The Australian AUS-ACCESS4EU team took advantage of the visit of the DLR's Hans Staehle, who is the Project Coordinator, to organise a kick-off meeting with major Australian program owners. We welcomed representatives from CSIRO, the Australian Research Council, the National Health and Medical Research Council, the Learned Academies, the Group of Eight (Go8) universities and the Delegation of the European Union to Australia and New Zealand.
Hans gave an overview of where this project sits within the priorities of the European Framework Programme including that EU research is being internationalised through bilateral, multilateral and biregional arrangements and that the EU is looking to increasing reciprocity in arrangements.
Mark Matthews, the Australian National University (ANU) coordinator, presented an overview of the project, its context and purposes. He also flagged that we would need the help of program owners in compiling data on the current level of involvement of EU researchers and institutions in Australian funded programs.
The program owners gave brief introductions to their programs. This led to a discussion of the importance of international collaboration, the accessibility and transparency of funding programs and the possibility of producing a metric of reciprocity that would give an indication of the capacity, commitment and clarity of programs. It became clear how important it is that the public faces of Australian funding programs, ie their websites, make it explicit which programs are available to international applicants.
The questions of visas for visiting researchers and of means to ease this potential obstacle were also raised.
All agreed that similar future meetings would be useful and would include representatives from the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research.