Predictions for the lab of the future

There are so many innovations waiting to serve scientists that it is quite incredible they have not been adopted sooner. In this insightful opinion piece, Simon Bungers, co-founder of labfolder, an electronic laboratory notebook for researchers, outlines his vision on how scientists’ lives will be transformed by wider adoption of solutions supported by artificial intelligence and the emergence of the likes of blockchain-based solutions to gain greater data reproducibility.

Do we need a European Innovation Council?

As plans are underway to establish yet another instrument to support innovation in Europe, dubbed the European Innovation Council (EIC), entrepreneurs and research-based organisations have questioned the proposal. The determination that Research, Innovation and Science Commissioner Carlos Moedas has shown in developing the concept, begs for further questioning concerning the details of the implementation of the proposed EIC. In this article, EuroScientist investigates whether those closely involved in innovation believe EIC is a good idea.

Trans-fats: health time bomb by regulatory omission

Although several European countries, starting with Denmark, have started a battle against trans-fats in process food, the European Commission is dragging its feet to regulate on the matter. As food-related matters are about to take centre stage during Christmas and other end-of-the-year celebrations, EuroScientist looks at what is happening behind the scenes. As more and more stakeholders in the food sector are gradually signing up to reducing the use of partially hydrogenated plant oils in their products, the delays in taking regulatory action appear to be attributable to more than mere bureaucratic inertia.

Privacy: an endangered species in a digital world

Surveillance and security technologies do not exist in a vacuum. This is why it matters to study societal impacts and compliance with fundamental rights and values of citizens. Find out the perspective of Johann Čas, an economist from the Institute of Technology Assessment, at the Austrian Academy of Sciences, in Vienna. In an opinion piece, he talks about the findings of one of his latest projects, SurPRISE, which consulted 2,000 European citizens on their views of different security technologies and surveillance measures. This lead to interesting finding on what is acceptable to them in terms of security versus privacy trade-off.

Special issue on Research Activism – Print Edition

As waves of researchers’ protest are about to invade the streets of Paris, Rome and Madrid, among others, there is a clear sense of déjà vu in these white coats with large signs walking the avenues of European capitals. What is new, however, is that these protests on longer follow a logic of being centred around national territories. They have become supra-national and aim to target the central power in Brussels as much as national governments.

Italian scientists protest against budget cuts, crocodile tears included

In the successful Italian comedy, Smetto quando voglio (I can quit whenever I want), a group of young and talented scholars with no career perspective turns into a successful drug-dealing mob. The story is imaginary—a surreal rendition of Breaking Bad—but it is also the portrait of Italian academia. There, the shortage of funds, baronies, and scant meritocracy hamper the careers of many endowed scientists. This fiction is not that far from reality. Now, as an attempt to change their working conditions, Italian researchers are planning a protest movement in October, to take a stand against budget cuts and political apathy. There is no doubt that such movement is justified, but there is also a need for academics to run their universities better.

Special issue on alternative research funding – Print Edition

This post is designed to allow our readers to convert the full issue into a single PDF file, that can be read offline or in print. We are introducing such printer and tablet-ready version of the EuroScientist to respond to the expectations of our readers, who have expressed the need to access the magazine when they are not connected to the internet, so that they can read it at their leisure, while travelling for example. As a participatory magazine, we encourage you, our readers, to provide further feedback so that we can make the magazine more accessible and relevant to you.

The airplane of the future

A simple white paper napkin depicts the future: at an informal dinner with aviation professionals the lead technical design engineer of Boeing sketches his personal vision of the airplane of the future, which is so futuristic that it even outranges the companies conceptual airplane. Any minute when a plane is not flying is a waste of money – the goal is to minimise the downtime. Leading airline companies already try to have their birds in the air around the clock. What still takes time is passenger boarding and de-boarding from an aircraft. Since there is no way to beam the humans aboard, the creative engineer found another solution to save time. In his futuristic vision, an airplane consists of a movable compartment, a ‘container’, where all passengers can be seated in a comfortable way before the plane has even landed. After embarking, while the passengers already enjoy their welcome drink, the whole compartment will be safely moved and secured to the fuselage, which consists mainly of one big airfoil with the engines.