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European Commission Signs Science Agreement

This is a media release from the European Commission

EMBARGOED UNTIL 10PM NZ TIME

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

The European Community signs a Science & Technical Cooperation Agreement with New Zealand

Today the European Community signed an S&T cooperation agreement with New Zealand bringing the total number of S&T cooperation agreements the EC has signed with third countries to 33. This international agreement which replaces the administrative arrangement concluded between the two Parties in 1991 shall help to better prepare and coordinate the research cooperation.

"The signature of this Agreement will open a new chapter in the S&T cooperation between New Zealand and the European Union, and will reinforce international cooperation in the research area" stated European Science and Research Commissioner Potočnik who signed the agreement together with Ms. Pécresse, the French Minister for Higher Education and Research on behalf of the European Community, and the New Zealand Ambassador to the European Union HE Peter Kennedy.

Despite the geographical distance New Zealand's researchers have already successfully participated in the past in research activities under the European Research Framework Programmes. Traditionally their participation was particularly accentuated in the area of food, agriculture and biotechnology.

This Agreement will help to extend the participation of researchers from New Zealand to other fields of common research interest such as Health, Environment and Information Technologies. Furthermore it will facilitate the participation of European researchers in New Zealand's research activities.

Regular meetings of a Joint EC-New Zealand Committee on Scientific and Technological Cooperation, which will be created under this Agreement, will help to identify common research priorities and areas in which joint research efforts are particularly promising for both Parties.

The Agreement will enter into force once the ratification procedures of the Parties have been completed, which is expected to be accomplished by the end of this year.

New Zealand has a productive and high-performing research and development RS&T system by international standards. The New Zealand government is committed to strengthening the RS&T system so it can better support and accelerate economic and social development and enhance the quality of the environment.

For more information on science and technology cooperation: www.ec.europa.eu/research/inco

ENDS


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