European Academies Scientific Advisory Council decides to move from London to Halle/Saale, 3-4 December 2009, Brussels
During the recent meeting at the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for the Arts and Sciences in Brussels, it was decided to move the EASAC secretariat from London to Halle/Saale.The regular Council meeting discussed the science portfolios (biomedical research; energy; environment) and heard an overview on research-oriented activities in Belgium during the EU Presidency in the 2nd half of 2010. By that time, it is expected that the two Belgian national academies (with their umbrella for international affairs, RASAB – Royal Academies for Science and the Arts of Belgium) will have set up a local support office for the European Academy networks (initially, EASAC will be served by the lobbyist Willy der Greef, Secretary – General of Europa-Bio).
Source: www.kvab.beRevisiting recent discussions on better coordination of Academy efforts at European level among the two main arenas for inter-academy activities in Europe, ALLEA and EASAC, it was emphasised that, according to the statutes, the EASAC secretariat is expected to “maintain a close working conditions with the secretariats of ALLEA and Academia Europaea to avoid duplication”.
In order to promote contacts with policy-makers, a small reception after the first session of the meeting was organised as an occasion to interact with the chair of the European Parliament’s Science and Technology Options Assessment Panel (STOA), Austrian Christian-Democrat Dr Paul Rübig, member of the Parliament’s Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE).
ALLEA Director talks on Academies as scientific publishing houses at conference, 27-28 November 2009, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest
R. Klein presented the scientific publishing activities of Academies as testimony to long-term commitments to facilitating access to research information.The European Science Foundation’s had organised a strategic meeting on “Changing Publication Cultures in the Humanities” at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in Budapest. The workshop was organised by SCH member Professor Peter Davidhazi of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
The conference was planned according to four main lines of enquiry: (1) monographs as an endangered species in the humanities, (2) the new horizon of electronic publications, (3) the changing role of publications in new carreer models, and (4) publications and the problems of “lesser used” languages.
Contributions cited, among the factors of change in publication cultures in the humanities implications of technological innovation (incl. Open Access), new collaborative models for humanities research, including “Global Humanities” (beyond the anglo-centric perspective), But also issues to do with evaluation and assessment systems (which ave long tended to priviledge journal publications, including ERIH).R. Klein presented the scientific publishing activities of Academies as testimony to long-term commitments to facilitating access to research information, locating them, seeing them facing currently both the challenges and opportunities of the new electronic publishing modes (notably: open access), as well as adjusting the the needs of grantign access to research data (research infrastructures). Some further thinking was suggested along the following lines: notably aspects related to research infrastructures in the humanities were referred to over and over again as one element that will change the publication patterns in the fields concerned (integration between different electronic resources (e.g. databases) and evaluation in Humanities), together with the more specific issues of open access. The questions of the use of national languages played an important role in these considerations; electronic means of communication were seen as possible dangers and opportunities alike (e.g.: language technology as facilitating work in a multilingual environment). Some participants suggested it would be appropriate to see the challenges to publication cultures in the Humanities as related to the changes in the hard sciences.
Links:1. Programme 2. Workshop documentation 3. Paper of R. Klein
Minister attends hand-over of ALLEA-ESF evaluation report of 69 research institutes of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, 30 November 2009, Sofia
The international peer-review based evaluation of the research units of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences is publicly presented in the presence of the Minister. The first comprehensive international scientific review of the 69 research units of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (BAS), coordinated by the European Science Foundation (ESF) together with ALLEA, was made publicly accessible as the report was handed over by Dr Reinder van Duinen, Chair of the Review Monitoring Committee, to the President of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Professor Nikola Sabotinov in the presence of the Minister and many representatives of the media. Applying an adapted version of the “Self-Evaluation Protocol” discussed and promoted by ALLEA in the early 2000’s this evaluation is hoped give rise to more institutional evaluation across the country. During an earlier public debate on the issue a public debate had shown the interest in such a development.
The independent evaluation found that most BAS institutes perform valuable research by international standards and in some cases research groups operate at the forefront worldwide. The review gives proposals for BAS to further improve performance and sustain its current national and international position, highlighting three priority areas: 1) create better conditions for young researchers; 2) improve access to European networks for all fields of research; 3) develop a long-term vision on the goals / tasks of the research units, based on their strengths. Throughout the process a format for interaction had been chosen that emphasised the strategic forward-looking elements in the review. “Our hope is that our findings and recommendations will enable research units to contribute to joint strategy development in BAS and perhaps even across research organizations in the country,” commented Dr Reinder van Duinen. “We expect that the Bulgarian authorities and stakeholders will recognize this external international review as a bold first step that is aimed at preparing Bulgarian science for its rightful place in Europe.”
