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FinCEAL 2013-2014: IMPACTING FINNISH RESEARCH COLLABORATION


CONTENT 5 INTRODUCTION 6 TRAVEL GRANTS 10 EVENTS 16 PREPARATORY FUNDING 18 INFOBANK 20 CONCLUSION 22 CONTACT


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INTRODUCTION

In 2013, the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture opened new doors for strengthening Finland’s science, technology and innovation beyond its borders. The Ministry financed the FinCEAL project, implemented by the Finnish University Partnership for International Development (UniPID) to support and build research cooperation between Finland, Europe, Africa and the Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) region. FinCEAL focused especially on supporting thematic research for the two regions: AFRICA – Food Security, Health, Climate Change, Renewable Energy and Information Society LAC – ICT for Societal Challenges, Renewable Energy, Bioeconomy, Health, Biodiversity and Climate Change. These priority areas for cooperation were drawn from the EU-Africa and EU-CELAC science, technology and innovation (STI) policy dialogues. The first initiative of its kind targeting these regions, FinCEAL has helped build Finnish researchers’ networks in Africa, the LAC region and Europe and increased the participation of Finnish researchers in the bi-regional policy processes. In addition, the Finnish research community is now better informed of international research cooperation and funding opportunities with partners from the regions as a result of FinCEAL communication activities.

Edward Mutafungwa - Staff Scientist at Aalto University School of Electrical Engineering

“I work in sustainability and energy efficiency of ICT systems in Africa. European funding is a key source of revenue for our department and funding instruments are also evolving to reflect interest in developing countries. We are very interested in Horizon 2020 [...] and any help we get to secure such funding is very beneficial. FinCEAL has come at the right time for us. By organising events, FinCEAL helps small groups like us out of isolation and gives us a chance to meet with a lot of other people with whom we have a lot in common. Travel grants have given us opportunities to meet others outside of Europe. Before this, we depended on email and word of mouth to develop contacts. We also have our research registered in the Infobank, which helps to establish contacts. Combined, FinCEAL has presented us with a great opportunity.’’


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TRAVEL GRANTS

FinCEAL Travel Grants aimed to increase Finnish involvement in science policy formulation within the EU-Africa and EU-LAC frameworks by facilitating the participation of experts in significant STI meetings. The grants were also designed to foster new networking opportunities for Finland-based researchers with their counterparts in Africa and the LAC region by supporting their participation in scientific conferences and workshops in their own fields. Thus, FinCEAL has also worked to increase the visibility of Finnish research expertise in Europe and the regions.

Feedback from grantees “I work mainly with innovation policies and inter-regional cooperation for development and innovations for societal challenges. With FinCEAL we have built synergy with a project called ALCUE NET, which is a European-Latin American network for the implementation of the Joint Initiative for Research and Innovation. By working together and benefiting from FinCEAL funds we promoted the participation of Finnish experts in events related to the thematic focus areas of ALCUE NET (Information and communication technologies, bioeconomy and food security, biodiversity and climate change, renewable energies). By the end of 2014, about 25 experts from Finnish institutions have taken part in ALCUE NET events with FinCEAL funds.”

“A FinCEAL travel grant helped me to participate at a biodiversity and climate change – workshop in Colombia in early 2014. There I learnt about the priorities for EU grants. This helps to acquire funding for the next stages of [our] project. The workshop enabled me to establish contacts with the ENSOCIO-LA project which in turn led to my participating in another workshop in Mexico.” “These grants are an excellent opportunity for those who [are] willing to build a strong and effective network with short- and midterm goals. Face-to-face meetings are 2-fold more effective than Skype calls or emailing when the target is to set up joint projects and activities.”


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How FinCEAL supported researchers’ travel to events:

48 14

experts from different Finnish institutions travelled to events of their choice with the support of a FinCEAL Open Travel Grant.

80 25

experts from different Finnish institutions travelled to events pre-determined by FinCEAL with the support of a FinCEAL Targeted Travel Grant.

Trips were made to the Caribbean.

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different countries in Europe, Africa, the Americas and

80%

of grantees rated their travel to the events as highly beneficial in terms of strengthening existing research partnerships, obtaining new partnerships, showcasing Finnish expertise, creating new networks and obtaining new information on current trends in their research area.

89%

of grantees considered it most likely or possible that the attendance to the event would lead to joint projects with partners from the target country or region.


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TRAVEL GRANTS

3-15 months after the travel grants were used:

95%

of the grantees were still in contact with somebody they met at

the event the attended

76%

of the grantees had started new joint projects with partners from

the target regions

65% 39%

of the grantees had started using new communications channels

of the grantees had either already submitted one or more proposal or had discussions ongoing on submitting a joint EU research funding proposal with partners identified at the event


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How grantees have benefited from the FinCEAL Travel Grants:*

“[I have an] article in process with Brazilian partner.”

“We are preparing two project proposals for Horizon2020.”

“[I received an] invitation for writing a joint book chapter.”

“New research direction not previously considered.”

“Our university got two new partners. Other partner in South Africa and other in Australia […]. We are now building international projects with our new partners.”

