School to Work Aims to strengthen transnational cooperation between stakeholders in the Baltic Sea Region in the field of education and work in order to prevent early school leaving and develop support for vulnerable groups of students/youth. www.s2wflagship.eu
Baltic Training Programme Supports the internationalization of vocational education and training as well as entrepreneurship and the internationalization of business. www.baltictrainingprogramme.se
Baltic University Programme Largest university network in BSR focused on sustainable regional development through cooperation in education, research and applied projects www.balticuniv.uu.se
Baltic Sea Labor Forum Aims to promote social dialogue, tripartite structures and cooperation as crucial elements of sustainable growth and social development in the BSR www.bslabour.eu
Baltic Science Network Aims to provide science and research ministries of the Baltic Sea region states with an overall coordination framework to develop and implement science policy in a macro-regional dimension and to ensure a better representation of macro-regional interests on the EU level http://www.baltic-science.org/
Policy Area Education, Research, Employability
Policy Area (PA) Education contributes to strengthening the social dimension of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (BSR). It covers three policy areas:education, research, employability. Increased prosperity in the BSR presupposes access to good education and training for all, an effective and inclusive welfare system and a well-functioning labor marketsupporting geographical, professional and socio/economic mobility.
Interview with Angelika Kędzierska-Szczepaniak, BSN Project Leader, Deputy Dean for Student Affairs and International Cooperation, Faculty of Management, University of Gdańsk
Introduction It has been a while since the flagship – Baltic Science Network (BSN) – was explained in greater detail to the EUSBSR PA Education audiences. If taking a look back at the interview with project director Klaus von Lepel titled “Baltic Science Network | Establishment of the network” which was published back in December 2016, it is worth pointing out that there are many more achievements BSN has delivered over the last two years. The recent approval of the extension phase titled “BSN_Powerhouse” is the right moment to acquire a more extensive insight from one of the most active members of the BSN on what have been the major success stories of the recently concluded phase of the network.
It should be pointed out right away that the majority of aspects discussed in this interview are modelled according to the most recent call of the Let´s Communicate team to share more in-depth insights on the project-based developments which help to bring the overall aspirations of the EUSBSR into reality. BSN submission for this particular call serves as the key reference point for the interview´s structure. The Let´s Communicate call was kept in mind in order to demonstrate to the wider audiences those specific BSN angles which have been less pronounced in earlier publications but are important to promote as key components for a successful establishment and operation of an outstanding transnational domain-specific hub for expertise, networking and joint actions.
Baltic Science Network in Brief
BSN serves as the transnational forum for higher education, science and research cooperation in the Baltic Sea Region. This network assembles ministries, funders and universities based in the Baltic Sea Region. The consortium is a springboard for targeted multilateral activities covering three domains – research and innovation excellence, mobility of scientists and widened participation. These joint activities are modelled with an overall aim to ensure that the Baltic Sea Region remains a hub of cutting-edge scientific solutions. BSN is also a platform tailored to provide advice on how to enhance a macro-regional dimension in higher education, science and research collaboration. It builds on the existing transnational structures of the Baltic Sea Region, as well as learns from the on-going initiatives related to higher education, science and research policy.
The successful collaboration established during the implementation of the initial BSN project phase will be continued from August 2019 onwards with an extension project titled “BSN_Powerhouse”. While BSN has provided science ministries, governmental/funding agencies, university networks with a general platform to devise joint strategic approaches, BSN_powerhouse will now go one step further to implementation.
The main objective of BSN-powerhouse is to enhance the competences of the science ministries/ funding agencies to design and implement transnational programmes to support research infrastructures (RI) to become better transnationally interconnected and to develop R&I excellence. This will be achieved by practically implementing, testing and evaluating 2 concrete support instruments: LaunchPad:RI_Connectors – a support action for widening participation of research infrastructures in the field of photon-neutron science, as well as the BSR Researcher’s Internship Mobility Programme (BSR-RIMP) modelled to enhance brain circulation in the Baltic Sea Region in the three earlier chosen domains – welfare state, life sciences, as well as photon and neutron science.
1) What are the key components of the Baltic Science Network communication and activities aimed at promoting public awareness about research potential and cooperation in the Baltic Sea Region?
During the initial stages of the project implementation the Baltic Science Network Communication Strategy was prepared and subsequently updated to ensure that the consortium would have a comprehensive and well-coordinated approach to its outreach. Bearing in mind that Baltic Science Network addresses a great diversity of audiences, a constant multilateral interaction among the Baltic Science Network is a daily routine.
