V EU-CELAC Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) for the Joint Initiative on Research and Innovation (JIRI)

The V Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) on Science and Technology, held in Brussels on 15th March and entitled "Moving Towards an EU-CELAC Common Research Area", was co-chaired by Ms. Cristina Russo, Director for International Cooperation Directorate General Research and Innovation of the European Commission, and Mr. Plácido F. Gómez Ramírez, Vice Minister for Science and Technology of the CELAC Presidency.

This meeting reaffirms the strong commitment expressed by the EU and CELAC officials to Science, Technology and Innovation as a key area for cooperation (Chapter 1, EU-CELAC Action Plan). Specifically, it aimed at the strengthening of scientific and technological capacities, utilisation of research infrastructures in both regions, researchers’ mobility and modalities for approaching common challenges in subjects such as sustainable urbanism, health or climate change.

The European projects that have followed up political dialogue in this matter, i.e. ERA-NET Lac and ALCUE-Net, presented the progresses and possible scenarios for future cooperation once these projects come to an end.

The progresses of the Joint Initiative for Research and Innovation’s thematic working groups were briefly presented: Bioeconomy (Argentina and France); Information and Communication Technologies for meeting societal challenges (Chile and Finland); Biodiversity and Climate Change (Colombia and France); Renewable energies (Mexico and Spain); and Health (Brazil and Spain) and the cross-cutting group (Portugal and Mexico) emphasising in the sub-working group on researchers careers development.

Additionally, the Central American Higher University Council (CSUC) presented some initiatives such as a doctoral programme or a Central America Fund for projects.

The Director of the EU-LAC Foundation, Ms. Paola Amadei, expressed the Foundation’s support to the strategic strengthening and development of the EU-CELAC Common Research Area, made available some of its tools -MAPEO and Vademecum, and invited the audience to express their interests on how to make concrete this collaboration.

During the concluding remarks governance was hightlighted as a matter of key importance in the construction of a bi-regional research area and should be carefully analysed. Therefore, the working groups’ and cooperation proposals will be taken into consideration for the next SOM.