Celebrating a year of successful collaboration between COST and the JRC
As 2021 is coming to an end, COST looks back at a year with a great number of high-quality and exciting collaborations with the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC). This article provides a comprehensive overview of all joint events, which include a seminar, two workshops, a CCA webinar, an INGSA conference session, and a COST Academy training session.
Cooperation with the JRC takes place in the context of the COST-JRC Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which was signed in 2015 and renewed in 2018. The MoU offers a solid basis for collaboration in fields of mutual interest, including the development of synergies between COST and the JRC; exchange of information and best practices between the partners; and working arrangements between the JRC and COST Association headquarters.
2021: A YEAR OF SUCCESSFUL COST-JRC COOPERATION
As part of the online workshop series ‘Strengthening and connecting eco-systems of science for policy across Europe’, on 6 May 2021 the JRC organised a virtual workshop on ‘Science for policymaking: EU financing programmes’.
The financing workshop focused on funding instruments of relevance to finance prospective science for policy capacity building projects in EU Member States. Presentations about funding programmes were complimented by beneficiary statements. Together with representatives of the European Commission services responsible for a particular funding programme and organisations that received the funding for science for policy activities, COST was invited to share information and experiences with the participants.
The webinar featured presentations by 8 CCA members from different geographical, sectoral and disciplinary backgrounds, offering the possibility to address the topic from many different angles, covering valuable perspectives. The European angle was presented by Ms Catherine Simoneau, representing the JRC. While the JRC does not have a code of conduct for science communication, it focuses on working principles for scientists in ‘science for policy’. The JRC operates according to the key principle that “science communication always takes place in the ‘evidence for policy’ context”.
28 June 2021: COST-JRC ‘Science for Policy’ seminar
This joint seminar organised by COST and the Joint Research Centre (JRC) explored how to connect the worlds of science and policy and highlighted the different ways in which researchers are trying to achieve policy impact. The online seminar, which attracted over 140 participants, was marked by the testimonies of Prof. Dolores Gavier-Widen, COST Action Chair, who provided insights on how “science for policy” activities are implemented in practice, and Ms Marta Sienkiewicz, JRC Project Officer, who shared advice on achieving policy impact based on lessons learnt outlined in the JRC about the “Science for Policy Handbook”. From the side of COST, the “Actions to Actions” policy brief, a practical guide by and for COST Actions on how to achieve policy impact, was presented.
The JRC-COST INGSA 2021 satellite panel on ‘Independence in science advice’ explored how to improve the science-policy interface. Following a series of summer webinars exploring the stakes of science communication and science for policy exercises, COST and the JRC joined forces once again at the International Network for Government Science Advice‘s INGSA2021 conference ‘Build back wiser: knowledge, policy and publics in dialogue’. The online satellite session addressed the topic of independence in science advice through an animated discussion, moderated by former European news correspondent Cathy Smith, between three panel members:
- Dr Sara Basart, Chair of the COST Action International Network to Encourage the Use of Monitoring and Forecasting Dust Products (InDust);
- Dr Jan Marco Müller, Science & Technology Advisor at the European Union External Action Service; and
- Prof. David Budtz Pedersen, Chair of the COST Cross-Cutting Activity on Science Communication.
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5 October 2021: COST participation in the first S3 thematic workshop on agri-food in the Western Balkans
The JRC held a two-day online workshop in order to identify the opportunities for regional cooperation in the Smart Specialisation priority domain of agri-food (and respective sub-domains), as well as initiatives to promote such cooperation. COST participated in the panel discussion on ‘Supporting regional collaboration in the agri-food area in the Western Balkans’.
The COST Academy, in cooperation with standardisation body CEN-CENELEC, organised a training on standardisation, raising awareness among a selected group of COST Action Chairs on the relevance and benefits of standardisation practices for their Action. The training was organised following the COST Connect ‘Action for Standards’ that was held in November 2019, and a first training session on standardisation that took place in December 2020 and was organised in collaboration with CEN-CENELEC and the JRC. The JRC played a key role this COST Academy training session.
This year’s collaboration between COST and the JRC has been exceptional both in quality and quantity, and paved the way for further aligning our priorities in the priority of science informed policy advice, an area in which COST is keen to advance its work under Horizon Europe.