President's page#

Sierd Cloetingh

Letter to AE and YAE members and guests from the President Sierd Cloetingh#

March 2018#

Dear AE member, member of the Young Academy and guest readers,#

As the very early Easter break ends, I am pleased to update you on some recent developments and on some participation opportunities.

The first AE led SAPEA [Science Advice for Policy by European Academies project] expert evidence review and the linked Commission’s opinion on that review, was successfully completed at the end of 2017. The 'Food from the Oceans' topic was handled in a most professional way by our Science Policy Officer and Hub staff member Louise Edwards and by the Hub Academic Director and our Treasurer and Vice President Ole Petersen, out of the Cardiff Hub. The Bergen Hub also played a notable and active part in a number of events linked to the topic, and that were held both in Bergen and also in Cardiff. We are now in the general dissemination phase, so if anyone would like to have hard copies of the report, please contact Teresa at the London office. You can also access the reports online, via the SAPEA web site, or on either or the Cardiff Hub website.

Ole Petersen and Louise are now leading on another very relevant and timely topic – “Making Sense of Science”. SAPEA is a four-year project and we now need to receive from you our membership ideas for “bottom-up” topics. Please remember that we are dealing here with science for general policy relevant at the European level and for which your expertise can provide independent evidence input – not research or science policy topics. Any initial suggestions can be provided as a simple outline page and sent to Louise Edwards at the Cardiff Hub. She will then follow-up on suitable ideas with you. This is a real opportunity for AE members to become active and influential.

The 2018 new member nominations cycle is still open. So, all members elected in 2017 and earlier can nominate candidates. You can nominate scholars for any Section, not just your own. Why not nominate a colleague? We particularly encourage members from Western Europe to identify those excellent scholars from the Eastern European countries and from Russia who would benefit from the networking opportunities that membership can provide. Instructions can be found on the website and the nomination form must be completed and submitted as an email attachment by 30 April. Keeping our membership database up to date is a major task. So, please help us and log in to your own account and keep your personal data updated. If you are aware of any of our members who have died, please do let Dana Kaiser at the Graz data centre know so that we can mark this correctly.

I recently visited our ‘new’ Hub at Bergen University. We are grateful to the Rector, Professor Dag Rune Olsen and to the former Hub Director Jan Vaagen and his deputy Laszlo Csernai, for enabling a successful transition. We have a new structure and new staff in place. The Academic Director is Eystein Jansen. A provisional activity plan will be published very soon, together with a new updated Hub website. Eystein would like to hear from any members in the Scandinavian and Baltic countries and also from Scotland, who may be interested to become members of the Hub advisory group and any ideas that will contribute to the ‘Northern dimension’ agenda that the Hub has as its focus.

The Wroclaw team are very active and have put together a large and diverse programme of events for 2018. Information and participation opportunities can be found on their Hub website and by direct contact with the Hub staff. They are always on the lookout for members who are willing to visit and to give high-level lectures. They are also hosting meetings of both our History and Archaeology Section and the Film Media and Visual Arts section later in the year. There is a call for papers open at the moment.

Both Barcelona and Cardiff have dynamic programmes planned and advertised on the ae-info site and their respective Hub websites. I want to specifically mention the 28 – 30 November. This is when we will hold our 30th annual meeting in collaboration with the Young Academy of Europe and the Caixa Foundation, with the theme “Building Bridges”. We will also hold our 2018 Annual Business Meeting for members and the traditional welcome to new members (elected in 2017) event. The Barcelona Hub will also hold the annual “Disputatio” public debate event.

We will also award our Erasmus Medal for 2018 to Hans Clevers, for his longstanding and major contributions to cancer research. So please put Barcelona 2018 into your diaries. Full details and the registration website will be published in May

I was recently pleased to see that the first European Review supplement of 2018 - ‘University Governance and Creativity” has been published – it is online and is also open access. This issue was sponsored by the Volkswagen Stiftung and was a result of a collaborative symposium of our HERCuLES group and INCHER Kassel, held in autumn 2016. Some hard copies are available from the London office or from INCHER at Kassel. You can access the journal from our website.

On a more bilateral level: I recently was pleased to attend the 100th anniversary event at TSU Tbilisi, Georgia where I gave a presentation on the Eastern Partnership, in cooperation with COST and the ERC and met our new member – the University Rector George Sharvashidze and also the recently appointed Minister for Research of the Republic. I am very hopeful of future positive links and exciting developments between the Academia and Georgia. I also attended, together with Louise Edwards, a ‘Risk’ meeting held in Brussels under umbrella of the Bulgarian Presidency of the EU, and as I write this letter; I am representing the AE at a number of COST and ERC partnership events in Ljubljana, in Belgrade and in Athens. My conclusion from all of these travels is that the Academia Europaea and the membership are genuinely seen as a visible, beneficial and reliable partner organisation within the European landscape.

Sierd Cloetingh
Utrecht, December 2017

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