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Argentinean Bureau for Enhancing Cooperation with the European Union in the Science, Technology and Innovation Area. Phase III

Final Report Summary - ABEST III (Argentinean Bureau for Enhancing Cooperation with the European Union in the Science, Technology and Innovation Area. Phase III)

Executive Summary:
ABEST III (Argentinean Bureau for Enhancing Cooperation with the European Union in the Science, Technology and Innovation Area - Phase III, Grant Agreement 311952) is a Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) Coordination and Support Action to provide support to European Union – Argentina (EU-AR) bilateral activities in Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) and to develop long-term sustainability for the promotional activities carried out by this platform. The Programme – which is co-funded by the European Commission and MINCyT- is operated by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Productive Innovation (MINCyT) of the Nation, through the National Directorate of International Relations. There are other partners in the Consortium, such as: APRE from Italy, CIRAD from France, DLR from Germany, and MADRI+D from Spain. The project started in October 2012 and finished in September 2015.
Awareness raising and training workshops have been at the core of the ABEST III support activities and, as a result of such activities, the Liaison Office and the H2020 are gaining more visibility in Argentina and the LA region. Throughout the 36-month period, more than 77 meetings, workshops and information sessions (usually called “Info Days”) have been carried out in the country. Approximately 1950 researchers (counting 25 attendees per each event, with certain, events having more attendees), representatives of universities and laboratories in charge of managing research projects and entrepreneurs have participated in meetings, workshops and information sessions organized by ABEST II. In addition, 11 events have been coordinated by videoconferencing with the liaison offices of other Latin American countries that also have cooperation agreements with the EU in S&T, such as Brazil, Mexico and Chile. ABEST III has set up a support mechanism for FP7 promotion through a refreshed website (www.abest.mincyt.gob.ar) with a number of registered people that has smoothly increased up to 450 contacts in the second year of the project (almost the double than in the first period). Some countries have been "trained" by the Liaison Office ARG-EU (e.g. Peru) and now those Cooperation Units are conducting training workshops targeting their national institutions.
The Argentinean participation in the H2020 has been well-ranked in the first results. At the time of preparing this report, Argentina is ranked among the Top Ten Non-European Countries. In this regard, with the aim of improving the Argentinean participation in the FPs, ABEST III through the STI Observatory conducted desk research and interviews to identify stakeholders, who have participated in the FPs, in order to analyze their participation, compare to other experiences, and monitor the tendency. NCPs and the ABEST-NET network efforts have been crucial to reach a broad audience and identify capacities. ABEST III offered 37 (12 more Grants than ABEST II) Grants for Building Strategic Partnerships (33 to Argentineans and 4 to Europeans).
In the Latin-American region, ABEST III has established links and encouraged synergies with other projects and networks, thus taking advantage of the possible cooperation actions offered by those other bi-regional programmes, such as EULARINET (and the upcoming ALCUE-NET in which MINCyT will be coordinator of a 19-partner consortium), other thematic networks, and a number of thematic FP7 projects in which MINCyT is actively involved. Regarding the enhancement of the EU-AR bilateral STI dialogue, ABEST III has actively coordinated, developed and participated in initiatives to help identifying and demonstrating mutual interests and benefits derived from cooperation between both regions, while attending the European Union-Economic Community of Latin American and Caribbean states (EU-CELAC) Senior Officials Meetings (SOM) within the framework of EU-LAC. Taking advantage of being the coordinator of the ALCUE NET project, Argentina leads the support to the policy dialogue process on STI to consolidate EU-CELAC cooperation by contributing to the JIRI in each annual Senior and Official Meetings (SOM) and by contributing to the definition and implementation of joint strategic agendas for research, development and innovation following the recommendation of the SOM working groups.
Briefly, ABEST III project has contributed to build a cohesive informative platform by deepening strategic cooperation between Argentina and the EU. ABEST III has been able to build a well-established and visible support mechanism for a broad range of STI institutions located not only in Argentina but also in Europe and the Latin-American region. In terms of impact, the project has represented an important catalyst for a number of EU-AR cooperation processes. This role will be intensified in the following years in a sustainable basis with local budget.
After the ending of the ABEST III project, the Liaison Office will remain operational with local funding. In the following months, a work plan will be prepared and discussed among the local NPC and main advisers to maintain the activities in the context of 2016-2017 programming. The project has strengthened S&T policies building on common interest in continuing S&T cooperation through the active mechanism and instruments in line with the Argentinean capabilities and potential. In addition, it is worth mentioning that issues related to science, technology and innovation have been declared a state policy of the national government and the international cooperation in S&T is an essential tool, especially with respect to the European Union.

