BSN Welfare State Expert Group meeting in Tallinn

Baltic Science Network expert group dedicated to the welfare state met for the first time right after the 9TH Annual Forum of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region held in Tallinn. National and transnational welfare state research agendas offer plenty of opportunities to advance multilateral research cooperation for the overall prosperity of the Baltic Sea Region.

On 6 June 2018, Baltic Science Network expert group dedicated to the welfare state met in Tallinn right after the 9th Annual Forum of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR). This was the first occasion when the vibrant work, which thus far organised in a virtually distributed network, was complemented with a meeting in person. Experts from across the Baltic Sea Region shared a wealth of insights from various collaborative initiatives, which have contributed to a better understanding of the welfare state evolution and factors influencing the current set-up of the social systems across the Baltic Sea Region and Europe.

Insights from such initiatives and occasions as the CBSS High-Level Meeting of the Representatives of the Labour Ministries, Welfare State Futures: Our Children´s Europe (WelfSOC), Network for European Social Policy Analysis (ESPAnet Baltics) were some of the sources of insight presented during the meeting for further work towards finalising a Working Paper of the expert group, which will be submitted for further consideration among the Baltic Science Network members next Fall.

The Tallinn conclusions and agreed work schedule paved a promising way forward for the second gathering of the group scheduled on 29 August 2018 in Riga.




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Baltic Science Network is an integral part of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region. The 9th Annual Forum of the Strategy testified that the macroregional potential in the Baltic Sea Region cannot be fully realised without strong research foundations.  

On 5 June 2018, Baltic Science Network was presented to the attendants of the 9th Annual Forum of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR) during the Policy Area Education, Research and Employability session at the Networking Village. Macroregional stakeholders were introduced to the two upcoming events – conference in Brussels organised together with Baltic TRAM in November 2018, as well as the upcoming Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) High-Level Meeting in February 2019, to which Baltic Science Network Final Conference will be an integral part. The CBSS High-Level Meeting will be a follow-up event, which will offer an opportunity for reviewing implementation of the guidance provided after the 1st CBSS Science Ministerial enshrined in the CBSS Polish Chair´s Conclusions “Baltic Science: Renewing the Commitment to Science / Research Joint Actions in the Baltic Sea Region”.


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Baltic Science Network embeddedness in the EUSBSR and enduring interest in maintaining the outreach to other flagships and their components testifies that the future macroregional potential of the Baltic Sea Region depends also on the legacy built in the higher education, research and science domains through joint multilateral efforts.

The on-going work of Baltic Science Network expert groups will facilitate a more thorough look at photon & neutron science, life sciences and welfare state research topicalities. Groups are examining what transnational cooperation topics would serve the most pending needs for a more thorough research expertise in the Baltic Sea Region.


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Baltic Science Network sparked a lively discussion during the Fehmarnbelt Days 2016 held in Hamburg. On the basis of this promising note, Fehmarnbelt Days 2018 organised in Malmӧ allowed to inform stakeholders of ESS & MAX IV: Cross Border Science and Society about the latest developments of Baltic Science Network.

On 29 May 2018, Klaus von Lepel, Project Director, engaged in the panel dedicated to the regional development during the session “Developing Common Life and Materials Science Region in the Fehmarnbelt Geography”. Hamburg´s Baltic Sea Region Strategy for Science and Research served as an initial point of reference for further elaboration on the transnational outreach and rationale behind the establishment of Baltic Science Network. The proactive character of Baltic Science Network is characterised by its published Policy Paper on the Framework Programme 9, as well as engagement in the European science diplomacy discussions.

Panellists shared an overall appreciation of talent attraction and retention, since such notable research facilities as MAX IV and European Spallation Source will require considerable pool of skilful users to unleash their full potential and ensure all benefits that a wider society could receive from the offered research intense solutions. In addition, multi-level governance comes to the fore, once closer cross-border and multilateral cooperation is considered.

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May has been a promising month filled with content rich stakeholder consultations. June looks even more impressive with the awaited welfare state researchers´ debates, scheduled back-to-back with the 9th EUSBSR Forum, as well as BSRUN Annual Forum 2018 and second meeting of photon & neutron science expert group. Fehmarnbelt Days 2018 served as a much appreciated bridging element of this dynamic agenda.



BSN at the Spring Forum for International Affairs, Finland
The rationales of researcher mobility in neighbouring areas were discussed in a session “From Brain Drain to Brain Circulation”. Interreg Baltic Sea Region Programme funded project Baltic Science Network has surveyed the challenges and obstacles in researcher mobility in the Baltic Sea Region, and identified three alternative aims for researcher mobility.
The session was chaired by Riitta Mustonen. Tadas Juknevičius presented 10 major challenges, which hamper a more active mobility of researchers in the Baltic Sea Region. Readers interested in familiarising with the identified 10 issues are invited to read the Baltic Science Network Working Paper “Challenges to Researchers´ Mobility in the Baltic Sea Region. Among the speakers of the session was Susanna Sepponen. She discussed alternative options on how to tackle these challenges. Readers interested in familiarising with these options are encouraged to familiarise with the Baltic Science Network Working Paper “Researcher Mobility Tools in the Baltic Sea Region. Johanna Hakala engaged in the discussion with a comment from the financer’s point of view.
Brain drain as a topic provoked a broader debate. Some of the perspectives expressed during the session are worth highlighting to a wider audience of the Baltic Science Network. Bearing in mind the global context of people resettling from their countries of origin to other states of residence, is it even realistic to prevent brain drain? Brain drain can be a signal of the need for improvements in the home country. Tadas Juknevičius gave a good example from Lithuania, where research facilities and research conditions have been improved in order to counter brain drain.
Another perspective that emerged during the vibrant interaction among session´s attendants was that the world is nowadays global and everyone are connected. Thus, does the mere physical migration of people should viewed as a brain drain?
Good ways to improve brain circulation might be joint programmes among a grouping of countries. Top-down and bottom-up approaches could be combined in new tailored ways. The basis for the mobility should remain the aim of supporting high-quality research, where a top-down approach in the implementation of such multilateral incentives can help increasing a wider awareness about certain regions. A good example is the initiative of the Academy of Finland to raise awareness about the opportunities that China can offer. Similar approach could be adopted in the Baltic Sea Region.
The Spring Forum for International Affairs is a yearly event, which gathers the specialists working with internationalisation and mobility from Finnish higher education institutions. This year the event was organised on 17-18 May 2018 in Jyväskylä.
You can read more about Baltic Science Network and download the studies made by the project here.



