Presidents of the European Academy Networks meet EU Commissioner Carlos Moedas and the High Level Group of Scientific Advisors

On 17 March, the Presidents of the five European Academy Networks came together in Brussels to meet with Carlos Moedas, the EU Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, and with the High Level Group of Scientific Advisors (HLG).

The European Commission’s new Scientific Advice Mechanism (SAM) includes a prominent role for European academies. The Commission is prepared to fund the five Networks, in the context of a Horizon 2020 call, with up to € 6 Million over four years in order to provide independent, evidence-based policy advice from the academies in Europe.

The Consortium, consisting of Academia Europaea, ALLEA, EASAC, Euro-CASE and FEAM uniting over 100 member academies, discussed models of their future cooperation with the Commission and the High Level Group, including the following issues:

  1. A structured dialogue between the Consortium, the HLG and the European Commission should be established in order to discuss and agree on subjects for scientific evidence-based policy advice from the academies;
  2. A timely delivery of advice was agreed, ensuring that scientific results from the academies` work contribute to the opinion-forming and policy-making process;
  3. The consortium will provide support to the HLG for the two topic requests from the European Commission (“Closing the gap between light duty vehicle real-world CO2 emissions and laboratory testing” and “Cybersecurity”).
Group photo, from left to right, in the 1st row: Keith Sequeira and Maria da Graça Carvalho, Senior Advisers to Carlos Moedas, Reinhard Hüttl, Chair of the European Council of Academies of Applied Sciences, Technologies and Engineering (Euro-CASE), Rolf-Dieter Heuer, Françoise Meunier, Vice-President of the Federation of European Academies of Medicine (FEAM), Carlos Moedas, Elvira Fortunato, Julia Slingo and Pearl Dykstra, in the 2nd row, from the 2nd: Sierd Cloetingh, President of the Academia Europaea, Günter Stock, President of the European Federation of Academies of Sciences and Humanities (ALLEA), Janusz Bujnicki, Wolfgang Burtscher, Deputy Director-General of DG "Research and Innovation" of the EC, behind, Jos van der Meer, President of the European Academies' Science Advisory Council (EASAC), Johannes Klumpers, Head of the Unit "Scientific Advice Mechanism (SAM)" of DG "Research and Innovation" of the EC, behind, Robert-Jan Smits, Director-General of DG "Research and Innovation" of the EC, Cédric Villani and Henrik C. Wegener

Image: The Presidents of the Consortium with Commissioner Carlos Moedas and the members of the High Level Group; © European Union, 2016, Reference: P-031230/00-10

The meeting was attended by the Presidents of the European Academy Networks Sierd Cloetingh (Academia Europaea), Günter Stock (ALLEA), Jos van der Meer (EASAC), Reinhard F. Hüttl (Euro-CASE), and Françoise Meunier (Vice-President of FEAM). Alongside Commissioner Carlos Moedas and the members of the HLG, the European Commission’s participants included Director General Robert-Jan Smits and the Head of the SAM Unit Johannes Klumpers.

The Presidents of the European Academy Networks re-iterated the importance of truly interdisciplinary approaches towards today’s societal challenges which the academies are in a position to provide. With their scientific expertise, the European academies will contribute to the debates on risks and benefits of new advances, support the formulation of policies, and help enhance public confidence in science policy advice.

Background information on the Scientific Advice Mechanism (SAM)

The overall objective of the Scientific Advice Mechanism (SAM) is to provide evidence-based advice to the Commission that:

–        is independent of institutional or political interests,

–        brings together evidence and insights from different disciplines and approaches,

–        takes into consideration the specificities of EU policy making (e.g. different national perspectives and principles of subsidiarity),

–        is transparent.

The Scientific Advice Mechanism is designed to complement the current system of in-house scientific advice (e.g. Joint Research Centre, EU research funded through Horizon 2020, EU agencies) and external expertise on certain topics. Read more:

The five European Academy Organisations

–        Academia Europaea: The only European wide Academy with individual membership. It manages   its scholarly interests through a section structure. On election, all members are assigned to a                 section. At the present time there are twenty academic sections. Sections are grouped into one of four classes: Humanities and Arts, Social and related Sciences, Exact Sciences, and Life sciences.

–        ALLEA: The European Federation of Academies of Sciences and Humanities brings together almost 60 Academies in more than 40 countries from the Council of Europe region, encompassing the full range of scientific disciplines from the natural sciences, life sciences, social sciences, to arts and humanities.

–        EASAC: the European Academies Science Advisory Council is the network of the 25 National Science Academies of the EU Member States and of Norway and Switzerland. It provides science-based advice in the areas of Environment, Energy and Biosciences.

–        Euro-CASE: the organisation of the Academies of Engineering, Applied Sciences and Technology from 22 European countries, with a special focus on innovation, energy and bioeconomy policy.

–        FEAM: the Federation of European Academies of Medicine brings together 18 national Academies of medicine and medical sections of national Academies of sciences.

