New Zealand signs new science agreement with EU

Thursday 17 July 2008, 11:22PM
By Pete Hodgson

Minister of Research Science and Technology Pete Hodgson announced today the signing of an agreement between New Zealand and the European Union that will broaden New Zealand’s collaboration with the European Union’s science community.

The New Zealand – European Union Science and Technology Cooperation (STC) Agreement is the first STC agreement New Zealand has had with the European Union.

“One of the most significant aspects of the STC Agreement is that it will allow New Zealand researchers to be eligible for European Union programmes that wouldn’t otherwise be accessible,” said Pete Hodgson.

New Zealand has a recognised reputation in a number of research fields that are of interest to the European Union. These include natural resource-based sciences (agriculture, plant and animal science, environmental science), medical, and information and communications technology (ICT) research.

The Commission’s research budget for Research and Technological Development for the 2007/13 period is around NZ$100 billion.

“I would like to particularly acknowledge the role of the Slovenian Presidency of the European Union in moving forward the STC Agreement. Links to European research are very important for New Zealand as the European Union is investing heavily in research areas critical to our future economic and social development,” he said.

The New Zealand Ambassador to the European Union, HE Peter Kennedy, signed the Agreement on behalf of New Zealand. European Commissioner for Science and Research Janez Poto nik and the French Minister for Higher Education and Research Valérie Pécresse signed on behalf of the European Union.

Negotiations on the STC Agreement have allowed New Zealand to participate in the European Union’s International Research Staff Exchange Scheme, which supports collaboration between institutions based in Europe and countries such as New Zealand.

The new STC Agreement will enter into force once full ratification has been completed by the European Union, expected by the end of 2008.