Project-based research - Boosting France-Mexico cooperation

During the French President's state visit to Mexico on April 10-11, 2014, ANR signed a new agreement with its Mexican counterpart, the National Council on Science and Technology (CONACYT). The aim of the agreement is to strengthen the Franco-Mexican scientific cooperation and promote the funding of joint research projects carried out by teams from both countries. The agreement should be implemented within ANR’s 2015 Work Programme.

Mexico is ANR's leading partner in Latin America with Brazil, and the agency's sixth partner outside of Europe. The country is conducting an incentive policy to reinforce higher education and scientific research and is willing to increase the national R&D expenses, to intensify links between the public and private sectors, as well as to reinforce the private sector involvement in scientific research.

ANR and CONACYT had been collaborating for several years through bilateral programmes. A first agreement was signed in November 2008, which resulted in the launching of a first call for proposals in the context of the 2009 edition of the ANR's Blanc International programme. This call had been launched annually until 2012.

Since 2009, ANR and CONACYT have thus co-funded 19 Franco-Mexican projects. The total grants allocated to those projects amount to about €11 M. They concern various research fields: biology and health; agronomy and ecological sciences; materials, chemistry, processes and energy; information and communication sciences and technologies; and social sciences and humanities.

A Franco-Mexican Forum for Research and Innovation organised by the Mexican government in June 2013 was the opportunity for ANR to meet the new persons in charge of cooperation at CONACYT, to rekindle the monitoring of funded projects and to discuss the basis for a new collaboration. Following the meeting, the relationships between ANR and CONACYT made a fresh start, which has resulted in the signature of the agreement. The latter will foster the funding of basic research projects as well as public-private partnerships.

The agreement was signed on April 11 in the headquarters of CONACYT, in the presence of the French Minister of National Education, Higher Education and Research, Mr. Benoît Hamon. A Franco-Mexican symposium was held the day before in the premises of the Ministry of Public Education of Mexico. The event gathered around 150 French and Mexican university presidents. For this occasion, ANR took part in a roundtable concerning the definition of research priorities in France and in Mexico. The themes of the ANR-CONACYT cooperation will be discussed by June 2014.

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