Innovation

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

Pharma grinding to a hault?

More evidence recently published by the 2011 Pharmaceutical R&D Factbook indicates that the pharma industry's productivity is continuing to decline. Fewer new molecular entities were launched in 2010 than in any other year in the past decade. The number of drugs entering Phase I, II and III clinical trials is also declining. R&D expenditure has also dropped to a three year low of $68 billion. Read more [...]

Impact of the Census of Marine Life

The Census of Marine Life (CoML) programme addresses three major questions: What lived in the oceans? What lives in the oceans now? What will live in the oceans? This 10-year programme (2000–2010) is a unique global effort to develop the first comprehensive assessment of life in the oceans, from bacteria to large animals, from coastal and shallow waters to the poorly known habitats in the deep sea, through more than 500 expeditions. It has resulted in partnerships and an international network of over 2700 scientists from 80 countries. Through 14 field studies in distinct ocean realms, ranging from analysing historical documents to modeling future ecosystems, the Census enables scientists to describe the diversity, distribution, and abundance of life in the oceans, to compare what once lived in the oceans to what lives there now, and to postulate what will live there in the future. Read more [...]

Macs in science

As the Mac platform increases in popularity (Apple currently claim 20% of laptops sold are Macintoshes) it should come as no surprise that there are increasing numbers of students turning up to university with Macintosh laptops. Recent figures from the Apple-blogosphere suggest that around a quarter of new US students arrive with a machine running Mac OS X, and around half are planning on buying a machine from the company in Cupertino in the future. Some of these students will eventually make the move into postgraduate studies, and it makes sense that they'll want to use the computers that they've become comfortable using. The Apple website has it's own science section , with people using Macs to do everything from 3D medical imaging to submarine paleo-seismology. Read more [...]

Getting closer to fusion power

Fusion power is one step closer to becoming a reality now that a new phase of construction has begun at the site of ITER, the world’s largest experimental fusion reactor. Twenty five years after the first talks of an international fusion energy project, the new works at the site in the south of France mark the beginning of preparations for the tokamak, the core part of the reactor. Sabina Griffith at ITER told the Euroscientist that after waiting for a year for this construction to start, it has had a great effect on the staff on site. "We can finally see ITER taking shape," she said Read more [...]

The airplane of the future

A simple white paper napkin depicts the future: at an informal dinner with aviation professionals the lead technical design engineer of Boeing sketches his personal vision of the airplane of the future, which is so futuristic that it even outranges the companies conceptual airplane. Any minute when a plane is not flying is a waste of money – the goal is to minimise the downtime. Leading airline companies already try to have their birds in the air around the clock. What still takes time is passenger boarding and de-boarding from an aircraft. Since there is no way to beam the humans aboard, the creative engineer found another solution to save time. In his futuristic vision, an airplane consists of a movable compartment, a 'container', where all passengers can be seated in a comfortable way before the plane has even landed. After embarking, while the passengers already enjoy their welcome drink, the whole compartment will be safely moved and secured to the fuselage, which consists mainly of one big airfoil with the engines. Read more [...]

Why scientists are waiting for Web 3.0

The Web in the 1990s, Web 1.0 you might call it, was all about content as everyone from shopkeepers to spectroscopists scrabbled to get online. The major scientific journals began their slow but steady adoption of the new access tools and community sites like ChemWeb and BioMedNet sprang up, endlessly mashing together capitalised prefixes and suffixes. Read more [...]