Apart from the fact that funding agencies don’t claim to fund the best research ever, there are certainly good reasons for criticisms of many research funding practices. There is too much competition; success rates are too low; career advances are too much linked to success in getting large research grants; writing and evaluating proposals take too much time; and so on.
We are trying our best to fund the projects which are most likely to be successful and that can have an impact on society, on economy, on life and security. But…are we really funding the best research ever? Are we really getting the best value out of our money?
On 8th May 2017, one of the arm of the British scientific establishment, the Royal Institution, has opened its famous lecture theatre to a debate about Brexit. Brexit is not about extricating the UK from the European scientific endeavour. And Brexit does not bring to an end many important aspects of the integrated European scientific projects. Today, it is not obvious, however, which strategies the UK–and the other EU 27 countries–could adopt to sustain as much as possible international collaborations and mobility. In this opinion piece, representatives of EuroScience argue that scientists need to raise their voices to guarantee their future and the future of our societies. Should all negotiation fail and the UK ends up with weakened relations with the EU 27, the authors argue, it remains to be seen whether the UK plan to strengthen relations and collaborations with the US, the Commonwealth and East-Asia will be an adequate substitute.
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.
In May 2017, the 5th World Conference on Research Integrity will take place in Amsterdam. It will provide an opportunity to discuss concrete actions that can be adopted by funding angencies and scientific journals to improve the overall quality and integrity of research. In this opinion piece, Lex Bouter, professor of methodology and integrity at VU University Medical Center in The Netherlands sets the scene for the conference.
Funding research effectively is a demanding exercise. Young scientists gathered in Bratislava in July 2016 published a wish list for a definite overhaul of the funding system. The key to the change is to empower researchers. The proposals will be annexed to the conclusions of the EU Competitiveness Council of research and innovation ministers and tabled for adoption at the Competitiveness Council on 29 November 2016 in Brussels.
Crowdfunding is on the rise. And experience shows that it may not coexist independently of more traditional funding mechanism. Rather, crowdfunding could soon be one more feature among the many combinations of funding sources sought to do research. But there is plenty of details to iron out before scientists can make the most of crowdfunding.
As the three-week conciliation period on the EU 2015 budget started on 28th October 2014, research in Europe is facing a funding crisis. And this time, the harbingers of doom are not grumbling scientists, gloomy economists or critical journalists, but powerful voices within the European Commission (EC) itself.
Some worry basic science will get left in the dust once changes in the new European Commission are set in stone. But before we fret in the wrong direction, should we stop to think about what terms like ‘basic,’ ‘applied,’ ‘innovation’ and ‘society’ translate to in reality? With all arrows pointing to the need for economic growth, many have begun to wonder how changes in the new European Commission will affect the balance between basic and applied research. But scholars in Science and Technology Studies (STS)— a field that investigates the relationships between scientific knowledge, technological systems and society— say that this linguistic dichotomy of ‘basic’ versus ‘applied’ research masks the real issues at stake.
The Belarus government’s plans to boost science funding “remain elusive”, while basic research and the number of scientists are being eroded by the financial crisis, according to a recent recent report by the Belarusian Institute of System Analysis and Read more […]
Promoting excellence is an explicit goal in European and national research systems. As a result, various excellence-marked initiatives have been established across Europe. However, recent empirical studies and monitoring exercises outlined below show that these excellence initiatives have been more beneficial for male than female researchers. Moreover, this applies to excellence initiatives from organisations or countries with gender equality plans and monitoring practices in place. It even applies in countries with long-term gender equality interventions backed up by political will, such as countries in the Nordic region.
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.