17 April 2024 News

Research and Innovation Days 2024 – ICoRSA Report

Policymakers, researchers and representatives of stakeholder institutions gathered in Brussels from March 18 to 21, 2024, to discuss recent trends in Research and Innovation. The science policy high-level event organized by the European Commission celebrated the 40th anniversary of the European Research and Innovation Framework Programmes. The three-day event included the Research and Innovation Days, the EIC Summit 2024 and the Belgian Presidency Conference on Innovation Procurement.

One of the topics discussed was the future of the main funding programme in Europe, theFramework Programme for Research and Innovation (FP10). Maria de Graça Carvalho, Member of the European Parliament People’s Party Group, highlighted the need to better link applied and fundamental research, increase simplification, and continue the growing trend in funding observed in latest programmes, both in available funding and in number of funding schemes in Horizon Europe (including in basic research, e.g. ERC to funding for partnerships). Maria Chiara Carrozza, President of the Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche and member of the High-Level Expert Group for the Interim evaluation of Horizon Europe, defended more funding for fundamental research and less prescription in science.

Additional debates addressed the contributions of the EU Missions for a more resilient Europe. Pascal Lamy, Chair of the Board of the EU Mission “Restore Our Ocean and Waters”, described its activities to reach more impact and to increase engagement with policymakers. Teresa Pinto Correia, Vice-Chair of the Board of the Soil Mission and Professor of the University of Évora, noted the importance of the Mission’s activities to transfer and disseminate knowledge. Pascal Lamy also highlighted that the EU missions, beyond their scientific impact, crowded-in EUR 2 million in funding from philanthropy and the private sector. Mr. Lamy also advocated for more “political ownership” by the European Commission and by Member States to reach the main goals of the Missions. As for the future FP10, Lastly, Pascal Lamy recommended maintaining constant funding and programming for the missions.

On research careers, Manuel Heitor, Chair of the High-level Group for the interim evaluation of Horizon Europe, stressed that the increase in the number of researchers in Europe was not followed by an increased in the quality of research jobs. Mr. Heitor noted that career frameworks depend on labour laws, institutional policies and career support development. Lastly, Manuel Heitor called for quality in research careers to be a shared responsability with co-funding mechanisms.

Specific sessions addressed knowledge valorisation, namely on the implementation of the recent Recommendations on Knowledge Valorisation with two Codes of practice for knowledge valorisation by citizens’ engagement and on industry-academia collaboration.

The Director of the Portuguese Agency of Innovation, António Grilo, praised the new recommendations as a conducive framework that brings value to research, which can be also implemented not only by funders and policy funders, but also by the private sector. António Grilo pointed out that, in the co-creation processes between academia and industry, it is important to become aware of valorisation of outcomes at an early stage. Fernando Vilariño, Associate Director of the Computer Vision at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, noted the importance of citizen-centric innovation and citizen-centric knowledge valorisation generation, as the relevant actors in the processes of transformation for societal challenges.

The Director of the Portuguese Research evaluation also joined the debates during the R&I Days. Sebastian Dahle, President of EURODOC Association, stressed out the current challenges of research assessment, particularly for young post-docs, with the high pressure to excel not only at a scientific level but also in different roles. Mr. Dahle called for “better assessment (qualitatively) but less assessment” in a constructive alignment with research careers. Karen Stroobants, Vice-chair of COARA Coalition for Research Assessement, recommended to exchange good practices on change of management at institutional level for the implementation of research assessment and increased diversification in the profile of researchers.

The R&I Days ended with key messages from Manuel Heitor, calling for an increased cooperation in Research and Innovation to promote knowledge and peace among communities.

All videos of the Conference are available on the youtube channel of the European Commission, searching “European R&I Days 2024”.

Find the key policy document “Horizon Europe’s Strategic Plan 2025-2027” which sets the policy priorities for the calls opening in Horizon Europe work programmes in the same period. This will be also the last period of the current framework programme for Research and innovation before FP10.

Carolina Varela

ICoRSA administrative officer