EU – US cooperation in Materials Sciences


1. Background

A Co-operation Agreement between EC and US in the field of S&T was signed in late 1998. Its purpose is to encourage, develop and facilitate co-operative activities in fields of common interest where the Parties are pursuing research and development activities in science and technology.

It makes provision for reciprocal opportunities to engage in co-operative activities for mutual benefit based on an overall balance of advantages. One of the sectors mentioned for co-operative activities is Materials Sciences.

Summary information :

Full text of the agreement :

2. Implementing Arrangement in the Field of Materials Sciences

EU and US are world leaders in Materials Sciences, due to their large resources in terms of skills and technological background. Consequently, Materials Sciences are an obvious candidate for co-operation in order to stimulate ideas and creation of knowledge and to achieve the critical mass for ambitious research projects of common interest for added value and mutual benefit.

An Implementing Arrangement in the field of Materials Sciences and related areas based on the S&T Agreement was signed by the European Commission’s Directorate General Research and the US National Science Foundation (NSF) on 16 December 1999. Among others, this arrangement makes provision for co-ordinated calls for proposals.

3. In practice

US entities may participate and apply for NSF funding, as set out below. This joint effort is intended to create substantial added value for mutual benefit in Materials Sciences, both for the EU and the US. With this in mind EU-US, multi-partner, multi-national project proposals in Materials Sciences are possible. This applies both for collaborative research project proposals, and for networks, including electronic networks, and clusters of research proposals.

Materials Sciences is part of the generic activities covered by the EC programme ‘Competitive and Sustainable Growth’. Therefore US participants can apply to the call launched on 15.12.1999 – see

Proposals must comply with the relevant EU eligibility criteria and rules for participation, and will be evaluated according to the respective criteria. For the participation rules in FP5 see



Proposals must have a single, jointly developed workplan involving all the partners and which clearly sets out the division of labour, the expected results, synergies and added value and budgets for each side. Consortia of co-operating partners are expected to be balanced in terms of level of efforts and expertise, and demonstrate the mutual benefits obtainable from complementary international research. In the context of a joint EU-US proposals, a multidisciplinary approach combining strengths of researchers and technologists in the EU and the US will be favoured. In selecting projects of this type, priority will be given to research of a longer-term nature with breakthrough potential.

If selected, participants from the European Union and from associated States will receive funding from the EU budget in accordance with the normal EU rules.

Participants from the US may apply for NSF financial support. If NSF support is applied for, a proposal must also be sent to NSF which will make a funding decision according to its own applicable terms and conditions. The proposal to NSF must be accompanied by information identifying the counterpart EU proposal or funded project, including a technical abstract.

For the National Science Foundation see “Dear Colleague letter” at

Further Information on International Co-operative Research Activities

For the European Commission, see

For the National Science Foundation see

For the National Science Foundation Europe office, see

* * * * * * * * * * * *