2024 conference details

Register here!


The 8th edition ​​​​​NTNU European Conference​​

17-18 April 2024 | SOFITEL BRUSSELS EUROPE | In-person event with streaming



The state of globalisation and demographic change is rapidly affecting the dynamics and priorities of – and within – Europe, exacerbating the pressure on decision makers, shaping both the current and the potential of future policy priorities made. Furthermore, a new commission is coming, and with it also strategy choices that are likely to influence the future shaping and focus of European policies. 
In this 8th edition of the NTNU European Conference we will focus our attention on the mid-term assessment of Horizon Europe and together with high-level representatives from research and innovation, industry, higher education institutions, civil society and top Brussels policymakers, give rise to discussions on the possible shape and priorities for the next European framework programme (FP10). 
The NTNU European Conference will explore the above through a series of sessions, and in this year editions parallel sessions also give particular attention to three key strategic areas for Europe: Oceans, Health, and Energy. 



Confirmed Speakers

Tor Grande
Rector, NTNU

Roberto Viola Director General of DG CONNECT

Roberto Viola
Director-General, DG CNECT, European Commission

Maria da Graça Carvalho 
Member of the European Parliament

Toril A. Nagelhus Hernes
Pro-Rector for Innovation, NTNU



Ingrid Schjølberg
Dean, Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering 


Dr. Karim Berkouk 
Deputy Head of Unit, “Combatting Diseases”, in DG for Research and Innovation, European Commission

Matthew Baldwin 
Deputy Director-General for Mobility and Transport 

Szilvia Nemeth
Deputy Head of the 'Ocean, Seas and Waters'unit in DG Research and Innovation, European Commission 



Conference Programme

Draft Programme and Session Rationales


Opening Evening Networking Reception 17th of April


19:00 Welcoming Drinks and Light Snacks




Main Conference Programme 18th of April


08:30 Registration desk opens

Welcome Coffee


09:00 Opening Plenary


The present: An analysis of the current situation for Horizon Europe

Horizon Europe is approaching the mid-term period, and a mid-term evaluation process is currently ongoing. Several opinions are currently circulating on what worked, what did not work, and what can be improved. This process is currently paving the way toward the definition of the next framework programme as many of the outputs are likely to influence the shaping of FP10. 

The opening plenary will set the scene by discussing the current status of Horizon Europe, opening up the opportunity to make reflections on the most important take-aways from the current framework programme, along with its least successful elements and potential corrective measures moving forward. 

Is it worth continuing a mission-oriented approach? Do we need to revise the EIT KIC model? Is there a need to simplify and rationalise the strategic partnerships? These and other questions will be subject to the debate in this opening plenary session of the conference.


10:30 Coffee Break

Networking opportunities


10:45 Parallel Sessions

Oceans, Health, & Energy


Parallel Session 1: Oceans10 - Treasures and Forecasts

We are approaching the midway point of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. In September 2021, Mission Restore our Oceans and Waters by 2030 was launched with an ambitious agenda, followed by the launch of the Sustainable Blue Economy Partnership in January 2023. On the way is a long-awaited call for an EIT KIC in the water, marine and maritime domains. This parallel session takes a deep dive into the possibilities and obstacles ahead when it comes to achieving the goals of restoration and sustainable harvesting of the European waters and sea basins. What are the lessons from the first phase of mission-orientation for the large and complex hydrosphere? And can the Sustainable Blue Economic Partnership (SBEP) carry the burden of transforming largely unsustainable ocean industries through research and innovation? How can a KIC support this transformation, and help create the ocean professionals we need for the future? 


Parallel Session 2: Transforming Healthcare in Europe - The Power of AI and Digitization

The sustainability of the European healthcare systems is under pressure: shortage of healthcare workers, overuse of health services, increasing health disparities, and a changing demographics with an aging population that has more dementia and multimorbidity. Digitization of healthcare has the potential to transform the health care sector by improving the quality, accessibility, and efficiency of health services – making it more sustainable. Especially, artificial intelligence (AI) is expected to play a major role both in digital health products and healthcare services. However, digitization has been slow due to complexity of the health care systems, lack of labelling-, certification- and reimbursement schemes for products and services, insufficient access to patient data, and lack of trust, transparency and accuracy standards in the AI solutions. There are also significant challenges and risks related to data privacy and security, human-AI interaction, algorithmic bias and fairness, and a variety of ethical, legal, and social implications. To boost the digitization of European Healthcare, EU has taken several steps: The European Health Data Space is under construction with the aim to improve health data access for cross-border health services and for research and innovation; The Medical Device Regulation has recently been updated; and the proposed Artificial Intelligence Act aims to ensure better conditions for the development and use of AI technology. These initiatives are expected to help overcome the challenges and risks associated with digitization and AI in healthcare, and to promote the development of a more sustainable healthcare system in Europe. 

