Icebreaker: the speeddating session led by The Young Academy of Sweden. Members meet in rotating pairs and have five minutes to draw up at least one joint project, or find common points of interest (click to enlarge). Photo: Anna Kjellström/YAS
In November The Young Academy of Sweden (YAS) together with The Global Young Academy (GYA) and The European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) welcomed representatives from Young Academies, initiatives and similar organizations from allover the world to Stockholm, Sweden. 33 countries were represented in the gathering that also held prominent keynotes and a flora of research related activities.
Young Academy members and guests from Albania, Belgium, Canada, Egypt, Ethiopia, Germany, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Macedonia, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, Scotland, Senegal, Serbia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Turkey, Uganda, United Kingdom, USA, and Vietnam, were welcomed by Anders Lönn, State Secretary to the Minister for Higher Education and Research, Sweden, Göran Hansson, Permanent Secretary, The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Anna Sjöström Douagi, CEO, YAS, and, Orakanoke Phanraksa, Co-Chair, GYA.
1. Anna Sjöström Douagi, CEO, YAS 2. Göran Hansson, Permanent Secretary, The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, 3. Orakanoke Phanraksa, Co-Chair, GYA 4. Anders Lönn, State Secretary to the Minister for Higher Education and Research, Sweden Photo: Young Academy of Sweden
During three days an intense exchange between Young Academies with the purpose to find new opportunities for cooperation took place. The agenda for day two was “Scientific support for policy making in sustainable development: Joining forces”, where dialogues between young scientists and policy-makers together with representatives of the EU and other experts on the role of science in sustainable development and the outcomes of the UN Summit in New York in September took place. The European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) co-organized this in-meeting conference.
Several breakout sessions were planned. A speed-dating session was led by YAS the first day, where members meet in rotating pairs and have five minutes to draw up at least one joint project, or find common points of interest. Other breakouts divided the group after topics determined by the participants, e.g. outreach and dialogue, internationalization and networking, national young academies initiation experiences. There was also a breakout session where regions (Africa/Asia/Europe) could discuss issues of regional concern.
Prominent Keynote speakers Johan Rockström, Professor in Environmental Science, Director at the Stockholm Resilience Centre, and recent recipient of the largest European environmental prize, the German Environmental Award, and Hans Rosling, Professor of International Health, listed as one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time Magazine, gave presentations from the latest research on the state of the Earth and of public health and education across the globe. Among the Young Academy Members to give talks were GYA member and expert in bioprocessing and engineering Noble Banadda (Uganda), and YAS member and climate scientist, Helena Filipsson.
1. Margaret Ceres, New York Academy of Sciences 2. Anjula Garg, JRC 3. Maja Fjaestad 4. Caroline Åberg Photo: Anna Kjellström/YAS
Margaret Ceres, Executive Director, Membership at The New York Academy of Sciences, presented the Global STEM Alliance initiative. Both YAS and GYA are partners in the Alliance that aims to provide access to STEM programming across the world and deliver students the critical skills necessary for 21st century careers via a comprehensive, technology-based learning platform.
JRC presented several projects with importance for the Global Goals, such as land resource management, disaster risk assessment activities, the EU Aid Explorer that provides transparency to how the EU donor efforts are implemented. JRC Statistics expert Michaela Saisana convincingly argued for the significance of being able provide figures to achieve goals.
Maja Fjaestad, State secretary to the Swedish Minister for Strategy and future issues, presented insights about how researchers and policy makers can work together for a better future. The UN:s Development Programme’s representative in Sweden, Caroline Åberg, connected to Keynote Johan Rockström’s presentation and stated how ambitious the Sustainable Development Goals 2015 are. The call was broader than ever before and big efforts were made to make the process transparent. The previous Millennium Goals were also ambitious and in many aspects they were a great success, which might have encouraged the expanded aspirations for the 2030 agenda.
1. Aftab Ahmad, National Academy of Young Scientists (NAYS) Pakistan 2. Jenny Larsson, YAS 3. Christian Lange, De Jonge Akademie, Netherlands 4. Tolu Oni, South African Young Academy of Science (SAYAS) Photo: Anna Kjellström/YAS
The last day members of young academies exchanged successful formats and activities and shared their focus and way of conducting work. South Africa e.g. has a strong outreach program with science in society activities. They are partners with a themed reportage on urban health in the coming issue of the magazine Cityscapes Digital, in a hybrid of forms, simultaneously invested in scholarly discourse around contemporary urbanism in Africa and the global south.
The YAS Chair, Jenny Larsson, presented the YAS summer research school, popular scientific podcast series “Akademipodden”, and the successful network for researchers and members of parliament. Larsson also highlighted the recently launched Torsten Wiesel Midnight Sun Award For Distinguished Achievement in Promoting Science, which Young Academies have been invited to nominate for.
Orakanoke “O” Phanraksa, Co-Chair GYA, presented the ambition to build science capacity in the developing world, promote interdisciplinary and intergenerational dialogue. Phanraksa also explained the GloSYS Project: The ‘Global State of Young Scientists’, that leads empirical research projects, mapping out young scientists career paths and working conditions.
Several African Young Academies discussed what could be done to increase the number of women in Young Academies. Senegal, Ghana and South Africa shared successful efforts that included: to devote a number of memberships to women (e.g. 30 %), to widen the search and work harder to identify and approach prominent women researchers; to apply affirmative action: if two applicants prove to be equally qualified, women are prioritized. During the regional outbreak session on the second day of the meeting gender bias was addressed.