Monday, 07 May 2018 11:08

CBSS Baltic Sea Science Day 2018: Joint Mapping of the Research Cooperation Patterns

Written by  Zane Šime, Communication & Research Coordinator, CBSS

The 2nd CBSS Baltic Sea Science Day was an integral part of the 5th Baltic University Programme Rectors´ Conference. The overall gathering demonstrated that sustainability and prosperity of the Baltic Sea Region is being developed on the basis of an inclusive dialogue on research-intensive sectors. Baltic University Programme is committed to align such efforts with UN Sustainable Development Goals. In this regard the CBSS Baltic 2030 Action Plan comes to the fore as the key reference point in the Baltic Sea Region setting. Baltic Science Network findings testify that functional proximity requires extensive discussions among research experts on their niche profiles and potential complementarities. Be it a pocket of excellence in blue growth, circular economy, zero waste or sustainable energy, Baltic TRAM open call highlights the necessity to exploit the full transnational potential of such a hub, which requires macroregional access and well-connected knowledge dissemination points. 

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                                                                        Photo by Jakob Fenner   


For 27 years the Baltic University Programme (BUP) has gathered approximately 230 universities in the Baltic Sea Region for academic events. The Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) Baltic Sea Science Day 2018 was held as an integral part of the most recent BUP gathering – the 5th Rectors´ Conference, which took place on 24 - 26 January 2018 and was hosted by Åbo Akademi University.

The 5th BUP Rectors´ Conference gathered 150 participants, mainly Vice-Chancellors of universities and/or their representatives, to discuss strategic future cooperation aimed at strengthening the research and higher education performance of the Member Universities. The BUP, together with the CBSS Secretariat, Baltic Science Network and Baltic TRAM joined their efforts to discuss with a wider circle of stakeholders matters which are of high relevance to the CBSS Science, Research and Innovation Agenda and the CBSS long-term priority “Sustainable and Prosperous Region”.

First and foremost, the event was of a notable importance due to the involvement of a wide scope of universities, as well as some regional, national ad transnational authorities based in the region, that contributed to the discussions.

Namely, the main hosts Åbo Akademi University and the BUP should be singled out on top of the list. Likewise, the CBSS Secretariat is thankful for the support showcased by the EUSBSR Policy Area Innovation, EUSBSR Horizontal Action Neighbours, Swedish Institute, Baltic TRAM partnership, Baltic Science Network partnership, especially, its Lead Partner – the Ministry of Science, Research and Equalities of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, and members – University of Turku, Saint-Petersburg State University of Economics (UNECON), University of Gdańsk and the Latvian Ministry of Education and Science.


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                                                                    Photo by Sylwester Nagórka


Joint work in such a multi-nodal network helps all of the involved parties to engage in moulding the direction and thematic angles of the macroregional public debates, as well as the on-going and future collaborative initiatives. The preparatory works ahead of this gathering echoed the widely cited proverb referred to in a slightly paraphrased form also by Christoph Quitmann, Director of MAX IV Laboratory, during the Baltic Science Network Tallinn seminar (in November 2017): “If You Want To Go Fast, Go Alone. If You Want To Go Far, Go Together”. Our collaborative spirit has proved the overarching readiness and continuous commitment of the Baltic Sea Region to advance step-by-step towards a more sustainable future together.

In parallel with the public outreach activities, such as the CBSS Baltic Sea Science Day 2018, Baltic Science Network continued to elaborate its thinking on the multilateral research collaboration by drafting the recently published “Policy Paper Regarding the Framework Programme 9”. This output of the project is worth pointing out, since following the discussion of the parallel workshop “International cooperation – a major factor for success – Research, Innovation and Mobility” of the CBSS Baltic Sea Science Day 2018, it serves as a more elaborate source of insight into the Baltic Science Network thinking on the cooperative ties between EU and non-EU countries located in the Baltic Sea Region.

The third parallel workshop of the CBSS Baltic Sea Science Day 2018 titled “Open Science. Connection to Business? Possibilities to Fundraising?” was a good example of the ambition present in the Baltic Sea Region to make such joint steps showcased by the Baltic TRAM project which is a macroregional pioneer supporting the European Open Science Cloud.

The introduction to Baltic TRAM commenced by highlighting its established research-business interface in a form of a transnational network of Industrial Research Centres and the vast spectrum of processed business enquiries through this network, spanning from pharmaceuticals to food and building industries, composites & plastics industry.

