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THE ROLE OF EUROPEAN FOUNDATIONS IN BUILDING HUMAN CAPACITY IN RESEARCH STAKEHOLDERS’ CONFERENCE | STUTTGART, GERMANY | 7-8 DECEMBER 2010 EUROPEAN FORUM ON PHILANTHROPY AND RESEARCH FUNDING CONFERENCE REPORT NURTURING TALENT ANALYSE ANALYSE ANALYSE ANALYSE ANALYSE
Transcript
THE ROLE OF EUROPEAN FOUNDATIONS IN BUILDING HUMAN CAPACITY IN RESEARCH
STAKEHOLDERS’ CONFERENCE | STUTTGART, GERMANY | 7-8 DECEMBER 2010
EUROPEAN FORUM ON PHILANTHROPY AND RESEARCH FUNDING
CONFERENCE REPORT
NURTURING TALENT
ANALYSE
ANALYSE
ANALYSE
ANALYSE
ANALYSE
NURTURING TALENT: THE ROLE OF EUROPEAN FOUNDATIONS IN BUILDING HUMAN CAPACITY - CONFERENCE REPORT
THE ORGANISATION OF THIS EVENT WAS MADE POSSIBLE
THANKS TO THE SUPPORT OF:
THE ROBERT BOSCH STIFTUNG FOR HOSTING THE CONFERENCE
AND THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION FOR SUPPORTING THE SPEAKERS FUND
3 Foreword from the Robert Bosch Stiftung
7 DECEMBER 2010
4 Panel Session 1: Internationalisation of Research
5 Panel Session 2: Creativity and Leadership
6 Panel Session 3: The Unique Role of Foundations in Building Human Capacity in Research
7 Keynote address: Founding a Worldwide Network of Excellence
8 DECEMBER 2010
9 Opening Plenary: The Role of Foundations in Building Human Capacity in Research: The View
From Universities
10 Parallel session A: Building Capacity in the Developing World
11 Parallel session B: Research Leaders of Tomorrow
12 Parallel session C: Creativity and Innovation
13 About the Forum
Robert Bosch Stiftung Chair of Steering Group,
EFC Research Forum
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The need for more scientists and researchers in Europe has become acute and the competition – whether from other parts of the globe or other parts of the economy – has never been more intense. That is why the Steering Group of the EFC Research Forum chose ‘Nurturing Talent’ as the theme for its 2010 annual stakeholders’ conference (hosted by the Robert Bosch Stiftung in Stuttgart). It is vital to ensure that the next generation of researchers addresses the social, economic and environmental challenges we all face with renewed inspiration and urgency. But this is not just a matter of identifying that talent - regardless of gender, race and ethnicity – and giving it the necessary resources. That talent needs to be carefully mentored and developed. As Professor Helmut Schwarz put it in his opening address, “Human talent is in a way comparable to a plant that needs constant care and attentiveness. We must act like gardeners rather than bureaucrats”.
Foundations are uniquely able to act as exemplars of this approach in their partnerships and funding relationships, free from the bureaucratic constraints that some public funders operate under. The sessions at this conference heard how foundations are using their distinctive position
within the funding system to cultivate and foster talent by encouraging mobility and entrepreneurship, by building capacity in the developing world, by giving opportunities to women and the socially disadvantaged to pursue and sustain research careers, by supporting neglected or unfashionable scientific skills and by promoting creative and risk-taking environments.
In the discussions that took place, no simple formula was discovered for success in nurturing and developing talent. The many ways in which talent manifests itself too often outruns our ability to enshrine it in everyday practices and programmes. It is one reason why foundations should prize their flexibility and retain their capacity to act quickly. It was also one of the lessons learned at this conference – there is a vast repository of good practice in attracting and sustaining research talent that we can all benefit from, and much to be gained from sharing our understanding of common challenges.
This peer learning and information sharing will continue to be a feature of the EFC Research Forum in the coming years. The Forum’s new strategy for 2011-13 places it at the heart of its activities and we look forward to welcoming you all at the events that will be taking place in this period.
