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The European Union on Thursday invited India to participate in its 54 billion Euro science and research programme that will run for five years. “India will be the most important and first partner in the Seventh Framework Programme (FP 7), which is an important instrument of innovation. I would like to invite India to new possibilities and opportunities in the field of scientific research through this initiative,” Minister for Education and Research of Germany Anntte Schavan, which also holds EU Presidency, said. The invitation was extended at India-European Union Ministerial Science Conference organised by CII and was accepted by Minister of Science and Technology Kapil Sibal.

 

‘The joint call for research with the EU is a historic breakthrough,’ said India’s Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal after signing a joint declaration with Germany’s Education and Research Minister Annette Schavan and the European Commissioner for Science and Research, Janez Potocnik. The three leaders had chaired the meeting attended by 37 delegates from all EU member nations including science ministers from Portugal, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and Poland.

 

India’s Science Ministry said the conference had ‘underlined the benefits of joint or coordinated calls for proposals in strategically important research fields of mutual interest.’ The declaration titled the ‘The New Delhi Communique’ recommended the setting up of a number of joint mechanisms for networking innovation systems in various regions of India and Europe and promised the launch of a new programme for promoting science and technology collaboration with joint funding.

 

‘The communique is an important document and a milestone in the India-EU relationship,’ Schavan said, adding that there existed a ‘window of opportunity’ to significantly increase bilateral cooperation.

‘That this is the first time EU countries are holding a science conference outside the continent shows that India is an important partner for us,’ she said.

 

 

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