Environmental impact of transportation on Europe: view of science and industry

Climate change is a fact and all of us should be concerned about it. One of the main causes of climate change is the human-caused environmental impact, especially in developed countries like Europe or North America. A number of European companies and institutions are determined to give an example to the whole world and stop the increase of emissions produced on the continent. Transport accounts for a fourth of global CO2 emissions and it is one of the few industrial sectors where pollutant emissions are still growing. Our generation has a chance to stop this trend and build a better future for our children.

The Blame Game

Science fiction authors are a motley crew, which includes a small number of professional scientists but also many others with no particular background in science or technology. EuroScientist published a short story called The Blame Game by Ian McKinley, who is a scientist involved in the rather esoteric area of radioactive waste management. In this story, a number of experts caught up in the chaos resulting from sudden environmental collapse argue about the root cause. The bottom line is that that there are so many interacting factors that it’s impossible to disentangle them. McKinley chose fiction as a means to talk to non-specialists about radioactive waste. He sets out to debunks the myths around the topic which stem from films, novels and, increasingly, comics, manga and anime, to get readers to ask themselves key questions about the topic.

Scientific advice for politics: The European way

Politics is not an exact science: moral choices, traditions, communication and many other aspects play important roles. But working on politics without caring for scientific evidence is almost certainly a recipe for failure. In the last few years, the European Union has struggled to find its own, formal model for conveying scholarly knowledge in its policies. After a tangled attempt to concentrate this task into a single Chief Scientific Advisor (CSA), the Commission opted in 2015 for a much more complex Scientific Advisory Mechanism (SAM). The High Level Group at the top of the mechanism was appointed in November 2015. The seven prominent scholars that form the committee discuss their first year and a half of work in a debate at the European Conference for Science Journalists, taking place in June in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Open governance enhances the value of land use policy software

moja global is a collaboration among governments to develop software informing land use policies. It is also designed to estimate greenhouse gas emissions from the land sector. Thanks to its open governance structure, funders, developers and users, have their say in the development of the software. The private sector is rapidly adjusting to this opportunity to gain value from the process. According to an opinion piece by Guy Janssen, interim director at moja global, this should, in turn, inspire governments to explore how open governance can create a vituous circle leading to a similar multiplier effect for the common good.

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.

Nerves of steel: carte blanche to Europe’s atmospheric polluters

In this investigative piece of pan-European journalism, EuroScientist focuses on a case study showing how an evidence-based approach could inform policies that are better suited to protect EU citizens. In this article, we focus on the case of the steel industry. It appears to have managed to render ineffective in protecting the health of EU citizens a 2010 Directive regulating industrial emissions, due to come into force in 2016. The piece reveals how decision-making mechanisms have ultimately been dampened down by many lobbying and political compromises. As a result, industry has been left to decide which tests are to be implemented to control harmful emissions, without the obligation of implementing what available evidence considers the most effective technology.

Time to recognise the influence of gender on research outcomes

The League of European Research Universities, LERU , launches today, 16th September 2015, a new report showing how Gendered Research and Innovation (GRI) can foster new knowledge and solutions to global challenges. And such challenges are not minor. Indeed, research failing to account for sex and gender specificities can put lives at risk and be costly. Gendered Innovations in Science, Health & Medicine, Engineering, and Environment is a US/EU initiative whose goal is to explore how gender analysis can open doors to discovery. Meanwhile, international, collaborations supported by the European Commission and the US National Science Foundation developed state-of-the art methods for sex and gender research.

Streamlining immigration procedures for scientists

Just about every research institution wants to be international and attract researchers from overseas. If foreign researchers are coming to a country it shows that its research system is healthy, and is doing work worth participating in. International mobility, whether to attend conferences or for research visits, is considered important to smooth the exchange of information, and is essential to doing good science. But while there is much universities and research institutions can do to encourage international mobility, some things outside their control can work to prevent it. Immigration policy is one example.

Mainstream EP election debate: Innovation equates with economic recovery

When it comes to innovation, in particular, the dominant discourse during the debates taking place in the running up to the vote to elect members of the European Parliament was about bringing Europe on the path to economic recovery and to ensure economic sustainability. Among all the parties contributing to the mainstream media debate, very few come up with truly specific measures to support economic recovery based on research and innovation. The lack of details also plagues the pledge of investment in research and innovation made by parties on both sides of the political spectrum. Besides, higher education is mainly present in the mainstream media debate on the topic of the expansion of the Erasmus+ programme.

European Elections coverage – Print edition

In the past few weeks, European elections debates to elect members of the European Parliament (EP) have been in full swing. The vote will take place between the 22nd to 25th May 2014, depending on the country. In most territories, the mainstream press appears to have little concern over higher education, research and innovation. It is also worth distinguishing the debate taking place in academic and research circles. There, the debate is only touching a few of the issues pertaining to research and education that would need to be addressed.The EuroScientist following its vocation as a participatory magazine, has called upon its network of loyal readers, supporters and reporters to gather an overview of issues that are relevant to scientists debated during the various campaigns across Europe. This article will give our readers food for thought by providing an overview and some anecdotal evidence of the debates that have taken place both in the mainstream press and in academic and research circles.