YAS attends European Network of Young Academies meeting in Berlin

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Young Academy of Scotland (YAS) Co-Chairs Gary Kerr and Jamie Cooper-Higgins, along with YAS Manager, Marie Montondo, attended the annual meeting of European Network of Young Academies (ENYA), in Berlin from 22-24 May 2024. The ENYA meeting was co-hosted by the German Young Academy and the Global Young Academy.

ENYA brought together delegates representing young academies from across Europe. The theme of the meeting was ‘Young Academy Collaboration in a Dynamic Geopolitical Landscape’. During the conference, delegates shared success stories and best practices from their young academies. On behalf of YAS, we delivered a presentation on the benefits and opportunities of ALLEA (All European Academies) membership – as the conference marked one year of our ALLEA membership. The conference served as an opportunity to strengthen and expand connection between YAS and other young academies from across Europe.

At the same time as the ENYA meeting, and in the same venue – the Berlin-Bradenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities – the General Assembly of ALLEA was held. This General Assembly marked 30 years of ALLEA. As an organisation, ALLEA exists to promote scientific collaboration between Eastern and Western Europe, fostering the exchange of ideas across border and disciplines. However, political tensions have raised questions about the limits and ethics of open research collaboration. The bullet holes in the walls of the conference room served as a reminder of Europe’s horrific past. They remind us that in the present, we can work together in YAS with young academies across Europe to promote a more peaceful, collaborative and knowledgeable Europe.

During the ALLEA session, we were able to reflect and discuss the transformative power of collaboration in the sciences and humanities and the challenges of keeping inclusive and open cooperation in balance. We discussed the need to balance this cooperation with legitimate security concerns and the need to protect both research systems and the values of researchers.

We also had the chance to attend science policy workshops hosted by ALLEA and Young Academy Science Advice Structure (YASAS). We attended a workshop on cooperation between academies in scientific advice. In this workshop, hosted by ALLEA, we exchanged examples of experiences on how national academies and young academies can work collaboratively to provide scientific advice. We explored the value that young academies can bring to senior academies when collaborating on policy advice papers.

During a policy simulation workshop, we had the chance to play a board game that simulated the process of delivering a SAPEA (Scientific Advice for Policy by European Academies) evidence review report. This was a fun and interactive activity that allowed us to explore how scientific advice is given to the European Commission. This game showed how important it is for Early and Mid Career Researchers to be represented within the science policy advice mechanism, and demonstrated the avenues for involvement.