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Korea Research Foundation eyes entry into ESF’s EUROCORES, Research Networking Programmes

In another sign of how European Science Foundation (ESF)’s activities are breaking geographic barriers and exerting global influences, the Korea Research Foundation (KRF) has expressed desire to participate in ESF’s programmes such as the European Collaborative Research (EUROCORES) Scheme and the Research Networking Programmes (RNP).

At a recent workshop meeting in Seoul, Dr. Sang-Man Huh, the President of the KRF met with the Chief Executive of the ESF Dr. John Marks to discuss the possibility for the Korean organisation to be involved in ESF’s programmes. The workshop meeting 2007 KRF Capacity Building Workshop for Research Management, which was organized by KRF, was held from November 12th to 17th. Dr. Marks was a featured participant and keynote speaker at the event. It was attended by representatives from 23 research organizations and institutes from 15 countries in the Asian region.

“ In the fields of science and engineering, research collaboration between Korea and Europe has started to increase. But in terms of humanities and social sciences, the basis for cooperation is still weak,” commented Dr. Huh. “I believe that it is necessary to lay the foundation for more active exchanges and collaboration between Korean and European researchers by means of academic agreements or through other measures between KRF and ESF. I would also like to encourage Korean researchers to participate in some of the ESF programs such as the EUROCORES Programs and the RNP.”

The two heads of organisations also touched on the issue of the European Commission’s plan to create a single European market for scientists namely the European Research Area (ERA). The KRF is now looking into the possibility to initiate a similar effort in Asia. During their meeting, the KRF President was enquiring about the possible role that the ESF will play in the creation of the ERA.

“Currently we are looking into the possibility to initiate a similar effort, namely the Asian Research Area, in order to create a common platform for cross-border collaboration in the Asian region,” added Dr. Huh “We would like to learn from ESF’s experiences on creating such area. In addition to that, we want to know what the prerequisites are and if any independent, non-governmental organization of national research organizations such as ESF is needed before creating the area.”

In September 2007, the Heads of European Research Councils (EUROHORCs) and the ESF submitted a joint response to the Commission after a request by the EU Science and Research Commissioner Janez Potocnik to seek public comment on the Green Paper on the ERA. The two European organizations have stressed the importance of the development of a concerted vision for steering scientific research in Europe through coordinated foresight exercises, concerted strategies and common policies among the Member Organisations fostered by the close relationship between EUROHORCs and ESF. The Commission was told the ERA should take advantage of the strategic tools that the ESF and EUROHORCs are developing.

“The Korean Research Foundation is a key funder of bottom up response mode projects, together with the Korean Science and Engineering Foundation which funds more strategic research, and hence an interesting partner for ESF and its Member Organisations. They are determined to promote greater international cooperation for their scientific community, not only focusing on the US, but also creating openings to Europe, ” commented Dr. Marks. “This indication from the KRF once again shows that ESF’s activities are attractive for non European research agencies. After the US NSF and the Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Council, KRF would be the third non European partner in EUROCORES.” The way this participation could take shape will be explored in the coming months.

Since its founding in 1981, KRF has been committed to development of academic research through its support in a broad range of fields of basic research– including the Humanities & Social Sciences, and the fostering of next-generation scholars. KRF has grown to be one of the nation's leading academic research organizations, with a budget of around 900 M€..

The ESF is an independent, non-governmental organisation of national research organisations. Its strength lies in its ability to bring together the different strands of European science in order to meet the scienti?c challenges of the future. ESF’s activities reach beyond the EU-27 countries. Its membership currently includes 78 in?uential national funding agencies, research performing agencies and academies from 30 nations as its contributing members. Since its establishment in 1974, the Strasbourg-headquartered organisation has managed to assemble a host of research organisations that span across all disciplines of science in Europe, to create a common platform for cross-border cooperation.

Thomas Lau | alfa
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