Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Final Report Summary - E-URAL (European Union and RussiA Link for S&T co-operation in the area of the environment)

Executive Summary:
The overall strategic objective of the E-URAL project was to improve in quantity and quality the participation of Russian researchers in the “Environment (including climate change)” theme of the 7th Framework Programme (FP7). This objective answers to specific gaps that hamper the participation of Russia, such as the lack of knowledge among Russian researchers and multipliers about FP7 and its participation rules and the low awareness in EU of skilled potential Russian partners to be involved in FP7 projects. E-URAL project, through its multi-skilled consortium composed of various leading and long experienced institutions from EU and Russia, addresses these major obstacles in four main lines of activity.
1) Mapping of research expertise and needs in Russia in the field of Environment
The Russian ENV Expertise Database, aimed at mapping the niches of excellence existing in Russia for the thematic priorities of the FP7 theme “Environment”, was built through the collection of ad-hoc questionnaires from Russian researchers. It finally includes more than 370 profiles of Russian researchers and stakeholders and is available on the E-URAL website ( It covers all Russian regions and can support EU researcher in the identification of potential Russian partners for new FP7 project proposals. The analysis of questionnaires and of other relevant sources allowed also to depict a comprehensive overview of the activities and needs of Russian research institutes working on environmental research and to identify their main interests for possible international collaborations.
2) Capacity building
Four training sessions were organized for providing researchers and multipliers in Russia with a basic knowledge on the opportunities for Russian researchers to participate in the FP7. More than 20 participants joined each training, envisioning a better understanding of FP7 rules by potential Russian participants. Several staff exchange initiatives (visits of E-URAL Russian partners to the EU ones) allowed the Russian partners to strengthen their expertise and to exchange best practices with EU colleagues.
3) Matching EU and Russian priorities
Four thematic workshops on different FP7-ENVIRONMENT topics (i.e., coastal zone management, biodiversity and forests, climate change impacts, environmental technologies) were organized in different Russian regions. The events, participated by a relevant number of Russian and EU researchers, offered the opportunity for a mutual exchanges of knowledge about relevant on-going research projects and initiatives and permitted to discuss and define possible subjects of interest for future EU-Russia collaborations. Parallel to the workshops, E-URAL partners carried out several activities for promoting individual match-making and for assisting consortium building, including the identification and dissemination of opportunities for EU-Russia cooperation and the organization of brokerage events related to FP7-Environment calls, where the distribution of information and the organization of face-to-face meetings facilitated the creation of new EU-Russia collaborations. Joint EU-Russia participations to FP7 calls and other typologies of collaboration were continuously monitored by the project through follow-up initiatives.
4) Dissemination activities and liaison building
Many efforts were devoted to relevant dissemination activities, aimed at increasing the visibility of E-URAL services and outcomes and at establishing links and connections with external programmes, projects and instruments. These activities include the creation and maintenance of the E-URAL website ( with many materials and information, the release of periodic newsletters and news alerts and the collaboration with other projects relevant to the scope of E-URAL such as IncoNet EECA, BilatRUS, ERANET Rus. The main project outcomes were presented at a very fruitful Final Conference in Brussels and at a Debriefing in Moscow (hosted at the EU Delegation to Russian Federation), on these occasions discussing the opportunities for future EU-Russia cooperation in environmental research were also discussed. All aforementioned activities contributed to spread widely the work of E-URAL project and to increase the potential impact of the results achieved in the project.

Project Context and Objectives:
1.1 The context

Russia is a leading partner of the EU in the field of science and research among all third countries, according to some major indicators such as the number of joint research projects, the volume of financial resources integrated in joint projects, the number of partners integrated into European research consortia, etc. According to CORDIS, only in FP6 Russian research teams have been integrated into 33 European RTD projects addressing environmental issues (mainly within Sustainable Development and INCO Thematic Programmes), if starting from FP4 this number exceeds 250. Moreover, in the FP6 projects in the field of environment 55 partners from Russia were involved, but 41 participants out of them (75%) are from Moscow and Saint-Petersburg. This data confirmed the lack of knowledge in the rest of Russia about the Framework Programme on one hand and the lack of knowledge in Europe on Russian potential partners on the other hand.
Russia has a developed system of inter-Government agreements governing its S&T cooperation with the EU (S&T Cooperation Agreement first signed in 2000 and then later extended, valid until 2009). Respective Agreement implementation mechanism has been established. What is most significant is the fact that Russia is the only Third Country, which has signed Roadmap for Creating Common Space of Research and Education (the EU-Russia Summit in 2005) that established an institutional base of strategic cooperation between Russia and EU in the field of Science and Technologies Development. Both FP7 and the Russian Federal Targeted S&T Programme turned out to be the instruments for implementing this strategic decision and achieving a long-term objective of converging both research systems.
In order to implement these Agreements, a comprehensive set of steering bodies were created, including 4 Joint Working Groups (became operational in 2006) in the following areas: Nanotechnologies; Health; Food, Agriculture, Biotechnologies; Sustainable Energy.
In general, it can be noticed that there is a clear shortage of information resources concerning Russian research capabilities in RTD area and this aspect surely hamper the creation of new networks and collaborations with EU researchers.
One of the latest developments which strongly influence the overall climate of EU-Russia S&T cooperation is the launch of the Federal Targeted programme (2007) which for the first time in the modern Russian history allocates significant financial resources (roughly 1 BEuro per year until 2012) on the competitive basis for priority research projects including the area of Environment (within the window “Rational use of natural resources”). As a matter of fact, the programme is open for international cooperation and will co-fund the Russian participation in FP7.
In 2005 a qualitatively new period in development of S/T cooperation between the EU and Russia started. The parties made the most important policy decision of creating common EU-Russia space of research and it is FP7 what is called upon to be a practical tool for creating common space jointly with Russian Federal Targeted Programme that was launched in January 2007.
To achieve this ambitious goal, it is essential to find tools for long-term collaboration and jointly develop integrated models of providing long-term coordinated actions aimed at the highest interaction (synergy) between European and Russian scientists. This model should enable efficient operation autonomously.
So, all aforementioned issues confirm that there is a need for a system of specific supporting measures focused on enhancing and extending research cooperation between the EU and Russia in the field of environmental research. Moreover, there is a need for more practical and “project-generating” actions able of converting new cooperative opportunities into more successful stories.
Specifically, the following major needs of policy coordination in this sector were identified:
I. despite the existence of highly skilled individuals and institutions in Russia, participation in EU FPs is low. It is in the interests of the construction of the ERA that this participation should be increased;
II. there is a lack of knowledge among researchers and multipliers from Russia on the FP7 “Environment (including climate change)” area. Furthermore, the National Information Point (NIP) for the Environment theme was created recently and there is a need to support it in order to improve skills that will boost the quality of services offered to FP7 proposers;
III. there is a need for capacity building and know-how on submission procedures under EU-FPs in Russia;
IV. there is a need to raise awareness in Europe of skilled potential partners from Russia to be involved in EU-FPs in the “Environment (including climate change)” theme.

