ALLEA Permanent Working Group on Intellectual Property Right issues response to the European Commission’s questionnaire on the review of EU copyright law

On the initiative of Chairman Professor Joseph Straus, the ALLEA Working Group on Intellectual Property Rights presented a statement as a response to the European Commission´s questionnaire on the review of EU copyright law.

The statement particularly elaborates on copyright issues most relevant to the academic community in Europe and has been sent to the European Commission as an input to the on-going and future deliberations on the EU copyright rules. It was specifically addressed to European Commissioner Michel Barnier and Director General Jonathan Faull, responsible for Internal Market and Services. The full statement can be downloaded here.

More information about the ALLEA Permanent Working Group IPR can be found here.

ALLEA endorses “Statement Supporting Funding for Stem Cell and Reproductive Health Research in Europe 2014”

ALLEA supports a joint statement drafted by the Wellcome Trust regarding the funding for Stem Cell and Reproductive Health Research in Europe. The statement calls on the European Parliament and European Commission to oppose an initiative seeking a ban on all financing of activities related to stem cell research, including research on regenerative medicine, reproductive health and genetic disease.

2013_11_7_stemcellThe views expressed in the statement coincide with the recommendation of a recent ALLEA position on “Patentability and Research Funding relating to embryonic Stem Cells”, prepared by the Permanent Working Group on Intellectual Property Rights in October 2013 and approved by all but two ALLEA member academies. The Wellcome Trust led joint statement has until today been endorsed by 76 partner organisations all across Europe, including  patient groups, research funders, academies and learned societies, universities and industry groups.

The statement seeks to maintain the provisions of the current framework for funding stem cell research in Horizon 2020: “Horizon 2020 allows ground breaking and important research using all forms of stem cells, subject to it meeting fundamental ethical principles. Any roll back of this agreement would be a major step backwards for research across regenerative medicine, reproductive health, genetic disease and delay the development of much needed treatments for a host of untreatable conditions.”

Click here to download the full statement.

Over the last years, the ALLEA working group on Intellectual Property Rights has issued three statements on stem cell research, particularly regarding the patentability and funding regulations, which explicitly underlined that a lack of patent protection in the area of embryonic stem cell research could negatively affect the investment in developing therapeutics based on human pluripotent embryonic stem cells. ALLEA has repeatedly raised serious concerns towards a possible cut down of funding in this field of research.

For download of the previous statements, background documents and further information on the topic please click here.

ALLEA General Assembly elects new member academies and re-elects ALLEA Board for the next term in office

On the occasion of the 15th ALLEA General Assembly, held on the premises of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters in Oslo, on 25 April 2014 the delegates of the ALLEA member academies decided to admit four further full members and one associate member to the European Federation of Academies of Sciences and Humanities. Furthermore, in the course of ALLEA´s annual meeting, all re-eligible members of the ALLEA Board were re-elected and one new member was elected for the period 2014-16. The meeting was preceded by a scientific symposium and a festive event celebrating ALLEA´s 20th anniversary.

Participants of the annual ALLEA business meeting 2014 in Oslo

Participants of the annual ALLEA business meeting 2014 in Oslo

Since 25 April 2014 the European Federation of Academies of Sciences and Humanities counts 58 full members. On the recommendation of the ALLEA Board, the General Assembly voted for the admission of four academies that had applied for membership in ALLEA:  The Royal Academy of Sciences and Arts of Barcelona (Spain), The Institute for Catalan Studies (Spain), The Academy of Sciences of Turin (Italy) and The Venetian Institute for Sciences, Letters and the Arts (Italy). The Assembly furthermore decided to admit The Science Academy, Istanbul (Turkey), as associate member in ALLEA.

The agenda of the 15th ALLEA General Assembly also included the election of the ALLEA Board for the following two years. The Board comprises nine members including the President and two Vice Presidents whose term in office is independent from the one of the Board. All five re-eligible existing Board members were re-elected and the ALLEA delegates elected The Royal Society of Edinburgh, represented by its Vice President Professor Graham Caie, to fill the vacancy and become member of the Board. The  15th ALLEA General Assembly closed with an invitation from the President of the Academy of Sciences of Lisbon to hold the next annual meeting in the Portuguese capital on 23 and 24 April 2015.

