2013

ALLEA Board convened for last meeting of the year 2013 in Lisbon

19-12-2013On 2/3 December 2013 the ALLEA Board held its last meeting in 2013 on the invitation of the Academy of Sciences of Lisbon in the Portuguese capital. The Board members were welcomed by the President of the Academy of Sciences of Lisbon, Professor Aires Barros and Secretary General Professor Soares Pais.

Issues addressed in the meeting included the activities report by the Presidency, a financial review for 2013, the preparation of the General Assembly 2014 in Oslo as well as possible recommendations of applying academies for membership in ALLEA which will be submitted for subsequent decision by the General Assembly in April.

ALLEA President Günter Stock reported from further exchanges with the European Commission regarding the shaping of the Horizon 2020 programme and the European Research Area (ERA) as well as from meetings with the Presidents of Academia Europaea (AE) and the European Academies Science Advisory Council (EASAC). The Board welcomed the initiatives to intensify the dialogue between ALLEA and the policy makers responsible for science and research in Europe and to further strengthen the future collaboration between the three academy organisations.

On the fringes of the meeting, the participants were shown the extraordinary facilities of the Academy of Sciences of Lisbon which will host the ALLEA General Assembly in the year 2015. On the occasion of a festive dinner in the premises of the Academy building, the ALLEA President expressed his high appreciation and thankfulness for the long-standing close collaboration with the Academy of Lisbon under the umbrella of ALLEA.

The ALLEA Board consists of nine members, elected by the General Assembly, including the President who chairs the Board. It regularly convenes 3 – 4 times per year. Current members are the delegates of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, the Royal Irish Academy, the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, the National Academy of the Lincei (Italy), the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, the Slovak Academy of Sciences, the Swiss Academies for Arts and Sciences and the Union of German Academies of Sciences and Humanities. Every two years, the General Assembly decides about the composition of the ALLEA Board for the subsequent two years period. More information on the ALLEA Board can be found here.

The Academy of Sciences of Lisbon (Portuguese: Academia das Ciências de Lisboa) was created in 1779 in Lisbon as an institution dedicated to the advancement of science and learning (particularly mathematics in Portugal) with the goal of promoting academic progress and prosperity to the country. The Academy has two classes, one for Sciences and one for Letters, with 35 full members and 70 corresponding members distributed in seven sections respectively. It furthermore elects eminent foreign members.

Director General for Research and Innovation responds to ALLEA initiated petitions to Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn regarding the role of SSH in Horizon 2020

05-12-2013Initiated by the ALLEA working group on Social Sciences and Humanities, led by the British Academy, in June this year ALLEA sent a petition letter to the European Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn (Research and Innovation) asking for a “central and pervasive position of the social sciences and humanities” and for adequate recognition and support of these disciplines “in a meaningful and comprehensive way within Horizon 2020 in terms of budget, provision and enhancement of dedicated supports within DG Research & Innovation”.

The ALLEA petition was followed by numerous letters of support from ALLEA Member Academies and further stakeholders from the SSH community. In addition to an individual answer by Director General Robert-Jan Smits to the ALLEA petition, ALLEA was now asked to publish a general reply to all petitioners from the SSH community on its website.
The Director General states that “Social Sciences and Humanities research is part of the solution, not only to examine, interpret and understand the big societal challenges, but also to point us towards the answers.” He points to a number of ways SSH will be supported throughout the Horizon 2020 programme in addition to the sixth societal challenge “Inclusive, innovative and reflective societies”.

Read more:

ALLEA and The British Academy have recently reiterated concerns with budget, funding structures and embedding of SSH research in Horizon 2020. In their letter to the Commissioner, ALLEA President Günter Stock and the Vice President of the British Academy Dame Helene Wallace recommend three essential changes to the draft work programmes.
Via its Working Group on SSH, ALLEA has been actively engaged in the formulation of recommendations and advice from the beginning of the deliberations on Horizon 2020 and particularly on the role of social sciences and humanities (SSH) therein. Earlier ALLEA recommendations in this regard include a roadmap for “Embedding the Social Sciences and Humanities in Horizon 2020“.

Third ALLEA Board Meeting in 2013 to be held in Lisbon

28-11-2013On 2/3 December 2013 the ALLEA Board will meet for the last time in this year on the invitation of the Academy of Sciences of Lisbon in the Portuguese capital.

The agenda of the meeting includes topics such as the financial review for the 2013, the preparation of the General Assembly 2014 in Oslo, applications for membership as well as the future collaboration between the three academy organisations Academia Europaea (AE), the European Academies Science Advisory Council (EASAC) and ALLEA. The Presidents of the three pan-European institutions will follow up their previous discussions in the context of the EASAC Council meeting on 5 December 2013 in Rome.

The meeting will be opened by a presentation of the President of the Academy of Sciences of Lisbon.

The ALLEA Board consists of nine members, elected by the General Assembly, including the President who chairs the Board. It regularly convenes 3 – 4 times per year. Current members are the delegates of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, the Royal Irish Academy, the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, the National Academy of the Lincei (Italy), the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, the Slovak Academy of Sciences, the Swiss Academies for Arts and Sciences and the Union of German Academies of Sciences and Humanities. Every two years, the General Assembly decides about the composition of the ALLEA Board for the subsequent two years period. More information on the ALLEA Board can be found here.

The Academy of Sciences of Lisbon (Portuguese: Academia das Ciências de Lisboa) was created in 1779 in Lisbon as an institution dedicated to the advancement of science and learning (particularly mathematics in Portugal) with the goal of promoting academic progress and prosperity to the country.

The Academy has two classes, one for Sciences and one for Letters, with 35 full members and 70 corresponding members distributed in seven sections respectively. It furthermore elects eminent foreign members.

Read more about the Academy of Sciences of Lisbon in the Academy Portrait or on the academy´s website.

