Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


INCONET CA Report Summary

Project ID: 609508
Funded under: FP7-INCO
Country: Poland

Final Report Summary - INCONET CA (STI International Cooperation Network for Central Asian Countries)

Executive Summary:
The IncoNet CA project – “STI International Cooperation Network for Central Asian Countries”-- supported the advancement of the bi-regional Science, Technology & Innovation (STI) policy dialogue between the EU and the Central Asian countries, with an explicit focus on the Societal Challenges that have been identified to be of mutual interest for the two regions, namely, Climate Change, Energy and Health.

The project was implemented by a large consortium of 16 entities from both EU Member States & Associated Countries and CA covering a broad spectrum of competences (i.e. governmental agencies, research organizations, National Contact Points for STI, innovation actors, etc.).

To achieve its goals, the project adopted a multi-layer approach, focusing on:

- Policy Dialogue
- Supporting the participation of CA researchers in H2020;
- Promoting innovation in the EU-CA STI cooperation.

First, to promote the EU – CA policy dialogue in STI, the project organized a series of Policy Stakeholders Conferences (PSCs) involving policy makers, representatives of the research communities, as well as representatives of innovation-related structures. These conferences highlighted the common STI interests and strengths and provided recommendations for enhanced EU-CA cooperation in the fields of Climate Change, Energy and Health research. The project also implemented an STI Policy Mix Peer Review in Kyrgyzstan which illustrated the interest of this country to implement reforms in its STI system based on the EU’s expertise and methodology. Last but not least, in the context of the policy dialogue activities the project promoted the participation of CA countries in co-fund schemes with the EU, such as in ERANETs and JPIs. Negotiations are ongoing to initiate such participation.

The preparation of these policy dialogue activities was based on analytical work implemented by the project and, in particular, on the co-publication analysis between EU and CA as well as on the mapping exercise of funded STI projects (multilateral, bilateral & national) involving EU and CA researchers.

Second, to support the participation in H2020, the IncoNet CA organized a broad spectrum of activities, including grants for twinning between EU and CA research institutes/teams and grants for individual researchers to attend Brokerage Events and conferences in EU. Additionally, the project organised information days on H2020 in all the CA countries, including dedicated activities for supporting the CA NCPs. Specific attention was given to the participation of young researchers in this type of events.

Third, to support innovation, the project promoted the establishment of links between the European Technology Platforms, the Joint Technological Initiatives in EU, the Knowledge Innovation Communities and the Enterprise Europe Network with the CA countries through missions between the two regions. In parallel, trainings on innovation management and entrepreneurship were organized in CA, to share the experience of the EU in that field, including a stakeholders’ conference on the European Innovation Scoreboard and the Innovation Trend Chart (ITC).

Lastly, the project, along its duration, delivered a set of ad-hoc activities to address raised needs and support specific requests from the European Commission and from the CA national authorities.

The whole batch of IncoNet CA activities was complemented by a coherent set of dissemination and communication actions to ensure the visibility of the project and its impact on the EU- CA STI cooperation.

In terms of impact we should mention the high interest from the CA national authorities in the main activities and results of the project as this was illustrated by the high-level participation in the organized events (often at ministerial level) and the hosting of the first Policy Stakeholders Conference at the premises of the Kyrgyz Parliament. In that respect, the project also contributed to Science Diplomacy activities between EU and CA.

Project Context and Objectives:
The IncoNet CA project was the third in a line addressing the European Union's STI cooperation with the broader area of Central Asia since 2008 (following the IncoNet EECA and IncoNet CA/SC projects) but the first project exclusively targeting the Central Asian countries.

1. Project Context

Linking with the Central Asian countries, namely, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan has been of high strategic importance to the EU: All the countries in CA have experienced a considerable transformation of their political and economic systems following their independence and are currently depicting a respectable economic development. With substantial human and natural resources and as growing markets for EU products and services (and vice-versa), their political and social progress and their growth is mutually important for the political, economic and social development of the EU. Stronger collaboration between the European Union and Central Asia is expected to create prosperity and welfare for the benefit of both regions.

The European interest in closer collaboration has been expressed in the European Strategy for a New Partnership with Central Asia adopted in 2007, but also in its recent Review (Council Conclusions, June 2015). The Council Conclusions of June 2015 acknowledged that eight years after the adoption of the Central Asia Strategy, substantial progress has been achieved in developing the EU's relations with Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan as well as with the Central Asian region as a whole. Highlighting the significant mutual interest in increased political and economic cooperation, the Review reaffirms the EU’s commitment to a relationship based on the principles of responsibility and ownership, which is aimed at fostering the stable, secure and sustainable development of the region.

As regards the STI systems in the region, one has to take into account, that all Central Asian countries have faced considerable downsizing of research capacities during the 1990s. This has led until today to a clear need for modernisation of their research system. However, through the IncoNet CA, it has been demonstrated that several Central Asian countries still possess particular scientific potential. In terms of absolute figures for active scientists and research institutions, in particular, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan continue ranking high in the region. The Central Asian countries possess a considerable academic capacity with leading S&T institutes in selected scientific disciplines producing significant research results under often difficult working conditions.

Latest developments in the region demonstrate that, in CA countries, forces of reform are under development in the STI field. In the framework of IncoNet CA, not only reform initiatives have been supported as was the case with the STI Policy Mix Peer Review conducted after the request of the Kyrgyz authorities, but also supportive actions were undertaken to underpin the promotion of innovation and transfer of knowledge in the region. This goes in line with the recent Review of the EU Strategy for CA (June 2015) which stipulates that "ensuring links between education, research and labour markets will further promote innovation and employment for young people and contribute to the sustainable economic development of the region".

2. Main Objectives

Against the afore-mentioned context, from September 2013, the IncoNet CA project promoted the policy dialogue between the EU MS/AC and CA countries, supported by analytical evidence and monitoring in order to feed the dialogue and support joint agenda setting. In addition, coordination and support activities facilitated the participation of CA in Horizon 2020 and promote innovation and knowledge transfer to a variety of stakeholders in CA.

In particular, the main objectives of IncoNet CA can be summarized in the following four (4) key areas:

(a) Supporting EU-CA STI policy dialogue by mobilizing key stakeholders;

In CA, there is an absence of any type of formal EU-CA policy dialogue platform in the field of STI, compared to formal structures of policy dialogue with other regions around the world. To address this challenge, the IncoNet CA project provided an informal platform for dialogue along its duration. In particular, it proposed the organization of three Policy Stakeholders Conferences (PSCs) on EU-CA STI Cooperation in the fields of energy, climate change and health, with a view to bring together policymakers, and the research communities from EU and CA with a view to come up with policy recommendations.

Moreover, the project implemented an STI Policy Mix Peer Review (PMPR) in Kyrgyzstan, which is also a form of policy dialogue among peers from EU and CA aiming at improving the STI system in the target country by using EU expertise and methodology. This initiative aimed to open the door for reforms in the STI system as this was the case in a similar PMPR in Kazakhstan under the predecessor project, IncoNet EECA.

In addition, IncoNet CA promoted policy dialogue with a view to co-fund research activities among funding agencies from EU and CA contributing to the harmonization of the STI systems, as this was illustrated by the expressed mutual interest and commitment from both sides in a feasibility study conducted by the project.

To underpin the afore-mentioned activities with evidence a set of analytical activities were implemented, as it is explained below.

(b) Implementing analytical evidence activities to support the EU-CA cooperation

The IncoNet CA project implemented a set of analytical evidence activities which would remove obstacles in cooperation, underpinning the policy dialogue with evidence. This would also remove obstacles in the cooperation among the researchers within H2020 and beyond. In particular, the project implemented a mapping exercise to identify STI programmes and projects addressing CA countries from 2010 onwards (with a focus on Energy, Climate Change and Health). This had as an objective to find out the people behind the programmes and projects and involve them in the project’s activities. Moreover, bibliometric analyses of EU-CA co-publications on Energy, Climate Change and Health were implemented covering the period 2003-2013, including results on authors and affiliated institutes. The aim was to come up with usable information and identification of the most active EU-CA publishing teams. Lastly, STI barometers were implemented aiming to receive input from the EU and CA researchers with regard to the progress of their cooperation.

