EU-US: Research collaboration encouraged

The European Union hopes to strengthen links with the US and improve the research expertise of both continents with two new projects.

BILAT-USA (Bilateral coordination for the enhancement and development of S&T partnerships between the European Union and the United States of America) and LINK2US (European Union - United States research cooperation network) aim to encourage discussion between scientists and identify barriers to EU participation in US-funded research.

The two projects began this month and are scheduled to run for three years, coordinated by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

BILAT-USA, with EU funding of EUR500,000 (US$738,000), will foster dialogue between science and technology stakeholders from EU member states, associated countries and the US. It will bring together stakeholders from the EU and US to discuss the most important innovation areas to concentrate on, including issues of global importance such as climate change.

It will also organise workshops, conferences and symposia on multidisciplinary science and technology issues and help to establish new research partnerships by promoting and disseminating information on cooperative activities in the EU and US.

LINK2US, was set up to enhance EU-US science and technology cooperation activities by highlighting barriers to participation in US research funding schemes by EU scientists and organisations. It will collate information about funding schemes and research opportunities in the US and raise awareness of these among EU scientists and research institutes. It will also identify possible obstacles to successful participation by EU scientists in US research schemes.

The outcome of the projects is intended to be a clearer focus on the most pressing research topics, as well as inspiration for a fruitful EU-US research collaboration based on those topics. The new projects follow the EU-US Science and Technology Agreement established in 1998 and renewed in 2004 for another five years.