Scenarios for the future: Research Infrastructures for the humanities and social sciences – ALLEA co-hosts international conference on SSH research infrastructures in Berlin

27-11-2013More than 70 SSH researchers, policy makers and infrastructure coordinators attended the conference Facing the Future: European Research Infrastructure for Humanities and Social Sciences which took place on 21/22 November 2013 in the House of the Federal Press Conference in Berlin. The conference had been initiated by the Social and Cultural Innovation Strategy Working Group of ESFRI (SCI SWG) and the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), and was co-hosted by ALLEA and the German Data Forum (RatSWD). Throughout the two days, participants from all over Europe discussed the on-going developments, chances and challenges that researchers are dealing with in the light of the rapid changes that new digital infrastructures impose.

The conference was opened by Dr Dietrich Nelle, Head of the Directorate “Research Organizations” at the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Dr Adrian Duşa, Chairperson of the European Strategy Forum for Research Infrastructure (ESFRI) Strategy Working Group on “Social and Cultural Innovation” (SCI-SWG) and Professor Gerd G. Wagner, Chairperson of the German Data Forum (RatSWD).

Peter Farago, Director of FORS Swiss and Former Chairperson of the SCI-SWG and Peter Elias, Strategic Advisor for Data Resources at the University of Warwick, highlighted the challenges that the ever increasing amount of data available creates, particularly in the domains of the social sciences, making reference to what can be summed up under the concept of Big Data which resulted a cross cutting issue of the conference. With respect to the humanities, Gerhard Lauer, member of the ALLEA Working Group on E Humanities and chair of the Göttingen center for Digital Humanities, stressed the opportunities of digital research infrastructures, inter alia regarding the semantic linking of the cultural heritage that would arise if the same digital processing standards were used internationally.

A session on future strategies and directions among other issues discussed the funding framework in Horizon 2020 for research infrastructures and different forms of European projects, such as the opportunities that the European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC) can provide.

The session on “Administrative Data” dealt with the legal framework and the problems often raised by the fuzziness of data sets available. The importance of internationally comparative programmes with a long term funding to generate knowledge about birth cohorts, ageing and other social indicators was stressed in the session on “Longitudinal Sciences and Bio-Social Sciences”.

The session “Digital Humanities” providing a multifaceted outlook on future challenges of the humanities and was co-chaired by the chair of the ALLEA Working Group E Humanities Dr Sandra Collins. It included topics like the need for an increased visibility and impact of the humanities by making use of the newly emerging technologies and infrastructures, as was pointed out by Professor Milena Zic-Fuchs, Chair of Science Review Group for the Humanities of the ESF and member of the ALLEA Working Group on SSH. Moreover, new forms of publishing and digital access to primary sources, research results and articles through publicly accessible internet platforms opening new opportunities for scientific publishing were presented.

The final session on “New Forms of Data for Research in Humanities and Social Sciences” outlined new fields of research using data gained from Social Networks such as Twitter or Facebook. Further presentations gave examples of new forms of European cooperation in digitally driven SSH projects.

In his closing remarks ALLEA President Günter Stock highlighted the role of the research community to stay vigilant and at the same time embrace its responsibility to harmonise data standards and engage in increased international cooperation and coordination in order to foster SSH research throughout Europe.

The conference was accompanied by vital discussions with the audience. Bringing together social science and humanities researchers for discussions on this important issue was deemed a necessary and useful step and a positive momentum in addressing future challenges of research infrastructure management. By this, it became obvious that different domains do face different challenges but also share many of the same problems and concerns so that much could be learned from each other.

A conference publication is scheduled to be released in spring 2014.

Conference Website

ALLEA and the British Academy raise the urgent need for changes within the Horizon 2020 work programme for social sciences and humanities

20-11-2013In a joint letter of concern (dated 13 November 2013) to European Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn the Federation of All European Academies (ALLEA) and the British Academy have emphasized once more their deep concerns regarding the elaboration of the work programmes of Horizon 2020. With respect to the sixth societal challenge “Europe in a changing world – inclusive, innovative and reflective societies” and concerning the embedding of social sciences and humanities throughout Horizon 2020, ALLEA and the British Academy strongly recommend three important changes which should be taken into account for the finalization of the Horizon 2020 work programmes.

  1. The budget in Horizon 2020 available for SSH, and in societal challenge six in particular, is increasingly object to a process of being allocated to ever more items. By this, the amount currently proposed for genuine SSH programme is in danger to be substantially and critically decreased.2. In the current structure of the SSH funding lines – with bids of between 1.5 and 2.5 Million Euro for each call – most of high quality bids for SSH-projects would have to be rejected. If this is not altered, the SSH communities may question the value of bidding at all in the light of the very limited chances to be successful.3. The need for a truly interdisciplinary nature of the Horizon 2020 programme has been pointed out by the scientific communities on several occasions and was explicitly acknowledged by the European Commission. Nonetheless, the current approach lacks adequate structures to support such an interdisciplinary embedding of SSH throughout the other funding lines. In the letter the European authorities are urged to take the necessary steps in that direction, since structures, such as a cross-cutting Advisory Group bringing together SSH experts to monitor and ensure “embedding”, are critically needed.

The All European Academies (ALLEA) has been actively engaged in the formulation of recommendations and advice from the beginning of the deliberations on Horizon 2020 and particularly on the role of social sciences and humanities (SSH) therein. In June 2013 ALLEA President Günter Stock and the chair of the ALLEA Working Group on social sciences and humanities, Prof. John Bell (British Academy) initiated a petition to Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn aiming to ensure a prominent role of social sciences and humanities in Horizon 2020. Furthermore, earlier this year a roadmap for “Embedding the Social Sciences and Humanities in Horizon 2020” was presented to the Director General Robert-Jan Smits (DG Research and Innovation).

For further information about the activities of the Working Group on Social Sciences and Humanities please click here.