Project Context and Objectives:
The main goal of ABEST III (Argentinean Bureau for Enhancing Cooperation with the European Union in the Science, Technology and Innovation Area - Phase III, Grant Agreement 311952) has been to provide support to EU-AR bilateral activities in STI and to develop long-term sustainability for the promotional activities carried out by this platform. It was coordinated by MINCyT, through the National Directorate of International Relations with co-funding of the European Union and MINCyT. The other partners in the Consortium are: APRE from Italy, CIRAD from France, DLR from Germany, and MADRI+D from Spain. An international Advisory Board formed by one representative from the following institutions: Unión Industrial Argentina (UIA) (Argentina), National Agency of Scientific and Technological Promotion (Argentina), European Union Delegation in Argentina, MINECO-CDTI (Spain), CNRS-IRD (France), and the Max-Planck (Germany) also provides assistance to ABEST III.

Framework Programmes (FPs) emphasize international cooperation while increasing international partnerships and fostering strategic Science and Technology (S&T) cooperation with key Third Countries, such as Argentina. International cooperation plays an important role in tackling the major European and global challenges. Argentina started participating in European Union (EU) research programmes since the 1980s, and more specifically since the Third Framework Programme. In recent years, Argentina and the EU increased and reinforced international cooperation in Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) in the FP7, by participating in collaborative initiatives involving researchers, actors from the private sector, and also public decision-makers. According to the preliminary results from Horizon 2020, Argentina is ranked among the Top Ten Non-European Countries. These activities were structured in the framework of the EU-AR Science and Technology Cooperation Agreement signed in 1999 (and renewed every five years). Argentina became the seventh country in the world and the first Latin American one to sign an instrument of this nature, thus providing a legal framework to the activities developed in the field of STI. The previous INCO-BILAT projects , co-financed by the European Commission (EC) and the MINCyT, reinforced the successful tradition of S&T bilateral cooperation between these two privileged parties.

The aim of ABEST III was to enhance and expand cooperative activities with both the European Union (EU) and the member countries in the area of STI, by setting up a sustainable, knowledge-based, bilateral dialogue platform between S&T key players as well as stakeholders from the EU-MS/AS and from Argentina. The activities have been built on the following principles:

-A complementary and comprehensive consortium consisting of EU and AR partners, who are key players in the field
-Previous experience upon which to build new initiatives and activities
-A comprehensive structured work plan intended to achieve real results and impact
-A committed approach to networking at all levels in EU, AR, and LAC
-A clear and effective management structure for the implementation

Main objectives of ABEST III have been:

• To provide support to Argentinean and European MS /AC stakeholders who decide to participate in bilateral cooperation activities between AR and the EU, especially in those relevant to the Framework Programmes. (WP1)
• To encourage activities with other LAC Liaison Offices, LAC Platforms and other LAC countries and EU-Cooperation Units for sharing knowledge and good practices to complement the ALCUE-SOM process (WP2)
• To focus on fostering the participation of technology based and/or innovative Argentinean SMEs in the cooperation activities, in particular the Framework Programme. (WP3)
• To increase the raising awareness, dissemination, capacity building, and information management system (WP4)
• To create and manage tools conducive to an efficient and effective project coordination including contractual issues, technical, administrative, financial, quality assurance, and knowledge management inside the project, and external relation between the project and the EC. (WP5)

To achieve the project objectives, ABEST III has undertaken a number of support actions:

1. Organization of Awareness activities (thematic information days, presentations, workshops, videoconferences, and training sessions) to offer essential information about funding and partnership opportunities to stimulate, encourage and facilitate proactive participation of Universities, research centers, government institutions, industry, SMEs and other stakeholders in the FP7 calls and initiatives.
2. With the aim of increasing the visibility of Argentinean STI entities in Europe and vice versa, in order to build-up strategic research partnerships and consortia in selected fields, ABEST II offered a special fund for financing trips of Argentinean researchers to Europe and European researchers to Argentina to participate jointly in FP7 and H2020 Calls. Since 2012, 33 Argentinean researchers and 4 European researchers received funding.
3. Support and training of local National Contact Points & Institutional Contact Points (members of ABEST-NET) in the understanding of the H2020 thematic lines and EU funding mechanisms able to give advice to potential partners on how to participate in European projects. ABEST-NET has been promoted in the project events held and through the ABEST III newsletters and website to enhance the local participation.
4. Identification of common interests and priorities of S&T cooperation between the EU and Argentina to provide a shared insight and long-term visions for research cooperation, based on identified research priorities in both regions and findings of the ongoing AR-EU bilateral STI dialogues.
5. Launching of the STI EU-AR Cooperation Observatory to enhance the cooperation knowledge producing reports, case studies, and a living inventory of collaborations and capabilities to build partnerships.
6. Encouraging the participation of technology based SMEs in the H2020 and other cooperation structures through information workshops, special trainings, brokerage events, and a dedicated helpdesk service to provide information to SME, clusters, and the private sector.

7. Pro-active collaboration between ABEST III and other international cooperation initiatives involving Latin American countries, such as the BILATs projects (UEMEXCyT from México, CHIEP from Chile, B-BICE from Brazil), INCO-NET projects (e.g. ALCUE-NET and ERANETs), e-science networks (e.g. RedCLARA and Latin America Research and Education Networks, like CUDI, REUNA, RNP, INNOVARED and RENATA), and other FP7 and H2020 projects in which MINCyT participates (e.g. LEADERSHIP, ENSOCIO, ALCUE-Health, ALCUE-KBBE, INCONTACT, STAR-IDAZ, PeopleNetwork+, IDEAList2018, NMP-DeLA).

8. Providing easy access to information on cooperation opportunities and tools that foster the participation of Argentinean researchers in European projects through the ABEST III platform www.abest.mincyt.gob.ar and two Help-Desks (one general and other focused on SMEs).

Project Results:
• Participation in H2020 Argentina has improved. According to the preliminary results from Horizon 2020, Argentina is ranked among the Top Ten Non-European Countries, with 47 groups of Argentinean stakeholders receiving 4.814.250 euros in 35 projects in 2014. The average success rate of European groups in H2020 has been around 14%, as compared with the 7th Framework Programme, which has been of about 22%.

• 77 meetings, workshops and information sessions have been carried out in the country, in the City of Buenos Aires, Cordoba, Corrientes, La Plata, Salta, Santa Fe, Mendoza, Mar del Plata, and Puerto Madryn.

• More than 1900 researchers, representatives of universities and laboratories in charge of managing research projects and entrepreneurs have participated in meetings, workshops and information sessions organized by ABEST to improve the use of available programs and tools.

• More than 11 events have been coordinated by videoconferencing with the liaison offices of other Latin American countries that also have cooperation agreements with the European Union in Science and Technology (Brazil, Mexico and Chile).

• Training has been provided to NCPs and researchers from Uruguay, Bolivia, Peru, and Panama to convey the good experiences of the Liaison Office to promote the capabilities of these countries to achieve a greater participation in H2020. This kind of activity has been also extended to ABEST-NET as a complementary mechanism to enhance the FP7 dissemination and promotion activities.

• ABEST III offered 37 Grants for Building Strategic Partnerships (33 to Argentineans and 4 to Europeans). These exchanges have given great advantages for consortium-building and enhancing EU-AR cooperation activities.