The committee reviewed 69 institutes, centres, laboratories and other relevant facilities. Forty leading researchers from Academies, research performing organizations and universities in 17 countries, had worked in four panels, accumulating several thousand contact hours with researchers at all levels of careers during 10 days of site visits in July 2009. “We commissioned ESF and ALLEA to organise this assessment against international competitiveness standards. Both organisations have a reputation for independent, international scientific evaluation and a strong support for promoting the European Research Area,” said Professor Nikola Sabotinov, President of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.
An ALLEA Working Group Evaluating for Science will meta-review the use of the Self-Evaluation Protocol in this exercise and will suggest ways to simplify the reporting in the future, while at the same time including elements of evaluations that will better allow to analyse the societal impact of the research evaluated.
Links1. BAS Evaluation Report2. Earlier work of ALLEA on self-evaluation reports3. Current work of the ALLEA Working Group Evaluation
For the evaluation reports of the four expert panels: please contact email@example.com
ALLEA Extraordinary Strategy Meeting with celebratory session (15 years ALLEA), 16-17 November 2009, Royal Netherlands Academy, Amsterdam
ALLEA Extraordinary Strategy Meeting with celebratory session (15 years ALLEA), 16-17 November 2009, Royal Netherlands Academy, Amsterdam
The 53 ALLEA Member Academies from 40 European countries celebrated the achievements of their science policy work in Europe and debated the Strategic Plan 2010-2015.
The celebratory session, in which also representatives of other agencies participated, looked back on the work of “15 years ALLEA”.The Strategic Plan, debated during day 2 and 3 of the gathering, envisages ALLEA as a prime resource for expert analysis and advice to science policy stakeholders inside and beyond Europe in all matters relating to the many interfaces of scientific progress and societal needs.Links1. Programme ALLEA Extraordinary Strategy meeting2. Presentation of meeting (restricted; for members only)
EU report focuses on Challenging Futures of Science in Society, 16 November 2009, Brussels
The EU’s MASIS Expert Group (Monitoring Activities of Science in Society) comprises as one of its members Andrzej Górski, Vice-President of the Polish Academy of Sciences.The MASIS Expert Group (Monitoring Activities of Science in Society) set up by the European Commission has recently published a report entitled “Challenging Futures of Science in Society. Emerging Trends and cutting-edge issues.” The Report of the MASIS expert group aims to map the most significant trends in research and policy activities in the field of science in society in Europe. A better understanding of the European landscape will allow a preliminary identification of emerging trends, policy patterns and cutting‐edge issues that might require a cross‐national and/or European dimensionOne of the most important trends identified by the group is the apparent emergence of a European model of science in society: “While uniformity should not be the aim, there is the possibility that trends, experiments and mutual learning add up to a European model for science in society”, the report reads. “Europe may have come further than other countries and regions, and in that sense it offers an alternative model: not by being different from the rest of the world, but by playing a leading role. …European institutions tend to attribute a more active and creative role to their publics, and as a result, further encourage such social capacity”. According to the experts, the EU’s SIS programmes “can and should” play a role in supporting the exploration of these ideas.
Elsewhere, the report notes that a lot of discussions on science in society are based around the question of what place science should have in society. This debate should continue, and experiments should be carried out to address tensions in this area, the experts recommend. At the same time, science is increasingly thinking about its role and impacts. The authors point out that while policymakers rightly emphasise the links between science, innovation and quality of life, ‘the political dimension […] and the cultural and intellectual dimensions are also important’.
On the issue of the governance of science in society, the authors note that new forms of governance are emerging. These include discussions on responsible development, the growing importance of ethics and codes of conduct, and experiments with public engagement. ‘These are not without tensions, but they indicate that we do not have to fall back on traditional forms of governance,’ the report reads. One part of the science in society debate revolves around human resources. Women continue to be under-represented in many areas of science, while many bright young people are choosing not to go into research careers. ‘Appreciating diversity and making space for including social context can help to strengthen potential,’ the report reads.
For the full report, see: ftp://ftp.cordis.europa.eu/pub/fp7/sis/docs/sis_masis_report_en.pdf
ALLEA Standing Committee IPR: Symposium Intellectual Property Rights in the European Research Area”, 4 – 7 November 2009, Budapest
Joseph Straus of the ALLEA Standing Committee IPR chaired on 4 November 2009 this agenda-setting workshop, organised in honour of Sir Roger Elliot, the long-time Chair of the Committee who is now stepping down. The symposium was held as a pre-forum meeting to prepare discussions during the World Science Forum 2009 in Budapest at the Hungarian Patent Office. It had been organised by ALLEA, invited by the World Science Forum, and sponsored by the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and the host, the Hungarian Patent Office.
The symposium programme and the presentations given during the symposium can be seen here.
The perspectives for the some of the most urgent areas for Academy interventions in the IPR domain were presented by the ALLEA Executive Director during the World Science Forum closing plenary session on 7 November, convened in the Hungarian Parliament.
