Tag Archives: Politics

Scientific advice for politics: The European way

Politics is not an exact science: moral choices, traditions, communication and many other aspects play important roles. But working on politics without caring for scientific evidence is almost certainly a recipe for failure. In the last few years, the European Union has struggled to find its own, formal model for conveying scholarly knowledge in its policies. After a tangledattempt to concentrate this task into a single Chief Scientific Advisor (CSA), the Commission opted in 2015 for a much more complex Scientific Advisory Mechanism (SAM). The High Level Group at the top of the mechanism was appointed in November 2015. The seven prominent scholars that form the committee discuss their first year and a half of work in a debate at the European Conference for Science Journalists, taking place in June in Copenhagen, Denmark. Read more [...]
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Can academics entering politics bring more evidence into policy

In Greece and Spain, a new generation of left-wing academics has now entered polictics. They claim to reinvent the way policy is shaped by relying both on evidence and on meeting the need of citizens. However, the way in which the results of academic research are actually taken into account in policy making is not straightforward. So are they likely to rely more than their predecessors on evicence-based policy? Read more [...]
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Cedric Villani interview: Scientists are trained to solve difficult problems

They call him the “Lady Gaga of the mathematicians”. And he does not really mind. French mathematician Cedric Villani has become a bit of a pop icon after obtaining the Fields Medal in 2010. This highly prestigious award is the equivalent of the Nobel Prize for Mathematics; except that it is awarded every four years. And it is only destined to people younger than 40. Incidentally, until now, no woman has won it. Read more [...]
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Debating digital democracy

Many have praised the emancipating role played by Facebook and Twitter in the democratic uprisings of the ‘Arab Spring’. Meanwhile, Anders Breivik, fuelled by ideologies and chemicals he found online, emailed his manifesto across the globe before committing his Norwegian massacre. So what role does the internet have to play in modern politics?
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Biotechs speak up on GM crops

Despite a largely negative response from EU agriculture ministers to proposals to allow individual countries make their own decisions on the cultivation of GM crops, it seems certain that the battle over GM will be won or lost in the hearts and minds of EU citizens. It is their opinions on GM which influence local and national policy, which in turn, feeds into the European debate.
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Evolution-denying book causes Ireland Science Minister’s embarrassment

Ireland’s Minister for Science, Conor Lenihan, is facing criticism this week for his involvement in the launch of a book describing evolution as 'a scientific hoax' and 'an utter impossibility'. The book’s website on Monday advertised that the Minister would launch the book, The Origin of Specious Nonsense, on Wednesday, but by Monday night it emerged that the Minister had pulled out of the event and his name had been removed from the website.
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Sustaining research through the economic downturn – in the UK and Europe

On the 6th and 7th of September 2010, the historic Midland hotel in central Manchester, UK was filled with nearly 400 participants attending the Vitae Researcher Development Conference. The discussion of ideas on professional development and support for researchers at this year’s annual gathering is of particular importance, as it comes cheek by jowl with the UK spending review outcomes to be announced this Autumn – and with an expectation of hard times to come. The conference participants were set to discuss the new political context, to gather evidence of the contribution of researchers to the academic base and to economic and cultural prosperity, and to address future skill sets of researchers and the UK’s place in the global research environment.
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