&D Liaison Offices (IGLO) in Brussels. The German office, KOWI, stands to gain by broadening its links outside of Europe - a priority outlined in its mandate.
The Canadian participants also remain 'open to possible operational cooperation with other third countries in areas where limited resources could be better spent in a leveraged fashion, and where activities do not give a competitive advantage to one third country over another.'
The EU will provide some 340,000 euro towards the project over the next three years, and this will be more than matched by funding from Canada.
For further information, please contact Canada's Science and Technology Counsellor to the EU: