Researchers at European universities and other institutions will be given opportunities to work with science and technology experts from China, Russia and Argentina, under cooperation agreements forged between their governments and the EU.
The European Commission says the agreements will build on existing joint projects. The deal with Argentina is the first of its kind bet-ween the EU and a Latin American country.
The three agreements mean areas of research could include energy, life sciences, agriculture, industrial technologies for small and medium-sized enterprises, transport, information and communication technologies, astrophysics and marine sciences.
A European Commission spokesman said: "These agreements will allow the EU to tap into expertise that otherwise we would not have, improve continuity and participate in Chinese, Russian or Argentine research programmes.There will be involvement for universities and other institutions as well as for the private sector."
A European science foundation spokesman said: "With increasing globalisation there are greater opportunities for cooperation."
The new formal agreements will allow the EU and the other countries to renew the partnership arrangements every five years.
The EU is also developing research cooperation links with Brazil and India.
A spokeswoman for the UK's Association of University Teachers said: "There has been a lot of work in the area of cooperation in research within the EU under a number of specific programmes."