The Boundaries of Europe – ALLEA releases first volume in essay series Discourses on Intellectual Europe

Book Cover- finalThis April, ALLEA released the first volume in its new book series Discourses on Intellectual Europe, which seeks to explore the question of an intrinsic or quintessential European identity in the context of an integrated cultural and intellectual region. Edited by the Italian scholar Pietro Rossi, the essays in The Boundaries of Europe focus on how boundaries of various types have shaped and impacted our understanding of Europe.

Europe’s boundaries have mainly been shaped by cultural, religious, and political conceptions rather than by geography. This volume of bilingual essays from renowned European scholars outlines the transformation of Europe’s boundaries from the fall of the ancient world to the age of decolonisation, or the end of the explicit endeavour to “Europeanise” the earth.

From the decline of the Roman Empire to the polycentrism of today’s world, the essays span such aspects as the confrontation of Christian Europe with Islam and the changing role of the Mediterranean from “mare nostrum” to a frontier between nations. Scandinavia, Eastern Europe and the Atlantic are also analysed as boundaries in the context of exploration, migratory movements, cultural exchanges, and war. The Boundaries of Europe is edited by Pietro Rossi, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy of History at the University of Turin, member (and former President) of the Academy of Sciences of Turin, member of the National Academy of the Lincei and of Academia Europaea.

In times of crisis and rising scepticism towards the idea of European integration, the ALLEA book series Discourses on Intellectual Europe represents an effort from the scientific community in tackling these challenges for society’s commitment to Europe as an enduring cultural and intellectual region. Due to their long-standing tradition of preserving, securing and making available the cultural heritage of Europe, academies of sciences and humanities are in a special position to show and promote Europe’s deep-rooted intellectual and cultural richness.

This series of essay collections forms part of a wider set of ALLEA activities directed towards these objectives. The volumes are edited by eminent fellows of ALLEA member academies and appear in a bilingual format that seeks to underline Europe’s cultural diversity. Ultimately, the ALLEA book series seeks to explore the question of an intrinsic or quintessential European identity, its roots, and other crucial pan-European issues in an effort to contribute to the intellectual discourse that will shape Europe’s future.

Each ALLEA member academy will receive a gratis copy of this volume from the ALLEA secretariat.

Extra copies may be ordered from the publisher here.

European Academy Organisations’ statement on President Juncker’s announcement of the new mechanism for independent scientific advice

5 Akademien

The European Academy Organisations welcome President Juncker’s proposal for the academies to play an active part in the new mechanism for independent scientific advice in the European Commission. 

We very much welcome the proposal of European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to more strongly involve the academies in Europe through their networks in the new mechanism for independent scientific advice for policy making in the European Commission.

With the resources of 90 academies across Europe assembling more than 10,000 eminent experts from all scientific disciplines we are well placed to provide objective independent evidence to the EU policy making process, and to contribute to debates about the benefits and risks of possible new and existing EU policies.

We recognise that the new approach seeks to better organise the demand and supply of scientific advice and welcome the opportunity to work with other sources and services providing scientific advice to the European Commission.

We are ready to work closely with the European Commission to finalise the details of the new mechanism and to ensure close and efficient interactions with the High Level Group of eminent scientists.

A Memorandum of Understanding was signed on 26 March 2015, confirming the preparedness of our five European academy organisations to deepen their already close and fruitful inter-academy cooperation in Europe.

Professor Sierd Cloetingh, President of Academia Europaea
Professor Günter Stock, President of ALLEA
Professor Jos van der Meer, President of EASAC
Professor Reinhard Hüttl, President of Euro-CASE
Professor Dermot Kelleher, President of FEAM


The European academy organisations include Academia Europaea, the pan-European Academy of Humanities, Letters and Sciences; ALLEA, the European Federation of Academies of Sciences and Humanities from the Council of Europe region; EASAC, the association of National Academies of Science of EU member states, Norway and Switzerland; Euro-CASE, the organisation of National Academies of Engineering, Applied Sciences and Technology in Europe; and FEAM, the European umbrella group of National Academies of Medicine and Medical Sections of National Academies of Science.