1.2 Project objectives
The overall strategic objective of the E-URAL project was to improve in quantity and quality the participation of Russian researchers and SMEs in the “Environment (including climate change)” theme of the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7).
To achieve this objective and to answer the needs highlighted in the previous paragraph, a multi-skilled consortium (see Table 1.1) was established, covering a large part of the wide Russian Federation and led by an expert institution in EU environmental research policy, in order to pursue 4 main lines of activity:
1. mapping of research expertise and needs in Russia in the field of environment;
2. awareness raising and capacity building for multipliers and researchers in Russia through training activities and staff exchanges;
3. promotion of co-operation opportunities between EU and Russia;
4. liaison with Russian and European stakeholders in the field of environment and of research policies.
The expected results have been formulated on the basis of the above-mentioned needs and policies. In particular, E-URAL was aimed at achieving, amongst others:

1) information and assistance provided to the whole part of Russia
a. increased awareness on the FP7 priorities and specific calls, participation rules, stimulation of the proposal preparation;
b. better knowledge on specific FP7 issues as result of trainings, workshops, exchange of experience;
c. long term network of contact points enabling active search for the researchers and in the region to be matched with researchers and companies from Member States.
2) better visibility of Russian scientific excellence and research infrastructure among European research community
a. information on the Russian research potential provided to MS contact points and researchers;
b. international contacts between Russian and European researchers in view of future partnerships in project consortia;
c. identification of topics of common interest for further Work Programme in the Environment theme;
d. promotion of the project and its activities via CORDIS, project website and leaflet, and NCP network.

Project Results:
E-URAL project succeed in providing many different tools and activities to bridge the division between Russia and EU research areas and therefore to support more effective actions for generating common projects, specifically within the FP7 Environment theme.
The overall objective of E-URAL, i.e. to improve the quantity and quality of participation of Russia in the Environment theme of FP7, has been achieved through a structured and integrated project strategy, that included two main types of actions. On one hand main actions focused on activities of identification of relevant priorities and actors in Russia, training of multipliers and researchers, dissemination of information and support; and on the other hand, project initiatives consisted in matching of the identified priorities and needs with potential partners and activities by European institutions, facilitating contact, communication and cooperation with Russia. Both types of actions were addressed by a strong bottom-up approach, based on the direct and active involvement and participation of researchers, multipliers and stakeholders acting on cooperation in environmental research.
The strategy has been implemented in the project by a variety of means. The use of a communication structure, such as the E-URAL website, demonstrated to be essential in providing the services of interest, information of relevance, in engaging users and adding value to the science and research arena in all areas of the FP7 Theme “Environment (including climate change)”. Equally, the synergies among the projects parts assured communication among project partners, consistency with the project plan, common and effective dialogue with the external targets, specific objectives achievement.
E-URAL project structure was composed of five work packages (WPs), the tasks and objectives of each WP can be summarized as follows.

WP1 – Project management and coordination

Task 1.1 Project management
Task 1.2 Administrative management
Task 1.3 Communication management

WP1 objectives:
- to ensure the successful achievement of project goals and delivery of the results
- to oversee the overall legal, contractual, ethical, financial and administrative aspects in the project
- to facilitate the communication among all projects participants

WP2 – Mapping research excellence and major infrastructure in Russia

Task 2.1 Identification of major research infrastructure, researchers and multipliers in Russia
Task 2.2 Questionnaire development and collection
Task 2.3 Identification of research needs in Russia
Task 2.4 Database testing

WP2 objectives:
- to map the niches of excellence existing in Russia relevant to the thematic priorities in the field of environment spread across FP7 Themes
- to identify environmental research needs and support roadmapping in this field of research in the context of FP7 priorities evolution

WP3- Capacity building

Task 3.1 SWOT Analysis of training needs
Task 3.2 National Training Sessions
Task 3.3 Staff exchanges

WP3 objectives:
- to train researchers and multipliers in Russia
- to stimulate learning within the partnership and exchange of good practices in assisting researchers

WP4 – Matching EU and Russia priorities

Task 4.1 Combining Russian research needs with FP7 (ENV) and identification of cooperation opportunities between Russian and European researchers
Task 4.2 Workshops to identify common research issues
Task 4.3 Participation at international events
Task 4.4 Individual match making and assistance for consortium building

WP4 objectives:
- to ensure the definition of common research needs and issues between European and Russian researchers on the topics of the FP7 Environment programme
- to promote the dialogue between European and Russian researchers on thematic research areas of the FP7 Environment programme
- to identify cooperation opportunities between European and Russian researchers
- to stimulate the networking and raise awareness on Russian research excellence through participation at international events
- to guarantee assistance to possible individual relationships among interested parties

WP5- Dissemination activities and Liaison building

Task 5.1 Website
Task 5.2 Promotion material
Task 5.3 Newsletter
Task 5.4 Liaison building- External communication

WP5 objectives
- to disseminate information to researchers and multipliers and SME on the FP7-ENV call for proposals and events via website, a quarterly newsletter and call alerts
- to prepare a clear presentation of FP7 opportunities tailor-made to the needs of Russian researchers
- to ensure consistency of the project activities and results with the overall system of research cooperation policies, bi-lateral dialogues and cooperation stimulation initiatives, and, thus, strengthen the overall impact
- to build links with other stakeholders (of EU-Russia research cooperation in the environmental sector) that could act as information multipliers
- to identify cooperation opportunities and join forces with the other projects focusing on Russia, e.g. INCONETS, BILATs

In the following paragraphs, the achievements and results of each Work Packages and the services provided along the development of the project are illustrated in detail.


