Small Satellites to RLS Heads of Government 2016

A model of the pico-satellites was presented to the 7 heads of government of the RLS regions in 2016.

RLS-Sciences: A multiregional and multilevel research cooperation framework

RLS-Sciences is a network supporting multilateral scientific cooperation between 7 regions on 5 continents, in the context of a political regional development forum. It was developed to take advantage of the scientific potential in the regions, to advance science via an organised network of cooperation, and to inform regional policies. The structured collaboration occurs at the intersection of science and government and is based on the principle of mutual trust and the culture of dialogue.

Innovation Summary

Innovation Overview

The interface between science and policy is key for addressing global challenges in which all levels of government can play a role. RLS-Sciences is designed to operate at the science-policy nexus at the regional level, bringing the benefits of diverse cultural and scientific perspectives through its multilateral collaboration among scientists, policy makers, and science managers to the seven RLS regions (Bavaria, Georgia, Québec, São Paulo, Shandong, Upper Austria, Western Cape). RLS-Sciences has defined a multilevel governance structure that enables greater cooperation between the political, scientific and administrative levels within RLS. The RLS-Sciences framework consists of three levels of coordinators in each region: Political Coordinators, Scientific Coordinators, and Administrative Coordinators. These coordinators are the first point of contact in their regions for RLS-Sciences, and are partners in the drive to launch multilateral projects and integrated scientific networking activities. Due to this structure, there are opportunities for all the different levels and actors to participate in co-creation processes in order to drive transitions at the regional level and to implement and further develop key technologies. Through the exchange and continuous dialogue within the project groups, between the specific project groups and between the policy level and the scientists involved, a culture of trust is created. In addition, the dialogue between science and politics leads to the fulfilment of the demand for science-based policy.

The existing resources of RLS-Sciences include its scientific network of 140 academic researchers, 60 young researchers, the bilateral relationships between the RLS members, an online research and training infrastructure, and established mechanisms of multilateral cooperation. At the overall coordination level of RLS-Sciences as well as in the four research themes, a principle commitment to science exists and promotion of multilevel cooperation with public sector stakeholders is implemented to foster regional development and international leadership.

RLS-Sciences operates as an embedded scientific network, and one of its aims is to launch and support multilateral research projects with partners from across the RLS regions. The project themes were originally chosen based on the areas with greatest potential for innovation and cooperation, and the shared strengths of the regions. The four core projects are: the RLS-Energy Network, the RLS-Global Aerospace Campus, RLS-Small Satellites and the RLS-Expert Dialogue on Digitalization, including the newly launched Digital Health Initiative. RLS-Sciences is not limited to a single standard model for research collaboration - each research area is modelled in its own appropriate format.

The RLS-Energy Network maps regional renewable resources. It shows their role in their regional energy mix, and analyses scenarios for electricity, heat and fuel production. It offers support and guidance for regional energy transitions. In the RLS-Global Aerospace Campus, experts of today share their insights to train virtually and in-person the aerospace experts of tomorrow based on the most recent research achievements available in the regions. With a smart formation of small satellites for telecommunication and earth observation, the RLS-Small Satellites project is demonstrating technology leadership out of the regions in the new space research. Science, business and public sector representatives from across the regions assess in the Expert Dialogue on Digitalization the potentials and risks of digital technologies. Based on different strategies, the regional governments implement policies to enable and sustain digital transitions in industry, science, academia and public administration. In 2020, the Expert Dialogue on Digitalization group agreed to investigate the topic of Digital Health in exploring the role of AI and its regional applications for slowing and ending the COVID-19 pandemic. Experts in AI, epidemiology, medical statistics, clinical research, drug development, smart medical devices, ethics, law, and public health as well as representatives of public health authorities from across the regions took part in a preliminary exchange.

The project's future aims are to increase the global visibility of the regional RLS-Sciences model, to interact with other innovators and benefit from exchange on innovation models in the science-policy interface. The team would also like to demonstrate the possibilities of multiregional cooperation across a multitude of topics, while maintaining regional specificity. For the team, expanding does not mean adding new regions, but rather doing more within the current partners and projects.

Innovation Description

Innovation Development

Innovation Reflections

Supporting Videos

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Year: 2020
Level of government: Regional/State government


  • Implementation - making the innovation happen

Innovation provided by:

Join our community:

It only takes a few minutes to complete the form and share your project.