Last year marked the beginning of a new chapter in our provision of evidence-based policy advice to the European Commission. With the implementation of the Scientific Advice Mechanism, the European Commission gave academies a dedicated role in the EU system of science-based policy advice. Following the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding to strengthen inter-academy cooperation in March 2015, the Presidents of the five European Academy Networks Academia Europaea, ALLEA, EASAC, Euro-CASE and FEAM agreed to form a consortium called “SAPEA – Science Advice for Policy by European Academies” in answer to a call in the Horizon 2020 Work Programme with the aim of supporting the Scientific Advice Mechanism.>
The SAPEA consortium unites 100 member academies each with hundreds of Fellows respectively and I am very pleased that the SAPEA project was officially launched in November 2016. The EU funding of up to € 6 million for the next four years will enable the academies to integrate academy Fellows from all scientific disciplines in the process of providing evidence-based policy advice to the European Commission and will also provide means for closer collaboration between the five European Academy Networks. Euro-CASE will represent the voice of engineering, applied sciences and technology in the consortium.
Euro-CASE has four standing committees, so-called platforms: The Innovation Platform has entered its second phase and will devote the expertise of the participating academy representatives to the topic “Barriers to innovation and scale-up of innovative SMEs”. The topic is of a particular importance for future European growth opportunities and the Innovation Platform will provide evidence-based recommendations in this respect.
The Bioeconomy Platform works on an overview of the status of the bioeconomy in Eastern Europe while the Energy and Climate Platforms are entering their second phase.
I would like to thank our colleagues from the Engineering Academy of the Czech Republic who started the work of the Engineering Education Platform that will now be continued by our colleagues from the Academy of Engineering Sciences of Serbia. The Platform will seek to provide an engineer’s perspective and understanding of the current state and future of engineering education in Europe.
It is important for me to mention that in October 2016, the fifth successful EU-US Frontiers of Engineering Symposium was held at Aalto University near Helsinki, Finland in partnership with the US National Academy of Engineering and Euro-CASE. It is important that we offer young engineers and scientists this unique opportunity to participate in such an enriching transatlantic exchange. We are looking forward to the next cycle that will be organised in California in 2017.
The latest Euro-CASE Annual Conference was organised by our colleagues from ATV and took place on November 14, 2016 in Lyngby, Denmark. Under the headline “Big Data – Smarter Products, Better Societies”, the international conference provided an excellent forum to discuss the opportunities and challenges arising from Big Data.
Finally, I am looking forward to a second three-year term as chairman of Euro-CASE with the new members of the Executive Committee. Together, we will strive to further strengthen the structures of Euro-CASE and to consolidate its role as partner of the European Commission in providing evidence-based policy advice.
The start of the SAPEA project also marks the beginning of the work that still lies ahead of us. I am very much looking forward to embracing these new opportunities and challenges.