Science and Technology collaboration: EU brings largest-ever delegation to New Zealand (10/06/2010)

The European Commission is bringing its largest-ever scientific delegation to New Zealand for this week's 2nd Joint Science & Technology Committee Meeting (JSTCC). 12 Commission Officials and several scientific experts have just arrived in Wellington to take part in a Senior Officials Meeting on Science & Innovation.

The EU and New Zealand signed a Science & Technology Cooperation Agreement in July 2008. Since its January 2009 entry into force, researchers have been collaborating in the EU's Framework Programmes and in New Zealand's research programmes. Science & Technology Cooperation is, in addition to that, also a key objective within the Joint Declaration on Relations and Cooperation between the European Union and New Zealand the main document guiding the dialogue between these two partners.

The EU's current Framework Programme, FP7, is worth EUR 53.7bn worlwide for the period 2007-2013, and there have already been a greater number of participants from New Zealand than during the entire FP6 period.

The key areas for EU-New Zealand collaboration are Food, Agriculture and Biotechnology (FAB), Information Communications Technology (ICT) and through people to people links (the Marie Curie fellowships, IRSES).

EU Ambassador  to New Zealand David Daly said "This is a meeting of minds and when minds meet they don’t just exchange facts, they transform them.  This is a meeting about challenges, innovation and cooperation."

The programme for Thursday (10 June) will be dominated by several separate thematic discussions on a wide range of issues while Friday (11 June) will be more focused on future actions in the bilateral scientific relationship.

The second day's meetings will be co-chaired by Maive Rute, Director of the Food, Agriculture and Biotechnology Unit in the European Commission's Directorate General for Research & Technology, Development and Lesley Middleton, acting Chief Executive of the Ministry of Research, Science & Technology on the New Zealand side.