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Scientifics and universities will support the Danube Strategy

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Launched in June 2011, the EU Strategy for the Danube Region (EUSDR) aims to boost the development of the Danube Region. This macro-regional strategy relies on an integrated approach to encourage better policy development and the alignment of funding and resources through concrete actions and projects, resulting in a more efficient and better balanced implementation of the EU´s overall objectives under Europe 2020.

Presented at a high-level meeting in Bratislava today, the clusters will provide scientific evidence to support the Danube Strategy, and will also serve to foster scientific cooperation across the region. The launch event was attended amongst others by the Slovak Prime Minister H.E. Robert Fico and the Vice President of the European Commission, Maroš Šefčovič.

The water, land & soil, bio-energy and air clusters will look at these key resources in relation to identified needs: environmental protection, irrigation & agricultural development and energy. The data cluster is meant to facilitate the exchange and harmonisation of clear and comparable data in areas such as biodiversity, river morphology, flood and drought risks, soils, crops or energy resources and potential. It will also set up a common data access point for the whole region – the first operational version should be available by December this year. The smart specialisation cluster will study how to concentrate resources on key scientific priorities based on the economic potential of the Danube region rather than spreading efforts and investment too thinly.

The clusters will bring together the scientific community from the 14 Danube countries, involving most of the Academies of science in the region, the Danube Rectors Conference (which involves 54 universities) and many other research organisations. The partners will take part in the cluster(s) of their choice, according to their priorities and expertise. Participation remains open to other interested parties. The clusters will foster cooperation not only among scientists, but also between scientists and policy makers, and will encourage a better uptake of scientific results in policy-making. While the scientific community will meet regularly, policy makers will be updated once a year.

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