Intensive research cooperation with the EU is considered by Russia to be a long-term priority. In turn, the Russian Federation is recognised by the EU as a prospective scientific partner. Mutual enhancement of research potentials of Russia and the EU are an important factor for further interaction in modernisation and economic progress.
The institutional framework for broad research cooperation between Russia and the EU is currently regulated by:
- Agreement on Partnership and Cooperation concluded between the Russian Federation on the one part and the European Communities and their Member States on the other part, signed on 24 June 1994, in force since 1 December 1997;
- Agreement on Cooperation in Science and Technology between the Government of the Russian Federation and the European Community, signed on 16 November 2000;
- Agreement between the Government of the Russian Federation and the European Atomic Energy Community on cooperation in the field of nuclear safety, signed on 3 October 2001;
- Agreement between the Government of the Russian Federation and the European Atomic Energy Community on cooperation in the field of controlled fusion energy research, signed on 3 October 2001;
- Road Map for a Russia-EU Common Space of Research and Education including Cultural Aspects, adopted on 10 May 2005.
Russia and the EU have set up joint bodies and working groups to coordinate current activities and maintain sustainable development of research partnership. In particular, the first Russia-EU Permanent Partnership Council on Research was held in Slovenia in May 2008. The Joint Russia-EU Science and Technology Committee was established in accordance with Article 6 of the above-mentioned Agreement on Science and Technology. Starting from 2006, the activities of the following joint working groups has been gaining pace:
- Russia-EU Permanent Working Group on Life Sciences and Health Research (established in 2006)
- Russia-EU Working Group on Biotechnologies and Agro-Food Research (established in 2006)
- Russia-EU Working Group on Nanotechnologies and Materials (established in 2007)
- Permanent Russia-EU Working Group on Civil Aeronautics Research (established in 2007)
- Russia-EU Working Group on Energy Research (established in 2007) was later divided into two subgroups, one on 'electricity' and another one on 'biomass'
- Russia-EU Working Group on Nuclear Energy Research (established in 2007)
- Russia-EU Working Group on Environmental Research (established in 2009)
- Russia-EU Working Group on Information and Communication Technology Research (established in 2009)
Russian scientific organisations are among major foreign partners of the European Commission's Joint Research Centre. There are many multilateral scientific projects with Russia and the EU being stable research partners. The largest multilateral project is the construction of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) in the scientific centre Cadarache, in southern France.