(c) Fostering cooperation among researchers in EU and CA by promoting the EU’s Framework Programme "Horizon 2020" and by supporting the development of joint applications to it;

Participation of CA in the Framework Programmes (FPs) always involved difficulties if not obstacles. Although the FPs have been open to CA in general terms, participation of CA researchers was difficult and limited. Lack of dissemination and information, weak NCP systems in the area, lack of established and strong contacts with EU consortia are some of the main obstacles. To address these challenges, the IncoNet CA project provided a set of support activities. Trainings for NCPs were implemented as well as awareness campaigns addressing the national authorities for the promotion of the importance of NCP systems. Info days were organized to target the academic and research community of CA countries, with emphasis to young CA researchers, in order to provide information for H2020 as well as for specific open calls. Last but most important, IncoNet CA provided two types of grant: one grant aimed to support twinning among research institutes/teams from both the EU and CA in order to strengthen their scientific cooperation in the context of applications to H2020 and beyond. Another grant for Brokerage Events in EU aimed to support individual CA researchers in networking with EU counterparts in the context of open H2020 calls.

(d) Fostering cooperation in the field of Innovation through capacity building actions and stronger links among Central Asian and EU innovation actors.

Innovation and exploitation of research output is a major issue in CA. The economy and the market are still very much state controlled in CA, and the links between the industry and the research and universities are very weak. In addition, very weak are also the research activities within the private sector. Therefore, the EU’s know-how and initiatives in the field of innovation are very important for CA. To this end, the IncoNet CA had as a key objective to promote innovation in CA by identifying and sharing good practices and by bridging the gap between public and private innovation actors in the region. In particular, cooperation with EU innovation or technological platforms (ETPs, JTIs, KICs, EEN, etc.) brought CA countries closer to the EU practice. Second, capacity building trainings in the field of R&I policies, management and entrepreneurship targeted the relevant policymakers, and innovation stakeholders from CA countries. In addition, the European Union Innovation Scoreboard & Innovation Trend Chart (ITC) concepts were promoted with a view to explore their extension in CA countries.

(e) Dissemination & Communication Activities was of key importance for the project.

Last but not least, the IncoNet CA project implemented a coherent set of dissemination and communication actions with the objective to ensure the visibility of the project and of its impact on the EU- CA STI cooperation. In that respect, a web-portal ( ) and a web-site ( were established with the aim to provide information to the interested parties, and to the general public, about the project’s activities and about news and developments in the EU-CA STI cooperation.

Project Results:
The main S&T results of the IncoNet CA Project are derived from the following support and coordination activities implemented from September 2013 to September 2016:

A. Policy Dialogue: Since the beginning of the project, IncoNet CA has supported the advancement of the EU-CA STI policy dialogue between the two regions through:

(1) Policy Stakeholders Conferences

The IncoNet CA project organized three Policy Stakeholders Conferences (PSCs) addressing the EU-CA cooperation on societal challenges identified to be of mutual interest, i.e. Energy, Climate Change and Health, with the aim to provide a forum for dialogue among policymakers and the research communities from EU and CA. In particular, the 1st Policy Stakeholders Conference (PSC) addressed Climate Change (Bishkek/September 2014) and it was co-organized by the Kyrgyz President’s Office, the Kyrgyz National Parliament and the National Kyrgyz Library, while the EU Delegation in Bishkek also attended the event. The Conference took place at the premises of the Kyrgyz Parliament showing the interest of this country to promote the cooperation with EU, especially on Climate Change which constitutes a major threat for Kyrgyzstan. The EU Delegation in Bishkek was represented during the conference. The 2nd PSC addressed pressing issues related to Energy Research & Innovation (Astana/October 2015). It took place back to back with a mission to Astana of an EU Delegation headed by the Director of INCO, DG R&I, who addressed the conference, along with the Kazak Minister of Development and Investment and representatives from the Ministry of Science and Education of Kazakhstan. During the Astana Conference representatives of ERANETs, KICs and energy related platforms exchanged views with colleagues from all the CA countries. Lastly, the 3rd PSC addressed the EU-CA cooperation on Health Research & Innovation (Warsaw/May 2016). The conference attracted representatives from the European Commission‘s Scientific Panel for Health, EIPs and ERANETs related to health.

The Policy Stakeholders Conferences was a successful tool to establish an informal platform for advanced policy dialogue engendering useful recommendations, but also for scientific information exchange, and networking, in particular, on the three societal challenges (climate change, energy and health). Main results of the PSCs were the following:

• Bringing together in a specific thematic conference stakeholders of different profiles and various institutions (policymaking institutions, multilateral institutions and donors, research institutes, ERANETs, KICs, NGOs, SMEs, etc.) that would, otherwise, most likely not meet;
• Possibility of STI policy fermentations and formulations of recommendations on the enhancement of the STI cooperation in addressing societal challenges;
• Identification of local, regional, and international initiatives, common objectives, operational instruments (programmes);
• Promotion of the awareness about existing models of research, innovation and successful projects implemented in CA in the 3 SCs;
• Addressing specific problems that CA countries face and that are of mutual interest and benefit;

(2) STI Policy Mix Peer Review

A STI Policy Mix Peer Review was implemented in Kyrgyzstan, in 2015, coinciding with a major STI reform in the country, the final Report of which was presented to the Kyrgyz authorities, in September 2016 in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. The Review took place by a peer of independent experts from the EU and it was conducted through in situ interviews and visits to a number of relevant STI organizations (Ministries, Academy, Universities, Research centres, etc).

The science sector of the Kyrgyz Republic has experienced since the independence of the country a period of 25 years of stagnation and degradation. It has been operating in a survival mode and received only very limited state funding (0.1 - 0.2% of GDP). Only since 2015 serious attempts and steps towards reform have started to be implemented. In this context, the Kyrgyz Government requested a peer review of the Science and Technology policy mix (PMPR) of the Kyrgyz Republic in the frame of the EU funded project IncoNet Central Asia (IncoNet CA) .

The review was implemented in 2015-2016. The analysis covered S&T strategy and governance, Public Research Organisations (PRO) and Higher Education Institutions (HEI), Financing of Research, Research Personnel, and Innovation and the Private Sector. It provided a valuable set of recommendations based on the EU’s expertise, which can be instrumental for the ongoing reforms of the STI system in Kyrgyzstan.

(3) Participation of CA countries in EU funding mechanisms, such as ERANETs/JPIs

A feasibility study was conducted, as a pilot action, for the participation of CA countries in EU funding mechanisms (i.e. ERANETs and JPIs). The principal objective was to support CA countries establish contact with EU funding agencies with a view to joining on-going and forthcoming ERANETs/JPIs calls. The activity included preparation of a study about theoretical and practical information on ERANETs, presentation of ERA.Net RUS Plus as a good practice, as well as lists about the on-going and forthcoming ERANETs and JPIs on the 3 Societal Challenges (SCs) identified to be of mutual interest between EU M/S and CA (i.e. Health, Energy and Climate Change). Besides, it covered a consultation process with programme owners and other stakeholders of the EU MS/AC and CA countries in order to identify common ground and readiness for commitment to build joint structured cooperation activities.

As a result of this activity, the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Healthcare Administration of the Almaty/Kazakhstan, the Ministry of Education and Science of the Kyrgyz Republic, the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Tajikistan, the Committee for Coordination of Science and Technology Development (DDCTD) under Cabinet of Ministers of Uzbekistan expressed their interest to join specific on-going and forthcoming calls for ERANETs and JPIs. These ERANETs and JPIs expressed their readiness to cooperate with the afore-mentioned national authorities from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Communication between the two sides about further steps and fulfilment of the conditions for accession is in progress.

