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Europe is open for business, EC tells Singapore

Says it would be "short-sighted" for the island state not to strengthen research ties with Europe

It would be “short-sighted” for Singapore not to strengthen its research ties with Europe, according to the European Commissioner for research, innovation and science.

Máire Geoghegan-Quinn said there were many opportunities for greater collaboration between scientists in the island state and their counterparts in Europe.

“International cooperation features strongly on the European Union's research and innovation agenda because it makes sense to bring the world's best researchers together, where possible, in order to tackle our common challenges such as climate change, health, energy and food security or our ageing population.

“It also makes sense for researchers around the world to look for ways to collaborate with Europe,” she said, speaking at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore last week.

Geoghegan-Quinn is keen for Singaporean researchers to apply for European research funding in areas like health, nanotechnology and biotechnology.

The EU's 7th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development, better known as FP7, is the world's largest public programme for research and willinvest more than €55bn over seven years until 2013.

The next package of calls for proposals this summer will release around €10bn of financing for cooperative research and is open to researchers and companies from all over the world.

Although Singaporean participants have an impressive record in previous Framework Programmes there has been a “downward trend in Singapore's participation in FP7”, which Geoghegan-Quinn wants to reverse.

The EU is Singapore's second trading partner, just after Malaysia and before China and, Geoghegan-Quinn pointed out, its GDP is bigger than that of the US.

“It would be short-sighted for Singapore, home to five million people, not to seek to strengthen research ties with the European Union, a bloc of 500 million,” Geoghegan-Quinn said.

“And apart from the immense scale of European research, more importantly, we arestill the home of world-class ideas and world-class science.”

She acknowledged Europe currently faces “economic difficulties”, but said, “the European Union remains an economic powerhouse”.

“Europe,” she said, “is most definitely open for business.”

9th March 2012

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