Keynote speaker Professor Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, President of the European Research Council (ERC)

Keynote speaker Professor Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, President of the European Research Council (ERC)

The annual business meeting of ALLEA was preceded by a scientific symposium dedicated to the topic “Enabling Early Career Researchers: Needs for Training of a New Generation” on the day prior to the meeting. The symposium included a keynote speech by the President of the European Research Council (ERC), Professor Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, on European efforts in supporting the career paths of early stage scientists and scholars.

Further presentations and panel discussions provided manifold perspectives on the issue, particularly detailing the Norwegian practise and strategy and displaying the views of early career researchers themselves. Professor Lauritz Broder Holm-Nielsen, Vice President of the European Universities Association (EUA), laid a special focus on the efforts of Universities in training early career researchers in Europe.

The symposium was followed by a festive event celebrating ALLEA´s 20th anniversary opened by a speech on “The role of academies in a European research and education area” by the President of ALLEA, Professor Günter Stock. Further highlights included a video address by the laureate of the All European Academies Madame de Staël Prize for Cultural Values 2014, Professor Luisa Passerini, elaborating on “Affective Narratives for Europe”, as well as a festive lecture by Professor Étienne François, Emeritus Professor of History in Paris and Berlin, discussing the question “Between National and Global: Europe as a Research Space”.

Welcome Address by Professor Nils Chr. Stenseth,  President of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters

Welcome Address by Professor Nils Chr. Stenseth, President of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters

The audience was welcomed by Professor Nils Chr. Stenseth, President of the hosting Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, and Dr Björn Haugstad, State Secretary in the Norwegian Ministry for Education and Research. Among the guests of the festive event were four past presidents of ALLEA as well as the Presidents of partner organisations in Europe: Professor Jos van der Meer, President of the European Academies Science Advisory Council (EASAC) and Professor Lars Walloe, President of  Academia Europaea.

Presentations and pictures of the symposium and festive event are made available here.
Please click for further information about The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters. Download Press Release here

President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso awards All European Academies Madame de Staël Prize for Cultural Values to Italian Professor of Cultural History

from left: Professor Günter Stock, ALLEA President, Laureate Professor Luisa Passerini, José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission

from left: Professor Günter Stock, ALLEA President, Laureate Professor Luisa Passerini, José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission

At the award ceremony in the premises of the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts in Brussels on 9 April 2014 José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, honoured the laureate´s exceptional scholarly work on European cultural values and European identity. The prize is initiated by ALLEA, the European Federation of Academies of Sciences and Humanities, and co-sponsored by Stiftung Mercator. It is endowed with 25,000 Euro.

“A sense of belonging to Europe, to a community of values and culture, is essential to forge that common destiny. Europe is us, each of us. And each of us can make a difference in Europe and contribute to driving positive change. This is what ALLEA is doing through its wide range of activities. This is also what Professor Luisa Passerini is working on, looking at what holds us together. I congratulate Professor Luisa Passerini for her exceptional work which forms part of the important scholarly contributions towards an understanding of Europe as an intellectual and cultural entity”, stated José Manuel Barroso, the President of the European Commission. Click here for the complete speech.

In his opening remarks, Professor Günter Stock, ALLEA President and chairman of the prize jury, pointed out: “It is a pleasure that today we can honour a personality who is so strongly engaged in investigating Europe´s cultures and values. At the same time she follows a critical and professional – truly scientific – approach when it comes to Eurocentrism.”

With reference to President Barroso´s initiative ‘A New Narrative for Europe’ he stated that “we as academies felt invited to contribute and to help creating new narratives. One of these symbolic – as I would call them – narratives, is the creation of the ‘Madame de Staël prize’ for European scholars working in the field of European values.”

Luisa Passerini is part-time Professor at the European University Institute, Florence, Italy, visiting Professor at Columbia University, New York, and former Professor of Cultural History at the University of Turin, Italy. She heads the ERC funded research project “Bodies Across Borders: Oral and Visual Memory in Europe and Beyond” (BABE) which aims to understand new forms of European identity. Luisa Passerini´s further research fields include History of subjectivity, including forms of European identity, Gender and generations or Diasporic subjectivities.

In his laudatory speech, Etienne François, Professor Emeritus of History in Paris and Berlin, characterised Luisa Passerini as “a historian who has proved in her scholarly works that Europe can be better understood from its margins and from the outside than from what is considered its centre.”