In particular, the most concrete interest of participation in ERANETs expressed in the context of the IncoNet CA project derived from Kazakhstan:

The Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan, with a Letter of Interest, expressed its intention to participate in the BIOTEC-01-2016: ERANET Cofund on Biotechnologies, SC5-17-2016: ERANET Cofund on Raw materials and EE-21-2016: ERANET Cofund actions supporting Joint Actions towards increasing energy efficiency in industry and services.

The Healthcare Administration of the Almaty Government also expressed interest with a Letter of Intent in joining E-Rare-3 - ERANET for Research Programmes on Rare Diseases and TRANSCAN-2 as well as INFECT-ERA. Representatives from the Health Administration of the Almaty Government were also invited at the Policy Stakeholders Conference on “EU-CA STI Cooperation on Health Research” (Warsaw, May 2016) organised by IncoNet CA, where they had discussions with the Polish partner of the ERANET on Rare Diseases whereby they were invited for discussions at the Board Meeting of the ERANET in Warsaw (June 2016). Through the consultation process facilitated by IncoNet CA, the Almaty Government also received an invitation for the Board meeting of TRANSCAN-2 that would take place in September 2016.

(4) Ad-hoc Activity on EU-CA collaboration on water research

One of the key conclusions of the IncoNet CA analytical evidence activities was the importance of the topic of water in Central Asia not only because its management constitutes a source of instability in the region but also because Central Asia presents unique characteristics (CA mountain glaciers, Aral sea, etc.) that the European scientific community would have a vested interest in investigating, in full accordance with the established Water Diplomacy Strategy of the European Union of 2013. After consultations with the European Commission, the IncoNet CA project organized an Ad-hoc “Workshop for the Future of Water-related Research Collaboration between the EU & Central Asia” that served to elaborate concrete recommendations and opening the door for future structured cooperation in H2020 and beyond.

The workshop attracted EU and Central Asia policy makers and experts from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan as well as from France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, the Netherlands, U.K. and Jordan, representing national authorities, scientific institutions, and international cooperation programmes on water related issues as well as the Directorate General for R&I of the European Commission.

One of the conclusions of the workshop is that Central Asia constitutes an area of high EU research interest which reaffirms the need for advanced EU-CA collaboration and concrete synergies in water research. Such cooperation can be supported through actions under the “Horizon 2020” Framework Programme for Research & Technological Development, possibly through calls with regional focus, or bilateral research cooperation programmes.

(5) Expert Group Meetings for Recommendations

The IncoNet CA project organised three Expert Group meetings for Recommendations on EU-Central Asia Science, Technology & Innovation Cooperation on Energy, Climate Change and Health (Athens, Apr. 2016, Bonn May 2016).

The meetings were organised in the framework of an evaluation of the outcomes of the major activities on Health, Climate Change and Energy, conducted by the IncoNet CA. Recommendations focused on Potential Topics and Means of Cooperation on these 3 societal challenges (SC); Promotion of Innovation; and Drivers of the EU-CA STI Cooperation on the 3 SCs.

The analysis of the outcome of the activities of IncoNet CA on the three SCs demonstrated the state of affairs of Energy, Climate Change and Health research and innovation within CA countries but also in CA as a region. Emphasis was also cast on the state of affairs of EU-CA STI cooperation on Energy, Climate Change and Health, in particular, the part of identification of main/key CA STI players active in the EU-CA STI Cooperation in the three SCs.

The evaluation also allowed for a critical review of the main activities of the IncoNet CA project targeting EU-CA cooperation on the three SCs. The explicit focus of the IncoNet CA activities on the three SCs allowed for a deeper understanding of the most and the least active SCs in EU-CA STI cooperation, in scientific co-publications with CA but also in funding programmes in CA. It also allowed to focus on mobilising researchers and scientists from these three SCs from both the EU and CA. It gave the opportunity to focus on the stimulation of synergies at the level of joint projects within these three SCs. Finally, it helped to bring closer policy-makers related to the afore-mentioned SCs both from the EU and CA countries, and make them discuss the challenges and opportunities for future EU-CA cooperation. Most importantly, the whole set of CSA activities implemented by IncoNet CA revealed the main key issues related to Energy, Climate Change and Health in Central Asia that would necessitate research collaboration with the European Research Area (ERA).

(6) Capacity building in R&I policies

In the context of IncoNet CA, a capacity building in research and innovation policy was organized through a one-week high-level seminar addressed to CA policymakers, in February 2015, in Vienna. One of the aims of IncoNet CA was to increase knowledge and understanding among stakeholders responsible for STI in the CA countries. Moreover, the intention was to promote innovation in CA by identifying and sharing good practices in order to foster public-private partnerships through the involvement of public and private innovation actors. The ultimate objective was to improve the framework conditions in the CA countries aiming to establish long lasting cooperation with the European Research Area.
To that end, the afore-mentioned training for CA policymakers informed about the fundamental theory of STI policy-making and policy-delivery, discussed new approaches and instruments of modern STI policies and put emphasis on policy learning, assessment and evaluation of public interventions.

B. Analytical evidence: IncoNet CA has implemented analytical evidence activities with the aim to feed the above-mentioned policy dialogue support actions.

The following are the main analytical evidence activities that were provided:

(1) Co-publication analyses

IncoNet CA implemented bibliometric analyses of joint EU-CA scientific co-publications in the 3 SCs, to identify the strengths in the bi-regional cooperation. The bibliometric analyses provided valuable information about trends in the 3 SCs, most active authors and affiliated institutions.

Bibliometric co-publication analyses on Energy, Climate Change and Health between EU/MS - CA countries have been conducted based on Elsevier’s Scopus and Thomson-Reuters Web of Science (WoS). The data were retrieved in May 2014 for the time period 2003-2013. Co-publications are considered to be the international scientific co-publications with the participation of at least two institutions/organisations in at least two different countries of which one has to be a CA country.
In particular:

- Climate Change: 130 co-publications. Generally, we see a low level of scientific output in the CA region, because less than 1% of CA publications account for this field. We see that Germany and the US are the most important co-publication partners in Climate Change (CC).
- Energy: 1008 co-publications. Only 7% of CA output relates to the field of “Energy” and in this Science Metrix (SM) sub-field we only see a slight increase of publications during the last years. The topics “Energy Efficiency” and “Coal/Coke” are in the focus of the overall publications, followed by “Hydrogen”, “Solar Energy” and “Computer Simulation”. The most important co-publication partners are Russia (96 publications), the EU28/AC (66 publications) and the US (58 publications). China (20) and Japan (20) are also important partners.
- Health: 2147 co-publications. We identified a higher number of co-publications in the Science Metrix domain “Health Sciences” (2,147) which represents 14% of the total CA region output. Therefore, we are able to present a more detailed analysis for this field. In terms of shares related to other SM health-related domains, Kyrgyzstan has the strongest performance in “Health Sciences”. In terms of shares related to other SM fields Kazakhstan has the strongest performance in Biomedical Research, Turkmenistan in Clinical Medicine and Tajikistan in Public Health & Health Services. Over the observed period, Kazakhstan shows the strongest growth in health-related publications, Kyrgyzstan shows a growth as well, Uzbekistan’s publications are declining.

The analysis showed also that the fields “Climate Change” and “Energy”, which have been considered as top priorities among SC, for EU-CA S&T collaboration, are not very popular to the scientific community of CA countries, since the number of publications/ co-publications in these fields is limited.

The co-publication analysis served as a pool for identifying the most active CA authors and their affiliated institutes in the context of activities of IncoNet CA (through the creation of a database). In particular, the implementation of Twinning Grants for the preparation of proposals for Horizon 2020: CA authors were invited to submit a short application for building up a consortium with EU research teams for a specific forthcoming topic of the Work Programme 2015-2016. Three authors succeeded and were provided with a grant of 8,000 euros.

