26 June, 2017

Appel à candidature 2019

Themes of 2019:

  1. The use of digital technologies to revitalize small and medium size towns which are economically distressed by the closure or disappearance of stores in the town centres due to competition from hypermarkets, malls or e-commerce. Can digital technologies provide new roles and new opportunities for inner city stores through new order and delivery systems (“last mile delivery solutions”), new payment systems, new technical solutions such as “in-fridge-delivery”, new ways of offering access to local products etc.? Can they generate new visitors by enhancing tourism and entertainment through new ways of communicating offers, information and itineraries, and facilitating reservations?
  1. The potential of digital technologies in enhancing urban safety and security. Possible areas to focus on and discuss: Urban lighting (and use of improved lighting techniques), video cameras (coupled with lighting infrastructure) for street surveillance, control of mobility, use of parking facilities, monitoring of environmental data. How is the data transmitted and analyzed? What types of big data analytics, intervention systems and predictive policies are applied?

Background

The French-Swedish Prize for young researchers of 2019, which is organized and financed by AFSR, the French-Swedish Association for Research, is strongly linked to the French and Swedish strategic partnership for innovation and green solutions signed by French President Emmanuel Macron and Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven in November 2017. An update of the partnership was presented on June 7, 2019 (1)

The partnership covers the following four areas of cooperation:

  1. Green solutions for transport, clean energy and smart cities
  2. Green finance for climate-resilient economies
  3. Digital transformation, smart industry and start-ups
  4. Health and life sciences innovation

AFSR has decided to focus 2019 year’s prize on “smart cities”, which was also the focus of 2018 year’s prize. The inclusion of “smart cities” or, more precisely, “green, inclusive and sustainable cities” in the French-Swedish partnership is due to the rapidly increasing urbanization of both countries.

The two themes chosen for this year’s prize are linked to the fact that cities describe quite different patterns of development. While some prosper, others stagnate which leads to increasing gaps between regions and different population groups. Here the concept of inclusiveness is a major concern.

Cities with a negative development are frequently referred to as “distressed”. EIG (Economic Innovation Group), a U.S. public policy organization, has even developed an index, the Distressed Communities Index (DCI), for measuring the vitality and wellbeing of cities. The seven criteria used to measure the level of distress of a city or community are housing vacancy rate, adults not working, poverty rate, median income ratio, change in employment, and change in business establishments. Cities ranking high on most of these criteria (the higher they rank, the more distressed the city) are usually small or mid-sized. Negative development of the first six criteria leads to fewer start-ups of new businesses, which in turn reduces the attractiveness of a city. A factor that has since long further accentuated this negative development is the expansion of out-of-town large hypermarkets. To this can be added, in recent years, the sharp increase in e-commerce.

An important question to ask is if there are ways of changing this negative development. If, for example, new digital technologies can offer possibilities of improvement and revitalization which can help a distressed mid-sized city to re-emerge as a place where people want to live and work and establish new businesses.

Another factor of importance for a city’s attractiveness is how secure it is perceived to be both by those already living and operating there, and potential entrants. Again, new digital technologies can be assumed to play an important role in projects aiming at enhancing urban safety and security.

The two themes for the French-Swedish Prize of 2019

French and Swedish post-docs and doctoral research students within different disciplines are invited to present projects focusing on the role of digital technologies in the revitalization of distressed medium-sized cities and in increasing urban safety and security. The precise wording reads as follows:

  1. The use of digital technologies to revitalize small and medium size towns which are economically distressed by the closure or disappearance of stores in the town centres due to competition from hypermarkets, malls or e-commerce. Can digital technologies provide new roles and new opportunities for inner city stores through new order and delivery systems (“last mile delivery solutions”), new payment systems, new technical solutions such as “in-fridge-delivery”, new ways of offering access to local products etc.? Can they generate new visitors by enhancing tourism and entertainment through new ways of communicating offers, information and itineraries, and facilitation reservations?
  1. The potential of digital technologies in enhancing urban safety and security. Possible areas to focus on and discuss: Urban lighting (and use of improved lighting techniques), video cameras (coupled with lighting infrastructure) for street surveillance, control of mobility, use of parking facilities, monitoring of environmental data. How is the data transmitted and analyzed? What types of big data analytics, intervention systems and predictive policies are applied?

Key characteristics of a winning application

A winning application should meet all, or most of the following characteristics:

  • It presents ideas or solutions based on digital technologies proven or likely to be useful when solving problems or facilitating tasks related to either of the two themes
  • It demonstrates an interdisciplinary understanding
  • It reflects an ability to combine a theoretical and critical approach with a concrete and operational approach
  • It is action oriented and impacts day-to-day life
  • It has an innovative dimension

Who can apply? Need of confirmation of co-operation partner

Eligible to apply for the prize are young researchers and research students working in a French or Swedish research institution during the academic year of 2019-2020. The purpose of the prize is to reward scientific excellence of young researchers and research students in France and Sweden, and, at the same time, to encourage and promote scientific co- operation between the two countries. It is therefore mandatory for the applicant to present a Swedish (for French applicants) or French (for Swedish applicants) research institution where she/he is welcome to spend a 2-4 week long (postdocs) or 2-week long (doctoral students) internship.

The existing co-operation or the possibility of future co-operation should be confirmed, in writing, by the partnering institution in the other country

Available prizes

In France:

  • One prize, postdoctoral researcher: 7,000 euros
  • One prize, doctoral research student: 4,000 euros

In Sweden:

  • One prize, postdoctoral researcher: 7,000 euros
  • One prize, doctoral research student: 4,000 euros

In addition to the prize money, the winners are entitled to a travel grant to defray travel and subsistence costs related to the internship. The travel grant is maximum 4,000 euros for postdocs and 3,000 euros for doctoral students.

The French-Swedish Prize for young researchers is organized by AFSR, the French- Swedish Research Association, under the patronage of College de France and the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

Detailed instructions on how to apply are presented under the heading “Research Prize Regulations on AFSR’s website: www.afsr.se

Final date for application is Friday, October 26, 2019

Further information can be obtained by sending an e-mail to info@afsr.se

1 https://www.government.se/information-material/2019/06/Declaration-between-France-and-Sweden/