ALLEA Permanent Working Group Science & Ethics met in Stockholm

The ALLEA permanent Working Group on Science & Ethics held its first meeting in 2016 in the exquisite premises of the Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities on 18 and 19 February. Following a dinner with academy Vice-President Professor Anders Andrén, the group had a busy schedule for the second day of the meeting, including the election of a new chair and a discussion about a potential update of the ALLEA-ESF European Code of Research Integrity.

Gruppenbild Stockholm 2

The members of the ALLEA Permanent Working Group Science & Ethics

The meeting welcomed the attendance of the Chair of the ALLEA Permanent Working Group on Intellectual Property Rights, Professor Joseph Straus. He came to Stockholm to offer valuable input on issues surrounding open access and the patentability of plants. Professor Straus’ attendance is a further sign of continued cooperation between ALLEA working groups, a development that is intended to continue in the future.

A particular welcome was also extended to the new members of the working group, Els van Damme from the The Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts and Maura Hiney from the Royal Irish Academy.

In one of the first decisions of the day, the Chair of the working group, Professor Göran Hermerén was re-elected to chair the group for another three years. The participants thanked Göran Hermerén for his work and he voiced appreciation for the support and is optimistic the working group will continue to provide work of importance for the scientific community in general and for ALLEA and the member academies in particular.

Another important item on the meeting’s agenda was the consideration of a potential update for the ALLEA European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity. The original document was released in 2010 together with the European Science Foundation (ESF) and the members of the group agreed that an update and the inclusion of new issues would be highly desirable. The group will now look into potential amendments to the code, taking into consideration related documents that have been published since the original publication of the code. Results are intended to be presented at the fifth World Conference on Research Integrity in Amsterdam at the end of May 2017.

The next meeting of the working group is planned for autumn 2016 in a yet to be decided location.

Sweden_Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities_photo Philip Ha°kansonQueen Lovisa Ulrika founded the Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities 20 March 1753 to promote research and other activities in the humanities, theology, law, and social science disciplines, as well as stewardship of cultural heritage sites.

The Academy’s aims are:

  • to initiate and support international collaboration in the disciplines within the Academy’s field of activities;
  • to publish academic writings in the Academy’s domain;
  • to support deserving researchers and others who have furthered the objectives of the Academy;
  • to issue statements in matters related to the domain of the Academy’s activities


The Academy awards three major prizes and several smaller ones.

As a free learned society the academy receives no governmental funding but has through multiple donations built up considerable capital.

The Academy supports extensive conference and symposium activities and funds projects of great academic value that are not given priority by governmental financiers.

To read more about the Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities click here.

For more information about the ALLEA Permanent Working Group Science & Ethics click here.

Report from first ALLEA Board meeting in Bucharest

For the first Board Meeting of 2016, the member of the ALLEA Board convened, on the kind invitation of the Romanian Academy, in Bucharest on 29 February and 1 March. With the ALLEA General Assembly approaching fast, the Board received updates on the current status of preparations. Additionally, the Board was informed about the latest developments with the European Commission’s Scientific Advice Mechanism (SAM) and ALLEA’s role therein.

Romanian academyThe participants were warmly welcomed to the Academy by the Academy’s President Professor Ionel Valentin Vlad. Throughout his career as a physicist, Professor Vlad has always sought to engage in international scientific cooperation and was, thus, highly appreciative of ALLEA’s visit to his Academy. To start off the meeting, ALLEA President Günter Stock informed the participants about recent ALLEA activities and the Board members received an update on the status of membership dues for the year 2015 as well as an outlook for the year 2016. Furthermore, the participantsdiscussed the progress made in the preparation of a European Commission Horizon 2020 call, in cooperation with a consortium of academy networks, to participate in SAM.

On the second day of the meeting the group received an update on the preparation of the ALLEA General Assembly in Vienna in April 2016, with information about the speakers of the symposium and the preparation for the Mme de Staël Prize Award Ceremony, as well as an outlook to the General Assembly 2017 in Budapest.

To conclude the meeting, the Board members discussed upcoming events in 2016, followed by a visit to the library of the Romanian Academy.

The Romanian Academy (Academia Românã) was founded in April 1866 as the Romanian Literary Society. The following year it began its activities, but was now called the Romanian Academic Society. In 2016, the Academy will celebrate its 150th anniversary on 4 April. On behalf of ALLEA and its member academies, ALLEA President Günter Stock will address the audience during the festivities. In 1879, by means of special legislation, it was promulgated as a national institution with the current name of Academia Românã – the Romanian Academy. Form the very beginning the newly founded institution was a national, encyclopedic and active society. It was:

  • National, because it was representative of the culture of not only the territory of what was then Romania, but also those territories under foreign domination by the Austro-Hungarian, Ottoman, and Russian Empires. Hence, the 21 founding members were scholars and literati, not only from Wallachia and Moldavia, but also from Transylvania, Banat, Bukovine, Bessarabia (today the Republic of Moldova) and the Balkan Peninsula.
  • Encyclopedic, since its preoccupations embraced all domains of the arts, letters, and sciences.
  •   An active society, because the Romanian Academy was conceived by its founders as a forum of national recognition, but at the same time as an active centre of scientific research and literary and artistic creation.

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