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LAC-ACCESS connecting high-quality research between the European Union and Latin American and Caribbean Countries

Final Report Summary - LAC-ACCESS (LAC-ACCESS Connecting High-Quality Research between the European Union and Latin American and Caribbean Countries)

The LAC-ACCESS project principal objective was to establish communication between high-quality research organisations in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) and in the European Union, in order to reinforce international cooperation efforts. The project focused on the potential to include LAC members in research projects which would be funded under the European Commission's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7).

The interested scientific institutions were firstly identified and relevant information was distributed to the European research community. Dissemination of previous research activities was motivated through activities to promote the selected organisations' fields of expertise. A liaison office, along with national contact points (NCPs), was also established to support the project sustainability after its completion.

LAC-ACCESS was organised in five work packages (WPs), which undertook the following activities:
1. identification of potential LAC research partners based on specific criteria and evaluation of the capacity and interest of the various institutions. The finalised information was included in a printed directory and an electronic database which was regularly updated by the institutions.
2. establishment of direct contacts between LAC and European researchers, through the encouragement and financial support of selected Latin American experts' participation in conferences located in Europe. The development of networks within specific research fields was also encouraged.
3. design and support of sustainable concepts for international cooperation and elaboration of a feasibility study regarding the establishment of the liaison office, which assisted permanent communication between the involved stakeholders.
4. public dissemination of the LAC-ACCESS intermediate and final results in the targeted regions. The WP managed to obtain high publicity of the LAC organisations' activities in Europe, while it also transferred information regarding European research in LAC countries.
5. management of the administrative, technical, communication and economic aspects of the project to ensure its proper and qualitative implementation.

LAC-ACCESS highlighted that European concepts on different institutions' performance, which were necessary for their inclusion in research projects, did not necessarily represent other regions' conditions. In addition, the different organisational cultures resulted in reduced efficiency of the regular conduits for dissemination and their impacts ought to be considered in the establishment of international cooperation. Ensuring synergies between different projects with the same objectives was essential and the relevant communication activities could be further improved. Finally, the attempt to implement direct experts' communication through participation in conferences was highly successful; therefore, similar programmes could be included in follow up projects.

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