Progressive policies to improve the gender balance in scientific research

The Irish funding agency, Science Foundation Ireland, is at the forefront of progressive policies designed to improve gender balance in the research they fund. These policies have gradually been introduced to respond to a need to ensure that excellence–and not whether they are having children–is the only criteria determining women’s chance of being funded. In this opinion piece, SFI’s Fiona Blighe explains how the various schemes in place work.

When negative data fails patients by publication omission

Half of all clinical trials never see the light of day. There are regulations in Europe and the US; they are often ignored. But public pressure has begun to push the pharmaceutical industries to make trial data available. However, in a world where industry, clinicians and medical publishers are complicit in not having clinical trials published in full, it may be necessary to give ownership of clinical data back to patients to gain greater transparency and accountability.

Inadequate childcare policies affect scientists’ careers

The inadequacy of childcare policies across Europe, means that scientists who do not wish to be away from their lab for too long are struggling to balance their life as parents and as researchers. There are still some significant decisions concerning harmonisation of such childcare provision to be made in Europe, while further policy support would be welcome.

Croatia, Czech Republic and Slovakia among members of Anne Glover’s new European Science Advisers Forum

Several East European countries took part in the first meeting of a pan-European network of chief science advisers – people who advise governments on a range of issues based on scientific evidence – in Copenhagen, Denmark, yesterday.

Turkish academics in a bind over conservative policies

Since May 2013, Turkey has seen a wave of protests from part of the population expressing its opposition to conservative government moves imposed on a society that is no longer aligned with its traditional culture. Scientists in international circles expressed concerns about their Turkish colleagues, as reports of police violence and oppression emerged. They wonder how best to support the Turkish scientific community

Thinking and Acting in a Disrupted World: Governance, Environment, People, Inequality and Disease

An ecological civilization should care for the natural and built environments, the cultural heritage, the collective bonds, education, health, ethics, aesthetics, equity and justice. But this involves many actors, in a planet united only by the media and ‘globalization’ and divided by confrontation and competition.

Can academics entering politics bring more evidence into policy

In Greece and Spain, a new generation of left-wing academics has now entered polictics. They claim to reinvent the way policy is shaped by relying both on evidence and on meeting the need of citizens. However, the way in which the results of academic research are actually taken into account in policy making is not straightforward. So are they likely to rely more than their predecessors on evicence-based policy?

Nudge towards effective harm reduction

In the past, policy makers assumed that governments could only change behaviours through rules and regulations. now they are designing programmes that reflect how people really act, as a means to induce behavioural change. The ‘nudge’ theory opens the way for nuanced and pragmatic harm reduction policies, argues Alberto Alemanno, who is Jean Monnet Professor of EU Law and Risk Regulation at the Paris School for Business and Management, France.