This report was presented at the GA in 2014 Reser conference in Helsinki , Finland.
Council members: Alexander Schletz (Fraunhofer IAO, Stuttgart); Brita Hermelin (Linköping University), Céline Merlin Brogniard (University of Lille), Gisela di Meglio (Universidad Complutense de Madrid); José Luis Navarro-Espigares (University of Granada), Laurentiu Tachiciu (Academy of Economic Studies, Bucharest), Maria Savona (SPRU, UK), Marie Christine Monnoyer (Université de Toulouse 1), Marja Toivonen (Aalto University, Finland), Markus Scheuer (RWI Essen), Patrik Ström (University of Gothenburg, President), Pedro Costa (Lisbon University Institute).
1. GENERAL INFORMATION ON THE RESER COUNCIL WORK
Council meetings and communication with members
In the last twelve months Council has worked intensively on a number of activities, as predicted, and communication between Council members was frequent. Three tele-meetings of the Council (phone-meetings) and two face-to-face meetings (Brussels, in February, and Helsinki, just before the annual conference) were carried out in the period. Face to face meeting between the two annual conferences is very important as it helps the Council to discuss strategic issues and not only to manage its regular activities. As in the past the Council members should make use of national research representative offices in Brussels to secure free of charge meeting place.
The Council has informed the RESER members about its activities via Minutes, and e-mails were used for alerting members whenever relevant information was available related to services issues, as well as to release the Service Watch. Mailing lists and databases were updated, and most information flows were restricted just to associates with their association fees regularized. Most of information was also posted on the RESER website, which has been very actively updated, and is the main repository of information of RESER and its most efficient communication tool. More active response of RESER members and their provision of relevant news to feed the website are very welcome and would benefit all members.
In September 2014 the RESER was composed of 130 individual members and 3 institutional members; - Fraunhofer IAO, VTT TECHNICAL RESEARCH CENTRE OF FINLAND, CRISP Centro di Ricerca Interuniversitario sui Servizi di Pubblica Utilità alla Persona.
2. AIX-EN PROVENCE RESER 2013 CONFERENCE
The Council actively supported the Aix-en Provence 2013 conference organisers in planning the activities related to the conference, on the theme “Finding Growth through Service Activities in Barren Times” (which counted with 143 researchers, from 28 different countries, which presented 107 papers), and on the post-conference work. Jean Philippe and all the organizing team did an excellent job that made possible the success of the organization of this 23rd RESER annual conference. A full balance of the conference, provided by its organizers, is available at the RESER webpage, and the delivery of such report constitutes a best practice that should be followed in next editions.
3. RESER COUNCIL PRIORITIES FOR 2013/14
In line with recommendations at the GA in Aix-en Provence the Council has identified the following priority actions that were carried out in 2014:
a) Collaboration with the organization of the annual conference, in Helsinki.
The council actively collaborated with Marja Toivonen and the organizing team of Helsinki’s conference, on the theme “Services and new societal challenges: innovation for sustainable growth and welfare”, which occurs at Finlandia Hall.;
The council was involved in the suggestion of keynote speakers and thematic sessions, as well in the support to the organization of practical issues.
It was decided to atribute the RESER lifetime award this year to Jon Sundbo (Univ. Roskilde). As usual, the person receiving the prize (Jon Sundbo) was invited to be one of the keynote speakers in the conference.
RESER council and the organization of the conference worked together in order to assume the conference a special floor to increase the cooperation strrategy with other institutions and services networks, and to increase the visibility of RESER. As part of this strategy, the EU High Level Group on Services report will be presented at the Helsinki conference, by Norman Rose chairing an EU round table.
By the same token, for the first time, it was possible the oportunity to have a REDLAS special session/track, centred on the issue of services in developing countries. Support was given both by organization of the conference (reduced fees to REDLAS partivipants) and by RESER council (funding support), in order to enable and enhance participation from REDLAS members in Helsinki conference.
Two grants (2 RESER founders award for best paper) for supporting PhD students (500+300 euros) were available for the conference, as decided in Aix's GA. This was extended to the participants in the Docoral Coloquium, which took place in paralel with the conference. Papers with just one author (the student) that were or will be defending PhD in 2013 and 2014, were elegible. The mechanisms for the angartaion of proposals and to the selection of papers were discussed and improved by the Council. Annoucement of the winners is made at the conference dinner.
b) Collaboration with PhD Colloquium organization
The council has also actively collaborated with Risto Rajala and the organizing team of the PhD colloquium, held in parallel to the conference. This is a new experience that is being tested this year and that will be replacing the pre-existent Summer School. It is supposed the involvement of this organizing team to be continued, through the articulation of the coordination of this PhD Courses with the other following conferences, in their specific locations.