FOREWORD
Robert Bosch Stiftung Chair of Steering Group,
EFC Research Forum
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The session looked at the increasingly global patterns of mobility in research, reflecting the more general picture of internationalisation, interdependence and the global competition for talent and creativity. Different dimensions of this phenomenon were addressed - mobility within the EU, mobility between Europe and the US, mobility between developed and less developed countries and the consequences of this mobility for science and the distribution of talent .
One theme that emerged is the tension between science as an enterprise that is inherently blind to borders and the need to build capacity within nations to meet social or development goals. Programmes that fund international mobility are often premised on the benefits to individual scientific careers, but they can also encourage or accentuate ‘brain drain’. This can be a concern at any stage of a country’s development and it should be possible to share solutions to common challenges. David Strangway, Quest University outlined how a programme to combat brain drain in Canada in the 1990s could be applied to developing countries in Africa, through the investment in 1,000 research chairs. Investment in higher education and research is increasingly the attracting the
attention of global development institutions such as the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation (IFC – part of the World Bank Group).
Gunnar Tornqvist, Lund University, also demonstrated how Europe had experienced brain drain to the US in the post-war period by examining the life-courses of 806 Nobel laureates. His analysis revealed a complex picture of staged migration in many careers. Although many laureates ended their careers in ‘apex universities’ in the US due to their scientific prestige, he noted the importance of ‘elevator universities’ in such careers, which are often the sites of some of their most creative work. He also emphasised that features of creative milieus such as their ‘structured instability’ can be as important as networks and resources.
In opening the discussion, Mike Rogers, European Commission, spoke about the way the EU has encouraged mobility through its Marie Curie programme and the many concrete partnership opportunities for foundations who wish to leverage their own resources for promoting the internationalisation of science.
PANEL SESSION 1
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Like Gunnar Tornqvist in the preceding session, Karen Wilson, Kauffman Foundation, emphasised the importance of a creative milieu in the innovation process, or as she termed it, the entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystem. This ecosystem is expanding and foundations are critical players in its development and can act as catalysts and bridge builders, particularly with respect to investment in the social economy. Foundations bring funding, networks and vital experience to the table. Kauffman Foundation and others were addressing the major challenges in cultivating a healthy innovation ecosystem such as developing good metrics to monitor progress, scaling up successful images, effective use of resources and building partnerships with other stakeholders.
The growing interest in social innovation and social investment was discussed – there will be a major conference on this topic in Vienna in 2011 - and the usefulness of the dichotomy between for-profit entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurship was questioned. Participants were urged to think about this as a continuum of social impact rather than discrete categories. Linking to David Strangway’s earlier presentation, the session also heard about an EU/African Union funding programme to improve innovation systems and innovation policy learning, drawing on European and US experiences and expertise.
Another feature of a healthy innovation ecosystem is the transfer of knowledge through the identification and training of research leaders. Particularly important is nurturing a cadre of research leaders from
groups that are traditionally underrepresented in scientific leadership positions, for example women or ethnic minorities. In this context, Ingrid Wuenning Tschol, Robert Bosch Stiftung, presented AcademiaNet (http://www.academia-net.de) a web-based platform for raising the profile of female scientists, initially focusing on the German research system but with European and indeed global ambitions. This tool, itself a form of social innovation, will help members of programme committees, funding councils and other decision-makers to ensure appropriate representation of women when short-listing candidates for top-level positions.
Other European research organisations, including the European Research Council, have expressed interest in getting involved in its development beyond Germany. A participant also raised the possibility of extending the initiative to South Africa, both to improve the profile of women and black researchers. In the discussion it was acknowledged that this was not a substitute for individual mentorship and career development programmes that are also a necessary component in bringing on the next generation of research leaders. The women listed on Academia Net have already established a research profile and the representation of early career researchers is ensured through the partner organisations (Max Planck Foundation and Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft), who have their own schemes to identify and develop young talent. It was agreed that it would be interesting to track the trajectories of those who had not been selected by such programmes and compare the impact on career development.
PANEL SESSION 2
Chair: Liselotte Højgaard, University of Copenhagen Panellists: Karen E. Wilson, Senior Fellow, Kauffman Foundation Ingrid Wünning Tschol, Robert Bosch Stiftung
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Chair Anne-Marie Engel, Lundbeck Foundation, introduced the session by asking three important questions: how to find the best people in research?; how to define ‘talent’?; and how do you make sure researchers carry out their work?
