Ms Carola Veit during her opening remarks
 
 
 

On 3 – 5 September 2017, Hamburg hosted the 26th Baltic Sea Parliamentary Conference (BSPC), which paid specific attention to more nuanced discussions on science cooperation under the title “Innovative Science”. Baltic Science Network (BSN) was one of the central discussion topics of the notable gathering of Baltic Sea Region´s (BSR) parliamentarians.

In her opening remarks, Ms Carola Veit elaborated on the choice of science being one of the discussion topics with a focus on the complexity of interaction between science community and politicians. Her remarks provided a valuable insight in the role evidence-based research should play in making the ever-increasing complexity of scientific findings and science developments more understandable to society. It serves also as an inspiring guidance to BSN in its on-going interaction with wider audiences.

Mr Olaf Scholz, First Mayor of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, outlined BSN as an example mirroring the importance Hamburg attaches to its engagement in the BSR cooperation.

Ambassador Maira Mora, Director General of the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) Secretariat, during the session dedicated to science and research reflected on the Baltic Science Network as an example of practical steps taken towards the implementation of decade-long CBSS discussions. Likewise, she invited the parliamentarians to support BSN implementation through enhanced expert discussions, which would engage both BSN members and parliamentarians responsible for science and research matters. Such national consultations would be of a great value in light of the upcoming BSN national action plans.

The role of BSN as one of the key initiatives for BSR-wide coordinated advancement of research excellence and scientific competitiveness was also featured in other remarks presented by such speakers as Ambassador Hans Olsson, current CBSS Swedish Presidency Chairman of the Committee of Senior Officials, and Jānis Vucāns, Vice President and Chair of the Latvian delegation to the Baltic Assembly.

Last but not least, the Resolution of 26th BSPC captures the essence of the conference´s discussions by noting BSN as a valuable macro-regional platform for targeted support to research cooperation. Further encouragement to the science and research cooperation aimed at ensuring global competitiveness was also expressed through an agreement that successful advancement of this domain on a macro-regional scale will demand increased investments. The 26th BSPC serves as the next major occasion of BSN endorsement by the parliamentarians (representing BSR countries) after the 22nd Baltic Council.

For a quick overview of the BSPC proceedings, please take a look at the BSPC in a Nutshell.

For more information on the CBSS engagement in the 26th BSPC, please proceed to the press release here.

 

Tadas Juknevičius
Photo credit: MOSTA, Valdemaras Novoslavskis

Work Package 6 “Capacity Building & Learning Experiences” of Baltic Science Network (BSN) underwent thorough preparations during the first half of the project which have resulted in the Working Paper “Overview of the Best Practices of Researchers´ Mobility Programmes” prepared by Lithuania´s Research and Higher Education Monitoring and Analysis Centre (MOSTA). Readers well acquainted with the discussions which took place during the first CBSS conference Baltic Sea Science Day and BSN Vilnius workshop last winter will find this overview insightful, since it entails an enlarged landscape of research mobility schemes. European schemes such as Erasmus, Erasmus+ and Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions should be mentioned as illustrative examples.

As the survey results show, nationally administrated mobility programmes are also highly valued by the researcher community as enablers of closer cooperation in research across the Baltic Sea Region. Thus, they could also provide new solutions to boost researchers’ mobility within the macro-region.

“Overview of the Best Practices of Researchers´ Mobility Programmes” paves the way for further discussions on various factors determining the choice of researchers across the Baltic Sea Region to opt for nationally managed or EU provided mobility schemes. Last but not least, the latest Network´s Working Paper will serve as an insightful reading ahead of the BSN Tallinn seminar which will be taking place on 16 November 2017.
 
 

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Baltic Science Network was presented to the attendants of the international conference “Modelling and Forecasting the National Economy” which took place on 29 – 31 May 2017 in Sopot, Poland.

The conference was dedicated to present the latest research results and quantitative methods applied in forecast studies by the Polish researchers of economics, and discuss them with colleagues from other European countries. Likewise, the event served to provide training to the young academics interested in pursuing their specialisation in such areas as capital market, monetary market, public utilities and demographic changes to name a few.

Introduction of the conference attendants to Baltic Science Network helped to build wider awareness among domain specific researcher community about the Network as a renowned macro-regional initiative, as well as present its goals and planned results.

Announcement of the conference is available in Polish on the website of the University of Gdańsk here.

Download the pdf Press Release (839 KB) .

 

DAAD Annual Report 2017 dedicated to the academic mobility and cooperation in the Baltic Sea Area recognises the importance of the Baltic Science Network.

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On 12 July 2017, the Annual Report 2017 of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) was presented by Prof. Dr. Johanna Wanka, the Federal Minister of Education and Research, together with Prof. Dr. Monika Jungbauer-Gans, Scientific Director of the German Centre of Higher Education Research and Science Studies (DZHW), and Prof. Dr. Joybrato Mukherjee, Vice President of DAAD.

In the context of the overall Baltic Sea Region mobility landscape, Dr. Dorothea Rüland, Secretary General of the DAAD and Prof. Dr. Monika Jungbauer-Gans, Scientific Director of DZHW, noted Baltic Science Network as a valuable forum for advancing Baltic Sea Region-wide researcher mobility in the framework of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region.

