Cooperation with Mexico is based on the intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in science and technology, which was concluded on 6 February 1974. On the Mexican side, this area falls within the remit of the Mexican foreign ministry (SRE). The National Council for Science and Technology (CONACYT) is responsible for coordinating and financing scientific and technological cooperation on behalf of the foreign ministry. In addition to the STC agreement, there are two further individual agreements between the BMBF and Mexican institutions:
The key areas of cooperation between the two countries are determined by a Mixed Commission, whose last meeting took place in Mexico City in September 2009. It was the second meeting in association with the Federal Ministry for Economic Development and Cooperation (BMZ). The next STC meeting is due to take place in Germany in 2011.
In 2009, the Mixed Commission spoke out in favour of intensifying cooperation even further. In future, education and research are to be used more effectively to promote innovation processes. To this end, SMEs are to be integrated more strongly in bilateral R&D collaborations. Vocational education too is to be given greater weight. The basic aim is to improve living conditions in the region on a long-term basis and to open up access to new markets for German companies. The current priority subjects are: biotechnology, environmental technologies, climate protection and sustainable development, marine research and technology, production technologies, information and communication technologies, basic research on renewable energies and energy efficiency, materials research, nanotechnology and health research.
The German-Mexican Master's Programme in Environment and Resources Management was launched by the Cologne University of Applied Sciences and the Universidad Autónoma de San Luis Potosí in August 2008. The first two semesters of the master's course take place at the UASLP and the third semester takes place at Cologne University of Applied Sciences. The fourth semester involves conducting a field study in a Latin American country and writing the MA dissertation. So far, a total of 46 students have received training in two entrance years. The selection of applicants for the programme's third year took place in San Luis Potosí in March 2010 and involved both universities, CONACYT and the DAAD branch office in Mexico. This third course began in July 2010 with 9 German and 20 Latin American scholarship recipients. The programme is jointly financed by the BMBF, the BMZ and CONACYT and administrated on the German side by the DAAD. An evaluation of the master's course in Germany and Mexico is currently being carried out on behalf of the DAAD.
The Max Planck Society, supported by the BMBF, has presented the Science Tunnel at four sites in Mexico since June 2010 within the framework of the bicentennial celebrations. The opening of the first site took place in June against the background of the 12th Latin-America Conference of German Industry at the World Trade Center in Mexico City. Further sites were Monterrey and León. In parallel to the opening of the Science Tunnel, the BMBF organized an innovation forum on the topic of "Innovative Networks and Clusters" on 17 June with German and Latin American speakers.
In cooperation with Mexican partners, the German Aerospace Center (DLR) has built a new satellite receiving station in Chetumal (Yucatán), which was inaugurated by the Mexican President Felipe Calderón in October 2007. Since then, an excellent remote sensing department has been developed which processes the satellite data received and makes the information broadly available, for example in order to fight forest fires. This also helps to position the German space industry in Central and South America. There are plans to expand the scientific and operational use of the station's data and to add further satellites. Mexico also plans to set up its own aerospace agency and the DLR can contribute significantly to strengthening the position of the German aerospace industry both by acting as a partner in the start-up phase and through cooperation within the framework of research projects on the application of earth observation data.
The DFG approved the first international postgraduate research programme in Latin America in the social sciences and humanities in May 2009. The topic is Mexico as the gateway from East to West, North to South. The coordinating partners are the FU Berlin on the German side and the Colegio de México on the Mexican side. A kick-off event to launch the postgraduate research programme was held in April 2010 within the framework of the bicentennial celebrations.
The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and other European partners organized the fifth European Higher Education Fair EuroPosgrados in Mexico City and Monterrey in November 2009.
The International Bureau supports mobility projects in the above-mentioned priority fields. A call for proposals was successfully completed on 30 September 2010. Eighteen joint mobility projects are currently being funded in conjunction with Mexico.
The DFG organized 15 workshops in Mexico in 2008, which generated a large number of funding applications for joint research projects. Approximately 10 German-Mexican projects are to be supported through CONACYT and DFG funding.
CONACYT has established a new fund (FONCICYT) with support from the EU. It has a total volume of €20 million (€10 million each from the EU and CONACYT). Selected projects were approved in May/July 2009. Of the 41 German institutions involved, eight were approved for funding.
A total of 33 projects with Mexican participation have been successful in the EU's 7th Research Framework Programme. Ten of these projects included a German partner.
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