“Direct coop[eration] with the Ministry of Science and Technology [of Argentina] in the field of Bioeconomy.”

“Access International now wants to follow our work and connect us to others.”

*According to an anonymous impact survey conducted January-February 2015 by FinCEAL.


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EVENTS

FinCEAL arranged or co-organized 24 events during 2013 and 2014. The events ranged from thematic workshops and seminars to info sessions, brokerage events, working groups and training events. In addition, FinCEAL supported the organization of another 11 events by funding relevant events organized by other Finnish institutions. The purpose of the events was to enhance networking and partnership building, not just between researchers but also with partners from other sectors. This ultimately helped strengthen the position of Finnish actors when approaching international partners in research collaboration. The thematic events served to showcase ongoing research in the thematic areas and identify future opportunities for research cooperation.

Cross-cutting issues workshop/seminar, 3

International side event, 3

Info Session, 7

Info and partnering for Horizon2020, 3

Thematic workshops, 8


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Summary of FinCEAL Events 2013 – 2014

FinCEAL arranged or co-organized

FinCEAL organized

3

21

events in Finland

international side events in Brussels, Mauritius and Chile

1120

There were altogether

participants in the events

11

FinCEAL awarded

event grants


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EVENTS Bioenergy in the South - The diverse impacts and future opportunities Technological advancement in biofuel has the potential to help two billion people who are dependent on wood fuel as their primary source of energy. In common with traditional practices, the use and production of industrial biofuel can have a negative impact on the environment and the wellbeing of the end user – predominantly based in the South. This and future opportunities for biofuels in the South was the focus of a seminar hosted by the Viikki Tropical Resources Institute (VITRI) at the University of Helsinki , co-organized by FinCEAL. The event attracted 70 participants and had impressive presenters from the private sector, academia and civil society. Environmental Toxicologist at the University of Eastern Finland Maija-Riitta Hirvonen, one of the presenters, highlighted her research and the need for collaboration with industry to identify biomass with harmful compounds. “There is a commercial benefit in selling healthier biofuel,” she said. Simo Honkanen from Neste Oil and Pasi Rinne from Gaia both presented on the socio-economic approaches their

organizations have been applying in producing biofuels. Simo Honkanen believes cooperation and discussions with scientists help the company and the economy in a win-win situation. At the World Wildlife Fund everything must be based on scientific research said Aleksi Heiskanen. “We don’t just point out issues, there must be solid scientific evidence, and Finnish researchers provide this. Such evidence helps convince politicians at a national and international level of the links between industrial practices and issues related to climate change,” he said. Finland’s leading forestry researchers agreed that through broader engagement with research partners in the South, there is the opportunity for undertaking mutually beneficial research collaboration. VITRI director Markku Kanninen highlighted what Finland has to offer in these partnerships: “In forestry and natural resources our experience in Finland is both good and bad, we can use that to help others”.


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EVENTS Side events in Europe, Africa and Latin America In 2014, three FinCEAL side events were organized in Europe, Africa and Latin America, respectively. These events were held alongside other international events and organized in cooperation with key international partners. The side events enhanced the visibility of Finnish expertise in topics related to the FinCEAL themes, and enabled the Finnish participants to establish contacts with policy makers and and potential new project partners. More information on all the side events is available at our website: www.unipid.fi

Engaging the Private Sector in EU-Africa Science, Technology and Innovation Research Cooperation At the occasion of the 5th EU-Africa Business Forum and the 4th EU-Africa Summit, FinCEAL convened a stakeholders’ workshop in cooperation with the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, ESASTAP Plus, PAEPARD, and CAAST-Net Plus in Brussels, Belgium, in March 2014. The aim of the workshop was to discuss and map out practical ways in which Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) can and should be engaged in EU-Africa

STI research collaboration. The event targeted researchers, private sector and policy makers working with themes related to EU-Africa STI research. It focused on identifying successful practices and mechanisms that strengthen the participation of European and African private sector actors in STI research partnerships. The challenges arising from policy and practices that hinder this collaboration were also discussed. FinCEAL supported the participation of 8 researchers and private sector representatives from Finland. The event provided opportunities for the delegation to network with other European actors who are actively engaged in EU-Africa research. Participants also contributed to the policy discussion relating to EUAfrica STI relations and gained an indepth understanding of the bi-regional STI policies. The event attracted more than 40 participants from Europe and Africa.


15 Strengthening Cooperation on Science, Technology and Innovation between Finland, Africa and Europe In May 2014, FinCEAL collaborated with IST Africa at their conference on ICT in Mauritius. FinCEAL supported the participation of 12 researchers from 8 different institutions to the event, which had 460 delegates from 44 different countries. Beyond supporting participation in the conference, FinCEAL organized a session to broker new partnerships between Finnish researchers and African researchers in ICT. During the session, Finnish participants highlighted their expertise and possible areas for future collaboration. In addition, FinCEAL distributed a profile booklet of all the institutions that were represented, providing more detailed information on each of the participants and their areas of expertise. As a result of the event, participants supported by FinCEAL met with hundreds of potential new partners and concretely demonstrated Finnish expertise in the area of ICT.