The objectives of this work package were to map the niches of excellence existing in Russia relevant to the thematic priorities in the field of environment spread across FP7 Themes, to identify main research needs, and to reveal problems and obstacles related to Russia-EU scientific and technological cooperation by conducting a survey through a developed questionnaire.

To achieve this goals, the following activities were performed: the identification of major research infrastructures, researchers and multipliers in Russia, the development of two questionnaires (one for researchers and one for stakeholders) for collecting relevant information to be included in a Russian Expertise Database, the identification of major research needs in Russia and the testing of the developed database. The main results achieved within these activities are presented in the following paragraphs.

Identification of major research infrastructure, researchers and multipliers in Russia

The identification of Russian organizations in the environment domain has been achieved by contacting the most relevant research and policy authorities to get information and by producing a list of leading universities and research institutions.
CBS RIP and all other Russian project partners collected information from several resources, such as the Ministry of Education and Science, Russian Academies of Sciences, Environment NCP and research authorities as well as regional contact points and multipliers (university liaison offices, development agencies, professional associations, local authorities, etc.).
The main output of this activity was a chief mailing list of institutions to be contacted for the project purposes, and in particular for the dissemination of the questionnaires. At the end of the project the list includes about 900 organisations and has been include in deliverable D10 - List of research needs in Russia.

Questionnaire development and collection

In order to map Russian expertise and infrastructure for environmental research and to define main Russian needs in this field, it has been decided to make use of questionnaires to collect relevant information from Russian researchers and stakeholders to be included in an on-line database.
The process of questionnaire development was a very labor-intensive, but led to the successful production of two questionnaires, one for researchers and one for stakeholders, which were disseminated among identified Russian institutions.
The first preliminary version of the questionnaire was presented by task leader CBS RIP during the kick off meeting in Venice (September 2010) for discussion with E-URAL partners. An implemented version was then presented and discussed at the Sochi meeting in January 2010, with the presence of the Members of the E-URAL Scientific Advisory Board. Therefore, all the E-URAL partners, in close collaboration with Scientific Advisory Board members, took active part in the development process and made important contributions to the final versions of questionnaires, released by CBS RIP.
The hard copy of the Questionnaire on EU-Russia partnership in Environment for researchers is a five-page document, while the Questionnaire for stakeholders is a three-page document. The questionnaires respect rules about publication of personal data. Details about the questionnaire structure (including contact information, competences in the FP7 theme areas, description of organization, experience in FP7 projects, etc) can be found in the deliverable D1- Online questionnaire form. The questionnaire can still be filled on-line at the E-URAL website.
The questionnaires were then distributed to the list of identified organizations and this process continued along the development of the project. As final outcome at the end of the project, the total number of questionnaires received from Russian contacts is 379, out of which Questionnaires from Russian researchers are 268, whereas the number of Questionnaires from stakeholders is 111.

According to the objectives of E-URAL projects, an outstanding result of questionnaires collection consists in mapping most of all research excellence outside the main areas of Moscow and Saint Petersburg. The territorial distribution of Russian research organizations presented on the E-URAL Map available on the project website ( shows that the respondents were from all Russian Federal Districts - Centre, Far-East, South, Northwest, Siberia, Ural and Volga – which include 79 regional centres and large cities.
The territorial distribution of Russian research organizations shows that the majority of available forms were received from North-western, Central and Southern Federal Districts. The overwhelming majority of questionnaires has been received from universities and research centres.

The results of the questionnaire for researchers collection constituted the basis for the creation of the database of Russian expertise in Environment (Russian ENV Expertise Database), which is one of the most relevant result of E-URAL project. The database structure follows the structure of the Questionnaire for researchers and includes information about the specific researcher’s expertise in environmental research, short description of the organization/research group, relevant publications on environmental topics, previous experience in FP7 or other EU or Russian research programmes and experience in international cooperation in general.
The database is available on the E-URAL Website on following link:
For the detailed search on the Database special Search Tool was developed ( More information about the database can be found in the specific deliverable D13 On-line database on Russian major research infrastructure, researchers and multipliers (

Database testing

The testing of the Russian ENV Expertise database was organized in order to present the database prototype to the EU member state NCP representatives, European Commission representatives and European research organisations. This allowed to test the database and to inform the Member States NCPs about the database, as well as to tune it according to EU scientists' needs, and accordingly to provide an improved final version of the database. Two presentations and testing of Russian ENV Expertise Database were organized during the two brokerage events organized in the frame of E-URAL project, namely:
- Marine Research Capacities in a global context. Focus: Europe, Mediterranean & Black Sea (23-24 September, 2010, Istanbul – Turkey);
- EC InfoDay on FP7 Environmental research (17 June 2011, Brussels — Belgium).
Within these brokerage events, detailed information about the Database was distributed, the Database was presented to the participants and then they have the possibility to test the database and all its functionalities. Moreover, feedback forms were distributed and re-collected within few days. The analysis of feedback forms received from the participants of the brokerage event showed the interest for the tool and positive evaluation of its structure and functionalities. These results are available in deliverable D13 - Online database on Russian major research infrastructure, researchers and multipliers.

