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Trans-national cooperation among Research Potential NCPs

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Newer Europe to get balanced research support

While the founding countries in the EU have flourishing research capabilities and industry, newer countries must also be encouraged to collaborate and reap the rewards.

Digital Economy

Research and industrial communities have grown in number within the European Union since member countries joined forces and expertise over the last few decades. Yet the EU's outermost regions and newer members have not realised the benefits of such convergence to the extent that 'old Europe' has. In its keenness to empower these regions and countries, the EU is funding the 'Trans-national cooperation among research potential NCPs' (Respotnet) project to enhance their research potential and industrial capabilities. The project wants to strengthen the EU network of National Contact Points (NCPs) which have dedicated European experts in each country to support EU project participation. This would directly support outermost regions and young European countries in enhancing their research and industrial sectors, particularly under the EU's Seventh Framework Programme. It will also open Europe to a bigger pool of knowledge and new input that would feed the sectors as well on a pan-European level. The new network is providing integrated information and support to research organisations for submitting competitive proposals, finding partners, promoting research results across Europe and obtaining funding. It is also enhancing training, benchmarking and mentoring activities to less experienced NCPs to raise the level and availability of information and assistance throughout Europe. Respotnet has already undertaken training activities and fostered exchange of good practice among the National Contact Points. Joint training and dissemination activities were developed with other NCP networks while standard tools for consolidating the knowledge and experience of all NCPs were further enriched. A mechanism to help research or industry partners - the 'Partner search facilitator' - was also successfully set up. Collaboration with another EU initiative on unlocking research potential, called Regpot, was instrumental in helping build a valuable database for of 74 organisations from relevant regions. In addition, important workshops were held under the Respotnet project and it was actively promoted at high-level European events. Overall, Respotnet expects to improve consistency of NCP services across Europe, simplify access to FP7 calls, facilitate entry for newcomers and raise the quality of submitted proposals in 'Research potential' calls. From a research and industry perspective, this will without question help integrate new European nations and those converging on the euro zone into greater Europe. It will give them a much needed boost and warm economic welcome.

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