Picture: Péter Hámori The speech of József Pálinkás, President of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, concluded the 4th World Science Forum with a reminder of the multiple roles science has to play in society: “Science and technology are just tools. But without them humankind has no future. The proper use of these tools requires foresight, responsibility and ethics. Scientist creating, disseminating and using knowledge has to play a role model to assume responsibility for the future.”For the full speech please click here.
Working Group Science Education: Interdisciplinary Workgroup – The Future of Science Education and Technology Literacy, 29-30 October 2009, BBAW, Berlin
The ALLEA Executive Director, as secretary to the ALLEA-sponsored European Network of Academies on Science Education, participated, in this interdisciplinary BBAW-acatech Workshop.The ALLEA Working Group Science Education aims to link up with the efforts taken forward both nationally and internationally in science and mathematics education, and to connect also with the neighbouring field of technology education.In this context, the ALLEA Executive Director, who also is secretary to the European Network of Academies on Science Education, participated in the Workshop “Shaping the future – Challenges and innovation in science, technology and education”. The workshop was held with support from Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities, who hosted the meeting, and acatech, the German Academy of Science and Engineering. It brought together international experts from different nations and disciplines to present and discuss their ideas. Participants also identified, topics, experiences and research results about innovative approaches and challenges related to public education programs in science and technology.
Please click here to download the programme of the meeting.
In Germany, BBAW and acatech are working closing together in this initiative, but acatech has also developed a specific strategy to support the strengthening of technology education, see for example:- Strategie zur Förderung des Nachwuchses in Technik und Naturwissenschaft- Förderung des Nachwuchses in Technik und Naturwissenschaft- Wege zur Technikfaszination
Public debate on the ALLEA-ESF evaluation of the Research Institutes of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, 29 October 2009, Sofia
As the first scientific in-depth evaluation of the research units of the 69 research units of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences is completed a public debate is triggered.The first comprehensive international scientific review of the research units of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (BAS),has been coordinated by ALLEA and the European Science Foundation (ESF). During a pre-publication public debate on the issue of research evaluation, the hall of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences attracted an audience of several hundreds, scientists, general public, policy makers and media alike. “Our hope is that our findings and recommendations will enable research units to contribute to joint strategy development in BAS and perhaps even across research organizations in the country,” commented Dr Reinder van Duinen, Chair of the Review Monitoring Committee. “We expect that Bulgarian authorities and stakeholders will recognize this external international review as a bold first step that is aimed at preparing Bulgarian science for its rightful place in Europe.”Links1. High-level recommendations of the evaluation report2. Earlier work of ALLEA on self-evaluation reports3. ALLEA Working Group Evaluation
ALLEA Standing Committee Science and Ethics: Workshop on Training in responsible conduct of research, 27-28 October 2009, Strasbourg
ALLEA participated in the Workshop “Responsible Conduct of Research: Good Research Practices and Research Integrity Training”, sponsored by the ESF and the US-American National Institute of Health. The objective of the meeting was to serve as a platform for MOs to exchange information on good practice, to support and encourage those organisations which did not have appropriate structures to develop such structures, to learn from others and initiate debates in their respective communities, and to channel European input to the Second World Conference on Research IntegrityALLEA Honorary President Pieter Drenth presented the work of the European Working Group leading up to the formulation of a Code of Conduct during the meeting. ALLEA had been preparing the European Code of Conduct, as part opf its contributions to the work of the MO Forum, in the course of 2009, notably through a consultative workshop with all Member Academies in Berne and the provision of substantial amounts of background material on research integrity.The presentations given at this workshop and background documents are available here.
ALLEA WG Evaluating for Science, 2nd plenary meeting, 25 October 2009, Académie des Sciences, Paris
The ALLEA Working Group Evaluating for Science brings together scientists and evaluation experts to work jointly towards a new set of guidelines for institutional evaluations (European Evaluation Protocol). The envisaged guidelines seek to simplify (and, at the same time render more meaningful) evaluations as part of a continuous improvement and performance enhancing process, in which the ability to develop credible forward looking strategies are as important as retrospective assessments. The meeting put the final touches to a draft that will be discussed with Member Academies and other stakeholders in the coming months.
The Working Group also agreed to develop some work on the following themes:- guidelines for scientific output of Social Science and Humanities research- measures to asses societal impact of basic research- parameters for university rankings.Links1. Meeting Programme2. Background documents on the work of the Working Group3. ALLEA publications/background documentslick on “Evaluation and Benchmarking” 4. Restricted working website (for Working Group members only).
