From transnational BSN workshop in Copenhagen, 18 January 2017

From transnational BSN workshop in Copenhagen, 18 January 2017

What are the challenges, barriers, and possible solutions to improving research cooperation in the Baltic Sea Region? This question has been the topic of discussion at a series of national workshops and surveys in Germany, Latvia, Poland, Lithuania, Sweden, Estonia, Finland, and Denmark during the winter of 2016, conducted as part of the “Baltic Science Network” – a new flagship project of the EU Strategy for the BSR launched last year with financial support from Interreg - BSR.
 
Based on output from national workshops and surveys, stakeholders singled out the most relevant challenges and talked more about possible solutions for each key challenge at a transnational workshop in January 2017 in Copenhagen. The results have now been summarized in a working paper.
 
All in all, the workshops brought together stakeholders from universities, research institutions, operators of research infrastructures, funding agencies, BSR experts and policy makers to try and answer this simple yet complex question.
 
Many interesting points of view were exchanged, rebutted and elaborated – and the overall conclusions are perhaps not very surprising: Research cooperation across borders is a healthy and natural part of scientists’ pursuit of excellent research results. The Baltic Sea Region is relatively successful in terms of an increasing number of EU financed research projects involving partners from several countries in the region. Also, impact studies suggest good results of this cooperation. But there is room for improvement – both to support excellent scientific results and to enhance macro regional competitiveness and cohesion. Stakeholders have pointed to a number of relevant challenges to ensure such improvement, e.g. high levels of administrative burdens and lack of strategic coordination.
 
A more general, cross-cutting conclusion is that these challenges are not only relevant in a macro regional context but in a broader EU context as well. And indeed, one of the purposes of the Baltic Science Network is to help support the implementation of the European Research Area via good ideas generated in the context of the Baltic Sea Region.
 
The purpose of the working paper is not to present an aligned policy proposal for enhancing research cooperation in the region. Rather, the purpose is to provide an inspirational map, based on input from stakeholders, for further exploration, subsequent activities and future policy recommendations for discussion among the members of the Baltic Science Network.