Strategic Research Agenda: Mountains for Europe's Future
The mission
Starting in 2014, the Mountain Research Initiative being the Swiss part of “CH-AT”, the Swiss Austrian Alliance for Mountain Research, lead a lobbying effort to increase mountain research in the European Union (EU). The short term aim was to get more mountain research topics into the 2018-20 calls of Horizon 2020, the EU’s current research funding program; the long-term goal was to increase awareness of decision makers about the importance of mountains for all of Europe.

The final document
Drexler, C., V. Braun, D. Christie, B. Claramunt, T. Dax, I. Jelen, R. Kanka, N. Katsoulakos, G. Le Roux, M. Price, T. Scheurer & R. Weingartner 2016.
Mountains for Europe‘s Future – A strategic research agenda.

Get involved!
Spread the word: "Mountains matter"
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The event

Mountains for Europe's Future: Puttting mountains on the Horizon 2020 agenda. Brussels, 25 April 2016. 
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Read the blog posts below to follow the whole story: 
20 May 2016: “Mountains for Europe’s Future” meets the European Commission in Brussels
31 March 2016: Strategic Research Agenda “Mountains for Europe’s Future”: Take it, it’s yours
11 November 2015: Next episode of the serial: Support us toward the finish line in Brussels!
3 September 2015: Maximizing the mountains’ profile in Horizon 2020: a serial

Article on the Stragegic Research Agenda Mountain Views December 2015: download

This is a very big goal for a very small office! We thus called on the Mountain Research Initiative’s (MRI) Europe network, which represents over 2,000 mountain researchers from all European countries, for help tackling this challenge. Many people answered the call and expressed interest in lobbying for mountain research within the European Union. These scientists, who are well established within their research communities and have good contacts to the Horizon 2020 (sidebar) contact points in their countries, form the informal “Mountain Research Advocacy Network”. In two meetings in Vienna and Bern in April 2015, the core group of this network developed an ambitious plan: a strategic paper with the tentative title “Mountains for Europe’s Future”, which should be ready by early 2016.

The core group conducted an online survey on the importance of individual sections of Horizon 2020, and then drafted first versions of the chapters of the strategic research agenda during a writing retreat in Switzerland in August 2015. The drafts were presented to the European research community in two feedback rounds. In a first round, we made the thematic chapters available via an online sharing platform, while in the second round we discussed them with the participants of a Roundtable at the conference Mountains of our Future Earth in Perth, UK, on October 5, 2015.

DSCF3356 web
Nikolas Katsoulakos, National Technical University of Athens, with the time-line developed at the planning meeting on 9 October 2015.

The next step was to prepare an advocacy event in Brussels in spring 2016, see above. 

Building on existing relationships and establishing new ones is the big challenge for the Mountains for Europe’s Future team. Succeeding in this challenge is even more important to the accomplishment of the whole effort than finalizing the strategic research agenda as such. If we succeed, our “recommended research activities” might actually be taken into account within the Horizon 2020 consultation process, and might then influence the 2018-2020 work programs. We are doing our best to be successful, and we are doing our best to present a role model for similar efforts in other parts of the world.