EU Conference Working Together to Strengthen Research in Europe, 21-23 October 2009, European Parliament, Brussels
The ALLEA Executive Director attended the EU Conference “Working Together to Strengthen Research in Europe” held at the European Parliament in Brussels. During the conference, stakeholders from public and private research organisations debated the future of the European Research Area. Source: http://ec.europa.eu/Scientific and technological research in Europe and worldwide is subject to many drivers of change, some subtle and unrelenting over the long-term, others new and rapidly evolving. The type of drivers include ‘external’ technical and organisational developments affecting the way in which research is conducted, ‘internal’ changes and developments within disciplines and sectors and overarching factors such as the rising internationalisation of research and innovation-based competition, globalcompetition for talent, the development of open-access and open-innovation and so on. This conference explored many implications of these and other drivers on researchers and the research system in Europe and the world over the next 20 years.Topics on the extensive programme included new research funding frameworks in Europe (e.g.: Research Infrastructures; Joint Programming Initiatives) as well as challenges to do with the trust and transparency at the Science and Society interface (Science and Ethics; Intellectual Property Rights etc.).
Symposium Energy 2050 held in association with the Swedish EU Presidency by Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, 19-20 October 2009, Stockholm
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences’s Energy Committee had worked since 2005 on supply and use of energy in a global 40-year perspective.The symposium explored possibilities to reduce the contribution of fossil fuels to the global energy system until 2050. Current scenarios of future climate change indicate enormous social and economic consequences for global societies. The major potential for changes in energy supply up to 2050 are to be found in the already established technologies such as hydropower, wind power, nuclear energy and bio-energy. An emerging renewable source with great potential is solar energy. In parallel to a shift to non-fossil energy supply, a radically more efficient use of energy needs to be achieved. Increased use of electricity, not least in the transport sector, and more effective heating and cooling of buildings are key elements. During the symposium internationally renowned scientists – among them Nobel Laureates George Olah and Carlo Rubbia- assessed the climate-energy issue in a broad perspective, with particular focus on how rapidly a change to a “fossil-free” society can be accomplished. The main results and conclusions of the in-depth energy studies conducted by the Academy’s Energy Committee, that has worked in the period 2005-2009 on supply and use of energy in a global 40-year perspective will also be presented. One conference goal was to provide a message UN Climate Change Conference, Copenhagen in December 2009, at which a post-Kyoto action plan will be discussed.King Carl XVI Gustaf attended the first day of the conference, and the EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs made a few remarks about the EU energy strategies on the second day.Following the symposium, the Swedish Energy Agency supported by the European Commission will arrange a conference on 21.–22.10.2009. The target groups are European actors in the innovation system for energy technology – financial community, industry, customers, public policy makers, representatives of the European institutions and international partners.
KNAW and Rathenau Institute convene workshop Modelling Science Understanding, Forecasting, and Communicating the Science System , 6-9 October 2009
The workshop “Modelling Science” brought together different approaches of modelling and visualizing the science system (including the social sciences and humanities).During the last forty years, a variety of explanatory, exploratory, and metaphorical models of the science system have been used in a number of different fields. This workshop under the title “Modelling Science – Understanding, Forecasting, and Communicating the Science System” by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) and Rathenau Institute and convened on 6-9 October 2009 in Amsterdam brought together different models of science. By integrating empirical data, visualization and modeling standards and tools, and different modes of interpretation and critical reflection, the workshop provided an international opportunity for the exchange and diffusion of this expert knowledge about the inner dynamics of scholarly activities in a variety of fields. The workshop helped to mobilize new possibilities to measure and visualize scholarly activities as point of departure for more advanced explanatory tools (quantitative as well as qualitative). Within the domain of possible explanations of the dynamics and mechanisms of knowledge production, emphasis was placed on exploring the potential of mathematical models and simulations. The workshop acted as a catalytic event and helped along a new mode of systematic study of “models of science” by bringing together a “critical mass” of experts from different fields. The workshop could build on a rich scholarly landscape in the Netherlands of studying science and scholarly activities. By bringing together experts on modeling, measuring, visualizing, and analyzing scholarly activities, new insights were won into basic mechanisms of scholarly activities; at the same time, the limits and possibilities of modeling for explanation and forecasting were explored. The colloquium functioned as a starting point for the further development of computational practices in science studies. The workshop was deliberately designed as platform for the launch of a novel interdisciplinary discourse on modeling science and contribute to research efforts at the boundaries between natural, computer and information sciences and social sciences and humanities.Spring 2011 is likely to see the publishing of the conference volume “Models of science dynamics” (Springer).