The PhD colloquium has no fees for the participants. Essentially, it centres on the discussion of students’ papers, providing for the participants the possibility of having feedback on their work by more experienced services researchers, which are participating on the conference. Costs are not so high for the organization (except the provision of lunch to participants, and the travel of a speaker), as it occurs in parallel to the conference, sharing costs, and seizing the participants of the conference. One grant was available (500 euros). Selection was made upon the list of registered participants. RESER’s Founders Award was also available this year to the PhD Colloquium participants, as well as to the conference PhD students participants.
c) Collaboration on ESIC project
After the delays registered in the project in the precedent year, the effective collaboration of RESER members has started this year. The RESER participation is essentially through the “peer review” of the assessment reports produced by the core consulting team of the consortium. Markus continued to assure the link between ESIC and the RESER members which were asked to make comments on the reports made by the consortium and to participate in the respective seminars. The RESER members involved in the review of cases were Marja Toivonen (in Northern Ireland and Luxemburg cases, as Faiz Gallouj, which was supposed to be in Luxemburg one, had no opportunity to do it); Jon Sundbo (Emilia Romana case); Metka Stare (Canary Islands case) and John Bryson (Limburg region case). Just in the Upper Austria case there is no RESER member involved. Several reports were already produced and submitted to the EC. The European Service Innovation Scoreboard is already online, and several newsletters have been published. A short report summarizing the key findings has also been published. The ESIC conference has been prepared and counts with the participation of some RESER members. The project is supposed to be finishing at the end of this year. It is open the possibility to expand beyond this experience to new projects.
The consortium has offered RESER the opportunity to publish something about our network in their homepage, and Markus wrote a short text, based on the presentations made in Aix at the plenary final summary session.
e) Scholarships and research grants
In the sequence of the decision of the GA, RESER had available in the budget for 2014 (such as in precedent years), 3000 euros for the PhD Mobility Grant and 5000 euros for the Small Research Grant (besides 800 for Founders Award, for best doctoral student’s papers in the conferences).
A discussion about each of these funding mechanisms was held among the council members, drawing on the previous debate which occurred at the last General Assembly, in Aix, in which there was a general agreement on maintain these supports, if more focused, although more oriented for PhD’s, if possible. The purpose is to improve the attractiveness and the number and quality of candidates, which have been less than expected in previous editions.
Several suggestions were made and discussed, in several council meetings, regarding these different funding schemes and their specific objectives and regulatory frameworks. Improvements in their communication strategies were also required.
Concerning the Founders Award, for PhD students, awarding the best papers presented by them at the RESER conference, it was decided to keep the spirit of this award this year, not changing the rules, but considering both the conference and the doctoral colloquium as eligible for recruitment purposes.
Concerning the PhD Mobility grant, it has been launched as a new way of enhancing cooperation, networking and mobility in line with the goals of RESER. The idea is to support the possibility for PhD student mobility among the different research environments. The support should enable shorter or longer stays at a partner university within the RESER network. This could cover cost up to 3000 Euro. A call should be launched during the autumn, after the annual conference.
Concerning the small research budget, it has been designed to support research initiatives that include at least three different research environments. Two of these should be RESER members. These applications can have the character of seed money for larger applications or smaller joint pilot studies. In total, the application could cover costs up to 5000 Euro. The council has discussed to have more flexible timeline for sending in application on a running basis.
4. OTHER ACTIVITIES OF THE COUNCIL
4.1. INCREASE THE VISIBILITY OF RESER
The Council members that participate at various national and international conferences, seminars and workshops are disseminating news on the RESER and raise the awareness on RESER in different scientific and public policy communities.
These activities are well in line with the mission oriented objectives of strengthening the visibility and impact of RESER. It further relates to the work within ESIC mentioned above.
- EU High Level Group on business services
The activity of the High Level Group (HLG) on business services, launched by DG Enterprise has developed during the year with the participation f two RESER members. Patrik Ström belongs to the HLG as RESER President and Marja Tiovonen is representing VTT in Finland. Tthe two members are in central places in 2 ad-hoc groups (internationalization and innovation. A Report on the status of the business service industry in Europe and policy recommendations for strengthening future competitivness within and outside the EU were prepared for the EC in published in April 2014. It is not guararnteed the implementation of it (at least in this transition period, between EU government structures), but this HLG participation had impacts for RESER: it is important for RESER as platform, and also brought channels of communication with the commission (on a time in which we had lost our ancient contacts, retired). The High Level Group of business services is presenting its final report during Helsinki conference. This report will also be disseminated on the website of RESER and through RESER networks.
- Relation with REDLAS (The Latin American and Caribbean Network on Services Research)
RESER continued the development of links with REDLAS. On 13th-14th March 2014 REDLAS conference on the theme “Internationalization and innovation in services: New drivers of Economic Development in Latin America"” took place in Mexico City. Jean Phillipe was presenting a paper on the conference and represented RESER in the event. The collaboration of RESER with REDLAS is reported as being a positive experience with high potential in the future. Maria Savona continued developing her function as “bridge” between the two associations, working with a REDLAS startup group, in a systematical way, in line with RESER action plan (improving aims such as mobility and research cooperation).
In parallel, following a request from REDLAS, the council discussed the form and the amount of a possible support for the participation of REDLAS members in RESER activities, particularly in the Helsinki conference. Considering the help also provided by local organizing committee to REDLAS participants (allowing all to participate with early bird student fee), the Council discussed to maintain a support fund for REDLAS participants, which should be managed by the association, of one thousand euros.
