Increasing awareness of researcher mental health

Recently, there has been an increasing amount of attention paid to the mental health of researchers. Research is an activity that aims to confront the boundaries of human knowledge: it demands excellence from all researchers, who aim to publish in peer-reviewed publications, submit grant applications, achieve tenure or defend a PhD thesis. Researchers identify with and are dedicated to their work to a very great extent. A recent report noted that researchers simultaneously demonstrate high levels of job satisfaction and high levels of stress and depression. Nevertheless, hard work does not have to lead to suffering.

Policy making manifesto: squaring science with the human factor

EuroScientist publishes in exclusivity the Brussels Declaration on ethics & principles for science & society policy-making, launched on 17th February 2017 at the AAAS meeting. This document outlines a set of 20 principles related to the ethics and the mechanisms through which scientific evidence is taken into account as part of the policy making process for issues relevant to science and society. This declaration proposes a dramatic shift in the way scientific evidence informs policy. It suggests integrating the views of practitioners in relevant fields, thus instilling a bottom-up approach to the policy making process. This is in sharp contrast with the existing top down policy making principles. Find out more in this op-ed written exclusively for EuroScientist by some of the authors of the Brussels Declaration.

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How citizens’ feedback can shape health research

Experts will discuss the latest research on healthy populations at the forthcoming EuroScience Open Forum event to be held in July 2016 in Manchester. The trouble is, until recently, often people who may be impacted by health research did not have a say in it. Several session organisers share their views on the new avenues that are explored to improve the link between health research and citizens.

Disruptive innovation requires humanities’ input

Disruptive innovation has to be accompanied by social and cultural progress. In the provocative opinion piece, Kirsten Drotner from the University of Southern Denmark and Mariachiara Esposito from Science Europe call for policy makers in Europe to abandon the prevailing approach to innovation that has informed European policies and funding programmes, in particular Horizon 2020. Instead, they call for a recognition of the role of arts and humanities research in fostering future innovation.

Health Policy

The shift towards prevention or wellness has now been operated a few years ago in health policy. Particularly in the field of chronic diseases, which is the focus of our independent coverage in this issue and of a campaign orchestrated by the REIsearch project. This has led to a number of policy experiments over time. As yet, there is no magic bullet to entice people to try and take greater care of their health. It appears that a combination of voluntary actions by citizens, with prevention campaigns from interested groups, and regulations can help. But too much of any of these ingredients may affect the fragile dynamic between them.

Human nature thwarts wellness

As Easter is looming, some of us already know that eating large amounts of chocolate eggs will be too much of a temptation to resist. This Easter chocolate binge is symptomatic of our approach to health. And to preventing chronic diseases that may affect us later in life. Until we actually see the damage done by such often irresponsible behaviour, we are not going to change. Clearly, we are our own worst enemies, when it comes to keeping ourselves in good health and taking preventative steps.

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.

Drugs: time to fight for health

International drug enforcement is failing to win the war on drugs. This ailing prohibitionist approach costs tens of billions of euros in global diplomatic relations plus vast health and social costs, including thousands of deaths and millions of infections such as HIV ad HCV. Michel Kazatchkine, UN Secretary-General Ban-ki Moon’s special envoy on HIV/AIDS to Eastern Europe and Central Asia, explains why fighting drug matters more than ever.

Europe sets the tone for long-term nuclear waste management strategies

Nuclear energy is at the forefront of many scientific minds these days. The Fukushima crisis shined a spotlight on possible dangers associated with the locations of nuclear plants, as well as the logistical and human health nightmares that can occur with meltdowns. But these aren’t the only concerns about nuclear power on which scientists are focusing. Nuclear waste management is also actively perplexing engineers, policy-leaders, and decision-makers, as the concern over how to best dispose of High Level Waste (HLW) continues to grow.