ALLEA has established the All European Academies Madame de Staël Prize for Cultural Values, awarded for the first time in 2014, in order to display the boundless intellectual and cultural diversity and richness of Europe and to highlight outstanding contributions of scholarly work, particularly in the fields of the humanities and social sciences.

Click here to learn more about the prize, the laureate and for further information.

See more pictures and a video of all speeches on the pages of the European Commission.

Download Press Release

15th ALLEA General Assembly in Oslo, Norway, on 24/25 April 2014

news bannerThe 15th General Assembly of the European federation of Academies of Sciences and Humanities, ALLEA (ALL European Academies), will take place on the premises of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters in Oslo on 24 and 25 April 2014.

The annual meeting of ALLEA is traditionally preceded by a scientific symposium which this year is dedicated to the issue “Enabling early career researchers – needs for training of a new generation”. A keynote will be given by the President of the European Research Council Professor Jean-Pierre Bourguignon followed by contributions both from outstanding early career researchers and renowned senior scholars and science policy makers who will shed light on different perspectives of a rapidly changing research environment with particular attention to the consequences that these changes represent for the training and preparation of a new generation of scientists and scholars.

With a festive event in the evening of 24 April 2014, ALLEA will celebrate its 20th anniversary. Guests of honour will be the State Secretary of the Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research, Dr Bjørn Haugstad, as well as Professor Étienne François, Emeritus of the Free University of Berlin and Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, and Member of Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities. Professor Francois will hold the festive lecture on the basis of his laudatory speech for the laureate of the All European Academies Madame de Staël Prize for Cultural Values Professor Luisa Passerini The prize winner, who is currently lecturing in New York, will address the audience via video conference.

The programme of and further information about the symposium and the festive session be found here.

On the second day of the General Assembly, 25 April 2014, in the internal ALLEA business meeting, the delegations of all member academies are invited to discuss major topics of the ALLEA´s future policy, work and mission. The General Assembly will elect the ALLEA Board for the period 2014 – 2016 and decide about the admission of new member academies.

The General Assembly is ALLEA’s highest legislative body, where all Member Academies decide on the federation’s policy, governance bodies and budget. The GA programme typically consists of two parts, a scientific conference and a business meeting. The conference sessions are devoted to presentations of papers and activities usually linked to or expanding on ALLEA core activities.

Last year´s conference in Berlin addressed the topic “Management of Large Data Corpora”, the symposium in Rome in 2012 was dedicated to a special session with the Vice President of the European Commission, Ms Neelie Kroes, about “The Digital Agenda and Access to Scientific Information”.

Click here for information and documentation of previous ALLEA General Assemblies.

President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso awards first All European Academies Madame de Staël Prize for Cultural Values to Italian Professor of Cultural History Luisa Passerini

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Luisa Passerini

In honour of her exceptional scholarly work on European cultural values and European identity, Luisa Passerini will be the first scholar to be awarded the All European Academies Madame de Staël Prize for Cultural Values by the President of the European Commission; a prize initiated by ALLEA, the European Federation of Academies of Sciences and Humanities.

Upon invitation of ALLEA, José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, will award the prize at an award ceremony on the premises of the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts in Brussels on the afternoon of 9 April 2014.

Luisa Passerini´s research not only provides a multifaceted depiction of the ways in which identities in Europe are built and evolve. “It also comprises and elaborates on the values that Europe is in need of today”, says Professor Günter Stock, ALLEA President and chairman of the prize jury. “Her comprehensive work on a great variety of topics related to the European identity and values significantly contributes to explaining cultural diversity in Europe and its eventful history of cultural encounters.”

The laureate is Professor Emeritus of Cultural History at the University of Turin and currently heads the research project Bodies Across Borders: Oral and Visual Memory in Europe and Beyond, funded by the European Research Council, which aims to understand new forms of European identity. Luisa Passerini´s further research fields include the history of subjectivity, including forms of European identity, gender and generations or diasporic subjectivities.

The All European Academies Madame de Staël Prize for Cultural Values, awarded for the first time in 2014  is co-sponsored by Stiftung Mercator and endowed with 25,000 EUR. ALLEA has established the prize to pay tribute to the boundless intellectual and cultural diversity and richness of Europe, and to highlight how outstanding scholarly work, particularly in the fields of the humanities and social sciences, contributes to the understanding of Europe as a cultural and intellectual entity.

