The European Union has agreed scientific cooperation treaties with a number of different partner countries. Funding was available for so-called BILAT projects (Bilateral S&T Cooperation Partnerships) to support and substantiate these treaties and to strengthen the cooperations.
The term ‘cluster’ describes networked companies and institutions set up in a region, which offer competitive advantages for all parties involved. Clusters are characterised by a focus on innovation and research.
COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology) is a research initiative between 35 European countries, which has existed since 1971. In addition to the 28 EU member states, it includes: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iceland, Norway, Serbia, Switzerland, Turkey and the former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia. Israel is a cooperating member. Scientists can submit suggestions for COST campaigns based on the “bottom-up principle”. The results of successful COST campaigns include the GSM standard for mobile phone, biological pest control in agriculture using nematodes, the low-floor bus and the meteorological institute “European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecast“ in Reading, UK.
The aim of the ERA-Nets is to improve the cooperation and coordination of research activities performed in the member states and associated countries on a national and regional level. This is based on networking funding activities, mutual disclosure and on developing and implementing joint calls for proposals and programmes. International ERA-Nets implement this in relation to cooperations with a specific partner country or partner region outside Europe.
European Research Area (ERA)
The joint European Research Area (ERA) was agreed in a contract signed in Lisbon in 2009. Its aims are to bundle, improve and harmonise the framework conditions for research and innovation without sacrificing the diversity of the different scientific systems. The following principles apply:
- More effective national research systems,
- Optimal cooperation across countries, and corresponding competition,
- Open labour market for researchers,
- Equal treatment of both sexes in research,
- Optimal exchange and transfer as well as access to / of scientific findings,
- Internationalisation of the European Research Area.
European Framework Programmes (FP)
The European Framework Programmes for Research and Technological Development, also called Framework Programmes or abbreviated FP1 to FP7 (with FP8 being named "Horizon 2020"), are funding programmes created by the European Union to support and foster international research cooperation within the European Research Area (ERA) and beyond. The specific objectives and actions vary between funding periods. In FP6 (2002–2006) and FP7 (2007-2013) the focus was on technological research, while Horizon 2020 (2014-2020) places a strong emphasis on innovation.
It is a requirement for public funding announcements to be publicised, and these are announced in the Federal Gazette or on the website of the Project Management Agency (federal level). EU programmes are announced in the EU Gazette.
Research and development (R&D)
This includes measures which directly contribute to scientific or technological progress by answering open questions in this area. R&D relates to creative work performed with the purpose of extending the knowledge base, such as in relation to people, culture and society, and to enable use of this knowledge base to design new applications. R&D covers the following three areas: Basic research, applied research and experimental research.
GOVET is the the name of the headquarters for international professional education cooperation at the Federal Institute for Vocational Training (BIBB). It runs alongside the bilateral vocational training cooperations of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), and its purpose is to act as a first point of call for queries relating to dual vocational training in Germany and abroad. On the other hand, this office is used as a “round table” for international vocational training cooperation. It organises regular meetings between the federal ministries responsible, the chamber organisations (DIHK and ZDH), the social partners (BDA and DGB) and the BIBB as well as representatives of the federal states. Its aim is to ensure a regular exchange of information and coherence between German actors in international vocational training cooperation.
“Horizon 2020” is the current EU framework programme for research and innovation (2014 - 2020). It is the successor of the 7th EU research framework programme. “Horizon 2020” brings together the funding programmes of the European Commission which are relevant to research and innovation. The previous 7 framework programmes were simply called FP1 to FP7.
INCO-NETs) support the bi-regional dialogue between Europe and defined partner regions in order to strengthen the internationalisation of the European Research Area. Their aims include identifying and prioritising the research areas of cooperations, which are in the countries’ mutual interest and to the benefit of both. IncoNets create balanced partnerships between two regions and involve a number of different stakeholders from science, industry, governments and the public.
Project Management Agency
Ministries, such as the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, commission so-called project management agencies with the technical and administrative management of R&D projects. Project management agencies advise applicants and support projects until they are completed.
With around 1,000 employees and supporting about 10,000 scientific projects as well as managing research funds totalling approximately around one billion euro, the DLR Project Management Agency is one of the largest of its kind in Germany.
The “Strategic Forum for International Science and Technology Cooperation, SFIC” is a forum for international research work. It is made up of high-ranking representatives of the member states and the European Commission who are to identify joint priorities in international cooperation, develop coherent approaches for internationalisation and define research priorities around regions and topics.