• Argentina has appointed National Contact Points in priority thematic areas (Health, food, ICT, Energy, Nanosciences, Environment, Social Sciences, SMEs, Aeronautics) and other cross-cutting themes (INCO, Legal Affairs & Finance and the People program in mobility of researchers and technicians) to provide advice to researchers, universities, institutes, etc.

• Argentina has 34 Institutional Contact Points in nearly all provinces that form a communication network (ABEST-NET) who work very close with the thematic NCPs. Most of them are universities, liaison and research centers.

• An updated database including policy makers, institutional representatives and stakeholders in all thematic lines with more than 3000 selected contacts from the ICT industry, academia and public institutions.

• Annual Roadmaps on S&T cooperation between the EU and Argentina. The roadmap defines potential scenarios for EU-LA cooperation and provides key recommendations to help formulating strategic policies, programmes and plans to foster R&D collaboration between Argentina and Europe. In this regard, ABEST III has strengthened S&T policies building on common interest and aiming at attaining mutual benefit in order to enhance the cooperation between EU and AR.

• Consolidated management capacity to able to coordinate major and more complex initiatives and projects, like the NCO-Net (ALCUE-Net) with 19 partners from Europe, the Caribbean and Latin America, devoted to implement CELAC-EU SOM mandates on STI.

• Enhanced ABEST III platform www.abest.mincyt.gob.ar with new and improved tools and sections to make the H2020 more accessible and easy to understand.

• Collaboration and joint events with other FP7 projects, INCO-Nets, BILATs projects (UEMEXCyT from México, CHIEP from Chile, B-BICE from Brazil), and ERANETs. The project established synergies with other ongoing projects and initiatives, in order to identify complementary opportunities and to contribute to the further development of the EU-AR cooperation.

Potential Impact:
Policy dialogue impact

For a Coordination and Support Action like ABEST III, promotion and dissemination of cooperation activities are essential and must be supported by policy dialogue (at the bilateral and regional levels) and evaluation and monitoring initiatives (STI Cooperation Observatory). Dissemination activities cannot be seen as an isolated outcome; otherwise they miss out on the core messages, visibility, and sustainability.

ABEST II strategy interacts at two levels: 1) A top-down approach that has linked project activities with bilateral meetings and policy dialogue commitments, involving a broad range of decision makers and stakeholders in debates promoted to explore new instruments and methodologies for deepening and consolidating bilateral EU-AR cooperation in S&T; 2) A bottom-up approach that has linked dissemination events, technical activities and collaboration actions between target groups and key actors for EU funding opportunities promotion (such as representatives of governmental sectors, R&D institutions and enterprises oriented towards the international market) and European and non-European national and regional platforms.

In the last years, Argentina has officially supported and launched certain key initiatives that show a deep commitment to develop a long-term vision and strategy in STI areas. At the end of 2007, the National Secretary of Science and Technology (SECyT) was upgraded to a ministerial rank through the Act 26.338. The new institution, the Ministerio de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación Productiva (Ministry of Science, Technology and Productive Innovation, MINCyT) is currently in charge of establishing policies and coordinating actions aimed at strengthening the capabilities of the country in science, technology and innovation issues. The scientific and technological policy developed by the National Directorate of International Relations at the multilateral, bilateral and other specific fields allows scientific research promotion and productive innovation between Argentinean and foreign research groups through joint R+D projects, workshops, seminars and human resources development grants. ABEST III project was carried out in this institutional context.

Research cooperation between the EU and Argentina dates back to the Third Framework Programme (FP3, 1990-1994). Argentina signed the Agreement on Scientific and Technological Cooperation with the European Union in September 1999, which came into force in 2001 and was renewed in 2005 for another 5 years. In February 2011, two external experts commissioned by the European Commission came to Argentina to evaluate cooperation in scientific and technological activities in view of renewing the agreement. Both experts stayed in the country for a period of about one week to get acquainted with and collect key information relevant for their reports. They met with the heads of MINCyT and institutions belonging to the National S&T system .

