Suspicion-laden paralysis over new nanotechnology labelling and register

Nanotechologies are the perfect case study to identify lobbying forces at work in the regulatory process in Brussels. Compulsory labelling or the implementation of a register for products containing nanotech components have been at the centre of the debate spreading over an inordinately long time. But such decisions will only come at the end of a protracted debate between the European Commission, industry, consumer representatives and environment protection organisations. In the end, evidence-base and the precautionary principle may not be the base for political decisions at the EU level.

Radio Astronomy driving new competences and innovation on the European scale

LOFAR (Low Frequency Array) is the world’s largest and most sensitive low frequency radio telescope. It was designed, built, and is now operated by ASTRON, the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy. LOFAR’s reach now spans Europe – from Ireland to Poland, with the newest LOFAR antenna station being delivered to Ventspils University of Applied Sciences in Latvia. Here we propose that LOFAR is a prime example of how state-of-the-art facilities leads to the sharing and building of competencies and innovation: it is one of today’s major success stories of research infrastructures on a European scale.

A new era for EuroScientist to adapt to financial constraints

EuroScientist editor has left and this is an occasion for the magazine to make some changes and reinvent itself. While we will not change the goals and the mission of EuroScientist we will focus in the coming months on anticipating the debates at ESOF and debates on FP9. In addition, we will merge the EuroScience Newsletter into EuroScientist. Homo Scientificus Europaeus (HSE) will also be integrated in EuroScientist website in the following weeks. We will also invite new contributions from you whatever you think is useful and valuable for the discussions in the wider science community and beyond that among stakeholders in science and innovation.

Claude de Loupy: the era of hyperlocal news

We are soon to benefit from the availability of hyperlocal news. News about the local sports team, our local weather, average prices of houses in our locality, etc. This is the perfect illustration of how technology will serve the needs of citizens in a way that was never possible before. Today, most news report are relevant to entire regions or nations, or have an international dimension. But news that are only relevant to the locality where people live are too costly to produce via traditional means, using journalists. Instead, Claude de Loupy, CEO of French startup Syllabs, explains how robots capable of writing hyperlocal news report by making sense of automated wheather, sports and other automated data reports, are already available.

Robo Sapiens: a new legal person on the horizon?

The legal implications of the consequences of the actions of robots endowed with artificial intelligence are currently the object of discussion at the European Parliament. In this opinion piece, Orsolya Zara, legal and policy advisor to an MEP at the European Parliament, in Brussels, provides some insights into changes pertaining to robots liability that may need to be implemented in civil law.

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RRI: New buzzword or vision of modern science policy?

Science has the power to transform societies. It has the power to help tackle the challenges Europe is facing. Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) aims to reconcile the need for research to operate autonomously against a backdrop of society transformed by scientific discoveries and technical inventions. Thanks to RRI, we are getting one step closer to finding practical solutions to facilitate the dialogue between scientists and all those concerned, including citizens.