Russia, as the EU’s largest direct neighbouring country and as a global player on the political and economic stage was – and in many respects still is – considered one of the main strategic international partners of the EU. Russia was also the most successful non-associated third country in the recent Framework Programmes for Research and Technological Development. The BILAT-RUS-Advance project focused on enhancing the bilateral science, technology and innovation (STI) partnership between the Russian Federation and the EU Member States/Associated Countries.
The overall strategic objective of the project BILAT-RUS-Advanced was to facilitate the science-, technology- and innovation cooperation between Russia and the EU. European competitiveness was supported through strategic partnerships with Russia on a bilateral level and on the basis of mutual interest and benefit.
The project supported the bilateral STI policy dialogue between the Russian Federation and the EU Member States, Candidate Countries and Associated Countries. This also implied support to coordinate EU Member States’ and Associated Countries’ research policies and programmes with regard to Russia. Synergies between EU policies and programmes addressing Russia were promoted. BILAT-RUS-Advanced further promoted the bilateral cooperation to the best scientists and organisations by increasing the awareness on FP7 cooperation opportunities and monitor the progress which had been achieved so far.
Brokerage and information events for researchers and innovation actors were implemented in order to facilitate the preparation of collaborative research activities and the utilisation of research results.
Twinning activities between STI actors and institutions were actively supported. At the same time, the project supported the implementation of a service approach for FP7 Contacts in Russia, with a special focus to the regional dimension. The participation of Russia in Community programmes was strengthened, most prominently the FP7.
Also, BILAT-RUS-Advanced focused on the opportunities for European researchers to participate in Russian research and innovation programmes. In doing this, the project was founded on the basis of the accomplishments of the two predecessor projects BILAT-RUS and ACCESS RU. Thus, the work done so far, as well as the communication channels implemented in the past years, was considered in such a way that sustainability of efforts were secured. This implied that BILAT-RUS-Advanced aimed at further contributing to the implementation of the Common Space on Research, Education and Culture between the EU and Russia. At the same time, however, the project was not a mere prolongation of the mentioned two projects. Instead, BILAT-RUS-Advanced actively reacted to the needs of general context that had changed substantially during the last years.
This change was reflected in the EU-Russia 'modernisation partnership' initiative of 2010. Accordingly, BILAT-RUS-Advanced devoted considerable attention to the new challenge 'innovation cooperation'. For this, the project analysed the Russian innovation system. The work on supporting cooperation on aspects related to framework conditions for research being done in the predecessor project BILAT-RUS was taken up and extended to aspects of innovation.
The project tasks were structured in six work packages (WP):