To download the Press Statement please click here.

For the European Commission press release on the new Science Advice Mechanism (SAM) please click here.

“Going Digital” – Launch of ALLEA E-Humanities Working Group report

Front Page Going digital reportThe ALLEA Working Group E-Humanities has launched a report “Going Digital – Creating Change in the Humanities” which is presented on 7 May 2015 in Brussels to representatives of the EU institutions and stakeholders of the European scientific community by the President of ALLEA, Professor Günter Stock, and the chair of the ALLEA Working Group on E-Humanities, Dr Sandra Collins.

The report contains the working group’s key findings and recommendations regarding key innovations and requirements to ensure continued growth and excellence in the Digital Humanities for the EU. It was prepared by eminent experts in the field of E-Humanities, including on aspects of digital archiving, long-term preservation, digital research tools and infrastructures, from ALLEA member academies and with the support of the Digital Research Infrastructure for the Arts and Humanities (DARIAH).

The report’s recommendations include to:

– “take a long-term view”: Sustaining long-term archives of unique and important cultural artefacts is critical for Europe’s leadership in Digital Humanities. Adopting best practice for infrastructures is essential.

– “encourage openness”: Open Access to data and infrastructures enables enhanced research, research integrity and cost-effectiveness. Open Data needs to be adequately funded.

– “support your people”: Training and career progression are essential to prevent the loss of the critical skills needed to retain our competitiveness in Europe. Data management roles need suitable recognition.

In his opening address of the launch event, the ALLEA President underlined the role of the European academies as “a unique pan-European knowledge base that is trusted, non-partisan and long-term. The academies therefore have an important contribution to make to debates regarding sustained digital infrastructures, the achievement of long-term durable digital preservation, and the societal responsibility for preservation of our digital cultural heritage”, said Günter Stock.

Please click here or on the cover image above to download the digital report.

To find out more about ALLEA’s E-Humanities Working Group please click here.

ALLEA issues Joint Declaration “15 Years of Lisbon Agenda” on science and research in Europe ALLEA; President Günter Stock re-elected for three-year term

ga.pm_saalOn the occasion of its 2015 General Assembly on 23/24 April, ALLEA has issued a Joint Declaration “15 Years of Lisbon Agenda” on behalf of its nearly 60 member academies. The declaration appeals to the European Institutions and Member States to sufficiently undertake clear actions in order to achieve the aims of the Lisbon Agenda that still remain unfulfilled. In the course of ALLEA´s annual meeting, hosted by the Academy of Sciences of Lisbon, the ALLEA President was unanimously re-elected by the ALLEA member academies for a second term in office.

Click to read the Joint Declaration

ALLEA presented the Joint Declaration to the public at the closing of a Scientific Symposium on the topic “Science and Research in Europe – Past, Present and Future: 15 Years of Lisbon Agenda” which provided the thematic context for the declaration and aimed to identify what actions are still needed to create a knowledge-based economy, as set out in the Lisbon Agenda 15 years ago. The declaration appeals to the European Institutions and Member States to follow through on those actions that are needed in order to realise the Lisbon Agenda’s ambitions, which are also incorporated into the current Europe 2020 strategy. It addresses aspects including the preservation of funding programmes, support for early career researchers, and inequalities that hinder competitiveness, among others. Please click on the link to the left to view the full text of the Joint Declaration.

The Scientific Symposium was followed by the All European Academies Madame de Staël Prize for Cultural Values prize ceremony, at which the European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, Carlos Moedas, handed over the ALLEA prize to laureate Dame Helen Wallace of the British Academy.

At the annual meeting of ALLEA on 24 April the member academies of ALLEA unanimously voted to re-elect ALLEA President Professor Günter Stock for a second term (2015 – 2018). In a subsequent meeting, the ALLEA Board re-elected Professor Daniela Jezova of the Slovak Academy of Sciences and Professor Ed Noort of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences as ALLEA Vice Presidents.

