Science & Technology Cooperation (STC)

Bilateral “Science & Technology Cooperation Agreements” are found everywhere as part of international research cooperation. However, what does this weighty term actually imply? STC agreements are vehicles for exploring scientific issues in bilateral projects. This work is frequently coordinated by a steering committee comprising representatives of the ministries involved.

Bilateral partnerships are often based on a joint science & technology cooperation agreement. You will find an overview of the existing S&T agreements on the web portal Kooperation international. These bilateral partnerships facilitate projects tailored to the respective partner country and its relationship with Germany.

The Federal Report on Research and Innovation (BuFI), which is issued annually by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), clearly describes the objectives of the S&T agreements: 'Involvement in international research programmes for solving global problems, the development and improvement of bilateral relations and access to interesting research areas are three major objectives of Ccience & Technology Cooperation (STC) agreements. These agreements also aim to stabilise policy, support development, export technology and open up new markets, especially for small and medium-sized companies' (Source: BuFI 2014).

German research policy pursues the goal of being particularly prominent in countries with strategically significant science and technology resources. Dynamically developing countries with future markets are seen as particularly important in strategic terms.

In recent years, a degree of change has manifested that has brought STC and development cooperation more closely in line with each other:

  • Regional development strengthened by internationally, nationally or regionally linked research and innovation partnerships
  • Basic and advanced training of skilled personnel and managers at colleges and universities
  • Development of an international dialogue in education, research and innovation that forms, for example, the basis for new models of cooperation with research institutions in Germany and major developing countries.

How the term Science & Technology Cooperation (STC) came into being

The term “Science & Technology Cooperation” (STC) initially had to develop. Previously, various terms were used for bilateral agreements. Most governmental and individual agreements used the term “cooperation in scientific research and technological development”. The term “Science &Technology Cooperation” was coined in agreement with the BMBF and the International Bureau and serves to differentiate this type of partnership from the term used by the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the German Association for International Cooperation (formerly GTZ, now GIZ), that use the term “technical cooperation” or “technical aid”.