European Commission
EUROPEAN RESEARCH ERA

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Comment on the conference-sessions conclusions!

November 11th, 2009

We feel that the European Research Area conference was a great success   and we hope you do too! More than 600 delegates participated thus contributing to ongoing and future developments of research policy in Europe. The conclusions of the different conference sessions are now online and we would like to invite you to continue the debates via the blog as well.   Therefore, do not hesitate to post your comment on any session conclusions!

Thank you for your contributions!

The Conference Organisation Team

Session 1.1 conclusions: Research careers – how to improve social security coverage and working conditions in a borderless research area?

November 5th, 2009

The session covered five interrelated topics concerning the research profession: 1) Information 2) social security coordination 3) Supplementary pension rights 4 Flexicurity and 5) Training and Skills. Below a summary of ideas, conclusions and recommendations.

1. Information

The issue and context

An impressive array of information systems has been build up in recent years to support the mobile worker in general (EURES) and the mobile researcher in particular (EURAXESS). 200 EURAXESS mobility centres provide a range of information services to mobile researchers.

Analysis of the challenges and European dimension

Despite the overwhelming offer of general information at European and national level, the individual mobile research …

Session 1.2 conclusions: What are the next steps in developing world-class research infrastructures in Europe?

November 5th, 2009

The issue and context
Pan-European RIs are dedicated to the support of research excellence via service in frontier research. Their European added value consists in attracting and supporting the best researchers and technicians in the world, selected by merit-based, peer review competition in all science fields, from Humanities to Physics. This international service, in turn, generates cutting-edge technology, education and management in unique and innovative ways, drives innovation and brings economic benefits in the hosting Regions and in Europe. RIs are, therefore, the backbone in the construction of the ERA, and their existence pre dates the European Union. Their first development …

Session 1.3 conclusions: How can funding conditions for European research be improved?

November 5th, 2009

The issue and the context:

External funding is an increasing source of financing research and has become a key component of the funding mix for research organisations.

Funding conditions have a major impact on the capability of research institutions to achieve their goals. Research institutions set up strategies and mechanisms to benefit from competitive funding, to comply with the requirements of external funders, to pro-actively diversify their sources of funding. Across Europe, external competitive funding is currently provided by different types of funders, each of them with their respective strategies and expectations towards research institutions. To support their research portfolios, research institutions …

Session 1.4 conclusions: What can be done to improve international knowledge transfer?

November 5th, 2009

The issue and context:

EU public research institutions are increasingly engaging in cooperation activities with non-European partners, which are not only important from an economic perspective but which can also, through the establishment of longer-term relationships, bring new ideas and improve the quality of European public research.

The Commission Recommendation on the management of intellectual property in knowledge transfer activities and Code of Practice for universities and other public research organisations (COM(2008)1329) was prepared in order to provide guidance for Member States and for research organisations to improve knowledge transfer practices in Europe and encourage a more consistent approach. Until its adoption, …

Session 1.5 conclusions: Open access and preservation – How can knowledge sharing be improved in ERA?

November 5th, 2009

Session 1.6 conclusions: Towards joint programming in research – for whose benefit?

November 5th, 2009

1. The issue and context:

This summer the Lund Declaration furthered a debate launched by the 2008 Ljubljana Process stating that “European research must focus on the Grand Challenges of our time, moving beyond current rigid thematic approaches. This calls for a new deal among European institutions and Member States, in which European and national instruments are well aligned and cooperation builds on transparency and trust. [ … ] It will require Member States to develop more pro-active strategies on research priorities at regional, national and Community level.”

This comes in perfect resonance with conclusions of the 2008 Spring European Council, in …

Session 1.7 conclusions: How can the European partnership for international science and technology be driven forward?

