The European Union has territories that are often located far from the main landmass of the continent. These are usually small islands with small population, whose life, political and economic activity is frequently neglected due to lack of knowledge or interest on part of the larger entities, regions and organizations.
That, however, does not mean that nothing happens there. A good example is the FORWARD initiative financed through the European Union’s Horizon 2020 framework, which seeks to encourage and foster the research and innovation climate in these outlying regions (ORs). The aim of this project is to get scientists and entrepreneurs from these places to collaborate in their work, which is often focused on issues specific to small and distant islands.
FORWARD is divided into Thematic Working Groups
Based on considerable diagnosis and analysis of the conditions on the ground the FORWARD project has been divided into 8 Thematic Working Groups. Teams working in each of these can concentrate on various areas of research with fellow organizations from other ORs.
The eight groups are divided into the following areas: TWG1 – Health, Applied Medical Technologies and Diagnostics, TWG2 – Social sciences and innovation, TWG3 – Earth systems and Space, TWG4 – Information and communication Technology, TWG5 – Climate change and energy transition, TWG6 – Agriculture, applied life sciences and biotechnology, TWG7 – Conservation and restoration of biodiversity and TWG8 – Marine Sciences and technologies.
To that end, the Government of the Azores (a Portuguese archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean), which is heading two of the Thematic Groups (TWG3 and 7) is organizing two online events to mark the launch of these Thematic Groups. The events will take place on 12 and 18 January, respectively, and the idea behind them is to bring together experts who will create thematic Action Plans.
The larger goal here is to promote the internationalization of research efforts and skills, closer integration among distant regions, as well as strengthening the partnership between ORs and the European institutions in order to have these places’ interests better advocated there.