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Promotion and facilitation of international cooperation with Eastern European and Central Asian countries

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Strengthening collaboration among EU and EECA nations

An EU-funded project has identified joint health research priorities and facilitated cooperation between the EU and Eastern European and Central Asian (EECA) countries.

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All EECA countries currently have health strategies in place, which, in most cases, match European trends. The participation of EECA countries in the EU's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) has, however, been quite low. The EECALINK project aimed to promote FP7 and strengthen scientific collaboration among EU and EECA countries. It involved 17 partners from 12 countries, with the major stakeholders being policymakers, universities, other academic partners and the wider research public. A key stage of the project was to identify gaps and overlaps in research and funding priorities between the EU and EECA countries. Areas of research considered to be important included cancer, cardiovascular diseases, ageing-related illnesses and rare diseases. Researchers from the EU and EECA countries were matched to encourage networking and to allow for the researchers to work on common health projects. EECALINK also supported networking by awarding travel grants to 14 EECA scientists. In addition, training sessions for researchers, group leaders and administrative personnel were organised. The project has thus enabled enhanced cooperation between EU and EECA researchers and a sharing of best practices. It is hoped that this will lead to a higher success rate in related FP7 projects.

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