Editor's note

International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Sunday, 29.11.2020, 21:52

Science policy: external and internal agendas

Eugene Eteris, BC International Editor, Copenhagen, 02.09.2019.Print version

Education, generally, is about production, delivering and application of knowledge. Nowadays, the “production” of science includes transferring new knowledge into innovative activities, which is becoming of paramount importance for national growth in the Baltic States.

The Baltic States gain a lot and in many ways from the EU science and research funding. The issue is becoming even more important during this month, as vital political contest over Horizon Europe, the 2021-2027 program will be discussed over the EU science’s future.

As the preparations are moving ahead, the “battle-lines” have become clear among the member states’ research communities, ministries and academies. These are controversies among: a) small and large recipients of the EU funds, e.g. agro-sector and regions; b) between among universities and big companies with strategic research agendas; c) between eastern and western Europe; d) between natural, technical and social sciences.

The Academies in the Baltic States shall take the lead in the internal and external discussions.


Education and knowledge are integral parts of all national, regional and global socio-economic issues, as an important “instrument” in resolving them; however, the question remains: How efficient are these instruments and efforts?

It is well-known that science/research activities in the Baltic States are financing, almost entirely, from the EU funds. At the end of September, the Commission DG Research will debate wider European research and innovation issues (R&I) for the next seven years, as well as the appropriate strategies in the new Horizon Europe with analysing lessons learned from a previous Horizon 2020

More importantly, it will draft future EU high policy’s recommendations for the EU institutions (mainly for the incoming Parliament and Commission) on what the Horizon Europe might realistically be expected to deliver by 2030 to the member states.

Science and knowledge: external plus internal

New researches underline the role of negotiating in sciences’ practical implementation for resolving national problems (called knowledge diplomacy). Such issues as the role of international/European higher education, research and innovation in fruitful cooperation among the Baltic States is included.

These issues shall be seen through the challenges of the 4th industrial revolution, which provide for new approaches for internal to exploring the science-innovation relationship between and among the Baltic States.  

It is important to understand the “knowledge policy” content’s role as a comprehensive impetus into re-assessing traditional higher education activities, in line with the national strategic development agenda. National ministries in the Baltics, first of all those for education and science, shall develop new approaches and concepts leading to perfect match between the research and national goals. That presupposes an adequate focusing on a broader role of science, technology and innovation including numerous sectors in politics, economics, social and natural sciences.

Commercialization of higher education, science and innovation can provide a certain threat to “free science” model; but this can be seen as a “by-product” of innovative activities.  
Some researchers underline the role of global talents in the knowledge economy and lobbying activities for more national and European funding in R&D.  

Reference to: Knight J. Clarifying misconceptions about knowledge diplomacy, -University World News, September 2019, Issue nr 564.


EU science strategy and the Baltics

The increasing importance of “science diplomacy” becomes important in the present discussion of the EU science budget for the next multi-annual programming. This is an issue of great importance for the Baltic States, if science/innovation is broadly interpreted to mean knowledge for the national perspective development. But then again: first national priorities, then the rest of the close relationships between science and research. 

Traditionally, however, science diplomacy has been seen in terms of the hard sciences. More recently it has been placed within the broader framework of science, technology and innovation. There is no doubt that this reflects the centrality of science and technology in today’s knowledge economy. 

More on the role of science in national development:

Sparitis O. & Eteris E. Modern European science policy: challenges and opportunities for Latvian perspective growth. Latvian Academy of Sciences’ publication series: Latvia in Europe and the World. -SIA Medicinas apgards publish. - Riga, 2019. -214 pp. Review of the book in: Latvian science and research policy through a perspective vision. By Baiba Rivzha, LZA’s Academician, in: http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/book_review/?doc=150928&ins_print;


Of course, not all the science/innovation/research issues will be settled down this September in Brussels: the discussions and fighting will proceed up to autumn 2020. Though, some preliminary “road-maps” have been already drafted, e.g. an unofficial “guide” based on views from “Science/Business” online network service.

Reference: Horizon Europe: The Essential Guide, September 2018, in:



Some states around the Baltic Sea region are trying to grasp the momentum and reform education, science and innovation issues. Thus, Polish government provides an example of moving from a notorious “moderate” innovator on the EU level up to the top. The government has created a network of applied research institutes with a dedicated agency for attracting home expat researchers. The process of reforming the higher education system has become so fundamental (with reorganization of 38 applied research institutes under the umbrella of the newly-formed Lukasiewicz Research Network), that it is even called a “constitution for science” in Polish political lexicon. The utmost idea is to strive to enter the EU’s innovation top league, after being consistently labeled as a ‘moderate’ innovator by the European Commission.

Reference to: https://sciencebusiness.net/news/poland-reforms-innovation-system-bid-emulate-success-finlands-vtt-and-germanys-fraunhofer


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