Europe signs sci-tech agreements with Japan, Jordan

Europe will work with Japan and Jordan on research in areas such as energy, the environment and sustainable development

The European Commission has signed two separate deals with Japan and Jordan to increase science and technology research co-operation between Europe and those countries.

The agreements will allow researchers to identify common priorities in areas such as energy, the environment and sustainable development, according to Commission statements on Tuesday.

"The signature of a science and technology co-operation agreement is the recognition of our mutual interest in bringing together our scientific capacities to address the great challenges we face today," said European commissioner for science and research, Janez Potočnik, in the statement. "More and more of the challenges our societies face do not respect national borders."

The deals with Japan and Jordan will take the Europe's total number of external science and technology agreements to 19, once the deals are ratified. The Commission expects ratification during the course of 2010.

The agreements put in place joint research committees and research infrastructures, and allow for greater mobility of researchers, the statement added. The deals also specify rules concerning intellectual-property rights for joint programmes.

The Commission has been critical of IT research funding levels in Europe. In January, it warned that research and development funding in the EU was "stagnating", largely because of a lack of investment by European businesses.