Identification of research needs in Russia

In order to identify the main research interests and needs in Russia an analysis of data gained from various sources was implemented, including:
a) plans and annual scientific reports of the Institutes of the Russian Academy of Sciences (including Medical and Agricultural Academies);
b) plans and annual scientific reports of research groups in the field of environment from Russian state universities and state research institutions;
c) priority research lines defined in government documents and Federal target programmes;
d) information obtained as result of four scientific workshops organized by E-URAL project in Russia (Sochi, January 2010; Voronezh, June 2010, Barnaul, November 2010, and Archangelsk, May 2011);
e) information gained through questionnaire (developed in the frame of WP2) from leading Russian experts and scientists specializing in the field of environment and representing academic and applied sciences as well as large universities;
f) Foresight for S&T development of Russia for long-term outlook (till 2030).
The analysis of these sources permitted to achieve a relevant result, consisting in a wide overview of the research activities carried out by Russian institutes involved in environmental research and of their interests and needs for future research developments. The survey showed that Russian research institutes are currently working on a variety of environmental research topics, covering the whole range of topics included in the FP7 theme “Environment (including Climate Change)”. From the analysis of collected questionnaires, it also emerges that the majority of research activities on environmental themes of Russian research groups focuses on the areas 6.1 «Climate Change, pollution and risks» and 6.3 «Environmental technologies» of FP7-ENVIRONMENT.
The detailed study and all results are reported in deliverable D10 - List of research needs in Russia (updated version released on Month 30), available on E-URAL website (


The main objective of WP3 was to improve the knowledge and skills in Russia, thus creating a common basis of know-how within the established network (WP2) by providing tailor-made information, assistance and coaching, following their specific needs in the FP7 Environment sector.
The specific objectives of WP3 were:
- to identify and analyse Russian training needs;
- to organize tailored training sessions to train researchers and multipliers in Russia;
- to stimulate learning within the partnership and exchange of good practices in assisting researchers.
To achieve these objectives, the following activities were performed: a SWOT analysis of training needs, the organization of training session and the implementation of staff exchanges. The main results achieved within these activities are presented in the following paragraphs.

SWOT Analysis of training needs

A SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis of trainings needs was carried out in the first months of the project, in order to identify the specific needs and gaps of Russian researchers and multipliers.
The analysis allowed to understand which was the previous experience of respondents at national and international level, which were their level of knowledge on FP7 procedures and which were the potential participants’ preference on timeframe, language and topics of the proposed training sessions. The results highlighted that the Russian researchers and multipliers are not yet experienced in the Framework Programme and need basic information to participate and to be actively involved. These inputs were fundamental for developing tailored training sessions which properly answer the needs of participants. In order to perform a follow-up of the activities, a template for collecting feedbacks on the trainings was prepared and distributed during the four trainings.

National Training Sessions

One of the most important outcomes of WP3 consists in the organization of four training sessions, namely:
• in Sochi, on 20-21 January 2010 (24 participants);
• in Voronezh, on 1-2 July 2010 (22 participants);
• in Barnaul, on 24-25 November 2010 (20 participants);
• in Archangelsk, on 23-24 May 2011 (15 participants).
The trainings were interactive and in all occasions a real and fruitful participation of all the audience was experienced. In total 81 scientists from 4 regions of Russia were trained on the Seventh Framework Programme and on the preparation of applications for joint projects. Some of them subsequently participated in the formulation and submission of applications for FP7 Calls for Proposals, together with European scientists. Considering the feedback forms results and the face-to- face feedbacks received during the four trainings, the trainings represent a successful activity of the E-URAL project. The presence and support of the E-URAL Russian partners at the trainings was very important both for explaining some crucial steps in Russian language and for supporting the participants during the exercises. The relatively small number of participants in each training permitted to focus on people really interested in participating in the Framework Programme and to perform interactive trainings. Evaluation and results of training sessions, including list of all participants, are included in deliverable D16 - Final report on the National Training Sessions.

Staff exchanges

One of the relevant outcomes of capacity building activities consisted in five short term staff exchanges between the E-URAL partners (specifically the Russian partners moved for short periods to one of the more experienced EU partners). The objective was to offer to the partners the opportunity to learn from each other, to exchange good practices in assisting during the preparation of the proposal, to visit EU research institutes.
The staff exchange activity started in the second year of activity and the list of staff exchanges is as follows:
1. 5-12 September 2010 in Kassel, host organization: OWWZ-University of Kassel, hosted organization: Arkhangelsk State Technical University
2. 25-26 October 2010 in Athens, host organization: FORTH, hosted organization: IWEP SB RAS;
3. 21-25 February 2011 in Rome, host organization: APRE, hosted organization: KaspMNIZ;
4. 3-10 April 2011 in Wien, host organization: IDEAS, hosted organization: SURT;
5. 8-10 November 2011 in Rome, host organization: APRE, hosted organization: CBS RIP.

The staff exchanges lasted from 2 until 5 days in total and included different kinds of activities (e.g. presentation of the hosting institute, visit to other institutes, bilateral meetings, training sessions, support for proposal preparation), depending on the hosting organization and on the needs of the Russian partner. The detailed programmes and reports of the staff exchanges are included in the deliverable D17 - Final report on staff exchanges.



WP4 was aimed at providing tools and methods for the establishment of cooperation of Russia and EU partners in activities relevant within the theme Environment of FP7.
WP4 includes four main activities:
- combining Russian research needs with FP7 ENV and identification of cooperation opportunities between Russian and European researchers;
- organization of thematic workshops to identify common research issues;
- stimulating the networking through participation at international events;
- individual match making and assistance for consortium building (responsible OWWZ).
The main results achieved within these activities are presented in the following paragraphs.

