The COST Association and the National Rectors’ conferences of France (CPU), Germany (HRK), Hungary (MRK), Poland (CRASP) and the Netherlands (VSNU), hosted an Exploratory Workshop “Integrating the stake of rare disciplines at the European level”, in Brussels (Belgium), on Wednesday 09 September 2015. This workshop was held with the participation of the European University Association (EUA).
Characterised by lacking critical mass and often excluded from funding programmes, rare and emerging scientific disciplines can offer scientific, economic and/or cultural solutions to today’s society needs. At national level, the debate has been started by the Rector’s Conferences. For example, CPU (France) and HRK (Germany) have produced national reports on the subject and are launching observatories to detect, preserve and support these disciplines.
The aim of this Exploratory Workshop was to launch a European debate on rare and emerging disciplines, and to highlight the need of coordinated efforts in their detection and preservation. It was an opportunity to:
I. discuss a possible definition of rare and emerging disciplines
II. see where we stand at national and European level today with respect to those disciplines
III. define which concrete actions could be proposed at the National and European level to preserve and to accompany when necessary the development of theses rare disciplines.
COST, being open to all fields of Science and Technology, offers the ideal platform for rare and emerging disciplines as it promotes topics less or not in scope of the EU programmes and favours multi and interdisciplinary approaches. The National Rectors’ Conference and EUA have started to define Rare Disciplines and would like to explore in which way they can be preserved at the European level. Both the CPU (Conference of University Presidents in France) and the HRK (German Rectors' Conference) have each recently presented a report on this topic.
The programme featured plenary and breakout sessions designed to involve all workshop participants and external stakeholders from diverse scientific and technological backgrounds.