MercoNet is an academic network created in 1998 by the initiative of several researchers of the region. From its beginning it has counted with the support of the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Canada. Originally, the Network was comprised of 9 institutional members. In 2005 its membership grew to 12 research institutions. All of them have an important backgound, not only ineconomic research but alsoin analyzing the regional integration process.
During its first ten years, MercoNet
research was focused on Mercosur countries, and specially on their commercial, financial and productive integration and foreign affairs. After a decade of research, the Network has accumulated valuable ?social capital?, transforming itself into a vehicle for interaction between research centers and the region?s policy makers.The knowledge that the Network has accumulated allows it to contribute to the intellectual debate and make policy recommendations.
The original and characterizing aspect of MercoNet
is that researchers from the four Mercosur countries participate in its projects allowing its work to reflect a truly regional vision of regional problems. Providing a Mercosur outlook of the current economic situation is one of the main challenges that the Network has tackled.
The Network has established cooperation links with the successive Mercosur presidencies, the Mercosur Secretary, the Commission of Permanent Mercosur Representatives, and the Mercosur Economic and Social Consultative Forum.
On the occasion of its 10th anniversary, the Network published a synthesis of its most important research results in the areas of macroeconomics, foreign direct investment, trade policy and asymmetries.
In 2009, MercoNet
initiated a new phase with the challenge of aligning its research agenda even more closely with the region?s demands and challenges in the context of the new international crisis scenario. This is a year to focus efforts but also to broaden the Network?s reach. This extension will be both thematic (including more topics to its research agenda, such as inequality, poverty and employment, and putting greater emphasis on socio-economic development issues), as well as geographic (introducing a Latin American perspective into the analysis). Cooperation and integration at Latin America level can be a powerful instrument to confront challenges, take advantage of opportunities and resolve problems. MercoNet
has been generating quality research on these topics through regional projects ? involving centers and researchers from different countries ? and this objective will not only be maintained but will be expanded outside Mercosur, during this new phase. We are convinced that research can help in answering today?s challenges only if it is sensitive to the real priorities of the region and is able to adequately communicate its results. This is the main objective that MercoNet is assuming.