Among the audiences of the Baltic Science Network are key institutions of the European Union involved in steering and overseeing the research cooperation in Europe, such as the Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, Joint Research Centre of the European Commission, as well as the Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy.
Baltic Science Network is well known among the stakeholders and key multilateral forums of the Baltic Sea Region, such as the Committee of Senior Officials of the Council of the Baltic Sea States, and National Coordinators of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region. In addition, BONUS, the joint Baltic Sea Research and Development Programme, and the Baltic University Programme are among the members of the Baltic Science Network.
Baltic Science Network has been regularly presented and discussed among the administrators of higher education, research centres, established researchers and academics, students – starting from high school pupils (during the annual Europe Day celebrations in Latvia), up to 2nd and 3rd cycle higher education students and postdoctoral fellows. In Gdańsk specifically, examples of such constant outreach efforts are the international conference “Modelling and Forecasting the National Economy” which took place on 29–31 May 2017, the conference “Value Management” on 7–10 October 2017, the conference “Corporate Governance and Finance Conference” on 19–20 October 2017.
Likewise, the University of Gdańsk had the pleasure of hosting one of the most content-rich working level meetings of the Baltic Science Network, which was also mirrored in the Baltic Science Network two submissions to the “EU in My Region” 2018 photo contest organised by the Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy.
Moreover, thanks to the much-appreciated analytical accomplishments of Kazimierz Musiał, Associate Professor at the Institute of Scandinavian Studies of the University of Gdańsk, the University has extended its geographical outreach far beyond Sopot and Gdańsk. Kazimierz Musiał co-authored the explorative study “Scientific Excellence: Joint Potentials in the Baltic Sea Region” commissioned by the Baltic Science Network, took part in the Baltic Science Network Welfare State Expert Group and contributed to the Working Paper “Fostering Sustainable and Inclusive Labour Markets in the Baltic Sea Region: A Life Course Perspective” (a Baltic Science Network publication which was promoted also during the #EUSBSRBetterTogether social media campaign).
Both of these publications in draft and final editions have been presented and discussed by Kazimierz Musiał on a number of occasions, such as the 8th Annual Forum of the EUSBSR held in Berlin, Baltic Science Network brainstorming seminar held in Hamburg, Riga Readings in Social Sciences 2018 and Baltic Science Network Final Conference in Riga. The explorative study turned out to be a highly impactful analysis since it paved the way for the Baltic Science Network prioritisation of three thematic research domains. The University of Gdańsk is thrilled about the achievements of its researcher and his noteworthy potential to contribute to the shaping of the multilateral collaboration patterns in the Baltic Sea Region.
Last but not least, it shouldn´t be neglected that the academic staff of the University of Gdańsk was taking an active part also in another Baltic Science Network Working Group. Krzysztof Bielawski, Vice-Rector for Development and Cooperation with Business and Industry, and professor of molecular biology at the Intercollegiate Faculty of Biotechnology of University of Gdańsk and Medical University of Gdańsk, was a member of the Baltic Science Network Life Sciences Expert Group.
All in all, the stated examples show that the University of Gdańsk has shown a model combination of joint efforts conveyed in a framework of one specific project by its administrative and academic staff. University of Gdańsk looks forward to building on this success story and explore applicability of such highly effective collaborative practices of its housed human resources in the future implementation of the Baltic Science Network, perhaps also other relevant macro-regional or European initiatives. Some of the engagements listed in the earlier paragraphs were also brought to the attention of the social media users interested in the Baltic Sea Region-wide collaboration by being shared not only on the Baltic Science Network website but also via the @CBSS_SRIA Twitter profile.
2) What kind of results are foreseen in the continued implementation of the flagship?
Baltic Science Network resulted in various outputs, such as publications capturing the research findings and certain common denominators among research administrators and policy makers, which fully respect the reservations of the institutions and organisations which are members of the consortium. Most of the Baltic Science Network related publications are listed on the project´s website. It is a tacit result in terms of the considerable investment made in shaping some degree of like-mindedness and better awareness among various actors what is considered a good practice in research cooperation in the Baltic Sea Region specific setting. Publications commissioned by the Baltic Science Network indicate what might be the most fruitful ways forward in practical collaborative actions aimed at bringing tangible benefits to the science excellence delivered by the macro-region.