In addition to the elections, the ALLEA delegates voted to welcome a new ALLEA member, the Learned Society of the Czech Republic, and heard activity reports from the chairs of ALLEA working groups as well as a presentations of the activities and mission of Euro-CASE, the European Council of Applied Sciences Technologies and Engineering, delivered by its President Professor Reinhard Hüttl.

More information on the 2015 ALLEA General Assembly can be found here.

All photos by Felicitas Soeiro.

ALLEA Prize awarded to Dame Helen Wallace by Commissioner Carlos Moedas

Dame Helen Wallace and Commissioner Carlos Moedas

Dame Helen Wallace and Commissioner Carlos Moedas

At an award ceremony in Lisbon on 23 April, Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation awarded the All European Academies Madame de Stael Prize for Cultural Values to Professor Dame Helen Wallace of the British Academy. The prize honours her renowned scholarly work on European political studies and European integration and was awarded on the occasion of the ALLEA General Assembly at the Academy of Sciences of Lisbon.

Commissioner Moedas said: “For the European Union to best serve its citizens, we need continuous debate on research, science and innovation matters involving all levels of society. Academic leaders, like Dame Helen, provide much of the momentum and expertise for such discussions, helping us all to better understand the challenges ahead and how we can equip ourselves to build a prosperous future.”

From left to right: Luís Aires-Barros, President of the Academy of Sciences of Lisbon; Dame Helen Wallace, prize laureate; Günter Stock, President of ALLEA

From left to right: Luís Aires-Barros, President of the Academy of Sciences of Lisbon; Dame Helen Wallace, prize laureate; Günter Stock, President of ALLEA

“Dame Helen Wallace has provided us with an invaluable resource in her work. Her personal as well as her scholarly integrity is unwavering and her commitment to European cooperation is undisputed”, stated Professor Günter Stock, ALLEA President and chairman of the prize jury, in his speech to the ceremony’s international audience at the Academy of Sciences of Lisbon.

The laureate has served as Foreign Secretary of the British Academy since 2011 and was previously Professor at the European Institute of the London School of Economics and Political Science. Professor Wallace’s research has focused on European politics in nearly every context and region, establishing her reputation as an authority in the field. Her seminal work Policy-Making in the European Union is currently entering its seventh printing. Her advice and consultation is sought after at the highest levels of European policy making.

Thumbnail_ALLEA Prize Press Release

Click here to download this press release as a PDF.

The All European Academies Madame de Staël Prize for Cultural Values is co-sponsored by Stiftung Mercator and endowed with 25,000 EUR. The prize “honours research such as Dame Helen’s which helps us better understand how European integration can be achieved”, said Professor Stock. To find out more about the prize, please click here.

All photos by Felicitas Soeiro.

ALLEA reiterates its support for Open Access to Scientific Publications in Europe

In November 2013, ALLEA issued a Statement on the Enhancement of Open Access to Scientific Publications in Europe. The recent developments at national level, in particular in the Netherlands, offer a good opportunity for ALLEA to reiterate its support for the Open Access model in a follow-up statement to the original document (accessible via the above link).

With the Internet, it is now possible to share the research results at a low cost throughout the world, including in more remote or less developed regions. The results of publicly funded research should be made freely accessible online. Open Access publications can more easily be identified and are thus read and quoted more often. Open Access publishing is beneficial to science and researchers, but as well to the users, the public and society as a whole.

Both the green and the gold routes to Open Access should be envisaged taking into account the specificities of the various academic fields (natural sciences vis-à-vis humanities and social sciences).

It is advisable that authorities define targets for the implementation of an Open Access policy. The transition to an Open Access model should be supported by the authorities.

For the transition to succeed, researchers should be aware of the advantages of Open Access. They should advocate the conversion of publishers towards an Open Access model when they are involved in the publishing process, whether as author, reviewer or member of editorial boards.

