German-Polish research cooperation is based on the agreement on Scientific and Technological Cooperation (STC) of 10 November 1989. Germany's current cooperation partner at government level is the Ministry of Science and Higher Education (MNiSW). The German-Polish Mixed STC Committee generally meets every two years, alternately in Germany and in Poland, and decides on the topics and priorities for collaboration as well as on joint activities. The last meeting took place in Berlin in July 2012.
At the German-Polish Governmental Consultations in Berlin in November 2012, topics included successful cooperation in the field of sustainable development, arrangements for the 2nd German-Polish Research Forum in Warsaw in 2013, current European research policies issues, and cooperation within the German-Polish Science Foundation. The Ministers signed off on a change to the Governmental Agreement from 2 June 2008 which doubles contributions from the Polish Government for the German-Polish Science Foundation from 5 to 10 million euros.
For many years now there have been various forms of cooperation in the field of sustainability research involving German and Polish universities and research institutions, for example within the framework of BMBF specialist programmes and under the EU Research Framework Programmes. In addition, the two sides have held joint scientific conferences and workshops; and participation by the BMBF and research teams at the POLEKO environmental fair in Poznan, for example, has produced further impulses. In 2011, the first joint call for proposals was issued by the BMBF and the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education in the field of sustainability. Subjects included in the call were R&D projects in the areas of climate and energy, sustainable industry and resources, and sustainable land management.
The conference "Neighbourhood for Sustainability - from Lisbon to Leipzig with Research (L2L)" took place during the German Council Presidency in Leipzig in May 2007. Following on from this event and from the German-Polish Research Forum in Leipzig, the "First German-Polish Conference on Research for Sustainability" took place in Warsaw in May 2008. Its special focus was on research policy topics, environmental and water technologies as well as research for resource efficiency.
The Fraunhofer Institute for Material and Beam Technology (IWS) in Dresden and Wroclaw Technical University opened the "Fraunhofer Project Center for Laser Integrated Manufacturing" in Wroclaw on 24 September 2008. The Center is Fraunhofer's first cooperation project in Poland. It aims to develop new process technologies, for example for producers of automobile components and manufacturers of domestic and electrical appliances in the East and West.
Germany and twelve other European countries are taking part in the European XFEL X-ray laser project, which is to begin operations at the German Electron Synchrotron (DESY) in Hamburg by 2013. The same number of European partners are also involved in the Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research (FAIR), an international research centre which is to be set up at the German Heavy Ion Research Centre in Darmstadt by 2015. Poland is an important partner for XFEL as well as for FAIR. Polish scientists are extremely interested in both plants. A considerable number of Polish scientists and diploma and doctoral students are working at DESY.
The BMBF and the Ministry of Science and Higher Education (MNiSW) issued joint calls for proposals in the clinical neurosciences within the framework of German-Polish cooperation in 2002 and 2006. These resulted in 13 and 10 German-Polish projects respectively. The project applications were assessed jointly; funding for the scientists involved was provided by the respective national Ministry. The two Ministries are currently cooperating in the ERA-Net NEURON, which aims to extend the results of the NEURON Specific Support Action (SSA) pilot project to an entire ERA network. ERA-NET NEURON II has been running since January 2012.
The German-Polish Science Foundation (DPWS), which the Federal Government has provided with endowment capital of 50 million euros, began its activities on 19 November 2008. It supports projects primarily in the fields of the humanities, law, cultural, social and economic sciences. Students and scholars from both countries apply for funding and implement projects on the basis of German-Polish cooperation. The recipients of funding are universities, non-university research institutions and other scientific institutions in Germany and Poland. The allocation of funds is based on criteria for excellence and on the significance of the projects for enhancing understanding between Germans and Poles.
The German-Polish Intergovernmental Agreement of 2 June 2008 regulates German-Polish cooperation in the Science Foundation and the provision of the funding promised by Poland. The Foundation plays a key role in intensifying German-Polish cooperation. It encourages dialogue and understanding between our countries and benefits people in both countries as well as in Europe as a whole.
The first German-Polish Research Forum took place in Leipzig on 21/22 April 2008, following the successful 2005-2006 German-Polish Year. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education (MNiSW) invited representatives of science and research, politics and society to this event. The aim of the Forum was to intensify cooperation between the two countries in the field of research, to develop new instruments for cooperation and to contribute to shaping the European Research Area. The Forum, which began with a reception on the evening of 21 April 2008, was opened on the morning of 22 April by Federal Research Minister Professor Annette Schavan and her Polish colleague, Professor Barbara Kudrycka, at the KUBUS conference centre of the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) in Leipzig. Around 250 prominent representatives of research, science, politics and society set the course for closer cooperation between both countries at the Leipzig meeting. Special emphasis was placed on supporting young researchers and strengthening partnerships and networks. In terms of content, the main topics were environmental research, sustainable development, the humanities and the social sciences.
