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Big Science for Small Countries
    Thursday July 12, 2012 10:45am - 12:15pm @ The Liffey B

    This session seeks to examine the benefits to small EU countries like Ireland of establishing Big Science Facilities in terms of scientific and technological output and economic growth, as well as looking at the alternatives for the large investments required.  

    The session will highlight two case studies on “big science” discussing the experiences of Catalonia with the ALBA synchrotron light source and Virginia USA with Jefferson Lab.

    We will also explore the issue from the EU perspective with a view to policies already in place and strategies that could be employed by the smaller EU countries like Ireland to attract such an investment.

    The speakers will each speak for 10 minutes followed by a formal discussion.

    For more information see http://www.bigscienceireland.org/

    President, Transparent Solutions, Canada, Chairman of Tyndall...

    Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Germany Chair of...

    American Institute of Physics, USA H. F. Dylla is the Executive...

    University of Colorado, USA Prof. Margaret Murnane is a Fellow...

    University of Maryland, USA Professor O’Shea is VP for Research...

    ALBA Synchrotron Executive Commission, Spain Ramon Pascual has...

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA Professor Richard...

    Minister for Research and Innovation, Ireland Appointed Minister...

    Type Science Programme, Policy
  • Organiser Professor Roger Whatmore
  • Tags SP9



Beyond the Arab Spring: science and innovation in the Islamic world
    Friday July 13, 2012 8:00am - 9:30am @ Wicklow Hall 2A

    As the wider world watches the social and political shifts in the wake of the Arab Spring, the scientific community is looking to the rapid developments in the science, technology and innovation sectors in the Islamic countries of the Middle East and beyond. Countries such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar are pouring natural resource wealth into universities and technology parks. But it is not just hydrocarbon-rich countries that are striving to make the move towards knowledge-based economies. Pakistan established over 50 new universities between 2002 and 2008. In Egypt, the new Library of Alexandria is an example of a world-class teaching and research institution that has developed independently of the university system.
    The Atlas of Islamic World Science and Innovation Project is being coordinated by a unique collection of international partners and is examining the past and future of the STI systems of Islamic countries. This is a time of rapid development in modern science and one that presents many opportunities to establish new and fruitful international collaborations for Europe and the rest of the world.

    Research Fortnight/Research Europe, UK

     Freelance science writer, UK

     Freelance science journalist and blogger (Science Safari...

    Type Science Programme, Policy
    Host Organization Royal Society of London
  • Organiser Luke Clarke
  • Tags SP25


How can technology transfer drive innovation?
    Friday July 13, 2012 8:00am - 9:30am @ The Liffey A

    Despite the widespread rejection of the 'linear model' of innovation, policy often continues to build on linear thinking. Thus, the idea that 'making better use of publicly funded R&D is a significant problem' in Europe underpins aspects of the 'Innovation Union' flagship of the Europe 2020 Strategy.

    The 'Technological Impacts of Knowledge Transfer from Public Research Organisations' project of the Science and Technology Options Assessment Panel of the European Parliament was conceived to deepen understanding of policy options for knowledge interchange. It explores the mechanisms of mutual influence and exchange that should underpin institutional 'knowledge transfer' strategies as well as trade-offs between formal technology transfer and other forms of research-industry cooperation.

    Technopolis Group and University of Twente, Netherlands...

    European Chemical Industry Council, Belgium

    Joint Research Centre of the European Commission, Belgium...

    Science|Business Publishing, Belgium  

    Science and Technology Options Assessment, European Parliam...

    Type Science Programme, Policy
    Host Organization European Parliament
  • Organiser Miklos Gyorffi
  • Tags SP26


Research Integrity: Developing codes of conduct for researchers
    Friday July 13, 2012 8:00am - 9:30am @ Wicklow Meeting Room 2

    Research is a growing area for professional employment throughout the world and its continued growth of and respect as a profession rests first and foremost on its integrity. This session deals with the development of research standards in the form of codes of conduct and other best practice guidelines for researchers.
    Most researchers and research organisations believe that self-regulation is essential to the promotion of integrity in research, but self-regulation cannot succeed without common standards of behaviour. A number of codes have and are being developed.
    The aim of the session is to provide the essential background for a vigorous debate within the audience about the desirability of regulation and self-regulation through the establishment of internationally accepted norms of behaviour.

    Health Research Board, Ireland

    University of Minnesota, USA

    University of Michigan, Institute for Clinical and Health Research...

    Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences and All European...

