Callinicus: the importance of scientists, knowledge, and innovation

The role that scientific advances and technological innovations play on the fate of civilisations is illustrated by numerous examples, including food-related developments (improved species in agriculture and livestock), health (hygiene and the discovery of antibiotics), and lifestyle (popularisation of the internet). However, none of these examples triggers immediate effects on the nation’s evolution as those innovations related to military technology.

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Aude Lapprand: a manifesto for involving citizens in science

In this interview with EuroScientist, Aude Lapprand presents the work of the Sciences Citoyennes Foundation, based in Paris, France. The organisation, which questions who should be responsible for choices made in science and how best to make science more democratic, to be discussed at the 7th Living Knowledge conference in June, in Dublin, Ireland. One of the solutions proposed relates to citizen convention where lay people are briefed to debate controversial topics in science.

Crowdsourcing France’s New Digital Law

E-democracy is entering a new phase in France through the first public online consultation of a new law. Fittingly, the law under review is the digital law promoting open data, safeguarding of net neutrality and opening internet access to all citizens. This attempt at bottom-up participation of citizens in law making is commendable. However, experts believe it’s not an easy task.

Mark Ferguson: defending the cause of science

Chief Scientific Advisers (CSAs) play a unique role in countries that have them, like Ireland, the UK, the Czech Republic and New Zealand. Here, EuroScientist explores the nature of the science adviser’s role, in an exclusive interview with Mark Ferguson, CSA to the Irish Government. A timely read, as the European Commission just announced the name of the members of its high-level group of scientific advisers, as part of the new EU scientific advice mechanism.

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.

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.

Mistrust towards policy-makers, not misplaced

This opinion piece by Ann Cahill, president of the International Press Association Brussels, critiques the public’s ability to hold decision-makers to account via media. The assessment is that the system has broken down, the old world has disappeared giving rise to a deep and unbridgeable divide between the professionals and the citizens, with vested interests manipulating a political class fed on buzz-words, the latest fad, or their own greed for power or wealth.

Overcoming unconscious gender bias in science evaluation

Never thought of being gender biased when performing evaluations? Scientists often consider themselves to be rational and objective. But a growing batch of literature suggests the opposite. Particularly, when it comes to evaluating research. Male and female scientists alike tend to implicitly undervalue women’s scientific accomplishments. A 2012 EU-report, identifies unconscious bias in assessing excellence as one of the major problems women face in science.

Ebola preparedness starts with dispelling fear

In an attempt to dispel any fear of the unknown surrounding ebola, EuroScientist analyse the many facets of the current outbreak based on the opinion of a broad range of experts. Above all, we look at whether European countries are sufficiently prepared to make adequate policy decisions that will help end this outbreak and prevent future ones.