Academia-Industry Alliance – joint efforts in Science Education: Royal Irish Academy and ALLEA convene open session in Dublin, 20 November 2013

12-11-2013On 20 November 2013, representatives from Academia, Industry and European Science Education initiatives will discuss opportunities for an Academia-Industry alliance in order to enhance science education in Europe. The open session is jointly organized by ALLEA and the Royal Irish Academy (RIA) and will take place on the premises of the latter in Dublin.

The conference is initiated and prepared by the ALLEA Working Group on Science Education and precedes the working group`s annual plenary meeting on the following day, also hosted by RIA in Dublin. It will be opened by the Irish Minister of State for Research and Innovation, Department of Enterprise, Jobs and Innovation, Mr. Sean Sherlock, T.D. Further speakers include Professor Didier Roux, Director of Research and Innovation at Saint Gobain and member of the Académie des Sciences, as well as Dr. Àgueda Gras-Velázquez, Science Programme Manager at the European Schoolnet in Brussels.

The ALLEA working group will be represented on the panel by its chair Professor Odile Macchi (Académie des Sciences) and the delegate of the Royal Irish Academy, Professor Peter Mitchell. Expected outcomes include the identification of possible future alliances between the different sectors with the aim of building a rigorous system for training and continuous professional development of science teachers in Europe. Please click here to download the agenda.

With the open session on Academia-Industry Alliances the ALLEA Working Group on Science Education partly follows up on a comprehensive report written upon request of the European Commission and entitled “A renewal of science education in Europe – views and actions of national academies”. In the report, the Working Group details the views and actions taken by European Academies to advance the renewal of science education and maintain the passion for science and technology among the youth. Building alliances with the business world is seen as an important step towards these objectives.

The ALLEA Working Group on Science Education aims to improve the science education at the pre-university level, especially at primary and lower secondary school level. It is engaged in improving its quality (e.g. through the new inquiry-based pedagogy) and in raising awareness of the utmost importance of this matter amongst politicians and science policy makers. Please click here to learn more about the activities of the working group.

The Royal Irish Academy (Acadamh Ríoga na hÉireann) was founded in 1785 and is Ireland’s academy for the sciences, humanities and social sciences. The Academy provides expert advice, manages research projects, publishes books and journals and sustains a library. Election to membership of the Academy is the highest academic honour in Ireland and the Academy has currently approximately 460 members.

Statement release: ALLEA calls for Enhancement of Open Access to Scientific Publications

11-11-2013ALLEA has released a Statement on “Enhancement of Open Access to Scientific Publications in Europe”. The paper invites European authorities to take measures facilitating an Open Access model under consideration of the specificities of the various scientific disciplines. It stresses the need to further coordinate the steps towards an Open Access policy between the numerous institutions involved and to complement the short-term access by a system ensuring long-term preservation of research data and results.

The statement addresses a key challenge for the scientific community since academic publishing is undergoing significant changes in the digital environment. It was prepared by the ALLEA Permanent Working Group on Intellectual Property Rights under the lead authorship of Professor Alain Strowel, Brussels.

The group is chaired by Professor Joseph Straus, representing the Union of German Academies of Sciences and Humanities, and has repeatedly issued recommendations regarding questions of intellectual property related to open access in previous statements such as in “Opportunities and Risks: the Digitisation of Books and the Google Book Settlement” (June 2011).

On different occasions in the past, ALLEA has been strongly engaged in the debates on Open Access publishing which determine the ways in which scientific information will be presented, disseminated and used in the future. At the ALLEA General Assembly 2012, a joint declaration “Open Science for the 21st century” was issued by ALLEA and the Vice President of the European Commission Neelie Kroes with a call to scientific communities and their institutions to make decisive steps towards open science. Neelie Kroes, Commissioner in charge of the Digital Agenda for Europe, addressed a special policy session on “The Digital Agenda and Access to Scientific Information” under the heading “Open e-Infrastructures for Open Science”.

As a follow up, ALLEA President Günter Stock met the European Commission`s Vice President in Brussels in order to discuss more in detail the benefits of open science and open access (Please click here to watch a video documenting the meeting).

The release of the ALLEA Statement coincides with important events dedicated to the topic, including the Berlin Open Access conference on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Berlin Declaration (19/20 November 2013), which will be opened with a speech by the ALLEA President and which brings together high level representatives from academia and policy from all over the world including European Commissioner Neelie Kroes and the Minister for Universities and Science in the UK David Willetts.

ALLEA´s position and possible future role will also be part of the discussions in the UNESCO regional consultations regarding Open Access (20/21 November 2013). The lead author of the ALLEA Statement, Professor Alain Strowel, was invited to contribute with a key note speech to the event.

For further information on the issue please visit the ALLEA website Access to scientific information. In order to learn more about the activities of the ALLEA Permanent Working Group on Intellectual Property Rights please click here.

Release of statement on the Grace Period – prepared by the ALLEA Permanent Working Group on Intellectual Property Rights

07-11-2013On 10/11 October 2013 ALLEA – through its permanent Working Group on Intellectual Property Rights – and the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine (NAS) jointly convened an international conference on “The Grace Period and Topical Issues of Intellectual Property”, which concluded with the adoption of a joint statement on the Grace Period.

With the conference and the statement, ALLEA follows up on past efforts in favour of a harmonised international agreement on the grace period (e.g. in a statement on The Future Patent System of the European Union). The statement aims to find an internationally workable and generally acceptable solution for the grace period problem. Such a solution is designed to help overcoming the existing imbalance in international relations which is of particular disadvantage to scientists and researchers in academia and small and medium sized companies.

The conference was held on the premises of the NAS in Kiev, Ukraine and was supported by the Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science and the Professor Schindler Foundation. After a welcome address by ALLEA Board Member Professor Carlo D’Adda, in his introductory remarks the chair of the ALLEA Permanent Working Group, Professor Joseph Straus, discussed the subject Grace Period – a topic of harmonisation of patent law since 30 years“. Professor Yuriy Kapitsa, fellow of NAS and member of the ALLEA Working Group, co-chaired the session on “Topical issues of intellectual property protection and commercialisation”.