The first panellist, Enric Banda, Fundación la Caixa, stated that he had been ‘looking for talent’ throughout his career. In his presentation, he gave some thoughts on the concept of talent: what do we mean by talent? Is it genetic? Can it otherwise be developed? And does quantity alone ensure we find it? Fundación la Caixa looks to identify talent, but does so by trusting in the judgement of high-quality researchers and research group leaders. In this respect it is not exceptional. The foundation identifies grantees through the usual selection process: one of the consequences of this approach is that it may discourage risk and converge on the mainstream of research.
In relation to talent concerning research and higher education, the foundation supports excellent research (Overall 2010 budget: 13.8 million €) via research collaborative projects, and via RecerCaixa, a new grants programme. La Caixa also funds fellowships (Overall 2010 budget: 13.2 million €) and collaborates with universities, public and private research centres and university hospitals to generate new scientific
knowledge. Projects are chosen by an internal process considering the following elements: subject, leadership and excellence.
Liselotte Højgaard, University of Copenhagen, continued the discussion by presenting her thoughts on education, training and career planning for better medical research in Europe. In particular, she focused on the role foundations can play in developing strategy both independently and with public funders and research policy makers; in supporting the education, training and careers of (future) research leaders; and in helping to fund the mobility of researchers, creating networks not only around Europe, but globally. Foundations, being both flexible and responsive, have many advantages in this respect- including their ability to support risky and transformative research and offer long term support.
Rounding off the session, Anthony Tomei, Nuffield Foundation, gave a presentation on capacity in the social sciences. The Nuffield Foundation funds research that will influence policy and practice, with priority areas including: civil law; children and families; economics of ageing; science and mathematics education. He explained ‘capacity’ as ‘what you need in order to achieve something’, and this could mean either people (their skills, knowledge and networks) or things (datasets, cohort studies, etc). Having given some examples
of work undertaken by the Nuffield Foundation, he concluded by advising foundations to work in priority areas; focusing on specific rather than generic projects and programmes, and to only get involved if you have something substantive to add. Furthermore, support can be either directly or indirectly given, and that it is important to work in collaboration with others. He doubted that foundations have a ‘unique’ role to play, but that they do have the opportunity to add something distinctive. Echoing other speakers during the conference, he explained that capacity building is a long term ambition, and there are no short term fixes.
The post presentation discussion focused on the topic of risk taking in research funding- including how difficult it is to assess the level of risk in an application. The consensus was that foundations are suitably placed to fund high(er) risk research work, but need to communicate this better to researchers. Communication is centrifugal to a successful relationship between funder and researcher, and an example of keeping the dialogue open was given by David Lynn. The Wellcome Trust interviews all applicants for research funding, therefore allowing the applicant to explain the level of risk involved in his/her project. Moreover, once the application is approved, Wellcome continues to provide guidance to the researcher for the duration of the funding.
PANEL SESSION 3
Chair: Anne-Marie Engel, Lundbeck Foundation Panellists: Enric Banda, Fundación 'la Caixa' Liselotte Højgaard, University of Copenhagen Anthony Tomei, Nuffield Foundation
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TFOUNDING A WORLDWIDE NETWORK OF EXCELLENCE: THE ALEXANDER VON HUMBOLDT FOUNDATION’S ROLE IN THE INTERNATIONALISATION OF RESEARCH
Defining what research foundations are is by no means trivial - for there are many. However, what seems more interesting, at least to me, is the question: "Why does research need foundations at all?" Actually, this question was already addressed and answered in 2008, by Wilhelm Krull, Secretary General of the VolkswagenStiftung, in a paper entitled "Encouraging change, European foundations funding research". According to Dr. Krull: "Foundations can act autonomously in supporting the first experiments in new areas, in taking risk when exploring hitherto unknown territories, and in substantially encouraging frontrunners in institutional reform."
