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International Association for the promotion of cooperation with scientists from the independent states of the former Soviet Union (INTAS), 1993-

INTAS was formally established on 29 June 1993 to promote cooperation between scientists from Western Europe and scientists from the independent states of the former Soviet Union (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgystan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan).

Its activities cover a wide range of scientific fields, including physics, astronomy, astrophysics, mathematics, telecommunications, information technologies, chemistry, life sciences, earth sciences, environment, energy, engineering sciences, aeronautics, space, economics, and social and human sciences. Military research and any political or commercial activities are outside the scope of INTAS.

At present, INTAS focuses its support on two types of activity. Firstly, it provides funding to research projects performed jointly between research teams from the independent states of the former Soviet Union and INTAS members. The funding for these projects is devoted primarily to research teams from the former Soviet Union. Secondly, it supports networks between scientists and institutions from the former Soviet Union and INTAS members.

INTAS is one of several initiatives supported by the European Community which aims at promoting scientific research in the former Soviet Union. In November 1992, the International Science and Technology Centre (ISTC) was established to assist and encourage the conversion of military engineers and weapons scientists from the former Soviet Union to civil activities. The ISTC's activities are financed by a contribution of ECU 20 million from the European Community (TACIS budget), US$ 25 million from the USA, and US$ 17 million from Japan.
To promote, by means of an international effort: scientific research in the new independent states of the former Soviet Union in order to contribute to social and economic progress and the consolidation of democracy in these countries; and cooperation between researchers from these countries and the international scientific community.
Areas of activity:

- Financing research projects executed jointly by research teams from the independent states of the former Soviet Union and the members of INTAS. Priority is given to financing research teams from the new independent states;

- Granting of fellowships and other bursaries aimed at increasing the mobility of researchers either towards or from the former Soviet Union;

- Organization and/or financial support to workshops and seminars and aid for access to scientific information;

- Support for networks between institutions and researchers from the independent states of the former Soviet Union and the international scientific community;

- Any other activity necessary for the realization of the Association's objectives.
INTAS was established in June 1993, on the initiative of the European Commission, as an international non-profit making association under Belgian private law. The founding members consist of the European Community, and the following Member States: Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Spain, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Portugal, and the United Kingdom. Since then, the following countries have joined: Austria, Bulgaria, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, Iceland and Israel.

INTAS was adopted as a pilot action within the 3rd Framework Programme 1990-1994 (FP3) and was formally introduced in the subsequent 4th Framework programmes 1994-1998 and 5th Framework programmes 1998-2002. (FP4 and FP5). Its' funding continues under the specific international cooperation activities (FP6-INCO - of the Sixth Framework Programme 2002-2006 (

The activities of INTAS are overseen by three organs: the General Assembly, the Scientific Council and the Secretariat.

The General Assembly, which is composed of two representatives nominated by the members, is responsible for overall policy concerning the conduct and operation of INTAS activities. It meets at least twice a year, although extraordinary meetings may be called at the initiative of the president of the Assembly and five of its members. Decisions of the Assembly are normally taken by a two-thirds majority. Decisions on the enlargement of INTAS must, however, be taken unanimously.

The Scientific Council consists of a maximum of 30 scientists from all the member states of INTAS and from the independent states of the former Soviet Union. They are appointed normally for a period of two years by the General Assembly. The Scientific Council deliberates on scientific matters and makes recommendations to the General Assembly on, among other things, the evaluation and selection of projects submitted to INTAS for support and the articulation of research priorities. It is also responsible for the selection and operation of "expert committees" to advise on the evaluation of proposed projects and the selection of beneficiaries.

The Secretariat, which is based in Brussels, is responsible for the general administration of INTAS and ensures that decisions taken by the General Assembly are compatible with the objectives and interests of INTAS. The Secretariat prepares the work programme and the draft budget, draws up the annual activity report, prepares the agenda for meetings of the General Assembly, launches calls for proposals for research projects, fellowships, workshops, seminars and networks. The running of the Secretariat is assured by the European Commission and consists of a Secretary and administrative personnel.

Projects supported by INTAS are selected according to the following criteria: the degree of international collaboration; scientific excellence and technical novelty; efficiency of project management; feasibility; potential result; quality/price ratio. Each INTAS project associates a minimum of two laboratories from Western Europe and one from the former Soviet Union.