2022 Mar/25

First TORCH Annual Forum held successfully!

With over 180 people registered and more than 10 European Alliances and its SWAFS projects involved, the TORCH Annual Forum addressed how European Universities alliances can contribute to a European internal market for knowledge and maximize the impact of R&I in a (post?) pandemic world for a better, inclusive and sustainable future.

Last 2 March 2022 took place the first TORCH Annual Forum: Sustainability in a (post?) pandemic world: asking the right question on the role of Universities in R&I today in a virtual format.

The forum was a huge success, where experts discussed various trending topics in R&I including the challenges in Research assessment reform, how European University alliances can impact a sustainable future through a common R&I Agenda, the bridge between universities and alliances with Enterprises and citizens and the importance of cross cutting principles in responsible research and the challenge in developing common implementation approaches by different alliances.

The forum commenced with the welcome message of the Minister of Innovation and Technology from Hungary, Prof. Dr. László PALKOVICS. In his speech he expressed:

“The European universities is a highly forward looking initiative that in addition to education also supports the research and innovation mission of higher education and more broadly, strengthen European research excellence and competitiveness through strategic cooperation between institutions and university alliances”

Following Dr. Palkovics’s welcoming words, Prof. Dr. László Borhy, Rector of the event’s host institution, Eötvös Loránd University, welcomed the participants of the conference as well. His speech was followed by Prof. Dr. Jordi Garcia, Vice-Rector of Research, University of Barcelona (TORCH Coordinator) and a message from Prof. Stefan Müller-Stach, Vice President for Research at JGU Mainz, FIT FORTHEM coordinator read by dr Nicole Birkle, FIT FORTHEM managing coordinator.

In the first session, innovation, and trends in R&I in a (post?) pandemic scenario were discussed in the higher education sector, with reflection on the present and future of this landscape.  Dr. Joan X Comella. Director. Vall d’Hebron Institute of Research (VHIR). TORCH Quality Committee stressed that the “many learnings we have done from the covid pandemic should illuminate our future and gives raises to stronger collaborative research”.  

The second session raised the debate about European universities and the reform of the research assessment system. Chaired by Doris Alexander (Trinity College Dublin), participants had the opportunity to discuss the role that the European Universities initiative can play in driving such reform and considers whether there are benefits for teaching and other activities outside of research.

After a break, took place four different clusters sessions, which were designed to explore the different R&I dimensions including: common science agenda, business&society and academic cooperation, public engagement and crosscutting conversations across R&I topics and sustainability. During the clusters, Experts from different SWAF projects, including TORCH, provided a close look into these different areas, shared best practices and identified common insights on how to move forward towards a sustainable future through a common R&I Agenda. With over a collective of 100 participants in the different clusters, the discussions and presentations yielded fruitful and insightful results.

Finally, the last session of the conference looked to the open science approach and presented how three European alliances (CIVIS, AURORA and CHARM-EU) are implementing Open Science practices and future plans of their SWAF projects. Prof. Dr. Joan Guàrdia Olmos. Rector. University of Barcelona (TORCH Coordinator) held the closing speech of the Forum.

We would like to thank all of our experts, speakers, and participants for contributing to such a successful event!

Note: The Annual Forum will follow by a policy brief on the development of recommendations and roadmap for the progress of a common EU Research and Innovation Agenda with clear priorities and actions which will be available soon.

Download the agenda

Presentations:

Plenary session | R&I trends in the (post?) pandemic scenarios

Panel session | European universities: Towards a reform of the research assessment system

Cluster 1 | R&I Common Science Agenda and European CLUSTER 1 Universities

Cluster 2 | Business & Society and Academic cooperation

Cluster 3 | Public Engagement

Cluster 4 | Cross-cutting principles to address a transformative R&I Agenda

Open Science panel

Text source © https://www.charm-eu.eu/