The Pacific’s research and innovation landscape is extremely diverse, from little or no ST&I capacity to numerous networks of research and innovation institutions. The EU-funded PACE-NET PLUS (Pacific Europe network for science, technology and innovation) project enhanced the EU’s profile and reinforced cooperation in ST&I with the Pacific while fostering mutually beneficial partnerships. PACE-NET PLUS supported and facilitated bi-regional ST&I policy dialogue among senior officials from both regions. Through several policy dialogue platforms, these stakeholders discussed priority research, development and innovation issues, taking into account the interaction between the ST&I community, European Commission directorates, the EU external action services and other funding organisations. The project reinforced EU-Pacific ST&I cooperation by focusing on three major societal challenges that their respective countries are facing: health, demographic change and well-being; food security, sustainable agriculture, marine and maritime research, and the bioeconomy; and climate action, resource use and efficiency, and raw materials. PACE-NET PLUS encouraged coordination between EU ST&I programmes and policies targeting the Pacific via joint actions. It strengthened research cooperation partnerships by promoting such programmes as Horizon 2020 to the Pacific research community and opportunities for European researchers. In addition, European Commission roadmaps and similar actions encouraged the integration of the Pacific region and its interests. By bridging the gap between public and private sectors, PACE-NET PLUS enhanced cooperation on innovation issues and contributed to tackling the three societal challenges. To achieve this, it sought to understand the factors, mechanisms and obstacles that bring about innovation processes in the Pacific Island Countries and Territories. It also focused on the role EU ST&I cooperation performs in the successful generation of new products and practices and of novel forms of collective organisation. Policy recommendations were made to stimulate various relevant EU and Pacific stakeholders to engage and cooperate in innovation processes. Joint activities were successfully implemented, leading to 17 seed-funded projects. PACE-NET PLUS heralded a new era in EU-Pacific ST&I cooperation.
Pacific, science, technology and innovation, PACE-NET PLUS