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EULAC-FOCUS Newsletter - May Issue 02nd May 2017
 

This newsletter gives an update on the issues that have been discussed during the 3rd EULAC-Focus project event in Quito, Ecuador, and the work carried out and first results that have been published in 3 work packages. This newsletter also gives information on the first hot topics webinar as well as meetings & events that will be attended by projects partners in the near future.

in this issue:

 

The EULAC-FOCUS 3rd partner event took place in Quito, 29-31 March 2017

The 3rd EULAC-FOCUS partner event took place in Quito, Ecuador from 29th to 31st March 2017. Over 60 project partners, guests and transectorial board members took part in the meeting, which was the opportunity for all to share information about the early results in each of the Work Packages as well as the work to be completed in the not so far future. 

The event started with a partner meeting which was the opportunity for all work packages to demonstrate the achievements already accomplished and in particular present the first deliverables due and submitted. The meeting was also attended by transectorial board members who were given the opportunity to give their feedback and advice on the work that has been carried out in each of the 5 main work packages.

Day one of the meeting ended with a public meeting that took place at the Auditorium of the Instituto de Fomento al Talento Humano where Barbara Göbel of IAI, Marianne Van Steen of the Delegation of the European Union in Ecuador, René Ramírez Secretary of Superior Education, Science and Technology, Jorge Gómez Director of the Solutions Network for The Sustainable Development of the Region Andean, Wolf Grabendorff of the University Andina Simón Bolívar and Ramon Torrent of the University of Barcelona, presented their views on Diversity and Inequality: Challenges for EU-CELAC Relations and answered questions from the floor.

 

The following 2 days, saw further discussions and debates between partners and transectorial board members in plenary sessions and individual parallel Work package sessions, where focus was sought on the data that has already been collected and the way that it should be both presented and exploited further.

All 3 days where a great opportunity for such a dispersed team to sit down and work together on consolidating the first achievements of the project and set the objectives for the next phase of the project.

The project ended with an optional tour of Yachay Tech Campus and Botanical Garden, an opportunity for partners and transectorial board members to discover this incredible new campus and some of the country's amazing biodiversity.

We look forward to meeting again as a team in Buenos Aires in November 2017. For more information on the programme of the meeting and to view the brochure of the public meeting please visit http://eulac-focus.net/events/quito-meeting/programme/

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WP2 - Cross-cutting Topics Update

In December 2016, Work Package 2 "Cross-cutting pathways", led by the Ibero-American Institute, Berlin, presented an updated version of the "Synthesis Report on Cross-cutting Topics". This version of the report analyses the four cross-cutting topics: mobility, inequality, diversity and sustainability for the scientific and social dimensions of the EU-CELAC bi-regional relations. Future versions will also take the cultural dimension into account. 

Looking into cooperation programmes and activities between the EU and LAC regions within the framework of the EULAC-FOCUS project (namely: Cultural, Scientific and Social dimensions), they have often been characterized by the participation of only some countries in each region. This is the case regarding scientific mobility in which four countries in Latin America carry a very high percentage of all participation. It is also the case for a frequent exclusion of the Caribbean, or of separate negotiation processes, such as is the case in the climate programmes, EUROCLIMA Programme between EU and Latin America on the one hand, and the Global Climate Change Alliance (GCCA) programme between the EU and the Caribbean on the other.

A major institutional asymmetry in the EU-CELAC relationship is related to the fact that beyond the political dialogue, a large part of bi-regional relations is implemented through instruments to fund common programmes and activities which stem almost exclusively from the EU. There is a tendency to which funding dictates the format, the thematic priorities and outcomes.

Mobility

Mobility is central to bi-regional relations between EU-CELAC in the field of science, technology and innovation.

Although specific motives and drivers for mobility are not necessarily the same on each side of the Atlantic and differ with regard to status groups, disciplines and interests, key factors for mobility include access to cutting edge science and complementary know-how, gaining entry to international technology markets, the valuation of skills, information, and insights concentrated in other countries, and access to funds from foreign institutions and foreign funding agencies.

A qualitative and strategic change in the bi-regional relationship with a significant effect on the mobility of information, knowledge and researchers is marked by the initiation of the Joint Initiative on Research and Innovation (JIRI), launched in 2010 at the Madrid Summit.

 

Diversity

In the scientific dimension of bi-regional relations, diversity refers almost exclusively to biological diversity. Diversity in the sense of other types of knowledge, including traditional knowledge has been politically recognized but has not been addressed through scientific collaboration.

In the social dimension of LAC-EU bi-regional relations, diversity is defined through the lens of social cohesion and social inclusion, principally via programmes that seek the inclusion of diversity of the population considered as vulnerable — e.g., groups excluded on the basis of gender and ethnicity, or language. Diversity in the social dimension is therefore closely linked to social inequality.

