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Keynote | BSRS 2020

BSRS opening and keynote 'Mission-Oriented Research and Innovation for Global Challenges'

In a world characterized by increased complexity, we need to assure that policy making is based on scientific evidence but that it also responds to citizens’ needs.

Gulf of Mexico, United States
NASA on Unsplash


The vision of research and innovation as providing solutions to grand challenges has been with us for a long time. Professional communities such as the Global Change Committees, created in the 1990s to coordinate research across countries on topics with global scale, advocated for solutions-oriented research. The demand for salient and usable science is also the result of a trend towards evidence-based decision making.

Watch the opening and keynote on YouTube.

In a world characterized by increased complexity and facilitated by digital technologies that can spread false information in milliseconds, we need to assure that policy making is based on scientific evidence but that it also responds to citizens’ needs.

The European Commission has created Missions as part of its Horizon Europe R&I Framework. The goal of the Missions is to leverage scientific knowledge alongside other forms of knowledge and to partner with multiple societal actors to address critical global challenges (climate, carbon neutral cites or food security amongst others).

A key goal of Horizon Europe Missions is to engage citizens as co-producers of knowledge and partners to build solutions. The talk presents the concept of mission-oriented research and innovation and elaborates on the key challenges and opportunities this presents for research and education organisations.

Dr. Asuncion T. Lera St. Clair, philosopher and sociologist, works as Senior Principal Scientist for DNV GL Group Technology and Research (Norway) and is Senior Advisor for the Earth System Services Unit of the Barcelona SuperComputing Centre (Spain). She is Member Horizon Europe Mission Board for Climate Change Adaptation and Societal Transformation, member of Future Earth Advisory Board, and Advisor to the Sustainability in the Digital Age Initiative.