HSE: existential crisis or post-modern victim?

As you might know, on 8th October 2014 we published an open letter called “They have chosen ignorance” in 7 languages and 9 daily newspapers throughout the EU. It was addressed, primarily, to the community of European scientists, asking for large-scale signing. Our challenge was and still is multiple, but with a concrete goal: joining the forces to create an interactive macro-node in order to bring scientific communities within the EU closer whatever their geographical location, disciplinary background or career point. By unifying, we stand to gain the support of the interactive and transversal community that European scientist represent, when big questions concerning science have to be addressed and discussed within the EU and/or the EU nations that face decision-making processes. Unifying does not mean more constraints issued from reductive dogma or top-down bureaucracy. Our goal is indeed to animate the public debate by multiply inspired suggestions issued from our bottom up campaigns, aiming to defend democratic values and to propose sustainable solutions for a better future.

This motto is the raison d´être of EuroScientist in order to develop any pertinent debate at the crossroads between all the stakeholders concerned by the future of science. Two years since its first special issue, the EuroScientist has progressively focused its attention on the real situation of science-makers. With the impact of austerity in Southern Europe, we started to highlight a new specie in danger, i. e. the Homo scientificus europaeus. Since then, we sadly received numerous accounts reinforcing our belief. Indeed, the last generation of scientists is facing a very complex situation. Without any big and fast change, many scientists that are now reaching their maximal value in terms of competence and efficiency will desert scientific fields as soon as they will find any alternative solutions to escape what is becoming a nightmare. The process has already started and in some way sounds like when the farmers had to leave their farming due to massive industrialisation. We are now each day more preoccupied with eating organic foods, waiting for a massive come back of old-fashioned farmers! At another level, let us imagine next year if numerous highly relevant football players that do not belong to super elite teams decide to quit football because they don’t get enough support, both financially and humanely, whilst they are asked to give 120% of productivity. Just unbelievable!

In the world of scientific research, at least in mine, i. e. life science, we have been going in this direction for many years. Now, it is no more a question of brain drain; it has to deal with the peace of mind facing a highly negative expectation in building a sustainable career as a scientist. This is why EuroScientist still maintains the open letter, looking for a much higher number of signatures. We would also like the HSE blog to become active: any scientist sharing such feeling is invited to take some of her/his time to post comments or to submit text giving evidence of this growing unease. Sensing the communities throughout Europe and favouring new dynamics will help scientists to leave this stupid posture of being victims of their vocation. The European nations, and more generally the whole planet, need well-prepared people in terms of knowledge and know-how to unknot many problems that make our world challenging. This might be an important piece of the present tragedy. The economical austerity applied by EU decision-makers might lead to destroy the key element of scientific research, i. e. a flourishing grey-matter biodiversity. At the same time, cascades of human conflicts are emerging associated with a strong erosion of both democratic principles and Mother Nature. What are we waiting for … to wake up?

Gilles Mirambeau

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One thought on “HSE: existential crisis or post-modern victim?”

  1. i agree with the author. Through all my life I have been doing researches for free without salary and grants .And for many years my papers were ignored though sometimes there were real discoveries in them. Such is the life.

    Vladislav Cheltsov .