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Transatlantic Science Forum Kick Off

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Washington, D.C., October 1, 2013: The Transatlantic Science Forum (TSF) held its first meeting on Friday, September 20th in Arlington, Virginia. The meeting brought people together from various institutions to discuss the importance of transatlantic collaboration and to find a place for science collaboration in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations. 


As one of the main outcomes of the ES:GC2 conference held at the European Parliament in March 2013, the TSF, co-organized by ISC Intelligence in Science and Mr Seán Kelly, MEP, is a group dedicated to exploring the implications of science in the TTIP for transatlantic science collaboration. This first meeting worked as a fact-finding forum to establish an agenda and priorities for other TSF meetings as well as identify mechanisms for the TSF to input during the TTIP negotiations. Mr Sean Kelly gave a brief introduction to the event via a pre-recorded video, which was shown at the meeting. 


Mr, Kelly, MEP, had this to say on the importance of the TSF process, “Enhanced cooperation in the field of science could be one of the key positive outcomes for a successful TTIP and I view the Transatlantic Science Forum as an opportunity to provide expert input into this process.”


Mr Declan Kirrane from ISC Intelligence in Science in Brussels introduced the meeting by broadly discussing the benefits of the TTIP, particularly the benefits it could have on science collaboration. By introducing the TSF, Mr Kirrane established a formal process for stakeholders to discuss transatlantic science collaboration and the beneficial impact a free-trade area between the US and EU could have.


Professor Kurt Zatloukal from the Medical University of Graz in Austria discussed health and its implications on the economy. In his presentation, he brought up the coordination efforts by biomedical science research infrastructures and research data and the need to restructure the research framework to allow for more collaboration between the EU and US. 


Prof Zatloukal highlighted research collaboration and stated, “Upcoming health challenges related to ageing societies make a strong case for enhanced transatlantic collaboration both on research and health-related industry levels”


Following Prof Zatloukal, Dr Clayton Stewart of the U.S.’s Office of Naval Research Global in London discussed ICT and the TTIP. He discussed the importance of instruments such as Horizon 2020, the EU’s next Framework Programme for Research and Innovation for 2014-2020, and how international cooperation is explicitly spelled out in Horizon 2020 compared to previous Framework Programmes that were vaguer on this point. Additionally, he emphasized how the EU’s science priorities are fairly consistent with the US’s which makes science collaboration between the two regions more pragmatic.


Dr Robert Hummel from the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies in Arlington, Virginia then spoke about information systems collaboration. His presentation focused on the large amount of data that has been changed to the digital format. Dr Hummel suggested that the impact this change has is in many ways parallel to that of the printing press and he emphasized the need for regulations about the way this is used in practice. In the current framework, most of this big data and ICT capacity is good for corporate America, but this should not prevent others from being able to access this data. He focused on the Transatlantic problem that this causes as there is no way to enforce how   data is shared and how public policy issues - beyond  the US and EU but to all of humanity - arise because of ICT changes. 


Ms Linda Staheli from CRDF Global in Arlington, Virginia then presented building research partnerships and capacity globally. She spoke of the benefits a non-governmental organization has in implementing global science initiatives because of the flexibility to work with many governmental agencies while reaching other regions more quickly than agencies would be able to. Their goal is to build capacity and research infrastructures. She also touched upon the challenge of implementation and best practices for collaboration noting that there could be great benefits from further collaboration with the EU.


Once the formal speaking roles were finished, Mr James Gavigan from the Delegation of the EU to the US intervened. In his remarks, Mr Gavigan welcomed the TSF initiative in so far as it – along with other efforts by S&T stakeholders and advocates which aim at influencing TTIP - helps to specify concrete issues relevant to transatlantic cooperation on research and innovation and to substantiate the arguments for their inclusion in the TTIP negotiations. He gave an update on where such discussions have reached so far, mainly driven by contributions from private industry, notably through the Transatlantic Business Council. To maximise the efficiency and potential impact of the TSF contribution, he encouraged those involved in taking the initiative forward to take contact as soon as possible which the main protagonists on both sides of the Atlantic and to ensure that TSF input builds and adds value to the status the discussions have already reached.


The discussion ended with the TSF looking at a way forward, with challenges and opportunities in mind. Following this fact-finding meeting, a high-level policy meeting will take place on 12 November at the European Parliament in Brussels to concretely discuss the themes established during the wide-ranging consultation. A similar high-level meeting will be held on 20-21 February, 2014 in Washington, D.C. 


On 12-13 March, 2014, there will be a meeting in Brussels to produce the TSF conclusions in preparation for the forum’s submission to TTIP in April 2014.


For further information on TSF: http://www.globalsciencecollaboration.org/Events/transatlantic-science-forum


Seán Kelly MEP

European Parliament

ASP 08F353

Rue Wiertz 60

B-1047 Brussels

+32 (0)2 28 45206



Elizabeth Boorman

Research Analyst

ISC Intelligence in Science 

Rue du Trone 4 

B-1000 Brussels 

Tel: +32 28888102




Declan Kirrane 

Managing Director

ISC Intelligence in Science

Rue du Trone 4 

B-1000 Brussels 

Tel: +32 2 8888109 

Mob: +32 494 34 60 40 




Editor’s Note

The Transatlantic Science Forum (TSF) is a group dedicated to discussing how the Final Report of the United States-European Union High Level Working Group on Jobs and Growth, commonly known as the proposed US-EU Free Trade agreement can lead to further transatlantic science collaboration between:


  • Scientists and Representatives of Research & Academia
  • Members of the European Parliament
  • Parliamentarians of national Parliaments of EU Member States
  • Members of Congress
  • Representatives of Industry
  • Representatives of Stakeholder Organisations


This holistic approach is intended to build on the participation between research and science programs and to enhance the transatlantic collaboration in science, technology, research and innovation. The TSF will meet quarterly, alternating locations between Washington, D.C. and Brussels. After the kick-off in July, the first meeting will be in Washington, D.C. The forum will produce a report enumerating the TSF’s recommendations which will feed into the formal negotiation process.


Forum Objectives

  • Explore the EU – US relations from the point of view of science and the enabling regulatory environment
  • Provide a platform for discussion of including but not only the following issues of major importance
  • Review the text of the proposed EU – US free trade zone and explore it from the point of view of science in addition to consideration of other on-going policy proposals and their potential impacts
  • Compile and submit a report focusing on transatlantic scientific cooperation within the context of a prospective EU-US Free Trade Agreement and submit this report for consideration by the regular EU-US Summits.