Combining Russian research needs with FP7 ENV and identification of cooperation opportunities between Russian and European researchers

This task is mainly concerned with matching the different needs identified in WP2 by Russian parties with the suitable areas of FP7 and related projects, providing a database of activities and possible collaborations sources to be shared among participants and external parties.
In order to support the match, the E-URAL website hosts a full list of interesting sites, documents and EU-Russia programs, including relevant EU-Russia networking projects (e.g. incrEAST, RUSERA-EXE, ERA.Net RUS, BILAT-RUS and IncoNet EECA, etc.), EU-Russia funding programs (e.g. EuropeAid/Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument or Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme) and links to CORDIS Partner Search Database and Enterprise Europe Network Partner Search Database.
An important activity of match making was performed during four E-URAL workshops (namely, in Sochi in January 2010 , in Voronezh in June 2010, in Barnaul in November 2010, in Arkhangelsk in May 2011). On one hand, a major part of the workshops was devoted to give time and occasion to researchers to discuss potential collaboration opportunities (results are reported in the final documents of all events constituting deliverable D6- Selected materials from FP7 Environment thematic workshops). On the other hand, presentations from invited speakers about different EU and Russian funding programmes and cooperation opportunities proposed during the thematic workshops were instrumental in meeting the objectives of this task.
At the same time, a document summarizing the twinning measures available at European level was prepared. The document “Coordinating Third Country RTD funding with FP7 - Opportunities for Russia” contains a description of main EU instruments (ERA-NET, Joint Programming, Bilat projects, Inco-nets) and also describes the mechanism for funding research with third Country and in particular with Russia.
Moreover, the researchers attending the workshops identified some specific topics of potential collaboration in their area of expertise (e.g. climate change impacts/risks and environmental technologies for waste/waste water treatment), as reported in the specific deliverables D6 - Selected materials from workshops.

Workshops to identify common research issues

In relation to the research needs identified in WP2, and also in consideration of main areas of FP7 Environment theme, four EU-Russia workshops were organized within E-URAL project, specifically:
- “Coastal zone management: state of the art and way forward in Europe-Russia collaboration”, in Sochi, 19-20 January 2010;
- “Nature and Biodiversity: Opportunities for EU-Russia Collaboration” in Voronezh, 28-29 June 2010;
- “EU-Russia collaboration for the evaluation of climate change impacts”, in Barnaul, 22-23 November 2010;
- “Environmental Technologies for Solid Waste and Waste Water Treatment and Management: Opportunities for EU-Russia Collaboration” in Arkhangelsk, 25-27 May 2011.
The workshops timetable followed always the same structure: it was divided into two days, where the first one was devoted to presentations by the invited EU and Russian researchers, and the second one was completely concerned with common discussion and working groups. This way, the first day presentations were instrumental for the sharing of knowledge and experiences between Europe and Russia, in order to define a common ground as the starting point for future collaboration activities. The second day was used to discuss in details and by groups the common interests, to define future options for collaborations, to identify most suitable mechanisms within and above FP7 calls for proposals. Specifically, the involved experts were asked to suggest possible subjects of interest for future EU-Russia collaboration and during the workshops, through an interactive process, these proposals were revised and discussed for developing a final list of relevant collaboration topics which represents one of the main outcomes of the workshops.
All workshops allowed to involve a significant number of EU and Russian researchers (70 participants in Sochi, 80 in Voronezh, 38 in Barnaul and 44 in Arkhangelsk). The events gave the opportunity to Russian researchers from the hosting city and from other Russian cities/regions to meet with highly experienced EU researchers, mainly coordinators or partners of relevant European FP6 or FP7 projects or responsible of relevant national research projects. Accurate preparation of the workshops (in terms of material delivery and workshop timetable) allowed, before and during the events, to make researchers from EU and Russia to think about possible research themes and collaboration mechanisms, and then to discuss them together during the events with the aim of developing shared proposals.
Results of each workshop include:
- all presentations from speakers, which are uploaded in the E-URAL website;
- proceedings collecting the contributions from all speakers, the agenda and the list of participants, which are reported in deliverables titled D6-Selected materials from FP7 Environment thematic workshops;
- a Final Document, reporting the main outputs of the workshop in terms of identified mechanisms of collaboration and common research opportunities as well as specific topics of potential collaboration, and included in deliverables D6 Selected materials from FP7 Environment thematic workshops.

All available materials can be found at the following link:
As a follow-up to these events, EU and Russian participants of the workshops have been periodically contacted to follow the potential collaboration activities developed as results of contacts at the events.

Participation at international events

One of the relevant services provide by E-URAL project to facilitate the networking activities between EU and Russia was the organization of two brokerage events. The 1st E-URAL Brokerage Event, entitled “Marine Research Capacities in a Global Context” was organized in Istanbul, on 23?24 September 2010, in collaboration with the EU-funded project ENV-NCP-TOGETHER. It had a special focus on Russia, Mediterranean Countries and the Black Sea region. The main aims of the two-day event was to initiate competitive research project proposal in the field of marine, climate and earth observation for the calls of Work Programme 2011 of the FP7 – Environment theme and to stimulate the inclusion of Russian researchers in FP7 ENV project proposals. The event was participated by 105 persons from 23 Countries and 121 face to face meetings were organized, out of which 22 were performed by Russian researchers.
The 2nd E-URAL Brokerage event, called “FP7 Environmental Research – Focus Russia”, took place in Brussels on 17th June 2011 and was organized by APRE and E-URAL project in conjunction with the Info day on FP7 Environment Research organized by the European Commission on the 2012 Work Programme. The FP7 Environmental Research Brokerage Event had a special focus on Russia region and on the five challenges which are forming the key research priorities for the ENVIRONMENT 2012 Work Programme: (i) coping with climate change; (ii) sustainable use and management of land and seas; (iii) improving resource efficiency; (iv) protecting citizens from environmental hazards; (v) mobilizing environmental knowledge for policy, industry and society. A total of 81 participants, coming from 16 different countries , met in order to cooperate on FP7 calls of 2012 Environment (including Climate Change) Work Programme. In total, 103 face to face meetings were organized, 21 of which were performed by Russian researchers.
In order to guarantee a significant participation to the brokerage events, a survey on all FP7 projects to identify the EU coordinators and participants to be invited to the Brokerage Events was performed. This list was divided per country and sent to the Environment NCPs for dissemination. On the other hand, the Russian partners spread the information among their contact in Russia in order to have the largest participation as possible from Russia, and all the E-URAL partners spread the information among their contacts and channels. Moreover, the possibility to find some extra funding for Russian researchers to participate to the brokerage event was investigated. To this end, the EU-FP7 projects contacted were: IncoNet EECA (, ERA.Net RUS, BILAT RUS, BILAT UKR and BS-ERA.NET.

