Sweet tooth: countering one of our most lethal addictions

Sugar is one of the next targets of health policy makers in Europe. It features as one of the ingredients in the latest food reformulation roadmap, just published by the European Commission. This ingredient has crept up in European diets unprecedented levels. As a result it could have serious consequences for the heath of European citizens, reflected in the increase of diseases such as type 2 diabetes. Today, sugar has become very political. And the debate rages on between those concerned for public health and those in favour of preserving consumer choice, avoiding nanny states interventions and protecting the food industry’s market share.

The Linux approach to human and ecosystem well-being

Our democracies have bugs, lack user-friendly features and under-perform. Above all, they are in need of major upgrades. Political and economic systems are failing us because they are structured vertically through top-down hierarchies. Instead we need to adopt a new economic system, driven by principles related to “act local, think global” philosophy. In this stimulating opinion piece, Lorenzo Fioramonti, director of the Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation, in South Africa, shares his vision about creating a highly integrated horizontal economic system.

Bitterness cannot be avoided, but should not turn into rejection

Amaya Moro Martín reacts to the FCT head resignation a couple of weeks ago and the recent death of former Portuguese science minister José Mariano Gago. She places this crisis in European research into the wider Southern European research context. She shares her unease about the collective apathy surrounding such austerity measures against research. She believes, if we don’t plant the seeds of research and innovation now, we are unlikely to reap the benefits at all.

One World, One Lab: science meets culture in Vietnam

I want to learn what makes scientists tick. And what is important in their lives. I found some answers at the Agricultural Genetics Institute, in Hanoi, Vietnam. This is the first of a documentary series, called One World One Lab, featuring scientists from eight different countries around the world. This video is a window into the research world, which is not about complex research data. Instead, it is about culture, street life, religion and all the strange and tasty foods.

Open access: who should pay?

It’s been great watching the open access (OA) debate slowly but completely transform over the last two years. Back when I started writing about OA, the big question was still whether or not the world should go that route at all. At times it has felt like a long, hard road from there to here, but we now live in a world where the US and UK governments have both officially declared their support for universal OA, and Europe’s Horizon 2020 research program will mandate OA, while the European Research Council strongly supports OA. The “whether to do OA” debate is over.