Joint Science and Technology Cooperation Committee Communique 2010

Joint Science Cooperation Committee - Communique 2010 - scanned version of original, signed document

11th Australia – European Union Joint Science and Technology Cooperation Committee Meeting

Joint Communiqué

Sydney, 9 June 2010

Collaboration between the European Union and Australia in science and technology was further enhanced at the eleventh Joint Science and Technology Cooperation Committee (JSTCC) meeting hosted by the Australian Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research (DIISR), held in Sydney on 7-9 June 2010.  In addition, science and technology cooperation is an important part of the Australia-EU Partnership Framework adopted in October 2008 and revised in October 2009.

An EU delegation of officials and experts comprised representatives of the European Commission Directorates General for Research (DG RTD), Information Society and Media (DG INFSO), and Education and Culture (DG EAC), as well as European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST), and expert researchers in key thematic areas. The Australian delegation was led by the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research and included representatives from government agencies responsible for science and technology, as well as leaders from the learned science academies, major research organisations and the university sector. A list of participants is at Attachment A.

Australia and the European Union have a long history of productive research collaboration, underpinned by a treaty-level science and technology agreement signed in 1994. To date, the cooperation involves more than 100 Australian organisations, supported by the Australian Government, which are participating in the EU’s 7th Framework Program projects which amount to a total research value of EUR360m. Acknowledging the broad range of existing collaboration between European and Australian researchers, the JSTCC was optimistic about the potential for encouraging future links that will enhance scientific outcomes for the benefit of Australia and Europe.

The three-day program of meetings and events provided an opportunity for a broad-ranging and meaningful exchange of views on future directions for enhanced cooperation. The formal JSTCC officials'meeting on 9 June was preceded by six thematically focussed workshops hosted by Australian science and research institutions on 7 June, followed by cross-cutting policy discussions on 8 June. A series of related discussions on health matters also took place in Melbourne on 2-4 June.

Delegates reported on the outcomes of the thematic discussions. A significant number of agreed actions were identified across a broad spectrum of fields, which are listed at Attachment B. It was agreed that these actions will provide the basis for an updated Science and Technology Cooperation Roadmap to be prepared following this meeting, and this would also inform part of the regular review of the Australia-EU Partnership Framework.

The JSTCC noted the fruitful exchange on the role of international research cooperation in addressing global challenges and approaches to innovation policy and practice that took place on the second day of meetings.  The inclusion of a policy dialogue on strategic cross-cutting issues was acknowledged to be a valuable addition to the JSTCC agenda. Australia and the EC are committed to working together to identify on-going mechanisms for strengthening cooperation and exchange on global challenges and innovation policy and practice. In particular, the need to mobilise human resources in support of science and research to ensure an informed and knowledgeable community and to address skills shortages was noted.

The JSTCC noted with satisfaction the significant achievements made against the first S&T Cooperation Roadmap prepared following the 10th JSTCC meeting held in 2008.  Both sides welcomed the increasing research cooperation demonstrated by the growth of Australian participation in both Cooperation and Mobility programs of the EU’s Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development.

In recognition of the mutual interest and priority given to cooperation in science, research and innovation, Australia was pleased to convey an invitation from the Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, Senator the Honourable Kim Carr, to European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, to visit Australia as a Guest of Government at a mutually convenient time, possibly during 2011.

In conclusion, the JSTCC meeting provided a productive forum to review and set a forward program to strengthen research cooperation between Australia and the European Union. Both sides reaffirmed their commitment to science and technology cooperation and agreed to work together to continue to build on the strong foundations of the relationship.  

The JSTCC agreed that a reciprocal meeting will be held in Brussels in 2012.

[signed]

[signed]

Patricia Kelly

Maive Rute

Deputy Secretary
Department of Innovation, Industry,
Science and Research of the Commonwealth of Australia

Director – Biotechnologies, Agriculture and Food
Directorate General Research
European Commission

Attachment A

11th Australia – European Union Joint Science and Technology Cooperation Committee Meeting, 7th – 9th June 2010, Australia