Throughout the conference, opportunities for a harmonised solution potentially acceptable also for the countries which currently do not provide for a grace period were discussed and the importance of a grace period in international relations reaffirmed. The statement summarizes the outcomes of the conference and was endorsed by numerous delegates from participating patent offices, such as the Japanese Patent Office (JPO) and the Patent Office of Ukraine. Furthermore, it has been submitted to several other international authorities, including the responsible directorates in the European Commission, for consideration and further dissemination.

In order to learn more about the activities of the ALLEA Permanent Working Group on Intellectual Property Rights please click here.

ALLEA issues follow up statement concerning Patentability and Research Funding relating to embryonic Stem Cells

07-11-2013

With its third statement on “Patentability and Research Funding relating to embryonic Stem Cells”, ALLEA follows up on two previous statements regarding this issue – released in May 2011 and September 2012 respectively – both closely linked to the case Brüstle v. Greenpeace and the corresponding Judgment of the Court of European Union (CJEU).

The statement, prepared by the ALLEA Permanent Working Group on Intellectual Property Rights under the chairmanship of Professor Joseph Straus, raises concerns against a possible acceptance of the above mentioned Judgment which would most seriously affect research of essential importance to citizens of the European Union. Therefore, the competent bodies of the European Union are urged “not to accept the proposed amendments and to continue the well balanced funding of the respective research at the Union level”. It is furthermore argued that basic research in this field would need more EU funding rather than less.

In its previous statements, ALLEA had explicitly underlined that a lack of patent protection in the area of embryonic stem cell research could negatively affect the investment in developing therapeutics based on human pluripotent embryonic stem cells. It was also stated that serious concerns of the European scientific community regarding the effects for research in this important area of medicine would need to be taken into account.

For download of the previous statements, background documents and further information on the topic please visit the ALLEA website Patenting in Stem Cell research.

Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs), be it patents or copyrights play an important role in all academic activities. The ALLEA Permanent Working Group Intellectual Property Rights, which has been in existence since the 1990s, has prepared and issued reflections, declarations and recommendations on the most challenging topics of IPRs. Further information on the Working Group activities can be found here.

70th anniversary celebration of Armenian Academy

30-10-2013

On 15-16 October 2013 the National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia (NASRA) – since April 2013 a member of the ALLEA – celebrated its 70th anniversary in Yerevan. Vice President Ed Noort contributed to the programme with addresses and lectures on behalf of ALLEA.

In a high level meeting with NASRA President Radik Martirosyan, Professor Noort and numerous academy delegates particularly from the Caucasus region, Russia, Romania, Belarus and the Baltic states discussed among other issues the advancement of science and research in Armenia, strategies for encouraging the youth to opt for scientific careers and possibilities to enhance the perspective of young researchers.

In the following, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia, Tigran Sargsyan, opened an exhibition on the achievements of the NASRA institutions. The ceremony also comprised the awarding of prizes to outstanding young scientists by the Armenian National Assembly, Government and different Ministries.

In context of the subsequent solemn meeting devoted to the 70th anniversary of the founding of the National Academy of Sciences of Armenia, the ALLEA Vice President gave a speech which highlighted the history of the Armenian Academy with its excellent scientists and scholars. He presented selected ALLEA activities in the field of “policy for science” and emphasized the importance of promoting young researchers, e.g. by establishing young academies or intensifying scientific and scholarly exchange within the international scientific community. In the further course of the event, academy delegates were invited to discuss with the President of the Republic of Armenia, Serzh Sargsyan, how to foster international cooperation especially in the field of science and research. Again the future of young scientists was recognized as one of the most important problems. In the subsequent ceremony the President of Armenia awarded prizes to excellent students of schools and universities and asked the ALLEA Vice President to address the prize winners. Professor Noort spoke on curiosity in science and on the relation between applied science and blue-sky research.

Participants then had the honour of meeting his eminence Catholicos Karekin II, the religious leader of the Armenian people, in his residence in Echmiadzin. The anniversary celebrations concluded with a dinner hosted by the Academy President. Both days were accompanied by a comprehensive cultural programme.

The National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia was founded on 10 November 1943 as Armenian Branch of the USSR Academy of Sciences. It became a member of ALLEA by decision of the 14th General Assembly held in Berlin on 30 April 2013.

New ALLEA Statement released – “Ethics education in science”

10-10-2013

On 2 October 2013 ALLEA has published a statement on “Ethics education in science” prepared by the ALLEA permanent working group on Science and Ethics. The statement highlights the need for adequate tools for ethics education and its integration in the curricula for early career researchers and scientists. It formulates recommendations to universities and academies carrying out or promoting research and emphasises their responsibilities in this context.

The statement provides reasons why ethics education is of increasing importance for the research community, society and the individual scientists. It underlines ALLEA’s long term interest in promoting excellence and high ethical standards in the conduct of science and research in Europe.

The authors, the ALLEA permanent working group on Science and Ethics chaired by Professor Göran Hermerén, state that researchers – perhaps more than ever – need to be able to take decisions based on a solid legal, ethical and scientific understanding of the subject matter and its potential implications for science and society. To this end, societies would need to set aside or create resources in order to ensure that all research is conducted by individuals who are endowed with the necessary literacy in ethics. The recommendations address ethics education in all scientific disciplines including the behavioural, the social sciences and the humanities.

The statement will be followed by a subsequent second part which is intended to complement the general principles and recommendations given in the first part with practical examples and references to on-line facilities and resources, thereby providing helpful guidance to the institutions with responsibility of educating and employing researchers as universities, academies, and other research performing organisations.

The publication of the statement “Ethics Education in Science” coincided with the meeting of the ALLEA permanent working group on Science and Ethics in Bonn, Germany, on 2 October 2013. The meeting was held in the premises of and jointly with the German Reference Centre for Ethics in the Life Sciences (DRZE)/ Institute of Science and Ethics in Bonn which since 2004 has been a research centre of the North Rhine-Westphalian Academy of Sciences, Humanities and the Arts.