    The Lancet Committee on Publication Ethics, UK

    Type Science Programme, Policy
    Host Organization Nanyang Technological University
  • Organiser Tony Mayer
  • Tags SP27


Scientific advice for European policy
    Friday July 13, 2012 8:00am - 9:30am @ The Liffey B

    Global challenges call for sound scientific advice at the highest level and often at the cutting edge. In 2009 President Barroso announced the creation of the role of an EU Chief Scientist and Professor Anne Glover was appointed to the role in November 2011. An audience, including invited questioners, will ask this experienced panel of scientific advisors and policy-makers to discuss the role of scientific advice for Europe and debate its challenges: what opportunities does the existence of an European Chief Scientist provide for the coordination of scientific advice and improving its effectiveness, in the face of urgent and emerging situations - from flu outbreaks to food safety, and volcanic ash to radiation? How can scientific scrutiny of new legislation be improved? What can member states do to contribute to the evidence base for European policy making? Audience and panellists will set out what the next steps should be.


    Chief Scientific Adviser to the President of the European Commission...

    Permanent Representation of Spain to the European Union, B...

    Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland

    President of the Norwegian Academy of Science and  Letters...

    Chief Science Advisor to the Prime Minister, New Zealand...

    Sense About Science, UK

    Type Science Programme, Policy
    Host Organization Sense About Science
  • Organiser Leonor Sierra
  • Tags SP28


The Future of Innovation Policy – Forging Policy in Uncertain Times
    Friday July 13, 2012 8:00am - 9:30am @ Liffey Hall 2

    A paradigm shift is underway on the part of many governments around the world as to the proper balance between government and the market. The 2008 Financial Crisis has acted as a catalyst for challenging the consensus among western policymakers that markets lead while governments follow. Internationally, governments are also realising that a hands-off approach will simply not be sufficient to address some of the world challenges (climate, energy, food etc.) that face us and that much more interventionist measures will be needed. One area in which the switch to a more hands-on approach from governments can be seen most clearly is in the area of innovation policy where the search is on for ways in which governments can more effectively prioritise support for research, development and innovation (RDI). Such so-called ‘smart specialisation’ strategies encourage each country or region to identify its best assets and potential in order to concentrate its resources on a limited number of priorities where it can really develop excellence, generate economic returns, and compete in the global economy. This session will examine the current state of play in Ireland’s RDI policy, including the recent Irish prioritisation exercise around State investment in research and development and the challenges and opportunities that this new paradigm presents.


    President, Dublin City University, Ireland

    Chef de Cabinet, Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn...

    Head of Science and Technology Policy Division, OECD

    Chief Executive, Forfás – Ireland’s Policy Advisory Body...

    Minister for Research and Innovation, Ireland

    Type Science Programme, Policy
    Host Organization Forfás
  • Organiser John Dooley
  • Tags SP29


The Young Academy movement
    Friday July 13, 2012 8:00am - 9:30am @ Wicklow Meeting Room 1

    Young academies are currently formed all over the world. These are groups of excellent young scientists who get together in order to act across disciplinary borders and create voices of young researchers. This creates dynamic and creative groups with great potential, which may be well suited to help finding possible solutions to the future grand challenges which badly needs new ways of thinking and real multidisciplinary collaborations.
    Die Junge Akademie in Germany was established in 2000 and has been a source of inspiration for other young academies to be established worldwide. In 2010 a Global Young Academy was started and in 2011 a Young Academy was established in Sweden.
    This session will put the movement of young academies in a global perspective and discuss if the young academies are filling an existing gap and what should be their role and function in the future? What can the Young Academies contribute with and what is their unique role?

    Young Academy, Sweden

    KTH - Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden

     Die Junge Akademie, Germany

    Global Young Academy, Germany

    Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, Sweden

    Type Science Programme, Policy
    Host Organization The Young Academy of Sweden
  • Organiser Anna Sjöström Douagi
  • Tags SP92


Can Responsible Research and Innovation expedite Europe's economic renewal?
    Friday July 13, 2012 10:45am - 12:15pm @ Liffey Hall 2

    In this session a high-level panel will discuss the role that Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) can play in setting Europe on a growth trajectory that is economically, environmentally and socially sustainable.

    The panel will explore how the ideas and concepts of RRI can advance the Innovation Union initiative. In simple terms, the Innovation Union, a flagship initiative of the Europe 2020 strategy, aims to turn ideas into jobs, to generate green growth and to stimulate social progress.

