International research institutions, including funders, are nowadays very active in defining of strategies that would pave the way towards a more sustainable future and human development. These are, for instance, the EU Bioeconomy Strategy and the related activities including Sustainable Food Security and nutrition, Blue Growth (the EU’s integrated Maritime Strategy), Bio-based products and processing, the Bioeconomy Observatory (mapping the impact and monitoring the progress of the bioeconomy in Europe), the Bioeconomy Panel (an advisory body to give policy guidance), Consultative Groups (contributing to the EU’s research policy), Joint Programming Initiatives (supporting the implementation of the European Research Area) and ERA-net initiatives.
Other international forums are such as AKIS – Agricultural Knowledge & Information Systems, ARCH – European Agricultural Research towards greater impact on global Challenges, EFARD, the European Forum on Agricultural Research for Development.
These activities and possibly other initiatives not mentioned here, are very important especially in the area of natural resources and their use for human purposes. Therefore active participation within these international forums is of major importance in order to:
- Enhance the role of a small economy such as Finland in the international landscape and promote Finnish strategic objectives
- Promote high quality research and scientific knowledge as well as models for research governance, too often of underestimated value, and have an influence onto international research agendas
- Establish strong linkages and partnerships with major research institutions.
Finland is indeed in the position to have a pro-active role in the definition of bioeconomy strategies, especially through the partnerships with Nordic Countries (i.e. the Selfoss declaration) and to build its competitiveness on models of health, innovation, well-being and nutrition that can maintain top positions at the international level and create a healthy economy and more jobs on the basis of a sustainable bioeconomy.
A good consortium is based on both the partners’ skills and on good personal human relations through which to build strength.
In order to pursue these goals some more concrete efforts should be addressed for establishing more cooperation and partnership with both public and private actors, i.e. SMEs in particular, in order to realise the multi-actor approach and to produce high impact. This requires in turn two main skills. The first is research project planning and effective proposal writing. The second has to do with the establishment of good human relations, continuous dialogue with funding institutions and partners that are willing to cooperate and possibly be involved in the project planning.
A good consortium is based on both the partners’ skills and on good personal human relations through which to build strength. These relations need to be maintained, and constant communication by mail or virtual meetings is very important to reinforce the partnership. Often a good relation can be built by writing joint publications or visiting a partner and perhaps give a presentation as well. But if we do not still have a very strong relation with the partner, participating in meetings or joining for dinner becomes of key importance. A pro-active approach would help to seize the good moment (‘carpe diem’) and be involved in possible activities.