November 5th, 2009

The issue and context:
The world is facing global societal challenges such as coping with climate change, ensuring energy security and safeguarding the environment, which require answers from science and technology. The complexity of these challenges requires the involvement of the best expertise from various disciplines from all over the world.
In its Communication on a Strategic Framework for International S&T Cooperation of September 2008 (COM(2008)588) the Commission pointed out that in view of increased globalisation, economic interdependence and common challenges international cooperation becomes ever more important to improve Europe’s position as an attractive place to perform S&T.
Increased international cooperation by research …

Session 1.8 conclusions: Which indicators to measure progress?

November 5th, 2009

The issue and context:
This parallel session addressed the question on the development of an evidence-based monitoring system on progress towards the ERA and a knowledge-based economy. This work forms part of the overall governance system of the Ljubljana process and contributes to the post 2010 EU strategy for Growth and Jobs.

The discussions were based on a report elaborated and presented by the expert group “ERA indicators and ERA monitoring”. The debate was further enriched through presentations by the discussants of the group and by the Chair of the session.

Discussion:

The expert group report is considered as a good basis for work …

Plenary session 2 conclusions: Research and Innovation in times of crisis

November 5th, 2009

The issue and context:

The ongoing financial crisis has had and will have considerable repercussions for European industry. Evidence indicates that investment in research and innovation by the private sector is seriously affected.

Six panellists from industry will participate in this plenary session discussion which will be led by Javier Vallés, the Spanish Lisbon Coordinator and Head of the Economic Bureau of the Spanish Prime Minister. The panellists will present the ways in which the crisis influences the level and orientation of their companies’ R&D activities and potential policy responses, with reference to the following questions:
- How have companies’ R&D and innovation …

Session 2.1 conclusions: Which priorities for national policies post 2010?

November 5th, 2009

Context of change and opportunity:

• We are in a time of change: economic downturn, emergence of new global competitors and facing a number of global challenges
• We are in a completely new situation – the Lisbon Treaty is opening up opportunities for ERA:
o to design new framework for implementation,
o new partnership between the Commission and Member States, e.g. a new comprehensive strategy on patents
o Political ownership by national parliaments is important
o Opening ERA to the world
• Need for more optimism – Europe needs to emulate the optimistic spirit of US and acknowledge its own achievements e.g success of FP

Discussion:

• 3% …

Session 2.2 conclusions: Which priorities for Community research policies post 2010?

November 5th, 2009

Introduction

The main speaker in this session presented some of the recommendations currently being discussed and finalised by the Expert Group on The Role of Community Research Policy in the Knowledge-based Economy, due to present its report at the end of October 2009. In turn, the four discussants offered some of their own priorities for future Community research policies, with the audience at the event invited to do likewise. The policy suggestions presented below thus reflect not only the recommendations likely to be made by the Expert Group, but also those suggested during the session and in discussions with participants …

Session 2.3 conclusions: Which future for S&T specialisation?

November 5th, 2009

The issue and context:

In order to have an appreciable impact, R&D efforts must reach some ‘critical mass ‘ threshold. For many disciplines, technologies or other ‘thematic areas’, however conceived, this threshold can be quite low, and in that sense it is quite easy to reach. There are instances, however, where individual regions or countries are unable to reach critical mass in a specific area (e.g. nanotech, biotech) without sacrificing others (often potentially promising areas), or even instances where they can never hope to reach critical mass on their own (e.g. fusion research).

One issue is the spreading of resources. It is …

Session 2.4 conclusions: Which forward looking activities can support the future development of ERA?

November 5th, 2009

• Forward looking activities should underpin EU and national policies.

• Research and innovation policy making, ERA strategy, Joint Programming, etc. need forward looking activities to ensure that priority setting is well taking into account long term trends of society and its main global drivers such as interdependencies between economic development, scarcity of natural resources, climate change and the intensification of communication.

• Forward looking activities do not start from scratch: concepts, methods and tools exist and have been subject to several applications in the past by the Commission (cf. Barcelona objectives, FP7 Impact Assessment, energy and climate change policies). Forward looking …