    The following questions will be addressed during the discussion:

    1. How can the principles of RRI be incorporated into real policy instruments?
    2. What are the implications of RRI for industry: SMEs and multinationals?
    3. What opportunities or competitive advantage does RRI open up for industry?
    4. What are the implications if our global trading partners do not adhere to the same standards of RRI?



    Director, Policy and Communications, Science Foundation Irel...

    Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Science, Innovation and Higher...

    Deputy Head of Cabinet Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn

    Type Science Programme, Policy
    Host Organization ESOF2012
    Tags SP33


Exploring promises and timescales in research and policy
    Friday July 13, 2012 10:45am - 12:15pm @ Ecocem Room

    Research and innovation policy today strongly relies on promises of a better future created through new techno scientific developments in areas such as genomics and nanotechnology. To succeed in competitive funding, scientists have to envision how their research might contribute to socio-economic goals.

    This session will explore what characterises contemporary techno scientific promises and how they are linked with normative imaginations of the future. This also includes reflecting on who should participate in defining these futures and how they might be reached.

    Secondly, the session addresses the question of how time horizons of promises impinge on the science system itself. Temporalities of scientists' current work structures often do not match with far-reaching promises, e.g. projects need to be completed in short time frames, careers are fragmented and even funding schemes shift their focus continually. We thus aim to discuss how scientists and policy makers experience and engage with promissory rhetoric, diverging temporalities and time horizons.

    American Association for the Advancement of Science, USA

    University of Vienna, Austria

    Aachen University RWTH, Germany

    President of the European Research Council, Belgium

    University of Vienna, Austria

    Department of Social Studies of Science, University of Vienna...

    Type Science Programme, Policy
    Host Organization University of Vienna
  • Organiser Claudia Schwarz
  • Tags SP31


Modelling the impacts of innovation and knowledge
    Friday July 13, 2012 10:45am - 12:15pm @ Wicklow Meeting Room 2

    High productivity and competitiveness are necessary conditions for economic success in a globalised world. They have been proved to be even more important in the scenario created by the current financial crisis. Among the factors that exert a strongest influence on productivity, it has been suggested that R&D, innovation and, broadly speaking, knowledge capital have a prominent role.

    The focus of this session will be on the most appropriate way of modelling the impact of policies aiming at stimulating knowledge accumulation, considering both their direct and their indirect effects on the most important socio-economic magnitudes, such as productivity, income, labour demand and supply, and well-being.

    Joint Research Centre - Institute for Prospective Technological...

    Laboratoire ERASME de l'École Centrale Paris, France

    CRENoS, University of Cagliari, Italy

     European Commission DG-ECFIN, Belgium

    Joint Research Centre - Institute for Prospective Technological...

    Type Science Programme, Policy
    Host Organization Joint Research Centre, European Commission
  • Organiser Geraldine Barry
  • Tags SP32


Science without borders
    Friday July 13, 2012 10:45am - 12:15pm @ Wicklow Hall 2A

    This session is designed to identify best practices and pitfalls encountered by different countries when practicing science without borders. The high-level international speakers will bring unique insights into the science behind science policy making, implementation and evaluation. Climate change, energy and resource efficiency, health and demographic change, food security and the digital divide, are opportunities for research and innovation, which will help us to create the necessary jobs and wealth to take the developed and developing world out of the current economic crisis, achieving sustainable development and alleviating poverty.

    An important focus will be on Africa's determination to not only harness science and technology for the continent's development, but to become a full and active partner in global knowledge partnerships. Progress on the roadmap towards a true European Innovation Union with dynamic international cooperation links will be assessed. The imperative of re-focusing R&D and innovation policy on the challenges facing our global society from the American and Asian perspectives will also be tackled.

    American Association for the Advancement of Science, USA

    Joint Research Centre of the European Commission

    Minister of Science and Technology, Republic of South Africa...

    Secretary-General of the Association of Commonwealth Univers...

    Chief Science Advisor to the Prime Minister, New Zealand...

    Type Science Programme, Policy
    Host Organization South African Department of Science and Technology
  • Organiser Daan Du Toit
  • Tags SP34


Building an economy on good ideas
    Friday July 13, 2012 1:15pm - 2:45pm @ The Liffey A

    Innovation is all about getting good ideas to market and bridging the gap between discovery and delivery. In this session, three distinguished speakers will deal with the challenges faced when driving and supporting economic and social progress through science. More precisely, they will explore the latest thinking on the value of indicators while providing the latest insights into Irish, European and US developments, plus their global implications.

