All posts by Michele Catanzaro

Michele Catanzaro is an Italian journalist based in Barcelona, Spain. He has a PhD in Physics and works as a freelance for Nature, Physics World, El Periódico de Catalunya, Spain, Le Scienze, Italy, and other media. He is the co-author of the book Networks: A Very Short Introduction and of the documentary Fast Track Injustice: The Óscar Sánchez Case.

Self-organised scientific crowds to remedy research bureaucracy

In an era where research bureaucracy is the biggest burden bestowed upon scientists, some are seeking practical solutions. Inspired by the science of complex networks, new ways of harnessing the wisdom of the scientific community are emerging. This leads to new decision-making mechanisms to allocated the limited amount of resources, which is bypassing the biggest plague affecting the research endeavour. Michele Catanzaro investigates out-of-the-box solutions to this bureaucratic conundrum for Euroscientist. Read more [...]
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Speech forensics: when Hollywood seldom mirrors real-life court cases

Actors of the justice system often bestow very high importance to forensic evidence, which is sometimes misguided. In this piece of investigative journalism, EuroScientist looks at the case of speech forensics, in which charlatanism, the lack of regulations and controversies within the scientific community sometimes act together to the detriment of justice. Further validations of the methods used in speech forensics have yet to be established so that they become as reliable as DNA profile or fingerprint testing. Until then, experts warn, caution is in order. Read more [...]
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Is Europe to enjoy science advice or camel design?

A camel is a horse designed by a committee, a proverb says. Policy experts doubt whether a new high level group of eminent scientists will work as planned. It is part of a new scientific advice mechanism, announced on 13 May by the European Commission. In parallel, a completely new feature of the new science advice mechanism is its structured relationship with national science academies and learned societies. The real test will come when controversial issues such as GMOs, shale gas and stem-cells come back to public debates in the future. Read more [...]
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Spring of discontent in the European science community

The new Juncker Commission is attempting to tackle the sluggish economic climate by introducing a punchy new plan. It involves the creation of the European Fund for Strategic Investment to invest in job creation and growth. This initiative has generally been welcome. Except that the proposal involves taking €2.7 billion away from Horizon 2020, the very programme supposed to produce the innovations that would contribute to the growth of the economy. This has triggered uproar in the European science community. This reaction was further compounded by criticism from the European Court of Auditors pointing to the many gaps in the proposed plan. Finally, additional concerns that further funding restrictions could be imposed on the way structural funds are permitted to be used have also emerged, given that research features low on the list of EC priorities. Read more [...]
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