Information meeting about COST

Date: 13 February 2020

Venue: Malmö universitet

Address: Hörsal G8:125, Gäddan, Citadellsvägen 7

Organised by: Lärosäten Syd, the network of Universities in South Sweden

COST stands for European Cooperation in Science and Technology and is a funding organisation for research and innovation networks. COST is Europe’s longest-running programme to promote transnational cooperation between researchers from all over Europe.

Through so called COST Actions, research initiatives across Europe and beyond get connected and enable researchers and innovators to grow their ideas in any science and technology field, including social sciences and humanities, by sharing them with their peers. COST Actions are bottom-up networks with a duration of four years that boost research, innovation and careers.

Networking achieved through COST Actions has proven to be a beneficial stepping stone towards building consortia with European partners that go on to apply and receive funding from the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, currently Horizon 2020.

At this information day, you will learn more about COST Actions from the COST secretariat based in Brussels and understand how it can boost your own research career. You will also hear first-hand experience from peers across Lärosäten Syd, who are and have been engaged in COST Actions. The meeting will be held in English.

Agenda

12:00 – 13:00        Registration and lunch

13:00 – 13:05        Welcome address

  •  Per Hillbur, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Malmö University

13:05 – 13:10        Introduction to COST in the context of European collaborative research projects

  • Rickard Eksten, Brussels representative & Senior EU Policy Officer, Lärosäten Syd

13:10 – 14:00        Participate in COST Actions and submit a proposal

  • Christer Halén, Senior Administrator – Science Operations, COST Association

14:00 – 14:15        Coffee break

14:15 – 15:15        What are the benefits from participating in COST? Examples of experience and best practice

  • Martin Persson, Professor of Health Science, Högskolan Kristianstad & COST Action Chair for European Cleft and Craniofacial Initiative for Equality in Care
  • Markus Fiedler, Professor at Department of Technology and Aesthetics, Blekinge Tekniska Högskola
  • Roger Johansson, Professor at the Institute for Urban Research, Malmö University
  • Jens Rydström, Professor at Department of Gender Studies, Lund University

15:15 – 15:35        National participation in COST and nomination procedures

  • Birgitta Boman, COST National Coordinator, Vinnova

15:35 – 16:00        Q&A

Register to attend the information meeting

Lärosäten Syd joins leadership of Brussels university network

A new year has begun and since 1 January, our Brussels office is part of the secretariat of the network UnILiON during 2020. UnILiON stands for Universities Informal Liaison Offices Network and is a network that brings together the universities that have an own representation in Brussels. It is therefore an important source of information and intelligence about future policies and programmes, as well as a platform giving insight into how other European universities organise their European work. The secretariat consists of seven individuals from the same number of offices, and is the body that coordinates the work in the network.

In addition, since the start of the year, Lärosäten Syd is also chair of UnILiON’s Horizon Europe working group, which is a channel for exchanging information about the upcoming framework programme.

www.unilion.eu

Collaborating towards a Horizon Europe mission on climate-neutral cities by and for citizens

On 4 December, Lärosäten Syd – the network of Universities in South Sweden – together with the other south Swedish Brussels offices – Skåne European Office, Småland Blekinge Halland South Sweden, Skåne Association of Local Authorities and City of Malmö EU Office – co-organised a policy event in Brussels to present the main wishes and expectations of south Swedish actors on the Horizon Europe mission on cities, as well as to discuss with European partners the main recommendations for the implementation of the mission.

The following points summarise the discussions between the speakers, the respondents and the audience. They should not be interpreted as an official position of the organisers, but rather a recount of the main points raised which found general agreement in the room.