For more information: http://modelling-science.simshelf.virtualknowledgestudio.nl/
Institute for the Study of Science of the Russian Academy of Sciences holds international conference, 1-2 October 2009, Moscow
The Institute for the Study of Science of the Russian Academy of Sciences held an international conference “Governance of Science in the 21st Century: Mechanisms and Perspectives”. The conference was launched against the background of a number of analytical statements.While the key role of science and technology for economic growth and social welfare are acknowledged, knowledge production and its embeddings in innovation products and services do not automatically guarantee well-being and social harmony. Interrelations between science and society, the state and economy, high technology and business are non-linear and multiple-valued processes that exist in the complex interweaving of interests, purposes, and perspectives. Scientific and technological developments bring about new local and global threats as well as ethical challenges.It is the responsibility of the state to draw up a balanced policy under any given constraints, be they limited budgets, competition in national and global markets, high replacement rates of products and services etc. The state as public regulator needs to reduce, as far as possible, the negative implications of technological change, and ensure a balance of interests of the different actors (business circles, innovation agents, scientific community, consumers of science intensive products and services).Basic science, as principal supplier of new knowledge, plays a paramount role in maintaining growth across all developed economies. Strengthening basic science requires vision and a strong governance of knowledge potentials: this includes both the provision of research with physical and financial resources and the reproduction of research personnel ensuring that top skills remain available and able to generate new ideas and knowledge. Here, the systems of science and higher education intersect: the HE system is not only the original medium from which science historically sprung but also a long-term supplier of high-skilled and trained labour for science.The relations between basic and applied research as well as development are far from unambiguous. Often, advances in applied fields give an impetus to new trajectories in basic research. Yet, work on applied problems may require new basic results for their solution, which in turn stimulates demand for basic research. Lastly, also scientists engaged in applied research and development often author basic discoveries.There is no simple causality between innovation and basic knowledge either: innovations may be spawned at any stage of a given research process. The greater the innovation activity of an economy the higher is the demand for new knowledge and the greater the density of innovations distributed over the different research stages. At the same time the big S&T potential and developed science system not always have promoting effect on innovation activity. Close scrutiny of the science and innovation systems of advanced countries makes it clear that from an institutional point of view, these countries have built sophisticated systems of propagation and assimilation of scientific knowledge, which are not limited to technology transfer and intellectual property rights.In recent years, Russian science has faced major challenges; failing to respond to them could undermine its very foundations. Among the challenges are needs to attain:- substantial improvement in governance mechanisms, first of all in the government and HE sectors (reduction of bureaucratisation in decision-making; introduction of clear criteria for evaluating scientific excellence for both research organisations and individual researchers; separation of managerial and research functions; increased transparency in goal-oriented and competitive R&D funding, etc.); – positive turn in structural trends of R&D personnel (attraction of talented youth in S&T, decrease of medium age in R&D personnel, etc.); – “visibility” of Russian science internationally and its deliberate incorporation into world scientific exchange and cooperation. The objective of the conference was convened in order to provide in-depth discussions on different aspects of governance of science and the role of the state in modern scientific and technological developments, in particular:- to discuss and evaluate governance mechanisms of modern science, not only well-known and widely applied but also emerging ones; – to shed light on new functions and risks of the state as a major regulator that sets up “rules of the game” in S&T; – to mirror emerging trends in the interaction of science and society. Links1. Conference website2. Conference programme
ICSU Europe Group meeting, 29-30 September 2009, Montenegrin Academy of Sciences, Podgorica
Representatives of several ALLEA Member Academies among the more than 30 national ICSU Committees to discuss better European coordination at Montenegrin Academy of Sciences.
Representatives of more than 30 national ICSU Committees from Europe met at the Montenegrin Academy of Sciences, Podgorica, to discuss possible thematic choices that would allow European scientists to contribute meaningfully to the ICSU Strategy as recently debated at the ICSU General Assembly. The ALLEA Executive Director attended on behalf of ALLEA.
More information: http://www.canu.org.me/
ALLEA Steering Committee meeting, 28 September 2009, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Bratislava
The ALLEA Steering Committee, which functions as the ALLEA Board, met at the Slovak Academy of Sciences in Bratislava to prepare the process towards discussing the ALLEA Strategic Plan 2010-2015, notably during the ALLEA extraordinary strategy meeting scheduled for mid-November.Links1. Programme Steering Committee meeting2. Meeting documents on restricted working website (for Steering Committee members only).
ALLEA attends EU Foresight Conference ‘The World in 2025, 24 September 2009, Brussels
The reflections of a European Commission-appointed foresight expert group on “The World in 2025” point to a role for the Academies in rethinking the science systems in Europe.After a year of work, a foresight expert group established by the European Commission presented their report “The World in 2025” at this conference in Brussels. The expert group had the objective of building a shared vision of future challenges for Europe and of evaluating impacts of alternative policies. Group members included representatives from think tanks, universities, industry, the European Commission and governmental bodies. During five meetings in 2008/09, a qualitative and participatory method (‘foresight’) was adopted – with the help of European Commission’s JRC – and was combined with quantitative and operational methods (‘forecast’). The group produced two publications: one collecting the experts’ individual contributions and another one highlighting the conclusions (see: http://ec.europa.eu/research/social-sciences/pdf/the-world-in-2025-report_en.pdf).The group identified principal trends, tensions and transitions and highlighted scenarios that may help policy stakeholders make better-informed decisions: unsurprising foci of interest were competition for natural resources (food, energy, water and minerals), shifts in wealth, industrial production and populations to Asia, as well as global processes such as migration and urbanisation. A new ‘socio-ecological’ production and consumption model may arise from these demographic and resource challenges; typical examples focusing on energy issues (new technologies; changes in behaviour, possibly to be incentivised economically). Click here for the workshop documentation.
