March for Science: reaching out for bottom-up governance

We are living through very puzzling times. Times where the unexpected, the counter-intuitive and the irrational make headlines day after day. In this new world order, some remnants of old models of governance are re-emerging. These are entered on top-down governance, sometimes stretched to the point of generating strongly nationalist and authoritarian regimes. Yet, new governance models are needed. Scientists, with the March for Science due to take place on 22nd April 2017, give a strong signal, that bottom-up input into policy is needed. Unlike any time ever before, technology makes it easy for people in power to consult citizens on how their lives should be governed. Meanwhile, the input of the humanities and deeper philosophical questioning could help us inform future policy decisions. The trouble is that the mechanisms for such bottom-up governance have not yet been fully elucidated. To contribute to discussions on this issue, it is now time for EuroScientist and HSE community members to step in. Read more [...]
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Policy making manifesto: squaring science with the human factor

EuroScientist publishes in exclusivity the Brussels Declaration on ethics & principles for science & society policy-making, launched on 17th February 2017 at the AAAS meeting. This document outlines a set of 20 principles related to the ethics and the mechanisms through which scientific evidence is taken into account as part of the policy making process for issues relevant to science and society. This declaration proposes a dramatic shift in the way scientific evidence informs policy. It suggests integrating the views of practitioners in relevant fields, thus instilling a bottom-up approach to the policy making process. This is in sharp contrast with the existing top down policy making principles. Find out more in this op-ed written exclusively for EuroScientist by some of the authors of the Brussels Declaration. Read more [...]
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Vaccine successes: facing diseases since the 18th Century

This article has been produced as part of a data journalism initiative called 'Medicamentalia - Vaccines ' brought to you by the Civio Foundation. It outlines some of the successes in vaccination campaigns from governments across the world. It also gives you a historical perspective on the key scientists who have been instrumental in developing vaccines of the past centuries. Find out more, it makes for an insightful reading. Read more [...]
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Anti-vaccines: when the problem is not just a question of resources

“Europe is sending us measles”, says Doctor Eduardo Suárez, director of the immunization programme at the Department of Health of El Salvador. And with good reason. Whilst the Americas declared itself to be free of this disease, outbreaks multiplied in significantly higher-income countries. Almost 26,000 cases were registered in Europe in 2015, far more than the 611 registered across the American continent, the majority of which were in Canada and the United States. Read more [...]
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Vaccination levels: holes in the shield

The measles vaccine was invented in the 1960s, and by the 1980s its use was widespread. Decades later, however, the disease persists. Half of the countries in the world do not achieve immunisation rates sufficient to curb the transmission of illnesses such as measles. Similar scenarios apply to the polio and DTP vaccines. Find out more about the actual variying levels of vaccination uptake from around the world. In this piece of data journalism brought by the Civio Foundation, evidence shows that many avoidable diseases could reduce mortality, should countries implement suitable vaccination policies. There is still a long way to go to reduce avoidable death, preventable through vaccination. Read more [...]
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Designing antivirus for nuclear power plants to fend off cyber-terrorism

In 2008, it was the first time that a software virus replicating the automatic process control system of a nuclear facility was recorded. In this opinion piece, Anastasia Tolstaya, an engineer at the Institute for Cyber-Intelligence Systems, Moscow Engineering Physics Institute, in the Russian Federation, explores what can be done to prevent exposing the safety of nuclear plants, in the case of a cyber attack. Finding solutions, she argues, is not trivial. Read more [...]
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Nightmare on Academia Street: an English horror story coming to a campus near you

Any politician that dangles the carrot of a graduate premium on future earnings to justify increases in student fees, interest rates on loans, or adjusting student loan repayment thresholds, should be challenged for gross mis-selling. These are the findings of a recent report by the UK Intergenerational Foundation. In this opinion piece, the author of the report warns of the possible financial implications of postgraduate student loans for the future financial health of students and their career prospects. This phenomenon, particularly acute in the UK, could soon reach other countries in Europe, should they be tempted to follow suit. Read more [...]
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UK scientists’ loss of influence to be felt at home and across Europe

Brexit keeps resounding in the many aspects that its implications may have for European research. In this opinion piece, Thomas König, Austrian social scientist, who was previously scientific advisor to former ERC president Helga Nowotny, examines the consequences of the predicted fall of influence of British scientists on the future of European science. He believes the consequences of Brexit are likely to be felt, not only in UK science itself, but also at the level of pan-European research endeavours, such as ERC-backed activities. This shows that scientists are not sheltered from the vagaries of politics when policies emanating from the popular vote forces them to defend their interests. Read more [...]
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Raising hue and cry against a poet!

Censorship is alive and kicking. Read on about the experience of a French poet, who is also an eminent physicist, writing under the pen name Chaunes. His latest work include poems which refer to both the islamic veil and naked bodies in the same piece. Even tough few people actually read poetry. It appears that commercial online retailers have their own in-built censorship when it comes to such matters. Read more [...]
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European science conversations by the community, for the community