    The first case study will highlight the experience of the Irish Celtic Tiger and lessons learnt from the perspective of a knowledge based economy. The science behind the compilation of the annual investment in industrial R&D scoreboard will be explained. Finally, the lessons learned into a wider context, while advocating the importance of advancing the scientific basis of science and innovation policy through developing, improving and expanding models, analytical tools, data and metrics.

     Financial Times, UK

    Joint Research Centre of the European Commission

    Enterprise Ireland, Ireland

     American Institutes for Research, USA

    Type Science Programme, Policy
    Host Organization Enterprise Ireland
  • Organiser Catriona Ward
  • Tags SP38


How do European RIs contribute to tackling grand societal challenges?
    Friday July 13, 2012 1:15pm - 2:45pm @ Wicklow Meeting Room 2

    The challenges that society faces are both global and complex. To name a few examples; the prospect of doubling the current world population by 2050 and an envisaged reduction of arable land our food-systems will need to be improved to be able to feed the world in future. The increasing average age of humans brings new health risks that need to be detected, acknowledged and mitigated in order to maintain an acceptable quality of life for future generations. With a luring exhaustion of fossil fuels within a few generations time, there is a strong need to investigate alternative sources of energy to find the supply to the growing demands of modern society. Another challenge is how do we address the preservation of the cultural heritage, that made human beings to what they are today and will determine part of their future evolution.
    If solutions to these challenges are to be found, investment in excellent interdisciplinary research is key. Research Infrastructures have been playing a central role in fostering excellent multi-disciplinary research, with examples like CERN, EMBL, ESRF and ESO. This trend is rapidly expanding into all fields of science.

    Helmholtz Zentrum München, Germany

    University of Zagreb, Croatia

    European Science Foundation, France

    Type Science Programme, Policy
    Host Organization European Science Foundation
  • Organiser Paul Beckers
  • Tags SP39


Is collaboration with Russia vitally important for Europe?


Responsible Research and Innovation
    Friday July 13, 2012 1:15pm - 2:45pm @ Ecocem Room

    Responsible Research and Innovation is an emergent policy discourse with potentially widespread implications for the practices, norms and cultures of science. This session will explore what responsible innovation is, how it is being defined in different contexts and for different audiences, and the ways in which the issue is being differentially configured and implemented across European, UK and US contexts.
    How are societal and ethical goals and concerns to be defined? What role should public and stakeholder engagement play in this process? How should responsibilities and accountabilities be organised between researchers, universities and funders of research and innovation?

    Arizona State University, USA

    University of Tromsø, Norway

    Exeter University, UK

    Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands

    European Commission, Belgium

    Exeter University, UK

    Type Science Programme, Policy
    Host Organization Durham University
  • Organiser Phil Macnaghten
  • Tags SP42


The European Research Area: translating the aspiration into reality
    Friday July 13, 2012 1:15pm - 2:45pm @ The Liffey B

    The European Commission's 2012 policy Communication on the European Research Area (ERA) should lead to a significant improvement in Europe's research performance to promote growth and job creation. The measures in the Communication will have to be implemented by EU Member States, the Commission and Research Organisations to ensure the completion of ERA by 2014 as called for by the European Council.


    To complete ERA and maximise the return on research investment, Europe must increase the efficiency and effectiveness of its public research system. This requires more cooperation so that the brightest minds work together to make greater impact on grand challenges (e.g. demographic-ageing, energy security, mobility, environmental degradation), and to avoid unnecessary duplication of research and infrastructure investment at national level. It also requires more competition to ensure that the best researchers and research teams receive funding - those able to compete in the increasingly-globalised and competitive research landscape.

    With the explicit objective of opening up and connecting EU research systems, the ERA reform agenda focuses on five key priorities, which will be presented and discussed. They include optimizing Europe-wide research competition and cooperation, the interoperability of national research systems, promoting gender equality, opening the access to scientific knowledge, and opening the labour market for researchers. In other words: removing barriers to the free circulation of researchers and knowledge in Europe.


    • "A Reinforced European Research Area Partnership for Excellence and Growth" (Dr. Octavi Quintana);
    • "Increasing effectiveness of national research systems" (Prof. Stefan Kuhlman);
    • "Co-operating and competing at a European-wide level" (Dr.ir. Elisabeth Monard);
    • "An open labour market for researchers" (Dr. Conor O'Carroll);
    • "Promoting gender equality in research institutions" (Prof. Inés Sánchez de Madariaga);
    • "Optimal circulation and transfer of scientific knowledge" (Dr. Alma Swan).


