The EU Science: Global Challenges & Global Collaboration Conference was convened by ISC - Intelligence in Science, in association with the Irish Council Presidency and in conjunction with Mr Sean Kelly MEP and other Members of the European Parliament. The conference took place at the European Parliament and placed EU research at the centre of the scientific response to global challenges, bringing together scientists and science policymakers from 50 countries. These challenges are transnational in nature and trans-institutional in solution. They cannot be addressed by any one government or institution acting alone. They require collaborative action among governments, international organizations, corporations, universities, NGOs, and creative individuals.
Collaborative science can make a significant near term contribution and play a central role in addressing future global challenges. Collaborative science and research and development needs to be enabled by the policy, regulatory, standards and funding environment. Moreover, research infrastructures and shared capacity building need to be placed at the forefront of measures to support the conduct of R&D globally. The conference had three elements: plenary sessions; 50 scientific and technical seminars; and 100 project consortium meetings. The conference resulted in numerous projects involving partners from across 50 countries.
The event came at a crucial time for the future of R&D priority setting in Europe and globally. The EU’s institutions are still in the process of negotiating legislative proposals for R&D funding over the period 2014 to 2020. The European Commission has proposed €80b for Horizon 2020, the next Framework Programme for Research and Development and Demonstration (2014-2020). The Commission proposals for EU Cohesion Policy over the same time period also include significant levels of support for R&D capacity building. In addition, major legislation covering Clinical Trials, Medical Devices, Data Protection and patents will be considered in 2013. Ireland took over the EU Council Presidency at a vitally important juncture in the negotiation process concerning these proposals. The Irish Council Presidency also came at a time when R&D stakeholders were putting forward their priorities and plans for the remainder of the current decade.
The core focus of ES:GC2 was Horizon 2020, the EU’s funding instrument for collaborative research and innovation beyond 2014, which seeks to provide both increased funding and enhanced ease of participation compared to its predecessor, FP7. The launching of Horizon 2020 presents a perfect opportunity for stakeholders to position themselves as potential partners. The aim of the conference was to encourage worldwide collaboration in science and to explore how Horizon 2020 could enable an effective scientific response to global challenges. With the view to increase international participation in Horizon 2020, partnership building was highly encouraged.
The ES:GC2 Conference provided an excellent opportunity for the participants to meet and interact with professionals from various disciplines, in order to discuss issues of common concern and most importantly to build new relationships and partnerships and set out the terms of future cooperation. The building of partnerships was facilitated by the interactive character of the registration, which allowed all visitors of the website to see a list of individuals who had either expressed their interest in attending a specific seminar, or who had already registered for it. This way, they could sign up for those seminars that were of interest to them with the guarantee that these sessions would also be attended by the individuals they desired to meet.
The Conference took place an the European Parliament from March 4 to March 8, 2013. Devoid of commercial purpose, the Conference was organised and held in strict adherence with Article 4 of the Rules Governing the Use of the European Parliament’s Premises by Outside Bodies which states:
“Events may under no circumstances have a commercial purpose and must not undermine the dignity of the Parliament. Sponsorship shall be prohibited, along with any form of partnership between Parliament and a private body”
For more information on the Rules Governing the Use of the European Parliament’s Premises by Outside Bodies, please click here.
The Conference involved partners from across 100 different countries, representing the academic, scientific, engineering and industrial sector. The Conference provided a premiere forum in which the participants could share their perspectives on how collaborative science can assist in addressing global challenges.
ISC organised a meeting at the European Parliament on 21 January titled: "EU Development Aid: Experiences and Recommendations from Stakeholders Driving Science and Innovation", hosted by MEP Catherine Bearder.