Tuesday and Wednesday this week the head of our Grants Office, Björn Kull and myself, joined vice-chancellors, pro-vice-chancellors and heads of grants offices (or equivalent) from the 12 largest research universities in Sweden (or in other words what i usually known as Huvudmannarådet) to Brussels. We met with representatives from the Permanent Representation of Sweden to the European Union in Brussels, from the Vinnova and Swedish Research Councils common office, as well as with representatives from the European Commission and Swedish politicians.
A recurrent and important theme is that the ERC programme is a success! Another theme was that the conclusions from the midterm review of the 8th frame work programme, Horizon 2020, is in general positive, the programme is more straightforward than previous frame work programmes. The three pillars and the societal challenges are still highly relevant but the question of how relevance and impact can be improved was brought up.
We discussed FP9 which is now being developed and which will be effective 2021-2027. We should build on the strengths of H2020 and develop it further. Among issues and ideas that were brought up were: How do we demonstrate final impact? Open innovation, open science and open to the world. Co-creation and co-design. Innovation is broad and include for example social innovation, regulatory innovation and educational innovation. Cities could be learning urban labs just like patients provide real world data.
How to increase our share of EU funding?
On Tuesday evening we were generously invited to a dinner hosted by the Ambassador for the Representation of Sweden to the EU, Lars Danielsson. During the dinner he delivered a most interesting resume of EU politics, what is happening now and some scenarios for the coming years. How will Brexit effect the European education and research landscape? One important message was that it is really a two-step process. The conditions of the separation have to be settled before we can build a future relationship under new terms.
As part of a university management I think it is very important to understand and relate to the European arena primarily of course to the developments in regards to research and education politics but our sector is not isolated from other sectors.
We have discussed how to increase the KI share of EU funding and how we should increase the number of projects coordinated by KI. Together we can work towards making FP9 relevant and attractive for KI scientists and provide good support functions.