Progress depends on the genius and dedication of individual people, and the creation of what we call in German "Freiräume" constitutes a major element that many foundations may have in common. Without any doubt, "nurturing talent" is an essential and a noble mission. We, at the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, regard the promotion of talent and of outstanding personalities as our guiding principle. Our fields of activity and our sponsorship portfolio are based on this understanding. The intriguing term of "nurturing talent" reminds me of a comment by a Humboldt Alumnus, who once stated: "The Humboldt Foundation's administrators are not acting like bureaucrats, but rather like gardeners. Human talent is in a way comparable to a plant that needs care and attentiveness. The comparison also reminds us of the human face of research. Maintaining and sometimes re-establishing this human dimension is probably another salient task of research foundations.
It is an undisputed fact that, whilst science is like a mosaic comprising a multitude of individual contributions, breakthroughs are nearly always due to the sole efforts of individuals. In the opinion of the Humboldt Foundation, giving support to highly gifted and dedicated individuals constitutes the best conceivable investment. Moreover, our funding decisions have been taken absolutely independently of our major sponsors and like in the Academy the selection of individuals is based solely on academic achievements – meritocracy prevails!
Establishing relationships as a one-time act is not enough. Scientific partnerships demand sustainable support; it is a long-term engagement and commitment. Here, foundations have an opportunity to act as catalysts or to become frontrunners in providing a scientific culture that is based on the values of trust and transparency. The growing European Research Area still lacks these values, at least to some extent. Yet, while the current Seventh Research Framework programme has the incredibly large budget of nearly 54 billion Euros, proper funding alone, is not a panacea for all woes of research.
This was expressed most clearly in the online manifesto "Trust researchers", a declaration that was addressed to the attention of the European Council of Ministers and the European Parliament in February 2010. Signed by more than 13,000 (mostly European) researchers, the manifesto demanded that the "Funding of research in Europe should be based on mutual trust and responsible partnership", and furthermore, "funding should be focused more on basic research”. Most research foundations, as differently as they might act in certain aspects, comply with these wishes by and large.
Few subjects could be regarded as more worthy of attention
than that of human talent, the most precious resource we have.
The fact that we, as foundations, should try hard to keep alive a
constant dialogue among us seems to me of equal importance.
By exchanging our points of view and by sharing experiences,
concepts, and inspiration we will learn from each other and are
likely to improve our own performance. There are an astonishing
variety of research foundations. While our fields of activity differ
in certain aspects, and our profiles are quite clearly far from
being identical, we nevertheless pursue one common goal: the
promotion of research and innovation.
By Helmut Schwarz, President, Alexander Von Humboldt Stiftung
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This brings me back to the initial metaphor of human talent as a plant and the foundation's staff members as gardeners. Both plant and gardener need to be placed on fertile, solid ground – the proper environment.
By providing this fertile ground, foundations can indeed provide the required environment for excellent researchers, and can offer the "Freiräume" for promising academic and scientific talent. By acting like pioneers through innovative projects and programmes, we can very well initiate overdue institutional reforms. A most recent example is, perhaps, the Alexander von Humboldt Professorship. Beginning
in 2008, the programme has awarded funds of up to 5 million € each to 20 scientists to continue their research in Germany, and consequently, Alexander von Humboldt Professors enjoy a high degree of freedom in creating their own working conditions and in establishing sustainable research structures at German universities. In less than two-and-a-half years’ time, the programme has been adopted by institutions in Canada, Austria, Japan, Korea, England and, most recently, Russia – what a compliment!
Encouraging mobility and international networking are additional areas that deserve the attention of research foundations. The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation enhances the internationalisation of research by granting about 700 fellowships and 100 research awards to exceptionally highly-qualified scientists and scholars each year. Furthermore, a hallmark of all Humboldt activities is that the sponsorship is followed by a life-long association with the foundation. Today, the Alexander von Humboldt
Foundation comprises a network of well over 24,000 members in about 135 countries, and we are engaged in international cultural dialogue and scientific exchange as a liaison organisation for German foreign cultural, scientific and educational policy.
The Humboldt network is also deeply rooted within the German research landscape, and predominantly within German universities. The Opening Plenary of this conference is dedicated to "The view from universities". I would like to stress the crucial role of universities for the Humboldt Foundation and beyond: Without the incessant
input and generously offered scientific expertise we receive from universities and research institutes, we would not exist. Universities are in fact comparable to an ocean of talents where highly promising students and young researchers make the first steps towards an international career.
