Year of Science and Innovation 2012: EU and Egypt take stock of their partnership in research, development and innovation
The European Union Delegation to Egypt, EU Member States and the Egyptian Ministry of Scientific Research are celebrating the closure of the "Year of Science and Innovation 2012" with a conference and reception on 18 and 19 April. Activities and events throughout the year promoted the mobility of researchers, generating new opportunities, as well as joint research projects and programmes. The programme also aimed at creating a platform for regional cooperation and the dissemination of information, as well as research from projects that address common regional challenges in areas such as energy, health, water, climate change and agriculture.
The key objectives of the EU-Egypt Year of Science and Innovation were: enhancement of cooperation in Science, Technology and Innovation (S&T&I) between EU Member States and Egypt, promotion of Egypt's research potential to the EU, fostering synergies between the activities of the European Commission and Member States, and work towards launching several concrete initiatives that support S&T&I in Egypt and the region.
A press release said the EU was very aware of the vital importance of science, research and innovation, in the relationship between Europe and Egypt and was keen to strengthen this relationship. Through the Research, Development and Innovation programme, better known as RDI, the European Union supports Egypt’s actions to boost the performance of research, development and innovation. With an €11 million grant in 2007 from the EU, the Ministry of Scientific Research successfully worked to strengthen the link between research and development and industry, and to facilitate Egypt's participation in the European Research Area. The success of RDI encouraged the European Commission and the Egyptian government to continue their collaboration, signing an agreement in May 2011 (the RDI II agreement), which secures a €20 million grant over a period of four years.
The EU promotes science and technology through its €40 billion Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP7). FP7 is the main instrument for funding research in EU countries, with participation on collaborative projects encouraged from any organisation or individual from non-EU countries. Egypt is particularly active in FP7, with significant involvement in more than 90 projects in areas such as health, energy, food security, agriculture, etc., as well as in projects fostering the short-term mobility of researchers.
FP7 launched its last round of calls in 2012, and now the EU is preparing for the launch of its successor, H2020, the largest collaborative transnational research programme in the world with an expected overall budget of €80 billion. The programme will remain open to non-EU countries, offering Egyptian researchers opportunities for cooperation with researchers from other parts of the world.
International cooperation, especially with its neighbouring countries and the Mediterranean region, is a key priority of EU research and innovation funding. (EU Neighbourhood Info)