    Director of European Advocacy, Scholarly Publishing and Academic...

    Research Director, Irish Universities Association

    Secretary-General, the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO), B...

    Head of Women and Science Unit, Secretary of State for Research...

    Director of the European Research Area

    Chair of the Department of Science, Technology, and Policy Studies...

    Type Science Programme, Policy
    Host Organization European Commission
  • Organiser Mina Stareva; Josefina Enfedaque
  • Tags SP93


Are university rankings real indicators of global competitiveness?
    Friday July 13, 2012 4:00pm - 5:30pm @ The Liffey A

    The world is increasingly one of Key Performance Indicators, Rankings and League Tables and the universities are no exception. Yet universities should be the repositories of academic freedom. Can these two issues be reconciled? What do League Tables really measure? What makes a good ranking? Are they measuring what's important or excellent? Are they a guide to global competitiveness? Can European universities compete in the new global environment? Should government policy and or institutional strategy focus on its position in a ranking or on improving the quality of higher education? How should rankings develop in the future?

     QS Quacquarelli Symonds Ltd, UK

     Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

    Dublin Institute of Technology, Ireland  

    Centre for Higher Education, Germany

    Association of Commonwealth Universities, UK

    Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

    Type Science Programme, Policy
    Host Organization Nanyang Technological University Singapore
  • Organiser Tony Mayer
  • Tags SP44


Debating the financial crisis: guessing or modelling?
    Friday July 13, 2012 4:00pm - 5:30pm @ The Liffey B

    This session discusses how science can help even on issues such as the financial crisis. It advocates the use of economic and financial models as valuable tools to gauge the collective impact of the proposed banking regulatory changes, and to ensure the overall consistency and thus efficacy of the complete package of measures.
    Financial models have been too often labelled as ‘bad’ tools, as they are associated with the idea of tools in the hands of speculators. But financial models, in proper hands, become a valuable tool for robust policy making.
    This session will contribute to the debate on the use of models for the reform of the banking system by presenting the point of views of the academic financial modellers, of the European Commission scientists who deploy models for policy impact assessment, and of practitioners from the banking industry.

     Financial Services Compensation Scheme, Lloyds Chambers...

    Joint Research Centre - Institute for the Protection and Security...

    Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium

    Joint Research Centre - Institute for the Protection and Security...

    Type Science Programme, Policy
    Host Organization European Commission - Joint Research Centre
  • Organiser Geraldine Barry
  • Tags SP45


Is science driven policy making an achievable goal?
    Friday July 13, 2012 4:00pm - 5:30pm @ Wicklow Hall 2A

    Evidence based policy making is increasingly important, as policy makers are faced with policy dilemmas and need scientific input for policy development. Recent emergencies with a serious public impact (volcanic eruptions in Europe, earthquake and tsunami in Japan etc.) have shown that we need to speed up the interaction between science and politics in urgent situations. The purpose of the session would be to address via interactive discussions how to bring science even closer to policy making, what are the main challenges, and to share experiences and compare different systems in the EU and the US.

    Joint Research Centre of the European Commission

    Rathenau Instituut, The Netherlands

    Member of the European Parliament, UK

    Member of the European Parliament, Austria

    Government Accountability Office, USA

    Type Science Programme, Policy
    Host Organization STOA, European Parliament
  • Organiser Theodoros Karapiperis
  • Tags SP46


Science crossing boundaries: the Nordic e-Science initiative
    Friday July 13, 2012 4:00pm - 5:30pm @ Wicklow Hall 2B

    To meet the current challenges in e.g. health and human environment, extensive efforts in science and technology are needed. In such endeavours, e-science research and a highly advanced information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure are crucial facilitators. In 2011, the Nordic eScience Initiative has been initiated, providing a framework for Nordic, European and global collaboration within key areas of science and development of the next generation of ICT infrastructure. The goal of the initiative is to enable cross-national, cross-disciplinary research efforts in areas that have been pointed out to be of critical importance both to the Nordic countries and to the global community.
    To make the discussion on how to remove obstacles to science crossing boundaries more concrete, examples will be provided from the focus areas of the Nordic e-science initiative with particular emphasis on research on health registers, biobanks and climate.

    Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Germany Chair of...

    Oregon State University, USA

    The Swedish Reseach Council, Sweden

    BBC, UK Described by The Times as both "the world's most enthusiastic...

