Cooperation between Germany and Ukraine in science, technology and innovation as well as in education has become an integral element of the two countries' strategies for international cooperation.

Majdan in Kiev
View of the Majdan, central square of the Ukrainian capital Kiev. © Thinkstock

Cooperation with Ukraine is becoming increasingly important due to the recent political developments and the country's key role in the European Union’s neighbourhood policy. Against this backdrop, the Federal Government has launched an Action Plan Ukraine under which it is supporting Ukraine's political, economic and societal reforms and stabilization, involving the participation of the Federal Research Ministry and other departments, implementing organizations and partner agencies.

Cooperation between Germany and Ukraine is based on the 'Joint Declaration of the Federal Ministry of Research and Technology of the Federal Republic of Germany and the State Committee for Science and Technology of Ukraine on Scientific and Technological Relations', which was signed in 1993. The Federal Research Ministry's partner ministry in Kiev is the Ukrainian Ministry of Education and Science. The 10th Meeting of the joint German-Ukrainian STC working group was held in Kiev in June 2014.

Cooperation between German and Ukrainian actors also takes place under the Eastern Partnership (EaP) within the European Neighbourhood Policy and at international level. Cooperation between the EU and Ukraine in science and technology is based on the relevant agreement which was signed in July 2002.

Key Areas of Cooperation

The thematic focus of bilateral S&T cooperation with Ukraine is placed on the areas of:

  • Biotechnology,
  • Nanotechnology, novel materials and production technology,
  • Health research and medical technology,
  • Technologies for an efficient use of resources and energy, sustainable environmental technology.

The cooperation partners on the German side are the universities as well as the institutions of the Fraunhofer Society, the Helmholtz Association, the Max Planck Society and the Leibniz Association. The main Ukrainian partners are the institutes of Ukraine's National Academy of Sciences and the Ukrainian universities. Furthermore, more and more small and medium-sized enterprises are becoming involved on both sides.

A contact person for research cooperation is posted in Kiev to support the Federal Research Ministry. The contact person's responsibilities are to collect and assess information on Ukraine's potential for research and innovation and current developments, maintain cooperation ties with German and Ukrainian stakeholders at authorities and research institutions on the ground, advise German players and facilitate the realization of bilateral activities in Ukraine.

Next to bilateral cooperation between the Federal Research Ministry and Ukraine, the Federal Research Ministry is also represented by its Project Management Agency at the German Aerospace Center (International Bureau) in four projects at EU level:

  • BILAT-UKR*AINA which fosters the policy dialogue between the EU and Ukraine and aims at strengthening Ukrainian participation in EU research programmes;
  • IncoNet EaP which is aimed at establishing a policy dialogue on research and development among EU countries and Eastern Partnership countries and at integrating the region into the European Research Area (ERA);
  • Danube-INCO.NET which hosts policy dialogues, establishes networks and carries out analyses to promote the EU Strategy for the Danube Region (EUSDR), particularly its priority areas 'knowledge society' and 'competitiveness'.
  • Black Sea Horizon which strengthens the relationship between the EU and the Black Sea partner countries by implementing a series of activities in the fields of science, technology and innovation.

Highlights of Bilateral Cooperation

Under the Action Plan Ukraine, the Federal Research Ministry is cooperating with German science and intermediary organizations to initiate and monitor demand-driven activities in various Ukrainian target fields, for example measures to push the internationalization of higher education and research institutions and to enhance the universities' research output. In early 2015, the Federal Research Ministry and Ukraine's National Academy of Sciences co-hosted a forum on current challenges for Ukrainian universities and a workshop on evaluation methods.

Furthermore, the Federal Research Ministry is supporting various collaborations under German-Ukrainian Scientific and Technological Cooperation. These collaborative projects are based on calls for proposals announced in coordination with Ukraine to provide joint funding for measures which prepare new, and strengthen existing, collaborations and projects in the field of research and technology. One example comes from the field of regenerative medicine. In this project, German and Ukrainian biologists, stem cell researchers and medical scientists are pooling their complementary expertise to enhance individual process stages and thus reduce the costs of stem cell storage. Another German-Ukrainian collaborative project is concerned with advancing the development of a new class of cancer drugs to find new strategies for cancer treatment.