In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and the increasingly palpable consequences of climate change, the fundamental role of science and its interface with technology and innovation in addressing the unprecedented challenges and upheavals facing the world has become once again evident. This, in turn, underlines the potential of bi-regional cooperation in this thematic area to achieve a fair, inclusive, equitable and sustainable development of our societies, and, in so doing, contributing to multiple SDGs, such as SDGs 4, 9, 12, 13 and 17.
Therefore, the EU-LAC Foundation continues promoting the construction of the EU-CELAC Common Research Area and serves as a privileged space for dialogue, connection and promotion of synergies between international actors, governments, scientists and think tanks from both regions, seeking a better articulation of the actions promoted by the EU-CELAC Joint Initiative on Research and Innovation (JIRI), which has its foundations in Chapter 1 of the EU-CELAC Action Plan 2015 and which has been concretised in the "Strategic Roadmap 2021-2023", - a document agreed by around 160 High Authorities and representatives of 40 countries at the Eighth Senior Officials Meeting on Science and Technology (JIRI-SOM) at the end of October 2020.
For 2021 and 2022, the Foundation has set itself the goal of disseminating progress and encouraging reflections on possibilities to deepen collaboration in the four JIRI pillars: mobility of researchers; cooperation on research infrastructures; global challenges - particularly health, environmental aspects of sustainable development / green transition, digital transformation-; and innovation.
In conjunction with partners, and depending on the specific demand articulated by stakeholders, the EU-LAC Foundation will also offer capacity building workshops for academic actors from both regions on topics such as quality standards in digital programmes in higher education, internationalization of teaching and learning, open science, as well as good venues for greater accessibility and better exploitation of ongoing initiatives in bi-regional scientific cooperation.
In the same way, the Foundation will seek to bring together young European, Latin American and Caribbean scientists who are pursuing a postgraduate or doctoral degree related to the other region or linked to the bi-regional partnership itself, to identify common themes, offering them a specific space to include their proposals to boost scientific and academic cooperation between the two regions.