Contributing to the building of human capacity in the developing world is a field of growing interest for research foundations, and I am glad to see this topic on the agenda of this conference. Science and tertiary education form the basis for the economic dynamism which is essential to sustain social improvement and the reduction if not abolition of poverty. The global challenges of our time – be it climate change or health care – cannot be mastered from a traditional Eurocentric point of view. Sustainable contacts between researchers originating from different continents describe best what "brain circulation" should mean.
In academics, but also beyond academics, the Humboldt network indeed reaches far into the civil societies of countries throughout the world. It is based on the individual experiences made during the fellows´ stay in Germany and it derives from a better and deeper understanding of our country's history. In this manner, the network of scientists contributes to the preparation of the soil for day- to-day political and economic action. In fact, the Humboldt network has already turned out to be an indispensable element in Germany’s international academic relations, a crucial factor in the continuous rejuvenation of science in Germany, and an important means of fostering sustainable
development in threshold and developing countries all over the globe. Science, and the way scientists interact with each other, have had a significant impact on overcoming the political division of Europe and the world, and it is certainly not exaggerated to state that in the political arena, science can sow the seeds of such a diplomacy.
It has to be underlined that this mission can never be completed. The Humboldt network will always remain a wonderful "work in progress". As a foundation, we remain constant founders, and in our daily activities, we continue "founding a worldwide network of excellence". After all, the spirit of a foundation demands the passion of pioneers.
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Chaired by John H. Smith, European University Association, the opening plenary looked at the role of foundations in building human research capacity from the perspective of the universities. The focus of the plenary was on how to create the right conditions for foundations and universities to work together in ensuring the best environment for nurturing talent.
Sijbolt Noorda, VSNU, opened by stating that “universities share the fate of most institutions: they can no longer be sure of their reputation, but must earn it”. Leadership of universities is no different to leadership anywhere else- easily criticised and distrusted. Consequently, he stressed that universities must work to regain commitment, respect and public support by (once again) demonstrating usefulness (recognised and valued in the labour market, in the corporate world, and in politics) by seeking engagement, showing responsiveness, and serving society rather than themselves. Furthermore, in the modern world it is inconceivable that universities can sustain themselves on public funds alone.
It is here that philanthropy can play a part: an example being the 15 Dutch foundations who spend 130 million € annually on university research on Alzheimer’s, cancer, diabetes and other diseases. By collecting a large number of small, private donations, the foundations can then select worthy causes and projects to be funded. Another example given was the VSB (United Saving Banks) fund which annually offers hundreds of international research scholarships to academically and socially well performing students.
Foundations need to ‘dare to be different’ and break away from the mainstream of funding for research and higher education It is not just money that is important in this process – new methods and motivations are also welcome. Ideally what is required is a balance in public and private investment, not only
in terms of money but also in terms of commitment and engagement. Balance and reciprocity are also important in terms of giving and receiving, and indeed the art of receiving is all too often underdeveloped in universities. Universities need to learn how to receive in an honourable way, and can look to Canadian universities as a good example of how to do this.
Rolf Tarrach, University of Luxembourg, addressed the kind of niche that foundations can find in building human research capacity, and the power of distinctiveness in attracting sponsorship. Concurring with Sijbolt Noorda, Rolf Tarrach stressed the distinctiveness of foundations: they can be more swiftly reactive to public events (for example the Wikileaks phenomenon); they can be more proactive, for example in setting up the European Science Open Forum and its accompanying networking structures; they can take advantage of serendipity and chance, by funding creative people and not just on the basis of funding proposals; and they have the freedom to be politically incorrect, by funding topics that public funders would be reluctant to support.
He spoke about how the University of Luxembourg was also trying to break the mould, as the only university in Europe where there is compulsory mobility of students and both the students and faculty are highly internationalised. There are well developed links beyond academia, in part through the large proportion of teaching staff who come from business, industry and the EU institutions and a streamlined governance structure.
The plenary concluded with questions from the floor, which began with ways of funders getting out of the research rut of ‘mainstreaming’. As Enric Banda pointed out, to achieve this requires both patience (a change in direction can take decades) and strong leadership, but it is an important long term goal. Equally important is the concept of ‘friend-raising’ as a means of fundraising, establishing strong relationships between funder and grantee.
