Eurocadres’ reply to the Public consultation on Horizon 2020 “Science with and for Society” Work Programme 2016-2017
Horizon 2020 is the biggest EU Research and Innovation programme ever with nearly €80 billion of funding available over 7 years (2014 to 2020). Eurocadres participated in the public consultation on the "Science with and for Society" Work Programme 2016-2017.
EUROCADRES’ reply to the Public consultation on Horizon 2020 "Science with and for Society" Work Programme 2016-2017
Background (Text taken from the consultation's background paper.):
Horizon 2020 is the biggest EU Research and Innovation programme ever with nearly €80 billion of funding available over 7 years (2014 to 2020). Delivering on the Europe 2020 objectives of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth depends on research and innovation as key drivers of social and economic prosperity and of environmental sustainability. Linking EU research and innovation closer to policy objectives sets the framework and objectives to which Horizon 2020 research and innovation funding should contribute, such as the Europe 2020 Strategy, the Innovation Union and other flagship initiatives. The general objective of Horizon 2020 will be pursued through three priorities dedicated to generating excellent science, creating industrial leadership, and tackling societal challenges.
The aim of this consultation is to obtain views and contributions from a broad constituency on the potential priorities for the "Science with and for Society" work programme part covering the period 2016-2017. These contributions will complement the opinion provided by an External Advisory Group of high level experts set up by the Commission according to article 12 of Regulation (EU) No 1291/2013 establishing Horizon 20204.
The objective of the Part V of Horizon 2020 "Science with and for Society" is: "to build effective cooperation between science and society, to recruit new talent for science, and to pair scientific excellence with social awareness and responsibility". To that end, it indicates that the focus will be on the following 8 specific activities. (...)
The present consultation is structured around a set of questions, which take into account the policy thrust and general framework set by Europe 2020, Innovation Union and the European Research Area, and builds upon the Science with and for Society part of the Horizon 2020 Work Programme 2014-2015.
Open questions in the questionnaire - Answers can be maximum 1000 characters long.
1.What should be the main priorities needed to shape the next "Horizon 2020" Work Programme 2016-2017 to build an effective cooperation between science and society?
The previous Work Programme (2014-2015) focused on four (a, b, c and f) of the eight specific activites included in "Science with and for Society".
Of these, EUROCADRES considers the first (make scientific and technological careers attractive to young students, and foster sustainable interaction between schools, research institutions, industry and civil society organisations) this means scientific education and cultures and second (promote gender equality, in particular by supporting structural changes in research institutions and in the content and design of research activities this means part of the research budget for dissemination) so essential that they should remain priorities during 2015-2016.
In addition to these two, we suggest that the programme directs its resources to the activities specified in d (encourage citizens, including children and youth, to engage in science through formal and informal science education...) and h (improve knowledge on science communication...).
This consultation is a first step in the process towards preparing the next work programme for 2016-2017. The Commission expects to develop the content of the work programme 2016-2017 during the first half of 2015, with the adoption and publication of calls for proposals by summer 2015
2. Which are the main barriers preventing effective cooperation between science and society?
The low level of scientific knowledge and lack of interest in the population are obvious barriers.
Furthermore, the application procedures in EU:s research programmes are administratively burdensome. Smaller institutions, organisations and/or research groups find it hard to even apply for, and much less receive, funding.
Another barrier is the low level of exchange between academia and business/society, regarding both personnel and information. In the fields of education and health there is great potential for improvement and innovation through research based practices, and vice versa. This is partly caused by the small merit given to non-academic activities within academic career systems and tenure tracks.
EUROCADRES also wants to stress that improved working conditions and continuing education for professional and managerial staff can strengthen the links between science and society and boost the implementation of research-based practices.
3.Which topics could be supported by the next "Horizon 2020" Work Programme 2016-2017 with regard to "Science with and for Society"?
- Dissemination and implementation of knowledge and information from academia to public institutions, and vice versa.
- Mobility of high-skilled professionals, managerial staff and researchers, across national borders, across disciplines and between academia and business/society.
- Promoting social dialogue to ensure career mobility as well as transparent, appropriate and internationally comparable employment and working conditions for all researchers. The social dialogue framework provides an important input through workers' participation, which leads to agreements and codes of conducts on societal topics e.g. CSR and intellectual property rights.
- Links between research and education on a structural level, and between researchers and students on an individual and organisational level.
- Innovative approaches to children's learning and (particularly girls') interest in STEM.
- Initiatives to promote gender equality in research organisations and policy.
4. What would you like to see as outcomes from the projects funded through the "Science with and for Society" calls for proposals 2016-2017?
It is difficult to pinpoint specific outcomes from particular activities, but on a general level the programme should contribute to:
- Greater career mobility and improved employment and working conditions, as well as better access to continuing education for high-skilled professionals, managerial staff and academic faculty, in particular female and young researchers.
- Increased mobility of high-skilled professionals, managerial staff and researchers, across national borders, across disciplines and between academia and business/society.
- More empirical research to improve equity and performance in schools, and for the development of educational technologies, through cooperation with society, patients and education professionals.
- More empirical research to improve healthcare and medical treatments, through cooperation with society, patients and health professionals.
5. How do you see international cooperation (beyond EU borders) being addressed in "Science with and for Society"?
In the current Work Programme (2014-2015) international aspects are mainly present in the calls ISSI (INTEGRATING SOCIETY IN SCIENCE AND INNOVATION) and GARRI (DEVELOPING GOVERNANCE FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF RESPONSIBLE RESEARCH AND INNOVATION). Since we have proposed that the two first calls (SEAC and GERI, see answer to question 1) are kept in the coming Work Programme, there should be room for more internationalisation activities within these calls and within the other two that were suggested in the answer to question 1. Possible regions for more cooperation may be the ones specified (probably for trade related reasons) in the Work Programme: Brazil, Republic of South Africa, India, Canada, Australia, Russia, United States of America, Japan and China. But the Commission might also consider cooperation with regions from which member states receive many immigrants. This could prove to be strategically important in light of the aforementioned growth of political extremism in Europe.
6. In which priorities of "Horizon 2020" and how should science and society issues be integrated (e.g. in Excellent Science, in Industrial Leadership, in Societal Challenges)?
At first sight, the appropriate integration seems to be within the third priority ("Societal Challenges"), which tackles issues such as health, demographic change climate change, clean energy and inclusive societies. These are at the core of the priorities of the present and the upcoming Working Program. The are also topics within the priority "Industrial Leadership" that are highly relevant for some of the previously mentioned issues, such as promoting social dialogue and taking steps towards better employment and working conditions, and better access to continuing education for high-skilled professionals, managerial staff and academic faculty.
7. Do you have further comments?
Cooperation between science and society is essential for the advancement, dissemination, implementation and commercialisation of scientific research. It can also contribute to economic growth and social progress, and is a key element for the public support of investments in academic research and higher education. However, cooperation frameworks and programs should not confine the intellectual freedom of academic institutions. Therefore, though EUROCADRES largely agrees with the rationale behind Horizon 2020's RRI-approach (Responsible Research and Innovation), described in the Work Programme for 2014-2015, we want to stress the principle of academic freedom, as detailed in the joint EUROCADRES/IREER publication "Benchmarks for best contracts: towards excellence in the European Research Area" (2013). Finally, Eurocadres wants to emphasize the importance of avoiding an
 As detailed in the consultation paper for 2016-2017 and in part 16 of the Horizon 2020 Work Programme 2014-2015.