University of Gdańsk was actively involved in the production of two reports published this year – “The Baltic Sea Region – A Science Powerhouse” and “Baltic Science Network Learning Experiences”, which were disseminated during the Baltic Science Network Final Conference and the CBSS Baltic Sea Science Day 2019 held on 22–23 February 2019 at the Nature House of the Academic Centre of the University of Latvia. The analysis captured in these publications hold a potential to shape the collaborative ties of the University of Gdańsk with other relevant partners based in the Baltic Sea Region with a more pronounced support to the brain circulation. Baltic Science Network might serve as a source of inspiration how to mitigate the present risks of westward brain drain.
During the project 86 existing mobility tools in the Baltic Sea Region were identified in the mapping exercise (presented in the Baltic Science Network study “Researcher mobility tools for the Baltic Sea Region” (Sepponen, Roschier, Bröckl, Mikkola and Hjelt 2018)). Only a few of the identified mobility tools were dedicated to or tailored specifically to the particularities of the Baltic Sea Region.
Baltic University Programme (represented in the Baltic Science Network by Åbo Akademi University) conducted the study about the wishes and needs of its member institutions concerning mobility and research cooperation. The Baltic Science Network publication “Baltic Science Network - Learning Experiences” captures the essence and further details on this outreach activity. One of the important aspects that the Baltic University Programme recommended was focusing on Master´s and PhD level mobility tools. It can help the students and scientists to make contacts early in their careers.
Three mobility tools were proposed:
a) summer schools for large research infrastructures,
b) research internships,
c) short-term PhD visits.
The details on each of the tools are captured in the Baltic Science Network reports “Mobility Funding Instruments” and “Baltic Sea Region Needs More Powerful Researcher Mobility”. Baltic Science Network continues its work towards the practical feasibility and implementation aspects of the prioritised tools.
The extension phase “BSN_powerhouse” builds on this thorough analysis. During the extension phase BSN will test two mobility support instruments:
- LaunchPad:RI_Connectors – a support action for widening participation of research infrastructures in the field of photon and neutron science. EU13 small-scale research infrastructure will be matched with large-scale research infrastructure, and supported to become dedicated partner facilities. This initiative is aimed at overcoming the gap in research & innovation performance in the Baltic Sea Region.
- BSR Researcher’s Internship Mobility Programme (BSR-RIMP) in the field of photon and neutron science, life sciences and welfare state. BSR-RIMP will enhance the brain circulation among research infrastructures within the Baltic Sea Region and thus build the basis for future research cooperation that will strengthen the excellence of the Baltic Sea Region in the selected three science domains. This overall initiative is aimed at increasing the interconnectedness of research infrastructures in the Baltic Sea Region.
3) Are the results possible to be illustrated in numbers?
Baltic Science Network has published:
• 20 Working Papers, Studies or Reports;
• One position paper and one non-paper;
• Two summary brochures.
Baltic Science Network has been featured in a number of other publications, such as the DAAD Annual Report 2017, 1(24)/2018 edition of Latvia´s Interests in the European Union (Latvijas intereses Eiropas Savienībā – in Latvian), EL-CSID Working Paper 19 “Council of the Baltic Sea States: The Role of a Sustainable and Prosperous Region in Bringing Science Diplomacy Forward”.
The focus on numeric representation of the publications featuring BSN is chosen on the basis that those serve as the most enduring resources for any interested parties to familiarise with the thinking unleashed by the consortium. This body of analysis remains an important reference point also during the extension phase “BSN_powerhouse”.
4) What kind of an effect does the flagship have on daily lives of a group of people?
BSN sparked many ideas among the staff and researchers of the University of Gdańsk how to further facilitate research cooperation in the Baltic Sea Region and what role this consortium has played in their professional paths. Thus, BSN has been a good example not only of a scrutinised delivery of an Interreg Baltic Sea Region Programme funded project, but it has generated a broader brainstorming about the achievements reached so far in the multilateral research cooperation and the potential next steps which should be evaluated to strengthen the outreach of the University of Gdańsk within the Baltic Sea Region. For further details with specific individual perspectives please consult the testimonials presented at the end of this interview.
The selected testimonials also show the strong co-ownership of the BSN at the University of Gdańsk. It allows to familiarise with those people who have helped in the initial stages of the BSN project preparation and implementation for BSN to become the Baltic Sea Region success story as we know it today.
In a long run, BSN has been one of those cumulative steps taken by the institution, which are directed towards strengthening the research excellence and international competitiveness of the University of Gdańsk.
