Claudius Gros: Increased Government’s reactivity can mitigate social instability

In this exclusive interview, EuroScientist Editor, Sabine Louët, speaks with German physicist Claudius Gros about the insights that complex systems bring into our society, which help in understanding their deficiencies in terms of how decisions are made. Gros’ analysis is based on the observation that citizens’ opinions—supported by mobile phones and internet technology—are now forming faster than ever before, relative to the time scale of policy decision making. This suggests the need to introduce necessary changes in the modes of governance, to enhance the reactivity of policy decisions, as means to keep our democratic societies steady. These findings have potential implications for an à la carte EU membership.

Stockout: vaccines that don’t arrive

The lack of vaccines is one of the biggest problems for immunisation in South Africa. The shortage of antigens is influenced by external problems, such as issues with pharmaceutical production and internal problems, such as poor management of stock, poor training, or staff shortages. It is a complex subject, in which the causes converge but there are many parties at fault. This is the fourth piece of a series from a data journalism initiative called ‘Medicamentalia – Vaccines ‘ brought to you by the Civio Foundation.

Nightmare on Academia Street: an English horror story coming to a campus near you

Any politician that dangles the carrot of a graduate premium on future earnings to justify increases in student fees, interest rates on loans, or adjusting student loan repayment thresholds, should be challenged for gross mis-selling. These are the findings of a recent report by the UK Intergenerational Foundation. In this opinion piece, the author of the report warns of the possible financial implications of postgraduate student loans for the future financial health of students and their career prospects. This phenomenon, particularly acute in the UK, could soon reach other countries in Europe, should they be tempted to follow suit.

Data Journalism Awards celebrate evidence-based questioning in our society

Data journalism has the potential to make reporting on scientific activities and innovation more accountable to society. In this article and podcast, EuroScientist covers the 2016 Data Journalism Award, recently held in Vienna, Austria. Find out more about the winning entries from Spain, Peru and the USA. In these projects, data analysis has helped uncover the varying cost of medicines across borders, the environmental and social impact of commodity mining and the extend of privacy loss due to US surveillance planes, respectively. These examples show how data journalism has the potential to bring scientific analysis to the practice of journalism, ultimately leading to more accountability and transparency in society.

After Brexit: a day in the life of a British academic

Imagine what would happen if the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union in the referendum of the 23rd June 2016? To give our readers a better idea of the consequences of the Brexit for the country’s scientists, EuroScientist has commissioned UK technology journalist Paul Hill to write a fictional day in the life of a British academic post-Brexit. This gives food for thought on the factors influencing the position of Europe’s centre of gravity in research.

Research and education budgets in shambles in Denmark and Finland

Recent changes in the political landscape in Northern Europe have brought some new policies that are less supportive of science and education than previously. This is a major shift for Denmark and Finland, which have until now invested 3% of GPD in research and development. Time will tell whether such research and education cuts are a mere bleep on these countries record, or whether they will bear long-term consequences.

Climate diplomacy in full steam ahead of COP21

Climate change is on the mind of many scientists, beyond experts in the field. It is where science diplomacy has been at work in the month preceding the climate change conference, COP21, opening in Paris on 30th November 2015. But does science diplomacy make a difference? EuroScientist talks to various experts in the field and analyses the likely outcome of such talks.

The virtual road to recovering trust in academic publishing

The ongoing opposition between the scientific community and science publishers is evolving. The latter have tarnished their reputation on the count of greed and inability to give back to the community. Now, however, grassroots innovators and legacy publishers have started to develop tech-centric solutions to better serve the community. These could soon make a noticeable difference to the scientific process itself and bring tangible benefits to scientists. Time will tell whether the tide will turn and trust between the protagonists will return.

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.