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Baltic TRAM Discussions Ahead of the Operational Phase of the Industrial Research Centres

On 15 – 16 March 2017, the Third Baltic TRAM Partner Meeting took place at the European Spallation Source (ESS) construction site in Lund, Sweden,  against the backdrop of the recently launched Finnish call for measurements. This call has been issued ahead of the general Baltic Sea Region-wide call to be published next month. The Finnish call and its preparatory works offer practically relevant insights into some of the nuances which should be taken into consideration to ensure smooth interaction with the business sector, once processing company enquiries for measurements. The ability to tap into the potential of analytical facilities available in the Baltic Sea Region must go hand in hand with a greater appreciation of the needs of the business sector.

Another item of the meeting agenda was related to discussing the last preparatory details ahead of the upcoming operational phase of the Baltic Sea Region-wide network of Industrial Research Centres.

This meeting was special also due to the fact that it served to introduce the recently recruited Lithuanian project partner, Kaunas Science and Technology Park, to the practicalities of the project. The accession of Kaunas Science and Technology Park to Baltic TRAM also advances the aspirations to ensure a CBSS-wide engagement in the cornerstone projects of the CBSS Science, Research and Innovation Agenda, outlined in the CBSS 2016 Polish Chair´s Conclusions which were adopted after the first CBSS Science Ministerial.

The CBSS Secretariat introduced Baltic TRAM partners to the drafting progress of the CBSS report on innovation and smart specialisation in the Baltic Sea Region. Moreover, to enhance a broader awareness about Baltic TRAM´s contribution to the transnational advancement of smart specialisation, the CBSS Secretariat elaborated on the Baltic TRAM´s joint submission to the public consultation on Smart Specialisation: a fresh approach to the European growth and jobs through regional innovation strategies. The public consultation is organised by the European Commission´s Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy. The results of the survey will feed into a Commission Communication on Smart Specialisation, and into the next European Commission’s Cohesion Report.

Furthermore, the CBSS Secretariat introduced the Baltic TRAM partners in general lines to the European Action for Sustainability and its multi-stakeholder platform, which will serve as a dynamic space bringing together different stakeholders of the public and private sphere. Since the European Action for Sustainability also outlines smart specialisation as the European approach in advancing innovation, Baltic TRAM work also feeds into the practical implementation of this Europe-wide policy initiative. Thus, the lessons learned during the Baltic TRAM project are of relevance to the discussions of this stakeholder platform.

In line with Baltic TRAM´s contribution to the advancement of the United Nations´ Sustainable Development Goal 9 (target 9.5), project partners were invited to contribute to the upcoming European Sustainable Development Week (ESDW). The campaign will take place from 30 May 2017 until 5 June 2017. ESDW aims to raise awareness for the 2030 Agenda in Europe and calls upon local stakeholders to actively engage with sustainable development, in general, and the Sustainable Development Goals, in particular.

The outcomes of the Third Baltic TRAM Partner Meeting will also be presented during the second meeting of the Baltic TRAM High Level Group, set to take place in October 2017.

To conclude, it should be added that the Third Baltic TRAM Partner Meeting was organised in a notable place. The ESS is a facility, which embodies a new approach to neutron science, since it is recognised not only as one of the outstanding large scale research facilities in Europe, but is unique for having been awarded the first ever loan supporting the construction of a project with the status of a European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC).  ESS represents the first example of an ERIC being granted external financing to support the construction of the research facility. On this occasion, the European Investment Bank (EIB) joined forces with both the Nordic Investment Bank (NIB) and Svensk Exportkredit (SEK) who provided EUR 100 million each, for a total of EUR 300 million in financing in support of the ESS.

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