Research innovation expert group of the European Commission gathers in Tartu to discuss the teaching of a new generation of researchers
On 10 June, the University of Tartu hosts the external meeting of the High Level Group on Research, Innovation and Science Policy Experts (RISE) of the European Commission.
A member of this group, UT Professor of Cell Biology Toivo Maimets explains that the work of RISE consists of making strategy and research policy recommendations to the Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation and the corresponding Directorate General. “We are glad that so far, our opinions and suggestions have indeed been taken into consideration in the policy making,” he adds.
The high level group includes a number of interesting people who have made excellent career in research or business, e.g. the former Vice President of Microsoft Tony Hey, the Secretary General of the Association of Commonwealth Universities Professor John Wood, etc. “Our work is organised so that a part of the working group prepares the discussion topics, presents them to the high level group and then, in the course of discussions, the group formulates our recommendations,” explains Maimets.
This time, the focus is on training for open science. Important changes are happening in the organisation of research. Research information spreads differently, instead of scientific journals, research results are published in blogs, volunteers are engaged in collecting data in addition to researchers, etc.
“For that, we need a different set of skills, starting from the ability to work in a team and to cooperate. We can make a recommendation to take these aspects into account in the preparation of young researchers and in the doctoral programmes,” says Toivo Maimets. At the discussion of the high level group, also Filomena Parada from the European Council of Doctoral Candidates and Junior Researchers Eurodoc will make a presentation.
Let’s take another example: if the quality of research can no longer be measured by traditional methods (e.g. by the number of publications), a question arises how to assess the success of a researcher or a doctoral student. Depending on that, changes must be made in the way research grants are allocated and the researchers’ careers are planned.
These are some of the questions the working group will discuss at their meeting in Tartu and on which they will prepare their recommendations to the European Commission. From the University of Tartu, also the Rector Volli Kalm will participate in the meeting of the high level group.
According to Toivo Maimets, one of the major problems of Tartu is its logistical isolation. “Members of the high level group who are used to working in Berlin today and in London tomorrow have already expressed their surprise about how difficult it is to reach Tartu. By organising this meeting we can show them that Europe has top-level centres of research also in places which are further away from the European high-speed rail lines.”
UT Professor of Cell Biology, Director of the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, member of the high level group
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toivo.maimets [ät] ut.ee