This year, Research and Innovation days took place online on 28-29 September 2022.
Two days packed with panel discussions, interactive sessions on the current research and innovation panorama, and practical workshops on Horizon Europe proposal writing and financial management.
As an organization active in R&I projects both as a beneficiary and as a training course provider, Europa Media prompted colleagues and course participants to join the informative sessions and shape the future of research and innovation in Europe. And, just like in 2021 (Q&A on Proposal Writing), we decided to summarise some of the sessions we enjoyed the most and highlight what we consider to be the main takeaways.
- Stream the STEAM (Cătălina Vrabie, Communication Manager)
If you're active in STEAM projects, you might have noticed a few sessions dedicated to education and gender on 29 September. Catalina, our communications manager who currently runs communications for OTTER - an EU project focusing on education Outside the Classroom and the STEAM methodology - joined a few sessions. Some of the highlights she noted were the importance that the A in STEAM has been receiving. The A (i.e., Art) refers to innovation and creativity in the technical work needed in STEM fields. The A involves design thinking, stimulating creativity, communication skills, and social intelligence – concepts and skills that have already proven more successful than plain STEM. Including the A may also increase women's involvement in STEM subjects.
An organisation to look up to? Girls in STEAM, a Cyprus-based organisation that connects teenage girls and accomplished women in the field to become mentees and mentors. Successful women as role models are crucial when designing career paths, wouldn't you agree?
- Building sustainable and resilient food systems in times of crisis (Dora Leitner, Project Manager)
During this session, Krzysztof Hetman (Member of the European Parliament), Pierre Bascou (Director for Sustainability, Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development at the European Commission), Philippe Mauguin (President and CEO at INRAE), Ismahane Elouafi (Chief Scientist at FAO) focused on the most pertinent environmental and socio-economic issues of the current food system including food security, food sovereignty, and environmental sustainability.
They highlighted the role of innovation as a way to construct a resilient food system that operates within the planetary boundaries and meets the EU's biodiversity and farm-to-fork ambitions. Building a resilient food system is especially relevant in today's context, where we face detrimental challenges such as climate change, the Covid-19 pandemic, and war conflicts which affect vulnerable people the most.
Ismahane Elouafi (FAO) pinpointed four areas where the agrifood system should be transformed to address its systemic challenges:
- Increasing efficiency through global trade
- Agricultural diversification
- Reducing community vulnerabilities and tackling poverty
- Changing dietary behaviours
But to achieve those results, we need to build strong partnerships united by a shared vision: the only way to find a solution for these complex challenges, as Philippe Maugin added.
Our project, FOODRUS, also aspires to create such partnerships through the participation of 29 partners from 10 different EU countries and organizations, including SMEs, companies, and academic and research institutions aiming to develop circular solutions to prevent food loss and food waste.
- New European Innovation Agenda and Pan-European innovation ecosystem (Gloria Bevilacqua, Communication Manager)
If you're interested in innovation, you've probably already read the New European Innovation Agenda launched on 5 July 2022. Positioning the EU at the forefront of Deep Tech Innovation and using innovation to offer concrete solutions to citizens are the main concerns of the EU agenda. And these highly achievable objectives. The EU is already a leader in innovation and technologies and has a solid industrial base across diverse and crucial sectors. Nonetheless, we need to focus on the untapped power that universities and regional competitiveness have to drive the future of innovation across Europe and keep this strength within the EU economy and research.
How can we do this?
- Consolidate the system and make it less fragmented to build a fully integrated and cohesive pan-European innovation ecosystem
- Make the system more meritocratic
- Encourage partnership and technology transfers between the public and the private sectors
- Put the human capital at the centre of this effort ("minds before walls" Sebastian-Ioan Burduja, Romanian Minister of Research, Innovation, and Digitalization)
- Encourage an exchange of researchers and innovators ("brain circulation") across Europe
Our team joined other discussions, such as how to create synergies between Mission Cities and Mission Adaptation to Climate Change, where the main conclusion was that we need to transform our cities into smart cities to achieve energy efficiency and become climate resilient.
And you? Did you join the conversation during Research and Innovation days?