Why is Central Asia so diverse

Central Asia

Political framework

The basis for the growing and diverse scientific cooperation between Germany and Central Asia is the intergovernmental agreement on scientific and technical cooperation (STC) from 1987, which the Central Asian successor states of the Soviet Union consider to be still valid. In addition, bilateral STC agreements were concluded with Kazakhstan (1995) and Uzbekistan (1998).

The overarching framework is formed by the strategy “EU and Central Asia - a partnership for the future” of the European Union and the internationalization strategy of the German government, which was largely developed by the German side.

In addition, the Federal Ministry of Education and the Committee for the Coordination of the Development of Science and Technology at the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan (KKEWT) signed a declaration of intent in 2012, which since then has regularly served as the basis for funding measures for bilateral projects. In addition to their scientific importance, the collaborations are currently also gaining strategic relevance, since Central Asia is one of the regions of the world that is developing very dynamically and at the same time is extremely geopolitical. Most of the countries in the region have an emphatic interest in expanding scientific and technological cooperation, especially with Germany. The aim of the Federal Ministry of Education is to use the resulting opportunities for the strategic expansion of scientific cooperation.

Priorities of the cooperation

In implementing Germany's research interests, the Federal Ministry of Education supports numerous universities and technical colleges as well as research institutions in a variety of ways in their cooperation with Central Asia. The focus here is on funding mechanisms that are precisely tailored to the thematic competencies of the partner countries.

As a central instrument for promoting cooperation between German and Central Asian research institutions, the Federal Ministry of Education regularly publishes announcements under the title “Research for Development” on the “Promotion of partnerships for sustainable problem solving in emerging and developing countries”. As part of this measure, research cooperation projects between German research institutes and universities with all Central Asian countries are supported. The subject matter is regional measures for the conception and planning of research projects, for the expansion of research capacities in the Central Asian (and South Caucasian) partner institutions and qualification measures for young scientists. The announcements specifically aim to form strategic regional networks through research dialogues and academic exchanges and to build sustainable partnerships.

The bilateral research cooperation of the Federal Ministry of Education is enriched in technical and institutional terms by the multilateral context within the EU project "STI International Cooperation Network for Central Asian Countries" (IncoNet CA). The Federal Ministry of Education is involved in the EU project. Ultimately, this project aims at the sustainable and effective improvement of research cooperation between the EU and Central Asia. In this context, the Federal Ministry of Education is participating in the call for tenders for a “Twinning Grants”, which will run until 2016, to promote cooperation between Central Asian and European research institutions within the framework of Horizon 2020.

Highlights of the bilateral cooperation

On the basis of the above-mentioned agreement between the Federal Ministry of Education and the KKEWT, joint announcements with Uzbekistan for the promotion of bilateral projects and sustainable institutional partnerships are tendered at regular intervals.

The Federal Ministry of Education organized a day of German science in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, under the motto “Partner for the future”. The German research and science system, the diverse support offers for international cooperation and successful examples of German-Uzbek cooperation were presented to a broad audience.

Against the background of the agreement concluded in 2010 during the German Science Day in Almaty, Kazakhstan, on university cooperation between Kazakhstan and Germany and the establishment of Germany as a central European partner in the fields of education and research, the Federal Ministry of Education organized delegation trips in 2013 and 2014 for Kazakh university rectors to Germany. By visiting numerous German research and development institutions, it was possible to expand the existing basis of cooperation, convey German know-how in this area and ultimately expand the German-Kazakh network.