IRELAND'S EU commissioner Maire Geoghegan-Quinn is teaming up with Microsoft founder-turned- philanthropist Bill Gates.
The pair met in Brussels yesterday to discuss a potential aid partnership.
The meeting, requested by Mr Gates, took place in the office of Ms Geoghegan-Quinn, who as innovation chief oversees the EU's €50bn research budget.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has already joined EU governments and the European Commission in funding clinical trials to test drugs to fight HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria in sub-Saharan Africa.
Mr Gates and Ms Geoghegan-Quinn discussed the trials, as well as poverty-related diseases, rare diseases and food security during the short meeting.
"The European Commission and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation share many research goals and priorities and already work together well," Ms Geoghegan-Quinn said after the talks.
"I am looking forward to co-operating even more closely together in the coming years," she said.