State Secretary Martina Hirayama participated in the informal meeting of the EU ministers responsible for research and innovation on 7 and 8 February in Stockholm, Sweden. The biannual event focused on a policy debate about open science in research infrastructures and public publications. This topic is a priority of the Swedish chair. In addition, State Secretary Hirayama held bilateral discussions with her counterparts from Austria, Denmark, Germany, Portugal and Spain as well as other informal exchanges.
The discussion on -Research Infrastructures and the Optimal Use of Research Data- addressed the question of how incentives can be created to enable complete, open and easy access to research data from research infrastructures in Europe in the long term. It is hoped that openly sharing such data will foster a joint response to societal challenges, as the example of the European COVID-19 Data Platform demonstrates. The platform enables the rapid sharing of research data on the COVID-19 virus among researchers and research infrastructures throughout Europe.
Martina Hirayama, State Secretary for Education, Research and Innovation, emphasised during the discussion that all relevant actors at national and international level should be involved. Regarding international cooperation, she stressed that joint strategies for data use required coordinated efforts by all partners in the European Research Area and a greater inclusion of Switzerland. As the host nation of CERN and a member of all major international research organisations in Europe, Switzerland is a major player in the European landscape of research infrastructures
The ministers also discussed open and equal access to scientific publications. Ms Hirayama referred to Switzerland’s national open access strategy and the corresponding action plan for implementation, as well as to the strategy for open research data. Both strategies contain recommendations not only for technical implementation, but also for fostering cultural change, which according to Ms Hirayama presents a major challenge.
During the meeting Ms Hirayama met bilaterally with Austria’s Federal Minister of Education, Science and Research, Martin Polaschek, Portugal’s Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education, Elvira Fortunato, Germany’s State Secretary of the Federal Ministry for Education and Research, Sabine Döring, Denmark’s Deputy Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Higher Education and Science, Nils Agerhus, and Spain’s Secretary General for Research at the Ministry of Science and Innovation Raquel Yotti.