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MSCA Presidency Conference 2020

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - MSCA2020.HR (MSCA Presidency Conference 2020)

Reporting period: 2019-11-01 to 2020-10-31

The MSCA Video Conference "MSCA2020.HR: MSCA impact and future challenges", held on 19th June 2020 under the Croatian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, served as a platform to discuss impact and importance of Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions on achieving fair and positive brain circulation, attracting and retaining excellent researchers, as well as inspiring participation in R&I programmes. The aim of the Presidency’s MSCA Conference was to encourage the discussion on how to improve researcher’s careers and facilitate brain circulation.

Conference identified main impediments of contemporary EU R&I system and wanted to discuss the possible solutions. Although the talents are equally distributed, researchers in EU have unequal opportunities in Europe. Adding to this is the existing fragmentation of national research systems of some countries, complemented by the brain drain, be it brain drain to other EU member states or brain drain to countries outside of EU, most notably United States and Asian countries. All speakers stated that it is important for the EU to move towards finding solutions that enable a fair and balanced brain circulation across the EU, as well as to attract and retain talents.

MSCA activities as one of the most visible and recognizable instruments of the Framework Programmeare, are seen as a tool to: contribute to excellent research, boosting jobs, growth and investment, enhance the flow of knowledge across different countries, sectors of the economy, and scientific disciplines, excel Europeglobally by mobilizing its full potential by becoming the most attractive continent for researchers from across the globe. MSCA presents a great tool in achieving this, not just in term of new studies but in terms of real experience for our researchers achieved through mobility. The results of poll during the conference strongly support that view. MSCA is bottom up, in all areas of science, for everyone.
The Conference was organised by the Croatian Ministry of Science and Education together with the Agency for Mobility and EU Programmes as well as with the kind cooperation of the European Commission.
Project Coordinator and linked third party set up an official web page and conference logo at the early beggining of 2020.
Conference agenda and speakers were introduced on an official web page which also had an open registration for video conference in June.
In early 2020, MSCA2020.HR Awards Call with three categories was opened. Categories are:
1. Impact of MSCA on career development for early stage researchers
2. Impact of MSCA on career development for experienced researchers
3. Impact of intersectoral and interdisciplinary mobility and transfer of knowledge

Conference was originally scheduled for April 27 and 28, 2020 in Zagreb, but due to the Covid 19 pandemic situation was held as video conference on 19th June 2020from 9:30 -17:00 pm.. Conference was attended by 645 participants from 57 different countries, the most - 42 percent - from Central and Eastern European countries. Interest in the conference was shown by participants from all parts of the world - Canada, Argentina, USA, India, Brazil, Japan, Russia, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Australia, South Africa and Taiwan. Most participants were from the academic sector and from the public and non-academic sectors.

Conference was moderated by Thomas Farnell, expert in gigher education policies.
Opening remars were held by Minister of Science and Education and Mariya Gabriel (Commissioner, DG Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth).
Keynote speech titled "Benefits and Challenges of the Mobility in Research - Personal Experience of an Astrophysicist" was given by Vibor Jelić, PhD.
Conference had four panels. Each panel introduced three speakers:
Panel session 1: Achieving a fair and balanced brain circulation
Panel session 2: How to attract and retain excellent researchers?
Pannel sesssion 3: Enabling inclusiveness and participation
Panel session 4: From MSCA impact towards the future challenges of young researchers

Panel speakers were the representatives of European Commission, Croatian Ministry of Science and Education, public and private institutions related fo R&I. In first panel session, Croatian State Secretary presented “Zagreb Call for Action 2020 on Brain Circulation” was introduced – a document focused on achieving balanced brain circulation in Europe throughout a sustainable system of measures related to retaining, attracting, mobilisation, empowerment and rewarding talents in Europe. It also encourages synergies of structural funds and the European Research Area.

Between the panels were presentation of MSCA Awards finalist. Before the Conference conclusions were video pitches of presentation of good practices related to the panel session themes.
Closing remarks were given by Croatian State Secretary Tome Antičić, PhD and Antoaneta Angelova-Krasteva (Director for Innovation, International Cooperation and Sport, DG EAC, EC).
In order to successfully face the future challenges, attendes agreed that it is needed to push forward the intersectoral and interdisciplinary approach in research, thusly enabling researchers to gain skills that will be important for their future careers, in and out of academia.
Therefore, MSCA should be focused on creating the geografical balance in the circulation of talents. The established clusters of excellence (‘excellence pockets’) create difficulties for a balanced participation of all Member States. It is crucial in a long run to decrease the gap between higher and lower performing countries in terms of attractiveness for researchers and providing better research environment in low performing countries.
To conclude, widening participation in Union’s framework programmes is a shared responsibility of both national and EU levels, and it needs to be addressed in a complementary and synergetic way, taking into account all the available possibilities for a more cohesive development.

Conference presented the document "Zagreb Call for Action 2020", by which Republic of Croatia advocates a balanced circulation of brains in Europe for the purpose of balanced development and competitiveness of the member states' economies. Zagreb Call for Action 2020 presented new measures to address barriers to stronger cross-sectoral mobility and cooperation. European Commission is putting an emphasis on brain circulation in the new European Research Area narrative. Also, Charter and Code for Researchers will be soon under revision.
MSCA2020.HR Awards winners web announcement-example 1
Opening remarks on Conference by Mariya Gabriel.
Conference speakers.
Conference opening. Introducing Conference Moderator.
Conference logo and announcement on the official WEB page.
MSCA2020.HR Awards winners web announcement_example 2
Screenshot of first panel session.