ALLEA thus supports all the attempts to work out a balanced solution in favour of Open Access, and in particular the negotiations between the academic community and the publishers that take place in various countries.

This follow-up statement was issued by the ALLEA Permanent Working Group on Intellectual Property Rights in March 2015.

To download the follow-up statement as a PDF, please click here.

Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation receives ALLEA President

Carlos Moedas, Member designate of the EC in charge of Research, Science and Innovation receives Gunter Stock, President of ALLEA (All European Academies)

Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation receives Gunter Stock, President of ALLEA (All European Academies) (Photo courtesy of the European Commission)

On 9 April 2015 the European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, Mr Carlos Moedas, invited the ALLEA President, Professor Günter Stock, to discuss a number of current issues and on-going developments in the science and research landscape in Europe. Among other topics, the discussions included the European Fund for Strategic Investment and ALLEA´s position and proposals towards ensuring that future investments benefit the science and research sector.  

On the invitation of the Commissioner, the ALLEA President took the opportunity to present ALLEA´s mission and activities and to elaborate on the role and potential of European Academies for the science and research sector in Europe. The interlocutors addressed the upcoming ALLEA General Assembly in Lisbon (23/24 April 2015) which includes a scientific symposium on “Science and Research in Europe: past, present and future – 15 years of Lisbon Agenda” where the Commissioner will deliver a speech and award the All European Academies Madame de
Staël Prize for Cultural Values Prize to Professor Dame Helen Wallace, Foreign Secretary of the British Academy.

The ALLEA President discussed the Memorandum of Understanding signed between five academy organisations in Europe (Academia Europaea, ALLEA, EASAC, Euro-CASE, and FEAM) and discussed with the Commissioner the added value of coordinated joint activities and interdisciplinary advice which academies in Europe could provide via their networks.

On the European Fund for Strategic Investment (EFSI), the discussion focused on the question of to what extent scientists and scholars could be involved in and help with the evaluation of investment projects in order for the funds to benefit the science and research sector in Europe and therewith compensate for an impending loss of resources originally provided through the Horizon 2020 programme.

Professor Stock also raised the question of how the impact of research in the Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH), a core activity of ALLEA, could be increased for the prosperous development and well-being of the European society.

As a related issue, it was discussed how the potential of SSH can best be harnessed to efficiently contribute towards tackling the big challenges that Europe faces, both through a substantial embedding of SSH in the funding programme and via the separate funding line “Europe in a changing world” (Societal Challenge 6). To that end, it would be instrumental to first and foremost increase the opportunities for SSH applications to be successful in the upcoming calls.

Newsletter 2015-01: The Role and Relevance of Science Education for Modern Societies

ALLEA’s recently released first newsletter of 2015 focusses on the topic “The Role and Relevance of Science Education for Modern Societies”. In this context, the newsletter features an interview with MEP Silvia Costa, Chair of the Committee on Culture and Education as well as a section highlighting investigation-based science education (IBSE). This issue also reports on a variety of activities and developments within the scope of ALLEA.

We often speak about building a European Research Area, but what about its logical prerequisite: a European Education Area? Science education is key for not only inspiring and preparing the future generations of scientists and researchers to engage in scientific careers, but also for increasing the overall scientific literacy in our societies, which plays a major role in preparing citizens to take part in scientific debates – for example, in situations where politics and science intersect and require the votes of the public.

Thus, with this newsletter’s focus topic, ALLEA offers an overview of the role and relevance of science education for modern societies. The accompanying ALLEA interview with Silvia Costa, Chair of the Committee on Culture and Education (CULT) at the European Parliament, offers a glimpse into the perspectives of CULT regarding science education. Moreover, the newsletter explains the importance of IBSE as a pragmatic approach towards providing effective science education to young pupils.

Additionally, this newsletter issue recaps numerous developments regarding science policy and the EFSI regulation and details ALLEA’s recent activities vis-à-vis the European institutions. It also reports on thediverse recent activities of all five ALLEA Working Groups, who perform the bulk of ALLEA’s scientific work.