Most importantly, the CBSS Baltic Sea Science Day 2018 served as a stepping stone to introduce wider audiences to the preparatory work of this support announcement. Consequently, Baltic TRAM has continued its vibrant work towards establishing connection to EUDAT and engages in relevant European discussions. For example, Baltic TRAM offered its perspectives on the e-ROSA´s public consultation dedicated to the draft vision paper “Towards e-Infrastructure for Open Science and Agri-food”.

Last but not least, the 2nd CBSS Baltic Sea Science Day testified to the dynamic character of the joint initiatives implemented in the Baltic Sea Region. It is an area of Europe characterised not solely by one exclusive list of priority actions dedicated to research cooperation and innovation, but a multitude of them. Therefore, the CBSS Secretariat from the very outset of this annual gathering, which was launched last year in St Petersburg, has aspired to turn attention not only on the activities of its endorsed projects and ties to the CBSS strategic partners, but also offer a voice to a multitude of relevant actors.

Since the CBSS overall work is based on a fine balance between the emerging issues and respect for tradition, the CBSS Secretariat is delighted that this year´s gathering took place on the occasion of the centenary of Åbo Akademi University and next year´s CBSS Baltic Sea Science Day will be hosted by the University of Latvia during its celebrations of 100 years´ anniversary. Such complementarities ensure that the latest macroregional developments and new multi-lateral initiatives in the higher education, research and science domains are benefiting from the insights of well-established institutions with extensive experience. The CBSS Secretariat as a skilled and experienced entity in facilitating the work of a wide geographically dispersed team would like to take this opportunity to praise its collaboration partners and looks forward to continuing preparatory works ahead of the CBSS Baltic Sea Science Day 2019.




Baltic Science Network (BSN) serves as a transnational forum for higher education, science and research cooperation in the Baltic Sea Region (BSR). BSN is a policy network gathering relevant transnational, national and regional policy actors from the BSR countries. The network is a springboard for targeted multilateral activities modelled with an overall aim to ensure that the BSR remains a hub of cutting-edge scientific solutions with the capacity to exploit the macroregion´s full innovation and scientific potential. Recommendations jointly formulated by the Network members address the European, macroregional, national and regional policy-making levels. BSN is a flagship of the Policy Area Education, Research and Employability of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region. Following the CBSS endorsement confirmed after the first CBSS Science Ministerial, BSN is also one of the two cornerstones of the CBSS Science, Research and Innovation Agenda. Likewise, BSN was endorsed by the 26th Baltic Sea Parliamentary Conference, Baltic Council and Baltic Assembly.

Baltic TRAM (Transnational Research Access in the Macroregion) offers companies free access to state-of-the-art analytical research facilities across the Baltic Sea Region, providing technical and scientific expertise to help solve challenges associated with developing new products or services. Main guidelines of the application procedure for SMEs are outlined in the explainer video. The project´s overall objective is to boost innovation, secure the implementation of smart specialisation strategies, and encourage entrepreneurship by supporting SMEs, thus contributing to the regional effort of making the Baltic Sea Region innovative, sustainable and competitive. As a part of the Baltic Science Link flagship of the Policy Area Innovation of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, Baltic TRAM builds on the findings of Science Link, an initiative which received EU funding throughout 2012-2014. Following the CBSS endorsement confirmed after the first CBSS Science Ministerial, Baltic TRAM is also one of the two cornerstones of the CBSS Science, Research and Innovation Agenda. Likewise, Baltic TRAM was endorsed by the 26th Baltic Sea Parliamentary Conference.


Council of the Baltic Sea States is an overall political forum for regional cooperation. Consisting of 11 Member States (Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Russia & Sweden), as well as a representative of the European Union, it supports a global perspective on regional problems. These include politically and practically translating the UN Sustainable Development Goals into regional actions on the ground. The CBSS Science, Research and Innovation Agenda was launched after the CBSS Science Ministerial in 2016 to ensure an enduring transnational platform for the advancement of high level guidance enshrined in strategic documents endorsed by the CBSS Member States. It is built on decade-long transnational reflections on the most optimal solutions for enhanced Baltic Sea Region-wide cooperation in the higher education and research domains with an aim to further strengthen the vision enshrined in the CBSS long-term priority Sustainable & Prosperous Region. Its current core implementation pillars are Baltic Science Network and Baltic TRAM. Likewise, the CBSS Science, Research and Innovation Agenda´s activities support a vision of the Baltic Sea Region as a renown European hub of innovation, test-bed for cutting edge solutions and emerging global point of gravity defining frontier research.

See also an article Research and Higher Education Cooperation in the Baltic Sea Region written by Zane Šime and Mārtiņš Legzdiņš for more information on projects and the forthcoming CBSS BSSD 2019.

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