Individual match making and assistance for consortium building

During the project development, several initiatives with regard to individual match making and assistance for consortium building have been accomplished in cooperation with all other partners and in synergy with other WP4 activities.
First of all, a Link Collection of “Key Cooperation Activities EU-Russia” was implemented, including many information such as:
- list of current and relevant EU-Russia networking projects, such as incrEAST, RUSERA-EXE, ERA.Net RUS, BILAT-RUS and IncoNet EECA among others;
- list of current FP7 environment funded projects with Russian participants, including 12 projects;
- list of EU-Russia funding programmes, within the FP7 or in external cooperation programmes (e.g. EuropeAid/Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument ENPI (
or Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP) / The Intelligent Energy Europe (IEE) (;
- list of other initiatives, such as the ISTC Moscow: intergovernmental organization connecting scientists from Russia, Georgia and other countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) with their peers and research organizations in Canada, EU, Japan, Republic of Korea, Norway and the United States (;
- EU-Russia Policy documents, such as the EC Russia Scientific and Technological Cooperation. A Roadmap for Action 2009 – 2011 (

Moreover, with the aim of identifying institutions in EU interested in collaboration with Russia in FP7 Environment, information and links to CORDIS Partner Search Database and Enterprise Europe Network Partner Search Database have been provided and are currently available on the E-URAL website.
A closed forum has been installed on the E-URAL website for potential FP7 partners and E-URAL project partners for discussion and parting of any important information. In order to communicate within this forum, partners have to register on:
Finally, individual assistance and support (web-based) were provided. To this respect, interactions with the network of NCPs and their services (, and links with FP7 support services, such as the Enquiry Service ( or the IPR HelpDesk - Intellectual Property Rights ( or Ethics Help Desk for all FP7 projects ( were carried out.
A follow-up questionnaire has been sent to all European participants of the E-URAL Workshops, Trainings and Brokerage Events. The main focus of this questionnaire was whether the participants were still active in any cooperation initiative after meeting new researchers at E-URAL events, especially with regard to the calls for proposals published within FP7 ENVIRONMENT. The same questionnaire was sent to the Russian participants by the Russian partners. A similar one has been sent to all people included in the Russian ENV Expertise Database by CBS RIP. The results of these partnering evaluation activities are presented in the deliverable D19:


The main objectives of WP5 were as follows:
- to disseminate information to researchers and multipliers and SMEs on the FP7-ENV call for proposals and events via website, a quarterly newsletter and call alerts;
- to prepare a clear presentation of FP7 opportunities tailor-made to the needs of Russian researchers;
- to ensure consistency of the project activities and results with the overall system of research cooperation policies, bilateral dialogues and cooperation stimulation initiatives, and thus strengthen the overall impact;
- to build links with other stakeholders (of EU-Russia research cooperation in the environmental sector) that could act as information multipliers;
- to identify cooperation opportunities and join forces with the other projects focusing on Russia, e.g. INCONETs, BILATs.
WP objectives were achieved with the following main actions:
- E-URAL website development
- dissemination activities, including the release of periodic newsletters, project leaflet and news alerts;
- relationships and collaborations with other projects relevant to the scope of E-URAL.
The main results achieved within these activities are presented in the following paragraphs.


The project website ( is up and running starting from August 2009 (Month 1) and represents one of the most considerable results of the project. This is indeed a central instrument for project coordination and a focal point of communication. It provides the connection capability of the European research area with the researchers, multipliers and SMEs active in the environment sector in Russia.
The main services of the E-URAL website are:
- to provide general information on the E-URAL project, services and partners, FP7 ENV open calls information, forthcoming events (News alerts service);
- to support Russian ENV Expertise Database, including researchers, multipliers and SMEs profiles (WP2);
- to present the information on the training activities of the project (WP3), to disseminate the materials produced by the project (training material, workshops material, newsletters, deliverables and other reports);
- to support partners collaboration under the project via a special shared area for the partners (i.e., “Intranet”).
E-URAL website structure has three section types (besides the main page): news pages, text pages and private pages for the partners. Along the project development the website structure was continuously improved with new sub-sections with materials (minutes, agendas, summary reports, etc.) from the project events: Scientific Workshops and Conferences, FP7 Trainings, Brokerage Events, Final Project Conference.
All user groups may browse the following information:
- news sections (Events in EU and Russia, other news);
- general information about E-URAL project;
- training activities of the E-URAL project;
- training and workshops materials;
- quarterly E-URAL newsletter;
- information about FP7 and ENV call for proposals and other text sections (Relevant Networks and INCO Projects, Partner Search, EU Funded Projects, Research in the Environment in Russia, Russia–EU dialogue in the area of Environment).
It is also possible to search in all the text sections of the project website (except the shared sections available only for the E-URAL partners).
To stimulate S/T cooperation between European and Russian research communities News Alerts are regularly posted to the registered users. They include announcements, open call information, the quarterly E-URAL newsletter and regular news alerts with relevant publications and information about forthcoming events in EU and Russia in the area of the Environment. It also supports RSS Newsfeed and news subscription for the non-registered users. All detailed information, including technical characteristics, of the E-URAL website were reported in the specific deliverable D9 - Project website on line.
An important part of the E-URAL website is the Russian ENV Expertise database, as illustrated in the paragraph on WP2. At the end of the project, 268 profiles of Russian major research infrastructure, researchers and multipliers of leading environmental scientific expertise and research infrastructures compose the database. The database may be easily searched by users, which can go through the complete information of Russian profiles (e.g., contact information, information and description of the scientist’s organization, expertise offered, previous and present experience in the international cooperation, etc.).
The E-URAL website can be considered as the main promotional tool of the E-URAL project. Particularly the map of Russian competencies in the environmental sector bear significant weight, since it is the first organized database from where Europeans can draw partners for consortium building under FP7 or other funding schemes. The access to the website and updating of the database after the end of the project will be guaranteed by CBS RIP in order to keep offering an effective support to EU-Russia collaboration on environmental research.

Promotion material

During the project many different promotion materials have been produced for assuring visibility to the project and its outcomes and services. One of the main product was the E-URAL leaflet, including input from all partners. It has been used by all partners as promotion material at all the workshops and trainings organized by the E-URAL project and other external events attended by project partners. The leaflet was produced in English and was then translated in Russian in order to ease the dissemination in Russian regions.


