The EU co-funded project NDI Think Tank Action held its first Steering Group (ASG) meeting on 27 November 2019 at Aalto University, Espoo. The meeting was hosted by the Lead Partner of the Action, Aalto University.
The ASG consists of project partners’ representatives and leaders of the four ND partnerships. The project was represented by Professor Riitta Kosonen, Director, CEMAT, Aalto University (Chair), Dr Marina Kalinina, Rector’s Advisor on International Cooperation, Northern (Arctic) Federal University named after M.V. Lomonosov (NArFU), Professor Arja Rautio, University of Oulu, Dr Elena Rovenskaya, Acting Deputy Director General, Program Director, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) and Dr Dmitry Vasilenko, Vice-rector for International Relations, St. Petersburg State University of Economics (UNECON). The ND partnerships were represented by Mr Oddgeir Danielsen, Director of NDP Transport and Logistics and Ms Dace Resele, Head of the NDP Culture Secretariat. In addition, the meeting was attended by Dr Päivi Karhunen, Research Expert, NDI, Aalto University, Ms Anneli Vartio, Project Coordinator, NDI, Aalto University and Ms Johanna Vakkuri, Controller, Aalto University.
In the meeting the first year’s activities of the Think Tank Action project was reviewed and future plans outlined. The ASG acknowledged the implementation of the following activities of the Think Tank Action project:
- Creating a pool of expertise and conducting targeted research in the following four thematic areas: combatting climate change and curbing black carbon emissions, creative industries in solving societal challenges, healthy ageing, and emerging trade routes between Europe and Asia
- Serving the information needs of the ND partnerships and other stakeholders, co-creation with the partnerships and awareness raising
- Building capacities of the partner organizations by organizing the first communication training for partners in June 2019
- A ND logo design competition launched in summer 2019 on the request of the European Commission and the ND Steering Group to increase the awareness and visibility of the Northern Dimension
- The main event of the year, the Future Forum organized on 28 November 2019 in Espoo, Finland
- Preparing policy briefs, research-based summaries targeted especially for decision-makers. The policy briefs are published on the NDI website and distributed widely. Several policy briefs are currently in progress.
- Producing several articles and publications in the four thematic areas
- Active networking and presentation of the project and its outcomes in various ND meetings, seminars and conferences
The representatives of the partnerships brought up topical and prioritized issues of their activities. In transport and logistics, new emerging trade routes, decarbonization of transport and alternative fuels, digitalization, robotization and automation, artificial intelligence, data management and best practices in transport education were mentioned. In the field of culture, cross-cutting topics and cross-sectoral collaboration, promoting research in cultural industries, sustainability of cultural and environmental artistic practices, urban planning and cultural heritage were brought up.
The ASG stressed the need to popularize science in order to fill the gaps in decision-makers’ knowledge. Policy brief was considered to form a good channel to distribute information in an easy way to policy- and decision-makers.
The next ASG meeting is planned to be held in Brussels in connection with the Future Forum 2020.