Tyler Lastovich Unsplash

Photo by Tyler Lastovich on Unsplash

Following the Baltic Science Network project partner meeting, a dynamic phase of expert consultations has commenced starting with a meeting of experts of photon & neutron science.

On 10 – 11 April 2018, Baltic Science Network (BSN) met in Sopot and Gdańsk to discuss in greater detail the forthcoming work of three expert groups. Consequently, the first meeting of selected experts was organised with a focus on the photon & neutron science and its specific support requirements in the Baltic Sea Region context.

On 19 April 2018, DESY hosted the meeting of experts based across the macroregion. Among the presented good practices and potential sources of inspiration for the forthcoming Baltic Science Network transnational strategy on photon & neutron science was LEAPS (League of European Accelerator-based Photon Sources) presented by Christoph Quitmann, Director of MAX IV Laboratory. Christoph Quitmann was also among the speakers during the Baltic Science Network seminar “New Tools for Spreading Excellence and Widening Participation in Research and Innovation Programmes” organised at the end of last year at the helm of the Estonian EU Presidency.

Another existing initiative brought to the expert group´s attention was Röntgen-Ångström-Cluster (RÅC), presented by Ulf Karlsson, Head of the Swedish Delegation and Coordinator as well as Research Leader at Material Physics, Microelectronics and Applied Physics, School of Information and Technology at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology. Mikhail Rychev presented Ioffe Röntgen Institute (IRI), a German-Russian strategic cooperation platform designed to foster the bilateral cooperation between Germany and Russia in large-scale research infrastructures. Whereas, Baltic TRAM, the other CBSS & BSPC endorsed project, was explained by Prof. Dr. Martin Müller, Director of German Engineering Materials Science (GEMS) Centre.

The overall discussions were concluded by recognising the current funding gap faced at the mediation phase of research-business collaborative cases. A need to ensure open access laboratories and open innovation testbeds was among the suggestions for further consideration once compiling suggestion for future macroregional collaboration.

On 29 June 2018, the expert group will convene for the second time in Kraków, Poland, at the Institute of Nuclear Physics of the Polish Academy of Science and include a study visit to the SOLARIS synchrotron.

Partner Meeting in Sopot/Gdansk April 2018

Baltic Science Network looks forward to the promising start of the domain specific consultations structured in the form of three expert groups announced at the end of last year. The Gdańsk gathering facilitated the finalisation of the Baltic Science Network position on the future widening measures of the European Research Area.

On 10 – 11 April 2018, Baltic Science Network (BSN) met in Sopot and Gdańsk, hosted by the University of Gdańsk. The Network was welcomed by prof. dr hab. Mirosław Szreder – Dean of the Faculty of Management, one of the most active advocates of BSN, and prof. dr hab. Krzysztof Bielawski, Vice-Rector for Development and Cooperation with Business and Industry.

The BSN partner meeting was largely dedicated to discussing the BSN expert groups dedicated to photon & neutron science, life sciences and welfare state.

Likewise, extensive consultations were dedicated to the on-going efforts of BSN to define its position vis-à-vis the future widening measures which will be adopted with the financial support of the Framework Programme 9. The earlier discussions dedicated to the future Framework Programme proved the overall collaborative spirit and commitment to pursue joint efforts. Moreover, BSN is benefiting from a considerable support and continuous extended visibility of its work ensured by such collaboration partners as Lithuanian RDI Liaison Office in Brussels (LINO).

BSN had the pleasure to familiarise not only with the ongoing multilateral cooperation of the University of Gdańsk, but also to explore the central university campus.

BSN looks forward to extending its collaborative ties with its sister project Baltic TRAM (Transnational Research Access in the Macroregion), also endorsed by the Council of the Baltic Sea States and Baltic Sea Parliamentary Conference. This initiative is based on the forthcoming collaboration in hosting a joint conference in Brussels in the Fall 2018. BSN stakeholders interested in attending the event are invited to regularly look at the BSN calendar section for updates on the upcoming event.

BSN partner meeting Sopot/Gdansk, april 2018

Last but not least, this meeting was no exception in terms of discussing the potential ways forward in ensuring the sustainability of the Network as a valuable consultative forum and facilitator for future collaborative actions.

BSN partner and steering committee meeting Sopot/Gdansk 2018


Photos of the BSN meeting are available on the CBSS Flickr account here.