Ms Mariya Gabriel delivers a keynote speech, via pre-recorded video-message, at the “High-level conference Berlin University Alliance”

(Source: European Commission)

“Check against delivery”

Dear Senator of the City-State of Berlin,

Mr. Ulrike Gote

Dear Representatives of the Berlin University Alliance,

(Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität Berlin, Technische Universität Berlin, and Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin)

Dear Members of the Parliament,

Dear Representatives of UNESCO,

Dear President of the European Research Council, dear Maria,

Dear Academic, Research and Education Community,

Ladies and Gentlemen,


Thank you for the invitation and the opportunity to address you in this event about the role for society in Europe’s research future.

I commend the example of the Berlin University Alliance, bringing together four institutions to share and complement experiences and objectives and support such reflections.

It is important to keep an open-minded approach about a rapidly changing world that impacts on policy making and the future of research organisations.

Society has a non-negotiable, key role in Europe’s research future.

The knowledge produced by scientists is a patrimony of us all. We accumulated so much knowledge throughout the centuries by passing on scientific understanding from generation to generation.

Brilliant times of our history happened when science and knowledge defended freedom of speech, the respect of different opinions and democracy.

Open science can play a role in responding to different societal expectations.

Society expects that science brings the objective thinking that is necessary to build trust.

It expects that policy makers are better prepared to take informed decisions and science contributes to consensus, and progress.

The inclusion of stakeholders is important across the full range, from basic to applied research. The level of sophistication and modalities of such involvement should be calibrated to fit the purpose.

Our citizens are empowered if we can link better education and research, supporting the necessary critical thinking to face the over-abundance of information.

We should recognise the need for additional efforts to reach out to different audiences and capture the essence of their thinking.

I am very interested in your debate about the mainstreaming of social sciences and humanities in the context of research evaluation and the role of trans-disciplinarity as a trigger of future Horizon’s Missions.

We very much need such debate, which as you know, is very timely.

We discussed with EU Ministers, at the Council meeting of the 10 June, several Council Conclusions of the French Presidency, addressing Missions, research assessment and researchers’ careers.

I would like to listen to your views on how to frame these debates in the wider context of attracting more researchers, in particular young researchers, to the European “knowledge fabric” that would include more and better cooperation between academy and industry.

It will help us defining Open Science strategies to foster the transformation of research evaluation towards more inclusive excellence across Europe.

We are making good progress by facilitating the creation of a coalition of research organisations to engage in and contribute to the reform process.

To date over 330 organisations from across Europe and beyond have declared interest to be part of the coalition. I welcome the active participation of the Berlin University Alliance and call on all research organisations to engage with this initiative.

The coalition will be driven by a variety of members: universities, research centres, research infrastructures, research funders, academies and organisations representing researchers, national and regional evaluation agencies, and other relevant stakeholders.

We hope to continue the work in the coming Czech and Swedish Presidencies.

When going forward, we may have to recognise that one size does not fit all, but it is important for me that everyone willing to engage feels that she or he can contribute to design the European research future.

I wish you a very fruitful event.

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