The BMBF has been running the funding programme "International Cooperation in Education and Research - Central, Eastern and South Eastern European Region" ("Regional Call for Proposals") since 2004 with the aim of supporting projects between German scientists and partners in Central and Eastern Europe. The objective of these projects is to prepare joint applications under the BMBF's funding programmes or the European Union's Research Framework Programme. So far, more than 443 German-Polish projects have been funded under the regional call for proposals. A funding programme on research marketing was launched for the first time in 2006. Five calls have been issued under the title "Implementation of Marketing Measures in the Target Region of Central, Eastern and South Eastern Europe," which aim at R&D networks and research clusters as part of the "Promoting Germany as a Key Location for Innovation" initiative. With these calls, the BMBF is funding projects in which German R&D networks present not only their own research, but also Germany itself as an excellent location for research in an effort to establish partnerships and intensify cooperation. Since 2006, a total of 36 projects with the target country Poland have received funding.
Contacts between research institutions, universities and companies in both countries are being initiated at international trade fairs in Poland in the context of the BMBF's research marketing initiative. For example, selected German research institutions presented their work at the BMBF's stand at the International Technology Fair in Poznan in June 2005. This is the largest technology fair in Eastern Europe. The BMBF was also present at the largest international environmental trade fair in Eastern Europe, POLEKO in Poznan, which takes place under the patronage of the Polish Minister for the Environment. Participation at trade fairs has resulted in the establishment of numerous new contacts between German and Polish stakeholders which in turn have led to successful joint projects at national and international level. In 2012, the BMBF also presented another selection of 20 German R&D projects at this important environmental trade fair in Eastern Europe. The BMBF issued a first call for an ideas competition to establish and expand innovative R&D networks with partners in the Baltic Sea region in 2010. The aim is to create interdisciplinary, innovative R&D networks to strengthen the Baltic Sea region. The idea is to unlock the potential for innovation through international cooperation. After releasing two more calls, a total of 24 multilateral network projects with Polish partners have been funded.
Poland has traditionally always been an important partner for German science, research and intermediary organizations, and bilateral cooperation has been expanded even further in recent years. Comprehensive information on this area is available from the information platform funded by the BMBF www.kooperation-international.de.
One of the priorities of the German Research Association (DFG) is to intensify German-Polish cooperation at scientific as well as institutional level. The DFG and the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education (MNiSW) signed an agreement on joint project funding in December 2005. They went on to publish a joint call to fund bilateral research cooperation in spring 2006.
The Foundation for Polish Science (FNP) is a further important partner, with which the DFG also signed a cooperation agreement in 2005 and with which it cooperates closely, particularly in the area of promoting young researchers (Copernicus Award 2006, 2008 and 2010; joint measures supporting the initiation of collaborations). The DFG opened the first "Liaison Scientists" network in Warsaw on 20 November 2006. The DFG has also enjoyed excellent relations with the Polish Academy of Sciences (PAN) for many years.
Poland is one of the most important partner countries for the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). A total of 2,385 students and researchers received funding for German-Polish exchanges within the framework of the DAAD's programmes in 2011. 2,338 mobility measures were funded under the ERASMUS and LEONARDO programmes in the period 2009/2010. In 2011, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (AvH) in its cooperation with Poland, funded 36 Humboldt Research Awards and 122 research scholarships, as well as awarded 11 Feodor-Lynen Scholarships. The Max Planck Society (MPG) has established an independent junior research group for molecular cell biology on the basis of an agreement with the Polish Academy of Sciences (PAN) in Warsaw. A research group financed by the Polish side began its work at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden in early 2006. Ecological research and biodiversity research are new priority fields of collaboration. Summer schools, workshops and new partner groups are to be set up in these areas. Existing research collaborations in the fields of the social and cultural sciences, ethnology, sociology, history, chemistry and physics will be expanded with a view to creating networks, training young researchers, and increasing interdisciplinarity.
These numerous activities have led to an overall increase in the number of young Polish researchers in Germany. In 2010, 255 visiting researchers from Poland were working at the Max Planck institutes, which reported 104 cooperation projects with Poland. Poland's special role as an immediate neighbour and the largest new EU Member State is reflected, for example, in the Helmholtz Association's statistics on visiting researchers: Poland represents by far the largest national European group with a total of 260 researchers and even accounts for more than two thirds of all visiting researchers in the field of the "Structure of Matter". As far as EU projects are concerned, Polish researchers are involved in research activities at the following Helmholtz Centres: DESY (German Electron Synchrotron), DLR (German Aerospace Center), GKSS (Geesthacht Centre for Materials and Coastal Research), GSF (Research Center for Environmental Health), GSI (Research Centre for Heavy Ion Research) and MDC (Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine). The cooperation between the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics (IPP) in Greifswald and institutions in Poland deserves special mention.
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