Science and Technology Cooperation Agreement between the BMW Region and the West

Tuesday, 7 November 2006

07 November 2006: A new agreement has been put in place to support growth in the already significant medical devices industry in both the Border Midland and Western Region, Ireland and in the West Midlands, UK. The cooperation agreement, signed at NUI Galway, will involve the identification of areas for inter-regional working, particularly in the areas of collaborative research proposals, mobility of researchers and exchange of best practice in technology transfer from research labs and centres to the medical devices firms.

The Centre for Innovation and Structural Change at NUI Galway, facilitated by the Border Midland and Western Regional Assembly, worked with the West Midlands Regional Development Agency - Advantage West Midlands - to set out the terms of the Inter-Regional Scientific and Technological Cooperation Agreement. This lays down a framework in which research and technological development activities of mutual benefit can be developed between institutions of higher education, research institutions, regional development organisations, business support agencies and companies in the regions. The Agreement is a result of an EU funded Interreg IIIB initiative to support the development of networks amongst regions in Europe.

The President of NUI Galway, Dr. Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh, welcomed the initiative, stating that, "This is an exciting opportunity for the research insitutions, technology transfer offices and medical devices firms in the regions to identify areas for joint activites, reducing duplication of effort and promoting effective responses to the needs of medical devices companies in both regions".

The Project Director, Professor Michael Cuddy, commented that the signing of the Agreement represented a success story for European funded initiatives: "In developing the Agreement with colleagues in the regional development agency and the University of Coventry, the BMW Region is well placed to transfer and exploit best practice in research to support the medical devices industry as a key sector in the EU".

The Agreement outlines five specific areas in which inter-regional Cooperation can take place:

1. Support for reciprocal exchanges of scientists, researchers, technicians and trainees for visits, study tours and advanced studies (and in particular the promotion of the Marie Curie Fellowships between Higher Education Instutions in the BMW and West Midlands regions)

2. Promoting and developing joint research on projects and programmes of mutual interest, with a particular focus on medical and health technologies

3. The organisation of bilateral scientific meetings and participation in conferences, symposia and inter-regional seminars;

4. Collaboration and participation in the submission of proposals and other actions requesting funding and other support from the European Commission and other sources; and

5. Direct support to the development of partnerships among SMEs and between SMEs and Higher Education, through collaboration and co-operation with regional business support agencies such as the Chambers of Commerce and Business Links.

The Agreement will be for one year initially and will be reviewed by the institutions involved at the end of that period. Key stakeholders in both regions will be involved over the course of its implementation.

This initiative, undertaken by the BMW region, supports the goals of the Irish Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation (2006-2013) which addresses what it sees as 'vital' international dimensions of research and innovation in securing Ireland's position, by 2013, as a country that is internationally renowned for the excellence of its research, and to the forefront in generating and using new knowledge for economic and social progress, within an innovation driven culture.

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Contact: Professor Michael Cuddy, Project Director / Dr Lorna Ryan, Project Manager +353 91 524411

Notes to Editors

The Centre for Innovation and Structural Change (CISC) is an interdisciplinary research centre at the National University of Ireland, Galway partnered by University College Dublin and Dublin City University Business School. CISC was formally launched at NUI, Galway by An Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern T.D. on 1st March 2002. The key objective of CISC is to build an internationally recognised programme of research and research training on the innovation processes and policies that are fundamental to the development of a knowledge-based economy. CISC has been awarded competitive funding of Euro 2.8 million under the Irish Government s Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions (PRTLI) of the Higher Education Authority. NUI Galway, Centre for Innovation and Structural Change, www.nuigalway.ie/cisc

The Border, Midlands and Western Regional Assembly was established by the Government on 21st July, 1999 and consists of 29 elected members from the constituent local authorities, within the B.M.W. Region. The Border, Midland and Western Region consists of the following 13 counties: Cavan, Donegal, Galway, Laois, Leitrim, Longford, Louth, Mayo, Monaghan, Offaly, Roscommon, Sligo, Westmeath. The Role of the B.M.W. Assembly is to:

  • Manage the B.M.W. Regional Operational Programme under the National Development Plan.
  • Monitor the impact of the EU programme under the National Development Plan/Community Support Framework framework within the BMW Region
  • Promote the co-ordination of public services within the Region
Advantage West Midlands is one of nine Regional Development Agencies in England whose role is to provide leadership and action to create more, better jobs and an improved quality of life in the West Midlands.

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