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S&T International Cooperation Network for Eastern European and Central Asian Countries

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Linking the EU with Eastern Europe and Central Asia

European researchers have enhanced the relationship between the EU and the Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA) region. By developing a cooperation network in science and technology (S&T), both regions have benefited.

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EECA countries are important for the political, economic and social development of the EU. In particular, they offer significant potential in a wide variety of scientific disciplines. Therefore, there is a strong interest in enhancing S&T cooperation between the EECA and EU regions. The EU-funded 'S&T international cooperation network for eastern European and central Asian countries' (INCONET EECA) project aimed to boost such collaboration. The project set out to strengthen the joint S&T actions between the EU Member States and Associated Countries and countries at the Union's eastern border. INCONET EECA targeted the entire EECA region despite wide-ranging differences among the countries concerned. On the one hand, there is disparity in terms of their size and potential among EECA countries. On the other hand, there are the recent important research policy developments, such as the association of Moldova, an eastern European country, with the EU's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). Altogether, 23 institutions from 21 countries participated in an effort to encourage mutual learning. In addition, by working together they supported the policy dialogue between the EU and EECA countries, and improved EECA researchers' participation in FP7 projects. The INCONET EECA project paid particular attention to publicising its findings by, for example, setting up a central information office for EU–EECA cooperation. A dedicated web portal will provide access to the considerable volume of material produced by the team. INCONET EECA has successfully mobilised a large number of key stakeholders, such as policymakers, the academic community and the private sector. This will pave the way for future joint actions and enhanced cooperation between the EU and the EECA region.

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