Since the signature of the S&T Agreement, Argentina and the European Union representatives have gathered in Steering Committee Meetings to set up a Roadmap for S&T cooperation, which is a rolling agenda to further cooperation between both regions. One of the Steering Committee functions is to identify -among the potential sectors for RTD cooperation- those priority sectors or subsectors of mutual interest for cooperation within research and development activities in science and technology.

According to the recommendations issued by the EU-AR policy dialogue in STI and the CELAC-EU S&T process strongly promoted by the Senior Officials Meetings (SOM) and the Joint Initiative for Research and Innovation, ABEST III has incorporated new mechanisms and instruments to encourage an innovative approach promoting S&T bilateral cooperation and the articulation with ALCUE-NET and ERANETs to facilitate its activities at the national level by fostering the participation of main stakeholders and actors. It is worth mentioning that capacities, experiences and networks developed through ABEST I and ABEST II, established the platform from which MINCyT could be nominated and elected as coordinator of ALCUE-Net (with 19 partners from EU and LAC).

Other agreement that enhances STI cooperation among Argentinean and European stakeholders is the Memorandum of Understanding between the MINCyT and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory from Germany, signed on November 7, 2012. In this regard, upon the deadline of this report, MINCyT will also organize through the EU-AR Liaison Office a special meeting to receive the European Research Council General Secretary, Prof. Donald B. Dingwell, to promote strategic partnerships among highest quality researchers from Europe and Argentina. Active participation from Argentinean NCPs and Senior researchers are highly expected.

In regional terms, Argentina streamlines cooperation with MERCOSUR partners with the whole LAC region as horizon (including Caribbean countries). In the last years, Argentina has signed four agreements: 1 with Uruguay , 2 with Mexico , and 1 with Central America. In addition, there are 9 actives centers and programmes between Argentina and Brazil . In April 2012, MINCyT has recently signed another international cooperation agreement with the Commission for the Scientific and Technological Development in Central America and Panama (CTCAP). These efforts are important for both, for the EU-LA relations in general and EU-AR in particular, in order to achieve economic development and competitiveness in a sustainable sense through new instruments of co-financing from these countries towards greater integration within the region. Both kind of agreements, with Uruguay, Mexico and CTCAP, included specific actions devoted to receive technology support from ABEST II in order to learn from AR-EU cooperation experiences to enhance institutional local capacities toward Horizon 2020. Thematic NCPs and ABEST-NET members have been involved in these activities to improve their knowledge and contacts with their pairs in Latin America and Europe.

Strategic partnerships

To achieve ABEST III objectives, project partners made use of their knowledge, expertise, contacts and extensive networks to design an interlinked strategy and a support mechanism that structured the implementation of the project during its lifecycle.

From an operational point of view, MINCyT has contributed to the development and promotion of new innovative cooperation instruments to increase and strengthen reciprocity (e.g. grants for both Argentinean and European researchers to facilitate consortia-building), Joint Calls (ERANETs) and opening National Programmes to European researchers (e.g. Binational Centres to promote R&I). For example, Argentinean institutions participated in 5 calls of the ERA-Net European-Latin American Network for Science and Technology (EULANEST) , which was released under FP6 to launch an EU-LAC Joint Call. ABEST II has stressed all those cooperation initiatives oriented to increase reciprocity, in particular enhancing involvement of MS / AC and innovation actors.

One of the most important initiatives to facilitate consortium-building was the Grants for Building Strategic partnerships. ABEST III offered 37 grants (33 to Argentineans and 4 to Europeans) divided into 2 general grant calls and other two specific expert calls carried out by CIRAD and DLR. These exchanges have given great advantages for consortium-building and strengthening EU-AR cooperation activities. Each grant did not exceed € 2.500 to cover tickets and living expenses.

