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ALCUE NET Report Summary

Project ID: 311953
Funded under: FP7-INCO
Country: Argentina

Periodic Report Summary 1 - ALCUE NET (Latin America, Caribbean and European Union Network on Research and Innovation)

Project Context and Objectives:
The “Latin America, Caribbean and European Union Network on Research and Innovation” (ALCUE NET; GA 311953) is a FP7 Coordination Action co-funded by the European Commission within the International Cooperation action of the 'Capacities' Programme (Project start date: 1st December 2012 for four and a half years). The main goal is to establish an European Union - Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (EU-CELAC) platform bringing together actors/organizations involved in research and innovation orientation, funding and implementation, as well as other relevant stakeholders from the public and private sector and the civil society, in an effort to (i) generate relevant information for the design and implementation of specific plans and projects including R&D activities and set the basis for the establishment of an enabling policy and institutional environment for R&I better focused on addressing societal challenges and, where appropriate, key enabling technologies of common interest, and (ii) to support the development of more strategic and result-oriented partnerships in the context of bi-regional policy cooperation frameworks. The Ministry of Science, Technology and Productive Innovation from Argentina is the coordinator of a consortium of 19 institutions, 11 from Latin America and the Caribbean and 8 from Europe.

This project supports the international STI dimension of the Europe 2020 Strategy and Innovation Union Flagship Initiative for promoting strategic bi-regional and bilateral partnerships for joint societal challenges, working to extend cooperation beyond research to cover also innovation issues of common interest, and by promoting the establishment of a level-playing field in research and innovation. It also aimed to reinforce the external dimension of the European Research Area (ERA), enhance the cooperation of EU Member States and Associated Countries with third countries in the Framework Programme, establish a common platform for EU-CELAC policy makers, research institutions and the private sector, and strength and expand the National Contact Points (NCP) in Latin American and Caribbean countries, engaging with other INCO & ERA-NETs, BILATS and related thematic bi regional projects.

ALCUE NET has been conceived as a concrete operational instrument and follow-up of decisions for the implementation and scaling-up of the long EU-CELAC dialogue on S&T. As a Senior Official Meetings (SOM) recommendation, the ALCUE NET project supports the EU-CELAC R&I Policy Dialogue & the Joint Initiative for Research and Innovation (JIRI) reflecting the suggestions and recommendations of the SOM to define a joint working agenda, topics of common interest, thematic priorities for mutual benefit, and funding instruments that allow sustainability to bi-regional cooperation, focusing on the following priorities: Energy; Information and Communications Technology; Bioeconomy; Biodiversity & Climate change.

According to the project DoW, specific objectives for each Work Package have been stated as follows:
•To reinforce bi-regional cooperation by supporting the Policy Dialogue process on STI in the SOM (WP1)
•To contribute to mutual development, through providing relevant information and identification of conditions and instruments for coordination mechanisms and joint activities by focusing the work on the four thematic areas identified by the SOM (WP2/WP3/WP4/WP5)
•To further increase collaboration between European and LAC researchers supporting capacity building and networking (WP6)
•To increase awareness on the STI potential of LAC and on the benefits of EU-LAC cooperation and promoting EU-CELAC cooperation (WP7)
•To create and manage tools that allow for an efficient and effective project coordination including consortium coordination, scientific and technical knowledge management inside the project, reporting, and external relation between the project and the EC (WP8)

Project Results:
Activities performed during the first period of the project have been focused on the decisions of the EU-CELAC SOM held in Brussels on March 2013 and on providing relevant input and recommendations to the subsequent SOM held in Costa Rica on April 2014. As technical support to the SOM, ALCUE NET has had a proactive role during these two meetings by contributing to the preparation of discussion documents and supporting material.

Thematic experts and awareness raising workshops are at the core of the ALCUE NET support activities. As a result of such activities, main inputs for the EU-CELAC SOM and Thematic Working Groups (WGs) have arisen from the efforts implemented under the ALCUE NET project. A detailed work was carried out jointly with the SOM WGs by holding back-to-back meetings as well as by supporting the elaboration of the thematic reports to present relevant proposals and recommendations for the discussion in the SOM. Throughout the project, the work done and the results achieved by the SOM and the SOM WGs are gaining more visibility in both regions.

With the aim of improving the bi regional participation in the project supporting activities, ALCUE NET through a travel grants scheme, has mobilized 18 experts from non-partners countries (Bolivia, Nicaragua, Cuba, Italy, Ecuador, Peru, Estonia, Belgium, Turkey, and Czech Republic).

Considerable effort has been devoted to enhance and support the Bi regional STI Policy Dialogue, implement a Technical Secretariat for the SOM, elaboration of discussion documents and supporting material, prepare an effective implementation plan (WP1); set up specific actions to establish common priorities on selected areas, promote consortium building, improve the evaluation of STI cooperation through Observatories and mappings, have an active role to enhance synergies with other INCO-NET, ERA-NET and bi regional projects, work together with the EU-CELAC thematic SOM working Groups (WP2-WP5); increase collaboration between European and LAC researchers by supporting capacity building and networking, create a LAC NCP platform, improve LAC participation in the Horizon 2020 and other initiatives, implement a travel grant scheme for NCP with or without structure to foster the expansion of the ALCUE NET NCP network (WP6); awareness raising and dissemination activities, promoting EU-CELAC cooperation, newsletter, website, and the establishment of an external review panel (WP7); as well as project management activities and implementation of travel grants to mobilize stakeholders from non-partners countries (WP8).

