ESEIA 30th General Assembly Meeting

ESEIA Holds its 30th General Assembly Meeting in Brussels

On 14 March 2024, 36 participants from 20 organisations from 11 countries, among which 19 ESEIA member organisations, convened at the 30th ESEIA General Assembly (GA) meeting, held in person in Brussels and online via Zoom, to review main achievements and discuss plans for the coming months.

The main topics discussed during the meeting encompassed the next EU Framework Programme for R&I (FP10) and ESEIA Position Paper, the election of a new ESEIA President, the appointment of new Governing Council (GC) members, and the progress made by the five ESEIA Working Groups (WGs). The agenda also included the review of the Annual Report 2023 and Audited Accounts 2023 and Q1 of 2024, which were unanimously adopted, and updates on ESEIA’s membership and enlargement strategy.

ESEIA FP10 Position Paper

The meeting kicked off with a guest presentation on The Future Design of the R&I Funding Framework in view of FP10, delivered by Claudia Siegel from the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, Common Policy Centre, who offered an insight into the expected timeline and some design considerations for FP10, which will run from 2028 to 2034.

The discussion on how European R&I could or should be shaped continued with the introduction of the ESEIA FP10 Position Paper by the ESEIA Director Brigitte Hasewend, which is part of the New ESEIA_34 strategy aimed at ESEIA and its members to play a more influential role in policy-making.

The ESEIA FP10 Position Paper is the result of the survey conducted by the ESEIA Team from November 2023 to January 2024 that provided valuable information from 39 ESEIA experts (13% of the total) from 21 member organisations (91,3% of the total) on their experience with HEU, revealing gaps in R&I and defining new topics, future challenges and trends for FP10.

The in-depth discussion of the survey results and the first draft among the ESEIA members, including Working Group Coordinators and Focus Group Leaders, allowed the formulation of a position paper that reflects the collective voice of ESEIA and strengthens its position in advocating for an enhanced role of European Alliances in FP10.

Appointment of the New ESEIA President

After serving for 12 years as ESEIA President, and ensuring the stable growth of the organisation during his longstanding mandate, Harald Kainz, immediate past Rector of TU Graz, will step down on 20 March 2024. To ensure the continued success of the organisation, the ESEIA GA elected Brian Norton, current ESEIA Vice-President and Treasurer and Professor at TU Dublin, as the new ESEIA President, whose term will begin on 21 March 2024 for three years. We thank Harald Kainz for his guidance and constructive support of the organisation and congratulate Brian Norton on taking this new role!

The ESEIA GA also appointed the ESEIA Vice-President Josef Fürlinger as the new ESEIA Treasurer and welcomed new members to the GC: Andrea Höglinger, Vice-Rector for Research at TU Graz, and Goran Krajačić, Professor at UNIZAG FSB.

ESEIA Working Groups Progress Report

A significant part of the meeting was dedicated to reviewing ESEIA WGs’ achievements and discussing plans for the coming months. The ESEIA WG Coordinators provided an overview of ongoing projects and activities, including two running projects, EMERGE and INITIATE, five proposals currently in the making and six education and training events in the pipeline, among which four ESEIA Lectures, ESEIA Conference and ESEIA International Summer School.

New Member Organisation

The 30th ESEIA GA meeting also marked the admission of the University of Applied Sciences Burgenland (UASB), AT, as the new member of the Alliance. UASB is renowned for its unique degree programmes while also being committed to research and innovation. During the meeting, Christian Heschl, Head of the Department of Energy & Environment, offered a brief overview of UASB, with examples of cutting-edge research carried out in cooperation with its subsidiary, Research Burgenland: forward-looking control concepts for modern buildings, intelligent networked energy systems, security solutions for information technologies, among others. We look forward to seeing what this new partnership will bring and will continue our outreach efforts for membership enlargement in 2024.

Next ESEIA General Assembly Meeting

On the occasion of ESEIA’s 15th anniversary, the next ESEIA GA meeting will be held 19 November 2024 in Brussels. We look forward to meeting and celebrating with you!