Cooperation between the EU and Russia in agro-bio-food research has become tighter in recent years, and is set to become even stronger in the near future, according to Commission officials. Christian Patermann, Director for 'Biotechnologies, agriculture and food' research within the European Commission, attended a recent international symposium on biotechnology, agriculture, forestry and food in Russia. On his return he declared that research plays a very important role in the 'European-Russian space of cooperation' that is currently under development. Mr Patermann, along with the EC-Russia working group on agro-bio-food, gave a particularly strong welcome to Russia's first national Technology Platforms. European Technology Platforms are intended to provide a framework for stakeholders, led by industry, to define research and development (R&D) priorities, timeframes and action plans on a number of strategically important issues. A number of countries have now established Technology Platforms at a national level, but Russia is the first non-EU Member State to do so. The recent symposium also led to an agreement that from 2008, Russia and the EU will carry out coordinated, co-funded activities, particularly in the field of industrial biotechnology. A Joint Communiqué from the EC-Russia Working Group on Agro-Bio-Food also supports the idea of a large, highly visible joint project that 'could have an overarching impact on EU-RF [Russian Federation] long-term relations'. The working group will now begin screening possible areas for the project, focusing in particular on the conversion of renewable resources (biomass) into high value added products and energy.