On 27 November 2014 the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Research and Innovation has invited high-level participants to take part in the invitation-only Stakeholder Workshop “Embedding Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH) in Horizon 2020”. A limited number of eminent experts from international scientific organisations met representatives from the European Commission, particularly from its Directorate-General for Research and Innovation. ALLEA has been represented by Professor John Bell FBA, chair of the ALLEA Working Group on Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH) and Fellow of the British Academy.
The workshop sought to inform about current and previous activities of the European Commission with regard to embedding the SSH and aimed to further shape the SSH dimensions in the 2016-2017 Work Programme.
The Commission sought concrete input from the most relevant European stakeholders on possible ways forward to integrate interdisciplinary approaches in the Horizon 2020 programme throughout all its pillars.
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Following an agreement at the ALLEA General Assembly in Oslo in April 2014, the two ALLEA permanent working groups on Science & Ethics and Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), held a first-ever joint meeting in Munich on 24 November 2014.
The meeting sought to provide opportunities for closer interactions between the expert groups and to identify fields of mutual interest and for synergetic cooperation. It took place on the premises of the Max-Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition on the invitation of Professor Joseph Straus. ALLEA President Professor Günter Stock joined the meeting for a discussion on possible cross-cutting issues that the working groups could jointly address in future activities. The ALLEA Board was represented by Professor Carlo D’Adda.
Issues for possible joint actions included a follow-up to the statement “Enhancement of Open Access to Scientific Publications”, prepared by the working group on IPR in late 2013, elaborating positions on most recent developments in the Open Access agenda and particularly adding deliberations on ethical issues to the existing ALLEA statement. Other topics included the patentability of stem cells and the risks of dual use of scientific results. The working group chairs will take the results and proposals of the joint meeting to their respective groups in order to discuss and agree upon how to concretely contribute to the envisaged future activities.
The chairs of the permanent working groups, Professor Göran Hermerén (Science & Ethics) and Professor Joseph Straus (IPR), closed the meeting by declaring the shared interest in continuing the direct collaboration of the ALLEA groups and identifying further topics of relevance for future collaboration. The first results of the two groups’ collaboration will be presented at the ALLEA General Assembly in Lisbon.
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The ALLEA Permanent Working Group on Science & Ethics (PWGSE) met in Barcelona on 17 October 2014. On the day prior to the meeting, members of the PWGSE listened to a presentation by la Fundación Bancaria “la Caixa”‘s scientific director about the foundation´s activities in the field of Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI), followed by a visit to the CosmoCaixa museum and a festive dinner with the President of the Royal Academy of Sciences and Arts of Barcelona (RACAB). The meeting took place on the premises of RACAB in the city centre of Barcelona.
RRI, or Responsible Research and Innovation, is becoming an increasingly relevant and pressing topic for the scientific community in Europe. This was one of the key messages that Enric Banda Tarradellas, the scientific director of the “la Caixa” foundation, relayed to members of the ALLEA PWGSE during his presentation of the “RRI tools”project (funded in the EU Framework Programme 7) in the CosmoCaixa museum in Barcelona. He described RRI as “a dynamic, iterative process by which all stakeholders involved in the research and innovation practice (researchers, policy makers, industry, civil society organisations, educators) become mutually responsive to each other and share the responsibility regarding the RRI outcomes and processes”.
RACAB President Pascual and Working Group Chair Hermerén
The presentation was followed by a guided tour of the CosmoCaixa, one of the major science museums in Spain, which covers a broad range of scientific findings and methods in its interactive exhibits. The evening closed with a festive dinner on the invitation of la Caixa and in the presence of RACAB President Ramon Pascual.
The ALLEA Working Group itself is currently involved in an application for funding within the Horizon 2020 programme for a thematically related project on the implementation of RRI in science curricula. The application is projected to be evaluated by spring 2015. Consequently, RRI was among the issues that the PWGSE addressed in its meeting on the premises of RACAB on the following day. Further topics of discussion included the follow-up to the recently published statement “Ethics Education in Science”, deliberations on the problem of private sponsoring of science, and ethical aspects of Open Access in the contexts of scientific publications and research data sets. The latter will be one of the main topics in a joint meeting of the PWGSE with ALLEA’s Permanent Working Group on Intellectual Property Rights in Munich on 24 November 2014.
ALLEA PWGSE meeting at RACAB
The Programme of the PWGSE visit to Barcelona also included a lunch with the Presidency of the Institute for Catalan Studies (IES) which – alongside RACAB – was elected to membership in ALLEA at the General Assembly 2014 in Oslo in April. IEC President Joandomènec Ros underlined the Institute´s interest in the ALLEA PWGSE’s field of work and presented the facilities of the Institute to its members, highlighting the Institute-run library for scientific publications in Catalan language.
In closing the meeting, the PWGSE looked forward to the joint discussions with ALLEA’s experts on Intellectual Property Rights in Munich and to its next session in March 2015.
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