New networks created between Finnish and Latin American Smart Cities experts The seminar on STI cooperation in Smart Cities was held in Santiago de Chile at the Chilean National Commission for Scientific and Technological Research (CONICYT) on the occasion of the Finnish Minister of Economic Affairs official visit to Chile in September 2014. The event was organized by FinCEAL in cooperation with CONICYT, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and the Energy Center at University of Chile. The high-level event enjoyed the support of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, Ă goraLab at the the Federal University of

Santa Catarina (Brazil), EU-CELAC Senior Officials’ Meetings STI Working Group on ICT for Societal Challenges as well Team Finland and several relevant ministries in Chile. The 1-day seminar gathered over 100 experts from industry and academia, as well as Government representatives and other stakeholders from both regions to present and discuss current challenges and successful practices in the implementation of Smart City initiatives, especially in the areas of transport and energy production and use. The seminar aimed to provide a platform for developing joint innovation and research cooperation initiatives, to promote the use of new technologies and technology transfer for sustainable economic and social development.


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PREPARATORY FUNDING Project Preparatory Funding FinCEAL Project Preparatory Funding aimed to support Finnish research institutions’ applications to the European Commission’s main research funding mechanism, Horizon 2020. The Preparatory Funding funding supported proposals which included partners from Europe and Africa and/ or the LAC region. In 2013 and 2014, 6 preparatory grants of 5,000 € each were granted to teams from 5 different institutions. This funding allowed the teams to organize consortia meetings and workshops to develop their proposals, travel to meet the consortia members and/or partially cover the salary costs of the people involved with the proposal writing.

Cooperation across waters Developing a sustainable water system in a country where the Kalahari and Namib deserts meet is a challenge that is being addressed by the Satakunta University of Applied Sciences (SAMK). Through a combination of technology,

business opportunities, education and local knowledge, the WANDER Nordic Water and Materials Institute (at SAMK), the Polytechnic of Namibia, the Desert Research Foundation of Namibia, local business and other organisations are now working in unison to make it happen. “Preparatory funding received from FinCEAL made it possible”, said project manager Minna Keinänen-Toivola from the WANDER Nordic Water and Materials Institute. “Support is most needed when you are opening new doors and you are not sure what will come of it. With preparatory funding I was able to spend time in Namibia and discover the range of opportunities that subsequently led to our application for major funding from the EU Commission’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme. When making such proposals many reports need to be read. You have to be on site to be successful. For us, the 5,000 € we received from FinCEAL was the key to our success.”


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INFOBANK FinCEAL Infobank - Visibility, Transparency and Cooperation The FinCEAL Infobank is a multidisciplinary database of projects carried out by research institutions in Finland on Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. The Infobank intends to enhance the visibility of existing cooperation initiatives and to provide researchers networking opportunities across the disciplines. It is also a convenient platform through which Finnish expertise is made more available to Ministries, Finnish Missions abroad and potential partners in other countries. Researchers can input doctoral work, collaborative research and capacity building projects covering all areas. FinCEAL is constantly marketing the Infobank to national and international stakeholders, authorities and research networks. www.unipid.fi/infobank


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“I am researching deforestation and land use change in the Amazon basin of South America. To solve global challenges we need to work in partnership with people who have different approaches, FinCEAL supports to bring such people together. Our project is found in the FinCEAL Infobank which helps researchers find details about similar work where they can provide feedback and exchange contacts. The infobank is a place to find projects and researchers. This fosters a more comprehensive multidisciplinary approach.� - Researcher at Viikki Tropical Resources Institute, University of Helsinki


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CONCLUSION

The work carried out during 2013 and 2014 has shown the need for targeted initiatives like FinCEAL. FinCEAL has been very well received by the research community in Finland, and raised interest beyond the national borders. Thank you all those who attended our events, used the Infobank and applied for FinCEAL funds. The UniPID and FinCEAL team wish to thank the Ministry of Education and Culture for their support and positive cooperation in the implementation of FinCEAL. We extend our warm thanks also to the member organizations of the FinCEAL Steering Committee: Academy of Finland, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Economy and Employment, Tekes, UNIFI, Arene and the home institutions of the two regional components, University of Jyv채skyl채 and University of Helsinki. Following a successful 2 years of collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Culture, FinCEAL was granted funding for a further 2 years. The extension phase of the project - FinCEAL Plus - will run until the end of 2016 and will include a new region - Asia. The Asia component of the project will be based at the University of Eastern Finland, Joensuu. The FinCEAL team looks forward to continuing collaboration with the Finnish and international science community.


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CONTACT


Text: FinCEAL / Social Dimension Photos: Tommy Standún / FinCEAL SAMK Keinänen / Toivola UniPID CONICYT Yolanda Ursa / Grupo Inmark Ricardo Díaz / Conservation International Layout: Nordenswan & Siirilä Oy © Copyright FinCEAL 2015


FinCEAL 2013-2014: Impacting Finnish Research Collaboration  

In 2013, the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture opened new doors for strengthening Finland’s science, technology and innovation beyon...