BSN press release no. 56 image1.

 

Students from Russia, who have already benefited from opportunities to study abroad or are considering applying for research mobility, were introduced to the Baltic Science Network – a notable initiative implemented in the Baltic Sea Region in order facilitate further collaborative ties in higher education, science and research across the macro-region.

Baltic Science Network is a prominent collaborative initiative dwelling into the intricacies of research cooperation and science excellence in the Baltic Science Region. Therefore, it comes as a no surprise that the annual statement of Ambassador Maira Mora, Director General of the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) Secretariat “Science in the Baltic Sea Region as a Public Good” issued on the occasion of the World Science Day for Peace and Development 2018 is touching upon the latest developments of Baltic Science Network.

This message was also paving the way for a discussion on the CBSS Science, Research and Innovation Agenda at the CBSS Secretariat. On 12 November 2018, right after the world-wide celebrations of the World Science Day for Peace and Development 2018 a group of students from St. Petersburg was introduced to the latest developments of Baltic Science Network and the CBSS Baltic Sea Science Day 2019.

BSN press releasse no. 56, image 2.

To place this collaborative project in a broader perspective, meaning, beyond the confines of the CBSS overseen cooperation presented by Daria Akhutina, Senior Advisor at the CBSS Secretariat, Anders Bergström, Coordinator of the Policy Area Education, Research and Employability (PA Education) of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR), as well as Leader of the EUSBSR Horizontal Action Capacity, offered an introduction to the macro-regional governance and PA Education flagships. Camilla Wristel and Amanda Nilsson Bognár, representatives of the Swedish Institute, gave an overview of the cooperation programmes open for Russian institutions and other eligible entities.

 

 BSN Consultations in Denmark and Germany

In October, Baltic Science Network held additional consultations with research institutions in order to finalise the details of the action plans.

On 2 – 4 October 2018, Baltic Science Network (BSN) members visited Denmark (Copenhagen and Taastrup) and Germany. The aim of the visit was to gather input for development of intersectoral cooperation and intersectoral mobility, but also on potential ways for future cooperation in the field of large-scale infrastructures. Due to life sciences being one of the three thematic areas chosen by the BSN for developing joint transnational strategies for scientific excellence and a prioritised field in Estonia, the visit largely focused on good practice examples in this science domain, as well as opportunities for future collaboration.

Most of the participants were from the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research. However, the Estonian BSN project partner stresses the importance of cooperating with other partners in the field of research, development and innovation (RDI). Thus, the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research invited also participants from the Estonian Research Council, Estonian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications and Government Office, altogether 10 participants, to join the study tour.

Five visits and meetings were organised during the trip. The first visit was to the Innovation Fund Denmark. The overall aim of the institution is to support the development of knowledge and technology, including advanced technology, in order to strengthen research and innovative solutions that may contribute to the growth and employment in Denmark. The visit to the Danish Ministry for Higher Education and Science was mostly focusing on intersectoral mobility. The number of researchers working in the private sector in Denmark has grown during last 15-20 years. Nevertheless, further progress is required to introduce change in the overall work culture and academic career paradigms. The visit to GTS Advanced Technology Group offered an insight into how the institute organises transfer of research and technology to the Danish businesses, especially SMEs. The visit to Fraunhofer IME ScreeningPort offered a closer look to Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, which undertakes applied research of direct utility to private and public enterprises and of wide benefit to society. BSN members were introduced to EU-OPENSCREEN ERIC, the European research infrastructure for chemical biology.

The concluding meeting was held between the Estonian representatives and the Hamburg Ministry of Science, Research and Equalities. First of all, the innovation policy of Hamburg region was discussed. Second half of the meeting was dedicated to the BSN action plans, the expectations and possibilities from the side of the BSN Lead Partner and the BSN Project Partner. BSN future and potential funding modalities were also a subject for further consultations.

The study visit provided valuable input for the forthcoming Action Plans on mobility, spreading excellence and widening participation and the macro-regional cooperation.

 

 BSN press release no 54, image 1

Baltic Science Network Welfare State Expert Group has concluded its work with public presentation of the main findings and suggestions for future multilateral research initiatives focused on the Baltic Sea Region.

