The Romanian Young Academy (RYA) follows the example of Die Junge Akademie (German Young Academy) hosted by the Berlin Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities (BBAW). The RYA will be hosted by the University of Bucharest and funded by Stiftung Mercator for its first 3 years – 2020-2022. Additional funding and support has been granted by the Humboldt Foundation: 1) through the financing of a Humboldt Kolleg – an international conference that will officially launch the RYA in November 2020 (postponed from March 2020 due to the COVID-19 contingency); 2) through a Humboldt Alumni Award granted to the RYA director for the support activities of the scholarly network supporting the RYA (that is, the international advisory board, the steering committee, the board of reviewers). The RYA director has already started applying for further funding in order to continue the programme after 2022 and also ensure a higher amount of funding for each member – for instance, through the Marie Curie COFUND scheme of the European Commission.
RYA is independent with regard to the content of its academic and civic activities and organises itself under the higher responsibility of its international advisory board. RYA is founded and organised for the academic and civic empowerment of the early career researchers who become its members and for a constant transfer of knowledge from academia to society. The RYA members will be selected through international double peer review and no supervision will be imposed on their independent frontier research and civic engagement. The RYA will be free to choose its modes and places of work and will encourage both individual and collaborative activities. Once selected, the members will constitute their general assembly and elect their two co-chairs, who will change every year.
The two co-chairs will be yearly elected by the general assembly by simple majority of those present (physically or online if the assembly is an online or a hybrid one) provided that at least half of the RYA members participate in the vote. The co-chairs together with the RYA director will preside over the annual meetings of the general assembly, will supervise the initiatives and actions that are necessary for the achievement of the RYA objectives, will set the time and venue for the annual meetings of the general assembly, and will prepare the agenda of these meetings.
RYA will allow researchers to be mobile and will offer them numerous networking possibilities all over the world through close contacts with RYA’s own network of advisers and reviewers and with both peers and senior academics from Die Junge Akademie in Berlin, other Young Academies worldwide, the Young Academy of Europe, and the Global Young Academy. It will thus function as an independent think tank proposing viable solutions for future public policies regarding increasingly complex problems appearing at a global scale such as the present COVID-19 contingency.
- Aims and Objectives
The general aim of the RYA is to further both the academic careers and the civic action initiatives of its members and to also contribute to the development of a healthy basis for the future science, policy making and politics in Romania and elsewhere – one that will be based on excellence in research and civic action, interdisciplinarity, fair competition, academic and civic integrity, broad-minded and inclusive views, and regional and international collaboration. RYA will encourage both frontier research and various activities at the science-society interface such as science communication, science education and science-based public policies. RYA will also encourage the formation of other national young academies through the regional collaboration with colleagues from Bulgaria, for instance.
For the first three years, the RYA will have a maximum of forty members, according to the financing obtained from Stiftung Mercator. Provided that additional funding is obtained from the European Commission, under the Marie Curie–COFUND scheme, the number of members may be increased and the RYA may also include Bulgarian early career researchers who may want to create their own Young Academy afterwards. RYA addresses early career researchers within 7 years from the bestowal of their (first) PhD. The RYA members are selected for a period of three years and re-election is not possible. Members are obliged to actively participate in the RYA life and development. The applications for RYA membership can come from Romanian researchers both from within the country and from abroad or from foreign researchers who are active in research in Romania, belonging to all academic disciplines. For the first three years (2020-2022), their research and civic action projects should be related to three main themes: 1) Technological development and human health/ quality of life; 2) Climate change and environmental sustainability; 3) Democracy and social cohesion, which are all listed in the Call for Applications and subsumed to the more general theme: Global Challenges of the 21st Century. When further financing will be obtained, new research and civic engagement themes will be introduced.
For the first three years (2020), the RYA members will be selected by international reviewers through double peer review. After the first three years, when the members’ general assembly will already be formed, they may decide to change the existing modality of selection and to use the modality of Die Junge Akademie – of the existing members’ participation in the selection of the new members every other year. In July 2020, the first round of 20 members will be selected. Then, in 2021 and 2022, there will be 10 more members selected per year. Afterwards, there will be 10 members becoming RYA alumni/ alumnae and 10 new members selected each year. Depending on the additional funding obtained, the number of members will be slightly increased.
- Research Budget
Each member will receive research support of EUR 1000 per semester and will also benefit of the yearly common research budget of EUR 6000 on a competitive basis. The joint activities proposed for this common budget by groups of at least 3 members pertaining to different thematic groups will be selected by the international advisory board on the basis of their academic excellence and civic engagement and of the extent to which they are in line with the RYA aims and objectives, described at § 3. The use of funds will be monitored by both the RYA administration and the Stiftung Mercator auditors.
- Rules and Regulations
The RYA members will set up their own rules and regulations in agreement with the suggestions coming from the RYA international advisory board in the autumn of the year 2020, once the first round of members will be selected. Even this RYA Statute is provisional until the selection of the first round of RYA members. We will re-discuss it then and will decide on its final and detailed form.