The event is open to the public and press. Please click here to download the press invitation. Prior registration is required. For interviews with the laureate or with the ALLEA President, please contact the ALLEA secretariat in advance. Photos will be made available upon request shortly after the event. Click here to learn more about ALLEA, the prize, the laureate and for further information.

ALLEA Presidency endorses appeal of National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine

news bannerThe ALLEA member from Ukraine, the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine (NASU), on 4 March 2014 issued an “Appeal of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine to Scientists, All Citizens of Ukraine and the Russian Federation”.

The Presidency of ALLEA today has distributed the appeal to all member academies stating full endorsement of the document and encouraging the sister academies in other European countries to “undertake whatever seems feasible in support of academic freedom and autonomy in Ukraine”.

The document reflects the Academy´s position regarding the current situation and developments in Ukraine and carries signatures of the NASU Presidency, comprising a number of members who are both fellows of NASU and of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS).

The appeal can be accessed here.

Click here for further information on the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine.

„Music and European Integration” – ALLEA co-hosts international workshop in Berlin

2014_01_23_RiethmuellerOn 11 and 12 March 2014 a group of international musicologists will address the topic “Music and European Integration” in a two-day workshop in the Berlin Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities. Initiated and organized by the collaborative research center on Aesthetic Experience and the Dissolution of Artistic Limits at the Free University of Berlin, the workshop is co-hosted by the Union of German Academies of Sciences and Humanities and ALLEA.

Professor Albrecht Riethmüller, Professor of musicology at the Free University of Berlin, convened the meeting in order to prepare shaping a publication that examines the relation of music to the process of European integration since the Second World War. The volume will form part of a book series on pan-European topics published by ALLEA.

“In the twentieth century, shifting political borders critically influenced the definition of European music: during the decades of the Iron Curtain, Berlin formed its easternmost outpost; after the wall‘s fall, leverage shifted to Istanbul, the door to the orient”, says professor Riethmüller.

The programme comprises presentations and discussions on a variety of musico-political questions and how they relate to European identity and the process of European integration. Eminent experts from Universities in different European countries will deliberate on issues such as “The Construction of a European Tradition in Music and Cultural History” and ask if we are heading “Towards a European Identity in Music”? Professor Günter Stock, President of ALLEA, will welcome the participants and open the workshop. The full programme can be found here.

The workshop also partly relates to an ALLEA contribution in the context of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy´s “Salon Sophie Charlotte” which took place on 18 January 2014 under the general heading “Europa – ein Zukunftsort”.  The ALLEA programme comprised two presentations discussing the contributions of music in the process of European integration and its role for the European identity: “The Anthem of Europe” by Albrecht Riethmüller and “Beethoven 2020 in Europe” by the Director of the Beethoven House in Bonn, Malte Boecker. Read more.

Albrecht Riethmüller is professor of musicology at the Free University of Berlin and member of the Academy of Sciences and Literature of Mainz. Since 2004 he is the ALLEA delegate of the Union of the German Academies of Sciences and Humanities.

Read more about the collaborative research centre 626 on Aesthetic Experience and the Dissolution of Artistic Limits.

Policy for science activities towards the European authorities

2014_01_30_Horizon2020With the release of the Horizon 2020 draft work programmes for 2014/15, ALLEA reiterated its position as regards the opportunities for interdisciplinary research throughout the programme as well as concerning the integration of Social Sciences and Humanities experts in the Horizon 2020 advisory groups in order to guarantee substantial involvement of SSH approaches at every stage of the process.

Both issues were taken up in response letters from the European Commissioner for Research and Innovation, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn. On the invitation of the Commissioner ALLEA President Günter Stock and British Academy Vice President Dame Helen Wallace discussed more in detail ALLEA´s position in a personal meeting in Berlin on 28 January 2014 with the participation of the Commissioner, the Director General and the Commissioner´s head of cabinet. ALLEA and the Directorate General for Research and Innovation agreed on a number of concrete interactions within the next months which were integrated in the future scope of activities of the ALLEA Working Group on SSH, led by the British Academy, which held an in-parallel meeting in Berlin on 27/28 January 2014. Detailed information about the meetings and the follow on actions will be made available in the next issue of the ALLEA newsletter.

Interdisciplinarity in Horizon 2020

In late 2013, the ALLEA President provided the Directorate General for Research and Innovation with “Guidelines for an interdisciplinary research programme” resulting from an exemplary workshop which assembled scholars from various disciplines who addressed the topic “Sustainable aquatic food supply” in a dedicated interdisciplinary manner. The project was initiated by the Vice President of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities, Professor Klaus Lucas, and supported by the Volkswagen foundation.