(2) Identification of actions and stakeholders

IncoNet CA provided a thorough identification of stakeholders and actions in Central Asian countries (multilateral, bilateral and national programmes and projects) with a mapping exercise and the creation of a relevant public database ( in the fields of Climate Change, Energy and Health.

This activity revealed that 203 identified projects related to the EU-CA STI cooperation were funded by international programmes during the period 2010 onwards, out of which more than 47% (95 projects) are related to Climate Change, 34% (70 projects) to Health and 19% (38 projects) to Energy. These findings demonstrate the trend under international funding in Central Asia: Climate Change is dominant, Health is following with a high percentage, while Energy has a lower absolute number in international projects.

In Energy, Kazakhstan seems to be the most active country in receiving international funding in the region and, in particular, mostly from GFSR, INOGATE and UNDP. UNDP has also considerable presence in other CA countries except for Turkmenistan. It can be concluded that Climate Change is dominant in international funding with ENVSEC and UNDP in important roles in all five CA countries. FP7 and ISTC are very present in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, while the World Bank is more active in Tajikistan.

Finally, in Health, ISTC is by far the most active donor, followed by GFSR and UNDP. Mirroring the statistics for all societal challenges, Kazakhstan also attracts most projects specifically related to health. Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are again relatively well represented, while Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan much less. Kazakhstan mostly receives international funding from ISTC and GFSR and to a less extent from FP7 and WB, while Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are mainly funded by ISTC and to a less extent by UNDP.

The database with the identified programmes, projects and stakeholders was used in several times by the project in order to involve this people in its activities, such as participation in Policy Stakeholders Conferences, participation in the STI barometers, etc.

(3) STI Barometer

An STI barometer was developed for the cooperation in science and technology between EU-CA especially regarding the “attitude towards STI cooperation” through two online-questionnaires that were addressed to project coordinators and partners in the projects, identified by the project in its mapping exercise (approx. 100), as well as other stakeholders in the policy and science communities. Collected input was reviewed by a focus group of 7-10 experts and face-to-face interviews to get a deeper insight.

The results of the barometer gave an overview about tendencies in STI cooperation with EU and other regions. During the last two years EU was indicated as the most important region concerning science, research and technology cooperation in all CA countries. The most important EU countries seem to be Germany, UK (mainly for Kazakhstan), Italy, France, Austria (primarily for Uzbekistan) and Spain. USA (mainly for Kazakh and Uzbek researchers), Russia (for Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan) and South Korea (primarily for Kazakh and Uzbek researchers) were also indicated as important international countries. Positive tendencies have been observed in all CA countries in terms of EU bilateral cooperation and EU programmes (such as FP7 and H2020). The barometer also identified the most important trends, bottlenecks, actions and tools in STI cooperation. Generally speaking international cooperation is very significant for all the responding organisations: the level of cooperation both with single European countries (bilateral cooperation) and with several European countries in the EU programmes (such as FP7 and H2020) shows increasing tendency. The most important international research, science and technology cooperation activities are bilateral and international multilateral project collaboration; collaboration on international co-publications; exchange of S&T Information on strategic level to set up future joint activities. The most popular tools that have the potential to facilitate the participation of CA researchers in H2020, are scientific conferences, partner search support, project management training and participation in brokerage events. Most of the respondents indicated that they are well-informed about H2020.

C. Promotion of Horizon 2020: In addition, IncoNet CA has fostered cooperation among researchers by promoting the EU’s Framework Programme but also setting the base for new synergies and scientific collaboration within and beyond H2020 through the following activities:

(1) Twinning among Research Institutes

IncoNet CA provided Grants for “Twinning among Research Institutes” to seed STI cooperation among EU and CA research institutes/teams for ultimately preparing proposals for Horizon 2020. As an additional activity, a dedicated call for "Coached Twinning for H2020" took place that specifically supported CA researchers with high publishing impact co-authoring with EU researchers to apply along with EU counterparts for H2020 grants.

In total 11 projects were funded with all Central Asian countries (with the exception of Turkmenistan) participating in at least one project. With regard to content, there is a relatively even distribution among the three key topics of Health Research (5 projects), Climate Change (3) and Energy (3). While most projects are still running at the time of writing, a webinar held with the coordinators of the twinning projects in July 2016 as well as the evaluation of the reports received so far shows, that the objectives of these calls by all means were fulfilled. The overall budget invested was approximately 79,795.46 €.

Through this pilot activity, research institutes with strong potential for and interest in cooperation with partners from the EU MS/AC were revealed in all (with the exception of Turkmenistan) countries of Central Asia. The Twinning Grant produced multiple synergies especially with bilateral calls from the EU MS/AC. Several research consortia that were founded in the context of the Twinning Grant have in the meantime successfully applied to bilateral calls in European countries. Given that only two projects have filed a report so far (September 2016), it is too early yet, to assess the outcome with regards to calls in the frame of H2020.

(2) Grants for Participation of CA Researchers in Brokerage Events

Grants for the participation of CA researchers in Brokerage Events in EU were provided in the context of IncoNet CA with the aim to enhance networking among researchers in view of joint proposal applications for H2020.

The main aim of the Brokerage Event Grant Scheme was to attract excellent scientists from the CA countries to participate in selected Brokerage Events or large scientific events related to the three SCs with a high networking potential in order to establish new contacts with European stakeholders and thus to increase their participation in forming H2020 consortia. As the activity met a high demand, the Project decided to extent the activity with one additional call for grants and two trainings of the grantees. For each SC, a relevant BE was selected where -in cooperation with the organizers- a possibility was provided to CA participants to present their profiles and research at a “Central Asia Session".
The first two “CA Sessions” were organized on Health and Climate Change back-to-back with the “STI Days” on 17-19 March 2015 in Paris. The side event for Energy was organized back-to-back with the EU Sustainable Energy Week on 17-18 June 2015 in Brussels.
Out of 40 CA scientists who received grants for their participation in Brokerage Events in EU countries, 17 attended Energy related events, 14 Climate Change related events and 9 Health related events.

(3) Info Days for H2020

One of the main results of the IncoNet CA project was the successful organization of dedicated H2020 Info Days in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan to provide information and assistance to the local research communities;

Along its duration, IncoNet CA organised a series of events in order to promote Horizon 2020 (at least two Info Days per CA country). Participants of these events were mainly researchers, scientists, representatives of research institutes and centres. The contents of the information days were prepared in accordance with recommendations of local organizers.

More than 1240 researchers attended the 9 Info days organized by IncoNet CA.

(4) Ad-hoc activity “Young Researchers Forum in Central Asia”

The Young Researchers Forum (Bishkek, June 2016) was organized based on the identified need to mobilize the new generation of Central Asian researchers in the cooperation with EU. Young and promising researchers from Central Asia, were selected through an open call to present their research work with relevance to specific open or forthcoming H2020 topics on energy, climate action and health. Selected young researchers were PhD holders, with conducted studies/research in EU.

The CA young researchers presented novel and promising research activities with relevance to H2020 topics, confirming the research excellence that Central Asia could dispose in the fields of energy, climate change and health. Presentations covered the following topics:

• The Multi-Stakeholder Approach for Green Economy Elements and Instruments Development in the Climate Change Adaptation in the Kyrgyz Republic
• Development of clean coal technologies at the Nazarbayev University, Kazakhstan
• Evaluation of indoor air pollution and prevalence of COPD among highlanders in Kyrgyzstan
• Alternative energy sources for transportation’s internal combustion engines
• Estimation of the impact of global climate change on the Tajikistan's glaciers
• Satellite Remote Sensing and GIS application in Agriculture and Water Management

In addition, young researchers were supported with information about cooperation opportunities within Horizon 2020 from experienced EU NCPs. Incentives to start effective research cooperation with EU partners were given, in particular, in the fields of health, energy and climate change.

