Message from the Board - Towards a more sustainable (academic) year


Dear Members,

I hope you had a relaxing summer break.

This issue of the newsletter focuses on the theme of the EU Green Deal and its ambitious aim to make Europe the world’s first climateneutral continent by 2050. Given the latest news on how our countries are being hit by the consequences of global warming, we clearly see the importance of the new measures to change the course of events for the present and future generations. A new engagement is necessary at every level of our life, but more relevant for this community, it is important to focus on the research that can be undertaken to achieve the objectives of the EU Green Deal. The MCAA is committed to fulfilling the Green Deal requirements; our last physical event in 2019 in Vienna was an eco-friendly event. In our new published guideline for the event organisation, we encourage chapters to organise sustainable events following local regulations. MCAA Board Member Alexandra Dubini gave a keynote talk at the MSCA cluster event on the Green Deal in July, where she focused on gaining momentum to act: “It's time to advocate our strength more, our skills, and our involvement in creating a better world. We need to show how deeply we are engaged and dedicated to serving society, especially when it comes to climate change. With the Green Deal we have an opportunity as scientists to reclaim our role in society need to gain even more momentum to act for the future.”

Another utterly important point we would like to highlight is our commitment borne by the Scholars at Risk network to support people from Afghanistan facing these extremely delicate and critical times. We have signed the petition “Urgent appeal to European Governments and EU Institutions: Take Action for Afghanistan’s scholars, researchers, and civil society actors”.

On more daily terms, the new EU-sponsored contract is now running and the activities will slowly resume their normal pace. In the coming weeks we will announce the dates of our annual flagship event, the MCAA Annual Conference. Follow us on social media or subscribe to our mailing list to receive monthly updates.

We are happy to announce that the application of the MCAA to become an affiliated member of the International Science Council (ISC) has been approved and we are eager to join and collaborate with such an active and important non-governmental association.

Being part of this network can give us opportunities to have a large impact via information exchange and awareness raising, training, educational and institutional capacity building, promoting and creating knowledge exchange and interaction opportunities. Connecting and nurturing a science, technology and innovation diplomacy community will also be possible, keeping track of European Union Science Diplomacy activities, and, finally, advising Science Diplomacy stakeholders.

This new role adds to the place that the MCAA already occupies in the European Science Policy landscape. The MCAA, in fact, is part of several stakeholder consultation workshops organised by the European Commission regarding the future of ERA. Mostafa Shawrav, Karen Stroobants, and Alexandra Dubini joined those consultation meetings and provided feedback from the MCAA.

Many of our activities this year have been focusing on creating career development opportunities for our members. We therefore want to remind those of you who haven’t done it yet to take advantage of the resources available through LinkedIn, accessible until November. This service is open to both MCAA members (for more info, members can check the bulk email they have received) and the general public.

And more exciting opportunities are on the horizon: stay tuned for more information on further opportunities for career development and mentoring!

After this streak of exciting news, unfortunately we need to communicate a sad one: due to personal reasons, Francesco Sanna has resigned from his position as Treasurer of the MCAA Board. The Board takes this opportunity to thank him for all the work and time he has committed to the Association. The MCAA lives and thrives thanks to the effort that volunteers generously offer to the Association. MCAA Board Member Esther Hegel will perform the Treasurer role until the next General Assembly. We are therefore looking into a strategy that will allow us a smooth transition with respect to the rules of the Association. Along the same line, we are going through the process to renew Chapters and Working Groups’ Chairs. We want to thank everyone for their active participation in these activities as members or candidates.

Overall, this year has been pretty intense for all of us, but many important steps have been taken to improve our conditions, also learning from the current pandemic and the lessons it has brought. We are getting ready to start a new (academic) year with the same passion and commitment and with a vision to help support each other towards the creation of an ecosystem that is more sustainable from an environmental as well as a professional point of view.

Donata Iandolo
On behalf of the MCAA Board

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