DRZE Director Dieter Sturma and executive manager Dirk Lanzerath presented the existing facilities and resources of the centre and discussed with the ALLEA delegates possible areas of collaboration in elaborating the second statement including examples of best practice in ethics education and references to relevant on-line facilities of the kind provided by DRZE. The meeting was preceded by a welcome dinner on the invitation of the North Rhine-Westphalian Academy of Sciences, Humanities and the Arts, represented by its Vice President Wolfgang Dieter Lebek, on the evening prior to the meeting.

Please click here for download of the statement “Ethics education in science”.

Printed copies of the statement will be provided upon request (secretariat@allea.org)

Further information on the activities of the ALLEA Permanent Working Group on Science & Ethics can be found here.

The Grace Period and Topical Issues of Intellectual Property: International Conference jointly organised by ALLEA and NAS in Kiev

02-10-2013

The Federation of European Academies of Sciences and Humanities (ALLEA) and the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine (NAS) jointly organise an International Conference on the Grace Period and Topical Issues of Intellectual Property.The conference will take place on the premises of the NAS Kiev, Ukraine, on 10-11 October 2013 and is supported by the Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science and the Professor Schindler Foundation.

On behalf of ALLEA, Board Member Prof. Carlo D’Adda, fellow of the Italian Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei will deliver a welcome address to the audience. Introductory remarks by Prof. Joseph Straus, Chair of the ALLEA Working Group on Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) will address the subject “Grace Period – A Topic of Harmonisation of Patent Law Since 30 Years” opening the first day session of the conference “Towards the Grace Period in European and International Patent Law”. Prof. Yuriy Kapitsa, fellow of NAS and member of the ALLEA Permanent Working Group Intellectual Property Rights, will co-chair the session “Topical issues of intellectual property protection and commercialisation”.

Throughout the conference opportunities for a harmonised solution potentially acceptable also for the countries which currently do not provide for a grace period will be discussed. The importance of a grace period in international relations is evident.

ALLEA, which in the past has repeatedly pleaded in favour of a grace period (e.g. in a statement on The Future Patent System of the European Union), and NAS aim to find a workable and generally acceptable solution for the grace period problem. Such a solution should help to overcome the existing imbalance in international relations which is of particular disadvantage to scientists and researchers in academia and small and medium sized companies.

The ALLEA Permanent Working Group Intellectual Property Rights which has been in existence since the 1990s, has prepared and issued reflections, declarations and recommendations on the most challenging topics of IPRs. At present it is developing a horizon-scanning mechanism to identify emerging issues and suggest appropriate solutions.

Please click [here] for further information on the Permanent Working Group Intellectual Property Rights.

Fact Finding Commission: ALLEA delegation visits Turkish Academy of Sciences (TÜBA) and Science Academy, Istanbul

01-10-2013

On 25 – 27 September 2013 a delegation of the ALLEA Board has visited the Turkish Academy of Sciences (TÜBA) in Ankara and the recently established Science Academy (Society) based in Istanbul. During their stay, ALLEA President Günter Stock, Vice President Ed Noort and Board member Peter Kennedy convened meetings with the presidencies of both academies respectively.

The visit aimed to gather information and to gain more insights into the current situation of the academies landscape in Turkey against the background of an application from the Science Academy, Istanbul, for membership in ALLEA. Issues addressed in the meetings focused on recent legislative changes in the Turkish science system and their impacts on the constitutional structure and procedures of TÜBA which led to the foundation of the Science Academy by a number of resigning TÜBA members in early 2012.

Both in Ankara and Istanbul, the ALLEA delegation discussed the legal status, appointment and election procedures and valid statutes of the respective academy as well as its role and position within the national science system and towards the Turkish government. The “fact finding commission” will report its finding to the ALLEA Board on the occasion of its next meeting in December 2013.
The possible admission of new members to ALLEA follows a step-wise approach including the profound revision of a comprehensive application dossier, the consultation of possible existing member academies in the applicants` countries and a recommendation of the ALLEA Board to the General Assembly. Based on the recommendation and the application dossier, the ALLEA member academies decide by majority vote on the admission of new members to ALLEA. In its last General Assembly, in April 2013 in Berlin, three new members were admitted to become member in ALLEA (read more [link]).

Further information

Website Science Academy (Society) [link]

Website TÜBA [link]

ALLEA Board meeting and high level reunion of ALLEA, EASAC and Academia Europaea in Wroclaw

30-09-2013

On the occasion of the 25th anniversary conference of Academia Europaea, the ALLEA Board convened its recent meeting in the city of Wroclaw, Poland, on 16 September 2013. Ahead of the conference programme, the following day included a reunion of representatives of three European academy organisations: Academia Europaea (AE), All European Academies (ALLEA) and the European Academies Science Advisory Council (EASAC).

ALLEA President Günter Stock and Vice President Ed Noort, EASAC President Sir Brian Heap and President elect Jos van der Meer – all long standing members of the Academia Europaea – followed an invitation of AE President Lars Walloe and its foreign secretary Jerzy Langer to discuss an intensified collaboration of the three organisations in order to strengthen the position of academies in Europe in general and towards EU authorities in Brussels in particular. Read [here] about the three organisations.

The discussions followed up on earlier meetings of the three Presidents initiated by the ALLEA President shortly after his election in 2012. Previous cooperation had led inter alia to a joint letter of concern to heads of state and governments in Europe issued in the context of expected cuts in the EU budget for research and innovation in the previous year (read more [link]). The next meeting is planned to take place on the occasion of the upcoming EASAC Council meeting in early December 2013 in Rome.