The event was supported by the national authorities of Kyrgyzstan. Welcome speeches were provided by the Vice-prime minister of the Kyrgyz Republic, the Minister of Education and Science of the Kyrgyz Republic, the Deputy Minister of Economy of Kyrgyz Republic and the Rector of the Kyrgyz National University which also hosted the Forum.

Speakers underlined the importance of the Forum in the context of ongoing research reforms in Kyrgyzstan, and stressed the importance of international cooperation with the EU for the progress of science, technology and innovation in Central Asia. Representatives of the main academic institutions in Kyrgyzstan expressed their readiness to collaborate with the European research community following the two successful Kyrgyz cases of participation in H2020, which were also presented during the Forum: the Regional Office of the CAREN Project that was the first successful applicant from CA to H2020 with the MAGIC project and the Department of Pulmonology, National Center of Cardiology and Therapy that was the second successful applicant from CA to H2020 with the FRESHAIR project.

(5) Support to NCP structures

Support actions were implemented for H2020 NCP structures in CA: an NCP training seminar (Istanbul, Jan. 2014); an additional training based on a request from NCPs in CA for further training assistance (Istanbul May 2016); local awareness campaigns in the 4 CA countries during which EU NCP delegations had bilateral meetings with the national authorities, etc.

The Project had dedicated activities for Thematic NCPs in order to optimize the planning of the NCPs. NCPs are considered to be an important tool for STI Cooperation and promotion and support of activities related to STI cooperation. Moreover, an awareness campaign for the NCP structures was organized in the CA countries, especially addressed to the national policy level in CA countries. The aim of this activity was to review the latest developments on the role of the CA NCPs in the context of H2020, their current activities, and to promote the degree of support by local national authorities. NCP National Coordinators of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are also partners of the IncoNet CA consortium.

Although only one training was initially planned, because of high interest and due to requests from the side of CA partners, it was agreed to organize a second one.

The topics covered during the trainings were:
- General introduction of H2020 - structure, opportunities, work programmes, proposal submission and evaluation;
- How to write successful proposal (including practical examples),
- Workshop with exercises on financial/administrative management “What you should know to prepare budget and realize H2020 project”, How to find partners, Participant Portal – review of electronic project management tools. How to use them,
- Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions – hints and tips for proposal writing,
- Sharing experience and discussion on NCP Systems and TUBITAK’s New Support and Award Mechanism for H2020.

(6) Reciprocity in open programmes

A study for CA national research programmes open to European researchers was conducted as a reciprocity action from the side of CA countries.

The delivered study shows that Kazakhstan has two national programmes open for participation of foreign participants, including EU researchers. It concerns the grant funding of the Committee of Science of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan (CS-MES), and the innovation grants of the National Agency for Technology Development of the Ministry for Investment and Development of Kazakhstan (NATD). Other stakeholders are considering different tools to launch joint programmes or open their own ones to foreigners.

Kyrgyzstan has no programme open for EU researchers and is not considering any joint call with the EU MS/AC in the nearest future due to the economic situation in the country. Tajikistan and Uzbekistan have no open calls or programmes for the participation of EU researchers, but is to consider this possibility.

D. Promotion of innovation: Moreover, IncoNet CA has strengthened an effective and sustainable innovation partnership between the EU and CA countries by:

(1) Promotion of European Innovation Platforms

Linking CA innovation actors with European Technology Platforms (ETPs) was one of the main results of the IncoNet CA project. Below are the most important events where ETPs and similar structures in CA were involved: participation of ETP representatives in the Innovation Congress, May 2014, Astana (as part of the Astana Economic Forum); participation of CA researchers in the SET Plan Conference, December 2014, Rome; CA Session at the Climate-KIC Innovation Festival 2015, October 2015, Birmingham, UK; CA Session at the Healthy Aging Research Conference (HARC 2016), May 2016, the Medical University of Lodz/ EIT Health Innostars, Poland; Mission of Climate-KIC representatives to the 2nd Tashkent International Innovation Forum, Uzbekistan, May 2016;

One of the main objectives of the IncoNet CA was to promote Innovation in the CA countries in order to create synergies between relevant stakeholders in the EU MS/AC and CA. Links with the EU Technology Platforms and the EEN were established allowing mutual learning and exchange of best practices for enhanced public-private partnerships between the two regions.

The results of this activity can be summarized as follows:

- Development of contacts with the KICs, ETPs and EIPs that were non-existent before;
- Development of a better understanding of the interests of KICs and EIPs in CA, their needs and their understanding of cooperation with the region;
- IncoNet CA was successful in raising awareness within the EIPs and KICs on CA strengths in the STI sector. Connections on various levels and development of good dialogue;
- IncoNet CA provided unique opportunities for linking CA innovation equivalent structures and stakeholders with EEN and EU innovation platforms (innovation trainings, EEN workshop, CA missions to EU, EU stakeholders’ missions to CA)

(2) Promotion of EEN

IncoNet CA organized a workshop on the Enterprise Europe Network (EEN), October 2014, Tashkent.

Representatives of the European Union, young scientists from research institutes and representatives of SMEs from Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan, participated in the event. The aim of the Workshop was to reflect successful examples of cooperation of Central Asian (CA) countries with the Enterprise Europe Network and to propose ways to extend the network in CA countries. The workshop opened opportunities for researchers and entrepreneurs of Uzbekistan to set up cooperation with research institutes and enterprises in the EU, raise the experience of researches and entrepreneurs, and involve foreign capital in the infrastructure of Uzbekistan through the participation in projects and programmes of the EU. It also presented possibilities to develop the activity of research institutes and SMEs by introducing science and technology into the production.

(3) Innovation trainings

In the context of IncoNet CA, a training was organized in the field of innovation management and entrepreneurship, September 2014, Almaty. After a request from the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Tajikistan, a second training in the field of innovation took place (with unspent budget) with a view to cover identified gaps and improve the framework conditions in EU-CA cooperation in that respect (Dushanbe, June 2016).

The main result of these innovation seminars was to present and discuss different themes related to innovation. This included, for example, the concept of innovation, protection of innovation, intellectual property rights, innovation foresight, transfer and commercialization of innovation, among others. Both seminars involved 102 participants/trainees.

(4) Promotion of the EU Innovation Scoreboard & the Innovation Trend Chart (ICT)

IncoNet CA promoted the main European Union Innovation Scoreboard concepts with a view to explore their extension in CA countries.

This activity allowed for the organization of a seminar. The main objective of the seminar was to discuss how to extend the European Union experience on Innovation Measurement to Central Asia. It also aimed to discuss how to involve key stakeholders of Central Asia to use innovation measurement methodologies such as the Innovation Scoreboard and the Innovation Trend Chart (ITC). It was specifically aimed that the event moves beyond the ITC, which was the original focus of the task in the DoW. These discussions also allowed Kazakh stakeholders to then develop a roadmap to extend innovation measurement in Kazakhstan as a test case.

The practical side of the seminar also included a comprehensive overview of the EU experience, the role and functioning of the Innovation Union Scoreboard and techniques used, and data required and information generated for stakeholders and target groups. CA experts from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan presented their experience in the field of innovation statistics.

(5) Ad-hoc activity “Industrial R&D in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan and potential for cooperation with the EU”

Requested by the European Commission, this activity was considered to be of high importance, given the intention of the European Union to foster economic relations with Central Asia and, in particular, to enhance cooperation in the field of innovation. A major interest was to find out which Central Asian industries are active in R&D. This activity included desk research conducted by the local partners in Central Asia in cooperation with their national authorities. In the framework of this activity, industrial sectors with potential for R&D cooperation with the EU were identified in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Industrial sectors of common Central Asian interest are, mainly, chemical, metallurgical and mining industries (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan), agriculture and agro food (Kazakhstan and Tajikistan), energy (Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan) as well as manufacturing and processing industries (Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan). In each sector up to three most active industries that implement some R&D activities were identified.

