The project will foster the realisation of common higher education and research area in the Baltic Sea Region, and its research and innovation performance. The overall aim is to support the realisation of the European Research Area via intensified cooperation in the Baltic Sea Region, increase the research and innovation performance and strengthen the political ownership in the field of science policy.
The Baltic Sea region (BSR) is one of the most competitive, innovative science regions in the world, with an excellent structure of leading universities and research institutions. However, the BSR features different levels of research and innovation performance and existing facilities are not equally distributed and interconnected. Countries in the region face the same problems and challenges in national higher education and research systems (globalisation, economic crisis, demography, technological progress etc.). At the same time, society expects innovation policy and research & development (R&D) activities to respond to the challenges facing society at large, such as climate change, energy and resource efficiency, food supply, welfare, health and demographic change.
National or regional answers are not sufficient anymore for the large societal challenges, but a closer transnational cooperation and joint presentation of interests is needed. For the time being, science policy in the BSR is organised and pursued mainly from a regional, national or European angle. A macro regional dimension is missing in this field. Despite the fact that various sectorial networks exist, there is currently a lack of a political coordination framework in the field of higher education, science and research policy covering the whole BSR. The main objectives of the projects include:
• providing science and research ministries with an overall coordination framework to develop and implement science policy in a macro regional dimension and to ensure a better representation of macro regional interests on EU level,
• developing and implementing transnational strategies, incentives and programmes to support higher education, research and innovation (R&I) infrastructures to become better transnationally interconnected and to develop R&I excellence.
The main outputs of the project include:
• Foundation of the Baltic Science Network,
• Joint presentation of macro regional interests on EU level and policy recommendations,
• Joint transnational strategies for specific areas of scientific excellence,
• Incentives/ funding schemes for fostering transnational research and innovation uptake in BSR,
• Measures for better transnational utilisation of existing/ planned R&I infrastructure,
• Structured mobility tools and mobility funding instruments,
• Concepts and recommendations for widening participation,
• Dos and don'ts for successful implementation of transnational science policy cooperation.
Through these efforts the project will foster the realisation of common higher education and research area in the Baltic Sea region, and its research and innovation performance.
The Baltic Science Network has been established to provide policy makers with a framework to meet and work on science policy with their counterparts in the Baltic Sea region. With the Norwegian Science Ministry as as associated organisation, the science ministries of all Baltic Sea region countries, except for Russia, are now part of the network. Policy makers, together with scientists and researchers, were involved in all project’s events and analyses carried out so far, for example the analysis of the challenges, barriers and possible solutions to the improved research cooperation in the Baltic Sea region.
The project has gained very good visibility: it has been mentioned in various events and foras outside the project activities, including the 26th Baltic Sea Parliamentary Conference in Hamburg in September 2017. Besides, the BSN transnational seminar on widening participation was published on numerous websites, including the one of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, and its content was made accessible to the public via the website of the Estonian Ministry of Education.