Are blockchain applications guided by adequate social values?

At their simplest, blockchains are just lists of transactions – ledger books – that are recorded in a transparent and decentralised way. Currencies such as Bitcoin are the best-known application of the technology. However, other applications are emerging far beyond the financial sector. In this stimulating opinion piece, Philip Boucher, policy analyst at the European Parliament’s Scientific Foresight Unit explains the opportunities and challenges that such an emerging technology offers. The biggest question is: are we ready to give up traditional financial and governmental control in favour of decentralised blockchain applications harbouring greater transparency? Some of the answers may be found in an event organised by the Scientific Foresight Unit of the European Parliament event on the 11th May 2017.

Open governance enhances the value of land use policy software

moja global is a collaboration among governments to develop software informing land use policies. It is also designed to estimate greenhouse gas emissions from the land sector. Thanks to its open governance structure, funders, developers and users, have their say in the development of the software. The private sector is rapidly adjusting to this opportunity to gain value from the process. According to an opinion piece by Guy Janssen, interim director at moja global, this should, in turn, inspire governments to explore how open governance can create a vituous circle leading to a similar multiplier effect for the common good.

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.

The Linux approach to human and ecosystem well-being

Our democracies have bugs, lack user-friendly features and under-perform. Above all, they are in need of major upgrades. Political and economic systems are failing us because they are structured vertically through top-down hierarchies. Instead we need to adopt a new economic system, driven by principles related to “act local, think global” philosophy. In this stimulating opinion piece, Lorenzo Fioramonti, director of the Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation, in South Africa, shares his vision about creating a highly integrated horizontal economic system.

Death in academia and the mis-measurement of science

Working in academia is not what it used to be. At least, when it comes to evaluation of work performance. Heightened and underhand pressure on academic performance, has led to the tragic death, last year, of an eminent professor from Imperial College, London, UK. Other academics across Europe have suffered the same fate, albeit these have only been documented anecdotally and did not receive the broader coverage English speaking publications affords. This raises questions concerning the pressures academics come under from academic institutions. These are run like businesses and are looking for unrealistic benchmarks, when it comes to research evaluation.

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.