ALLEA Executive Director R. Klein had been invited to the meeting in view of possible alliances on foresight work with the Academies. A prediction of interest for the work of ALLEA was that the United States and Europe could lose their scientific and technological edge over Asia with India and that China alone expected to double their current share of world’s research and development to 20%. There was an emphasis for the need of public investment in laying the basis for a system that can innovate. Global access to knowledge, though, together with the development of joint global standards and the rapid worldwide diffusion of new technologies would have a great impact on Europe’s future welfare. The report also predicts that numerous scientific and technological advances would give rise to controversies in society: Participants were confident, however, that Europe, with its experience in debating and participatory governance, would be well equipped to manage such conflicts. The work of Academies on science and ethics (as part of their efforts on better integrating science and society) must be seen in this context. Such reflections point to a needs assessment for more wide-ranging and inclusive statements in the domain “policy for science”.
ALLEA President at ERCEA inaugural event “ERC The Future Starts Today”, 24 September 2009, Brussels
The ALLEA President took part in the event celebrating the establishment of the dedicated agency that will lend administrative support to the ERC awardees in the future. Prof. J. Engelbrecht had been member of the First ERC Identification Committee (2005-2008) under chair Lord Patten of Barnes, Chancellor of Oxford University, that had established the procedures for selecting the founding members of the ERC Scientific Council.ERC Committee, Final Report, 20 June 2005
The European Research Council (ERC) was launched in February 2007 in order to fund investigator-driven frontier research and is already playing a central role in the European Research Area. The implementation of the ERC activities had been assured by a directorate within the European Commission’s Directorate General for Research, with the aim of progressively transferring this role to a purpose-built Executive Agency. This agency has now been created and became autonomous on 15 July this year.
To mark that that transition, an inaugural event took place under the tile “ERC – The Future Starts Today” on 24 September 2009 at the Executive Agency’s new headquarters in Brussels , with the participation of personalities from politics and science, from the European and national level, as well as other key stakeholders.For more information: http://erc.europa.eu/index.cfm?fuseaction=page.display&topicID=487
Swedish EU Presidency Seminar on the Mid-Term Review of European Research Council´s Structures and Mechanisms Workshop, 15 September 2009, Brussel
ALLEA President Juri Engelbrecht, who had been member of the ERC identification Committee that had selected the founding members of the ERC Scientific Council, spoke at the EU Presidency Seminar on the Mid-Term Review of the European Research Council, emphasising the necessity for top-class basic (and blue-sky) research projects to be identified and supported at European level, both at early and advanced career stages.
ALLEA at inaugural conference of the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA), 16 September 2009, Lund
The ALLEA Executive Director attended one day of the OASPA launch conference in Lund, Sweden, to explore up-to-date funding models.The ALLEA Executive Director attended one day of the OASPA launch conference in Lund, Sweden, as part of the preparations of the ALLEA activity on scholarly publishing and Open Access. In particular he was interested in exploring new approaches to funding models.The conference provided some interesting insights into ways, science organisations are using the publishing opportunities offered by Open Access models to produce top class publications. Among the major obstacles to a wider success of OA publishing are readers’ and researchers’ habits as werll as funding issues. Also Academies as science publishers must bear these two issues in mind.
ALLEA President speaks at EU Presidency Seminar on Mid-Term Review of European Research Council, 15 September 2009, Brussels
J. Engelbrecht, member of the 1st ERC identification committee, highlighted at the EU Presidency seminar on the mid-term review of the ERC, mechanisms and traditions to identify excellence.An independent review panel, chaired by Professor Vaira Vike-Freiberga from Latvia, had submitted a report on the progress of building the ERC structures, to which the ERC Scientific Council had produced a short answer. A formal answer of the Commission was still pending. Please click here for the documentsThis seminar was organised by the Swedish Research Council VR and sought answers to some of the questions raised in the production of the reports. During the seminar, Prof V. Vike-Freiberga described briefly the report, while Jack Metthey (Director ad int of the new ERC Executive Agency) presented an overview on activities of the new Executive Agency. Among the issues highlighted during the discussion were the following: the regulatory and financial culture of the EU is not well adapted to support frontier research (the contract scheme is still used). The legal framework for the ERC should be reformed in such a way, that the ERC is no longer tailored to FP7 alone. A dissonant voice emerged from the national research councils (EuroHORCs) whose President D. Imboden (CH) pointed to the negative effects of competition between the ERC and national funding schemes. In his contribution, ALLEA President Prof. J. Engelbrecht emphasised the necessity for top-class basic and blue-sky research projects to be identified and supported at European level, both at early and advanced career stages. He agreed with the core message that the ERC had changed the mindset in Europe (excellence counting across border) and that young researchers supported by the ERC form a spearheading cohort of young researchers whose voice must be heard. In this context, he referred also to the ALLEA project “Towards a Young Academy”.Engelbrecht had been member of the First ERC Identification Committee (2005-2008) under chair Lord Patten of Barnes, Chancellor of Oxford University, that had established the procedures for selecting the founding members of the ERC Scientific Council. A summary of the meeting can be found here.
