Minutes of the Section Committee meeting of the Physics and Engineering (P&E) Sciences Section of Academia Europaea#

Orsay, 12 May 2014

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Minutes of the Section Committee meeting of the Physics and Engineering (P&E) Sciences Section of Academia Europaea#

Participants: Jörg Aichelin, Tamás Csörgo, Pavel Exner, Sydney Galès, Muhsin N. Harakeh (Chair)
Absent with notification: Vladimir E. Fortov, Anke R. Kaysser-Pyzalla, Karlheinz Langanke, Jan S. Vaagen

The Section Committee (SC) of the P&E Section met on Monday, 12 May 2014 at 9:30 a.m. at the Institut de Physique Nucléaire in Orsay, with due thanks to Sydney Galès who made the arrangements. The main purpose of the meeting was to evaluate the nominations. A table was prepared beforehand which listed all the nominations that had been received by 30 April including citation reports of the candidates. This year, we had 23 regular nominations in the Physics Subsection, 6 in the Engineering Subsection and 10 foreign-member nominations. The nominees were ranked before the meeting by each SC member separately on a scale of increasing priority with marks of 1 to 5, and the rankings were sent to the Chair. All SC members participating in the meeting did this ranking as well as two members who could not attend, i.e. K. Langanke and J.S. Vaagen. The Chair prepared a new table with averaged rankings including standard deviations. During the meeting, the candidates were discussed individually with special attention to those whose average ranking had a standard deviation of 0.5 or larger. A final ranking on a scale of increasing priority with marks of 1 to 5 was agreed upon, i.e. according to an average of the marks given by the SC members.

During the evaluation process, it was discussed and agreed that for filling the positions in the P&E Section Committee one should aim at diversification of the expertise within the SC. This was clearly missed during the discussion of some of the candidates. Active female representation should also be encouraged.

The meeting was continued after lunch and was devoted mainly to information supplied by Jan S. Vaagen in a memo to our Section. In the following an abridged version of the memo and discussion is given.


The Bergen Hub (BH, official name AEkhRB – Academia Europaea knowledge hub Region Bergen) opened its office 1 March 2014 in the premises of Business Region Bergen (BRB) in the centre of Bergen) according to a Collaboration Agreement with AE.

The Bergen Hub had its Constitutional meeting 23 January 2014, and has had since three monthly meetings for the elected body BHAG (Bergen Hub Advisory Group). The Hub’s Academic Director (AD, Jan S. Vaagen) and Secretary (Vidar Totland, BRB) have monthly preparatory meetings with the Bergen Hub Chair (BHC) (UiB Rector Dag Rune Olsen, MAE). The AD is also supposed to collaborate with and coordinate the work of three local coordinators for Sections A, B and C. Laszlo Csernai has accepted to coordinate/kick off energy and environment work together with the Section-B coordinator Petter Bjørstad (Math/Info).

The Bergen Hub is already in operation based on a charter similar to the one for the Barcelona Hub:

  1. A COLLABORATION AGREEMENT has been made between the AE and AERB (the Region Bergen Partners) for the establishment of AEkhRB in Bergen. The Charter is formally to be signed in a ceremony in Bergen on 30 May (during the Bergen Music Festival). The ceremony will be attended by AE President. The Charter contains a thematic mission statement: The main activities of the AEkhRB will be amongst others to act as the AE branch in The Nordic, Northeastern and Arctic regions, fostering scientific knowledge and research and especially, but not exclusively, develop and run activities focussing on the Northern Seas and Arctic Region. Specifically the Bergen Hub will concentrate upon Northern Seas related European resources and opportunities, in particular energy, seafood and maritime logistics, and also threats associated with the fragile northern margins; all related sciences and social sciences and humanities aspects of issues identified. Also, the AEkhRB will provide access to facilities, equipment and personnel for use by the AE and also [subject to any separate agreements] by the Young Academy of Europe (YAE), to enable the development of this association’s activities.
  2. BHAG was created in a statutory meeting in January as a tool for the RB Partners (and AE) to run the Hub activities. BHAG, based on RB/Nordic AE members, has 7 voting members and comprises three sections: A, B and C.
  3. A more detailed Mission Statement has also been composed and approved by the AE board.
  4. Elements of an Implementation Plan creating a win-win situation for AE and the Partners exist.

Being an international, non-governmental association of individual scientists and scholars, who are experts and leaders in their own subject areas as recognised by their peers, AE expects the Bergen Hub to involve and utilise these resources in its work and, in particular, in interplay with decision/policy makers. To this end, AE must take measures to make its competence available as well as the networks it commands or is involved in.

The Bergen Hub has, based on its mission statement, started work on mapping its own home base: its networks, competence structure and new connections in the Northern Seas Dimension in more detail. This work, coordinated by Jan S. Vaagen as Academic Director, is greatly facilitated by having operational office at BRB. Since resources are always limited, choices have to be made. A win-win situation has to be created where AE and RB share successes, and often enough. The aim is to go beyond the first 5 years.

To achieve this, some symmetry is needed where Sections in AE prepare for collaboration with the Hub. Since it will take some time for the Hub to really get going AE Sections may start developing infrastructure that will be useful for future joint work with the Hub and ongoing work in EASAC (the European Academies’ Science Advisory Council). EASAC has now obtained a favourable status both with respect to the Commission, JRC and European Parliament (STOA). It has an active Energy Steering Panel (see homepage) and a running need for experts to its working groups, calling also on AE. Further impact on policy makers is top priority. In this respect, it is important to mention that the Bergen Hub has embarked on activities in topics of ‘Energy and Environment’ and ‘Nuclear Medicine and Particle Beam Treatment’. Bergen may get a particle-therapy centre.

Jan S. Vaagen as AE representative in EASAC’s Energy Steering Panel will also provide by chance the Hub’s only direct bridge to EASAC. Furthermore, current EASAC themes are also priority themes for Nordic countries. AE has to go on rethinking the structure of its outreach policy. The Bergen Hub will in due time approach AE on such collaboration issues, to be further informed on AE policy.

Finally, the Chair informed the present members of the Section Committee (SC) that the membership of the following colleagues in the Section Committee (SC) will expire by December 2014: Joerg Aichelin, Pavel Exner, Vladimir Fortov and Anke Kaysser-Pyzalla. In all cases, it is the first term of serving on the Section Committee and the members could be re-elected by the Section Committee if they so wish. For the vacancies that remain candidates should be nominated who will be put for election through the members of the whole Section. The Chair informs the SC members that he will send an e-mail in time to all Section members to ask for nominations.

The meeting ended around 15:30.

Important information for P&E Section members#

The next AE Annual General Conference (AGC) will be held in Barcelona, Spain in the period 16-18 July 2014. All Section members are encouraged to attend.

Muhsin N. Harakeh
Chair P&E Section
30 May 2014

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