Chairmanship’s Summary 2009

The Presidency:
President: Dr Lars Espen Aukrust  
Secretary: Dr Kristin Danielsen
Treasurer: Inga Elizabeth Bruskeland
The main objectives for the Research Council of Norway’s Chairmanship has been to achieve added value for the member agencies through the meetings and activities, and to continue the Strategy roll out as approved by the Board in December 2007. The RCN has taken a new initiative to engage member agencies in strategic discussions at the EWG meetings, focusing on one thematic area at each EWG meeting.
Two Board meetings and three Executive WG meetings took place. In connection to the June Board meeting, a Policy Forum on ERA instruments was organised, and a TAFTIE statement on ERA instruments was delivered to the EU presidency. Task force (TF) meetings on Internationalisation strategies took place and a final report was sent to the Board in December. TF/Ad Hoc Group on the Academy took place and resulted in the establishment of the TAFTIE Academy, by the help of SenterNovem. The FFG was appointed Head and secretariat of the Academy. In addition two preparatory meetings for proposed task forces on SMEs and Joint Programming and task force on the role of TAFTIE took place. The Network on State-Aid rules continued and the development of the Network on ERA-nets resulted in an EU financed action ERA-LEARN.
This year saw one new member agency joining TAFTIE: The Hungarian agency KPI, former TAFTIE member, was submerged into NKTH. NKTH was officially appointed as TAFTIE member by the Board in June. In December the Chair proposed for the Board the National Agency for Innovation and Technology from Italy as a new member agency in TAFTIE.
Finally in December the annual TAFTIE Conference was held in Oslo. It was opened by the Norwegian Minister for Trade and Industry. The Conference was very well attended by colleagues from across Europe and beyond.
New initiatives
Funding organisations from 22 countries gather to the EWG meetings three times a year. The EWG represents an opportunity to engage members in strategic discussions. The RCN desired to take the initiative to organise the EWG meetings differently in order to bring more added value into the meetings for participating organisations. Therefore, the RCN proposed to use the first half of the meetings to discuss management issues, and the second half to engage the member agencies in discussions concerning the agencies’ activities with focus on challenges, experiences, best practices and solutions for mobilising R&D nationally and internationally.
The following topics were discussed during the three EWG meetings: 
  • Understanding innovation – R&D effects and impacts (February)
  • The role of agencies in a changing European landscape of Research and Innovation (May)
  • Instruments for R&D cooperation outside Europe (September)
The Board in June approved one new member agency; The Hungarian agency KPI, former TAFTIE member, was submerged into NKTH. In December the Chair proposed for the Board the National Agency for Innovation and Technology from Italy as a new member agency in TAFTIE.
Task force on the Academy resulted in the establishment of the TAFTIE Academy at the Board meeting in June, by the help of SenterNovem. FFG was appointed Head and secretariat of the Academy. The Board member of SenterNovem will be the liaison between the Head and the Board for the coming two years. The EWG will serve as the steering group that acts as a source of ideas and takes care of the communication between the Head and the member agencies.
Working Better (task forces and networks)   
Network on ERA-Nets
The strategic network discusses models for internal ERA-Net review and approaches for joint calls. As a result of the group’s discussions, an EC financed support action, ERA-LEARN, started in 2009. The strategic network has in important role in guiding the ERA-LEARN project.
Smart Agency Network
The SmartAgency organised a tutorial workshop and an annual seminar in Oslo in February under the title “How to provide smart support to R&D and innovation?”. The network also met in Bergen in May in connection to the EWG-meeting to prepare the future of the Smart Agency. In August the SmartAgency went to Iceland, invited by RANNIS, to give a seminar on the Smart Agency approach: “Making agencies make a difference” and “Managing RTDI programmes”.
In October Smart Agency met with the Head of the TAFTIE Academy to plan the future of the Smart Agency. Smart Agency Network has also been asked by the Board to follow up the conclusions of the Academy workshop in October and prepare a proposal on how to proceed with the project “Agency 2020”.
The Reference Model is widely used as a framework for teaching programme management, programme design and strategic planning in several TAFTIE agencies and the tools developed have been integrated in the TAFTIE Academy.  
New Network on State-Aid Rules (TEKES):
A review of the framework for state aid is upcoming in 2010. During the preparation of the current framework, TAFTIE took a proactive role and had significant impact. The Commission recognised the unique position of TAFTIE, representing the most important agencies dealing with State Aid and thus with relevant experience.
TAFTIE should continue with this proactive role by intensifying the network through the organisation of several workshops in combination with collecting and analysing experiences.
Task Force on Internationalisation Strategies (VINNOVA).
Mutual learning through exchange of experiences and best practice was the idea behind the proposal to set up a TF. Participants agreed that this was a topic that neededs to be tackled short term. The draft report as well as a summary of the work of the TF was presented to the EWG in September 2009. A final report was sent to the Board in December. The Board was invited to decide about a prolongation and the aim and direction of futher work.
Activities on Technology transfer, Commercialisation and IPR (RCN and SenterNovem).
A workshop was organised by RCN and SenterNovem in January-February. A result is that this topic will be included in the Academy.
Policy Forum
For the first time, a TAFTIE Policy Forum was organised in Brussels 10th of June. To the Forum TAFTIE Board members, Mr Robert Jan Smits and Mr Bernd Reichert from the European Commission and Mr Bjarne Kirsebom and Mr Dan Andrée from the incoming Swedish EU-Presidency were invited. The topic for the Forum was ERA instruments. The Forum was prepared at the May EWG-meeting, and based on the discussions TAFTIE delivered a statement on ERA instruments to the EU Presidency, focusing on the need for a SME strand in ERA.
TAFTIE Annual Conference – R&D and innovation in times of financial crises
The conference was held on the 9th of December in Oslo. It was opened by Mr Trond Giske, Minister for Trade and Industry. Attendance of c 100 people contained a good representation by TAFTIE member agencies and some visitors from outside of Europe including Korea.The presentations on the conference focused on experiences from R&D, innovation and international cooperation from three continents: Europe, Asia and North America.
External relationships
The Commission
The main contact with the Commission has been related to the TAFTIE Policy Forum and preparation of a TAFTIE input on ERA instruments. TAFTIE was challenged by Mr Robert Jan Smits to put forward a concrete proposal for SME measures in ERA. A proposal to the Commission is planned to be delivered before summer 2010.
Strategic partners
TAFTIE was invited by the German Chair of EUREKA to present the TAFTIE network at a meeting in Brussels, November 2009.
The 2009 Chairmanship saw it as important to increase the use of the website as an important tool for information,Minutes and documents from Board and EWG are now available (members only section).