In this session we will explore how EU through digital solutions and data driven research can facilitate more sustainable healthcare: 

Current and future trends in AI for healthcare: What are the latest developments in AI for healthcare? How can we leverage these developments to improve health services? What are the challenges and opportunities associated with implementing AI in healthcare? 

Responsible research and innovation: How should we conduct responsible research and innovation on AI for healthcare? What are the ethical, legal, and social implications of AI in healthcare? How can we develop digital products and services that foster trust, transparency, and accountability among stakeholders and ensure more sustainable healthcare systems? 

Facilitating scientific breakthroughs: What EU policies facilitate a digital transition in health care. How can the European Health Data Space facilitate scientific breakthroughs in data- driven research and innovation on health and population data? 


Parallel Session 3: The Geopolitics of Energy 

A considerable amount of clean energy technology is needed to support reaching Europe's 2030 and 2050 climate targets. Europe largely imports these technologies, and many non- EU countries have stepped up their efforts to expand their clean energy manufacturing capacity. The tendencies towards a de-globalization of the world and policies that strengthen countries and regions' self-sufficiency in raw materials and technology will disrupt value chains causing increased costs and delay the race to net zero 2050. We see tendencies towards a subsidy race and the EU and the US are developing strategies such as the Net-zero Industry Act and the Inflation Reduction Act to bring knowledge and industrial production of solar cells, batteries and hydrogen technologies and systems home from China. The European Parliament voted (21.11.23) through its position on the Net-Zero Industry Act, a proposed EU plan to produce 40% of its net-zero technologies by 2030. The proposed regulation would aim to ensure that, by 2030, the manufacturing capacity in the EU for these strategic net-zero technologies reaches an overall benchmark of at least 40% of the EU's annual deployment needs. It would also set an EU level target for annual CO2 injection capacity by 2030 (50 million tonnes). 

Questions to be addressed: 

-In a more de-globalized world- how should foreign policy in China and the US be responded in EU to the ambitions to develop an industrial and technological European continent? 

-What are the major elements in a strategy for EU to develop complete value chains in both materials as well as technologies? 

-What are the research and innovation policies necessary to achieve an industrial development for Europe to reach NZE 2050? 


12:15 Networking Lunch


13:30 Closing Plenary


Towards FP 10 - What will the political baseline for the new framework programme, and priorities be in the years to come?

A new commission is coming, and with it, policy choices/directions that are likely to influence the future shaping/focus of the next framework programme FP10. 

Current approaches have been centred mostly on the green- and digital transition, which have shaped the priorities and design of the current Horizon Europe programme. The world is however changing, and with it, the possible future policy priorities for Europe. 

How will demographic changes, climate changes and the de-globalization trend affect future priorities? Will the green deal still be a prominent and driving feature? If so, will there also be a need to adapt and expand to new policy focus areas? What could be the new priority areas? What are the right approaches and instruments to be adopted in FP10, to best reflect these priorities? 

How do we balance basic research, applied research and innovation to maximize societal impact now and in the future? 

The closing plenary will include inspiration from the parallel session outcomes.


15:15 Conference End



Practical Information 2024



Should you wish to book accommodation at the venue, please note that early bookings are adviced due to the European Council meeting taking place on the same dates as the conference. 


Further details



If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us via or call us:

  • +32 499 61 4220

Practical information NTNU Brussels office

Organising Committee

Organising Committee

Massimo Busuoli
Head of Office, NTNU Brussels

Twitter: @MassimoBusuoli

Siri Granum Carson
 Prof. of Applied Ethics, NTNU & Chair EOREA

Twitter: @siri_carson

Marius Widerøe
Director, NTNU Health & Life Sciences

Twitter: @HealthNTNU


Johan E. Hustad
 Professor and former Director of NTNU Energy

Kaja Istad
Senior Adviser, NTNU Brussels

Alicja Anna Rysztowska
Administration and Communications advisor


About the Conference

About the Conference


The NTNU European Conference is an event introduced in the Brussels Arena in 2016. It aims to facilitate discussions on R&I and Education policies and strategies between stakeholders. 

The conference has grown in siginificance and popularity with increasing registrations and attendance over the years, becoming an arena of interaction between policymakers and representatives of higher education, industry, research, innovation as well as the civil society.