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Assessment of the bilateral scientific co-operation (S/) between the European Union Member States (MS), Accession Countries (AC) Candidate Countries (CC) and the Mediterranean Partner Countries (MP)

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Science cooperation secrets revealed

An assessment of cooperation in scientific fields between the EU and its neighbours has unveiled collaboration patterns, topics and trends.

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Countries within the EU have been keen on scientific cooperation with their neighbours around the Mediterranean and with upcoming EU states in Eastern Europe. While this has been seen as a valuable mechanism for strengthening the European Research Area (ERA), exact cooperation patterns haven't been fully mapped yet. In light of this, the EU-funded project Asbimed evaluated this research and development collaboration with EU Accession Countries, Candidate Countries and the Mediterranean Partner Countries (MPCs). Looking at the period between 1998 and 2003 and analysing bilateral scientific and technical cooperation, the project team found interesting preliminary results that have emerged from years of collaboration. The team gathered information about EU projects involving neighbour states and documented best practices that could help improve results of future projects. Among its most interesting findings, the project noted that Austria, France, Germany, Italy and Spain have been the most active partners in projects with non-EU countries. Not surprisingly, Greece had conducted numerous projects with Cyprus before it became part of the EU, while France was the main participant with projects involving Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia. Indeed, France was the key EU nation that involved all MPCs in projects, followed by Germany, Spain and Austria. The project also examined types of projects and disciplines, finding that technological sciences were the most popular topic, followed by natural sciences. It also looked at types of managing institutions, funding amounts, scientific co-publications by country and student flows to EU states. This study has helped highlight trends, identify weaknesses and unveil opportunities for more scientific cooperation that would help strengthen the ERA substantially.

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