List of participants – Officials' JSTCC meeting

European Delegation
  • Directorate General – Research (DG RTD)
    • Ms Maive Rute, Director, Biotechnology, Food & Agriculture (Head of Delegation)
    • Mr Michel Poireau, Head of Unit, Industrial Technologies
    • Dr Philippe Vialatte, Deputy Head of Unit, International Cooperation, DG Research
    • Dr Indridi Benediktsson, Scientific Officer, Health
    • Dr Elena Righi-Steele, Research Program Officer, Research Infrastructures
    • Ms Gintare Kemekliene, Policy Officer, Biotechnologies, Agriculture, Food
    • Dr Tarik Meziani, Research Program Officer, International Cooperation
    • Mr Pierrick Fillon-Ashida, Policy Officer, International Cooperation
  • Directorate General – Information Society and Media (DG INFSO)
    • Mr Jean-François Soupizet, Head of Unit, International Cooperation
    • Dr Gustav Kalbe, Acting Head of Unit, Trust and Security
    • Dr Bernhard Fabianek, Scientific Officer, GEANT and eInfrastructures
  • Directorate General – Education and Culture (DG EAC)
    • Mr Graham Wilkie, Policy Officer, Marie Curie Actions
  • European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST)
    • Dr Martin Grabert, Executive Director
  • Delegation of the European Union to Australia
    • His Excellency David Daly, Ambassador
    • Ms Nikki-Lynne Hunter, Policy Adviser
    • Ms Lisa Vassallo, Assistant
Australian Delegation
  • Department of Innovation Industry, Science and Research
    • Ms Patricia Kelly, Deputy Secretary (Head of Delegation)
    • Ms Anne-Marie Lansdown, Head, Science and Infrastructure Division
    • Ms Mary Finlay, General Manager, International Science Branch
    • Ms Katharine Campbell, Manager, Europe, Americas and Strategy Section
    • Mr Bruce Murphy, Europe, Americas and Strategy Section
    • Ms Katie Magee, Europe, Americas and Strategy Section
    • Ms Emma Adams, Europe, Americas and Strategy Section
  • Australian Research Council
    • Dr Liz Jazwinska, Executive Director for Biological Sciences and Biotechnology
  • National Health and Medical Research Council
    • Professor Elim Papadakis, Executive Director Research Investment
  • NICTA
    • Dr David Skellern, Chief Executive Officer
  • Forum for European-Australian Science and Technology cooperation
    • Dr Mark Matthews, Executive Director
    National Measurement Institute
    • Mr James Roberts, Acting Chief Executive Officer
  • CSIRO
    • Prof Alastair Robertson, Deputy Chief Executive Officer
  • Learned Academies
    • Professor Michael Manton, Director International (ATSE)
    • Professor Chennupati Jagadish (Australian Research Council Nanotechnology
  • Network/ANU/AAS
    • Dr Christina Parolin (AAH)
    • Dr John Beaton (ASSA)
  • Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
    • Mr Nicholas Sergi, Executive Officer, European Union Section

Attachment B

Agreed Thematic Outcomes

Health

The parties acknowledged the positive collaboration in Health, supported on the one side by FP7 and on the other by NHMRC Australia-European Union Research Grants. Australia and the EC recognised strong common priorities in a number of health research areas, including regenerative medicine and diabetes/obesity. The parties agreed to consider measures to strengthen EU-Australia research collaboration in those priority areas and in rare diseases and agreed to follow up on ideas for programme level cooperation. The EC invited Australia to join with its own projects in the forthcoming FP7 Call on Diabetes in 2011. Following the suggestion of the experts'workshop in Melbourne on 3-4 June 2010, the option of dedicated bilateral cooperation in the area of regenerative medicine was proposed between the EU and Australia, following the 2012 FP7 call.   Australia and other multilateral partners could also be included in a Call topic relating to rare diseases in the 2012 work programme. Australia, through the NHMRC, undertook to explore the possibilities of funding complementary Australian projects to commence concurrently to the three different initiatives proposed by the EC.   

Biotechnology, Agriculture, Food

The parties noted the high levels of successful Australian participation in Food, Agriculture and Biotechnology calls under the Framework Programme 7. Australia and the EC recognised the importance of strengthening multi-partner policy dialogue and research cooperation on the Knowledge-Based Bio-Economy (KBBE). The International KBBE Forum - a cooperation initiative between the EC, Australia, Canada and New Zealand – will be launched in 2010.

Australia gave its commitment to supporting the participation of a senior-level delegation at the KBBE Conference and meeting initiated by the EC, with Canada and New Zealand, to launch the KBBE Forum in September 2010 in Brussels. The meeting will address issues at policy/strategy level and identify priorities for scientific cooperation. Australia also undertook to explore engagement in a workshop on bio-based projects in the fields of bio-based non-food products in Canada in October in 2010 and food and health in a twinning workshop to be organised in Brussels late in November 2010. Potential areas for scientific cooperation included, but were not limited to informatics, plant sciences, climate change and agriculture, fisheries and aquaculture, food research and health; and water use efficiency.  These and other areas will be explored further during the International Forum meeting in September.

Environment

The Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) agreed to work with the EC to explore the potential for twinning of research projects in the area of ocean acidification.

