[Event Review] BSH Int. Conference “EU- Black Sea Cooperation in Science, Technology and Innovation – towards a jointly agreed STI Programme”
Within the framework of the Black Sea Horizon Project, the International Centre for Black Sea Studies (ICBSS) successfully organized the Black Sea Horizon International Conference on “EU - Black Sea Cooperation in Science, Technology & Innovation: towards a jointly agreed STI programme”, at Divani Palace Acropolis Hotel, in Athens, on 8 May 2017.
- Posted on: 19.06.2017
Building on structured and effective dialogue, the Black Sea Horizon Project held the International Conference with the aim i) to present STI progress in the wider region and, ii) to present, discuss and consolidate the “EU – Black Sea Cooperation Programme in STI (BSCP)”, one of the key deliverables of the Project.
Through interactive sessions, more than 70 participants from the field of STI policy making, policy delivery and analysis from the EU and Black Sea countries, had the opportunity to reflect, discuss and endorse recommendations to improve the framework conditions and to mitigate remaining obstacles for bi-regional STI cooperation.
Opening the Conference, ICBSS Director General Mr. Georgios Mitrakos addressed the welcome speech and underlined the importance of such initiatives for enhanced interaction among researchers and policy stakeholders, with the aim to providing the optimum opportunities to the people of the Black Sea region.
On behalf of the Black Sea Horizon Project, the Coordinator DI Martin Felix Gajdusek from the Austrian Centre for Social Innovation (ZSI) presented the overall progress of the Project’s two-year activities. Special emphasis was placed on the key deliverables and output of the Project, which aims to contribute significantly to promoting interregional STI dialogue and research.
In continuation, keynote speaker and honorary guest of the Black Sea Horizon Conference, Prof. Adrian Curaj, f. Minister of Education, Science and Innovation of Romania and Director General of the Executive Agency for Higher Education, Research, Development & Innovation Funding of Romania (UEFISCDI) pointed out the STI potential of the wider region that remains untapped and urged for further enhanced bi-regional STI cooperation for mutually beneficial joint actions. Focusing on human resources, entrepreneurship, infrastructures and cooperation schemes, Prof. Curaj invited stakeholders to endorse an interdisciplinary approach on STI cooperation.
Following on, three interactive sessions resumed the discussions among participants. In particular, Session I Cooperation in Science, Technology & Innovation: Best practices and future perspectives, touched upon past and current initiatives of STI interregional cooperation.
Opening the Session, Ambassador Bratislav Đorđević, Executive Manager of the BSEC PERMIS, highlighted the role of the BSEC Organisation, and in particular of the Working Group on Cooperation in Science & Technology, in promoting and facilitating interaction among researchers and policy makers in the field of STI.
From her side, Dr. Elisabeth Sorantin, Secretary General of CEEPUS, shared 25 years of experience in mobility schemes, stressing the importance of regional networks in promoting research and cooperation.
Representing the EU Joint Research Centre, Luciana Zanier presented the Centre’s main tasks and objectives, offering an incentive for bridging productively and more actively the policy-research gap.
Following on, in her presentation “EU-Black Sea Joint Call: Current Developments and Outlook”, Maria Josten (DLR), provided an overview of the Joint Call for Proposals, being prepared under the coordination of the BSH Project. The Joint Call, which is planned to be launched in early 2018, will constitute a valuable funding mechanism for the Black Sea research community.
From her side, Domnica Cotet, representing the Romanian Executive Agency for Higher Education, Research, Development and Innovation Funding (UEFISCDI), closed Session I with a detailed presentation of past funding schemes, such as BS ERANET, offering a valuable insight on its strengths and challenges for future reference.
In continuation, Session II Black Sea Cooperation Programme in Science, Technology and Innovation, was opened by Dr. George Bonas, Managing Director of CeRISS, who presented the draft EU-Black Sea Cooperation Programme on STI (BSCP), one of the key results of the Black Sea Horizon Project. As noted by Dr. Bonas, the BSCP will aim to set the optimum framework conditions for EU-Black Sea STI cooperation, with a view to enhancing it on a variable geometry, towards a result-oriented direction.
In this regard, the panel discussion that followed the presentation of BSCP, with the participation of Vardan Sahakyan, Deputy Chairman, State Committee of Science of Armenia, Elchin Babayev, Executive Director, Science Development Foundation under the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Diana Kopeva, Member of the Executive Committee, Bulgarian National Science Fund, Manana Mikaberidze, Acting Director General, Shota Rustaveli National Science Foundation (SRNSF), Igor Serotila, Head, Dept. of S&T Policies, Academy of Sciences of Moldova, Yaroslav Sorokotyaga, Division Director, International Relations Department, Russian Foundation for Basic Research (RFBR) and Valentyna Andrushchenko from the State Fund For Fundamental Research of Ukraine, aimed to discuss the main features of the draft Programme with special emphasis on the Black Sea countries’ vision.
In continuation, in a world-café type format, participants were divided into four groups to discuss the key measures of the BSCP, namely i) Joint Research Calls, ii) Capacity Building Activities, iii) Strengthening Mobility and iv) Supporting Innovation.
The results of the interactive four groups were presented in the last plenary session of the Conference and will be further consolidated and incorporated in the EU- Black Sea Cooperation Programme.
Closing the proceedings of the Conference, Martin Felix Gajdusek cordially thanked the participants and the organisers for the productive high-level Conference on STI. As noted, the valuable outcome of the Conference will constitute an important contribution to the development and implementation of the BSCP, as well as a point of reference to future similar joint actions on STI.
Back to back with the Black Sea Horizon Conference, the ICBSS hosted also the General Assembly Meeting of the Black Sea Horizon Project, with the participation of all partners and the preparatory workshop for the Black Sea Horizon 2020 Summer School on Social Sciences and Humanities, to be held in Yerevan, on 10-12 July 2017.
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