Globalization Creates Opportunities for Increasing Scientific Excellence – an Introduction of the Strategic Forum for International Scientific and Technological Cooperation

bridges, vol. 33, May 2012 / OpEds & Commentaries
By Riitta Mustonen

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Mustonen RittaRiitta MustonenThe Strategic Forum for International Scientific and Technological Cooperation (SFIC) was established by the Competitiveness Council in December 2008 to develop the European Research Area's international dimension. SFIC is a partnership platform in the field of S&T cooperation and a strategic and advisory body to the Council of the EU and the European Commission in international STI cooperation. The EU Member States and the European Commission are members of the Forum while countries associated with the 7th Framework Programme have observer status.

There is an urgent need for Europe to engage more actively and strategically in international cooperation and discuss common priorities, as uncoordinated activities and isolated bilateral agreements can lead to fragmentation and duplication of efforts. Global challenges call for global solutions and, with work already being carried out in global research networks, research does not recognize geographical boundaries.

The proposal of the European Commission for the Horizon 2020 program for 2014-2020 reflects the policy priorities set in the Europe 2020 strategy and introduced the grand societal challenges that Europe must address in coming years. Tackling these challenges requires cooperation among a variety of actors in the EU and internationally. Europe and its Member States cannot act alone: Global cooperation with countries outside Europe will be needed to find solutions.

SFIC was established by the Competitiveness Council in December 2008 to develop the European Research Area's international dimension. It aims to facilitate the further development, implementation, and monitoring of the international dimension of the European Research Area by consultation and sharing information among the partners. The basis for this cooperation is the identification of common priorities that could lead to coordinated or joint initiatives, and the coordination of activities and positions vis-à-vis third countries and within international forums. The activities of SFIC are implemented on a voluntary basis following the principle of variable geometry: The added value of SFIC is created by optimizing the use of national, European, and global resources while avoiding duplication of activities.


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