Conference programme

Conference Programme


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session 1 and 2

Session 1

Research models towards a renewed ERA, for a post COVID-19 economic recovery plan centered on sustainability and the Green Deal

By looking at research trends and collaborations relative to the SDGs specific to the Green Deal – such as SDG7 (affordable and clean energy), SDG11 (sustainable cities and communities) and SDG 13 (climate action) – we intend to offer a glimpse into the rich knowledge value produced by academia at European and global level.

Within the current European Research Area (ERA) the focus is placed on free circulation of researchers, scientific knowledge and technology can have a determining impact when it comes to driving the universities’ strategies and models over the three dimensioned approach:

Open Innovation, Open Science and Open to the World.

As the new priorities for ERA are under discussion, undoubtedly COVID-19 has created the momentum to claim a more prominent role for research with regards to informing evidence-based decision making and fueling innovation.

This will be the starting point for a discussion that intends to invite panelists and event participants to reflect on what’s needed to maximize the impact and joint vision for the ERA in line with the ambitions of the Green Deal and in the context of the next framework programme.

In this context the role of universities, their knowledge base and collaborative nature appears fundamental in helping advance the SDGs that are critical to guarantee sustainability.

Session 1 agenda:



Opening remarks

Anne Borg, Rector, NTNU

Kumsal Bayazit, CEO, Elsevier

Alexandru Marchis, UnILiON Chair


Opening Keynote

Signe Ratso, Deputy Director-General, Research and Innovation, DG RTD, European Commission 


Knowledge to advance the Green Deal and drive innovation: An analysis from the perspective of SDG7, SDG11 and SDG13

Federica Rosetta, Vice President, Academic Research Relations, EU, Elsevier


Panel Debate (including Q&A from the Audience):

Universities approaches, strategies and models to create relevant R&I impact in SDGs achievement


Signe Ratso, Deputy Director-General, Research and Innovation, DG RTD, European Commission

Tor Grande, Pro-Rector for Research, NTNU

Armand Sánchez, Vice-Rector for Research and Transference, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

Erik Renström, Rector, Lund University


Maryline Fiaschi, Manging Director, Science|Business


Conference Break

Session 2

European Universities: Increasing collaboration and impact across Europe

Through the COVID-19 pandemic we are experiencing a stop in mobility for students and university staff between countries and institutions, a major transformation in digital maturity in the Higher Education sector, and a growing public discourse on technology sovereignty of Europe. In this disruptive new landscape, what role can the European Universities play in contributing to sustainable development?

The European Universities Initiative from the European Commission now connects 270 universities across Europe in 41 European Universities supported by both Erasmus+ and Horizon 2020.

European Universities aim at being transnational alliances that will become the universities of the future, promoting European values and identity, and revolutionizing the quality and competitiveness of European higher education, research, innovation and service to society, and supporting establishment of the European Education Area and modernization of the European Research Area.

Enhancing opportunities for students, university staff, private sector, public sector and citizens through more seamless approaches and solutions, and increased engagement across Europe and beyond are important ingredients in the European Universities.

Session 2 agenda:



Opening address

Marit Reitan, Pro-Rector for Education, NTNU


Opening Keynote

Themis Christophidou, Director-General, Education, Youth, Sport and Culture, DG EAC, European Commission


Nurturing diverse Research Talent in Europe

Lesley Thompson, Elsevier, VP Academic and Government Strategic Alliance


Panel Debate (including Q&A from the Audience):

University network plans, approaches and perspectives


Vanessa Debiais-Sainton, Head of Higher Education Unit, European Commission, DG Education, Youth, Sport and Culture

Angela Ittel, Vice President TU Berlin, ENHANCE

Peter Lievens, Vice Rector of International Policy and LERU, UNA Europa, KU Leuven

Martin Paul, President of Maastricht University and the Chair of YUFE Alliance


Maryline Fiaschi, Managing Director, Science|Business

13:15 End