ALLEA co-organises debate on “Inequalities in Europe” at the European Parliament in Brussels

On Tuesday, 15 September 2015, ALLEA participated in a debate on the cross-cutting topic of inequalities in Europe jointly organised with the European Science Foundation (ESF) and the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS). The event took place in the EPRS Library Reading Room on the premises of the European Parliament.

The event began with an introductory address by the ALLEA President, after which a panel of experts from both academia and the European Parliament discussed various aspects of the topic of inequalities and highlighted key examples. After the panel discussion, a debate ensued with members of the European Parliament which allowed for further examination of how science can help the development of policies for tackling inequalities. This multifaceted topic encompasses such issues as income and wealth inequalities; employment, inequality and social policy; as well as health, regional, educational, democratic, environmental, and gender inequalities and other cross-cutting themes such as migration, identity or sustainability.

Poster_Inequalities_thumbnailInequalities are a profound research and policy challenge for the European Union. For example, the European Union’s 2020 Strategy includes a target to have at least 20 million fewer people in or at risk of poverty and social exclusion by 2020. The understanding of inequalities is also vital for many areas of research within Horizon 2020. To “reverse inequalities” is furthermore a named priority for the EU in the European Council’s “Strategic Agenda for the Union in Times of Change”.

In the wider context, the roundtable debate sought to explore how scientific perspectives, especially from the humanities and social sciences, can concretely contribute to developing effective approaches and solutions for major societal challenges such as inequalities. The debate on inequalities followed the successful first roundtable debate that focussed on demographic change, which was organised by ALLEA, the ESF and the EPRS in March 2015.

Please click here to download the full programme.

More information will soon be available on the EPRS blog.

ALLEA participates in JRC initiative “Science Meets Parliaments”

On 15 September 2015 in Brussels, leading European scientists exchanged perspectives with members of the European Parliament with the aim of promoting evidence-informed policymaking. The event offered panel sessions on numerous aspects of this topic as well as networking opportunities and bilateral meetings between scientists and Parliamentarians. ALLEA was actively engaged at the event with the ALLEA President participating in a high-level panel session and several experts nominated by ALLEA taking part in the bilateral meetings.

Science Meets Parliaments_programmeThe opening session invited high-level panelists (including Commissioners Tibor Navracsics and Carlos Moedas as well as European Parliament Vice-President Mairead McGuiness and MEP Jerzy Buzek, who chairs the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy) to discuss what EU policymakers expect and need from scientists and how existing communication channels between the two communities can be improved. The panel was followed by a session on the collaboration between Parliamentarians and scientists on the national level.

ALLEA President Günter Stock took part in the next scheduled high-level panel focussing on the perspectives of scientific organisations in response to the expectations of EU and national policymakers. Other panelists included representatives from the fellow European academy organisations EASAC and Euro-CASE. The session was moderated by Vladimir Šucha, Director-General of the Joint Research Centre (JRC) and was followed by a wrap-up session as well as a presentation of the Science and Technology Options Assessment (STOA) MEP-Scientist Pairing Scheme 2015.

In the afternoon, two parallel sessions took place, the first being a panel on best practices of scientific advice at national level. The other session consisted of bilateral meetings between scientists and parliamentarians to further discuss how to strengthen the connection between scientific advice and informed policymaking. Several scientists nominated by ALLEA on behalf of its Member Academies were invited to take part in this session and discussed issues such as “Plant protection and biocides regulation” and “Circular economy and resource efficiency” in face-to-face meetings with MEPs.

“Science Meets Parliaments” was co-organised by the JRC and the Science and Technology Options Assessment (STOA) in an effort to promote evidence-informed policymaking. “It is important that EU policy-makers have a regular exchange with scientists allowing them to better understand scientists’ views on policy issues and vice versa,” stated STOA on its website.

Please click here to download the programme.

ALLEA Board meets at the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences

On 11 September, the ALLEA Board met in Bern on the invitation of the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences for its third meeting of the year. At the meeting, Board discussed, inter alia, recent, current, and future ALLEA developments with a focus on various activities related to ALLEA’s involvement in the new Scientific Advice Mechanism of the European Commission (SAM).

