Special issue on Research Activism – Print Edition

As waves of researchers’ protest are about to invade the streets of Paris, Rome and Madrid, among others, there is a clear sense of déjà vu in these white coats with large signs walking the avenues of European capitals. What is new, however, is that these protests on longer follow a logic of being centred around national territories. They have become supra-national and aim to target the central power in Brussels as much as national governments.

Science funding angst: is rhetoric masking what is really at stake?

Some worry basic science will get left in the dust once changes in the new European Commission are set in stone. But before we fret in the wrong direction, should we stop to think about what terms like ‘basic,’ ‘applied,’ ‘innovation’ and ‘society’ translate to in reality? With all arrows pointing to the need for economic growth, many have begun to wonder how changes in the new European Commission will affect the balance between basic and applied research. But scholars in Science and Technology Studies (STS)— a field that investigates the relationships between scientific knowledge, technological systems and society— say that this linguistic dichotomy of ‘basic’ versus ‘applied’ research masks the real issues at stake.

ESOF 2014 Copenhagen Special Issue – Print Edition

What can a conference like this one bring to you? Those among our readers who have a sweet tooth will agree that such events can be compared to the cherry on the cake of academic life. Once every two years, it is time to enjoy a stimulating flow of discussions. Participants are guaranteed to have fruitful encounters with other people from various horizons. They may not be like-minded but, at least, share similar concerns about European science, policy or science communication. This is what ESOF 2014 is about!

Levelling the research field for small countries: a case study of Wales

Europe is a small continent populated by a range of small countries. Several of the smaller, high-income countries such as the Netherlands, Sweden, Belgium and Switzerland are rightly recognised for producing and exploiting their high quality research. Other smaller countries, however, have tended to receive less attention despite being potentially as effective or even more so compared to their larger counterparts. They are nevertheless keen to demonstrate their standing relative to their size or resources. Such assessments are important, given that the quality of the research base is increasingly employed as an indication of a sector or country’s reputation and ability to compete successfully in the global economy.

Academics hired, but not appointed: a new Greek tragedy in the making

In 2008, after 5 years abroad as a postdoc, I decided to return home. I left the offer of a new three-year contract behind in order to return to an insecure Greek research environment. I felt I should offer something back to the Greek university system which I felt I owed a lot to. Now, two years after being elected as an assistant professor and still waiting to be appointed, I have started considering other options such as emigration, out of respect to myself both personally as well as professionally.