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Facilitating Research Co-operation between Europe and New Zealand

Periodic Report Summary - FRENZ (Facilitating research co-operation between Europe and New Zealand)

The 'Facilitating research cooperation between Europe and New Zealand' (FRENZ) platform supports the European Union (EU)-New Zealand science and technology partnership with initiatives to highlight existing research cooperation between the EU and New Zealand and improve this cooperation by enhancing the quality, quantity, visibility and effectiveness of further actions. A suite of seven highly integrated and interdependent work packages (WPs) has been designed to remove impediments to the integration of the New Zealand research community in the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) activities of mutual interest and achieve the specific objectives of:

- increasing EU-New Zealand research links;
- better identifying and demonstrating EU-New Zealand cooperation;
- exchanging best practice and exploring prospects for future cooperation.

FRENZ has undertaken a substantial suite of activities in the last 18 months:

- Development and maintenance of the FRENZ project website and associated web-based tools and media
- Construction of the research in New Zealand mobility portal
- Publication of a booklet of key projects with New Zealand involvement
- Launch and maintenance of the FRENZ helpdesk
- Completion of a survey and report addressing New Zealand participation in the Framework Programme
- Ongoing institutional visits and training events
- Liaison with key EU-based research groups
- Construction of a database of EU researchers in New Zealand
- Launch and preliminary analysis of ongoing survey of New Zealand-based EU researchers concerning barriers to cooperation and mobility
- Positive engagement with New Zealand funding agencies concerning the potential provision of funds for Sandpit workshop outcomes

FRENZ has seen a substantial increase in New Zealand researchers' interest and involvement from the Sixth Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP6) to FP7.

Feedback concerning FRENZ visits and training sessions has been positive and, in terms of New Zealand researchers' experiences of FP7 engagement, the survey revealed that researchers regarded cooperation with Europe as mutually beneficial. In turn, the barriers they indentified concerning research collaboration were not new and when asked what they required to assist in their effort to engage with FP7, the majority brought attention to the importance of being kept abreast of information on opportunities and developments within Europe.

Through the Diaspora project, FRENZ now possesses a unique database of approximately 900 New Zealand-based European researchers, who currently represent an untapped resource in terms of the ability for Europe and New Zealand to tap into these researchers' linkages to facilitate an increased level of collaboration under FP7.

The overall aim of the FRENZ platform is to support and provide an implementing mechanism for the EC-New Zealand science and technology partnership and improve research collaboration between the two by providing access to information and by identifying priorities and the best partners for research. These activities are expected to lead to a measurable increase in the numbers of effective EU-New Zealand collaborations and an identifiable improvement of the mutual understanding of the respective research systems in Europe and New Zealand.

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