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Home  > International Relations  > News  > XXIII Portugal-Spain Summit

XXIII Portugal-Spain Summit

 - 18/01/2008

Portugal and Spain flagsThe Portugal-Spain Summit held in Braga on 18 January 2008 was chaired by the Portuguese Prime Minister, José Sócrates, and by the President of the Government of Spain, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero. It staged the ceremony for the creation of the International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory (INL) and the signature of the Headquarters Agreement for the International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory, fulfilling what had been agreed two years previously in Évora, at the XXI Portugal-Spain Summit.

Both parties underscored the developments in the scope of the Iberian Nanoscience and Nanotechnology empowerment programme that was announced at the previous Summit and the subject of a Memorandum of Understanding signed at the time by the two countries’ Ministers of Science. The first initiative under this programme was the opening of a call for projects involving teams from research institutions in both countries in the areas of nanomedicine (diagnostic systems, therapeutic applications and controlled medication release) and nanotechnology for environmental control and for food safety and quality. 72 proposals were presented, 10 of which were approved. These involve 36 research groups from each side – Portuguese and Spanish – following evaluation by an independent international panel.

The Ministers of Science of Portugal and Spain welcomed two new initiatives that have been included in this programme and executed by the INL Installing Committee: the launch of a competition to award PhD grants in Portuguese and Spanish laboratories for which it was hereby announced that 15 grants would be awarded to PhD students from both countries, as well as the launch of a recruitment competition for 7 post-doctoral positions in major international laboratories of excellence outside the Iberian Peninsula – the Max Planck Institute in Germany (two positions ), Brookhaven National Laboratory in the USA (two positions), University of Texas, Austin in the USA (one position) and the Technical University of Denmark (two positions) – as published today.

The INL Installing Committee’s initiative organising a meeting of 14 of the main nanoscience and nanotechnology laboratory directors from the two countries in February 2007 is also worth highlighting. The meeting was also attended by the coordinators of the national nanotechnology networks and ministry representatives from both countries. At the meeting, the different laboratories were presented and possible means of collaborating and finding synergies with the INL were analysed.

As regards the other joint initiatives announced at the previous Summit and subject to a Joint Statement signed at the time, the Ministries take note of the execution of these initiatives and showed interest in continuing with them, namely with the launch of the Iberian IBERGRID Initiative to develop an Iberian GRID distributed computing infrastructure, thus successfully pushing implementation of the joint Iberian plan forward.

As far as Promoting Scientific and Technological Culture is concerned, among other activities, the 1st Iberian meeting of Science Museums and Centres took place on 30 May 2007 in Lisbon, in addition to the young Portuguese and Spanish people’s exchange for 15 to 17 year olds in the scope of the Keeping Young People Busy with Science in the Holidays scheme. Sixty young Portuguese and Spanish people carried out week-long internships in Portuguese and Spanish scientific institutions in July last year.

Also worth mentioning is the joint collaboration in the Scientific Culture surveys. The Ministries welcomed the continuation of these activities in 2008 and backed the signing of a specific agreement between Ciência Viva and the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology (FECYT).

Lastly, as regards the setting up of a Ciência Viva Centre in Braga, on the INL campus, the parties agreed a bilingual Didactic Unit on Nanotechnology would be drafted, involving researchers from both countries.

Ministers José Mariano Gago and Mercedes Cabrera Calvo-Sotelo reiterated their interest in improving mobility between the two countries’ Universities and R&D institutions in a format to be agreed by the two Ministries following proposals from the working party announced at the previous Summit.

The two governments also took note of how cooperation is proceeding well in the remaining areas and decided to select other joint work areas for exploration, namely Medical Physics, Nuclear and Particle Medicine and Medical Imaging; Health sciences and Biomedical Science; Environmental Science and Engineering; as well as beefing up bilateral collaboration in the context of the activities conducted under the International Polar Year in the Antarctic.

On exchange schemes for researchers between Spain and Portugal, as regards cooperation in Nuclear, Particle and Astroparticle Physics, which has been instituted under the agreement signed in 2005, they decided to extend the annual researcher mobility scheme from 180 to 280 days a year each way.

In the area of the Information Society, the Portuguese Minister for Science, Technology and Higher Education and the Minister for Industry, Tourism and Trade of the Kingdom of Spain signed a Cooperation Protocol to flesh out the Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2005 and to develop a cooperation programme in Information and Communication Technologies and the Information Society between the two countries.

The Knowledge Society Agency (UMIC) was directly involved through its President in preparing the Science, Technology, Information Society and Higher Education component for this Summit. The President of UMIC, Luis Magalhães, accompanied the Minister for Science, Technology and Higher Education, José Mariano Gago, at the Summit.

Last updated ( 11/08/2011 )