Report on the 23rd Annual Conference of ACADEMIA EUROPAEA, Paris, 2011#

Event Location: UNESCO Headquaters, Paris, France
Event date: 20 - 22 September, 2011
Venue: UNESCO Headquarters, Room 11, 7 Place de Fontenoy, Paris 7ème


September 19 - Meeting of the Nomination Sub-Committee#

ae_paris_2011_nom_79.jpg
September 19 was the day of the nomination committees and the discussion of the future nomination procedure.

A total of about 300 members were elected, some 70 in Physics/Engineering, 39 in Informatics, 30 in Archaeology and history and some 20 from the president’s list. The remainder of some 140 was distributed over the other 17 sections, some sections seemingly defunct with no nominations.

Everyone should now think about nominating top researches for the Academia Europaea for next year: some countries are still very much under-represented, some top researcher in a number of countries have still been overlooked!

To nominate, use the form on http://www.ae-info.org/ae/Acad_Main/Nominations where the procedure is explained, too. For a very detailed guided tour consult the PPT to which you find here(info).

Concerning the general situation, the number of new members (300) is higher than in any previous year, in accordance with the aim of the board to make sure that all research-excellent and still active persons in Europe should be members of our Academia Europaea. 2011 was the first year that the number of new members has significantly exceeded the number of members we lost because they passed away (over 100 during the last year).

In the general discussion in the late afternoon a number of important points were decided:

  1. Nominations for 2012 can start immediately using the new form (and only the new form) that you find on http://www.ae-info.org: Follow the pointer in the first red line. You can also look at the step-by-step explanation that you find as second link in that red line. The end of nomination is April 30, 2012. Please start nominating right now!
  2. A new section “President’s list” is now also available (just check the section pull-down menu on the form for sections). Nominations for the president’s list need only one nominator. However, you should only nominate persons to this list that do not fit into a section for one of two reasons: (a) they are not necessarily top researchers but influential research managers (and hence might be considered as honorary member; active politician are usually not acceptable); (b) excellent researchers in areas that do not fit into the current section structure. Persons nominated for the president’s list that actually should be dealt with in a section are not considered by the president, but forwarded by him to the respective section chair.

-->Photo gallery: Meeting of the Nomination Sub-Committee

September 20 - Board meeting#

September 20 started with the board meeting. In addition to financial matters the most important item was the information that an agreement had been signed between Wroclaw in Poland and the Academia Europaea: The mayor of Wroclaw is making 100 square meters in a nice building in the city together with two staff and a travel budget available to the Academy to establish Wroclaw as an additional centre for Academia Europaea. It is hoped that concrete work can start in 2012. The current idea is to move the whole membership administration to the server in Graz (www.ae-info.org), but shift much of the editing on that server to Wroclaw, yet retain all financial control in London. If this works, it will help HQ to reduce cost, and increase the speed with which the PR component of the AE-INFO server is expanded.

NOTE: Check your personal page! Make sure that we have also information on you under “Highlights and anecdotes of work” and “Other Information” by either editing it yourself or sending a file and pictures to office@ae-info.org. To see typical cases look at the list: http://www.ae-info.org/ae/Acad_Main/Detailed_presentation_of_some_members.

The board meeting was followed by a council meeting. The two outstanding items were the vote on who would obtain the Erasmus medal 2012 and next year’s general meeting.

Concerning the first, Informatics had proposed Tony Hoare. He got high praise from many sides, including our president, but in the vote the candidate from medincine won. This is the second time a candidate from Informatics looses (no one from Informatics ever received this medal) but medicine has now the fourth Erasmus medal receiver.

As a consequence, a rotation principle was proposed and was accepted. In 2013 the candidate will be from humanities (sections A1- A10), in 2014 again from sections B1-B5 and C1-C5 , but the sections B4, B5, C1, C2, C3, C4 that have already Erasmus medalists will be excluded.

Concerning next year’s general meeting it will be in Bergen, Norway, Sept. 10-13. September 10 again for nomination, September 11 for Board, Council, General Assembly, the conference proper (starting with Erasmus lecture) Sept 12-13, 2012. Please do mark this in red in your calendar, including the afternoon of Sept. 11.

-->Photo gallery: Meeting of Board and Council

Returning to Sept. 20, we had the General Meeting (open to all members) in the afternoon in the UNESCO building in the same top lecture room that was going to be used for the conference. Congratulations to the local organizers, in particular Professor Michel Che for providing such an excellent venue. Everything was perfect: every seat had a table and microphone, and if you activated it, a video camera would immediately zoom in on you an show your face projected on the huge screen: I was personally impressed by this, since it did allow an almost face to face discussion between podium and audience.

The Assembly was followed by an evening program with a number of choices, arranged by the organizer Professor Michel Che. Maybe the highlight was a tour and movie “In the footsteps of Mme. Curie” followed by a cocktail reception on floor 24 of the highest building on campus, with maybe the best view of Paris from anywhere (including the Eiffel tower, from which, of course, you cannot see the Eiffel tower).

September 21-22#

September 21 and 22 followed the usual pattern:

1. Opening by UNESCO Vice President (the conference took place in the impressive UNESCO building) and by our President
2. Erasmus ceremony
3. Appointment of a new honorary member Rafał Dutkiewicz, Mayor of Wrocław
4. Presentation of the Burgen scholars
5. Presentation of new members present who signed the book of Academia Europaea
6. Erasmus lecture by Manuel CASTELLS, Heinz-Nixdorf Erasmus Lecture, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain on: Communication Networks and Social Change
7. The remainder of the two days was filled with a series of interesting lectures.

The conference finished with a lavish banquet on the top floor of the UNESCO building with the Eiffel Tower lit up in the background, probably the second best view of Paris! We had a semi serious/ semi funny talk at the reception on molecular cooking by Professor Hervé This. Have a look at a write-up and some pictures. His talk was superb!

Overall, the conference in Paris went well, and the setting etc. were superb, in contrast to the time before the conference, when communication with the main organizer Professor Michel Che was sometimes difficult, to say the least. Some of us really were slightly annoyed at the situation, but we started to understand when we found out that his whole group had to move during preparations for the conference due to asbestos problems, and in the process 3 secretaries left who did not want to go to a different location!! Taking this into account, Michel did a fantastic job.

Thanks for all who helped. Don’t forget to think about prominent persons for nomination for 2012 (see first red line on www.ae-info.org) and hope you will all come to Bergen to the conference Sept. 10-13, 2012.

Cordially,
Hermann Maurer
Graz, Oct. 17, 2011

P.S.: I really think someone should be appointed to report on our meetings and take fotos, etc. I have been doing this now the second year in a row, to get something on our PR server, but I do not think it is part of my job of the Chair of Informatics to compile a general report every year.

-->Photo gallery: Conference

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