E. Dissemination and Communication: Last but not least, IncoNet CA has put an emphasis on dissemination and communication ensuring visibility of the project and impact in the EU- CA STI cooperation through the following set of activities:

(1) Web-portal and web-site

IncoNet CA ensured smooth implementation of the main web-portal ( with a set of useful tools and the main website ( and utilization of an internal extranet platform for communication among and coordination between the project partners.

Below follow the main results of the web portal

- The web portal was the only online platform specifically dedicated to EU-EaP/EU-CA/EU-Russia STI cooperation that not only provided background information, but also offered up-to-date news, calls and events;
- User feedback has proven that the web portal and newsletter were perceived as a reliable and sought after source for a small target audience looking for very specific information. It thus contributed to strengthening EU-regional STI cooperation;
- The portal provided up-to-date information, which is hard to find elsewhere. The event calendar and calls section are the most popular sub-pages of the web portal;
- Country reports on the national STI landscape were updated yearly, which provided up-to-date information about the scientific policy, funding mechanism, technology and innovation status in each CA country;
- News and articles were diverse and cover many aspects of STI developments;
- The following data were provided: Project & Programme Databases (Mapping exercise); Key Research Institutions Database, stakeholders’ database for the promotion of IncoNet CA deliverables);

Below follow the main results of the website of the project:

- The website provided a compact and up-to date overview about the activities of the project. Public deliverables were published here, allowing all interested parties an insight into the achievements and progress of the project;
- It contained valuable information about all activities conducted during the project implementation and includes all necessary documents such as LoP, Agendas, Analysis, Deliverables, translation of STI documents into Russian, Results, Photos;
- IncoNet-CA project website and incrEAST portal were valuable tools for disseminating project activities and results as well as assisting in increasing cooperation between the regions.

(2) Outreach activities

Outreach of IncoNet CA activities through the participation in other international events included the EARMA Annual Conference in July 2016 in Leiden, Netherlands, the TWAS Science Diplomacy Workshop on Sustainable Water Management, Dec. 2015 in Trieste, Italy, as well as IncoNet CA major events (e.g. during the 3 PSCs).

Outreach activities were important part of the project. Throughout the project duration, project partners gave presentations on various project related topics at 3 Policy Stakeholder Conferences, at more than 10 workshops, such as the “EU-Kazakhstan cooperation in research, innovation and new technologies” workshop in London, the Expert Group Meetings for Recommendations on EU-CA Science, Technology & Innovation Cooperation in energy, health and climate change as well as in the occasion of 14 Info Days.

Moreover, the IncoNet CA project organised a panel session 'STI International Cooperation Network for Central Asian Countries' at the 21th Annual Conference of the European Association of Research Managers and Administrators (EARMA), 28th June - 1st July 2015 in Leiden, The Netherlands. The theme of the EARMA conference was 'Global Outreach: Enabling Cultures and Diversity in Research Management and Administration'. Finally, in view of the organization of a workshop dedicated to EU-CA Water management collaboration, the INCONET CA Project was presented to the high-level participants of the TWAS Science Diplomacy Workshop on Sustainable Water Management, which took place in Trieste, Italy (Dec. 2015). The workshop exposed participants to some key contemporary international policy issues relating to science diplomacy and sustainable water management, including the use of shared rivers and underground aquifers, cross-border pollution issues, safe drinking water and more.

(3) Communication

The communication activities of the IncoNet CA project included a Communication strategy of IncoNet CA key deliverables, the promotion of main deliverables of the project in two rounds to a stakeholders’ database (more than 1000 recipients), promotion of Deliverables of other projects, and translation into Russian of key documents to facilitate dissemination and communication with CA stakeholders.

For promoting IncoNet CA project deliverables, the project developed a “Communication and Dissemination Strategy”. The Strategy focused on the ways of exploitation of Project outcomes and established the main ways of Project outputs dissemination, which include publication on the web portal, websites and email distribution. Based on the data analysis performed for the development of the “Communication and Dissemination Strategy”, it was agreed that annotated dissemination activities must be performed in a close collaboration with the local CA partners. Furthermore, due to the strong policy context of the project, it was concluded that its major added value must be carefully communicated not only in the CA region, but also at the European level. Finally, based on the direct feedback from some of the CA consortium members, it was recommended that translation of crucial project outcomes into Russian should be done.

Finally, stakeholders included into the Public Database available at the web-portal of IncoNet CA have been contacted by the IncoNet CA project with a short survey in order to provide them a possibility for promoting their deliverables. Based on their replies and on the information available from CORDIS portal, the IncoNet CA project published a special issue “Project of the Month” promoting deliverables of the EU-CA projects ( as well as in the August 2016 issue of the incrEAST Newsletter ( The projects promoted on this web page made a significant contribution to development of national health standards in Central Asian countries; improvement of their quality of services in health facilities; training in molecular diagnostics for young CA scientists; research of infectious diseases; introduction of innovative methods of teaching and international standards in CA higher education system; development of sustainable land management practices; assessment of energy supply corridors; as well as strengthening regional capacity and performance.

Potential Impact:
IncoNet CA has contributed to the creation of stronger links among EU and CA STI policy stakeholders, contributing to the aims of the European Strategy for a New Partnership with Central Asia as well as its latest Review (Council Conclusions 2015). The project acted as a "policy dialogue bridge" between the two regions with its cumulative activities –such as the major Policy Stakeholders Conferences, the STI Policy Mix Peer Review in Kyrgyzstan, and the ad hoc policy dialogue activities– having a political and societal impact both in the short and the long term.

In addition, one should mention the high interest from the CA national authorities in the main activities and results of the project as this was illustrated by the high-level participation in the organized events (often at ministerial level) and the hosting of the first Policy Stakeholders Conference at the premises of the Kyrgyz Parliament. In that respect, the project emphatically contributed to the Science Diplomacy activities between EU and CA.

A. Policy Dialogue

The project acted as a de facto Policy Dialogue Platform for the EU – CA STI cooperation. While in other regions such platforms exist (EaP, Med, etc.) no such platform exists for CA. The project played this role, mainly, through the PSCs that involved a good mix of policy makers from both the EU MS/AC and the CA countries, as well as representatives of the scientific communities and the innovation sector.

The pertinence of these conferences is marked by the high-level participation of policymakers, often at ministerial level, as in the second PSC in Astana or as with the hosting of the first the Conference at the Kyrgyz Parliament with high-level participation from Members of the Parliament.

These Conferences provided a forum for reviewing the state of affairs in the EU – CA cooperation, the role and efficiency of international programmes and donors, as well as the opportunities and barriers for an enhanced cooperation. They managed to bring together in three specific thematic conferences 307 stakeholders of different profiles and various institutions (policymaking institutions, multilateral institutions and donors, research institutes, ERANETs, KICs, NGOs, SMEs, etc.).

As a result of the PSCs and the project as a whole, there are currently talks for participation of CA countries, most of which with Kazakhstan, in co-fund activities with EU (ERANETS and JPIs) that constitute structured forms of cooperation that not only necessitate concrete commitments but also a significant degree of harmonization of the STI procedures. In this context, Letters of Intent have been received from the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Healthcare Administration of Almaty/Kazakhstan, and the Ministry of Education and Science of the Kyrgyz Republic with expressions of interest to participate in specific ERANETs.

The implementation of the PMPR in KG is also an important policy dialogue activity implemented by the project at the request of the Kyrgyz authorities. It highlights the wish for reforms in the STI system of that country based on advice from EU peers and based on a methodology developed in EU. The PMPR exercise itself creates ties among the involved peers and the implementation of the recommendations opens perspectives for further support or mentoring activities between KG and EU. The PMPR Report has already propelled developments in the side of STI reforms in the country according to the local authorities.

The training on STI for 15 policy makers (Vienna, Feb. 2015) was also a simultaneous policy dialogue activity allowing the exchange of good practices among high-level representatives. Both the PMPR and the policy trainings definitively impact on the improvement of the Framework conditions for the EU- CA cooperation, which was one of the key aims of the project.