  • The mission should refer to climate neutral cities – a short and clear mission to facilitate a clear commitment. Smartness is an enabler for climate neutrality. Climate neutrality is the most useful concept to frame the idea behind the mission. The mission should recognise the co-benefits coming from climate-neutrality.
  • The mission should target all sizes of cities, including small and medium-sized ones, as well as metropolitan regions.
  • It is vital to involve students in research, and universities have an important role in building capacity for the future through for example MOOCs and exchange programmes between academia and cities.
  • To fully involve citizens, it is important to consider the design of participatory processes carefully, to be aware of who we invite to participate and the method of participation – from consultation, collaboration, coordination and co-design. Universities have an important role to play in facilitating this process, for example in mapping and critically analysing the target group to ensure that the voices of the most vulnerable are not left behind during rapid societal transitions.
  • ‘Smartness’ does not only need to be technology-driven. Urban green spaces is a well-documented response to many contemporary urban challenges. Smart is also to allow longsighted thinking (e.g. to work with nature instead of against it), and to work with engagement to set the necessary goals and create a partnership where nature is allowed to inspire our governance system in cities – a governance system that is holistic, cross-disciplinary and longsighted.
  • There is a real risk that any gains in the selected climate neutral cities may be lost through carbon emission increases resulting from other funding streams (i.e. funding outside the focus area of the mission) – for example highway construction that induces vehicular traffic and sprawling cities. The success of the missions must be considered in the context of wider planetary climate-neutrality.
  • Transport is a difficult area to decarbonise. Substituting internal combustion engines for electric vehicles will help reduce vehicle emissions, but will not address the long distances, high embodied energy of low density development. By contrast, planning for more compact urban patterns inherently better suits the climate-neutral city agenda – reducing vehicular travel demands, lowering embodied energy, and supporting efficient public transport.
  • Predictive maintenance and district heating and cooling offer opportunities for energy savings and can be adapted to local and regional contexts.
  • Local scientific policy advisory boards, as championed in Lund, is one example of how citizens can be meaningfully engaged in the transition to climate-neutrality.
  • The mission must be transparent in the language it is using around costs. The transition will involve costs.
  • Many cities in south Sweden have done all the ‘easy stuff’. Now it is the complicated things that are left to achieve. Accelerators will be needed and companies have a vital role to play here.
  • National support systems are important. EU investment will create more value added and leverage and situations where there is a national and regional support system for the climate transition in place.

You can access the full presentations by our speakers here:

Download the event agenda.

For further information about the event and the collaboration in south Sweden, please contact:

Nordic University Days attracts high-profile attention from key EU policymakers in Brussels

The Nordic University Days were organised for the first time in Brussels on the 9-10 September 2019. Lärosäten Syd was one of the organisers of this event.

The objective of the event was to bring high level Nordic university representatives together with a shared commitment to raise awareness of the importance of research, education and science-based innovation to high level EU policy makers. The programme involved several meetings with Nordic university representatives and high level EU policy makers. Here are some of the highlights of the programme.

  • Jean-Eric Paquet, Director General of DG Research and Innovation from the European Commission, gave an overview of Horizon Europe implementation, strategic planning, missions and partnerships.
  • Georg Riekeles, Diplomatic Adviser to Michael Barnier, responsible of the Task Force for the Preparation and Conduct of the Negotiations with the UK, gave a state of play on Brexit negotiations
  • Carlos Moedas, the outgoing Commissioner for Science, Research and Innovation, presented his main achievements and reflections based on his five years’ term as a Commissioner
  • Breakfast meeting with Nordic MEPs from Sweden, Denmark and Finland

The Nordic University Days were organised by Lärosäten Syd, Helsinki EU Office, LUT University, NTNU, University of Bergen, Central Denmark EU Office/Aarhus University and Greater Copenhagen EU Office in cooperation with the university associations in Norway, Sweden (SUHF) and Denmark.

Download the full report from the event (PDF)

Contribution of Lärosäten Syd to the co-design of Horizon Europe

The network of Universities in South Sweden were happy to participate in the co-design process that was organised by the European Commission as part of the strategic planning of the next EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, Horizon Europe.

The statement below was submitted by Lärosäten Syd to the web-based survey, asking for input regarding the targeted impacts of Horizon Europe and commenting on the Commission’s draft Orientations document.

Lärosäten Syd is a network of universities bringing together Blekinge Institute of Technology, Halmstad University, Kristianstad University, Lund University, Malmö University and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.
Universities have a decisive role for the long-term impact of HEU, by providing research that contributes to society through horizon scanning. Research from universities also have the ability to quickly adapt to new perspectives and needs.

The orientations document should make stronger reference to the implementation of the European Research Area. Further details on how Horizon Europe (HEU) as a whole, and not just the part Strengthening the ERA, should be a major objective of the Strategic Plan.
The Interim Evaluation of H2020 states that there has been an increased focus on higher TRLs and product demonstration in the Societal Challenges pillar. We would like to see a better balance between research and innovation in the collaborative parts of HEU. We would also like to see more possibilities for research-based collaborations by introducing Research Actions as a complement to RIA and IA. Such bottom-up initiatives would strengthen relevant research.

