Dear readers, partners and friends of the Baltic Science Network,
I am happy to announce that we have revived our BSN Newsletter.
The COVID-19 crisis has greatly challenged international, regional and also macro-regional cooperation in many spheres. It obviously also affected the work of the Baltic Science Network. With international mobility coming almost to a standstill and the cancellation of conferences, workshops and seminars we – as everyone else – had to rethink and adapt our concepts. On the other hand the recent months have shown the great importance of science and research cooperation. International collaboration in research has greatly intensified in the span of just a few months. The rapid mobilisation of so many actors across the world to collaboratively develop and test new vaccines and therapies has been remarkable.
Also in the BSR we have seen that cooperation in science and research continued throughout the latest months. Meetings and workshops have been shifted to digital formats and personal research visits have been taken place whenever possible particularly during the summer time. And although we are working under different framework conditions, the value of S&R cooperation in the BSR is still unaffected and the BSR remains one of the most competitive, innovative science regions in the world.
During the last years the Baltic Science Network has helped to put science and research cooperation in the Baltic Sea Region on the agenda at all political levels: Regional, national, macro-regional and on the EU level. With the Interreg-funded BSN_Powerhouse Project we are now putting our findings into practice. To foster cooperation and develop research and innovation excellence in the region two concrete support instruments are now implemented, tested and evaluated.
The first instrument has been developed by the BSN Expert Group on Photon and Neutron Science: the LaunchPad:RI_Connector. For widening participation of research infrastructures in the field of PNS, EU13 small-scale RI will be matched with large-scale RI to become dedicated partner facilities. The instrument will help overcoming the gap in research and innovation performance among BSN countries.
The second instrument targets young researchers. The Baltic Science Network Mobility Programme for Research Internships. BARI offers doctoral students the possibility to hire master or bachelor students for a research internship. Working jointly on a research project will foster personal ties between young researchers. So far, 27 matches could be confirmed and a monthly stipend guaranteed. Eight of the internships are already finished and some are ongoing or will start soon. First results show that BARI is a very effective tool to support mobilities. As it allows students and PHDs to agree individually on a timeframe, the participants can flexibly react to potential travel restrictions. We believe that it will be a very important tool to maintain mobilities – even during the pandemia – and restart it at a larger scale once the pandemic situation has improved.
Lastly, BSN continues to engage in shaping the macro-region on EU level and positioning the BSR as own interest group with contributing to European debates. We see BSN as an enabler and accelerator for science policy in the region and we are confident that our work will influence the transnational cooperation for years to come.
On behalf of the entire BSN network I would like to welcome you to the first edition of the BSN_Powerhouse newsletter.
Klaus von Lepel