Periodic Newsletters and News Alert were prepared and distributed to the E-URAL contacts list during the whole project. The newsletters contained updated information about FP7-ENV calls for proposals, organisation of project trainings and brokerage events, international or national events in Environment sector, partner search activities, etc. E-URAL partners provided input for each newsletter in the form of links, useful newsletter links, events and other links on different contents.
The service offered by periodic newsletters and news alerts was essential in disseminating up-to-date information to Russian and EU institutes about on-going E-URAL activities and in drawing the attention to relevant opportunities offered by the project of by other programmes for enlarging EU-Russia networks and international cooperation actions.
All newsletters are available on E-URAL website:
The release of the newsletters was as follows:
- 1st Newsletter in November 2009
- 2nd Newslette in March 2010
- 3rd Newsletter in July 2010
- 4th Newsletter in June 2011
- 5th Newsletter in November 2011
- 6th Newsletter in January 2012
Moreover, in total 29 News Alerts were released during the project.

Liaison building - External communication

Another meaningful output of the project concerned the raising of awareness about the opportunities of EU-Russia research cooperation in the environmental sector. Each E-URAL partner selected a number of local, regional or national organizations, research bodies, governmental agencies active in the environmental sector in order to create a list of stakeholders. The list also includes the stakeholders who filled in the E-URAL Questionnaire on EU-Russia partnership in Environment for stakeholders. These are the organizations that E-URAL considers as the main target group (but not exclusively) for sending the Newsletters as well as information about project events and other activities, but also to be considered for investigating opportunities for collaboration. The list of stakeholders can be found in deliverable D8 – List of identified stakeholders (updated version).
E-URAL consortium implemented different types of liaison-building activities, as detailed in the following list.
1) Mutual dissemination, exchange of information and website interlinking:
- all partners involved in WP5 actively promoted the project and the activities of the project by participating as speakers at events organized by other projects, networks or local stakeholders. Specifically, E-URAL project was presented at 45 events in EU and Russia by all project partners;
- a description of E-URAL project, its activities and outcomes has been included in the CORDIS Technology Marketplace website, a session of CORDIS devoted to publish exploitable technologies and outcomes resulting from EU-funded research projects;
- almost all project partners published the information on the E-URAL project and its progress on their organizations’ websites.
2) Support for each other events and seminars whenever possible – Exchange of Speakers; Implementation of synergies and complementary activities. Special mention concerns:
- E-URAL project in collaboration with the ENVIRONMENT-NCP-TOGETHER project (the Network of Environmental NCPs) and the Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) co-organised the 1rst E-URAL Brokerage Event “Marine Research Capacities in a Global Context. Focus: Europe, Russia, Mediterranean and Black Sea Regions” in Istanbul on the 23rd and 24th of September 2010;
- E-URAL project in collaboration with the FP7 project SPRING (Scoping China's Environmental Research Excellence and Infrastructure) organised a session within the conference “European Geoscience Union – General Assembly 2011” held in Wien (Austria) on 3-8 April 2011. The session was entitled “Today and Tomorrow: Regional Environmental Perspectives and Futures”. Prof. Antonio Marcomini, coordinator of E-URAL project, was co-chairman of the session, and moreover he gave a presentation on “Present and future for the European Union and Russia co-operation in the field of the Environment: the E-URAL project”.
- E-URAL project cooperated with the European Commission for the organization of the Brokerage Event “ FP7 Environmental Research” held in Brussels on 17th of October 2011 in conjunction with the InfoDay on Environment theme (including Climate Change) WP 2012.

3) Cooperation Agreements

In order to enhance E-URAL collaboration with the INCONET EECA project (S&T INternational COoperation NETwork for Eastern European and Central Asian Countries), HELP-FORWARD contacted the International Centre for Black Sea Studies (ICBSS), coordinator of the INCONET EECA. The main output of this action was the signature of a Cooperation Letter between the projects. The content of the cooperation letter is reported in deliverable D15 - Report on Liaison-external relations.