The reflections captured by the report testify once more to the topicality and important role Baltic Science Network plays in drafting new solutions to the lasting challenges faced by the Baltic Sea Region in the domain of science and research cooperation: “From joint transnational courses of study to political platforms, there are a wide range of cooperative structures in the Baltic Sea area that offer significant potential for the development of academic cooperation. This potential of existing institutionalised networks has however not yet been fully utilised, as the differing tendencies in the development of academic cooperation between the various states of the Baltic Sea region show.” (p. 133)

The findings of DAAD Annual Report 2017 will serve as a valuable point of reference for the Baltic Science Network´s on-going work in developing a macro-regional approach for enhanced researcher mobility going beyond the traditional notions of so called “win-lose” approach depicted in the debate revolving around “brain gain & brain drain” notions. Baltic Science Network is proud of crafting a new chapter in this discussion, leading the way towards transnational strategy based on  a mutually beneficial brain circulation approach as an alternative win-win strategy with supporting national extensions for the vision´s practical implementation, namely, the upcoming BSN national actions plans.

 Download the pdf Press Release (717 KB) .

 

June 2017 turns out to be a dynamic and busy month for Baltic Science Network. Last week´s discussions in Berlin during the 8th Annual Forum of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region were followed by the introduction to the Network during the Policy Area Education Stakeholder Seminar in Stockholm.

 BSN showcased to the Policy Area Education audiences

On 20 June 2017, the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions hosted the Policy Area Education stakeholder seminar in Stockholm. The event was aimed at showcasing flagships of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR). Baltic Science Network (BSN) was presented by Leif Eriksson, Swedish Research Council.
 
Leif Eriksson introduced the attendants of the seminar to the main goals of the Network as well highlighted the website as a source of information about the progress. As an example he highlighted the most recent BSN publication “Challenges and barriers to research cooperation in the Baltic Sea Region”. In order to provide a brief glimpse in the findings captured by the report, he indicated one of the identified challenges of existing structures and programmes, such as NordForsk and BONUS, covering only parts of the Baltic Sea Region (BSR) or selected research topics. The solution to this challenge would be to expand the existing structures to facilitate researcher mobility on a broader BSR geographical scale and support more research areas. BSN sees the potential of paving the way for further cooperation measures which would complement the existing BONUS and NordForsk efforts.
 
The seminar also served to acknowledge the value of the first CBSS Baltic Sea Science Day as a crucial forum for enabling broader reflections on how does science and research cooperation in the BSR add up to the overall efforts in advancing the prosperity and sustainability of the macro-region. Anders Bergström, Policy Area Education Coordinator, also informed the seminar attendants regarding the upcoming second CBSS Baltic Sea Science Day to be celebrated in January 2018 in Turku.
 
 
 
 steering committee berlin june 2017 600px
 
Baltic Science Network Steering Committee meeting took place back-to-back with the 8th Annual Forum of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region in Berlin. The meeting was devoted to furthering the on-going discussion on jointly chosen areas for research excellence and BSN position advocacy in relation to the upcoming Framework Programme 9. The exchange of ideas was enriched by an insight in the latest Baltic Science Network´s commissioned study on Baltic Sea Region areas of academic excellence.
 
The Baltic Science Network (BSN) session “Creating the future of the Baltic Sea Region: Better competitiveness through joint research cooperation?” of the 8th Annual Forum of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR) paved way for continued discussion on which domains of research excellence would best serve the macro-regional goal of jointly advancing effective responses to the societal challenges. The Steering Committee meeting took place at the Representation of the City of Hamburg in Berlin. The BSN Project Director Klaus von Lepel was pleased to inform the BSN Steering Committee that BSN´s first wave of enlargement seems to be not the last one, since there are other Baltic Sea Region stakeholders interested in engaging in the Network.
 
The reflection process on the key areas for facilitated researcher cooperation was supported by Prof. Dr. Kazimierz Musial, representing the Scientific Foundation Norden Centrum. He provided first insights in the on-going research dedicated to the research excellence across Baltic Sea Region (BSR). The initial findings indicate that there is a strong support to life sciences, marine sciences and research on climate change, as well as a good academic track record in terms of outstanding academic publications. Moreover, since several of the Network members have an enduring experience in European fund management and strong engagement in the Cohesion Policy advancement, then the smart specialisation has played a prominent role in shaping the research, science and higher education landscape in terms of niche areas prioritised so far.
 
The sustainability of BSN as a transnational platform for research mobility facilitation was debated in the light of the on-going work towards finalising the BSN Statutes. Due to this notable aspect of BSN, the Network members were especially pleased to greet the Ministry of Education and Research of Norway among the Steering Group members.
 
Likewise, another prominent item on the agenda was the discussion of BSN joint position on the Framework Programme 9. Such an initiative is considered to further advance BSN aspirations to ensure sustainable support to its agreed focus areas for enhanced BSR-wide researcher mobility.
 
The meeting was concluded with a brief outline of the upcoming second CBSS Baltic Sea Science Day to be celebrated on 24 – 26 January 2018 in Turku. BSN members as key stakeholders of the CBSS Science, Research and Innovation Agenda were invited to mark this event in their calendar as well as share their thoughts on the most relevant topics for discussions.
 
Photos of the Baltic Science Network Steering Committee meeting are accessible on the CBSS album here.