Energy

Australia and the EC agreed to actively explore the potential for twinning of research projects in the field of carbon capture and storage, to be taken forward through discussions timed to coincide with Carbon Capture and Storage Week to be hosted by Australia in November 2010.

Information and Communications Technologies

Australia and the EC noted strong similarities between the Digital Agenda for Europe and Australia’s Digital Economy Future Directions statement. Both sides agreed to further increase collaboration in areas where Australia has well recognised capacity and expertise with priority for cooperation identified in areas such as Embedded Systems, Future Internet and trust and security. Australia agreed to make a presentation to the EC’s International Science and Technology Advisory Group (ISTAG) by the end of 2010 to inform on policy development. Australia gave its commitment to support the participation of a senior-level delegation in the ICT 2010 Conference in September 2010 in Brussels as well as representation at the exhibition and the organisation of networking events.

Nanotechnologies, Materials and Production Technology (Industrial Technologies)

Building on a previous workshop held in Brussels in October 2009, further discussions, including scientists and policy makers from Australia and the EU, took place in Sydney on 7 June to consider future priorities for cooperation in the field of industrial technologies. The parties noted collaboration taking place at various levels from researcher to researcher, group to group at bilateral level, as well as large scale collaborations involving multiple institutions within the Framework Programme. To enhance partnership opportunities, it was agreed that more effort was needed to alert Australian researchers to EU programs to enable them to engage at an early stage. Areas of strength for participation between Australia and the EU were identified as nanomaterials, nanobiotechnology, nanoelectronics, nanophotonics, nanofabrication, nanocharacterisation and computational nanotechnology, while other opportunities were identified, including advanced and sustainable mining.

Research Infrastructures

Australia and the EC have a long standing tradition of cooperation in astronomy and space sciences: this will continue to form a strong basis for extending our cooperation. Both parties noted the benefits of exchanging ideas and information on a range of matters concerning access, management, funding and prioritisation of research infrastructures in Australia and the EU. The parties therefore agreed to explore these issues and ways to cooperate on research infrastructure collaboration in areas including earth sciences and marine sciences, life sciences, energy, e-infrastructures and agreed to hold a bilateral workshop in spring 2011.

Researcher Mobility, Networks and Communication

The JSTCC heard views on future directions for cooperation, access and networks presented by the Forum for European-Australian Science and Technology cooperation (FEAST); European Cooperation on Science and Technology (COST) and the European Commission. Recognising the importance of strengthening researcher mobility between Australia and the EU, the two parties agreed to continue efforts to promote exchanges of Australian and European researchers using mobility instruments such as the Marie Curie fellowships, Australia Awards and other Australian fellowships. The potential for Australian participation in the Industry-Academia Partnership Pathways (IAPP) will be explored. Noting the success of participation in the IRSES program, Australia committed to increasing funding for the 2010-11round. The parties noted the importance of having a broader supportive framework in place to encourage mobility, such as portability of employment conditions and health insurance, transparent IP arrangements and accessible visa requirements.

The JSTCC noted the progress made on the implementation of the ACCESS4EU project which aimed to facilitate greater collaboration and mobility through the identification of reciprocal opportunities for European researchers to access the Australian research system.

The JSTCC recognised the role of FEAST in delivering on its core mission to enhance research cooperation between Australia and the EU and noted the maturity of the arrangements. Both sides noted the value of having Australian strategic thematic National Contact Points and Australia agreed to give further consideration to strengthening such arrangements.

The JSTCC viewed positively the benefits accruing from the successful COST reciprocal arrangement with Australia which was supporting Australian researchers to link and develop exchanges with European networks across a wide range of platforms.  The Australian Government was committed to strengthening this cooperation and had recently increased the funding for Australian participation in COST actions. The successful outcome of the COST Australia-Europe Training School on Cyber-bullying held in Melbourne in April 2010 was commended as a model for building collaborative international networks.

Social Sciences and Humanities, Science in Society

Australia and the EC agreed to continue to explore possibilities for closer research cooperation in the fields of Social Science and Humanities and Science in Society, including Science Communication. To advance cooperation in these areas, Australia undertook to consider sending a delegation to Brussels to engage in planning a workshop to identify areas for future cooperation. The parties noted the important role of the social sciences in interdisciplinary research needed to address common challenges facing the globe and recognised the need to increase cooperation between the natural sciences, social sciences and humanities.

Innovation Policy

Australia and the EC agreed that there was value in strengthening dialogue and sharing experience on innovation policy and practice and agreed to further structured discussions in Brussels in late 2010/early 2011. The parties agreed that areas for further exchange and cooperation included development of metrics to support evaluation, performance indicators, and public sector innovation.

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