Potential Impact:
The main goals of E-URAL project were to improve Russian participation in EU FP7 projects under the theme “Environment (including Climate Change)” and to help EU consortia to identify potential partners in Russia. The strategy adopted by E-URAL took into account some considerations arisen from the Environment Work Programme 2009:
1. it is necessary to identify the research excellence and major infrastructure in Russia and to disseminate these profiles at European level;
2. it is necessary to inform Russian scientific community about FP opportunities and procedures;
3. it is necessary to train Russian multipliers and researchers about FP procedures and rules of participations. The training activities ensure the duration of the positive effects of the project;
4. it is necessary to stimulate the dialogue between EU and Russian environment research community so that the Russian research interest will be clearly noted.
The work performed by E-URAL consortium answered effectively to the above mentioned necessities with a set of complementary activities (including mapping, training, networking and dissemination activities), which have been developed along the 30 months of project duration but are expected to have both short and long term impacts even after the conclusion of the project. The most important E-URAL activities reached and involved a broad group of people, including Russian and EU researchers from universities and research institutes, Russian and EU stakeholders working on research facilitation and international cooperation, representatives of EU and Russia public authorities and governmental bodies.
The mapping of Russian expertise, interests and needs in the field of environmental research was performed in a very detailed way and with a wide coverage of all Russian regions. The geographic distribution of E-URAL Russian partners in different regions facilitated the accomplishment of this task. The main output of this activity is the Russian ENV Expertise Database and its potential impact on EU research community is surely relevant and has been recognized during E-URAL dissemination events by external participants. The database is indeed an easy-to-use tool which can be used by EU researchers willing to extend their cooperation networks towards Russian regions. It offers the possibility to explore available research expertise and to discover opportunities for collaboration with skilled researchers with complimentary research experience and interests. If it should be recognized that there is a low awareness of EU community about Russian research potential (due to a low rate of publication in English, linguistic and bureaucratic barriers, etc.), the Russian ENV Expertise Database could plug this gap and contribute in enlarging EU cooperation horizons. The maintenance of the Database after the conclusion of the project will be guaranteed and it has been suggested by the Scientific Advisory Board that the creation of a good network of Russian and European institutes and actors could support in this task: this way, the database can become an effective long-term instrument for favouring the visibility of Russian research potential.
In this context, the role of E-URAL website as crucial source of information and materials should also be mentioned. The website will indeed keep representing a focal tool for researchers for obtaining information on EU-Russia collaboration opportunities and international events, also thanks to the News Alert service able to reach an extended network of potential interested targets.
Within E-URAL significant efforts were devoted to capacity building activities, aimed at increasing the awareness of Russian researchers and multipliers on FP7 structure, priorities and rules. E-URAL training sessions were joined by a significant number of participants who demonstrated a great interest and satisfaction for the proposed topics. The trainings thus had an impact in terms of increased awareness on FP7 opportunities for environmental research and in terms of better knowledge of FP7 participation procedures and strategies for proposal preparation. Moreover, the success of training sessions make them a model to be potentially repeated by the Russian institutes themselves for enlarging the number of beneficiaries and for creating a shared know-how within their research and administrative staff.
Short term staff exchanges (and, in general, cooperation within the project) also permitted to increase the skills of E-URAL Russian partners through the exchange of good-practices with EU partners, the assistance for proposal preparation, the creation of new contacts with EU research institutes. It is expected that, after strengthening their skills through E-URAL experience, Russian partners will continue promoting EU-Russia collaboration, both with initiatives within their institutes and (especially those partners active in research facilitation and international cooperation) also with initiatives addressed to other Russian institutes.
E-URAL thematic workshops and brokerage events, networking activities and other actions for individual match-making and for assisting consortium building are the main initiatives which allowed to promote the dialogue between European and Russian researchers on thematic areas of the FP7 Environment programme and to identify common interests and cooperation opportunities. Thanks to these actions, EU and Russian researchers could meet new potential partners, propose and discuss cooperation ideas and enlarge their research network.
In particular, thematic workshops constituted an important occasion of mutual knowledge and exchanges between EU and Russia scientific communities. These events became significant opportunities for communicating, especially to young Russian researchers, the EU approach to environmental research, based on an interdisciplinary vision, the active involvement of stakeholders in the formulation and exploitation of research outcomes, the participation of SMEs and a strong relevance to innovation aspects and to business-driven research (all aspects which are often not exploited in the Russian approach to environmental research).
Considering the success achieved by E-URAL brokerage events in terms of participation and creation of new collaborations, this instruments turned out to be an example of good practice for favouring match making and for fostering the starting of new joint project proposals, and it is suggested to replicate this approach in future contexts.
To assess the performance of its services, E-URAL also performed follow-up activities, which monitored the birth of new cooperation initiatives and allowed to identify concrete collaboration actions such as the submission of joint EU-Russia FP7 proposals (some of them were presented at the E-URAL Final Conference).
Dozens of new EU-Russia contacts were monitored and, according to E-URAL consortium knowledge, out of about 20 joint proposals submitted, seven joint projects were selected for funding, which can be evaluated as a very positive outcome.
A relevant potential impact of E-URAL project consists thus in the continuation of the recent contacts and in the extension of concrete collaboration actions between EU and Russian researchers even after the closure of the project (for example, for participating to the last FP7 Call for Proposal on the theme Environment). This result could be emphasized if concrete and effective actions will be taken also at the policy level for reinforcing the EU-Russia collaboration on environmental research.
All the aforementioned actions allowed to identify which are the research needs of Russian institutes and which are the priority research areas in the environmental domain where new EU-Russia collaborations could flourish. This relevant achievement of the project should be taken into account by policy-makers when defining future domains of cooperation in environmental research between EU and Russia. Moreover, E-URAL activities permitted to identify the most promising mechanisms for EU-Russia cooperation. Among them we can find the twinning of EU-funded project with project funded by a Russian programme owner and covering the same topics and objectives (ex-post twinning), the opening of coordinated calls for proposals (such as those proposed by the RUS project), SICA-Specific International Cooperation Actions. This result could have an impact at the policy level, because such mechanisms could be considered and reinforced when setting new cooperation policies and could be better exploited when funding new cooperation programmes.
Thanks to the contribution of experts from different fields (environmental research, international cooperation, policy-making, etc.), E-URAL project succeeded in identifying and discussing which current factors and situations are considered as hindrances to the participation of Russian researchers to FP7 program (as reported in the Summary Report of the final conference). In this sense, the project could provide a significant contribution to policy-makers working for EU-Russia collaboration, by suggesting priority actions which could have a significant short-term impact in fostering joint research initiatives. The identified obstacles and barriers could indeed drive the setting-up of good practices suitable to ease the cooperation between researchers, such as the simplification of administrative/financial procedures or the adoption of facilitated procedures for issuing scientific visa.
Finally, it should be highlighted that one of the specific features of E-URAL project consisted in adopting a bottom-up approach, based on the direct and active involvement of researchers in the definition of priority topics for collaboration and in the start-up of new contacts and projects. This approach allowed to bring out the vivid interest of both EU and Russian researchers for beginning new collaborations: this aspect is very significant since the mutual curiosity and interest could contribute to overcoming those difficulties, restrictions and bureaucratic constraints which hamper the dialogue at the policy level and slow down the international cooperation process. The interest emerged through workshops, brokerage events and other networking activities proved to be the most effective nourishment to EU-Russia cooperation and can be an incisive driver for moving closer EU and Russia environmental research areas.
In this direction, the EURAXESS portal ( has been identified as a potential effective instrument for highlighting and disseminating information about jobs and cooperation opportunities. Taking as an example similar initiatives realized for other Countries (e.g. China, India, USA), EURAXESS-links section of the portal can be extended to Russian Federation for easing the dialogue among EU researchers working in Russia and for supporting the dissemination of funding and grant information addressing international cooperation.
In conclusion, the highlighted positive results concerning the several initiatives and services proposed by the project make the E-URAL strategy appealing as an effective model for inspiring future initiatives concerning the involvement of Third Countries in EU-funded research programmes and the strengthening of EU scientific collaboration with such countries.

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