Emmanuelle Charpentier: European research funding could do with less red tape

In the second instalment of a two-part series, Emmanuelle Charpentier, head of regulation and infection biology at the Max-Planck-Institut in Berlin, Germany, gives her opinion on the challenges in obtaining research funding in the current system in Europe. She also shares her views on how mobility can be hampered by bureaucracy. Finally, she points to the limited coherence for scientists pursuing a research career in Europe. Clearly, many efforts have yet to be made to improve the condition of scientists in Europe.

Eastern European countries snub neighbours’ science policy

Looking East of an imaginary line going through Berlin and Rome all the way to the Urals creates a broad outline of what Eastern Europe is, in the widest geographical definition. What is striking about this broad region is the number of similarities between different countries, not least in science. And yet it is equally surprising how little these countries exchange good practice. Specifically, scientists and policymakers will talk for hours about problems in their country. But few will have much awareness of how similar problems have been overcome in neighbouring countries.

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South-Eastern European countries join forces to implement RRI solutions

In the RRI Tools research project is designed to map out and share good practice in Responsible Research and Innovation across Europe. The challenge is to make the findings of the project relevant to countries spread across a wide geographic area. Countries in the South Eastern European region, for example, are constituted of a diversity of nations including both EU Member States and countries still in the process of EU integration.

Heightened multi-lateral collaboration fever as Brexit mitigating strategy

Too much is at stakes in European science for people managing research—particularly in the UK—to leave it up to politicians to determine their future. Brexit or no Brexit, there are signs that further integration of the UK scientific activities into the European research fabric is underway. Indeed, universities across the UK are establishing new partnership deals in education and research with European and Commonwealth universities. Whether this move will allow UK research institutions to remain attractive to European collaborators remains to be seen.

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.