Main activities and results achieved:

•Participation of ALCUE NET as Technical Secretariat during the last EU-CELAC SOM held in Costa Rica: Agenda design, update Senior Officials participant list, preparation of the Concept Note for SOM discussion & the Action Plan as well as the preparation of a background paper on ERA-CELAC co-publication analysis for distribution among Senior Officials
•Support the organization of the Workshop for European delegates held in Brussels as a preparatory event towards the EU-CELAC SOM in Costa Rica
•Organization of an expert workshop for the interpretation of the quantitative data based on the results of a bibliometric analysis in the four thematic areas elaborated by the project
•Elaboration by ALCUE NET of a foresight study on a strategic vision necessary to strengthen and deepen the bi regional cooperation and as a key input to the SOM in its decision making process in the future (as commissioned by SOM)
•Elaboration of an strategy for the impact monitoring of the project
•Preparation of 4 Thematic Reports jointly with the thematic SOM working groups to be reported to the SOM in Costa Rica
•Identification of 38 priority research topics as input for the implementation of the first Joint Call of the ERANet-LAC project among the four scientific areas
•Design of proposals for capacity development to be implemented by ALCUE NET in each thematic area
•Presentation of a draft proposal for the implementation of a CELAC observatory on Bioeconomy
•Mapping of current and past bilateral and bi-regional thematic projects & researchers
•Organization of 6 Thematic events with more than 350 selected stakeholders mobilized (organized back-to-back 6 SOM Working Group Meetings)
•Elaboration of an implementation plan regarding Capacity strengthening and networking activities
•Promote the nomination of representatives in countries without NCP structure to expand the NCP network in LAC
•Organization of the first NCP workshop in Montevideo
•Establishment of the External Review Panel (8 experts)
•Website launched
•Implementation of the travel grants schemes for non-partner countries stakeholders (18 travel grants) and for LAC NCPs with or without NCP structure (11 travel grants)
•Establishment of synergies with thematic related initiatives (Jointly workshops organized)
•Dissemination knowledge about the project on partner countries and on events organized by other initiatives

Potential Impact:
In terms of impact, it is worth mentioning that the ALCUE NET project has been executed and planned as an important support mechanism to the EU-CELAC policy dialogue on R&I.

In this first eighteen months, the ALCUE NET project has contributed to enhance the cooperation between both regions. The fact that ALCUE NET is the first INCO NET that involves the regions of Latin America, the Caribbean and the European Union, become the project in an important catalyst for a number of countries.

The impact of the project so far is to have contributed to the STI policy dialogue between both regions. ALCUE NET has also created a community of R&D stakeholders who now participate actively on project activities and elaboration of related documents. The impact to the international social and economic challenges so far could be expressed through the capacity of the project to be an intermediary in STI policy dialogue between both regions as well as to expand international cooperation opportunities.

ALCUE NET has developed a comprehensive strategy for the impact monitoring of the project and implemented a set of first instruments and actions. The impact monitoring strategy and the individual tools were defined in a project document and were presented during the consortium meeting in San Jose. On the framework of these activities, a bibliometric analysis document was elaborated summarizing the dimension of the bi-regional cooperation related to co-publications between both regions in the four thematic areas related to the project.

At the end of the first eighteen-months of the project, ALCUE NET project has had considerable impact and synergies with a number of other initiatives in which most of project partners actively participate, such as ERA Net-LAC project, Technology Platforms, Joint Programmes, bi regional thematic projects co-funded by the framework programmes, as well as the recently finalize INCO Net projects ENLACE & EUCARINET.

ALCUE NET is creating a joint community platform of R&I stakeholders and policy makers who now participate on the project activities and collaborate in the preparation of supporting documents to present to the thematic SOM WGs.

For the assessment of the project’s impact ALCUE NET is following a method of collecting impact stories and doing case studies. This process has been initiated (e.g. interviews were conducted at the SOM) and will continue in the next project periods.

Almost all partners have presented and disseminated knowledge about the project on their respective countries as well as some European ALCUE NET partners have actively worked to represent their countries in activities related to cooperation in STI with LAC. This action has been fundamental to enhance the impact of ALCUE NET activities in their countries and to increase visibility of these countries cooperation with LAC.

ALCUE NET has set up a support mechanism for EU-CELAC C&T dialogue focusing in each thematic area covered, NCP platform networks & HORIZON 2020 (H2020) promotion through a comprehensive website, which provides relevant and updated information, becoming in these first eighteen months in a reference portal for the EU-CELAC cooperation in R&I and the Political Dialogue process. The number of visits is smoothly increasing. New LAC NCPs have been appointed according to the new thematic lines of the three H2020 pillars. The full list will be posted on the Participant Portal and the ALCUE NET project website.
List of Websites:

Reported by

Ministerio de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación Productiva
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