These are the results of Student Forum Maastricht 2018!
Have a look at the final policy proposals written by the participants for each working group. Please click on the headings to download the complete document (PDF).
Boosting Digital Skills in the EU: Increasing Female Inclusion in the Digital Sector
Recent studies developed by the Commission demonstrate that bringing more women into the EU digital sector would lead to a 16 billion annual GDP boost. In addition, the European Commission has already recognized, amongst other priorities, the necessity to: 1) build a renewed image of the sector among women and society, 2) empower women in the sector, 3) increase the number of women entrepreneurs in ICTs and 4) improving working conditions of the sector.
Despite the recognition of these priorities, there is still a lack of comprehensive measures to achieve the aforementioned goals. As such, we suggest a three-fold proposal: firstly, a recommendation to increase effective communication in the sector based on already existing successful practices; secondly, a specific recommendation for the reintegration of ‘women in transition’ that includes a broader access and retraining of this specific vulnerable group; and thirdly, a request to increase funding for organisations that focus on the education and training of women in digital skills and foster their entrepreneurial efforts.
With regard to the lack of access and participation of women in the digital sector, what can be done by the European Commission in order to improve the digital skills of female population?
Our specific objectives that we propose in this policy brief are:
- Enhance the perceived value of digital skills and the ICT sector for women
- Facilitate access for women to acquire and improve their digital skills
- Foster the employability of women in the digital sector
- Encourage female entrepreneurship in the digital sector
Preventing Radicalisation Through Local Inclusion
Radicalisation as a catalyst for violent extremism is a fast spreading phenomenon. European cities have been experiencing it directly recently, having been the place of dramatic and tragic events. The recent terrorist attacks and the hate crimes related to religion, ethnicity and political affiliation have shown the urgent necessity for tackling the issue of extremism.
Prevention has rapidly emerged as a much necessary solution. Prevention in this sense develops around the idea of inclusion and early integration, which envisages public security and safeguard of shared spaces as a common good, which needs protection. Thus, the acts of violence motivated by hate and ideology represent important underminings to public safety, and start with the formation of cells and secret groups. It is therefore necessary to engage the local institutions and organizations in the elaboration of a strategy aimed at the support of the local community, the close collaboration with formal educational institutions, the building of local networks based on cultural dialogue and solidarity, which will ultimately achieve deradicalisation.
The policy proposal reflects these fundamental issues and builds on existing experiences to develop a network for local communities to tackle radicalisation through inclusion. It revolves around three main fields of action. First, it opens for the creation of a platform, inside the framework of RAN, to promote information sharing and knowledge exchange dedicated to local municipalities across Europe. Secondly, the proposal sees as central the promotion of youth initiatives, and the allocation of funding to grassroots inclusive initiatives, after selection through an application procedure. Finally, the proposal also calls for the inclusion at the level of schools, by fostering cooperation developing school programs and specific training activities for teachers, in order to make them sensitive to the issue of radicalisation.
Increasing Unity through Education, Youth, Research & Innovation
The ultimate goal behind this policy brief is to increase unity across Europe and to dismantle mental barriers between the East and the West. We aim at bringing people together and allowing them to get to know Europe. We wish to support the EU in its objective to bring Brussels closer to its citizens and their neighbours. We seek to include the youth more and we want to contribute to the emergence of a European generation, one in which people do not forget their diverse origins while sticking together. We strongly believe that civil society is not only the beneficiary of a united Europe, but as Europe’s 5th branch of power it can actively shape such a future.
Believing that Europe could become the world’s creative, innovative and intellectual powerhouse, we suggest including more stakeholders into the educational world and bringing that world closer to the daily life of the EU’s citizens and neighbours. For example, a digital platform could become the meeting place for academics and the private sector. The latter would get important insights into current research and could offer students scholarships supporting the education of experts in fields of common interest. Existing and popular initiatives could be also developed further. More young people could meet Europe if Erasmus+ had a high school component and a grant allocation paying more attention to the financial background of applicants, thus enabling poorer Europeans to experience the continent and the EU’s achievements. Similarly, Horizon 2020 should include students as well. By doing so, we would have more excellent and innovative researchers and more big ideas made in Europe. The number of international research cooperation should be also increased, making the big ideas truly pan-European. Our policy options will increase cooperation and understanding between East and West on a civil society level, which in turn increases the civil society participation. Ultimately, the improvements will contribute to a revived European momentum and bring Brussels closer to its citizens and their neighbours.
Reducing Pricing Pressures of Orphan Drugs
While Continuing to Incentivize the Innovation
How can high prices for orphan drugs be reduced while continuing to incentivize the innovation in this field?
Pharmaceutical companies are rather reluctant to invest money in orphan drugs. In order to give them incentives to invest the United States uses the system of priority review of regular non-orphan drugs pharmaceutical products that still have to enter the market. This provides more opportunities for companies to invest. This system is not yet implemented in the European Union but it might have potential in the EU as well with the current framework.
There is a need for collaboration between public and private sector in the light of the big data revolution in health care, creating an opportunity for the European Commission to act in the digital revolution that is occuring in the pharmaceutical market. The existing strategies and legal frameworks prevent there from being an overarching data base for rare diseases in Europe, however this proposal suggests regulated and incentivising ways in which orphan drugs can be offered.
The Venture Fund
In the pharmaceutical sector Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are usually financially overburdened when it comes to the immense costs that are induced by advanced clinical trials. The here proposed intervention envisions an EU public venture capital fund (for orphan drugs) supports innovators at this critical stage allowing them to stay independent from big pharmaceutical players. As a result, the market size increases, leading to more competition, transparency over R&D expenditures and finally to lower reimbursement prices.