CORDIS - Forschungsergebnisse der EU

Forum for European - Australian science and technology co-operation, phase II

Final Report Summary - FEAST (Forum for European - Australian Science and Technology Co-operation, Phase II)

The objectives of the project were the following:
-increase the links between European and Australian scientists;
- better identify, demonstrate and promote cooperation;
- improve the process of providing information on Australian and European programmes promoting cooperation between Europe and Australia;
- exchange best practices and support cutting edge research;
- provide opportunities for presenting state of the art Science and technology (S&T), and improve the prospects for cooperation in these fields.

The work packages in this project addressed the following tasks:
- providing a website portal to European-Australian S&T collaboration information, the FEAST network databases and an inventory of activities;
- providing an online database covering researchers and research projects involved in collaborative European-Australian research;
- providing a helpdesk service to Australian and European researchers seeking enhanced research collaboration opportunities;
- supporting networks of researchers involved in and interested in collaboration;
- supplying documentation and promoting collaboration opportunities;
- supporting bilateral research support networks to promote collaboration;
- forming an industry-science network;
- organising a biennial high profile conference to promote research and technology development cooperation;
- managing and coordinating the above tasks.

In the final year of the project, the advances made in the previous two years were consolidated and outstanding concerns over progress in some work packages were addressed. This involved carrying out a strategic review of the project associated with the appointment of a new executive director. The strategic review resulted in a stronger emphasis being placed upon:
- providing more information on best practice strategies and tactics for research and innovation engagement between Europe and Australia;
- disseminating the findings on best practice strategies and tactics as widely as possible by writing articles in the national press and professional periodicals;
- taking a stronger role in seeking to influence policy pertinent to international research and innovation cooperation;
- recognising that network-based activities require a clear and compelling value proposition above and beyond networking per se if they are to attract the attention and commitment of effective people;
- recognising that distinct branded country-specific networks are of marginal relevance to FEAST's value proposition;
- recognising that organising thematic workshops cannot rely upon the goodwill and resources of an external academic coordinator. Substantial human resource commitments are required to lead and plan such activities;
- including a new analytical element to the project based on analysing data on publications and citations in order to map patterns of collaborative activity and to assess the impact of this activity on research quality.

As this was a Specific Support Action (SSA) project, most of the findings and results relate to the effectiveness of efforts to facilitate reciprocal research and innovation cooperation between Australia and Europe.

In this context, the general findings were the following:
- Australia had a healthy deal flow as regards research engagement with Europe - placing it in the second tier of Third Countries alongside Canada, Argentina and Brazil.
- Policy frameworks based on encouraging greater self reliance in researchers as regards international engagement are favourable to those that treat international engagement as an optional extra.
- Pro-active Australian university support for engagement with Europe is a critical success factor - particularly as regards the availability of seed funding to build new collaborative relationships.
- There is both the scope and necessity, to explore innovative new approaches to facilitating and supporting effective research engagement between Australia and Europe.
- There were significant Australian contributions to EU collaborative activity as a result of Multinational corporation (MNC) participation in the framework programme and other collaborative initiatives in the EU.
- Enhanced reciprocity requires targeted action.