ALLEA stresses usefulness of research information systems at 7th EuroCRIS Annual Strategic Seminar, 14-15 September 2009, Brussels
ALLEA speakers at the 7th EuroCRIS Annual Strategic Seminar see the accurate recording of research and research-related information as part of the drive to strengthen research integrity.ALLEA supports EuroCRIS as one of the European alliances aiming at single-structure Research Information Systems that can serve scientific as well as management (incl.: evaluation) purposes and is one of their strategic partners in the promotion of modern research information systems. CRIS (Current Research Information Systems) aim to provide adequate information and datasets that underpins the research process, covering the complete workflow, from grant application up to and including peer-reviewed publications. EuroCRIS supports CERIF (Common European Research Information Format) as a standard. Currently the system still appears somewhat unwieldy, and concerns are that the workload for researchers, in terms of updating information, might be increased, and not decreased. The 7th EuroCRIS Annual Strategic Seminar under the title “Recording Research” aimed to analyse why to record, what should be recorded, how it should be recorded. In his talk on day 1, the ALLEA President reflected on the role of the researcher, for whom performing, recording and presenting research (Benjamin Franklin: to study, to finish, to publish) were intimately connected. Rendering accessible new knowledge placed the researcher in the context of science and society, where the “recording” is the basis for the development of new ideas, the basis for applications and for the transmission through education. As text mining and automatic processing develop, the principles of scientific integrity need to be addressed. Early on in their careers, aspiring researchers should learn to publish as early as possible in an open, honest, transparent and accurate manner. Academies keep an eye on conflicting logics, where often commercial considerations or patent applications require delays for publications (or block them altogether). Participants were reminded ALLEA’s experience and the responsibility of researchers along the lines of the research integrity; finally, the ideas of young researchers were presented.On day 2, the ALLEA Executive Director in the concluding remarks reflected on the usefulness of CRIS’ses as management and research support tool for research performing organisations, and on benefits for large-scale institutional evaluation exercises such as those conducted regularly ALLEA Member Academies. Please click here for the workshop report
Young scientists from ALLEA Member Academies to participate in the Summer Davos, 10-12 September 2009, Dalian (China)
The World Economic Forum in cooperation with the IAP has selected some 60 young scientists from around the world to participate in its annual meeting of the New Champions in China.At this year’s Annual Meeting of the New Champions 2009 (“Summer Davos” in China), over 60 young scientists from 35 countries, selected through a highly competitive process, participated in sessions and debates. The meeting, hosted in partnership with the government of the People’s Republic of China represented by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), focused on “Relaunching Growth” and welcomed more than 1,300 participants.The group of young science leaders from all over the world included researchers representing disciplines ranging from ecology to economics, from nanotechnology to nuclear physics. In the “Summer Davos” programme they took part particularly in sessions under the pillars “Driving Economic Growth through Science and Technology” and “Opportunities in a Green Economy”. Young Scientists joined the wider WEF’s community of entrepreneurs, investors and technologists in workshops aimed at developing educational systems that foster innovation and creating the necessary multi-stakeholder partnerships to promote excellence in scientific research.The IAP expected to offer five awards to support the most innovative and promising projects initiated between Young Scientists and the World Economic Forum’s business community during the “Summer Davos”. Please click here to download the programme.
ALLEA Standing Committee Science and Ethics meeting, 11 September 2009, Amsterdam (NL)
ALLEA Honorary President Pieter Drenth presented and discussed the emerging “Code of Conduct on Research Integrity” as part of the ALLEA preparations for the World Conference on Research integrity in Singapore 2010 during a meeting of two international working groups of the ESF Member Organisations Forum on Research Integrity.
