Skip to main content

Lithuanian Presidency Conference “Enhancement of European International Cooperation and Eastern Partnership in RDI”

Final Report Summary - EEP 2013 (Lithuanian Presidency Conference “Enhancement of European International Cooperation and Eastern Partnership in RDI”)

Executive Summary:
On September 30 – October 1 the Lithuanian Presidency of the EU Council hosted the conference “Enhancement of European International Cooperation and Eastern Partnership in research, development and innovation” (EEP2013) in Vilnius. The conference focused on cooperation in R&D&I at the international level with special emphasis on Eastern Partnership countries in the context of the European Research Area, Innovation Union and Europe 2020.
174 participants from 25 countries took part at the Conference. The Conference was attended by Lithuanian Minister of Education and Science as well as the chief research policy makers of the Eastern Partnership countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. EEP2013 brought together the main stakeholders, including the European Commission, national policy making bodies, policy makers, the ambassadors in Lithuania, the wider research community and others interested in the international dimension of EU policies and cooperation with Eastern Partnership countries on R&D&I.
The conference in Lithuania discussed issues related to current EU policies on R&D&I and the Eastern Partnership dimension and the future EU research framework program, Horizon 2020, as well as sharing best practices among different Member States and Eastern Partnership countries.
The representatives from EaP countries in their presentations analyzed the achievements concerning the politics of the cooperation between EaP and EU countries in R&D&I, evaluated real perspectives of this cooperation, discussed about the capacities and opportunities of the above mentioned cooperation at their countries.
There were three parallel sections during the Conference. The topics of these sections were dedicated to the analysis the such problems as: tackling societal challenges in the frame of cooperation on R&D&I with EaP countries in thematic priorities (healthy food, renewable and efficient energy, environment and climate changes); building the staircase from capacities to excellence; strengthening partnership between research and industry.
During the round-table a lively discussion took place concerning seeking for the better policy dialogue, coordination, management and sharing experience of research and development programs and innovation.
The conference adopted the Declaration which provides suggestions: to improve the international research relations and further possible steps within the context of the Eastern Partnership; to consider the best practices; to develop a multi-annual regional roadmap for the cooperation with EaP countries under Horizon 2020; the dedicated Panel on Research and Innovation under the current EaP platform IV “Contacts between People” should serve as a reference platform for bi-regional policy dialogue; to monitor the progress of regional cooperation in this area and report regularly. The declaration emphasized that research and innovation should be considered as a key priority within the Eastern Partnership and the bi-regional political dialogue should be further continued.
Project Context and Objectives:
Since May 2009, in the framework of the Eastern Partnership Programme, the EU has offered to enhance cooperation with Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. The EU’s European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) was developed into specific Eastern dimension. Meanwhile, among multilateral platforms , the most important are the Platform 2 “Economic integration and convergence with EU policies” and Pratform 4 „Contacts between People“ .
The latter states: „In line with the recent joint Communication „A New Response to a Changing Neighbourhood: a Review of European Neighbourhood Policy“ increased emphasis will be given to drawing together the strands of cooperation in research and innovation, including the mobility of students, researchers and academics, to build a Common Knowledge and Innovation Space with the Eastern Partnership countries“.
Actuality of building collaboration between the Eastern Partnership countries and the EU in the field/area of innovations, emphasizing the role of science and technologies, falls under the priorities of the Europe 2020 strategy and growing tendencies of innovations’ development in the global economy.
Though quite a large number of initiatives were introduced to foster Eastern Partnership the results of public consultation on the „ERA Framework: Areas of untapped potential for the development of the European Research Area“ (preliminary report published in 2012; responses were received from a wide range of stakeholders, the highest numbers from individual researchers and the higher education sector, followed by public administrations and the business sector) shows that still there are topics to be addressed such as:
• Lack of political commitment is considered to be the major difficulty for transnationally coordinated research. Much more political will is required for national funding agencies to support joint research programmes.
• Better access to information on initiatives available for cross-border operation and their benefit is necessary for research actors and stakeholders.
• (...) the development of a common EU-MS strategy for international Science and Technology cooperation and of coordinated initiatives by the EU and the Member States vis-à-vis third countries have been identified as the most important steps which should be taken by the EU and its Member States to maximise the benefits from international S&T cooperation.
• (...) the importance of openness towards third countries with regard to other ERA-related topics, such as the mobility of researchers, scientific excellence, global challenges, Knowledge Transfer, and research infrastructures.
Bringing Eastern Partnership countries closer to the EU is also one of priority areas of the Lithuanian Presidency (from 1 July 2013 till 31 December 2013) set by the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania.
The event organized by the Lithuanian Presidency aimed to „discuss orientations for future actions to promote International Cooperation“ with the view of taking stock of FP7 achievements and thereby to contribute to advancement of realization of the objectives of the Innovation Union initiative, including ERA.
