SWEDEN: New EU research strategy

Sweden is assuming the European Commission presidency from the Czech Republic in July and the first major initiative to put a new stamp on European research policy is a huge research conference in Lund on July 7-8. Several European research minsters will be present along with 400 guests. The title of the conference is "New World - New Solutions: Research and innovation as a basis for developing Europe in a global context". The Swedes have found an interesting punchline: Future Shocks and World Outlooks 2025.

Keynote speakers will be notables from Europe, Asia, Africa and North America who will discuss futures in climate research, globalisation issues, the world seen from different regions and Reflections on the International Panorama. The ambitious goal is through thematic sub-conferences "to turn the challenges of nature shocks, business shocks, social and cultural shocks and decline into opportunities".

One session is devoted to "surprising system changes" where representatives from business and academia, including Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, the University of Florida, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and the Nokia Corporation will pose "provocative questions about the future".

Quentin Cooper from the BBC will be moderator for "The future European research and innovation landscape in a global context" session which is aimed at answering the question: "How can Europe turn the new challenges into advantages and take the lead in international research?"

The conference will launch "The Lund Declaration" that is expected to lead to comprehensive reviews of the European Framework Programme and the way the European research area is governed. The declaration will draw on the conference discussions as well as preparatory meetings that have been held in Berlin, Tallin, Brussels and Madrid.

*Jan Petter Myklebust is deputy director in the department of research at the University of Bergen in Norway. He has been working with the university's strategy for participation in international research since 1995.