On the celebrations in Paris for the 15th anniversary of the European Research Council (ERC), the president of the National Research Council of Italy, Maria Chiara Carrozza, recalls that science is a fundamental vehicle for peace and collaboration. The Italian institution is suspending agreements with and business travels to Russia and is taking actions to host and support Ukrainian researchers
In these days when my thoughts, like everyone else's, are turned towards the war in Ukraine, I am holding several meetings at European level - in London and Paris - which confirm to me that science remains a fundamental vehicle for friendship and cooperation, which are the basis for progress and prosperity. I would like to say this today, on the side-lines of the celebrations for the 15th anniversary of the European Research Council, which is not only a great means of support and funding for the Union but also the symbol of a community vision of research, which produces excellence through cooperation among countries.
Our first concern is for the victims of the invasion, and our hope is that diplomacy and dialogue will prevail over armed violence as soon as possible. The call for science as a driver of peace and development must always be emphasised by those who carry out research. Ukraine's commitment to the EU in the field of science has been sealed by the Association Agreement to the Framework Programme, which gives Ukrainian research institutions the same rights and prerogatives as Member States. As requested by the Ministry of University and Research, we are immediately taking steps to promote actions to host Ukrainian students, researchers, and professors, evaluating any kind of availability in terms of scholarships and accommodation.
As some Russian scientists have pointed out, it is unthinkable to do scientific research without collaboration between people and institutions from different countries. Researchers at the National Research Council of Italy, who have professionalrelationships all over the world, are well aware of this. It is therefore with regret that I have instructed them to suspend their business travels to Russia and announced that we will not be renewing agreements with academic and research institutions in the Federation this year. The European Union has adopted sanctions to prevent legitimate research collaborations may provide involuntary support for military action.
This temporary action is unavoidable to support the Ukrainian research community and to show the dissent of our scientific network from any form of violence. Of course, this does not in any way represent a closure against the Russian scientific community and its researchers, who bear no responsibility for what is happening and to whom we extend our solidarity at this very difficult time. We hope that the important joint research projects can be resumed as soon as possible.
After the devastation of the Second World War, modern Europe was born as a union of a technological-scientific nature, as well as a political-economic one. This is true in particular for the fundamental field of energy resources which today, while a complex but unavoidable transition is underway, required by the fight against climate change and the anthropogenic impact on the environment, risks being put in serious difficulty by the conflict. With consequences that, as always, will be paid for above all by the most vulnerable.
The horror of war, which we were convinced we would no longer have to observe within the European territory, is added to a post-pandemic phase that had already been defined as a sort of post-war period. We have just come through two years of serious suffering at a health, socio-economic and psychological level, and everyone's efforts should be directed at rebuilding a more equitable, sustainable, advanced society, in the spirit and thanks to the means of the Recovery Plan and the NRP, designed precisely to make harmonized progress in the EU and act as a glue between Europe's various fragilities. The conflict in Ukraine therefore concerns us all, morally, and materially.
The voice of science, at this moment, must be raised even louder, since there is no true peace without cultural advancement, knowledge, understanding of things and people, without progress, well-being, development. For this reason, I join my appeal to that of many Italian and foreign colleagues, in my personal name and of all the colleagues of the Cnr.
Maria Chiara Carrozza, president of the National Research Council of Italy
Head at Bruxelles of Cnr office for International and European activities
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- "Il mondo della ricerca per l'Ucraina" (Rai1 - Uno mattina del 2/3/2022, CnrWeb.tv)
- "Guerra, pace e scienza" (Rai News24 - Futuro24 del 9/3/2022, CnrWeb.tv)