On 2 October 2015, Christophe Rossel welcomed Presidents and representatives from 23 EPS Member societies to discuss and elaborate EPS actions on a European level in the coming years. In order to provide background and context, three introductory talks were provided.
T. Karapiperis, Head of Unit, EPRS | European Parliamentary Research Service, Scientific Foresight Unit (STOA), European Parliament presented Technology Assessment and Scientific Foresight in the European Parliament: STOA’s mission, structure and activities. The talk focused on the role of the STOA (Science and Technology Options Assessment), which is an interface between science and policy making. The STOA is an official body of the EU Parliament launched in 1987. It studies the medium to long term impact of science and technology on society. It is in the agenda setting phase of the science policy cycle. (Agenda Setting -> Policy Formulation -> Decision Making -> Policy Implementation -> Monitoring and Evaluation -> Agenda Setting…) It organises workshops, annual lectures, a scientist/MEP pairing scheme, collaboration with other EC bodies etc. All STOA events are published on their website (http://www.europarl.europa.eu/stoa/).
C. Geerdink, SwissCore presentation entitled “Let’s get physical! The art of lobbying in Brussels” discussed the growing importance of the European Commission and the European Parliament in setting research agendas. For the EPS to position itself in order to provide advice to policy makers, the EC programmes need to be analysed, to find out where European policy and EPS strategy overlap. The actions will be based on strategic objectives of the EPS. The key people need to be identified, including actors on the national scale. Events, bringing key people together to listen to presentations showing where the EPS can assist need to be organised.
J. Labastida, Head of Scientific Management Department, European Research Council presented the work of the European Research Council (ERC). The ERC founded in 2007, finances frontier research in all fields of science. Excellence is the only criteria used to base decisions to finance. Funding of the ERC represents 17% of the H2020 budget (13B€ of 77B€). It runs 3 frontier research funding schemes (starting; consolidator; and advanced), depending on where the researcher is in his/her career.
Since 2007, more than 50,000 research proposals have been received, of which 4,300 have been financed. The fields covered by ERC are within Life Science, Social Science & Humanities and Physical Science & Engineering. A study of the first 20 research grants is underway to determine whether the research is truly frontier, and of excellent scientific quality.
Each of the Member Societies present was given the opportunity to make a short presentation, focusing on the main expectations from the EPS, and their contributions to EPS and its activities. Common concerns included physics education, such as teacher training in physics, physics as a specific course at the upper secondary school. Issues related to the organisation of member Societies were also discussed, and the recruitment of members remains a key issue. The importance of physics in regional development was recognised, and the EPS has a role to play here as well.