Regarding innovation and SMEs activities, ABEST III has strengthened connections and links with other governmental and non-governmental initiatives and structures. Firstly, it should be mentioned that almost all governmental units in Argentina have connections to SMEs and innovation processes. The characteristics of existing programs for SMEs at the MINCyT are the joint participation of technology-based SMEs through agreements, consortia, and international projects of innovation and technology transfer. All ABEST III activities took into account other governmental, private and non-profit stakeholders, such as the Argentinean Software and IT Services Chamber of Commerce (CESSI ArgenTIna), Union Industrial Argentina (UIA), Confederación Argentina de la Mediana Empresa (CAME), the SME Observatory Foundation, the Argentinean Industrial Union (UIA), a number of enterprise chambers in priority areas, parks and technology centers located throughout the country, and various offices and agencies under provincial and municipal governments, among others.

The activities of ABEST III have also continuously been promoted in different kind of scientific, bi-regional and policy events and meetings, through the INCO networks in which some project partners and European agencies are involved in, and the ALCUE NET thematic workshops. In order to identify complementary opportunities and contribute to strengthen the development of the EU-AR STI Cooperation, it is important to highlight the advice received from the Advisory Board, the continuing collaboration from the thematic NCPs, the ABEST-NET and synergies established between ABEST III and the following initiatives executed by MINCyT or in which MINCyT is an active partner:

- INCONTACT (2008-2013) to encourage close cooperation between National Contact Points of INCO countries to improve the overall quality of services provided while benefiting the international research community as a whole;

- BIO-CIRCLE 2 (2011-2013) to expand the network of National Contact Points in the area of Food, Agriculture Biotechnology and Fisheries to the National Information Points of partners from Third Countries;

- AMERICAS (2011-2013) to promote policy dialogue on ICT between the EU and strategic partners in Latin America, thus allowing new synergies to facilitate an effective collaboration between policy makers, researchers and key actors in ICT international cooperation;

- ALCUE NET to establish a bi-regional European Union, Latin America and the Caribbean (EU-CELAC) platform bringing together actors involved in R&I orientation, funding and implementation, as well as other relevant stakeholders from the public and private sector and the civil society, in an effort to support the international Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) dimension of the Europe 2020 Strategy and Innovation Union Flagship Initiative.

- ALCUE-KBBE (2011-2013) to establish a platform that brings together regional and continental organizations and other stakeholders of the public and private sector and civil society to produce information relating to the design and implementation of plans and specific projects, thus laying the groundwork for the establishment of an institutional and legal framework and develop synergies between both regions;

- PeopleNetwork+ (2011-2013) to promote the opportunities provided by Marie Curie Actions to strengthen the human potential in research and technology in Europe, using NCPs as a bridge between the European and Third Countries scientific communities;

- Net4Mobility (2015-2017) “Network of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions National Contact Points”.

- STAR-IDAZ (2011-2015) for the coordination of research relevant to emerging and major infectious diseases of animals (wild and productive), including fish and bees, as well as infections of animals that can endanger human health;

- EULAC Health (2011-2016) to elaborate a work plan for health research between Latin America and the EU to assist policymakers and R&D agency with ideas on how to coordinate and fund health research in both regions is proposed; Programme for Strengthening the Competitiveness of SMEs and Employment Creation in Argentina formulated within the framework of the Chapter SMEs in the 2007-2013 Country Strategy, which aims to promote the transformation of traditional industries into technology-intensive SMEs, thus resulting in increased competitiveness and employment that will strengthen social cohesion in Argentina;

- COST Reciprocal Cooperation Agreement to provide a framework for EU cooperation in science and technology, anticipating and complementing the activities of FPs in nine key areas of science and technology.

- ERANet- LAC: “Network of the European Union, Latin America and the Caribbean Countries on Joint Innovation and Research Activities” (Coordinator: DLR, Germany);

- INCONTACT2020: “Supporting the International Dimension of Horizon 2010" (Coordinator: HF, Greece);

- LEADERSHIP: “Latin America-Europe Advanced Dialogues to Enhance ICT Research and Innovation partnership” (Coordinator: INMARK, Spain);

- NMP-DeLA: “Nanosciences, Nanotechnologies, Materials and New Production Technologies Deployment in Latin American Countries” (Coordinator: Foundation ASCAMM, Spain);

- ENSOCIO-LA: “Latin America, Caribbean and European Union Network on Research and Innovation" (Coordinator: Samui, UK).

