EU-Ukraine Association Agreement promises renewed cooperation on science


There is a whole chapter on cooperation in science and technology in the agreement the EU and Ukraine just signed today (27 June) after months of political instability in Ukraine.

Chapter 9 of the Economic and Sector Cooperation part of the agreement commits the two parties to "develop and strengthen their scientific and technological cooperation in order to contribute both to scientific development itself, and to reinforce their scientific potential for contributing to the resolution of national and global challenges".

The EU and Ukraine, it says, "shall endeavour to contribute to progress in acquiring scientific and technological knowledge relevant to sustainable economic development, by strengthening their research capacities and human potential".

The sharing and pooling of scientific knowledge will contribute to their competitiveness, it says, by increasing the ability of their economies to generate and use knowledge to commercialise new products and services.

It also says they "will develop their scientific potential in order to fulfill their global responsibilities and commitments in areas such as health-related issues, environmental protection including climate change and other global challenges".

The cooperation will build on the existing Agreement on Cooperation in Science and Technology between the European Community and Ukraine, and what it says is Ukraine's objective of gradual approximation to EU policy and legislation on science and technology.

It will aim to facilitate the involvement of Ukraine in the European Research Area and help Ukraine in reforming and reorganising its science management system and research institutions, as well as boosting its capacity for research and technological development.

Cooperation will include an exchange of scientists and of information on science and technology policies; and joint research programmes and events.

It will also include Ukraine's participation in the next EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, Horizon 2020, and exchange of expertise on management of research and science institutions in order to develop and improve their capacity to conduct and participate in scientific research.

Apart from Chapter 9, the agreement document is peppered with references to boosting science and its use in a range of issues, from maritime, energy and transport, to nuclear and space research.

Ukraine's investment in R&D has been decreasing since 2002, according to UNESCO data, and was 0.73% of GDP in 2011 - the last year for which is available. Most funding goes to engineering and technology, and then to natural sciences. In 2011, Ukraine had over 70,000 researchers.

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