- Relation with Research Network on Innovation (RNI)
After an invitation by Research Network on Innovation (RNI) (RRI – Réseau Recherche en Innovation), RESER cooperated actively in the 1st International Congress Jean-Baptiste Say: "Economic thought of the industrial revolutions: innovation, entrepreneurship and business cycles", which took place in Boulogne, France, in 27th-30th August. In the sequence of the invitation to RESER to be associated to the event (conference and a parallel workshop / summer school), the council agreed on the importance of being present, even if the seminar is not specialized on services, rather than in innovation. Several RESER members were present and actively involved (Celine Merlin, Farida Djellal, Faiz Gallouj). It was recognized the strategic importance of linking to this network and the possibility of important publications (in English and French).
- Participation on the SERVSIG Conference
RESER was invited in Aix to be present and organize a session in the scope of SERVSIG/AMA(American Marketing Association) Conference, which was hold on Thessalonica, Greece, 13-15 June. The conference has not been able to reduce the fees or to give any other financial support, which constrained the expected participation of RESER members. Patrik Ström, Marja Toivonen, Metka Stare and Jon Sundbo represented RESER at the conference and giving presentations on four papers and that together will demonstrate the cross-disciplinary element of RESER. This was conducted as a special RESER session.
- Relation with other service networks
Suggestions for improving relations with other service networks have been discussed. It was suggested that RESER also could introduce interactions with other organizations like Regional Studies and set up RESER sessions at this conference. Next Global Economic Geography conference in Oxford 2015 may also be a relevant conference for RESER to be involved in. Special Sessions in our conference in the future is also a possible way to interact with other organizations.
RESER webpage have been actively used and updated. Some small problems with the management of the webpage and recurrent technical difficulties point out to the need for some changes in the short/medium term, eventually renegotiating the provider of the service. In parallel, the need of thinking in upgrading and modernize our webpage can lead in the short term to the involvement of some young researcher(s) to collaborate with the web manager in order to rethink, to have ideas and to improve things in the way we communicate .
All RESER members are encouraged to submit information to the Council that they want to publish on the web. With the extensive database on member teams the RESER website is a platform that enables members to connect with other members more easily when building teams for projects or looking for partners for developing other ways of cooperation. Information should be sent to website manager (firstname.lastname@example.org) or posted at RESER LinkedIn Group.
4.2 ENHANCING AND MAPPING RESER COMMUNITY
In the sequence of last years’ efforts to improve membership mapping and the knowledge about our members and services researchers’ community, some specific steps were made in order to advance on this.
Several ancient RESER databases were crossed, and it was assumed to use for the future, for information dissemination purposes, an updated version, drawing upon the registration of participants (and memberships) at Aix-en-Provence conference. This database was transmitted to Helsinki organizing team, which will update it and transmit to the next organizing team and to the council. In parallel, another more extensive database was prepared, drawing upon existing information from last conferences, which is useful for larger dissemination purposes (e.g call for papers launching, etc). This database will also be regularly updated in the near future, and shared by the council and local organizing committees.
The webpage was assumed as the main information repository and main dissemination mechanism, being available to all the ones interested in RESER activity, and reaching people that was (voluntarily or not) excluded from the previous existing databases, which no longer receive directly information.
Considering that nowadays we don’t have any regular information about the PhD students that are working in service science, even within RESER community, a mechanism is also being developed in order to have a reliable and updated list, which can be useful for getting updating information on students’ work and thesis about services. A new list, with data collected from Aix-en-Provence conference, plus information from summer schools and PhD Doctoral Colloquium is under development.
5. ADMINISTRATION AND FINANCIAL ISSUES
Jose Luis Navarro has been the RESER treasurer and has helped the organization to enhance the efficiency of financial issues. The financial situation of RESER is presented in the accounting report.
Following the discussion held in last GA (in Aix), the council debated the possibility of expanding the number of institutional members (generating a receipt of 500 euros/year each), which are now VTT (Finland), Fraunhoffer Institute (Germany) and CRISP (Italian institute), and the mechanisms required to incentive it. The discussion is still going on, and for now it is admitted that each institution have the right to have 3 “free membership” in the conference fees. Efforts will be made to attract more institutional members.
Conference 2015 – Roskilde, Denmark
Jon Sundbo has suggested the date 10-11 September for the RESER 2015 conference in Roskilde, with general assembly at 12 September. Doctoral student colloquium can be the days just before the conference. Jon has also enquired if it would be possible to raise the fee for the conference.
Calls for proposals
It weren’t registered new participations of RESER in calls or proposals, this year. This seems a problematic topic for action, and this area would be an opportunity to strengthen the work on joint applications for national and European funding. It potentially calls for better coordination among the RESER community.
Preparation of electoral process
One new member needs to be elected in Helsinki. Pedro and Celine will stand for re-election at the GA.
Report prepared by:
Pedro Costa and Patrik Ström
Reser Council Secretary and President