OPENING PLENARY
Chair: John H. Smith, European University Association Panellists: Sijbolt Noorda, Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU) Rolf Tarrach, University of Luxembourg
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The session heard from four foundations from the US and Europe with experience of investing in higher education and research in the developing world, in particular in Africa. The panel chair, David Lynn, Wellcome Trust, emphasised the Trust’s long history of engagement with researchers in Africa and India, going back to the 1940s and 1950s. Gerd Schönwälder, International Development Research Centre, also provided his perspective on the issue from a foundation that provides both funding and mentoring to researchers in the developing world as part of its mission. Each of these foundations has worked in partnership with other foundations, as well as other organisations, in their efforts to build research capacity and a major focus of discussion was the challenges and opportunities that emerged in this process.
There were a number of common themes that emerged from the presentations and the discussions. Firstly, the term ‘capacity building’ itself needed further clarification – is it fostering the skills of individuals? Strengthening institutions? Providing necessary research infrastructure? These can all be considered aspects of capacity building but it should be clear which is meant. The social dimension of capacity building should also be taken into account alongside the purely research elements.
Secondly, what should the funding priorities be? There were a number of different perspectives along the definitional lines above, but the point was made that foundations have a role in building the administrative and planning capacity of institutions, which can be as important as funding for research per se.
Funders also need to face the question as to whether existing educational elites are privileged in this process or whether the focus should instead be on the socially disadvantaged as the evidence suggests that these may receive the maximum benefit and are more likely to return to their local communities to apply their new-found skills and knowledge.
Thirdly, the issue of partnerships was threaded throughout the entire discussion – north-south partnerships, south-south partnerships, and partnerships with other foundations and philanthropic organisations. It was noted that foundations prefer to be seen as partners rather than donors, i.e. having an active role in shaping the relationship.
Fourthly, the efficiency and transparency of governance arrangements was seen as crucial dimension of the success of these partnerships. A fifth theme that provoked much discussion was the sustainability of the interventions. Capacity building is a long-term venture that often requires sustained investment of up to 30 years or more before results are seen, whereas foundations often fund in 4 or 5 year cycles. Who is responsible for taking over capacity building when foundation funding is withdrawn? Such questions must be addressed at the outset of such initiatives. Finally, the importance of robust impact assessment was demonstrated by the large body of quantitative data the Ford Foundation could point to in evidencing the success of its programme. Such quantitative data should be complemented by individual narratives or success stories to provide a rounded picture of impact.
PARALLEL SESSION A:
Chair: David Lynn, Wellcome Trust Panellists: Joan Dassin, International Fellowships Program of the Ford Foundation Detlef Hanne, VolkswagenStiftung Kole Shettima, Higher Education Initiative in Africa, MacArthur Foundation Gerd Schönwälder, International Development Research Centre
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Chair Teresa Lago, University of Porto and European Research Council, opened the session by explaining that over the years Europe has not been very attractive for researchers, in particular for young prospective science leaders. This is due, she explained, to limited career opportunities, fragmented and confusing research funding and a lack of open competition. She then summarised the European Research Council strategy to change the scenery and provide benchmarks and leverage towards broader (structural) improvements in European research.
The first panellist, Maja Horst, Copenhagen Business School (CBS), spoke about scientific social responsibility- and how to prepare research leaders of tomorrow to manage science in society. One key element is getting the conditions right for research leadership- including adequate resources and a balance of competition and collaboration between disciplines, nations, universities etc. There is also a need to shift from research ethics (such as protecting research publications) to scientific social responsibility, that is to say being accountable to the political, economic, social and ethical values broadly accepted in society. In conclusion, Maja Horst explained that tomorrow’s research leaders require a diverse set of skills. They must balance advancing science and managing their organisations; create scientific excellence and entrepreneurship; be devoted to a scientific specialisation and a broad horizon; and finally be first among peers and equal among fellow citizens.
Beate Konze-Thomas, DFG, continued the theme by explaining how her organisation makes research careers more attractive. DFG is Germany’s largest research funding organisation, which funds scientific research in all disciplines based on scientific merit
and excellence with a special focus on supporting early-stage researchers. DFG’s objective in funding talent is to offer researchers appropriate funding at each career stage- from their studies through to a professorship. Beate Konze-Thomas outlined various examples of how DFG promotes young researchers, including the Emmy Noether Programme and numerous custom-designed funding programmes such as the Heisenberg fellowship and Heisenberg professorship.
