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Strengthening co-operation between European Research Area and NIS

Final Report Summary - ERANIS (Strengthening co-operation between European Research Area and NIS)

The main objective of the ERANIS project was to strengthen international cooperation with the Newly Independent States (NIS) and opening of the European Research Area (ERA) to the NIS (Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, Moldova) and to contribute to more active involvement of NIS partners into the EU Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). The project provided the opportunity to conduct benchmarking studies in each NIS partner to select two FP7 priority areas with the strongest research and development (R&D) potential in each country. Selection of the two thematic priorities in each NIS partner country will be carried out within six previously identified priority areas of FP7 (FAB, ICT, NanoMatPro, Energy, Environment, Security and Space). Following the benchmarking activity, mapping of the selected R&D sectors in each NIS partner country was performed with an aim to establish sector analyses reflecting general state-of-the art in selected areas, development trends, main scientific institutions with their main competencies and previous scientific work.

One of the most important activities of the project, contributing to a more active involvement of NIS partners in the EU FP7 has been organising targeted workshops on FP7 issues for researchers and experts from ERANIS partnering NIS: Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine and the Russian Federation. A total of three rounds of workshops were foreseen during the entire ERANIS project.

Deriving from the fact that in some cases in the second round of workshops two important issues were combined to provide a better approach to FP7, the third round (by following the same pattern) concentrated on additional and more specific issues of project preparation and management, based on the NIS partners' specific needs and knowledge level. The first round of workshops in NIS partners, lead by experienced mentors from IPPT PAN was performed within the first project year. Under the second round, leaded by INVENT's experts, four successful workshops focusing on project proposal preparation issues were foreseen. Three of them were held still during the first year, while the fourth one (in Ukraine) was organised at the beginning of second year, being combined with the workshop of third round for this country. Next workshops foreseen within third round were organised in the form of a combined round covering issues from both the second and third round for Russia, Belarus and Moldova. This training activity resulted in improving quality of knowledge and operation of regional information multipliers. All together, three rounds of workshops realised within ERANIS project covered the following important aspects: FP7 project initiation and preparation, consortium building, financial issues and budget construction, negotiations with the European Commission, project management. The training activity within ERANIS project was supported by consultancy activity performed to ERANIS partnering NIS researchers from Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine and the Russian Federation.

Following the training activity within ERANIS project, the most important point within project running was the organisation of a large-scale brokerage event (BE) focusing on four thematic priorities (KBBE, ICT, NMP and Energy) selected within benchmarking activities in each NIS partner. The event was held on 10 October 10 2008 in Warsaw, Poland, gathering about 160 participants from EU countries and four partnering NIS (Ukraine, Russia, Belarus and Moldova). The project BE had the main aim to facilitate for NIS partners the matching with suitable EU partners and future common proposal preparation and submission.

During the preparation phase of the BE, online registration facility was developed within project website, what resulted in existing operational efficient partner search system available still after the event, within ERANIS project website and used in distributing partner search requests from NIS to EU and vice versa. This project BE, was important element of a project activity contributing to a more active involvement of ERANIS partnering NIS (Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine and the Russian Federation) in the EU FP7, which was realised by preparing and assisting NIS researchers in submitting proposals into different FP7 thematic calls. As a result, several FP7 projects can be reported as the direct result of different ERANIS consulting activities.

All the major objectives planned for the project duration have been achieved: both management and support activities. Through the realisation of all project activities the ERANIS project increased awareness of the FP7 and on rules and guidelines for participation. Researchers from partnering NIS have established contacts with scientific organisations from EU countries. Through the workshops foreseen within the project and consultancy activity, NIS experts mastered their skills in proposal development and aspects of project management. The project, through the organisation of international brokerage event, unlocked NIS institutions to the international cooperation and created new links with EU partners. This way, project activities contributed to strengthening international cooperation with the NIS and opening of the ERA to NIS partners.

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