Science and technology cooperation, based on mutual benefit with third countries is crucial to the European Community's scientific, political and economic objectives. The FP6 and the on-going FP7 bring forward the initiative of opening the programme to Russia, by developing new collaboration schemes and mechanisms, in particular theme-oriented actions under Cooperation Specific Programme (SP) and mobility-oriented actions within the framework of People Specific Programme. Both approaches aim in priority to stimulate the participation of Russia in the FP. To facilitate access to research environment outside of Europe, a specific approach has been designed under FP7 Capacities Specific Programme. These new activities are committed to providing to European researchers’ access opportunities in research and innovation programs, carried out by Russia.
Scientific ties between Europe and Russia has always been very tight. As a proof, Russia has 16 ongoing bilateral S&T cooperation agreements with the Member States and Associated Countries. Furthermore, the cooperation agreement with the European Commission aims to create a common space in which their respective research communities could work together in key strategic areas. The list of Russian S&T programmes is not exhaustive. Today, Russia request for the status of associated country with the FP7.
However, preliminary investigations, done by the ACCESSRU partners, demonstrated three main obstacles, such as lack of information about Russian research programmes, linguistic barriers and financial and legal issues, which can make the access of the European research organizations to the Russian programmes complicated.
Consequently, the ACCESSRU support action is inspired by the need to improve the S&T cooperation instruments between the EU and its strategic partner - Russia, namely by facilitating the access to knowledge and resources and by developing reciprocity aspects of the S&T agreements.
ACCESSRU has the following objectives:
During its implementation, ACCESSRU will analyze Russian research & innovation initiatives to identify access opportunities to EU researchers. A particular focus will be put on the ongoing bilateral cooperation agreements and programmes between the Member States/Associated Countries and Russia in order to analyze their reciprocity conditions.
Once the state-of-the-art of the EU-RU S&T collaboration opportunities is drawn up, the Green Paper on EU-Russian collaboration and an Opportunities Report for European organisations will be prepared, discussed and diffused.
The project will also help European organizations to access the Russian research programmes, i.e. to develop several pilot cases and success stories. Pilot “case studies” will be analyzed, and concrete mechanisms to support access of EU organizations to the Russian programmes will be developed.
The project will implement two dissemination and awareness raising campaigns: to promote the access to Russian programmes inside the European research community, and to inform Russian research organizations that the involvement of European partners for Russian programmes is possible and welcome. The project’s EU-Russian S&T collaboration observatory will help to monitor the participation level of EU R&D organizations in the Russian programmes.
An EU-Russian Policy Working Group will be set up and supported. ACCESSRU will thus help to enhance the S&T policy dialogue and to formulate the strategic recommendations on S&T collaboration between Europe and Russia.
The potential impact of ACCESSRU support action in the short and medium term perspectives will be scientifically and technologically substantial, as it will facilitate the access of European researchers and research organisations to Russian research and innovation programmes (reciprocity), will provide a real framework for joint S&T research activities based namely on the win-win collaboration approach, and this will be translated into (1) a measurable increase of collaborations between European and Russian S&T organisations, and (2) a less readily measurable improvement of mutual understanding of the respective research systems in EU and Russia. Appropriate dissemination methodology of the access opportunities across Europe and Russia will ensure maximum impact and open larger scope of potential cooperation. The cooperation projects that will be initiated by ACCESSRU will impact on the EU R&D expenses efficiency, upstream global consensus, and - in general way - on strengthening science and technological cooperation between European Union and the Russian Federation.