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US5 Media|ECS

Scientific research in a changing European Union: where we stand and what we aim for?
Convener: Francesca Pianosi  | Co-Conveners: Elena Toth , Chloe Hill 
Fri, 13 Apr, 08:30–10:00

As academics, we belong to a professional sector that often relies on cross-border programmes, communication and mobility. Furthermore, research generally benefits far more from collaboration and openness than competition and seclusion. For these reasons, the EU is primary perceived to have a positive influence that is beneficial to researchers.

However, over the last few years, trust in the EU has been decreasing with growing support for Eurosceptic political parties who challenge European Union policies. In parallel, a relatively low rate of acceptance of proposals to some EU funding programs accompanied by changes to application calls and procedures further highlights the importance for the academic community to be involved in the discussion.

This session will explore some of the challenges and potential threats to academics in the EU and how these issues can be addressed and overcome. The session will also outline some of the advantages of the EU, funding programmes that are currently provided and how the European Union can continue to develop and nurture its researchers.

Confirmed invited speakers:
Andrea Tilche, Head of Unit, Climate Action and Earth Observations, Directorate- General for Research and Innovation, European Commission
Claudia Alves de Jesus-Rydin, Programme Officer Earth System science, European Research Council
Sir Keith O'Nions, Chairman of the Cambridge Enterprise Board (United Kingdom)
Ira Didenkulova, Tallinn University of Technology (Estonia) - Nizhny Novgorod State Technical University (Russia)

Public information: Andrea Tilche completed a Doctor Degree in Agricultural Sciences at the University of Milano. After 20 years of research on water and wastewater biotechnologies, he moved to the European Commission where he has held various positions within the European research Framework Programmes on a number of different geoscience related areas including water, soil, environmental technologies, natural hazards, and in the last 8 years on climate change and earth observation. Andrea will discuss the development of the European Framework Programmes and how they are helping to drive collaborative research, address societal challenges and support economic growth and innovation.

Claudia Alves de Jesus-Rydin is a Geotechnical Engineer, graduated from the New University of Lisbon. In 1999 she moved to Denmark as Marie Curie Research Fellow working in organic contamination of soil. After working as a senior consultant in both Denmark and Sweden, in 2009 Claudia moved to Brussels where she continues to be the coordinator of the European Research Council’s Earth System Science division. The European Research Council (ERC) is Europe's premiere funding agency for frontier research. Designed and governed by scientists for scientists, the ERC's mission is to serve the research communities in all fields of knowledge. Since its foundation in 2007, the ERC remains loyal to support highest quality research in Europe, open to all nationalities and topics of research. The ERC has also developed implementing agreements with 10 countries outside of the EU (US, China, Japan, South Africa, etc.) to foster cross-border science collaboration. Claudia will outline the ERC's Open to the World policy, the benefits of 'brain circulation', with a clear correlation between funding success and transnational mobility, and the ability of science funding to stimulate innovation and push the frontiers of knowledge.

Keith O’Nions holds a PhD in earth sciences and has worked in both prominent academic positions and advisory positions throughout his career. From 2000 until 2004, Keith was the Chief Scientific Advisor to the UK Ministry of Defence following which he became the Director General and Chef Scientific Advisor for the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills. He was knighted for services to earth sciences in 1999. Keith will discuss the importance of sustained investment in research for Europe in face of global challenges, as well as the growing disenchantment about a perceived underperformance of research investments, despite Europe’s emphasis on excellence in science.

Ira Didenkulova holds two PhD degrees, one in Fluid Mechanics and the other in Civil Engineering. Ira currently works as a senior researcher in Tallinn University of Technology and was recently elected to serve as the next EGU Natural Hazards Division President. She was awarded Plinius Medal by EGU in 2010, the national L'Oreal-UNESCO fellowship "For Women in Science" in 2014 and International L'Oreal-UNESCO fellowship "International Rising Talents" in 2016. Ira will discuss the importance of mobility in science, touching on several EU programmes which support mobility while also discussing the challenges faced by researchers, particularly in relation to gender and parenting roles.