More information can be found here

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WP4 Scientific Dimension Update

The scientific cooperation between the EU and CELAC builds on a strong tradition of exchanges and links between individual researchers from both regions, dating back from the rise of scientific development in Latin America and the Caribbean during the last century. “The scientific dimensions” of EULAC Focus (WP 4) tries to create a comprehensive picture of the past and ongoing  bi-regional STI collaboration, which will support the formulation of policy recommendations for future activities between the 2 regions.

In the last year, WP 4 progressed significantly in the conduction of a mapping study of scientific publications on bi-regional STI collaboration and the analysis of the STI policy dialogue and its development over the last decade.

A former important step was made in the area of Research Infrastructures: A close cooperation with the newly founded Senior Officials Meeting Research Infrastructure working group was established and consultations on how to support them by conducting the interviews with key players from the area were initiated. The discussions will be deepened in the upcoming hot topic web conference.

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WP5 - Social Dimension Update

The first phase of the project focused on the creation of a common understanding of what “social dimension” can mean in the LAC and the EU context.

This came about through intense communication and cooperation between the WP5 team members and the elaboration of a Work Implementation Plan that enabled the team to approach the social dimension of EU-LAC relations in a common but coordinated way. Regular online meetings also took place with the intention to have a continuous exchange on the scientific state of the art in both regions, which also was a way to put intercultural and interdisciplinary communication into work.

This intense work process concluded in the elaboration of Deliverable 5.1:  “Identifying common Trends and Challenges. Research Trajectories on social issues in EU and LAC” in April 2017, which will be updated in the further course of the project as important developments on the EU side are taking place at this very moment, in particular: the EU Pillar of Social rights: is a Commission Recommendation, effective as of today (27.04.2017), and a a proposal for a joint proclamation by the Parliament, the Council and the Commission (see: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-17-1004_en.htm). The WP5 team is monitoring the process of the implementation of the EU Pillar of social rights and will in the next months examine the relevance of this new development for the EU Social Model and the social dimension of EU-LAC relations.

Furthermore the WP5 team is working actively on the fine-tuning of D5.2 and D5.3. The meeting in Quito was an excellent opportunity to align the research focus and to make some necessary adjustments to the focus of the specific tasks. A further two online meetings were held since then.

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Hot Topics

The Hot Topics web conferences, are organized within the framework of the EU LAC Focus project with the aim to contribute by: discussing emerging research topics of the project, defining fields of action for the renewal of the dimensions, supporting the dialogue of cross-cutting topics, attracting new actors, fostering the alignment of the consortium partners, and disseminating the project activities and results.

First “Hot Topic” Web conference: Research Infrastructures

How to develop a harmonized and aligned regional approach to research infrastructure policies? How to find a common language to start a dialogue?

For date and location of the web conference, please check the regularly updated information on the hot topics web page 

The fifth Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) on Science and Technology of the EU-CELAC Joint Initiative on Research and Innovation (JIRI) from 14 March 2016 confirmed the need to ensure a strategic regional partnership in research and innovation through the development of the EU-CELAC Common Research Area. Senior officials committed towards the research infrastructures dimension as one of the three strategic pillars of this Common Research Area (CRA).

In order to enable a structured dialogue on research infrastructures, the European Commission is setting up a bi-regional Working Group on Research Infrastructures (WG RI), which would support policy making in the RI dimension and would facilitate multilateral initiatives leading to a better use and development of research infrastructures in the two regions.

For that reason, the EU LAC Focus Project will support this Working Group by organizing the first web conference on bi-regional dialogue on the subject of Research Infrastructures.

The web conference will be aimed at representatives of research infrastructures of CELAC and EU. They will be invited to the conference as participants in order to enrich the discussions.  

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Meetings & Events

Participation of EULAC-FOCUS team member in the following events in the past or the near future:

  • 23rd November 2017 - São Paulo, Brazil - "EULAC FOCUS PROJECT, Brazil in the context of EU – CELAC relations”

  • 12th July 2017 - 19:00 - Berlin, Germany - ¿Cuál es el papel de la cultura en las relaciones entre la Unión Europea, América Latina y el Caribe?

  • 19th-21th of May 2017 - Annual Conference of the Association of Latin American studies in Austria: Partcicipation and presentation of first EULAC results in the Session: ¿De dónde vienes y a dónde vas? Migraciones transnacionales en/desde/hacia América Latina. 

  • 11th of May 2017 - Chamber of Labour Austria: „Institutional power shifts in the EU and its consequences for social policy and gender relations“

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