Workshop for the EU-CA collaboration on water research: water is a major issue in CA, on which the cooperation with EU can be beneficial through the sharing of good practices especially on Water management issues. Such exchange of good practices can contribute to the reduction of the political tensions that exist on that subject and can promote the role of EU in the context of the EU’s science diplomacy. The impact of the workshop is expected to be illustrated in forthcoming EU’s Framework Programme’s calls as well as in bilateral programmes with a focus on climate change, energy or water.

B. Promotion of H2020

Participation of CA in the Framework Programmes (FPs) always involved obstacles. Although the FPs have been open to CA in general terms, participation of CA researchers was difficult and limited (understanding the procedures, establishing contacts, high competition, etc.).

The project implemented a comprehensive series of activities addressing information multipliers and the research community:
- Train and consolidate the NCPs (19 NCP / participants in each training);
- Organize with them Info Days in all countries (more than 1240 researchers participated in total);
- Addressing specifically young researchers as a privileged target group with high potential for establishing joint projects with EU researchers (including the Young Researchers Forum in CA, with 150 participants);
- Providing two types of Grants aiming at creating links between institutes and researchers (11 twinning grants and 40 grants for Brokerage Events).

To support the Promotion of H2020 but also the Policy Dialogue activities, the project carried out analytical evidence activities: a mapping of the projects and programmes (230 identified projects); a co-publication analysis (3285 identified co-publications); an STI barometer (2 rounds; 87 participants) with the aim to identify the most active institutes and researchers involved in these activities as a priority target group for dissemination of information and participation not only in the project’s activities but also beyond.

C. Policy Recommendations

Based on all the above and by convening expert meetings the project provided recommendations on the 3 SC on which it concentrated.
These recommendations are focussing on the one hand on topics and on the other hand on more horizontal issues for enhancing the cooperation (e.g. means of cooperation, innovation issues, and drivers of EU-CA STI cooperation). They constitute a collective systematic work that can orient future actions at various levels (EU’s FP, Bilateral cooperation actions, etc.).

For this report it is pertinent to mention the following:

The below identified needs in EU-CA STI cooperation are highly recommended to be addressed:
• Supporting the development of internationalization strategies of Energy/Climate Change and Health related research organisations in CA;
• Closer alignment of national research programs with those of the EU on a mutual interest basis as a good facilitator of cooperation in research in the three SCs;
• On the other hand, the EU needs to develop more country-specific approaches towards CA due to increasing divergence of the CA countries;
• Joint access to funding with real industry partners (power plants, smelting & mining enterprises);

A number of factors should drive the EU-CA cooperation on STI in the three Societal Challenges. Access to EU knowledge networks and to further funding instruments are evaluated as the most important.

In particular, the following are identified as specific future drivers leading to STI cooperation:

• Know-how transfer from EU to CA, e.g. modelling tools/planning of needs;
• Access to H2020 funding for the CA research community;
• Increasing living conditions (salaries) of researchers in CA;
• More sustainable/economic ways to tackle common challenges;
• Creation of capacities for independent research and funding possibilities in the region
• EU as an example of regional research community;
• Changing mentalities and habits on use of water, energy, waste generation etc. ;
• CA as an important region for the Energy security of the EU and for long-term planning energy consumption from natural resources;
• Mutual benefitting both for the CA’s young research generation and for the European Research Area.

Finally, one of the biggest restraints to cooperation in STI is the gap between research and policy-making in the CA region. The parallel processes need to be connected and lead to the following recommendations in this regard:

• Bring policy makers and researchers together at regional or EU-CA level;
• Learn from EU system for improved decision making;
• Financial investment/incentives for connecting mechanisms;
• Assess costs of non-action;
• Use climate services as tool to motivate scientists for more applied research to fit policy making processes.

D. Promotion of Innovation

A major concern in CA where the exploitation of research results and the links between industry – academia are very limited, is an STI system dominated by the public sector.

Here important EU initiatives such as ETPs, EEN, KICs and JTIs have been promoted and links with relevant entities in CA have been initiated.

This activity was complemented by the study on Industrial R&D Cooperation to investigate perspectives and potential for further cooperation in that field.

Trainings on innovation management and entrepreneurship which were organized along with a comprehensive set of other innovation activities (workshop on EEN, stakeholders conference on EU Innovation TrendChart, etc.) opens perspectives for an enhanced cooperation between EU and CA, a region rich in natural resources with a considerable innovation potential.

E. Focus on three Societal Challenges

Focusing on three specific Societal Challenges (SCs), i.e. Climate Change, Energy and Health, which are identified as important priorities in CA countries, IncoNet CA allowed for thematic focus attractive for a specific range of actors in EU and CA. The interdisciplinary approach was promoted (mainly the nexus climate change/energy but also climate change/health), while the project results on the 3 SCs provided the possibility to better understand the research environment in these 3 fields in CA countries.

Having a focus on these 3 SCs, the project targeted activities responding to actual problems and up-to-date needs of the two involved regions (hot/priority topics). Finally, promotion of the 3 SCs helped to better address (with a rather focused identification and mobilization) the main CA stakeholders in these 3 fields, which constitutes a pool of collaboration for the years to come between the EU and CA in the fields of these 3 SCs.

F. Specific Impacts based on the Indicators of the Project

Based on the impact indicators set by the project, the Sustainability Review of the Project's Activities (conducted in August 2016) demonstrated that the IncoNet CA, along its duration, had the following key impacts (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far):

(1) No. of international programmes and donors working on Energy, Climate Change & Health in CA that were identified and addressed by IncoNet CA throughout its duration, available as a tool for future EU - CA cooperation actions and initiatives

More than 109 programmes relevant for Energy, Climate Change and Health were addressed by the project and they remain available as a tool for future actions (already several of them were utilized by the project, e.g. events, barometer, surveys).

In particular, 13 programmes were identified through the mapping exercise and 96 from the IncrEAST database. The actual value is very close to the state of play (all the international donors acting in the area have been identified and there is no missing programme at the level of multilateral funding for the period 2010 onwards) and in that sense the impact of the project in this domain can be evaluated as high.

(2) No. of successful EU - CA twinning research/scientific teams established

Eight projects were funded after two rounds of calls for grants. In addition, 3 extra twinning projects were funded as part of the more targeted/improved ad-hoc activity “Coached Twinning for H2020” which addressed the most active CA co-authors in international co-publications.

The final number of projects in total (11) is higher than the initially planned (10) and involved research institutes from all the CA countries. In that sense, the impact of the project in this domain can be evaluated as high.

(3) No. of ERA-NETs where CA countries are in advanced negotiations on co-funding with the support of the IncoNet CA project

Despite the fact that a proactive and dedicated consultation process (incl. promotion of the ERALEARN tool) took place by the Project (from Dec. 2015 up to Aug. 2016) no successful participation of CA funding agencies in ERANETs/JPIs was attained so far (Sept. 2016).

However, in at least two cases, negotiations are in process and may have concrete results by the end of 2016 or in 2017 (Letters of Interest exchanged):
- The Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan is in talks in order to participate in three ERANETs: the BIOTEC-01-2016: ERANET Cofund on Biotechnologies; SC5-17-2016: ERANET Cofund on Raw materials; and EE-21-2016: ERANET Cofund actions supporting Joint Actions towards increasing energy efficiency in industry and services.
- The Healthcare Administration of the Almaty Government is also in talks for joining three ERANETs: E-Rare-3 - ERANET for Research Programmes on Rare Diseases ; TRANSCAN-2 as well as INFECT-ERA.

Lack of political interest, restricted budget, and restricted knowledge are the main reasons/obstacles for not speeding up negotiations between ERANET coordinators and CA authorities.

Despite the fact that there is no finalized participation of CA countries in ERANETs/JPIs, the impact of the project on this aspect could be evaluated as high, when considering that only a Feasibility study was envisaged at the beginning and the impact of this action extends beyond the end of the project. The message that was meant to be transmitted to the CA national authorities was clearly sent by IncoNet CA. It is now up to the CA side to seriously consider the option of co-funding with specific ERANETs.

