On 9 April 2015 the European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, Mr Carlos Moedas, invited the ALLEA President, Professor Günter Stock, to discuss a number of current issues and on-going developments in the science and research landscape in Europe. Among other topics, the discussions included the European Fund for Strategic Investment and ALLEA´s position and proposals towards ensuring that future investments benefit the science and research sector.
On the invitation of the Commissioner, the ALLEA President took the opportunity to present ALLEA´s mission and activities and to elaborate on the role and potential of European Academies for the science and research sector in Europe. The interlocutors addressed the upcoming ALLEA General Assembly in Lisbon (23/24 April 2015) which includes a scientific symposium on “Science and Research in Europe: past, present and future – 15 years of Lisbon Agenda” where the Commissioner will deliver a speech and award the All European Academies Madame de
Staël Prize for Cultural Values Prize to Professor Dame Helen Wallace, Foreign Secretary of the British Academy.
The ALLEA President discussed the Memorandum of Understanding signed between five academy organisations in Europe (Academia Europaea, ALLEA, EASAC, Euro-CASE, and FEAM) and discussed with the Commissioner the added value of coordinated joint activities and interdisciplinary advice which academies in Europe could provide via their networks.
On the European Fund for Strategic Investment (EFSI), the discussion focused on the question of to what extent scientists and scholars could be involved in and help with the evaluation of investment projects in order for the funds to benefit the science and research sector in Europe and therewith compensate for an impending loss of resources originally provided through the Horizon 2020 programme.
Professor Stock also raised the question of how the impact of research in the Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH), a core activity of ALLEA, could be increased for the prosperous development and well-being of the European society.
As a related issue, it was discussed how the potential of SSH can best be harnessed to efficiently contribute towards tackling the big challenges that Europe faces, both through a substantial embedding of SSH in the funding programme and via the separate funding line “Europe in a changing world” (Societal Challenge 6). To that end, it would be instrumental to first and foremost increase the opportunities for SSH applications to be successful in the upcoming calls.