Before commencing the meeting, the attendees were welcomed by Professor Thierry Courvoisier, President of the Swiss Academies and President-elect of the European Academies Science Advisory Council (EASAC). The meeting opened with a session in which recent and ongoing ALLEA activities were discussed, including numerous upcoming science policy events on the European level in which ALLEA is actively involved. Status updates respective to the ALLEA Working Groups were also reported and discussed as well as various internal matters.

The ALLEA President with Professor Thierry Courvoisier, President of the Swiss Academies and President-elect of the European Academies Science Advisory Council (EASAC)

The participants then turned to continuing preliminary preparations for the next ALLEA General Assembly, which will be held in Vienna on 18/19 April 2016, as well as the next Madame de Staël Prize for Cultural Values.

The day concluded with looking ahead to the next ALLEA Board Meeting, which will take place in December in Dublin, Ireland and will include a joint meeting with the ALLEA Working Group Chairs.

The Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences are an umbrella organisation, associating the Swiss Academy of Sciences, the Swiss Academy of Humanities and Social Sciences, the Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences and the Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences as well as the Centre for Technology Assessment and Science et Cité. As institutions for the promotion of research, the Swiss Academies are publicly funded under the terms of the Swiss Federal Law on Research.

Above: the ALLEA Board (absent: Prof. Øivind Andersen)

The ALLEA Board (absent: Prof. Øivind Andersen)

The four academies stand in the tradition of learned societies, with the aim of contributing scientific knowledge to help resolve societal challenges and to contribute to human and environmental well-being. They do so by accessing the scientific expertise available to them, namely their members who are individual scholars or scholars belonging to scientific unions in the different disciplines. This core business of the four academies is complemented by activities of the two centres of competence: the Centre for Technology Assessment provides assessment studies to assist political decision-making on new technologies, and Science et Cité is involved in projects to foster the dialogue between science and society.

Contact details:

Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences – Akademien der Wissenschaften Schweiz
House of Academies
Laupenstrasse 7
P.O. Box
3008 Bern

Phone: +41 31 306 92 20

ALLEA involved in expert discussion on academies and digitisation in the humanities

Participants in expert discussion on 2 September 2015

Participants in expert discussion on 2 September 2015

On 2 September 2015, circa 25 experts from the fields of research funding, humanities research, and science policy met in the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities, which hosts the ALLEA secretariat, for a discussion on the topic “The European Academies and Digitisation in the Humanities”.

The event began with an introduction of the “Survey and Analysis of Basic Social Science and Humanities Research at the Science Academies and Related Research Organisations of Europe”  (SASSH) study recently published by ALLEA and the Union of the German Academies of Sciences and Humanities and led by Dr Camilla Leathem. The results of the study offer the first-ever overview of humanities and social sciences research at the science Academies in Europe.

After the presentation of the SASSH study, three invited experts delivered lectures on the discussion topic. Dr Julia Stamm from the European Commission showcased the opportunities and challenges for researchers in the social sciences and humanities regarding the procurement of funding and support within the current EU research funding programme Horizon 2020. Professor Claudine Moulin followed with a presentation of numerous different digital and physical research infrastructures in the social sciences and humanities. Finally, Professor Gerhard Lauer, member of the ALLEA Working Group on E-Humanities, presented examples of changes and shifts in humanities research that have been brought by different forms of digitisation.

Survey and Analysis of Basic Social Science and Humanities Research at the Science Acad emies and Related Research Organisations of EuropeThe meeting closed with an animated discussion addressing, among others, the questions of how joint or cooperative projects by the European Academies can be supported and which role consistent data standards can play in digital projects in the social sciences and humanities.

To download the study, please click here.

The Union of the German Academies of Sciences and Humanities is the umbrella organisation of eight German academies of sciences and humanities. The member academies comprise a total of over 1,900 scholars of diverse subjects, all of whom are outstanding representatives of their research fields, both nationally and internationally. Together they are committed to promoting scientific exchange, excellence in research, and supporting young early-stage researchers in the sciences and humanities. The Union coordinates the Academies’ Programme, currently the most comprehensive humanities and cultural sciences research programme in Germany. In addition, the Union promotes the exchange of information and experience between academies, and conducts press and public engagement activities. Furthermore, the Union represents the German academies of sciences and humanities abroad and sends delegates to national and international science organisations.

Press and Contact:
Union of the German Academies of Sciences and Humanities
Dominik Adrian
Tel.: +49 (0)30 / 203 70-627
Fax: +49 (0)30 / 325 98 73 73