A Science|Business hybrid roundtable (09:30 – 12:15 CET)
It is clear that our physical and virtual worlds are becoming more deeply intertwined, and at an incredible pace. With the advent of 5G technology, the Internet of Things, social media, cloud computing, cryptocurrencies and more, our societies and economies increasingly rest on digital foundations, as underlined so starkly by the global pandemic. Yet this implies huge disruption if these are weakened or eroded – according to some estimates, the annual costs of cybercrime could surpass $10 trillion worldwide by 2025. And as evidenced in recent years, some nations seek geopolitical advantage by doing precisely that, whether through electoral interference, intellectual property theft or other avenues.
Against this backdrop, the European Commission has unsurprisingly identified cybersecurity as a key area for future research and innovation (R&I) funding and policy attention. From the creation of a new European Cybersecurity Competence Centre, to major investments under the Horizon and Digital Europe programmes, the push is on for the Commission and member states to harness industrial strategy and a dynamic R&D ecosystem to improve Europe’s resilience, competitiveness and technological autonomy.
But questions remain as to what this will mean in practice for leading research institutions and scientists themselves. Do European universities, labs and infrastructures fully understand the risks? How can public and private sector organisations ensure the privacy and safeguarding of their data, IP and more? Can cybertensions – such as with China and Russia – be reconciled with the principles of open science? What are the consequences for international research cooperation, and who gets to define the rules of the game? On April 26, members of the Science|Business Network will gather with experts from across Europe to discuss these issues and more, in the latest of our cross-sector, cross-border, roundtable dialogues.
09:30 – Welcome & introduction
Opening remarks from Simon Pickard, Moderator & Network Director, Science|Business
09:35 – Raised stakes: Are Europe’s cyber R&D priorities in line with new realities?
The opening session of the roundtable will focus on a discussion of latest policy developments at EU level that will define the next few years of strategy, programming and investment in cybersecurity R&D. Unavoidably, a framing question will be to what extent Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine will influence the EU’s future agenda – both in terms of emergency mobilization of resources, and in terms of longer-term foresight and capacity building.
The session will begin with a select number of EU-focused inputs, aimed at setting the stage and framing the context for later discussions, from:
- Eva Maydell – Member and Shadow Rapporteur for the Cybersecurity Act, European Parliament
- Roberto Cascella – Head of Sector, Technology, Supply Chain & Strategic Autonomy, European Cyber Security Organisation (ECSO)
Following these opening remarks, the roundtable will move into a more reflective debate of what the future holds, in terms of stakeholder responses to policy priorities, programmes and implementation. Among the key areas to be explored, time permitting:
- Strengthening alignment and breaking down boundaries between EU and national levels
- Defining appropriate balances between ease of access, security and privacy, and between technical and sociotechnical solutions
- Building trust through innovative approaches to governance, standards and certification
- Learning lessons from ‘new’ sectors such as biomed, quantum, and cryptocurrencies
- Clarifying the roles and responsibilities of industrial, non-profit and public actors
- Assessing the implications for Europe’s industrial and data strategies
10:45 – Coffee break
11:00 – Scientific impact: What does cyber policy mean for the modus operandi of R&D leaders?
The second part of the roundtable will address the implications of cybersecurity realities and risks for the European science and R&D ecosystem itself, and how these issues are reframing the way that leading organisations operate – from data management and IP protection, to international research partnerships, skills development and public-private partnerships. The session will also work towards some concrete recommendations for policy makers to strengthen and improve the R&D ecosystem and capabilities, while bringing public and private sector organisations into closer working relationships at the heart of planning and delivery.
Among the questions to be considered:
- Do European science and R&D organisations have the relevant knowledge and capacity to manage cybersecurity risks and geopolitics? If not, what can be done?
- Is the pursuit and promotion of open science naïve in light of cyber realities?
- Should public R&I funding integrate cyber risk management as a core criterion?
- Can access to cyber case data be improved to support high-quality research?
- How will cyber realities influence the future of tech transfer and commercialisation?
- To what degree should future cyber R&D be sector-specific?
This session is intended to be an open, inclusive set of discussions among those online and in the meeting room. Short “conversation starters” will be invited by the moderator at different points to support the transition between themes, but the overarching message is that all participants are encouraged to contribute throughout!
12:15 – Close of event