The day prior to the reunion, the ALLEA Board held its third regular meeting in the running year. In order for the Board members to take part in conference programme of the Academia Europaea anniversary – many of them being fellows themselves – the meeting was scheduled in parallel to the closed sessions of AE Board and Council on 16 September 2013. ALLEA President Günter Stock opened the meeting with words in the memory of the Eugene Nickolov, delegate of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences to the ALLEA Board, who unexpectedly and tragically had passed away in July 2013. The Board kept a minute of silence and paid tribute to his memory.

In addition to reports about recent and on-going activities of Presidency and Working Groups and on the ALLEA budget for 2013, issues discussed in the meeting included new and pending membership applications, the scientific programme to be prepared for the General Assembly 2014 and the initiation of ALLEA activities funded by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research.

The participants furthermore addressed the governmental ambitions in Russia to restructure the national science system and reiterated their concern that the intended legislative changes represent a negative impact on the future position of the Russian ALLEA member, the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS), particularly as regards its independent functioning on the basis of scientific excellence and autonomy.

The ALLEA Board reaffirmed Oslo as venue for the next General Assembly which will take place on 24/25 April 2014 and expressed its gratitude to ALLEA Board member Oivind Andersen and the Presidency of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters [link]. The next Board meeting will be held on the invitation of the Academy of Lisbon [link] in the Portuguese capital in December 2013. The ALLEA Board regularly convenes 3 – 4 times per year.

Please click [here] for further information on the ALLEA Board.

Joint meeting of the permanent ALLEA working group on Science and Ethics and the German Reference Centre for Ethics in the Life Sciences / Institute of Science and Ethics

27-09-2013

On 2 October 2013 the permanent ALLEA working group on Science and Ethics (PWGSE) and the German Reference Centre for Ethics in the Life Sciences (DRZE)/ Institute of Science and Ethics will hold a joint meeting in Bonn. The meeting takes place on the premises of the DRZE which since 2004 has been a research centre of the North Rhine-Westphalian Academy of Sciences, Humanities and the Arts.

On the occasion of the joint meeting, the director of DRZE Professor Dieter Sturma and further representatives of the centre will demonstrate existing facilities and resources regarding information in the different areas of ethics in the life sciences and medicine which the DRZE collects and scientifically elaborates.

Topics addressed in the meeting will include the implementation of and follow up to a statement on ethics education in science by the ALLEA Working Group that will shortly be published. The participants will furthermore discuss possible areas of collaboration for a subsequent second statement which is intended to include examples of best practice in ethics education and references to relevant on-line facilities of the kind provided by DRZE.

The meeting will be preceded by a welcome dinner on the invitation of the North Rhine-Westphalian Academy of Sciences, Humanities and the Arts on the evening prior to the meeting. Vice President Professor Wolfgang Dieter Lebek will welcome the ALLEA delegates on behalf of the Academy which has its seat in the North Rhine-Westphalian State Capital Düsseldorf.

The permanent ALLEA working group on Science and Ethics is concerned with a wide range of problems, ‘internal’ (within the scientific community) and ‘external’ (relations between science and society). Since ethical considerations have been an essential component in the consolidation of the new Europe, and in the creation of ALLEA, the PWGSE has been extending its capacities and activities during recent years, in order to fulfil adequately its mission of collective deliberation on topics like research integrity, plagiarism, ethics education etc.

The PWGSE meets twice a year and is chaired by Professor Göran Hermerén, member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities and head of the DRZE Advisory Board.

Further information can be found here.

Facing the Future: European Research Infrastructure for Humanities and Social Sciences – ALLEA co-organises research infrastructure conference in November

25-09-2013

On 21/22 November 2013 ALLEA and the German Data Forum (RatSWD) jointly host a conference titled Facing the Future: European Research Infrastructure for Humanities and Social Sciences. The conference is initiated by the Social and Cultural Innovation Strategy Working Group of ESFRI – the European Strategy Forum for Research Infrastructures – and the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and will take place in the Federal Press Conference building (Bundespressekonferenz) in Berlin.

The conference invites a selected audience of humanities and social sciences experts, policy makers, and scientific research infrastructure coordinators to engage in a productive exchange of ideas for a roadmap to strengthen humanities and social sciences alike with a particular focus on research infrastructures. Hereby it aims to identify and discuss relevant topics – e.g. possible ways of getting countries more involved in the current ESFRI roadmap and the importance of “big data” across different domains – and to highlight opportunities for an excellent research environment as a foundation for innovative research today and in the future.

The presentations will focus on the questions how research infrastructures will look like in the next decade, what has to be done to face upcoming challenges, and how they will relate to the emerging ‘big data’ movement. These question being among ALLEA`s key priorities, the European federation of academies had addressed related issues in the context of its annual meeting in April 2013 when experts from academia and science policy discussed the topic “management of large data corpora” in a scientific symposium in Berlin. ESFRI is a strategic instrument to develop the scientific integration of Europe and to strengthen its international outreach. Its mission is to support a coherent and strategy-led approach to policy-making on research infrastructures in Europe, and to facilitate multilateral initiatives leading to the better use and development of research infrastructures, at EU and international level.

ALLEA was asked by ESRFI and the BMBF to enrich the conference with its scientific expertise particularly in the field of the humanities. To this end, the ALLEA Working Group on E Humanities is strongly involved in the preparation and holding of the conference with Working Group chair Sandra Collins co-chairing the session on Digital Humanities on the second day of the forum. Among other inputs by ALLEA, President Günter Stock will hold the closing words of the conference.

The involvement in the ESFRI conference is part of an initiative of ALLEA and the Union of German Academies addressing basic research and digital research infrastructures for SSH in Europe. The initiative aims to formulate recommendations for a cultural heritage research programme at the European academies including the necessary (digital) research infrastructures and funding opportunities.