The newsletter furthermore announces the 2015 recipient of the All European Academies Madame de Staël Prize for Cultural Values, Dame Helen Wallace of the British Academy, who will be awarded the prize by the European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, Carlos Moedas, in the context of the ALLEA General Assembly on 23 April 2015 in Lisbon.

European Academy Organisations Sign Memorandum of Understanding

From left to right: Reinhard Hüttl, President of Euro-CASE; Dermot Kelleher, President of FEAM;  Günter Stock, President of ALLEA; Robert-Jan Smits, Director-General DG Research and Innovation; Jos van der Meer, President of EASAC; Sierd Cloetingh, President of Academia Europaea; Photo by Janina Amendt

From left to right: Reinhard Hüttl, President of Euro-CASE; Dermot Kelleher, President of FEAM; Günter Stock, President of ALLEA; Robert-Jan Smits, Director-General DG Research and Innovation; Jos van der Meer, President of EASAC; Sierd
Cloetingh, President of Academia Europaea; Photo by Janina Amendt

Download Press Release

On 26 March 2015, the Presidents of five European academy organisations met in Berlin to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to strengthen inter-academy cooperation in Europe.

The Director-General of DG Research and Innovation, Robert-Jan Smits, who attended the meeting, said: “The Commission welcomes that the European academies are joining forces to provide independent scientific expert advice for policy making in numerous fields. The Commission looks forward to continue working with the Academies on this matter in the future”.

Many of today’s societal issues are cross-cutting and therefore increasingly require the combined expertise from multiple scientific perspectives which academies are well positioned to provide. A clear and united voice of experts from across all scientific disciplines would strengthen the debates about benefits and risks of new advances and will help policy formulation and support greater public confidence. The initiative of the academies highlights the potential of independent evidence-based advice for policy-making in Europe.

Through the MoU, the five academy organisations declare their preparedness to collaborate when this brings added and timely value to their activities, assuring independence of processes and conclusions, and given that the work is supported by adequate additional funding.

The signatories include Academia Europaea, the pan-European Academy of Humanities, Letters and Sciences; ALLEA, the European Federation of Academies of Sciences and Humanities from the Council of Europe region; EASAC, the association of National Academies of Science of EU member states, Norway and Switzerland; Euro-CASE, the organisation of National Academies of Engineering, Applied Sciences and Technology in Europe; and FEAM, the European umbrella group of National Academies of Medicine and Medical Sections of National Academies of Science.

ALLEA co-organises debate on “Demographic Change in Europe” at the European Parliament

POSTER-EPRS_DemographicChangeOn Tuesday, 24 March 2015, ALLEA is participating in a debate jointly organised with the European Science Foundation (ESF) and the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS). The event is taking place at 18:00 in the EPRS Library Reading Room on the premises of the European Parliament and focusses on the topic of demographic change, a critical subject for the future of Europe.

The speakers include the ALLEA President, who is delivering the introductory address, as well as a panel of experts from both academia and the European Parliament including Professor Ursula Staudinger, Founding Director of the Robert N Butler Columbia Aging Center, and Dr. Harald Wilkoszewski, Head of the Information Centre Brussels of Population Europe, the Network of Europe’s Leading Demographic
Research Centres. After the panel discussion, a debate is envisioned with members of the European Parliament to allow for further examination of demographic change and its many facets, which include aspects such as the ageing society, low childbirth rates, and labour policies, among others.

In the wider context, the event seeks to explore how scientific perspectives can demonstrably contribute to developing effective approaches and solutions for major societal challenges. More concretely, it illuminates the value of contributions from the humanities and social sciences in particular for addressing pressing cross-cutting issues such as demographic change, which is highly influenced by social and economic factors. Thus, issues such as demographic change are also indicators for the growing need to consider both scientific perspectives from the social sciences and humanities as well as from the more technical fields when developing policies that tackle societal challenges..

Click here to download the event programme.