EURAB Final Report on International Research Cooperation (extract)

July 10, 2006

Brussels, 07 Jul 2006

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1. During the last two decades, a new competitive international system of science and technology has emerged. To promote its goals, the EC needs a new proactive international policy in science and technology. This policy should both strengthen its scientific, technological and economic position, help to solve global environmental, health and other problems, and give opportunities to EU researchers to develop strong international partnerships. The EC has to develop large, visible projects that would attract attention especially in the emerging centres of economic power

2. The EC should clearly spell out its priorities on and establish a long-term policy framework to promote international cooperation in S&T. High among these priorities is to make Europe attractive for the best researchers in the world and for investment in scientific infrastructures, including global large-scale facilities. In particular, this goal requires that the EC should revitalise the European R&D system by investing new resources in and lowering barriers to cross-border mobility as well as between the public and private sectors at national, intergovernmental and EU level.

3. The EC should differentiate clearly between target countries – e.g. advanced industrial countries, emerging economies and developing countries – to define its own interests and select the right kinds of instruments to promote international cooperation. The EC has to develop a proper mix of research and technology, business relations, and aid to properly address the interests of different partners. Moreover, the instruments of cooperation are quite different in areas that require large-scale scientific infrastructures compared, for instance, with fieldwork.

4. A working division of labour and cooperation among the Commission services is crucial for the effective implementation of the EC's international strategy on science and technology. The Commission should establish an efficient management structure to initiate and coordinate international actions across administrative boundaries. This would require the establishment of a strong focal point in DG Research to deal with partner countries and have the capacity to organise coordination with other EU agencies, Directorate Generals, and – where appropriate – with Europe's intergovernmental research organisations.

5. DG Research as a whole and particularly the thematic areas should see to that international cooperation becomes an integral part of the Framework Programmes and that it receives adequate funding. In addition, each theme should have a single horizontal budget line for international cooperation to ensure participation of EU and non-EU research communities in research actions. This budget should be reallocated to the themes on the work programme level and adjusted in regular updates according to the needs and capacity to utilise resources.


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