Free to Think: Attacks on Scholars, Scientists threaten Societies Everywhere

Scholars at Risk’s latest Free to Think 2019 report describes the contours of a global phenomenon of attacks on higher education that impacts scientists everywhere. These attacks hamper scientific progress across the globe and challenge everyone’s right to think and share ideas. Given the gravity of this phenomenon, the report sets out tangible actions stakeholders including students, universities, faculty, and scientific associations can take to respond.

Portugal: the knowledge capital of an entire generation in the balance

Portugal has experienced outstanding scientific progress among EU and OECD countries. Despite the last two decades of amazing scientific progress, our extremely young National Research System still lacks a strong scientific structure. As such, it is quite fragile and highly sensitive to external and internal changes. While this was already the case before the recession, the current situation imposes high levels of stress on researchers and institutions thereby amplifying existing weaknesses.

Conflicting values of biomedical innovation?

The term ‘value’ is at the centre of an increasingly explicit debate in the fields of health and healthcare policy. ‘Value’ is understood in many different ways and diverging interests are being mobilised. How are values in biomedical innovation being expressed, represented, materialised and aligned or contested in different areas of biomedicine? How do values embedded in regulation, public health, economic policies, healthcare provision, technology assessment, producers’ strategies, and patient organisation movements shape biomedical innovations? At an ESOF discussion in Toulouse multidisciplinary perspectives on value between panel members and public participants will be explored and possible pathways to common solutions identified that promote socially acceptable biomedical innovation in the European context.

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.

Stick out your tongue!

What scientists know about the microcosmos of your tongue’s flora could help keep people healthy. In this opinion piece, genomics expert Toni Gabaldón, explains how crowdsourcing samples of microbes from people’s tongue will contribute to advancing our understanding of the flora in our mouth. Read on about this exciting citizen science project.

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RRI: New buzzword or vision of modern science policy?

Science has the power to transform societies. It has the power to help tackle the challenges Europe is facing. Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) aims to reconcile the need for research to operate autonomously against a backdrop of society transformed by scientific discoveries and technical inventions. Thanks to RRI, we are getting one step closer to finding practical solutions to facilitate the dialogue between scientists and all those concerned, including citizens.