    NordForsk, Norway

    Type Science Programme, Policy
    Host Organization NordForsk
  • Organiser Sverker Holmgren
  • Tags SP48


Scientists and advocacy


Time to simplify the representation of European research
    Friday July 13, 2012 4:00pm - 5:30pm @ Ecocem Room

    European countries invest less than America and Asia; organising and funding research at the European level is clumsy and complex. National funding agencies look for a higher profile in European policy discussions as the biggest providers of flexible money, but face challenges: position vis-à-vis the ERC; joint responsibilities e.g. in providing mid-level European research infrastructures. Key performing agencies are central in defining major European research efforts: easy for big players (e.g. CNRS, MPG, TNO, major aerospace labs), but the tens of thousands universities and research institutions, or individual enterprises? At grass-roots level Euroscience aims to provide a platform and shared services for individual scientists and institutions. ScienceEurope defines itself as new European lobbyist representing many national funding agencies and some performing organisations. The European Science Foundation looks for its most effective added value. Horizon2020 presents major organisational and funding challenges: research and funding institutions must position themselves to ensure that solutions for major European research and innovation efforts are not largely politically inspired. European researchers and institutions need to unite to make their voice better heard and help find structures fit for purpose in the 21st century.

    President of Euroscience

    Director of the European Research Area

    President of Science Europe

    Secretary General of Euroscience

    Type Science Programme, Policy
    Host Organization Euroscience
  • Organiser Raymond Seltz
  • Tags SP50


Debate on Scientific Publishing and Open Access
    Friday July 13, 2012 5:30pm - 6:30pm @ Auditorium

    This session will consider the issue of Quality Control in Scientific Publishing, both in the context of publication in for-profit journals and also in the context of a future move to Open Access journals. Against the backdrop of:

    • The proliferation of journals and the burgeoning of scientific publications,
    • Recent controversies over publication and subsequent corrections and retractions of flawed and fraudulent papers,
    • On-going community and political agitation for Open Access (OA),

    the following questions will be posed:

    1. Is the transition to full and immediate open access to research papers inevitable?
    2. Does the growth of open access threaten the quality of research papers?
    3. How will the science literature evolve over the foreseeable future, and how will the roles and funds of researchers, publishers, research councils and universities need to evolve with it?
    4. How will the achievements of researchers be documented, accredited and judged in the future?

    Director of European Advocacy, Scholarly Publishing and Academic...

    Editor-in-chief, Nature, UK

    President of NWO, the Dutch National Research Organisation

    Trinity College Dublin, Ireland Chairman of the ESOF2012 Programme...

    President, Initiative for Science in Europe; Director, EMBO...

    Type Keynote Address, Policy | Science Programme, Policy
    Host Organization ESOF2012
    Tags SP51



Frontier Research: An extravagance or a necessity in times of recession?
    Saturday July 14, 2012 10:45am - 12:15am @ The Liffey A

    In many parts of the world, science, technology and innovation are seen as critical drivers of economic growth and national well-being. We look towards research hoping to find the solution of many of the problems – current and future ones- we face and which cannot be solved without major breakthroughs. The challenges created by poverty, climate change, infectious diseases, health challenges across the years of the human lifespan produce a sense of urgency to find solutions. Hence, as tools become available and financial resources become more limiting, research funding is increasingly viewed as an end to a means. Because this view assumes it can recognise the appropriate endpoint, it ignores the role that research directed by the need to understand basic processes has played as the engine of new discoveries to fuel new technologies and combat challenges not yet imagined. 
    The speakers of this session all agree that it is necessary and natural for a nation to set aside specific means to address major challenges or to explore already acknowledged promising areas. However, they also share the view that a nation should commit itself to support what might be described as frontier research that push the boundaries of knowledge and hold the potential to transform science itself and ultimately change the way we live and think. In order to push the frontiers one must enter new fields and leave the beaten track. This demands that not only researchers but also funders are courageous and adventurous and ready to take risks. Forging new paths in barely known territory often takes longer than the usual length of project funding. Mistakes must be allowed as well as change of direction. 
    The session will discuss why it is necessary to trust the best researcher’s talent and how transformative research is best identified and supported by addressing questions such as

    • What is frontier research and how do we detect it?
    • Is it a necessity or an extravaganza? – Why?
    • What are the benefits for society?
    • How is frontier research and creativity sustained, developed, nurtured?

    Howard Hughes Medical Institute, USA

    Human Frontier Science Program Organization, France

    Danish National Research Foundation, Denmark

    Volkswagen Stiftung, Germany

    Type Science Programme, Policy
    Host Organization Danish National Research Foundation
  • Organiser Vibeke Schrøder
  • Tags SP70


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