There is a long history of cooperation between researchers from Europe and New Zealand (NZ). A 2003 survey conducted by the NZ's Ministry of Research, Science and Technology (MoRST*) found that over half of all NZ-based researchers are actively engaged in research collaboration with at least one European partner. However, this collaboration has traditionally been bilaterial cooperation between NZ and the United Kingdom (UK), Germany or France - three of the major research 'powerhouses' of the European Union. Whilst evidence from data on co-authoring of academic outputs suggests that collaboration between NZ and EU has been increasing over the last decade, there is little understanding of the exact mechanisms of how this collaboration is supported or initiated.
With the signing of the Science and Technology Cooperation (STC) Agreement between the European Community (EC) and NZ in July 2008, and the establishment of formal bilateral planning activities through the Joint Science and Technology Committee (JSTC) meetings, there has been a renewed impetus for closer EU-NZ cooperation, led by the EC and MoRST*. However, to date, the main focus of NZ government-supported joint science and technology activities has been on the participation of NZ researchers in European activities, specifically under the aegis of the European Commission's Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP7). The ACCESS4EU:NZ project seeks to improve understanding of this collaborative research relationship and redress the balance in this relationship, by highlighting opportunities and facilitationg access for European researchers to NZ's publicly-funded research and innovation programmes. It aims to establish a platform to increase awareness and dissemination, within the European Member States (MS) and Associated Countries (AC), of opportunities for European researchers and research organisations to participate in NZ's publicly-funded research and innovation programmes. The ACCESS4EU:NZ project acknowledges the importance of improving the provision of information on research opportunities available to European researchers in NZ and the identification of prospective NZ partners with whom European researchers can collaborate, as key to enhancing this collaborative research relationship.
The overall objectives (as stated in FP7-INCO-2009-5) of the ACCESS4EU:NZ platform are two-fold.
The ACCESS4EU:NZ project has a series of four integrated work-packages (WP):
The expected impact of the ACCESS4EU activities is focusing around increasing Science and Technology cooperation between Europe and New Zealand by identifying opportunities for European researchers to participate in New Zealand based research initiatives. The focus for the project is on building opportunities for researchers to increase their collaboration through a series of meetings, developing research synergies and participation within existing funding initiatives. Additionally, base line and review research will be combined with policy recommendations and be made available for policy makers in the hope that it offers support for increased funding programmes.
In order to identify opportunities for access of European researchers, the ACCESS4EU:NZ project will:
To ensure an increase in effective collaborations, it will be necessary for European researchers to strengthen their connections with the NZ research community (in 4 main specific areas of mutual interest and benefit: ICT, Environment, FAB and Health). To facilitate the development of researcher-researcher connections that are both ‘deep’ and ‘wide’, this ACCESS4EU:NZ project will bring European and NZ researchers together, through workshops and networking events, in order that the personal relationships that underpin successful collaborations can be fostered. Through sustained contact the workshop relationships should be deep. Further, through exposure of over 100 European researchers to each NZ researcher, connections should also be wide.
*Note: on 1 February 2011, FRST (Foundation for Research, S&T) and MoRST (Ministry of Research, S&T) amalgamated to form the MSI (Ministry of Science and Innovation).