How the knowledge and ideas produced during research can translate into applications that would ultimately have an impact on people and society

One cultural shift away, towards fairer science

Technology-mediated interaction between geographically-distributed teams of scientists is about to happen on a much wider scale than before. And this trend is no longer limited to scientists from well-funded labs. It is now time for researchers to prepare for yet another shift in attitude when interacting with each other. They need to show greater willingness to give and share, encouraged by a new credit and reward system recognising the smallest contributions to science. Read more [...]

Are the disruptions of uberisation a bane or boon for science?

For every characteristic of uberisation, there is a parallel in the world of research. This raises the question of whether research was "uberised" before Uber even existed? In this article EuroScientist explores which aspects in research have been most impacted by technology, and the challenges ahead to leverage uberisation for the good of science and scientists. Read more [...]

Biological mechanisms discovery by globally-distributed research force

Not every scientist has the comfort of a well-equipped lab. However, newly available open platforms for biomedical in silico discovery could soon spark the brains of millions of researchers forming a geographically-distributed work force across the globe. This no longer requires working in a high-tech lab to contribute to the discovery of new mechanisms in health and diseases. Meanwhile, new opportunities for trainees, scientists and patients to practice annotation of genetic databases, could push the boundaries of open science towards countries where it has not yet been possible to work on such projects. In the second part of a two-part series, Barend Mons from the Leiden University Medical Centre, The Netherlands, explains how it could work in practice, and how close we are to realising this initiative. Read more [...]

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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. Read more [...]

Chronic disease prevention using wearable technology: not that simple

Since the last decade, wearable technology moved from developers’ drawing boards to stores, with barely a whisper of disquiet about data privacy. Yet, the implications for data privacy should not be underestimated. There is growing interest in the potential of wearables to mitigate, treat or prevent chronic conditions which put a strain on health economies--ranging from chronic back pain or physical stress injuries to mental health issues like work-related stress. EuroScientist investigates how the latest regulatory framework could secure people's privacy as they strive to prevent chronic conditions through wearable technology. Read more [...]

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Innovation has a role to play in chronic diseases prevention

Thanks to advances in technology, the ubiquitous smartphone is not just a way to connect with friends. It also becomes a kind of “doctor in our pocket”. Health apps, wearable sensors and fitness trackers are all contributing towards ‘more and better data’ for monitoring everything from caloric intake to steps taken on a daily basis. If we want to better understand, manage, and prevent chronic diseases, then new technologies and innovations like these are vital. Read more [...]

A goldmine to partly replace animal testing

Public databases of the toxic effects of chemicals that have been registered under the REACH directive have been sitting idle for too long. In an opinion piece, Thomas Hartung explains how the development of software by his team at the Bloomberg School of Public Health, at Johns Hopkins University, USA, helps make sense of the large volume of chemical database content. Now that they made such data machine readable, expectations are that it will soon be possible to provide open access to such public database. Ultimately, this could substantially decrease the number of animal tests. Indeed, the database makes it possible to do so-called read-across, allowing to infer toxicity of heaps of untested chemicals from existing data on chemicals of similar structure, which have already been tested. Read more [...]

Innovation has changed the meaning of rehabilitation

This year we celebrate the 10th annoversary of the adoption of the UN Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities. We now observe new issues arising that no-one could have ever anticipated 10 years ago, which are currently not dealt with by the Convention. The potential for rehabilitation of persons with disabilities is such that now we can enhance our capabilities beyond those of people without disabilities. Read more [...]

Opening up conference discussions to the virtual community

The movement to promote open-access to information published in journals is now well established. However, much of the information we present at conferences is either missed or fails to reach the wider community. Conferences are traditionally closed affairs, limited by time and location, despite recent efforts to stream some of the keynote speeches on the internet. Yet, at large events vast amounts of information are presented through oral papers and posters. However, this communication is mainly linear and the interactive engagement of delegates is proportionally minimal. Read more [...]

Evidence-based safety science is nigh

To date, most toxicology tests have not been validated but they are still mandated by regulatory agencies. The question is to find suitable ways of modernising toxicology testing in the 21st century in a structured, consistent, transparent way. In this article, Thomas Hartung, Founder Evidence-Based Toxicology Collaboration (EBTC), at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, and colleagues, examine what remains to be done to address the mounting pressure exerted on industries and food and drug regulators worldwide to bring their decision-making process up-to-date with modern science. This calls for the use of a rigorous appraisal of the value of past studies under the umbrella of what has been dubbed evidence-based medicine (EBM), to be adapted in toxicology, to guarantee the safety of drug and consumer products. Read more [...]