The objective of the proposal is to plan and execute Lithuanian Presidency conference “Enhancement of European International Cooperation and Eastern Partnership in R&D&I” to be held on 30 September – 1 October 2013. The conference will cover issues related to existing EU policies on R&D&I and Eastern Partnership dimension and future plans for Horizon 2020, practical experiences from different Member States and Eastern Partnership countries. This conference will bring together the main stakeholders, including European Commission, national policy making bodies, broad research community, industry, etc., interested in international dimension of EU policies and cooperation with Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia on R&D&I and vice versa. One of conference‘s deliverables is the conference declaration which will provide suggestions for improvements on international relations and further possible steps for Eastern Partnership. It may become a basis for a future Roadmap.
The main objective of the conference was seeked via 4 work packages (WP):
1. Management (WP1). The objective of this WP was to establish and maintain an effective management and reporting structure for the EEP 2013 Project - the Lithuanian Presidency Conference “Enhancement of European International Cooperation and Eastern Partnership in R&D&I”. This WP included day-to-day management of the Project and monitoring of its progress. The coordinator kept the contacts with European Commission to ensure effective project implementation.
2. Conference Programme (WP2). The main objective of this work package was to develop the final programme for the Lithuanian Presidency Conference “Enhancement European International Cooperation and Eastern Partnership in R&D&I” based upon existing policy objectives concerning International Cooperation and Eastern Partnership in the area of research and innovation and identification and selection of appropriate speakers and moderators and secure their agreement to participate
3. Dissemination (WP3). The main objective of this work package was to promote Lithuanian Presidency Conference and ensure the dissemination of its outcomes within European Union and Eastern countries.
4. Logistics (WP4) comprised practical organisation and delivery of the conference.
Project Results:
The conference content was planned in close cooperation of Vilnius University, European Commission, Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Lithuania (MES). Consultations are also received from Lithuanian Academy of Sciences. For the identification of core issues and the appropriate speakers an advance meeting(s) of representatives of all institutions mentioned above were carried.
Conference website was launched on May 2013 to promote conference, enable registration of interested participants. At the end of the event website serves at platform for disseminating conference outcomes. Invitations to participate in the conference were send to more than 250 institutions (Universities and other HE institutions, Academies of Sciences, ministries, enterprises, embassies in Lithuania, funding bodies, individual persons in Lithuania, EU and EaP countries). Lithuanian embassies in EaP countries as well as EaP embassies in Lithuania were contacted to secure participation of delegations from EaP countries. For ministry or equivalent body of each EaP country 3-4 cost covered places were secured, in total 11 delegates took part in the conference: Ukraine - 4, including minister Mr. D. Tabachnyk, Moldova - 3, including Head of Academy of Sciences Mr. G. Duca, Georgia - 2, Armenia and Azerbaijan - 1 per each, no representatives from ministry of Belarus took part in the conference.
Conference was attended by 174 delegates from 25 countries. Participants from EaP countries made 18 per cent of total number of participants.
During the Conference also a few unplanned unofficial meetings took place: representatives of EC and EaP countries and of representatives from ministries (hosted by Minister of Education and Science of Lithuania).
Travel and living costs were covered to 38 delegates and participants. As Conference was attended by less number of EaP countries delegates and part of the speakers were from EC (i.e. whose costs were covered by EC directly) project saved part of travel budget.
Main outcomes of the project:
1. Platform for informal discussions with EaP ministries provided;
2. Declaration of the Conference was adopted;
3. Topic on closer collaboration with EaP countries in R&D&I was put for discussion.
Potential Impact:
The central theme of Lithuanian Presidency conference was “Enhancement of European International Cooperation and Eastern Partnership in R&D&I” with a special emphasis placed on Eastern Partnership countries. The conference covered issues related to existing EU policies on R&D&I and Eastern Partnership dimension and future plans for Horizon 2020, practical experiences from different Member States and Eastern Partnership countries, including following issues:
• Tackling societal challenges in the frame of cooperation on R&D&I with Eastern Partnership countries in thematic priorities;
• Building the staircase from capacities to excellence;
• Strengthening partnership between research and industry;
• Regional and mational strategies for strengthening international and Eastern partnership in R&D&I;
• Creating synergies between different instruments and activities.
This conference braught together the main stakeholders interested in international dimension of
EU policies and cooperation with Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia on
R&D&I and vice versa. During the conference concrete recommendations for advancement on international relations and achievements of Work Programme objectives, such as „to support European competitiveness through strategic partnerships with third countries...“, „to
facilitate contacts with partners in third countries“, „to address specific problems that third
countries face (....) on the basis of mutual interest and mutual benefit“, were formulated and
provided for autumn 2013 Summit and European Commission to be discussed.
Discussions at the conference led to the declaration which proposed possible means for enhancement of cooperation in R&D&I, mobility of research staff and students and thus should have indirect positive impact on supporting the transition to democracy, a market economy, creation and sharing of common values, strengthening political dialogue, economic and social cooperation. The politicians were involved is discussions on necessary steps forward the
improvements of cooperation, propose possible solutions.

