December 2015

PACE-Net Plus is a project funded by the European Commission to strengthen further bi-regional science, technology and innovation (ST&I) cooperation and dialogue between the Pacific Region and the European Union. The project brings together 16 members, from the Pacific region and the EU.

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An important milestone of the last 3 months was the presentation of the outcomes of the PACE-Net Plus workshop on observation systems to the European Commission in Brussels in September 2015, and to the Global Earth Observation Summit in Mexico in November 2015.

In parallel, 21 projects have been selected after the successful seed-funding call; their results will be presented next year, in Nandi (Fiji), during the project’s last bi-regional platform.

PACE-Net Plus also contributed to the Regional Seminar on Innovation in Overseas Countries and Territories held in November 2015 in Noumea, where the preliminary results of the project’s survey on innovation in the Pacific region were presented, as well as the strategies of innovation in New Zealand and Australia.

Project news & events

PACE-Net Plus contributes to the Pacific Regional Seminar on Innovation

Noumea, New Caledonia, 5-6 November 2015

The Pacific Regional Seminar on Innovation was developed as a part of the “Territorial Strategies for Innovation” (TSI) project, which enhances sustainable development through innovative solutions for economic diversification and improves regional and global competitiveness of the Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) of the European Union.

Funded by the 10th European Fund for Development and driven by the OCTA (Overseas Countries and Territories Association), the TSI project was launched in November 2014 in Brussels and provides technical capacity to 20 OCTs engaged in developing their innovation strategies. The objectives of this regional seminar were to exchange information on the status and content of regional innovation strategies and discuss the early stages of the implementation of strategies and plans related to the short- and long-term actions. These first steps are intended to lead to pilot projects in the OCTs and their regions.

The seminar was also an opportunity for innovation managers from OCTs to meet with their counterparts and innovation experts at the regional and international level. There were presentations on different strategies for innovation, their implementations and impacts on the economy, and the showcasing of financing solutions for innovative projects. Sectoral panels allowed non-governmental entities to share their experiences and latest findings.

This seminar was also an excellent opportunity to present the PACE-Net Plus project, and in particular the innovation aspects of the project. Prof Jean-François Marini (project coordinator at Institut de recherche pour le développement) gave this overview on behalf of the project. In addition to the five OCTs participating in this regional seminar (French Polynesia, New Caledonia, Pitcairn, Saint-Pierre & Miquelon, Wallis & Futuna), PACE-Net Plus brought to the seminar a wider regional perspective, by inviting the following guests: Prof Jim Metson, Chief Scientific Adviser to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment of New Zealand, and Dr. Tony Peacock, CEO of the Cooperation Research Centers Association in Canberra, who presented the innovation strategies taken within the New Zealand and Australian economies.

PACE-Net Plus partners Landcare Research, Montroix and the CNRT also attended this event.

Mr Ludovico Alcorta, Director of Research, Statistics and Industrial Policy at the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO, a partner in PACE-Net Plus) presented the preliminary results of the project’s survey on innovation in the Pacific region (conducted in New Caledonia, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and the Cook Islands).

In addition to the above mentioned experts, the following delegates took part in the event: Mr Philippe Germain (President of the Government of New Caledonia), Mr Vincent Bouvier (High- Commissioner of the French Republic in New Caledonia), Mr Efstratos Pegidis (Representative of the European Commission for the OCTs in the Pacific), Mr Milan Jezic von Gesseneck (OCTA Innovation team leader), innovation managers for New Caledonia, French Polynesia, Wallis & Futuna and various innovation actors. Dr Georges de Noni (Director of IRD Noumea and IRD Regional coordinator for the Pacific), reasserted the importance of research in innovation to support sustainable development.

The seminar was well received, with many participants gaining much inspiration for future prospects in their own countries. PACE-Net Plus will continue with the innovation theme into 2016, and will organise its last bi-regional policy dialogue platform, centred on this topic, on 28-30 June 2016 in Fiji. More information about this platform will shortly be published on the PACE-Net Plus website.

Outcomes of the PACE-Net Plus workshop on observation systems presented at the XII GEO

10 November 2015, Mexico

PACE-Net Plus was invited by the European Commission / DG Research and Innovation, to give a talk on the “Requirements for Interdisciplinary Observatory Systems in the South Pacific Region” at the Twelfth Plenary Session of the GEO (Group on Earth Observations), during the side event “Ocean Observations and the GEO Blue Planet Initiative” in Mexico City on the 10th of November 2015.