On 28 September 2018, during a breakfast briefing launching the report “Ageing Workforce, Social Cohesion and Sustainable Development. Political Challenges within the Baltic Sea Region”, wider audiences were also introduced to the main messages of the Working Paper of the Welfare State Expert Group “Fostering Sustainable and Inclusive Labour Markets in the Baltic Sea Region: A Life Course Perspective.

Mi Ah Schøyen, chair of the Baltic Science Network Welfare State Expert Group, highlighted that the Working Paper´s “title reflects some of the core challenges that the welfare states in the Baltic Sea Region are currently facing. We continuously need new and updated knowledge about what kind of social, employment and education policies help our labour markets keep pace with new demands – driven by structural pressures such as rapid technological change, international economic competition and population ageing. To help all individuals find their place in these changing labour markets, they need support throughout the life course and not only through the traditional education system that prepares children and youth for the labour market.”

In a concise fashion Mi Ah Schøyen stressed that “it is desirable that future transnational projects relate to and make use of key analytical concepts that are used in comparative welfare state research internationally. Examples of such concepts are different forms of solidarity, welfare state regimes and the notion of a sustainable welfare state. Finally, it is fundamental for the quality of research that covers one or more of the countries in the Baltic Sea Region that the international research community has free and open access to high-quality, comparative survey data about these countries. This means that these countries have to ensure regular participation in international infrastructures such as the European Social Survey (ESS), the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE), the Luxembourg Income Study (LIS) to mention only a few important international surveys. In addition, researchers in the region have to be able analyse individual level microdata from sources such as the EU Survey of Income and Living Conditions (EU SILC) and the EU Labour Force Survey (EU LFS).”

Daria Akhutina, Senior Adviser at the CBSS Secretariat, offered the audience up-to-date insights into the CBSS work supporting cooperation in the field of labour and employment.

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The members of the Baltic Science Network welfare state expert group participated actively in the breakfast briefing. This meeting facilitated exchange between different research initiatives supported by the CBSS Secretariat. The presentation of the report “Ageing Workforce, Social Cohesion and Sustainable Development” and the policy brief “A One-size-fits-all Solution for Increasing the Employment Level of Older People?” published by the Max Planck Institute sparked a lively debate between experts on topics such as social policy, labour market integration, and migration.

The breakfast briefing was followed by the concluding meeting of the Baltic Science Network Welfare State expert group. The final Stockholm gathering allowed fine-tuning of the conclusions of the Working Paper to ensure that the recommendations would be presented in a concise way to meet the purpose as a convenient source of guidance for the drafting of forthcoming applications for joint research initiatives.

 

BSN Mariehamn meeting, image 1

Final months of the Baltic Science Network project phase have started with most attention paid to the finalisation of the Work Packages. Final touches are being added to the last publications and promotional materials ahead of the Brussels event and the Baltic Science Network Closing Conference. Both events will facilitate continuous dissemination of the Network´s results and key findings.

On 26 – 27 September 2018, the Baltic Science Network (BSN) Steering Committee meeting took place in Turku and Mariehamn. Since this is not the first BSN gathering in Turku, it was a good occasion to take a look from a comparative perspective on the progress achieved in the implementation of the project´s milestones. If previous Turku meeting facilitated initial discussions on priority areas, then this time BSN members were introduced to the prioritised mobility tools. The goal is to implement a pilot programme with the selected mobility instruments during the envisaged extension stage of the Baltic Science Network. The upcoming months will be dedicated to design a pilot programme and plan the implementation of the agreed pilot.

This was the last meeting before the Brussels conference titled “The Baltic Sea Region – A Science Powerhouse. The preparations are running smoothly and the registration is open. The BSN is delighted that such high-ranking speakers as Eva Gümbel, Deputy Minister of Science, Research and Equalities of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, and Jurgita Petrauskienė, Lithuanian Minister of Education and Science, have confirmed their engagement. Many more projects and initiatives from across the Baltic Sea Region and Europe are joining the BSN and Baltic TRAM facilitated discussions either among the members of the audience or contributing to the exhibition organised next to the conference stage at Solvay Library. The exhibition area will offer further insights into a multitude of research initiatives spanning across a wide spectrum of scientific domains, for example, CalipsoPlus being one of them.

Likewise, the BSN members were informed about the Riga preparatory meeting and progress achieved in the planning of the BSN Closing conference. This public gathering will be taking place on 22 February 2018 at the Academic Centre of the University of Latvia.

