Following the kick-off meeting in Stockholm, Baltic Sea Region Research Network on Societal Security (BSR-RNSS) met for the second time in Helsinki on 22-23 January 2019. The meeting was hosted by the Laurea University and gathered 25 participants from the partners’ organisations. This time, Lund University (Sweden), Saint-Petersburg University of State Fire Service of Emercom of Russia and Swedish Defense University joined the initial group of researchers, who are determined to create better connections between science and practice.

After two days of intensive exchange of opinions, presentations of ongoing research and group work, the participants came closer to formulating a format of the future functioning network of researchers and continued mapping of the key stakeholders for future engagement. Funding calls for a potential larger project to institutionalise the network were explored as well. As a result, the CBSS Civil Security team gathered the information and sent out a special PA Secure Newsletter dedicated to funding.

Long-term challenges for the establishment of a successful interface mechanism, which will allow an effective knowledge exchange between practitioners and researchers were formulated:

  1. Lack of a common language/terminology
  2. Difficulty to formulate needs into a research question
  3. Need to build trust, for fruitful cooperation over a longer period
  4. Need to show the relevance of research – to prove that the results can be useful in the every-day life of a practitioner

To tackle these challenges, the partners decided to take the following steps before the next meeting in Warsaw in March 2019:

  • Finalise preliminary mapping of existing projects and research platforms
  • Create a pilot BSR-RNSS portal and present it to the CBSS Civil Protection Network Senior Experts Meeting on 22-23 February in Riga. This will help the project to get necessary feedback from the practitioners
  • Establish a core group of partners, which will take the network further for a potential larger project

Baltic Sea Region Research Network on Societal Security (BSR-RNSS) project is funded by the Swedish Institute.