For further information about the project please visit the project´s website:

[Link]

For further and up-to-date information please visit the conference´s website:

[Link]

“Symbol of Courage and Conviction” – ALLEA President visits the ALLEA Member Academy of Sciences and Arts of Kosovo

03-09-2013

On 29/30 August 2013 ALLEA President Günter Stock visited the ALLEA member Academy of Sciences and Arts of Kosovo. The first day of the visit included in depth discussions with Academy President Professor Hivzi Islami (foto, left) and further members of the academy as well as diplomats from the German Embassy in Pristina. On the second day, the Deputy Prime Minister of Kosovo, Prof. Dr. Hajredin Kuçi, officially welcomed President Stock and discussed scientific developments in Kosovo especially regarding the Academy of Sciences and Arts as well as opportunities for international cooperation. The reception was followed by a lecture by Günter Stock to a selected audience of Academy members, representatives of Pristina University and the media.

In his lecture entitled “The Academies’ role in the course of history – Responsibilities and principles of Academies in the past and present” the ALLEA President outlined the basic principles of excellence and autonomy on which academies build upon since their very beginning. He described these principles as mutually dependent and as a prerequisite for the work of academies. As a key responsibility that has not changed over the centuries he pointed to the independent advisory role of academies.

The presentation of on-going ALLEA activities particularly included the federations’ recent actions when it came to infringements of fundamental principles of member academies due to political interference. Examples could be found in letters of concern issued to the heads of state in Turkey and Russia within the past months.

The ALLEA President expressed his highest respect and appreciation for the solidarity towards the Academy from members and supporters in most difficult times, 1994-99, when activities were maintained in a self-organised way and without any public support. “The continuation of the academy´s work since 1975 despite adverse conditions represents a strong symbol of courage and conviction. Even in times when academic freedom is constrained: Ideas and thoughts cannot be oppressed”, he pointed out.

The Kosova Academy of Sciences and Arts was founded in the Autonomous Socialist Region of Kosova in October 1975. Among the aims of the Academy were the stimulation, the development and the promotion of scientific thinking and artistic creativity by direct participation in creating scientific and arts policies. It comprises four sections: Language and Literature, Humanities, Sciences and the Section of Arts.

Since its foundation the academies’ organisation and funding were repeatedly threatened and disrupted by the instability of a continuously changing political environment of the war-torn region of Ex-Yugoslavia. Despite these adverse conditions the academy kept up its engagement to foster the spirit of and interest in sciences and arts, issuing editions and initiating international cooperation even in periods when public funding was cut off completely.

After the 1999 war the Academy came back to its premises and continued its work. In 2004 the academy´s existence was secured in a new law issued by the Kosova Parliament describing it as “the supreme institution of science and arts in Kosova”. Since then it is referred to as Akademia e Shkencave dhe e Arteve e Kosovës – Accademia Scientiarum et Artium Kosoviensis.

In 2004, the Kosova Academy of Science and Arts became member of ALLEA alongside the Academies of its neighbor states Serbia and Montenegro.

For further information please visit the academy’s website.

ALLEA intensifies dialogue with EU Commission on embedding social sciences and humanities in Horizon 2020

02-08-2013

With a letter of concern (dated 5 June 2013) from the ALLEA President and the chair of its working group on social sciences and humanities to Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn (Research and Innovation) ALLEA has initiated a petition which was followed by numerous letters of support from other Member Academies and stakeholders to ensure a prominent position of social sciences and humanities as well as adequate funding in Horizon 2020.

In a letter of response (dated 8 July 2013), the Director-General Robert-Jan Smits (DG Research and Innovation) very much welcomed the initiated petition from ALLEA and its strong and continuous engagement in fully embedding the social sciences and humanities in Horizon 2020. He confirmed that “the social sciences and humanities will hold a strong position in the future programme” and reinforced that “the Commission will make the necessary funds available depending on the final outcome of the negotiations” on Horizon 2020’s budget. Furthermore, ALLEA was invited to continue a close cooperation on this important issue with Director-General Robert-Jan Smits.

In the meantime, a general letter of response from the Commission to the social science community is being prepared and ALLEA has been asked to publish it on its website. Upon receipt you will find the Commission’s letter of response here.

The All European Academies (ALLEA) has been actively engaged in the formulation of recommendations and advice from the beginning of the deliberations on Horizon 2020 and particularly on the role of social sciences and humanities (SSH) therein. Recently ALLEA issued a roadmap for “Embedding the Social Sciences and Humanities in Horizon 2020” that was elaborated by the ALLEA working group under the lead of the British Academy and was presented to the Director General in March 2013.

“Excellency and Independence” – ALLEA Vice President Ed Noort holds academy lecture in the context of the 43rd General Assembly of Turkish Academy of Sciences (TÜBA)

12-06-2013On the occasion of the 43rd General Assembly of its member academy TÜBA, ALLEA was invited to contribute to the awards ceremony preceding the annual TÜBA meeting in Ankara on 8 June 2013. In his lecture entitled “The role of ALLEA and the Position of Academies in Europe”, ALLEA Vice President Ed Noort gave a historic overview on academies and their nature and mission in the past and presented current challenges for academies and the role and work of ALLEA.

Starting from the birth of the idea of an academy by Plato (387 BCE) – “in a grove outside the political center of Athens” – academies provided a place for research, reflection and for advisory activities independent from the political sphere of the Greek societies.

This idea and mission, so the ALLEA Vice President, has prevailed and needs to be permanently safeguarded until today. Exemplified by the courageous support and shelter that the early Accademia dei Lincei provided for its prominent member Galileo Galilei against the religious and political prosecution by the Catholic Church and the Roman Empire, also in our days academies would need to strive for excellence and independence as a condition sine qua non for their very raison d’être.

Therefore, one of ALLEA’s primary and most important objectives would be to ensure that academies could autonomously and unrestrictedly exercise their role “as the voice and conscience of science and as guards of the quality of science”. Against the background of a number of recent examples of political interference in the rules and procedures of European academies, e.g. regarding the criteria of membership selection, the ALLEA Vice President pointed to different causes that would endanger the independence and autonomy of academies, among others when research results were influenced by economic and financial interests or when scientific topics and outcomes were prescribed by political preferences.