The BSN, as a transnational project of a considerable thematic scope, is also preparing an overview of its suggested "dos and don'ts". This listing will be not only of immediate importance to the research cooperation field. It will also offer some advice how to tailor fully fledged macro-regional initiative and its smooth implementation phases. Readers interested in familiarising with this upcoming publication are invited to explore the BSN website during the upcoming months.

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Photos of the gathering are accessible on the CBSS album “Baltic Science Network meeting”.

 

 

Photographer: Jürgen Haacks / Uni Kiel

Photo credits: Jürgen Haacks / Uni Kiel

Baltic Science Network commences its last project period with fruitful discussions on the forthcoming action plans. Among the first Baltic Science Network covered Baltic Sea Region areas, which have launched their in-depth discussions on the future policy measures for enhanced macro-regional cooperation, is Land of Schleswig-Holstein.

On 14 June 2018, the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture (Land of Schleswig-Holstein) and Kiel University held consultations on the results achieved so far in the Baltic Science Network implementation. Hosts of the meeting invited researchers as well as representatives of the international offices from universities and research institutions based in Schleswig-Holstein to discuss cooperation within the Baltic Sea Region and what new opportunities the latest developments of Baltic Science Network offer to Schleswig-Holstein.

Most of the Baltic Science Network studies and working papers are already made available online. These publications have produced some insightful results which will be taken into consideration once Baltic Science Network members will make their decisions about further steps on the political level. In order to develop reasonable measures for Schleswig-Holstein, the forthcoming regional action plan was discussed during a plenum dedicated to the preliminary recommendations of the Baltic Science Network to strengthen research cooperation in the Baltic Sea Region.

The meeting resulted in many constructive ideas that are valuable for the elaboration and implementation of the action plan and the further engagement of Schleswig-Holstein in Baltic Science Network.

 

BSN Riga Welfare Expert Group, picture 1

Second meeting of the Baltic Science Network welfare state expert group was held under the helm of the Latvian CBSS Presidency. Welfare state research offers plenty of opportunities to address several issues faced by the inhabitants of various ages living across the Baltic Sea Region.

On 29 August 2018, the Baltic Science Network (BSN) welfare state expert group met for the second time in order to dwell into the details of the draft Working Paper which will capture the main findings of this ad-hoc consultative body. In order to ensure that the conclusions and recommendations crafted by the expert group are prepared with an overall awareness regarding the findings and acknowledgements presented by the key forums of the Baltic Sea Region, a number of presentations were planned during the first part of the meeting. Thereby, the work of BSN and its consultative bodies are continuously being developed in close alignment with the latest thinking of the key political forums, which have endorsed it during earlier years.

First and foremost, consultations among welfare state experts benefited from broader insights offered by Ambassador Juris Bone, Chair of the Council of the Baltic Sea States Committee of Senior Officials, on the Latvian Presidency´s priorities and the acknowledgement of ideas presented by the CBSS Vision Group on science, research and innovation cooperation. Likewise, Latvia´s on-going discussions on remigration were briefly outlined by Māra Rūse, chair of the Global Latvians NGO (Ar pasaules pieredzi Latvijā - in Latvian).

The Riga gathering took place right after the 27th Baltic Sea Parliamentary Conference held in Mariehamn. Since the Resolution covers labour issues, the Riga meeting of BSN welfare state expert group benefited from insights offered by Daria Akhutina, Senior Adviser on Economic Issues of the CBSS Secretariat and co-chair of the BSN welfare state expert group, on the proceedings of the annual gathering of parliamentarians. One of the prominent topics of the debates held among the politicians and relevant stakeholders was a need to properly address the challenges of an aging population. Thus, the BSN welfare state expert group convenes at a telling time when its suggestions match the overall priorities of the political agenda.

BSN Riga Welfare Expert Group, picture 2

The Riga consultations were finalised with full appreciation of the progress achieved in finalising the Working Paper which will be presented to wider audiences at the end of September.

Photos of the Riga visit are accessible on the CBSS album “Baltic Science Network Discussions in Riga”.

Press release published by the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs “Baltic Science Network experts meet in Riga to discuss cooperation opportunities in higher education, science and research”.