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Media 062314 US-Mex Working Group

Monday, June 23, 2014

The U.S.-Mexico Binational Working Group Meets in Arizona

Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs

On June 9-10, 2014, more than 90 representatives of U.S. and Mexican government, private sector, higher education, community and civil society met to discuss joint research and innovation between our countries.  The working group, the sixth in a series of binational meetings on the Bilateral Forum on Higher Education, Innovation, and Research, discussed ways to strengthen and expand existing research and innovation partnerships as part of the ongoing efforts to raise economic competitiveness and prosperity in the region.

Dr. Sergio M. Alcocer, Undersecretary for North America and Dr. Nathaniel Schaefle, Lead Innovation Advisor in the Office of the Science and Technology Advisor to the Secretary of State, opened the working group meeting.  In his opening remarks, Dr. Alcocer highlighted the importance of linking innovation and research with the strategic economic sectors of  both countries in order to trigger competitiveness and make North America the most dynamic and prosperous region in the world.

Dr. Schaefle linked efforts in joint research and innovation to broader policy goals, noting that “The accelerating pace of technological change and its substantial impact on economic development has convinced most countries that they must engage in science, technology, and innovation in order to be competitive economically, and create jobs for their citizens. The unprecedented accessibility to science and technology gives us all opportunities to address the world’s toughest problems in new and creative ways.”

Discussions focused on identifying topics and modalities of association, and existing best practices in joint research and innovation between Mexico and the United States, including in the areas of technology transfer, astrophysics, health, infrastructure and logistics, materials and advanced manufacturing, and the environment. Special attention was paid to the successful bilateral research and innovation collaboration between countries, particularly the Industry/University Cooperative Research Centers Program by the National Science Foundation and the joint research programs between the Mexican National Council for Science and Technology and some U.S. universities.

Hosted by the University of Arizona, the meeting included U.S. representatives from the Department of State, the National Science Foundation, universities, community colleges and higher education associations, the National Academy of Sciences, and the private sector.  Mexican participants represented the Secretariats of Foreign Relations, Education, Economy, Health, Energy, the National Council for Science and Technology,  the Mexican Academies of Sciences and Engineering, Mexican higher education institutions, and the private sector.  Binational representatives of the U.S.-Mexico Commission for Educational and Cultural Exchange, and the U.S.-Mexico Foundation for Science also attended.

This working group meeting followed a smaller binational seminar at the University of Arizona - Miraval Institute in Tucson, Arizona on “Creating an Innovation Region.” The seminar was hosted by Dr. Joaquin Ruiz, from the University of Arizona, and facilitated by Dr. John Kao, author of Innovation Nation and advisor to major corporations and government administrators around the world.

President Obama and President Peña Nieto announced the U.S.-Mexico Bilateral Forum on Higher Education, Innovation, and Research in May 2013.  U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry joined Mexican Minister of Foreign Affairs José Antonio Meade and Mexican Minister of Education Emilio Chuayffet in officially launching the Bilateral Forum on May 21, 2014.  Through the Bilateral Forum, governments, the higher education community, the private sector, and civil society of Mexico and the United States work together to strengthen educational and research cooperation and encourage broader access to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields.  They also aim to expand student, scholar, and teacher exchanges, increase joint research in areas of mutual interest, and share best practices in higher education and innovation.

Additional information is available at:


Bilateral Forum on Higher Education, Innovation, and Research:


Tech transfer:


Astrophysics: San Pedro Martir telescope project in Baja California:


Health: La Red initiative (project between SSA and NIH)


Materials: CANFSA Initiative (CETYS, Colorado School of Mines, UNT)


Environment: Gulf of Mexico University Research Collaboration


Industry/University Cooperative Research Centers Program:



Press release, Jun. 16, 2014, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (SRE), Mexico, DF; translation by SRE

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