Interview with project director Klaus von Lepel
- The establishment of the Baltic Science Network as such is the main achievement in 2016. All Science Ministries in the Baltic Sea Region and other stakeholders are involved as project partners and associate organisations. This ensures that strategies, tools and programmes developed in the frame of BSN, will also very likely be implemented.
- Baltic Sea Region-wide political foras (the CBSS and the BSPC) dedicated their discussions to the BSN matters, thus proving the commitment of states assembled by the Network that academic and research mobility as well as research and innovation excellence are crucial to the welfare of the region. Great societal challenges have to be solved together.
- BSN was also recognised as a crucial initiative by the policy makers, since it was endorsed as an EUSBSR flagship, as well as discussed during the Meeting of the Four Region Councils of the North.
- The joint political and policy level commitment was further proved by the willingness of other major stakeholders of the region to join the Network. Namely, during the second half of the year the Network was expanded, since it welcomed new members – NordForsk and Ministry of Education and Research of Norway.
Flagship concept (with reference to the EUSBSR Action Plan pp. 17-18 flagship qualifications):
- BSN falls into the category of a flagship being a network, a new cooperation platform which is addressing the core challenge of disparities faced by the region, also outlined by the most recent foresight report “Looking towards 2030: Preparing the Baltic Sea Region for the future”. The tools developed by the flagship are aimed at tackling the disparities in academic and research performance across the region. The tools are aimed at ensuring a more cohesive development and research and innovation excellence as well as fostering transnational science collaboration across the Baltic Sea Region. Therefore BSN aims to develop strategies and tools for ensuring sustainable circulation of talent and highly skilled research and academic workforce to the institutions where their specific expertise is most needed, ensuring access to research infra structure and aligning research strategies.
- BSN currently contribute to the PA Education, but has a potential in future to also be a relevant component or enabler of goals advanced by HA Neighbors. BSN membership already spans beyond EU borders. This BSN geographical advantage will be further explored in 2017 during a conference Baltic Sea Science Day in St Petersburg on 8 Feb 2017 as well as other events.
- BSN aims towards establishing macroregional academic and researcher mobility monitoring tools.
The policy learning dimension of BSN is further enhanced through its close ties with Baltic TRAM as the other cornerstone of the CBSS Science, Research & Innovation Agenda. This policy learning dimension and sharing of experiences will be further enhanced in 2017.
Challenges in implementing flagships are to get the needed visibility and also to be able to implement the achieved results. Thus, it is important to involve the relevant stakeholders with national or regional decision making power from the very beginning. On the other hand being a flagship in a PA of the EUSBSR gives a supporting frame. Also a flagship has to convince the stakeholders of its necessity as there exist already a huge amount of networks and platforms. The unique selling point, added value and benefit for the stakeholders have to be pointed out.
Further information on BSN website and CBSS subsection dedicated to BSN.
Photos are downloadable on the BSN website and the CBSS Flckr account. Photos from the event in Stockholm are accessible here.