ASEAN-EU Cooperation in Science & Technology
Scientific cooperation with SE Asia became a higher priority on the political agenda since 2007 on the occasion of the 16th ASEAN-EU Ministerial Meeting in Nuremberg, Germany. The reasons for this were the mutual interest expressed by officials to strengthen further our co-operation and the reciprocal will to share experience on S&T issues of common concern such as health, food safety and energy supply. This was also based on an expansive participation of ASEAN entities in the consecutive Framework Programmes. Following from the Nuremberg meeting, a plan of action (PoA) was drawn up to serve as the master plan for enhancing ASEAN-EU relations and cooperation in the medium term (2007-2012). Actions for cooperation in S&T were laid down under the pillar of "socio-cultural" cooperation. Afterwards, the ASEAN-EU Informal Ministerial Meeting on S&T was held in Manila in July 2008 where it was agreed to launch a dialogue on S&T at the senior official level between the ASEAN Committee of Science and Technology (COST) and the EU.
The ASEAN-EU Dialogue on Cooperation in S&T
- The 1st ASEAN COST-EU Consultation Meeting in Manila in July 2008 was organised with the support of the ASEAN secretariat and of the Philippines Government. A number of research areas of mutual interests and benefits were identified, such as biotechnology; food security; health, ICT; renewable energies, and marine science (e.g. coastal management and environment).
- The 2nd ASEAN COST-EU Consultation Meeting took place in Bali in May 2009 and identified further areas for cooperation. The meeting also agreed to formalise the ASEAN COST-EU Consultation Meeting into the ASEAN-EU Senior Officials Dialogue Meeting on Science and Technology. The Terms of reference of the dialogue have been negotiated during 2009 and entered into force in 2010. They serve as a permanent platform for strengthening the bi-regional dialogue, in particular to reinforce the policy dialogue highlighting fields of cooperation and instruments to put in place in the field of research cooperation.
- The 1st ASEAN-EU Senior Officials Dialogue Meeting on Science and Technology took place in Vientiane (Laos) in May 2010. The parties agreed to enlarge the cooperation already well-established in the fields of agriculture/biotechnologies, health, ICT and environment into other areas, including material sciences and socio-economic sciences, as these fields are priority areas of both ASEAN and FP7.
- The 2nd ASEAN-EU Senior Officials Dialogue Meeting on Science and Technology was held on 12 May 2011 in Siem Reap, Cambodia. The ASEAN delegation provided information on the new 'Krabi Initiative' for the 'Future of Science, Technology and Innovation for a Competitive, Sustainable and Inclusive ASEAN by 2015 and beyond', which aims to reinforce ASEAN competitiveness through research and innovation. The Committee endorsed the initiative for a '2012 ASEAN-EU Year of Science, Technology and Innovation'.
- The 3rd ASEAN-EU Senior Officials Dialogue Meeting on Science and Technology took place on 18 May 2012 in Myanmar. The meeting endorsed the launch of Pilot ASEAN Networks of Excellence with support from the EU Regional EU-ASEAN Dialogue Instrument (READI). The main areas of EU-ASEAN cooperation include Health, Food, Agriculture, Biotechnology, Environment, and Information and Communication Technologies.
- The 4th ASEAN-EU Senior Officials Dialogue Meeting on Science and Technology is expected to take place in May 2013 in the Philippines.
ASEAN participation in FP6 was somehow significant with 121 participations. Traditional areas of EU-ASEAN cooperation are in the fields of the Environment, Information and Communication Technologies, Health and Food, Agriculture, Fisheries and Biotechnologies.
In FP7, Facilitating the Bi-Regional EU-ASEAN Science and Technology Dialog (SEA-EU-NET) project has been set up to expand scientific collaboration between Europe and Southeast Asia in a more strategic and coherent manner. The project was launched in January 2008 and involves 22 S&T institutions from the two regions. It is funded by FP7 in the Specific Programme Capacities as an INCONET project. It will run through until the end of 2012.
The SEA-EU-NET project increases the quality, quantity, profile and impact of bi-regional Science and Technology (S&T) cooperation between Southeast Asia and Europe. The project supports the internationalisation policy of the EU, the specific objectives of FP7 but also contributes to building the S&T foundation essential to the EU achieving its political, economic and social objectives. The SEA-EU-NET project has and continues to deliver a wide range of measures to increase SEA-EU cooperation amongst academic, industrial and government stakeholders.
The project focussed its efforts in the following areas:
- Stakeholder dialogue; The SEA-EU-NET has established bi-regional dialogue between EU and ASEAN S&T stakeholders. So far three stakeholders conference were organised, in November 2008 in Paris/France, in 2009 in Bogor/Indonesia and in November 2010 in Budapest/Hungary. This is the main event of the project to engage with a larger audience of policy makers, scientists and representatives from NGOs in a discussion on S&T collaboration between the two regions. The conference receive considerable attention by the relevant stakeholders and about 150 policy makers, scientists and representatives from international organizations from both Southeast Asia and Europe take part. The next stakeholder conference will take place in 16/17 November 2011 in Hanoi/Vietnam. During the Stakeholder conference in Hanoi the ASEAN-EU Year of Science, Technology and Innovation, 2012 will be launched.
- ASEAN EU-Year of Science Technology and Innovation 2012 (YoSTI2012). The YoSTI2012 - which has been initiated by the SEA-EU-NET - is year long campaign to deepen S&T collaboration between Europe and Southeast Asia. The year will increase awareness of the importance of bi-regional collaboration within the broader research community, as well as opening up new opportunities for researchers to link up and work together.
- Creating scientific contacts; The project supports and organises a series of scientific workshops to foster and create scientific contacts between researchers from the two regions. These have been in the area of food safety, second generation biofuels, infectious diseases, biodiversity and material science. These scientific workshops serve as expert meetings to identify topics of mutual for bi-regional S&T cooperation and are used as matchmaking opportunities to form consortia to bid into FP7 calls.
- Establishment of FP7 contact points; as a centrepiece to raise the awareness for FP7 in Southeast Asia the project has been actively assisting countries in setting up FP7 contact points. Most of the ASEAN member countries are currently establishing those information points and have started FP7 dissemination and counselling activities. There is a very strong demand among researchers in SEA countries for targeted information on FP7.
- Analysis and information gathering; These activity focussed on the identification of opportunities and pitfalls for S&T cooperation between Southeast Asia. This analysis is necessary to develop evidence-based recommendations for future intensified cooperation between the two regions. Furthermore, the project is highlighting the S&T capacity in SEA by a publication on Spotlight on: Excellent Researchers from Southeast Asia.
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