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European research must focus on the Grand Challenges

Declaration from the Swedish Presidency Research Conference in Lund ”New world – New solutions" (7-8 July 2009)

For two days, 350 researchers, research funders, business people and politicians have been gathered to discuss the future development of European research. The Conference participants have agreed on a document – the Lund Declaration – that was handed over to the Swedish Minister for Higher Education and Research Tobias Krantz. The declaration states that European Research Policy should move away from the present bureaucratic structure and instead focus on the Grand Challenges to the World – e.g climate change, water shortage, demography and pandemics. “This has been a very interesting conference with many exciting discussions. The Lund Declaration is a strong plea for increased resources for European research, for better cooperation between different levels and for more edgy innovation systems. I look forward to how our ideas will be brought forward”, says the Conference Chairman Pär Omling, Director General of the Swedish Research Council. Some other conclusions in the Declaration are: • To meet the Grand Challenges, European research must focus. Institutions, Member States and the European level must cooperate better and the systems must build on openness and trust. • To meet the coming Grand Challenges, it is important that free frontier research is given enough room and is able to supply the European Union with the necessary knowledge. • Since many of the challenges are global, Europe must increase its cooperation with the outside world. • More competition among researchers in Europe is stimulating and will ensure that our research is of international excellence. • Increased efforts are needed to make better use of research results. • European universities must modernise and improve cooperation between themselves and with other research performers. • Europe must be able to create and maintain world class research infrastructures. “I am very pleased with all the work that has been carried out here in Lund. The Conference and the Declaration is a good start of the work that we will conduct during the next six months. The proposals in the declaration conform well with the priorities we have made. Our focus is on the knowledge triangle that is cooperation between education, research and innovation, and making the European Research Area more efficient and transparent”, says Tobias Krantz, Minister for higher education and research.


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