Strategic Forum for International Science and Technology Co-operation
The role of SFIC
The Strategic Forum for International S&T Cooperation (SFIC) is a dedicated configuration of ERAC und reports annually to the Council and the Commission. Its objective is to facilitate the further development, implementation and monitoring of the international dimension of ERA. In practice, this means sharing information and consultation between the partners (Member States and the Commission) with a view to identifying common priorities which could lead to coordinated or joint initiatives. Countries which are associated to the 7th Framework Programme have an observership status. The group also aims at coordinating activities and positions vis-à-vis third countries and within international fora. SFIC is composed of high-level representatives of the Member States and the European Commission. The chair of SFIC is designated from among the representatives of the Member States for a period of two years. Currently Dan Andrée holds the position of the SFIC Chair.
- From 2009 - 2011: Voker Rieke (director of the Directorate General for European and International Cooperation in Education and Research in the BMBF, Germany)
- From 2011 - 2013: Riitta Mustonen (Vice President for Research at the Academy of Finland)
- From 2013 onwards: Dan Andrée (Vinnova, Sweden)
The plenary session are guided by the SFIC Chair and take place every three months. They are prepared by the SFIC Task Force which is composed of voluntary SFIC delegates. More thematic working groups can temporarily deal with upcoming issues. The biennial work programmes define the main areas and topics. SFIC activities are implemented with variable geometry, i.e. member states do not have to take part in each initiative. SFIC represents an important platform to discuss new approaches and opportunities to develop further ERA’s international dimension. The EU Research Framework Programme remains the main instrument to promote cooperation with international partners. An improved coordination of the Member States’ international activities and optimization of national and European resources creates synergies and a European added value. In the framework of “Pilot Initiatives”, SFIC drives forward the strategic cooperation with main partner countries – currently with India, China and the US. In the next step, pilot initiatives with Brazil and Russia are foreseen. SFIC enhances the visibility of ERA’s international dimension by means of joint events and statements. Another important aspect is the exchange of experience with other ERA initiatives and the international projects of the EU Research Framework Programme.
The international dimension was recognised as one of the five areas in which the Member States launched partnership initiatives with the European Union in order to increase cooperation. This was based on a proposal by the Commission and part of Ljubljana process. The objective was to implement a joint European strategy for international S&T cooperation. The Strategic Forum for International Science and Technology Cooperation (SFIC) was established to drive forward this process.
This newly emphasised partnership between Member States and Commission, established at the end of 2008, remains an important element of the EU’s cooperation with third countries, which was also recognized
- in the Commission Communication in September 2012 [Commission Communication on international cooperation in research and innovation in September 2012] and
- the Council Conclusions in May 2013 Council Conclusions on 'Enhancing and Focusing EU International Cooperation in Research and Innovation: a Strategic Approach'