President's page#

Marja Makarow

Letter to AE and YAE members and guests from the President Marja Makarow#

May 2022#

Dear members of the Academia Europaea, members of the Young Academy and guest readers,#

Now that the disruptions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic are gradually receding, I am pleased to report that the activities of the Academia Europaea are returning. The postponed workshop on ‘Iconoclasm’, organised by the History and Archaeology section (under Nikita Harwich) was successfully run through our Wroclaw Hub. An open access supplement to our journal The European Review will carry the papers. I would like to thank Kasia Majkowska the Hub manager, for the local organisation, after such a difficult period and during a re-location of the office. Similarly, I was pleased to see that our longstanding HERCuLES group (Higher Education Research and Culture in European Society) were able to run their postponed Symposium on “The Internationalisation of Higher Education Institutions” in Uppsala (4 - 6 May). My thanks to Lars Engwall the chair of the group and the membership for delivering a superb event.

We are all painfully aware of the ongoing Russian aggression against the Ukraine. As an academy with members from all across our continent including in the Ukraine, we feel this directly. We are seeking ways to assist displaced scholars and I am pleased to announce that there are three schemes of support directly linked with the Academia Europaea. One of them is in operation through the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and our Budapest Hub; our Wroclaw Hub is in the final planning stage for a scheme to support scholars and our Regional Hub in Tbilisi, Georgia is finalising plans for a support scheme. The details and links for these are, and will be made available via our ae-info website and on each Hub website. The Academia will make financial contributions to these schemes. Members should also know that in addition to published statement on the situation, the Trustees have taken a decision to suspend one member in Russia for action that was in breach of our statutes and regulations in the context of the Ukraine situation.

I am very happy to provide good news. Our distinguished member Milena Žic Fuchs, was recently co-opted onto the Board of Trustees. Milena is Professor of Linguistics at the University of Zagreb, a member of the ERC Council and vice-chair of the HERCuLES group. The Board of Trustees also agreed to launch a call for nominations for an election as a Vice President of the Academia Europaea. Further information will be published on our website and through an e-newsletter, to all members.

The plans for our 2022 annual conference in Barcelona on 26 –27 October, are well advanced. The programme is almost finalised and we hope to launch the conference website and registration system by Mid-June. All members elected in 2021 will be contacted by the London office with information about the welcome sessions planned for this year. There will be dedicated Class sessions, plus the plenary programme and a President’s dinner. I hope as many members as possible will come to Barcelona.

The Trustees set up a task force on Environmental Sustainability last year. Professor Verena Winiwarter (Environmental History, Austria) convened the task force and the Board recently discussed their first report. Amongst the recommendations were suggestions that the AE explore interdisciplinary topics focussed on the Social dimensions of sustainable cities and other key social issues related to climate change and run a series of webinars to engage the membership across all disciplines. The Board of Trustees also agreed to re-appoint the group as a standing “committee”, to expand its membership and to provide some dedicated secretariat support. The group will explore and deliver on a range of inter- and multidisciplinary topics that our unique expertise can effectively engage in, under the general umbrella of Environmental Sustainability.

The SAPEA Science advice for policy project funded under Horizon 2020 has now formally ended. The last major report presented to the European Commission is “Improving Cancer Screening in the European Union” and I would like to thank Professor Eva Kondorosi for her leadership in ensuring the success of this major piece of work. The new project – SAPEA Plus has officially started (1st May). The Academia Europaea and the Cardiff Hub team are again members of the consortium. This time our share of the funding will come from the UK government, due to the ongoing restrictions caused by BREXIT. The Cardiff Hub team will report on the new project and on opportunities for you our members across Europe to be experts.

It was gratifying to see that we were able to submit nineteen nominations in to the call for new members of the ERC scientific council. Similarly our nomination in support of Katalin Kariko [Class C – Life Sciences – Molecular Biology] for a Novo-Nordisk 2021 science prize has been successful – congratulations to Katalin on this prize and also on your recent award as a L’Oréal-UNESCO laureate.

Our Section committees have nearly completed their assessment of nominations for membership in the current cycle. This time we had a record 618 nominations for membership. It is a true saying: that the more you do, the more you get! Therefore, as our academy is seen to engage actively with issues across Europe as a continent and as we increase our visibility and relevance, the more we will see European scholars wishing to join our community. You will be able to track these 2022 members via our home page, as they respond to the invitations to accept membership.

You will received e-newsletters and mails touching on all of these issues over the coming months. It is very important that Graz Information Centre have your up-to-date contact data in our databases. Please check you profiles on the ae-info website. Notify any changes to the Graz team. Can I also ask you to make sure that mailings from the Academia Europaea are not blocked by your spam filters and firewalls and get us onto your’ safe senders’ lists at your home institutions.

Marja Makarow
May 2022

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