Academies called upon to join foresight activities of research councils, 10-11 September 2009, Rueil-Malmaison
For a new foresight activity on “Responses to Environmental and Societal Challenges for our Unstable Earth (RESCUE)”, ESF suggested to mobilise support from the Academies.As European Science Foundation (ESF) and COST launch a new foresight activity entitled Forward Look “Responses to Environmental and Societal Challenges for our Unstable Earth” (RESCUE), it remains to be seen whether National Academies will join the exercise as requested by ESF during an earlier meeting. The RESCUE Scientific Steering Committee is co-chaired by Leen Hordjik (EC-JRC Institute for Environment and Sustainability) and Gísli Pálsson (Social and Environmental Anthropology, U. Iceland). RESCUE should help address new societal and scientific challenges related to global environmental change, notably its human dimensions, and help stimulate an integrated response from natural, social and human sciences. Through its analyses and recommendations, the Forward Look is expected to enable the scientific community, together with other actors and key stakeholders, to develop medium to long-term strategies for future research endeavours and applications that contribute to global sustainable governance. The launch conference with scientists and research managers is organized around a number of keynote lectures and parallel sessions linked to thematic Working Groups.The follow-up to the conference led to the decision to conduct a Delphi consultation in spring 2010 which is meant to build on the vision document Grand Challenges in Global Sustainability Research, currently being developed by the International Council for Science (ICSU). Four RESCUE Working Groups (WGs) were establish which are focusing on (1) how to improve the collaboration of human, social and natural sciences, as is crucially needed to organise, perform, evaluate and promote research in the RESCUE remit; (2) what is needed in terms of methodology and data from different disciplines, to be able to do interdisciplinary research in the RESCUE remit; (3) in what way should education and capacity building be changed in order to enable interdisciplinary research in the RESCUE remit, and (4) how should the interface between science and policy and the related communication channels be, so as to improve the quality and impact of research in the RESCUE remit. On 7-9 December 2010, a consensus conference will bring together the RESCUE community and key stakeholders. The final report and Science Policy Briefing should be published around March 2011.
ALLEA President stresses good partnerships between science organisations as basis for European research area, 4-5 September 2009, Wroclaw
ALLEA President J. Engelbrecht spoke at the conference on “Optimal Infrastructures for Scientific Research in Europe” on the benefits of good cooperation between organisations that bring together different stakeholders in the European research landscape.The International Conference on Science and Development devoted to Optimal Infrastructures for Stimulation of Scientific Research in Europe was organized by European Academy of Sciences, Art and Humanities (affiliated with the Division for Basic and Engineering Sciences of UNESCO), the Polish Academy of Sciences, the University of Wrocław and the Wrocław Research Center EIT+. The Wrocław Research Centre EIT+ is a company integrating the scientific-research potential of the Lower Silesian academic environment. Established in 2007, EIT+ is a unique undertaking in Poland, dedicated to fostering innovation based on the co-operation of academia, local government and innovative business. The company’s shareholders are the largest universities in Wroclaw as well as the authorities of the city of Wroclaw and the region of Lower Silesia. EIT+ is currently developing its new Pracze Campus – the most significant Polish R&D investment in recent years. A network of laboratories and offices, which are already under construction, will meet world class standards with regard to equipment, infrastructure management and R&D support services. The 18 talks focused on (i) European research – national vs pan-European approaches; (ii) Research infrastructures; (iii) European frontier research – the driver of European research; (iv) Academic players in European research; (v) Economy and scientific research. A common thread across many talks was the importance of regional policy in stimulating knowledge triangles. The presentation of the ALLEA President provoked a discussion on evaluation methodologies and indicators for excellence and innovativeness (see also: ALLEA Working Group Evaluating for Science)For more information about the conference, see: http://eitplus.pl/pl/programme/1879/For more information about EIT+, see: http://eitplus.pl/language/en/
ALLEA Presidency Re-elected
More than 50 ALLEA Member Academies have re-elected Jüri Engelbrecht as ALLEA President for a second term (2009-2012). This result was announced on Tuesday, 31 March 2009, during the ALLEA Steering Committee meeting in London by the representative of the Presidential Election Committee, Steering Committee member Marie-Therese Flanagan (Royal Irish Academy). Following the recommendations of the Member Academies, the Steering Committee proceeded to re-elect Nicholas Mann for a second term as Vice-President.
These elections fell in a year in which no General Assembly was held. This is why the electoral process had to be conducted by correspondence. It was overseen by the ALLEA Presidential Election Committee, composed of ALLEA Honorary President Pieter Drenth, KNAW, Steering Committee member Marie-Therese Flanagan, Royal Irish Academy, and Executive Director R. Klein. The process started in December 2008; Member Academies were invited to present nominations of new candidates. By the deadline of 31 January 2009 no nominations of opposing candidates had been received. Instead, many Member Academies expressed their appreciation for the work of the current Presidency and the wish to see it lead ALLEA in the transition phase towards a new Strategic Plan 2010-2015. In February 2009 ballot papers were sent out. By the end of March ballot papers were returned, all with votes in favour of the current President The re-elected Presidency will serve until 2012, half-way through the ALLEA Strategic Plan 2010-2015, when a new Presidency will need to be re-elected, as President and Vice-President can only be re-elected once. The next Presidency will be responsible for developing the next ALLEA Strategic Plan 2015-2020.
President and Vice-President said they felt strengthened in their resolve to continue working towards a robust Strategic Plan for ALLEA, thanks to the resounding endorsement and clear mandate received from Member Academies. They acknowledged the work of the Head Office and the increased importance of the Steering Committee as Executive Board for ALLEA in this process, with Board members acquiring portfolios of responsibility over certain areas of ALLEA activity.