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Pacific - EU Network for science and Technology

Periodic Report Summary 2 - PACE-NET (Pacific - EU Network for science and Technology)

Project Context and Objectives:
Launched on May 1st 2010, PACE-Net is an INCO-Net project financed by the European “Capacity” programme, within the 7th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development – FP7. This PACific Europe NETwork for science and technology is dedicated to the bi-regional dialogue between the European Union and the Pacific region.

Coordinated by the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD), the PACE-Net Consortium includes the following partners: Agenzia per la Promozione della Ricerca Europea (APRE); International Bureau of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (IB of the IBMF); Malta Council for Science and Technology (MCST); The Australian National University (ANU); Ministry of Science and Innovation (MSI); University of South Pacific (USP); Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC); the University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG); and Euro Research Support Limited (CGC).

The main objectives of the project were to: reinforce existing dialogues and networks and promote regional integration for these networks; identify Science & Technology (S&T) international cooperation activities and programmes aimed at, or active in, the Pacific region; strengthen the coordination of S&T cooperation between Europe and the Pacific, and within the Pacific; and identify and strengthen complementarities between this project and activities and programmes carried out through other European Union Community instruments.
Project Results:
The situational analysis based on the survey completed by SPC and USP in 2011, has laid the foundations for a comprehensive overview of the region’s research landscape. This work has structured the reflexion and discussions on research on S&T in the region during the second half of the project. The most relevant indications generated by this analysis were synthesised and presented at PACE-Net final conference in Suva. A section summarising the analysis outcomes is included in the project compendium; part of the information from the survey has been converted to a database.

Two more bi-regional PACE-Net stakeholder conferences which were coordinated by the IB of the BMBF, were organized in Brussels (2012), and Suva (2013). High-level delegates from Europe and the Pacific actively participated in these conferences. As in Brisbane in 2011, the conference in Brussels was combined with thematic workshops (see section hereafter). The high-level discussion emphasized the need for further developing science and innovation collaboration between Europe and the Pacific, within the Pacific and between science, innovation and development partners. Furthermore, obstacles and needs for better collaboration were discussed and recommendations were elaborated after the Brussels conference and finalised with the participants of the Suva conference and widely disseminated. The contribution of our External advisory board has been decisive in this process throughout the duration of the project.
The outcomes of the bi-regional dialogue have been synthesised in the project compendium and in a brochure – “Recommendations for a Strategic plan for research in S&T in the Pacific” – that have been widely disseminated through national, regional, and international channels.
(http://suva-conference.pacenet.eu/sites/default/files/web%20PACE-Net_RECOMMENDATIONS.pdf)

Four more thematic workshops were held in period II with the second bi-regional key stakeholders’ conference in Brussels, on: fresh water; agriculture and forestry; natural hazards; fisheries and aquaculture, all in relation to climate change. The additional topic of “mid-term research development and innovation policies in the Pacific” was dealt with transversally.
The outcomes of all workshops issued to the EC delegates and regional policy makers have been collected in the form of policy briefs, the elaboration of which mobilised all our experts throughout the second half of the project. These policy briefs which were coordinated by IB of the BMBF and IRD are among the most significant products of the project, as they capture experts’ recommendations in terms of priorities for research in science and technology in the Pacific and aggregate opportunities for international collaboration related to these areas (http://brussels-conference.pacenet.eu/policy_briefs).
The ethical issues associated with Pacific research were investigated during the timeframe of the project by the partner in charge (MCST) and a deliverable produced.

Two information and training events were arranged by Euro Research Support Ltd (CGC) for multipliers from USP, UPNG, SPC, IRD, UNC and UPF to support capacity building in FP7 activities and opportunities. The first training, from 14-18 November 2011 took place in Auckland, and involved networking with Pacifica groups from around New Zealand. The second training took place on 10-12 April 2013, hosted by IRD, UPF (the University of French Polynesia) in Tahiti and the CRIBOE (Insular Research Centre and Environment Observatory) in Moorea. It included a review of the Marie Curie Actions, a networking event and a very practical overview of Horizon 2020. The group also took the opportunity to discuss the proposed changes to the National Contact Point (NCP) structure and role in Horizon 2020, reflecting on their own activities, and their future training and support needs. Finally, a networking session was held at the University of French Polynesia, providing an opportunity to connect our Pacific representatives with local researchers, and the Bureau of European Affairs in Polynesia.

All dissemination and outreach activities have intensified during the second half of the project and most of the partners actively took part in these dissemination activities, using the various tools created: website, media releases and newsletters (four more issues designed by APRE in period II) that provided a window on PACE-Net activities and partly on the S&T community and events in the region.

The PACE-Net key stakeholder community, a network at the regional and bi-regional level of identified researchers, government representatives, policy makers etc. has gradually increased. Booklets prepared by APRE with stakeholder profiles involved in our conferences have been printed to further stimulate EU-Pacific networking.
(http://pacenet.eu/sites/default/files/Key%20stakeholders_Booklet_0.pdf)
PACE-Net also supported the establishment of the Pacific Islands University Research Network (PIURN) within the Pacific region, initiated at the Brussels conference by USP, UNESCO and CTA.

On the European Commission side, Mr A. Beuf (Project officer) has been as always very supportive in all aspects of the project (attending all important meetings, providing essential information about whom to invite to our events and guiding the partners during their visits to the various DGs in the EC) helping us improve congruence between our project and EU research priorities.

As regards management, all activities have been performed in due time. Moreover, at the end of the project, PACE-Net partners have completed their due deliverables and this, within overall allocated budget.

Potential Impact:
The project scientific outcomes (policy briefs) might better inform the bi-regional policies and strategies in terms of Research and Development.
On the Pacific side, a longer term action will help the Pacific countries and territories better define their research strategies and our recommendations have been sent to the Pacific plan review in June 2013 (see appendix at the end of the report).

List of Websites:
www.pacenet.eu