It would lie within the responsibility both of each individual academy as well as of the supra-national academy organisations to meet these dangers. Other objectives of the European academies would be the sharing of best practice, learning from the common interest, respecting the diversity or defending the vital role of science and research. ALLEA’s mission would include promoting these shared aims of its member academies and to offer European science and society advice from the most excellent scholars in the European countries represented in the federation.

The Vice President highlighted that TÜBA – particularly in the recent past – has been an active member in the ALLEA with its past President serving in the ALLEA Board for three terms (2004 – 2010). Also, TÜBA has been and is represented in different ALLEA advisory groups, e.g. in the permanent working group on Intellectual Property Rights or formerly in the working group on Evaluating for Science.

TÜBA was established in 1993 as a scholarly society and initiated its activities one year later. Today it comprises 150 principal and 150 corresponding members. Among TÜBA’s self-described aims are “to establish the criteria of scientific excellence in Turkey, to encourage and foster scientific endeavours, to ensure that scientific principles be applied in all spheres and to create an environment of debate so that basic social strategies may be defined in the light of scientific and technological data.” For more information, please visit the TÜBA website.

Enlargement of membership: ALLEA General Assembly welcomes new member academies

06-06-2013By decision of the 14th General Assembly of the European federation of Academies of Sciences and Humanities, held in Berlin on 30 April 2013, ALLEA admits three new members and now comprises a total of 55 Member Academies from more than 40 countries. Alongside two Belgian academies, the National Academy of Sciences of Armenia was invited to become member of ALLEA.

With an absolute majority of the votes cast the ALLEA General Assembly decided to invite the three academies to become part of the ALLEA. On the basis of the comprehensive application dossiers that the applicants had provided, the ALLEA Board had recommended the admission of the National Academy of Sciences of Armenia as well as of the two Belgian academies Royal Academy of Dutch Language and Literature (Koninklijke Academie voor Nederlandse Taalen Letterkunde) and Royal Academy of French Language and Literature (Académie Royale de langue et de literature françaises de Belgique).

In the plenary business meeting, the assembly heard a programmatic speech by the ALLEA President and Assembly chair Professor Günter Stock and reports on the financial year 2012 and on the prospects for the coming years by ALLEA Vice President Ed Noort. The assembly agreed on procedures for the endorsement of ALLEA publications and for the tasks and activities conducted by the ALLEA working groups whose scope, membership and on-going activities were presented by the respective chairs.

ALLEA Vice President Daniela Jezova gave insights into the complex and diverse landscape of European Academy organisations of which the European Academies Science Advisory Council (EASAC) was presented by its President elect Jos van der Meer who informed about the Advisory Council’s priorities and current activities.

The meeting debated the important role of ALLEA for the academies in Europe, its network of partnerships and cooperation, its financial contributing system as well as future priorities in times of severe budget constraints including most of the member academies countries’ funds for research and education. The assembly closed with an invitation by ALLEA Board member Oivind Andersen to celebrate the next General Assembly on the premises of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters in Oslo on 24/25 April 2014.

The annual ALLEA business meeting was preceded by a scientific symposium addressing “The management of large data corpora”, chaired by the head of the ALLEA working group on E Humanities Sandra Collins. The symposium was opened by the German Minister for Education and Research, Professor Johanna Wanka, and attracted a wide audience from scientific and scholarly institutions as well as the interested public. Welcome addresses, presentations and lectures held at the symposium can be found here.

Further information (e.g. pictures, recordings and presentations) about the meeting can be found here.

Press release: ALLEA General Assembly 2013 in Berlin

17-04-2013

ALLEA General Assembly 2013 in Berlin

For the first time in 15 years, ALLEA convenes its General Assembly 2013 in Germany. The federation’s annual meeting will be held in Berlin on 29 and 30 April 2013.

The German Minister for Education and Research, Professor Johanna Wanka, will open the event in the context of the scientific symposium “management of large data corpora” which will take place on the first day of the General Assembly.

Prior to the event, Professor Wanka expressed her pleasure about the General Assembly taking place in Germany after many years again. The minister stated that the positions elaborated by leading European scholars from the ALLEA member academies would represent valuable and important contributions to on-going and future developments in science and research in Europe.

ALLEA President Günter Stock said: “Without scientifically based advice, society and politics will not be able to cope with the challenges that lie ahead, such as climate change, food security, demographic change, cyber security or sustainable growth. It is among the central tasks of Academies to address these issues not only by providing technological expertise but also by reflecting social and ethical aspects in order to tackle the challenges with societally legitimated and accepted innovation strategies.”

Please click here to read the full press release (German only).

ALLEA Working Group on Social Sciences and Humanities issues a roadmap for embedding the Social Sciences and Humanities in Horizon 2020

01-03-2013

Today the ALLEA working group SSH has published a roadmap by which to ensure the value and contribution of the social sciences and humanities to Horizon 2020, the EU’s 7-year research programme from 2014-2020, are fully realised. (Click here to open the roadmap).

The working group is chaired by the British Academy (Professor John Bell) which strongly engages in the strengthening of the social sciences and humanities on the national and on the European level. The roadmap was developed out of a meeting of the working group on 6 February 2013, hosted by the British Academy in London. Further topics addressed in the meeting included an ALLEA strategy for engaging with the European Institutions and national governments on Horizon 2020’s design, budget and implementation.

The presented roadmap comprises contributions from the British Academy, the National Academy of Lincei (Italy), the Council of Finnish Academies, the Polish Academy of Sciences, the Romanian Academy, the Royal Irish Academy, the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities as well as from the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences. Through a number of concrete recommendations, it sets out the key value of the social sciences and humanities in the realisation of Horizon 2020.

The roadmap has been endorsed by the ALLEA Board and Presidency and will be the basis for further discussions with representatives from the European Commission Directorate General for Research and Innovation on the inclusion of the social sciences and humanities in Horizon 2020.

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