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India-EU agree to cooperate on ICTs

The Indian-European Union’s joint steering committee on science and technology has agreed to develop and adopt a long-term strategic perspective for India-EU collaboration in research and innovation. The discussion was made at the 13th Joint Steering Committee on Science and Technology Cooperation meeting, hosted by the European Commission.

According to a press release, the two sides appreciated the achievements under the India-EU science, technology, and innovation cooperation. They decided to create an action-oriented agenda that can be implemented within the agreed timeline at the meeting co-chaired by the Director-General for Research and Innovation of the European Commission (EC), Mr Jean-Eric Paquet, and the Indian Secretary of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Professor Ashutosh Sharma.

Considering the Joint Statement and the ‘EU-India Strategic Partnership: A Roadmap to 2025’, adopted at the EU-India July Summit, both sides have shown keen interest in possible cooperation on information communication technologies (ICT). In particular, cyber-physical-systems (ICPS), including artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics, circular economy and resource efficiency (waste-to-energy and plastic), electric mobility, and sustainable agri-food processing.

The committee underlined that Mission Innovation will concentrate efforts on research and innovation to accelerate the clean energy transition, necessary for a carbon-neutral planet. Cooperation on health beyond COVID-19 pandemic areas through global fora was also reinforced. Both sides also underlined the cooperation on polar sciences and discussed future cooperation under Horizon Europe at the virtual meeting, the release said.

The two sides also reiterated their commitment to human capital development, including researchers’ training and mobility, based on mutual interests and reciprocal promotion of each other’s equivalent programmes, aiming at a more balanced flow of researchers between Europe and India.

The Indian side presented the key elements of new the Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy (STIP 2020). The policy aims to create a fit for purpose, accountable research ecosystem promoting translational and foundational research, indigenous development of technology, technology indigenisation, and facilitating open science, equity, and inclusion.

India proposed Implementation Arrangement (IA) for co-funding future joint projects under India-EU Science, Technology, and Innovation Cooperation to streamline the process of collaboration and to address certain issues on project evaluation, selection, funding, monitoring, and IPR sharing/data sharing/materials/equipment transfer mechanisms.

During 2014-2020, 42 collaborative projects were funded. The majority of these collaborations took place in the form of flagship calls on water, a new generation influenza vaccine, and smart grids cooperation. The mobility of researchers from both sides was significantly increased over the years, and cooperation among scientists and research organisations from India and Europe strengthened. 27-member EU is one of India’s largest trading partners, one of the largest investors in India, and an important source for technology, innovation, and best practices.

The dialogue also covered the sharing of experiences to enable both sides on various aspects such as collaboration in the G20 on finance track matters, including through G20 Framework Working Group deliverables and international taxation of the digital economy.

Last July, India and the EU renewed an agreement on scientific and technological cooperation for the next five years (2020-2025). As OpenGov Asia had reported, the agreement established a formal framework for cooperation, aiming at encouraging and facilitating activities in science and technology fields of common interest between the two sides.

The agreement would expand cooperation and strengthen the conduct of mutually-beneficial activities and applications for economic and social gain. Cooperative activities included reciprocal participation in technological developments and projects; the joint organisation of scientific seminars, conferences, symposia, and workshops. It also covered concerted actions for the dissemination of results/exchange of experience on joint research and development projects.

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