Coastal erosion in a Pacific Island from Vanuatu (©IRD/B. Pelletier)

This opportunity allowed our project to investigate the gaps and requirements for the observation of the South Pacific Ocean, its littorals and ecosystems, in relation to climate change and impacts. In addition to disseminating this information issued from the PACE-Net Plus international workshop on this topic to the GEOSS (Global Earth Observation System of Systems), the perspective was to follow up the PACE-Net Plus suggestions and recommendations for EU actions in the Pacific region.

More on the workshop at:

PACE-Net Plus seed-funding call: 21 grants awarded!

Of 65 expressions of interest received and evaluated by external evaluators and consortium members, 21 proposals have been awarded grants in the following broad areas:

  • Health, Demographic Change and Wellbeing
  • Food security, Sustainable Agriculture and Forestry, Marine and Maritime and Inland Water Research and the Bio-economy
  • Climate Action, Resource Efficiency and Raw Materials

The overwhelming response to the seed-funding call demonstrates significant interest by researchers worldwide in the South Pacific. Different political stakeholders, prestigious European scientific institutions, as well as civil society and scientific actors of the South Pacific, New Zealand and Australia submitted outstanding project ideas to this call.

The submitted topics addressed the wide range of challenges that the South Pacific faces: solar energy, deep sea mining, observation systems, sustainable transport, science policy development processes, indigenous approaches to agriculture, pollution and human health, algae blooms, fish poisoning, etc.

Prior to the call for proposals, PACE-Net Plus organized a series of Think Tank events for scientists, policy makers and civil society. These experts brought together their knowledge and perspectives to identify a range of scientific and innovation gaps in the South Pacific. Each event produced a large number of new collaborative project ideas, and a significant proportion of the seed-funding applications are a direct result of the Think Tank outcomes.

The seed-funding submissions proposed a wide variety of modalities for future-oriented collaborations, including workshops, consultations, risk assessments, community-based projects, collaboration projects between different stakeholders, capacity development in the area of leadership, and more.

Representatives from the funded projects will showcase their outcomes during the final PACE-Net Plus platform event in Fiji in June 2016, and a summary of these outcomes will be posted on the PACE-Net Plus website in due course.

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Other news & opportunities

Recent Horizon 2020 calls of Pacific interest

The 2016–2017 calls for Horizon 2020 have now been released, and they contain a large number of opportunities that will be of interest to Pacific researchers and innovators. You can view a summary list of some of the key opportunities that we have identified online at:

We encourage interested Pacific researchers to examine these call topics to identify any relevant opportunities.

Contact your colleagues in Europe to see if they would be interested in having you on board as a project partner. Europeans can contact Pacific colleagues to see if you could collectively contribute to a proposal being put forward or send an email to to discuss opportunities.

Note: Pacific OCTs are eligible for full participation in Horizon 2020, PICTs are also eligible for full participation (so long as there are enough European partners), whilst Australian and New Zealand partners will normally need to fund their own participation from domestic (or other) sources. The exceptions to these rules are the ERC grants and MSCA fellowships, which are for individuals as opposed to teams and institutions, and are also open to researchers from any country.

Australians interested in working with Europe?

Horizon 2020 is the largest research and innovation funding program in the world. It provides funds and instruments for the entire spectrum of research and innovation activities.

Australian organisations (and individuals) are welcome to participate in most aspects of Horizon 2020, and stand to gain significant advancements by participating, including a slice of the €80 billion in available funding.

Montroix Pty Ltd, a partner in PACE-Net Plus has recently developed a document that distils the enormous array of opportunities into an easy-to-read subset suitable for Australian actors to absorb. It presents opportunities for every field of research, and for every Australian researcher interested in international engagement.

The document can be purchased for personal use at the link below. If you wish to share it more widely, please contact Montroix Pty Ltd at to inquire about discounted and institutional pricing options.

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PaCE-SD Shines at USP Research Awards

ongratulations to the Shining Stars of PaCE-SD for sweeping such a grand number of awards at USP’s 4th Research Awards event:

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