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Thematic workshops for the definition of the science and technology Euro-Mediterranean policy within FP7

Final Report Summary - MED 7 (Thematic workshops for the definition of the science and technology Euro-Mediterranean Policy within FP7)

The MED7 project was designed to correspond to the pressing need to have a better targeted and a more incisive policy and instruments to enhance Research and technological development (RTD) in the Mediterranean area. Thus it aimed to:
- strengthen coordination and complementarities with activities carried out by means of Community foreign policy instruments, specifically MEDA;
- support particular joint efforts by the Community and the Member States to the open-up of the European Research Area (ERA) to the rest of the world

The focus and the main objective of the initiative was the identification of relevant topics, priorities and instruments to be tackled within the Euro-Mediterranean RTD cooperation perspective in the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), as well as the best approaches to address these issues.

MED7 tried to contribute to the activities of policy-making which aim at the use of Research and development (R&D) to promote economic development in the Mediterranean Partner Countries (MPC) as one of the objectives of the Barcelona agenda. In order to do so, it was decided to follow a coherent and integrated approach by:
- going through the local specificities of each context, trying to deeply integrate into the analysis the social, cultural, political and environmental features, which policy actions would have to deal with, if it would aim to have effective results and impacts;
- bringing into the debate European scholars with a specific expertise, jointly with scholars, policy makers, representatives from the industry and the productive sectors coming from all the MPC;
- highlighting as concrete priorities for policy action only those issues from which a wide consensus was obtained;
- identifying the specific channels and instruments which could effectively use and implement the agreed recommendations; in particular the FP7 as the main instrument of the Euro-Mediterranean cooperation in Science and technology (S&T).

The inclusion of international cooperation within the regular activities of the Priorities of FP7 was both a challenging opportunity and a threat, as well. The opportunity springs up from the possibility of inclusion of Mediterranean groups in the leading research activities of Europe. However, the specific orientation of the priorities to European common issues and the highly competitive character of FP7 participation, made uncertain the usefulness of most of the topics addressed for the Mediterranean countries and positioned the Mediterranean research groups and companies in a weak position compared with their European equivalent. Of most importance was the identification of topics and areas of common interest in order to create sections of the Specific Work Programmes of the FP7 priorities oriented to the fostering of EU-MPC collaboration. The set-up of a strong RTD system in the MPC was identified as a prerequisite to guarantee their fair participation in the Framework Programmes.

Actions were taken to reach this objective, however, the EU-MPC cooperation in RTD needed to focus on the topics of common interest, where the MPC was making efforts to develop scientific groups to create infrastructures and to push innovation in the industrial tissues.

The action of the European Union through its INCO-MED Programmes intended to develop collaborative research capacity addressing the needs of the societies and economies of MPCs in order to foster competitiveness and to exploit the results of scientific research and development. The MPCs showed some improvements in their scientific and technological research structure and activities, namely they strengthened the insertion of the research potential in the international scientific community and have intensively promoted RTD activities.

The participation of the MPC in the FP7 should be structured according to the provisions established for international cooperation in the four specific programmes and the specific demands for RTD cooperation in topics of common interest identified by the MOCO which should be included in the specific work programmes and developed through specific calls for proposals where the consortium composition must include a number of MPC partners. Moreover, in order to facilitate the opening of the nine priorities of the cooperation programme to MPC partners, specific tracks and procedures should be envisaged to encourage the incorporation of MPC teams or individuals in the consortia formed to develop the research projects.