(4) No. of CA applicants (and successful applicants) in receiving EU funding, through H2020 (following the Twinning Projects, and the Brokerage Events)

As of data retrieved on 31 May 2016, only 3 are the successful participations of CA organisations in H2020 since its beginning. Although in the first year of H2020 (2014) the participation of CA was null, it seems that after 2015 there is an increase in the participation. Kyrgyzstan (2) and Kazakhstan (1) seem to be the most active in H2020 until now. 34 are the total applicants from CA until 31 May 2016.

About the twinning grants’ success, on a strategic level, they have been a clear success. In several cases, standing consortia between European research institutes took the Grants as an incentive to try and include partners from Central Asia into their research projects. At least two of these enlarged consortia in the meantime successfully applied for Grants from bilateral funding. Finally, all the three grantees of the “Coached Twinning for H2020” are preparing proposals for topics of the Work Programme 2016-2017, with deadline Sept. 2016 onwards.

In terms of Brokerage events’ success, we have no indication of participation of grantees in concrete proposals for H2020 after approx. one year of their participation in the BE (based on the feedback forms). Some applicants plan to submit proposal in 2016-2017.

Despite the fact that the participation of CA countries in H2020 based on the currently available data still remains decreased compared to FP7 (in total participation of CA in 57 projects), the impact of the project in the participation of CA applicants in H2020 can be evaluated as moderate. It is a matter of fact that H2020 has become more competitive and more innovation-oriented than its predecessor FP7 and this makes it difficult for most non-EU countries to participate in proposals.

(5) No. of CA researchers that took advantage of training involving technology transfer, spin-off creation, IPR, standards, pre-commercial procurement, access to finance, innovation voucher programmes, role of business incubators, etc.

Initially one training for innovation was envisaged with 35 trainees. This training on innovation took place in Kazakhstan (Almaty) in Sept. 2014. Since there was a high demand from the CA stakeholders on further actions towards innovation knowledge transfer, a second innovation seminar was decided to take place in Tajikistan (Dushanbe) in June 2016 based on the high demand and needs of the CA countries. Both events attracted finally 102 participants! The training in Vienna attracted 15 participants

As a result, it is not only that the one envisaged innovation seminar attracted the triple number of the initial target participants, but also IncoNet CA implemented a second seminar after the request of the local STI community. As a result, the impact on CA researchers that took advantage of training can be concluded that was high (three times more than the initial expected number).

(6) Number of visits of IncrEAST Website

The project maintain a web portal ( ). Along its duration the portal has been visited by 18,712 persons. 2 min 45 sec is the average visit duration. 2.5 actions are taken per visit. Out of 42,512 page views, 31,560 were unique. 1387 were the overall downloads, while 293 were the maximum actions in one visit. Moreover, a newsletter of incrEAST was disseminated bi-monthly to 399 registered subscribers.

The incrEAST web portal was a very useful tool for dissemination of IncoNet CA and visitors have evaluated it very positively. The impact of the project in terms this domain is evaluated high.

(7) Total no. of persons/stakeholders pro-actively reached by the project along its duration (in approximation)

This indicator cumulates the total number of persons benefitting from the project's activities (proactively reached by the project), by taking into account the beneficiaries of the public database (296 email contacts of stakeholders were addressed), the no. of recipients of questionnaires sent in the context of IncoNet CA surveys (87 recipients plus 10 experts that commented the results of the surveys – focus group meeting in Paris), the no. of people requesting official information about the Twinning Grants (mails/calls replied: 400) , the no. of participants of events organised throughout the project (2,277 participants), the no. of registered recipients of newsletters (399 subscribers), beneficiaries of the outreach and dissemination activities incl. the database with stakeholders to whom the deliverables of the project were disseminated (1025 stakeholders). This indicator does not include the visitors of the project’s website or web portal, since the indicator evaluates the impact of the project through actions that were proactively taken towards stakeholders.

As a result, more than 4,000 STI researchers (approx. 4,494), policymakers and other stakeholders from CA and the EU were proactively addressed by the IncoNet CA. Although there was no target value for this indicator, this number demonstrates the high impact the project had at least over the core groups of stakeholders directly linked to the EU-CA STI cooperation, including the ones in the field of energy, climate change and health. In that sense, this domain is evaluated as of high impact.

G. Dissemination Activities

From the beginning of the “STI International Cooperation Network for Central Asian Countries” IncoNet CA project, a Communication and Dissemination Strategy was developed in order to make the results of the project widely visible to all relevant stakeholders and to enhance their exploitation and implementation. The Strategy defined the target groups and specified communication channels.

To provide for efficient dissemination, the IncoNet CA project used various means and tools, which included the IncrEAST Portal and the IncoNet CA website targeting a wide range of stakeholders. The Portal was visited more than 54 thousand times while the project website more than 9 thousand times.

In addition to the website, electronic newsletters and other information materials about the project and its deliverables ensured a broad dissemination of information on the project’s activities and results. In total 11 newsletters were issued during the 3-year project implementation (September 2013 – September 2016).

Selected important news were also published in national media in the partners’ countries, while many important documents and materials were translated into Russian, which allowed a wider target audience to get a better understanding of information.

Outreach activities were important part of the Work Package 6 of the project. Throughout the project duration, project partners gave presentations on various project related topics at 3 Policy Stakeholder Conferences, in more than 10 workshops, such as the “EU-Kazakhstan cooperation in research, innovation and new technologies” workshop in London, the Expert Group Meetings for Recommendations on EU-CA Science, Technology & Innovation Cooperation in energy, health and climate change as well as in 14 Info Days. Policy Stakeholder Conferences were attended by more than 300 policy makers and representatives of the academic and industrial communities.

Through the set of various IncoNet CA project dissemination activities, the project supported EU-CA policy dialogue, increased level of STI cooperation between these regions, promoted the development of joint research projects under H2020 and consolidated the research communities in CA through capacity building actions. The IncoNet CA project has contributed to the development of Project and Programme Databases, while deliverables of EU-CA projects addressing the 3 Societal Challenges (SC), namely, Climate Change, Energy and Health were promoted on project web-pages.

The IncoNet CA project identified and addressed with different communication and dissemination activities the following target groups:

- Policy-making: European and international policy committees and bodies (relevant EC Directorates, European Parliament), as well as national ministries and research and innovation councils in the CA countries and EU MS/AC

- Policy-delivery: funding bodies, intermediary organisations and programme managing authorities in CA countries and EU MS/AC, as well as at the European level (incl. Community programmes, initiatives and platforms such as DCI, Tempus and Erasmus Mundus Programme, EIT, ETPs, JTI, KIC etc.), relevant European (e.g. EIB, EBRD/ETC Initiative and Multi-Donor Cooperation) and multinational financing institutions (e.g. OSCE, World Bank, ISTC, ADB) and the UN level (e.g. UNDP, UNESCO, UNECE and UNIDO)

- Research organisations: Researchers and research managers from the academic sector both in the EU (incl. JRC) and CA countries with a focus on the three selected societal challenges

- Research based companies: Researchers and research managers from the industrial sector from the CA countries and intermediary organisations such as EEN with a focus on the three selected societal challenges

- Project coordinators: Coordinators of relevant EU projects targeting CA countries in the three selected societal challenges (unilateral, bilateral or multilaterally funded)

- NCPs: NCP systems in the CA countries but also in EU MS/AC

- General Public: media and the public at large

- Project related boards: project Advisory Board and external review committee (QC).

List of Websites:

Scientific Coordinator:
Centre for Regional & International STI Studies & Support (CeRISS)/Greece

Administrative Coordinator:
Institute of Fundamental Technological Research - Polish Academy of Sciences (IPPT-PAN)/Poland

Related information

Reported by

Follow us on: RSS Facebook Twitter YouTube Managed by the EU Publications Office Top