Baltic Science Network Alumni Testimonials
Elżbieta Niemirycz, Faculty of Chemistry, University of Gdańsk
Elżbieta Niemirycz, Polish scientist, professor of agricultural sciences, cooperating mainly with the University of Gdańsk, Faculty of Chemistry and Faculty of Oceanography and Geography. She engaged in the preparatory phase and implementation of Baltic Science Network in 2015–2016.
During the Brainstorming Seminar at the Hamburg Senate Guesthouse in February 2015, a group of wise men and women demonstrated the necessity and purposefulness of establishing a scientific network connecting the entire Baltic Sea macro-region. The name of the Baltic Science Network project was created along with its intention to engage more actively in strengthening science-related cooperation. From 2009 she has been Rector's Adviser of Foreign Affairs. Her main research interests are discharges of anthropogenic substances (sewage) to the marine environment, interactions between contaminants of emerging concern and the environmental matrices as well as coastal zone research. She is a co-author of National Implementation Programme for the Stockholm Convention.
In the recent years, her research team has strengthened cooperation with scientists from Finland, Estonia and Norway, resulting in common, international publications and conferences, showing the purposefulness of the activities undertaken in the frames of the Baltic Science Network project, since unfortunately, the number of potential risks in the Baltic Sea Region increase.
Grzegorz Węgrzyn, former Vice-Rector for Research (2008-2016), University of Gdańsk
The group of countries located directly on the shores of the Baltic Sea includes nine Baltic States (Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Lithuania, Latvia, Germany, Poland, Russia, Sweden), Norway is also an important country for the Baltic Sea Region as a whole. The level of science and innovation of the Baltic Sea Region´s states is one of the highest in the world. So where are the problems with environmental cleanliness and sustainable well-being?
Mobility of researchers, joint use of research infrastructure, creation of common research and innovation strategies ensures a more effective representation of the issues shared by a number of stakeholders based in the Baltic Sea Region in the European Union forum, especially in relation to the catchment area of the Baltic Sea. These findings were presented at the Council of Baltic Sea States (1st CBSS Science Ministerial) in June 2016 in Kraków where the importance of science and innovation in a wider policy context has been highlighted. University of Gdańsk engaged in the Baltic Science Network Political Kick-Off Event, which took place back-to-back with this high-level gathering.
Grzegorz Węgrzyn, Polish scientist, professor of biological sciences, former Vice-Rector for Research of the University of Gdańsk (2008-2016), is a world-renowned molecular biologist. He led an international team of scientists who developed a new and, at the same time, the first effective method of treatment of Sanfilippo disease, allowing stopping its debilitating processes. His knowledge and experience in international cooperation contributed to the effective organisation of initial meetings of the Baltic Science Network project in Hamburg and Gdańsk, as well as preparation of the meetings of Deputy Foreign Ministers, Ministers for Culture and, for the first time in history of the organisation, Ministers for Science, reviving the political dialogue in the macro-region.
As the Chairman of the Committee for Molecular Cell Biology of the Polish Academy of Sciences, he is the organiser of the 4th Congress of Baltic Microbiologists (CBM2018) at the University of Gdańsk. The history of the Congress of Baltic Microbiologists had started in 2012 in Riga, with subsequent meetings organised in Tartu and Vilnius. There are therefore grounds for the creation of the Baltic Microbiologist Network.
Marta Kobusińska, PhD candidate, University of Gdańsk
Marta Kobusińska is a PhD candidate from the University of Gdańsk, Faculty of Oceanography and Geography. Her main scientific activities comprise distribution of organic pollutants, particularly dioxins and their precursors in the marine environment, particularly in the Baltic Sea Region. With regard to this, she was involved in the Baltic Science Network as a representative of the University of Gdańsk. She has been participating in the Political Kick-Off of the Baltic Science Network, and project workshop session
These efforts have contributed to the Baltic Science Network project being acknowledged as a flagship of the Policy Area Education, Research and Employability of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, as a project that reveals the political will of the Strategy´s Member States to take proprietorship of the macro-regional governance. Baltic Science Network serves as one of the most recent patterns how this commitment is translated into practical steps.
Like previous years, even this year´s Participation Day is arranged on June 11, in connection with the Annual Forum. The Participation Day is an important opportunity for new stakeholders to get in touch with the cooperation within the EU and to meet colleagues who already have experience of EU cooperation in the Baltic Sea region.
