Mexico holds a special place in Latin America for Germany due both to Mexico's regional importance and economic power and to the traditionally close cultural and economic ties between the two countries. The agreement on Scientific and Technological Cooperation (STC) has formed the basis of bilateral cooperation in education, research and technology for decades, and helps to furtherintensify the good relations. Mexico launched an ambitious programme (PECITI - 2008-2012) in 2008, and hopes to be ranked among the top 20% of the world's most competitive countries by 2030.
Political framework for bilateral cooperation in education and research
Cooperation with Mexico is based on the intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in Science and Technology (S&T) which was concludedon 6 February 1974. It lies within the competency of the Mexican foreign ministry (SRE). In addition to the intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in science and technology, the BMBF has concluded two special contracts with Mexican institutions:
* one relating to research and development projects for the utilization of solar energy, signed on 2 May 1978,
* and one regardingenvironmentally friendly production methods, concluded on 10 February 1982.
The key areas of German-Mexican cooperation are determined by a Mixed Commission that met most recently in September 2009 in Mexico City; the next meeting is planned for 2011 in Berlin.
Key areas of cooperation
The Mixed Commission recommended in 2009 that the cooperation be intensified further. Education and research are to beutilised to an even greater extent for innovation processes, to which end SMBs are to be even more effectively integrated into bilateral R&D cooperations in the future. The importance of vocational training is also to be increased. The fundamental aim is to effectively improve living conditions in the region and enhance German businesses' access to new markets. Current key topics are:biotechnology, environmental technologies, climate protection and sustainable development, marine research and technology, production technologies, information and communication technologies, basic research into renewable energies and energy efficiency, materials research, nanotechnology and health research.
Highlights of the cooperation
The German-Mexican Master's degree course "Environment andResources Management" between the Cologne University of Applied Sciences and the Universidad Autónoma San Luis Potosí was launched in August 2008. The first two semesters of the Master's degree course are held at the UASLP, the third semester at the Cologne University of Applied Sciences. The fourth semester includes a field research trip to a Latin American country and the writing of the Master'sthesis. So far, a total of 46 students in two classes have been funded. In March 2010, the applicants for the third class were selected in San Luis Potosí by the two higher education institutions, CONACYT and the Mexican office of the German Academic Exchange Service; the third course began in June 2010 with nine German and 20 Latin American scholarship holders. The programme is jointly funded by theBMBF, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and CONACYT, and managed on the German side by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). An evaluation of the Master's degree course in Germany and Mexico is currently being performed on behalf of the DAAD.
Beginning in June 2010, the Max Planck Society - supported by the BMBF - presented its Science Tunnel at fourlocations in Mexico in the course of the Bicentenario celebrations. The first exhibition site was opened in June as part of the 12th Conference of the German Economy for Latin America in the World Trade Centre in Mexico City. Further presentations were on display in Monterrey and León. Alongside the opening of the Science Tunnel, the BMBF held an innovation forum on 17 June featuring German and Latin...