3 May 2017, Wanha Satama
In the evening of the 3 May, a joint celebratory dinner was preceeded by a trip down memory lane moderated by Kaisa Kononen, Executive Director of BONUS EEIG since its very inception. Backed-up by a guitar player, Kaisa led the participants to a surprise opening with a sing-along song – one of the many – drafted in early 2000s’ days of BONUS.
Kaisa congratulated next the winner of a photo competition ‘Me and my Baltic coast’ that was organised by BONUS BALTCOAST project last year. Out of the 349 pictures submitted, Marco Rank, a sociologist and an international landscape and weather photographer based in Jena, Germany, succeeded in winning with his picture the first price which was decided by an international jury of scientists and photographers. See all photos at www.baltcoast.net/photo-competition.html
@ Marco Rank, marcorank.de
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The evening’s disctinguished panelists, who all have had and/or continue to have key roles in moving BONUS forward (see below), provided insights and perspectives to the development of BONUS and Baltic Sea science landscape over the years.
Jüri Elken (Director of the Marine Systems Institute, Tallinn University of Technology) met the moderator for the first time already 31 years ago on board a research vessel Arnold Veimer, when the Baltic Sea science community was involved with the Baltic Sea patchiness experiment PEX-86. Jüri did not since only become one of the leading figures in the field of physical oceanography in the Baltic but also heavily involved as a Steering Committee member in building up BONUS during the early years.
Anneli Pauli (Adviser Hors Classe (Innovation and Competitiveness) at DG Climate Action at the European Commission) followed closely the developments in EUs research policies already back in early 2000s when working as the Vice President for Research in the Academy of Finland. She saw the potential which Baltic Sea research collaboration could have and became the first chair of the BONUS ERANET.
Lena Ek (Chairman of the Board, Södra Cooperative) served as Swedish Minister for Environment from 2011 to 2014 and before that as a Member of Riksdag and a Member the European Parliament. Lena Ek acted as the so called ‘rapporteur’ in the European Parliament and thus had a truly pivotal role in the negotiations which led to the co-decision by the European Parliament and the Council and the consequent establishment of BONUS in 2010.
Eugenijus Butkus (Adviser to the Minister of Education & Science of Lithuania) served earlier as the Vice Rector for Research of Vilnius University, the Vice President of the European Science Foundation and a member of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences. He represented a Baltic country that joined BONUS immediately after becoming a member of EU in 2004 and led dynamically the BONUS Steering Committee in years 2012-2013.
Yaroslav Sorokotyaga (Head of Division for International Multilateral Cooperation and cooperation on Post-Soviet Area in Russian Foundation for Basic Research (RFBR), Moscow) represents the collaborative approach of BONUS with Russia as the RFBR has been collaborating with BONUS since the ERANET times, and participated in BONUS calls thereafter. The Russian scientists have been welcomed to BONUS consortia and have made important contributions to the work of BONUS. RFBR continue to be highly valued collaborator and partner with observer status in the BONUS Steering Committee.
Don Boesch (Director of University of Maryland, Center for Environmental Science, US) has had a long career conducting and facilitating research on coastal seas, including the Chesapeake Bay, Gulf of Mexico, East China Sea and Australian coast and he has served as chair of the Ocean Studies Board of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences appointed by President Obama to investigate the causes of the 2010 Gulf oil well blowout. Don has looked at also BONUS development from the very beginning and even before BONUS, he was chairing its predecessor, the Finnish BIREME evaluation panel in 2002. He has been a member of BONUS+ panel and served since as a member of the BONUS advisory board. The common love and concern of seas of many shared characteristics unite, and Don calls the Chesapeake Bay the ‘Baltic's Little Sister’.
Elisabetta Balzi (Deputy Head of the Marine Resources Unit, DG Research and Innovation) represented in the panel the long collaboration BONUS has had with the DG Research and Innovation, the BONUS ‘host’ in the European Commission. The collaboration with the Commission over the years has been very intensive and demanding but provided a fantastic learning curve in terms of management processes required and necessary at the Commission’s end in running the BONUS programme. When looking back, BONUS can only be very thankful to all the people in the Commission who have worked with BONUS over the years in Brussels.
The ‘rapporteur’ of the evening was Ms Raquel Benmergui, a professional art-based facilitator who summed up the evening most accurately on a white canvas that quickly filled up with lots of colour, faces, music and action. The evening celebration was concluded by guests enjoying a buffet dinner accompanied with lively conversation, guitar music and examining the displays of the winning Baltic Sea photos and BONUS publications over the years.