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A high-level event opened by the Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science Máire Geoghegan-Quinn – the Euro-Mediterranean conference on research and innovation 2012: An agenda for a renewed partnership - reunited in early April, in Barcelona, close to 350 top-level researchers and policy-makers from both the European Union and the Mediterranean region. The main aim of this event was to explore the grounds for establishing a Common Research and Innovation Agenda for the countries in the region, aiming to tackle the grand societal challenges impacting the area, in the field of energy, water, food, transport and health, in particular.
The two-day conference resulted in some very concrete outcomes. The European Commission proposed the launch of a new partnership in the region to be supported by a total budget of EUR 40 million, and which is to prepare the way for enhanced cooperation in the future involving all EU member states and the Mediterranean countries. In addition, the plan to create an observatory of scientific cooperation across the Mediterranean, under the auspices of the Mediterranean Innovation and Research Coordination Action (MIRA), was also announced at this event. The main task of the observatory will be to develop strategic indicators for measuring international scientific collaboration in the Mediterranean region, covering for example financial and human resources, patents, designs and trademarks, listing of international agreements and programmes, policy measures, institutions and publications.
The new Euro-Mediterranean partnership will also support the creation of an electronic network connecting scientists in universities and research centres, and will promote the postgraduate studies and research programmes of the Euro-Mediterranean University, an existing international network of universities grouping 179 members from 38 countries, and based in Slovenia.