Toward EU-Russia Strategic Partnership in Research and Innovation (11/07/2012)
The 2012 meeting of the joint EU-Russia Science and Technology Committee, established under the Science and Technology Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and the Russian Federation, took place on 6 July 2012 at the Russian Ministry of Education and Science in Moscow.
The two Co-Chairs, Deputy Minister Igor Fedyukin and Robert-Jan Smits, Director General of DG Research and Innovation at the European Commission, acknowledged the excellent level of cooperation between Russia and the European Union. For the past ten years, Russia has been, by far, the most active non-European participant in the successive EU Framework Programmes for Research, with 440 participating teams in the current Seventh programme in key research areas such as aeronautics, health, information communication technologies, nanotechnologies and materials, energy, and environment.
Both sides are committed to step up even further this cooperation, in the perspective of the forthcoming adoption of the next EU programme for research and innovation Horizon 2020 and of the Russian State Programme for Research and Development.
Both sides also agreed to launch a joint evaluation of the current level and mechanisms of cooperation under the Science and Technology Agreement, to pave the way for an EU-Russia Strategic Partnership in Research and Innovation before 2014. It was also agreed that a group of senior European experts will visit the six Russian "megascience" projects(1) to identify cooperation opportunities in the area of Research Infrastructures.
In the margins of this meeting, Director General Robert-Jan Smits met with the new Russian Minister for Education and Science, Dmitry Livanov, and visited both the Central Aero-Hydrodynamics Institute and the National Research Centre "Kurchatov Institute", both key participants in EU research projects.
The EU and Russia have been pursuing cooperation in science and technology since 1994. The Agreement on Cooperation in Science and Technology between the European Union and the Government of the Russian Federation, signed in 2000, provides the framework for bilateral cooperation in this field. The EU-Russia policy dialogue in this area includes, at ministerial level, the Permanent Partnership Council, the joint EU-Russia Science and Technology Cooperation Committee which meets annually at Director-General / Vice-Minister level, alternately in Moscow and Brussels; and 12 joint working groups, which meet regularly to discuss potential research topics of mutual interest for joint actions.
One of the most established forms of the EU-Russia Science and Technology cooperation is the participation of Russian scientists in the EU's Framework Programmes for Research and Technological Development, where Russia continues to be the most successful international cooperation partner country in terms of the total number of participations in the programme, the total amount of EU financial contribution received and the number of collaborative actions launched.
One of the many examples of the successful EU-Russia cooperation in research that could benefit citizens significantly is the DIABIMMUNE project. It tests the so called "hygiene hypothesis" suggesting that clinically clean homes and bacteria-free food may undermine people's health and lead to the development of Type 1 diabetes and other immune-mediated diseases. The project studies approximately 7,000 children in three neighboring countries - Finland, Estonia and Russia (Karelia). The study, which will continue until at least 2013, should help scientists discover the microbial factors provoking or preventing diabetes. This could result in a development of a vaccine against the disease – using, for instance, pro-biotic food products for children.
(1) • Tokamak "Ignitor", Troitsk Institute for Innovation and Fusion Research of Rosatom, Troitsk;
• The high-beam research reactor PIK, St. Petersburg Institute of Nuclear Physics of the National Research Centre "Kurchatov Institute", Gatchina;
• Source of specialized synchrotron radiation of the fourth generation at the Kurchatov Institute in Moscow;
• The Nuclotron-based Ion Collider facility NICA, JINR, Dubna;
• International centre for research of extreme light fields, Institute of Applied Physics in Nizhny Novgorod;
• "Super s-tau factory" - the accelerator complex with colliding electron-positron beams at the Institute of Nuclear Physics in Novosibirsk.
EU-Russia Science and Technology cooperation
Seventh Framework Programme