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In Trieste, the first meeting of the G20 Research Ministers ends with a Joint Declaration

The focus of the Meeting was on new skills, digitalization and cooperation among countries.

August 6th, 2021

In Trieste, the first meeting of the G20 Research Ministers ends with a Joint Declaration

The G20 Ministers of Research,together with OECD and UNESCO,gathered today in Trieste for their first official meeting under the Italian G20 Presidency. At the end of the meeting, Chaired by Minister of University and Research Maria Cristina Messa, the Ministers adopted a Joint Declaration on Leveraging Research, Higher Education and Digitalisation for a Strong, Sustainable, Resilient and Inclusive Recovery.

Aware of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on research and higher education communities and, more broadly, on the well-being of societies, Ministers and delegates discussed ways to address the new challenges in view of achieving the common goals of sustainable community development. They agreed to continue working together under Indonesia’s incoming G20 Presidency towards a digital transition for a strong, sustainable, and resilient recovery and growth.

The discussion focused on three pillars: how to address the changing nature of skills; how to harness the potential of digital technology whilst upholding ethical principles and values; how to leverage common digital infrastructures to support research collaboration, open science and higher education.

With regard to new skills, the Ministerial Meeting emphasized the importance of “promoting human-centred technological development by increasing access to research and higher education for all”, addressing the “digital divide” and mitigating “security risks in digital environments in an inclusive and equitable manner.”

Ministers also pledged to “continue the work begun to identify the ethical principles and values required to shape inclusive, resilient, and sustainable societies through open science and education initiatives”, taking into account, among other things, the need to “protect human rights, dignity, privacy, and personal data throughout the life cycle of the design and use of artificial intelligence and all digital technologies in research, education management, teaching, and learning.”

The Ministers’ Declaration also mentions the need to “produce and share information about research and education in an open, secure and Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable (FAIR) way, while respecting national and international regulations and observing academic and ethical principles and values” as well as a commitment to “promote the participation of women and girls in STEM studies and in other subjects linked to the design and implementation of digital initiatives”.

Finally, with respect to the discussion on research collaboration and the use of common digital infrastructures, the Ministers emphasized in the Declaration how access to data and digital tools relevant to research enhances the “reproducibility of scientific results”, “facilitates inter-disciplinary co-operation”, stimulates “economic growth through better opportunities for innovation”, enables “re-use and sharing of data in social innovation,” increases “resource efficiency”, improves “transparency and accountability”, delivers returns on public investment, promotes scientific research, ensures “public support for research funding,” and strengthens “public trust in research.”

By supplementing the Declaration with a Best Practices Annex, the G20 Research Ministers also highlighted the need to “encourage the continued exchange and strengthening of collaboration and cooperation in research and higher education at the international level.”