In her personal response letter, the Commissioner highly appreciated the concrete proposals and assured that the guidelines be fed into the relevant units within her Directorate-General as a contribution providing “useful inputs for the preparation of future work programmes”.

A separate response from the Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology (DG CONNECT) highlighted the usefulness of the presented design not only for the Societal Challenges, but also for other programme lines such as “Future and Emerging Technologies“ or “Industrial Leadership”. The guidelines will also provide input to a Commission study aiming “to make recommendations on how to best shape smart approaches to multi-, inter- and transdisciplinarity”, the letter states.

The report “Sustainable Aquatic Food Supply – Guidelines for an Interdisciplinary Research Program” can be downloaded here: full report or short version.

Horizon 2020 advisory groups

As a follow on to an earlier ALLEA ad hoc initiative which yielded the ALLEA comments on the ERA communication led by the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences the Director General for Research and Innovation, Robert-Jan Smits, asked ALLEA to come up with a list of experts from the ALLEA academies in order to provide expert advice in the programme parts related to the Social Sciences and Humanities.

Upon receipt of a comprehensive list of eminent experts prepared to engage in the advice activities separate letters from Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn and Director General Robert-Jan Smits invited and encouraged the ALLEA experts to register for the official Horizon 2020 expert advisory groups which monitor and supervise the formulation and implementation of Horizon 2020 calls in the work programmes. Director General Smits stated that the ALLEA expert list will furthermore be forwarded to the responsible units in the Commission, “to all colleagues who are in charge of calls across Horizon 2020 and specifically of calls for societal challenges”. The Commissioner underlined her gratitude for ALLEA´s continued and “valuable support” to a successful implementation of Horizon 2020 and encouraged ALLEA to contribute to the parts of the work “which requires support from external experts”.

Further recent ALLEA positions directed to the relevant European authorities included statements of the ALLEA Working Group Intellectual Property Rights, addressing the issue of stem cell research as well as the problem of the grace period.

Academia-Industry Alliance: Joint Efforts in Science Education – Royal Irish Academy and ALLEA Worling Group Science Education convene open session in Dublin

The Royal Irish Academy (RIA)-ALLEA Joint Efforts in Science Education Forum took place on 20 November, 2013. The forum brought together industry and education partners to discuss existing and identify future potential collaborative efforts to enhance maths, science and technology education and student experiences in Ireland, with reference to existing and emerging European initiatives in this space.

Excellent and world class science will play an instrumental role in the creation of jobs, identification of future technologies and opportunities and wider societal well-being. To this end, Europe – and Ireland – requires a highly skilled workforce in maths, science and technology fields and a high level of general scientific competence across society. The Forum explored the shared mission of teachers, educators and industry in achieving these wider goals, recognising that no one sector can address these issues by themselves.

2014_01_27_Academia-industry-allianceAll participants were invited to outline their perspective on the current opportunities and challenges facing science education and how industry and education can work together to support a stronger science education experience.

The event was preceded by the launch of the Irish Minister of State for Research and Innovation Seán Sherlock’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education Review Group in Academy House. The Academy is currently in the process of drafting a submission to the STEM advisory group based on issues that were identified at the Academy-ALLEA forum on Science Education.

A report summarising the main conclusions and discussion points, along with a summary of the speakers’ presentations is available here.

Leading this initiative are Professor Peter Mitchell, MRIA, ALLEA working group on Science Education and Professor Eugene Kennedy, MRIA, Science Secretary.

The open session on Academia-Industry Alliances also relates to previous activities of the ALLEA Working Group Science Education and follows up on a comprehensive report written upon request of the European Commission and entitled “A renewal of science education in Europe – views and actions of national academies”. In the report, the Working Group details the views and actions taken by European Academies to advance the renewal of science education and maintain the passion for science and technology among the youth. Building alliances with the business world is seen as an important step towards these objectives.

The Royal Irish Academy (Acadamh Ríoga na hÉireann) was founded in 1785 and is Ireland’s academy for the sciences, humanities and social sciences. The Academy provides expert advice, manages research projects, publishes books and journals and sustains a library. Election to membership of the Academy is the highest academic honour in Ireland and the Academy has currently approximately 460 members.