Main dissemination activities
Project team, its co-workers and delegates used various means of dissemination of conference itself and its results. The following dissemination activities has been accomplished:
Conference website. http://www.eep.eu2013.vu.lt. Website was continuously updated. Started on May 2013.
Invitation and information on the Conference (ellectronic or paper) were sent to more than 250 institutions (Universities and other HE institutions, Academies of Sciences, ministries, enterprises, embassies in Lithuania, funding bodies, individual persons in Lithuania, EU and EaP countries).
Draft of the Declaration (ellectronic) was sent to all registered participants of the Conference as advanced information for discussions (September 2013)
Declaration (approved during the Conference) was announced on Conference website and sent to all Conference participants (7 October 2013)
Presentations of the speakers were announced on the Conference website and sent to all Conference participants
Participation in related events
Information on conference and its outcomes were presented during various events (visits of delegations, policy makers to VU, to different events and meetings):
- visit of delegation of representatives from Universities and governing bodies of Republic of Moldova to Vilnius University (10 June 2013)
- interview with Mr. Dainius Pavalkis (Minister of Education and Science of the Republic of Lithuania), the news agency Baltic News Service (1st October 2013);
- Announcement on website of Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Lithuania (1st October 2013) and weekly newsletter of the Ministry http://www.smm.lt/web/lt/pranesimai_spaudai/d-pavalkis-aktyvus-bendradarbiavimas-mokslo-ir-inovaciju-srityje-stiprins-rytu-partneryste ;
- Announcements on website of Vilnius University (27 May, 11 June, 30 September, 2nd October 2013)
- 3 information releases / articles on official Lithuanian Presidency website http://www.eu2013.lt/en/events/political-meetings/conferencesandseminars/conference-on-enhanced-european-international-cooperation-and-eastern-partnership-in-the-fields-of-research-development-and-innovation
- Information to SFIC (by Conference moderator D. Andree);
- The report on the EEP 2013 in EaP Panel on R&I 1st meeting (Brussels, 13 November 2013.
- The report on the Lithuaniana Presidency Conferences on the EAP in the EU platform 4 (14 November 2013, Brussels)
- The report on the Lithuaniana Presidency Conferences for the EU Competitiveness Council (December 2-3 2013);
- The Article in The Parliament Magazine, Issue 379, 18 November 2013, p. 24-25. A hard copy distribution of 2,500. Additionally, the digital magazine is distributed to 52,000 contacts including the public affairs contacts from EPAD (European Public Affairs Directory), TheParliament.com bulletin subscribers, from EU officials/Commission staff to public affairs consultants and journalists worldwide.
Press releases before the Conference were announced by the news agency Baltic News Service, circulated to the representatives of the various mass media (> 40 journalists)
Briefing during the Conference was organised on the 1st of October. The participants: Ms. Maria Christina Russo (Director for International Cooperation, DG Research and Innovation, EC), Mr. Dainius Pavalkis (Minister of Education and Science of the Republic of Lithuania), prof. Eugenijus Butkus (Vice-Rector for Research of Vilnius University).
Project team and Ministry of Education and Science of Republic of Lithuania use all possibilities for further dissemination of project results: they were presented for Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Latvia.
List of Websites:
http://www.eep.eu2013.vu.lt/

Vida Lapinskaite
phone + 37052687164
fax + 37052687009
e-mail vida.lapinskaite@cr.vu.lt

Gitana Vaitekuniene
phone + 37052687164
fax + 37052687009
e-mail gitana.vaitekuniene@cr.vu.lt