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Brussels, 30 November 2009

European Community signs a Science & Technology Cooperation Agreement with Japan

Today, the European Community (EC) and Japan marked a firm commitment to strengthen their collaboration in research by signing a Science and Technology (S&T) Cooperation Agreement. This agreement will help them identify common research priorities and areas of common interest, such as energy and environment, in which joint research efforts could be particularly promising. It will also provide a framework to establish mechanisms for enhanced S&T cooperation, such as reciprocal participation in research programmes, exchange of researchers, and coordinated calls for proposals.

EU Commissioner for Science and Research, Janez Potočnik, said : " This agreement between the EC and Japan opens a new chapter in the history of science and research cooperation between two of the main knowledge providers in the world in a new era of international global cooperation in research. We face common challenges and we should address them together for our planet, for our people and for our future. It also represents one step further in the opening of the European research area to the world".

The European Community and Japan already cooperate in many projects and international undertakings. The S&T agreement will further reinforce their cooperation. For example specific cooperative activities, such as coordinated calls, will be planned through regular meetings of a "Joint Committee". Discussions are already well advanced in some fields, such as energy and new materials.

The S&T Cooperation Agreement was signed by EU Commissioner Potočnik, the Swedish Ambassador to the EU, H.E. Christian Danielsson, on behalf of the European Community and H.E. Nobutake Odano, the Japanese Ambassador to the European Union in Brussels.

It w ill enter into force once the Parties complete the ratification procedure, which is expected to happen in the course of 2010.


The signature of this S&T Cooperation Agreement with Japan raises the number of countries which have such an agreement with the European Community (EC) to 19.

A Science and Technology Cooperation Agreement:

  • describes the basic principles underlying the agreement: mutual benefit, reciprocal participation, exchange of researchers

  • establishes a joint research committee which regularly meets to review and define bilateral cooperation activities

  • determines specific rules governing the participation in the Parties' research programmes and the treatment of intellectual property rights in cooperative research activities.

The signature of S&T Cooperation Agreements is a further step in the new strategy for international cooperation in science and technology launched by the Commission in 2008.

This strategy identifies two main sets of orientations:

  • Strengthening the international dimension of the European Research Area (ERA) by closely involving Europe's neighbours with the ERA and fostering strategic cooperation with key third countries through geographic and thematic targeting; and

  • Improving the framework conditions for international S&T cooperation by: tackling scientific challenges through global research infrastructures, developing the mobility of researchers and global networking, opening research programmes, promoting Intellectual Property issues, by ensuring reciprocity, equitable treatment, and mutual benefits

More information on international science and technology cooperation:

See also IP/08/1395

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