The final speaker, Michal Pietras, Foundation for Polish Science, stressed the importance of supporting the research leaders of tomorrow. The Foundation for Polish Science, the largest NGO supporting science in Poland since 1991, maintains the fundamental motto: “Supporting the best, so that they can become even better”. Michal Pietras explained that future research leaders include not only promising Masters and PhD students, but also ‘scientists in transition’ as a result of migration or maternity leave. The foundation offers financial and mentoring assistance to these scientists during their period of transition to help them ‘restart’ their scientific careers. In short, FNP concentrates on people rather than any thematic priorities, promoting excellence and protecting talent in any given field.
Comments from the floor supported the notion that foundations have a unique role to play in supporting the research leaders of tomorrow and allowing them to take risks in their work. Other important issues raised included the importance of networking between research leaders from various disciplines and of various ages. In an ideal world, research leaders should be as diverse as the society they live in.
PARALLEL SESSION B: Chair: Teresa Lago, University of Porto and European Research Council Panellists: Maja Horst, Copenhagen Business School Beate Konze-Thomas, Deutsche Forschung Gemeinschaft (DFG) Michal Pietras, Foundation for Polish Science
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Pier Mario Vello, Fondazione Cariplo, opened the session by posing the questions: how do foundations choose a strategy for change and how much are they really able to change? Vello shared his impression that foundations can be conservative and unwilling to change. In trying to address the widest range of topics they run the risk of not being effective in any one area.
He also presented TT Venture initiative, a fund for technology transfer which is promoted by Fondazione Cariplo and the Association of Italian Foundations and Savings Banks and
provides financial backing to high-tech projects developed under joint ventures formed between universities and businesses. TT Venture has established a significant network with universities, agencies and institutions and is now recognised as a reference Venture Capital fund in the Italian research environment.
Stephan Gutzeit, Stiftung Charité, spoke about entrepreneurship and venture philanthropy as the missing links in innovation. Gutzeit introduced an idea that innovation is created as a result of interaction between creativity, entrepreneurship and philanthropy. Too much money is given by foundations for basic funding and too little for innovation. Innovation comes in different ways. It can be replicative innovation, incremental innovation or radical innovation. Radical innovation means high risk, uncertainty and probability of failure, nevertheless it is this that foundations should focus on.
João Caraça, Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian stated that a new culture is needed- a culture that enables the capacity for generating original ideas, bold actions and risk-taking. The step to be taken by foundations is an implementation of the decisive activities such as best practice (the demonstration effect), social experimentation (the innovation effect) and changing the system (the strategic effect). Caraça went on to pose the question: can creativity be taught? He emphasised that it can be done – not, however, by adding to existing skills and attitudes but by tapping people’s intrinsic latent creativity.
The discussion with participants focused on the question raised by Pier Mario Vello: “Considering that there is a global economic- financial crisis, is this the time for foundations to be creative and innovative or concentrate more on the main needs?” In answering this question, participants agreed that creativity often springs from disorder, and the necessity to find new solutions. They concurred on a general need for a new paradigm that encourages curiosity and the freedom to experiment in order to foster creativity. This encouraging environment also needs to be developed within foundations. Echoing Professor Schwarz’s garden metaphor in the keynote address, Pier Mario Vello concluded that what the research field needs is great oaks - not bonsai trees - and that foundations must act like a gardener by providing the right environment for growth and then exercising patience.
PARALLEL SESSION C:
Chair: Pier Mario Vello, Fondazione Cariplo Panellists: João Caraça, Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian Stephan Gutzeit, Stiftung Charité
CREATIVITY OFTEN SPRINGS FROM DISORDER
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ABOUT THE EFC RESEARCH FORUM Foundations and philanthropic organisations can play a leading role in supporting research across Europe, and have valuable expertise to share with all research stakeholders. To develop this potential, the European Foundation Centre (EFC) set up a Research Forum with support from the European Commission and individual funders.