Successful collaboration between organizations and people in the Baltic Sea Region requires broadest possible mobilization and participation of stakeholders in all respective countries. European Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR) requires a strong bottom-up participation and a sense of "ownership" by various stakeholders. This applies to both policy shaping and practical implementation. The participation of citizens and organizations at all governance levels, across sectors and across all borders is a prerequisite for positive development of cooperation within the EU and an important part of the EU's cohesion policy.
Participation Day - a market place for ideas
Participation Day is a kind of marketplace where stakeholders can present their ideas, get feedback and guidance from the policy community enabling new stakeholders to participate in the implementation of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region. Our aim is to reduce the step into the Strategy, making our guiding principle with multi-level governance and cross-sectorial cooperation a reality. We invite representatives of EUSBSR stakeholders, such as local and regional authorities, civil society organisations, academia, business and media, to the Participation Day in Gdansk.
Four thematic areas
This year's Participation Day focuses on four thematic areas (Below you can read more about these thematic areas):
Innovations for a circular and socially coherent economy
Urban mobility – smart and sustainable
Antimicrobial resistance and pharmaceuticals in the Baltic Sea Region environment
The organisers will do their best to ensure that as many different organisations/networks as possible can attend and present their proposals and views.
You are therefore also invited to present in advance short, concise and concrete project proposals, concepts or ideas about the themes of the Participation Day. The organisers will confirm the acceptance of participants and select the most promising proposals to be presented in the Gdańsk Participation Day by 3 May 2019.
It is important that the companies in the Baltic Sea Region's support and complement each other on world markets. That is the main idea of PA Educations and PA Innovations joint commitment within the framework of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region and that is also the reason for the recent gathering of cluster leaders in Vilnius.
Small and large companies, financiers, EU programs, education providers, research communities and agencies are invited to create clusters to support each other and strengthen the common appearance on the world market. The cluster organization is based on membership and is led by cluster leaders, who are responsible for coordinating the work.
In spite of having a complex task, the cluster leaders so far haven´t been offered a coherent education that helps them grasp their work. 29 cluster leaders attended the Vilnius meeting with the aim of completing a list of necessary skills and competences that will be part of a new education. The meeting made a necessary step forward towards an education within the framework of an Erasmus+ project. PA Education participates in creating the education in line with the commitment to internationalize vocational education and training.
The meeting was funded by the Swedish Institute and arranged by the Norden Association.
The flagship School to Work, one of the flagships within PA Education, invites participants to the conference Flagship School to Work: Navigation and Guidance. The conference is followed by a study visit in Stockholm.
YOU ARE most welcome to take part in the conference, feed in ideas on topics to be discussed in the groups or learn more on what has been achieved so far in the Baltic Sea Region. The conference takes place on Monday, June 18 and the study visit will be on Tuesday, June 19.
You are welcome to find information about sessions, venues and times in agendas of conference and study visit (click on links below for attached files).
REGISTRATION to both events is available until the 6th of June. Please follow the registration link below.
NOTE that your participation will be confirmed by organisers in form of an e-mail within three working days after receiving your application. There are limited places available for the study visit.
The conference gathers public institutions, municipalities, schools, civil society organizations and private companies that work to prevent early school leaving, to integrate young people who are neither in education, employment nor training and newly arrived refugees into the labour market in the Baltic Sea Region. The conference is organized by the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions who is the leader of the Flagship in policy area Education in the Baltic Sea Region.
More information about the Flagship School to Work can be found on our website www.s2wflagship.eu
Smiltene Technical School invites to an international conference, "ECVET in Practice - Challenges and Solutions" in Smiltene, Latvia, from May 28th to May 30th, 2018.
During the conference the results will be shared
- of the strategic partnership project “ECVET Units as Initial or Additional Training to the European Veterinary Assistant Diploma”, where the developers, performers and participants of the project will be sharing their experience and will interpret the future;
- the current trends in vocational education of Latvia, including modular education;
- Work environment-based learning experience;
- Experience and trends of Estonia, the Netherlands, Italy, Sweden and Lithuania in ECVET, vocational education and adult education.
On May 28th there will be an exclusive possibility
- to take part in the master class "Coaching as a competence to support international vocational assignments, led by Anastasia Nekrasova – a learning designer and developmental coach, "Intelligent Mind-sets", Sweden;
- to use the "free microphone", meet potential partners from different schools and enterprises for future projects, ask questions and make suggestions, as well as get to know one of the 21st Century vocational education provider of Latvia, and get acquainted with Latvian culture and cuisine.