seili pic 1 600px
 
Baltic Science Network had the pleasure of being hosted by the University of Turku and Åbo Akademi University in order to discuss the upcoming session during the 8th Annual Forum of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region and prepare for successful Baltic Science Network´s implementation during the second half of the project.
 
On 26 April 2017, Baltic Science Network (BSN) met at the premises of the Archipelago Research Institute of the University of Turku on Seili (Själö – in Swedish) island. The meeting served to discuss the preparatory work ahead of drafting the national action plans. The project has concluded its first phase which entailed identifying the existing challenges for researcher mobility and widened cooperation. Now BSN has entered the second phase of preparing suggestion for joint actions. The third phase will be marked by integration of these suggestions in the national action plans.
 
Moreover, apart from the core project´s work a number of additional initiatives related to research advancement were mentioned in order to enhance the overall awareness of the BSN members regarding the BSR- and European-level topicalities. For example, BSN Work Package 4 Leader Mari Leino from the University of Turku presented information regarding the ongoing public consultation on the Mid-Term Evaluation of the Erasmus+ Programme.

Seili Island Excurision
excursion around the Seili island
 
Along with a number of other events related to further promotion of BSN, project partners discussed in more detail the upcoming BSN session Creating the future of the Baltic Sea Region: Better competitiveness through joint research cooperation? during the 8th Annual Forum of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR) which will be taking place on 13 June 2017 at 17:00 – 18:30 in Berlin. BSN will have the pleasure to host a distinguished set of panellists encompassing not only leading national policy makers but also heads of Europe´s renowned analytical research facilities, such as the European X-ray Free Electron Laser (European XFEL).
 
The consultations were concluded by reflecting on drafting a joint BSN-position on the next EU-Framework Programme on Innovation and Research (FP 9). The initial thinking behind this suggestion is to present a pioneering macro-regional position which would define the Baltic Sea Region-wide interests specifically related to researcher mobility in the context of the upcoming Framework Programme 9. It would serve as an example how macro-regional governance is being further integrated in a Europe-wide domain specific policy shaping process.
 
seili pic 3 600px
work package consultations
 
On 27 April 2017, BSN started the day by getting acquainted with the work and focus areas of Åbo Akademi University. BSN was welcomed by Niklas Sandler, Vice-rector for Research Affairs of the University.
 
The second day of the BSN meeting was dedicated to discuss in greater detail the existing transnational initiatives led by the CBSS Secretariat. Kari Hyppönen, President of the Baltic Sea Region University Network, presented a historical overview of the EuroFaculty. He elaborated a perspective on further advancement options to ensure that EuroFaculty offers a unique niche set of activities complementing the existing activities organised with an aim to support research cooperation in the Baltic Sea Region (BSR).
 
Zane Šime, Communication and Research Coordinator at the CBSS Secretariat, described the main concept of the CBSS Summer University, its adherence to the CBSS long-term priority Regional Identity and gave an overview of the CBSS Summer Universities which have taken place over 2014, 2015 and 2016.
 
The concluding part of the meeting was devoted to a discussion on how to further promote awareness of the BSN future policy impact among parliamentarians of the BSR. Anders Bergström, Coordinator of the EUSBSR Policy Area Education, Research and Employability, informed about his planned consultations with parliamentarians to further advance the understanding of legislative branch regarding the BSN work. The importance to advance dialogue with parliamentarians specialising in science and research matters was stressed, since advocates of the BSR-wide cooperation have already paved the necessary way for more detailed elaboration of research cooperation initiatives.