After a 3-year pilot phase, the Forum has developed a new strategy for the period 2011-13. The mission of the Forum is to facilitate more effective philanthropic support for research through transnational cooperation and information exchange.
The objectives of the Forum are:
• To provide opportunities for peer-learning and networking amongst philanthropic funders of research and other research stakeholders
• To facilitate effective transnational cooperation at European level between philanthropic funders of research
• To better document the contribution of the European philanthropic sector to research
• To raise the profile of the contribution of philanthropy to European research amongst European-level research associations and decision-makers
• To create a sustainable network of independent research foundations in Europe
PRESENTATIONS To download the conference presentations, and for further information on the Forum activities check out the Forum webpages:
www.efc.be/Research_Forum
CONTACT INFORMATION Want to contribute or be kept informed of the Forum’s activities? Don’t hesitate to contact the Forum secretariat at the EFC:
t +32.2.512.8938 | [email protected]
INTERESTED IN THE EFC? Are you a foundation? Would you like to know how the EFC can support you and help develop your activities? Information on the benefits of joining the EFC can be found at:
www.efc.be/membership “Towards a new vision for philanthropy and research” www.efc.be/Research_Forum
NURTURING TALENT: THE ROLE OF EUROPEAN FOUNDATIONS IN BUILDING HUMAN CAPACITY - CONFERENCE REPORT
The activities of the Forum are led by a Steering Group made up of representatives from EFC member foundations that are active in research, and the European University Association.
The current Steering Group members are:
• Ingrid Wünning Tschol, Head of Science and Research, Robert Bosch Stiftung (Steering Group Chair)
• Enric Banda, Director of Science, Research and Environment, Fundación ‘la Caixa’
• Göran Blomqvist, Managing Director, Stiftelsen Riksbankens Jubileumsfond
• João Caraça, Director for Research, Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian
• Anne-Marie Engel, Director of Research, Lundbeckfonden
• Wilhelm Krull, Secretary General, VolkswagenStiftung
• David Lynn, Head of Strategic Planning and Policy, The Wellcome Trust
• John H Smith, Deputy Secretary General, European University Association
• Pier Mario Vello, Secretary General, Fondazione Cariplo
• Maciej Zylicz, President, Executive Director, Foundation for Polish Science
The European Commission, DG Research, is an observer of the Steering Group.
STEERING GROUP:
Riksbankens Jubileumsfond
Bertelsmann Stiftung
Center for Social Innovation Centre for Philanthropy Studies (CEPS), Universitat Basel Centre for Social Innovation Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) Copenhagen Business School
Deutsche Forschung Gemeinschaft
Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne Effective Communities Project ERSTE Stiftung Erwin-Warth-Stiftung European Commission European Humanities University European School of Management and Technology (ESMT) European University Association Evkaf Foundation
Fondation Maison des Sciences de l’Homme Fondazione Cariplo Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Cuneo Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Padova e Rovigo Fondazione di Comunita Centro Storico Napoli Foundation for Polish Science Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian Fundación ‘la Caixa’ Fundación Pedro Barrié de la Maza
German-Polish Research Foundation
Jacobs Foundation
London School of Economics and Political Science London School of Economics, Centre for Civil Society Lund University Lundbeckfonden
Max-Planck-Forderstiftung
Queen Mary, University of London Quest University
Rare Partners srl Robert Bosch Stiftung
South African Embassy - Brussels Stellenbosch University Stichting Instituut Gak Stiftelsen Riksbankens Jubileumsfond Stiftung Charité Stiftung Mercator GmbH
The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation The Ford Foundation The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation The Nuffield Foundation TuBerculosis Vaccine Initiative
UBS Optimus Foundation University of Copenhagen University of Luxembourg University of Porto
VolkswagenStiftung Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Wellcome Trust
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About the EFC... The EFC, founded in 1989, is an international membership association representing public- benefit foundations and corporate funders active in philanthropy in Europe, and beyond. The Centre develops and pursues activities in line with its four key objectives: creating an enabling legal and fiscal environment; documenting the foundation landscape; building the capacity of foundation professionals; and promoting collaboration, both among foundations and between foundations and other actors. Emphasising transparency and best practice, all members sign up to and uphold the EFC Principles of Good Practice.

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