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

Final Report Summary - INCONET EECA (S&T international cooperation network for eastern European and central Asian countries)

Executive summary:

The INCONET EECA project was dedicated to the strengthening of the bi-regional Science and technology (S&T) cooperation between the European Union (EU) Member States / Associated countries (MS / AC) and the countries at the eastern border of the Union. The cooperation between the two regions is of particular importance from a political, economic and social development perspective and S&T is a privileged field for joint actions due to the scientific ties that already exist and to the significant S&T potential in the region.

The INCONET EECA project, in compliance with the prerequisites of the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) call, targeted the whole Eastern Europe, central Asia (EECA) region despite, on the one hand, the undeniable differences among the countries in terms of size and potential but also in terms of specific cooperation statutes that existed with some countries (e.g. with Russia and Ukraine) and, on the other hand, of the important developments that occurred during its implementation such as the development of the EU's eastern partnership policy or the association of Moldova to FP7.

The project has been implemented by 23 institutions from 21 countries, which successfully accommodated the occurring developments and existing differences, encouraging mutual learning, taking advantage of complementarities and developing synergies for the implementation of its main objectives that were centred on two main axes:

- The support to the bi-regional policy dialogue amongst the EU MS / AC and the EECA countries, aiming in particular at the identification of priorities for joint action, based on analytical evidence that has been developed to feed the policy dialogue, and resulting in the preparation of a white paper on the EU-EECA S&T cooperation which identifies challenges and proposes recommendations that will strengthen the cooperation of the EECA countries with the EU enhancing also their own S&T potential.
- The strengthening of the participation of researchers from the EECA region in FP7 through the implementation of a comprehensive set of actions such as capacity building, information dissemination and networking.

The project devoted specific attention to dissemination activities supporting, amongst others, the setting-up of the central information office for the EU-EECA cooperation and a dedicated portal, which will last beyond the end of the project keeping accessible the considerable material produced by the project.

The project mobilized a very large number of stakeholders in EU and EECA (policy makers, the academic community and the private sector), thus paving the way for future joint actions based on the recommendations of the white paper, on the current broader policy developments and instruments, as well as in the context of the forthcoming H2020 EU's FP.

Project context and objectives:

The countries of EECA are of utmost importance for the political, economic and social development of EU, since among other assets they possess significant potential both in terms of the strong academic community and of high quality S&T institutes in a variety of scientific disciplines. Therefore, in order to make optimum use of each other's scientific strengths there is a strong bi-regional interest in enhancing S&T cooperation.

The INCONET EECA project, in compliance with the prerequisites of the FP7 call, addressed the whole EECA region, despite the undeniable differences among the countries in terms of size and potential but also in terms of specific cooperation statutes that exist with some countries (e.g. the four common spaces with Russia, the partnership and cooperation agreement with Ukraine). Moreover, during the implementation of the project, important developments occurred in the relations or policies of the EU with certain countries in the region, such as the development of a new EU policy, the eastern partnership, towards a sub-group of countries in the EECA region, the association of one country, Moldova, to FP7.

Despite these significant evolutions and the considerable differences among the target countries, the project managed to adapt its actions and successfully address its objectives that were centred on two main axes:

- The support to the bi-regional policy dialogue amongst the EU MS / AC and the EECA countries, aiming in particular at the identification of priorities for joint action, and based on analytical evidence (i.e. a series of studies) to feed the policy dialogue. These activities resulted in the preparation of a white paper on EU-EECA S&T cooperation, which identifies challenges and proposes recommendations that will strengthen the cooperation of the EECA countries with the EU enhancing also their own S&T potential, in a flexible way and on a variable geometry basis, in the context of the latest policy developments.
- The strengthening of the participation of researchers from the EECA region in FP7 through the implementation of a comprehensive set of actions such as capacity building, information dissemination and networking.

In parallel, the project devoted specific attention to dissemination activities supporting, amongst others, the setting-up of the central information office for the EU-EECA cooperation and a dedicated portal, which will last beyond the end of the project keeping accessible the considerable material produced by the project.

List of websites: http://www.inco-eeca.net