Participation in EU internationalisation initiatives
Besides the international activities Austria initiates itself, strategies and projects developed and implemented at EU level play an increasingly vital part in how Austria positions itself inside and outside Europe in research, technology and innovation (RTI). The Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research (BMBWF) participates intensively in these initiatives, either directly or through its funding of participating Austrian projects. Its goal is to enable Austrian RTI institutions to take part in international projects and networks. These activities range from expanding the foreign policy dialogue on research and conducting joint calls for proposals on multilateral research projects to advising the European Commission and Council of the EU on issues surrounding international RTI cooperation.
Projects of the European Research Area Network (ERA.NET) are measures to coordinate national and regional research programmes in order to consolidate and strengthen the European Research Area (ERA). Joint coordinated calls for research proposals from different European countries (and from partners from non-European countries where applicable) are essential elements of these projects. Besides ERA.NET initiatives with a thematic focus, a number of regionally focused projects are implemented, in which the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research (BMBWF) or the Austrian RTI institutions were or are actively involved in line with the regional priorities that were set (e.g.: Western Balkans, in Russia, Africa, India, etc.).
Macro-regional strategies are closely related to the flagship initiative EUROPE 2020 aimed at intelligent, sustainable and integrated growth. Their content is geared to more vibrant regional cooperation and coordination. Four of these strategies have been launched thus far: for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR), for the Danube Region (EUSDR), for the Adriatic and Ionian Region (EUSAIR) and for the Alpine Region (EUSALP).
Austria has been actively involved since 2012 in implementing the EU Strategy for the Danube Region to further expand collaboration with the 13 participating partner countries under a single strategy. This cooperation region is vital for Austria, economically and scientifically.
Launched at the end of 2015, the EU Strategy for the Alpine Region prioritises the build-up of cooperation and coordination structures. This is yet another opportunity that Austria seizes to forge closer relations in research and innovation with key partners in their geographic vicinity.
The Strategic Forum for International Science and Technology Cooperation (SFIC) is an advisory body for the European Commission and the Council of the EU for issues about the priorities to be set in international collaboration on research, technology and innovation. The Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research (BMBWF) participates in SFIC jointly with the Federal Ministry of Transport, Innovation and Technology (BMVIT) and the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG). Among its activities, SFIC explores possibilities for coordinated international research collaboration among interested EU Member States and carries out international awareness initiatives on Europe as a location for research. It also supports the implementation of the European Commission’s strategy for international cooperation in research. In addition, SFIC is systematically involved in the implementation of the European Research Area Roadmap (ERA Priority 6 – International Co-operation).
The Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research (BMBWF) takes part in the RTI policy dialogues that the European Commission and the EU Member States jointly conduct with Asia (ASEM), Latin America, Africa, India and the Mediterranean Region. In this forum, the participants explore potential regional collaborations and develop joint strategies while also striving to generate synergies with other Community policies and/or with activities of the EU Member States.