Print edition of EuroScientist special issue Looking East, focusing on Eastern European research and innovation.
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.
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.
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!
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.
We are getting used to politicians using euphemisms to be politically correct and win votes. However, this is not as simple as one would imagine, since the use of euphemisms is not innocuous. On the contrary, it is completely intentional and has the purpose of hiding the reality from those that are affected by their decisions.
So much about scientific knowledge and education being the building blocks of long-term economic growth! That is just empty rhetoric, in Portugal as in EU. The upcoming Horizon 2020 is going to finance mostly applied science, involving a large number of SMES, which makes one think whether EU is not actually financing economy through science budgets.
Croatia’s investment in science from 2005-2011 as a percentage of GDP has dropped, singling it out in the EU, according to the ‘Science, technology and innovation in Europe – 2013 edition’ report published by the European Commission this month (12 April). Croatia’s Read more […]
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.
EuroScience recently entered into collaboration with the X_Science Festival. X_Science is organised by the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Genova and by the Genova Film Festival. The festival has both science and art at its centre and aimed to enhance the value of scientific culture through cinema and science fiction.