The question of balance is also linked to the notion of impact and the time frame for realisation. A linear and narrow approach focusing on economic impact as main outcome in pillar II has resulted in limited opportunities for collaborative research on better understanding societal challenges and their possible solutions and consequences. It is important to avoid a framework that considers impact as exclusively linked to high TRLs. Similarly, there is need for a more flexible time frame for the realisation of the impact that can often develop in unexpected situations. In particular relating to health, the usual time frame of 3-4 years is often insufficient in order to obtain results from fundamental research that can illustrate an adequate impact. The challenges listed in the orientations paper call not only for significant basic and applied research, but also for expanding citizens’ education and skills in the related areas. This is needed both for competitiveness in the EU and to understand our future learning societies. This calls more consideration into synergies between HEU and other EU funding streams for citizen learning.

For the EU to effectively tackle societal challenges and improve people’s health and well-being, funds allocated to the health cluster must be commensurate with the impact the EU aspires to achieve. At the same time, it is crucial that the expected impact remains realistic and targets citizens’ greatest areas of concern. We would like to stress the importance of equal health issues and social innovation. In relation to health, social innovation – development of the efficiency and quality in methodologies and organisation forms – is as important as technological innovation.

Our universities subscribe to the clear focus on social innovation in HEU, and would like to see it applied across all clusters. We would welcome stronger references to how social innovation can help deliver the European Pillar of Social Rights, in relation to increased inclusiveness, migration and integration policies. We would welcome much stronger references to the participation of citizens in science and in collaborative research projects in particular.

We want to stress the importance of material science and call for a broader focus, beyond autonomy of critical raw materials, as research on new materials can help deal with the climate challenge and facilitate industrial innovation. Material science also plays a vital role for energy systems, the built environment, the life sciences sector and cultural heritage.

HEU needs to recognise the scientific, economic and societal role of R&I infrastructures, including large scale facilities. Encouraging the development of R&I ecosystems around infrastructures will add to their impact. More opportunities for collaboration between R&I ecosystems will further increase Europe’s scientific competitiveness and attractiveness and improve opportunities to match scientific discoveries with societal needs.

The possibility for research infrastructures of Europe to maintain their openness through as funded through Transnational Access is fundamental for the transfer of knowledge. It is also a tool to support EU13 researchers with access to first class infrastructures, thereby contributing to widening participation.
Finally, impact is strongly connected to implementation. Simplification of rules, forms of collaboration and how long and complex a proposal is will influence who will apply. The best researchers often have other sources of funding, so it is vital to make it attractive to take part.

Lärosäten Syd Brussels Alumni Networking Reception

The Network of Universities in South Sweden – Lärosäten Syd – are pleased to invite all alumni based in Brussels to join us for an Alumni Reception on 21 May. This will be a fantastic opportunity to network with other alumni from the six universities that make up Lärosäten Syd: Lund University, Malmö University, the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Blekinge Institute of Technology, Halmstad University and Kristianstad University.

Lärosäten Syd has a joint office in Brussels since August 2018, which has the objective to increase the profile of the universities at EU level, to improve the monitoring and influencing of EU policy and programmes and to build closer international partnerships. At the reception you will hear more about this unique university collaboration.

Doors open at 17:30. At 18:00 there will be a few short presentations, so we invite you to arrive before then. These include an introduction to the universities’ Alumni Networks, and a presentation on the European aspirations of the universities in south Sweden, by Prof. Jesper Falkheimer, Executive Director – Research, Collaboration, Innovation, Lund University.

This will be followed by a networking reception with drinks and canapés. 

Networking alumni in Nordic House

Swedish universities merge in Brussels to enhance international research collaboration

On Friday, December 7, over one hundred guests from European Union institutions, Swedish universities and potential collaboration partners took part in the opening of the Universities in South Sweden’s (Lärosäten Syd) new office in Brussels. The main goal of the new branch is to broaden the participation of southern Sweden’s universities in the EU framework programme.

Universities in South Sweden is a collaboration between Blekinge Institute of Technology, Kristianstad University, Lund University, Malmö University, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and Halmstad University with the aim to be able to influence policy processes, promote research and develop a valuable network. Opening an office in Brussels is a strategic step towards this goal.

Big interest from partner organisations

Rickard Eksten from Lund University is based in Brussels since September as a representative of the new office. With over 10 years’ experience within various EU institutions, he already has a strong network in Brussels which he will further develop in his new role.

”The event on Friday was successful, and we hope the participants left with a good feeling, but also that they felt a bit challenged by the discussions”, says Rickard Eksten, who mentions that there is a big interest in southern Sweden’s universities and their collaboration model among European partner organisations.

This article was originally published by Halmstad University on https://www.hh.se/english/information-english/news/news/2018-12-10-swedish-universities-merge-in-brussels-to-enhance-international-research-collaboration.html