- T-AP is an initiative that offers a conductive framework to cultivate insights and evidence about human thought and behaviour in the past and present by enhancing the ability of funders, research organisations and researchers to engage in transnational collaboration. In order to strength and align common interests, MINCYT contributes to the activities related to dissemination and communication, by increasing international cooperation in the social science and humanities by broadening the network trough Latin America and the Caribbean countries and by enhancing understanding the contribution of this thematic in a global context.

At the time of this report submission, a number of proposals with Argentinean participation were under negotiation. MINCyT would be partner at EULAC FOCUS, its main objective is that of “giving focus” (giving meaning, sense of orientation / establishing priorities, streamlining activities in order to gain effectiveness, etc.”) to the cultural, scientific and social dimension of EU–CELAC relations.

Joint Programming Initiative on Antimicrobial Resistance (JPIAMR)
Argentina will participate in the second transnational call for research projects on Antimicrobial Resistance. Nine countries are participating in this call for proposals: Argentina (€100.000 committed) Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland and Sweden. One project with Argentinean participation was selected in the call. Argentina has also started negotiations with the JPI Oceans and with the JPI Climate in synergy with ALCUENET, and WP on climate change.

In order to enhance the cooperation knowledge and to compile data from the Argentinean participation in the FPs and other European STI activities, ABEST III has set up an Observatory on STI EU-AR Cooperation to evaluate and monitoring quantitative and qualitative data and, as a result, better promote Argentinean capabilities and advantages for cooperation activities. During the project cycle, ABEST III has prepared six reports and compiled all data provided from the EC since the beginning of the Liaison Office. This initiative will be continued and improved through ABEST III project. Any pieces of news, activity results and outputs achieved during the project cycle have been released in English and Spanish through electronic channels, the ABEST III website and Newsletter. Many of those news and articles were taken by other institutions to be published in their publications.

Dissemination activities in numbers

Dissemination activities have been at the core of the ABEST III project in Argentina and Europe and have created a considerable impact and a positive environment towards R&D cooperation. Main target groups have been public sector representatives, researchers from Universities and industry that are potential participants in H2020 projects, press/media, on-line communities, other networks and multipliers. Dissemination activities have been performed through face-to-face meetings and project events addressing different target groups (info days, workshops, training sessions, and brokerage events); and through on-line tools, like the ABEST III platform www.abest.mincyt.gob.ar Newsletters, videoconferences.

In Section A (Table A2) we present the list of all dissemination activities conducted during the project (workshops, conferences, Newsletters, press releases, web sites, social networks, videos, articles published, etc.). The following is a summary of the main dissemination activities and impact in terms of audience and attendance to project events:

• Project Events (78) in different provinces of Argentina, and via videoconference with Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Colombia, MS / AC countries, and South Africa: +2000 participants.
• Newsletters: 11 (English and Spanish) distributed to more than +3000.


The ABEST II platform www.abest.mincyt.gob.ar has been the main on-line dissemination tool while at the same time being the operational platform for information and knowledge exchange.

During the second period of the project, the website had a total of about a total of 12,000 visits, thus showing an average of about 800 visits per month which are not clearly uniform depending on the months that show an increase of activity, especially when calls opened or grants were launched.

Moreover, the number of registered people in ABEST has been smoothly increasing, up to 450 new contacts during the last 18 months of the project (only 250 in the first period), and it is expected that many of them will become usual contributors. The total number of contacts in the ABEST mailing lists is of more than 1700 and the total number of contacts in the National Directorate of International Relations mailing list is of approximately 3000.

Furthermore, the graphs show that 68.,67% of site visitors have entered only once and only 32% has returned to the site again, maybe this data would be relevant to modify data for future reports, but however, it is worth considering that around 8,824 visitors who returned, gives an average of nearly 250 visitors per month which is not at all negligible.

The figure above shows the clear interest of platform users. These facts were taken into consideration when looking into the Exploitation Plan. Exploitation opportunities focus on the events and grants. Further details can be seen in Part B2.

List of Websites:
http://abest.mincyt.gob.ar/