CORDIS - EU research results

Promoting and reinforcing international RTD cooperation between Europe and Brazil and Cuba

Final Report Summary - PROMINENCE (Promoting and Reinforcing International RTD cooperation between Europe and Brazil and Cuba)

Since the very beginning of the 90s the Research and technological development (RTD) cooperation between the European Union (EU) and Latin America had demonstrated growing mutual interest and strong potential. Hundreds of joint projects supported by International scientific cooperation (INCO) in the Latin American countries had brought fruitful and valuable results for the research communities in those countries and in Europe. Brazil is the biggest Latin American country with a long and successful history of RTD cooperation with the EU and, moreover, Brazil has concluded a Science and technology (S&T) cooperation agreement with the EU.

Cuba plays a special role amongst the 'developing countries' due to its significant research capacities and particular political situation. Former political 'hard line' of the Cuban government towards any cooperation with the European Commission (EC) and other European institutes created several formal obstacles on the way to a wider cooperation. For instance, all Cuban research organisations were not allowed to enter into contractual relations with the EC which banned them from participation as contractors in European research projects. At the same time direct talks to Cuban researcher clearly indicated strong interest from the side of researchers and middle level research managers to cooperation with Europe.

Before and despite the abovementioned difficulties, European research programmes have been actively implemented in Cuba and 27 projects have been launched with Cuban participation. The consortium partners strongly believed that the political difficulties in the relations between the EU and Cuba were temporary and would be overcome in the future.

Based on the opportunities offered by the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6) of the EC, the overall objective of the PROMINENCE project was to strengthen and widen research collaborations between the European, Brazilian and Cuban research communities in the light of new cooperative opportunities offered by FP6 and INCO, in particular, and thus contribute towards the achievement of the objectives of European Research Area (ERA).

In order to achieve this ambitious goal the following specific objectives had been pursued:
1. to study and analyse various experiences achieved by the previous INCO projects carried out in Brazil and Cuba and on the basis of this analysis identify the most promising areas and instruments of cooperation, the barriers and enablers on the way towards new research collaborations, the synergies between the research priorities set up by INCO and by national and regional funding schemes;
2. to promote and disseminate best practice and success stories of cooperation to a wider audience in the partner countries with the aim to engage new players and stimulate interest to cooperation with European partners;
3. to promote and raise awareness among European researchers of the opportunities for research cooperation with Brazil and Cuba, the most promising areas of cooperation and potential partners;
4. to set up a supporting and facilitating infrastructure in Brazil and Cuba which would assist local scientists and researchers in their efforts to get involved in joint FP6 and INCO research projects and would sustain after the end of the project.

These objectives had been achieved in the course of the implementation of the project workplan. The major achievements delivered by the project were:
- the study carried out in the framework of the project had highlighted the major benefits and obstacles Latin American partners usually experience while participating in European projects. Being published in Spanish and widely disseminated in Brazil and Cuba, this deliverable would bridge an information gap between potential partners in Latin America and cooperative opportunities.
- thematic seminars in Brazil and Cuba raised public awareness of existing and forthcoming opportunities among local scientists and research managers, helped local partners to match their competencies with European thematic priorities and equipped them with partnering skills.
- A group of local facilitators has been trained in Europe to enable them to serve as 'EU liaison officers' in their institutions. The consortium believed that this activity would have a durable positive effect beyond the project framework.