A ‘single market for research’ is closer, but not yet a reality

It is widely accepted that Europe needs more investment in research and innovation. Investment that will advance knowledge, make people’s lives better, and safeguard our economic competitiveness. What is less well understood is that spending alone is not enough. The money needs to be spent efficiently and with the greatest possible impact. That’s why making the European Research Area (ERA) a reality is a key structural reform for Europe. The ERA Progress Report 2013, the first of its kind, shows that in many countries policies are in place to support a single market for research jobs. However, it also shows that we still have a long way to go.

Do science girls have an image problem?

Is the image of women scientists to blame for the lack of popularity of science studies? And how much could changing the image of female scientists do to solve the two problems that persist? Namely, boosting girls’ involvement in science from an early age. And removing the barriers to top positions for female scientists when they get there. Find out more in this EuroScientist article.

Human rights: a responsibility of scientific organisations too

A 30 years old Iranian physicist, called Omid Kokabee, languishes in jail in Teheran since January 2010. He has been condemned to 10 years for spying for the US government. His case has received the support of major scientific societies. But does it make sense that scientific organisations care about human rights issues, beyond their main, scientific mission? Is it useful? Or even desirable?

Southern European scientists become activists as recession bites

A line of people in white coat queuing in front of Valencia’s train station is quite an unusual sight. Yet, this scene was not part of a movie rehearsal. Rather, it was reported in prime time news on Spanish television, on 19th December 2013. This action was part of a scientists’ protest taking place in 20 cities in Spain.This reflect how scientists are increasingly deploying activists’ techniques to fight back the effects of the recession on research.

Portugal: Filling up a glass that is already half-full

Early this year, the news hit the Portuguese scientific community as a cold blow: the national agency for science and technology FCT was unable to fund all of the research projects rated as excellent. Needless to say, this unprecedented event immediately caused uproar among researchers across all disciplines. But as often happens, where some scream outrage, others see a ray of sunshine.

Spain: Uninformed wishful thinking as R&D policy shunts public research support

“Reason for your visit?” – the immigration officer asks sharply. “I’m looking for a job. I’m coming for some interviews”. “But you used to live here…” he points out, looking carefully at an expired visa. “For more than a decade” I answer. He looks at the front page of my worn-out passport. “Spain…things are not good over there, are they?” I nod. “Good luck,” he says, letting us go through.

Portugal: science friendly despite relative research immaturity

In Portugal, science friendly policies continue in current times of severe financial restrictions. Indeed, public budgets were preferentially spared and re-directed to the essentials. And a more efficient spending has brought more money to the system than in previous years. The decision of Pedro Passos Coelho, the Portuguese Prime Minister, to create and chair a new advisory body: the National Council for Science and Technology, in 2012 brought another positive initiative to support science in Portugal.

Greece: Innovation born from austerity

After 2008, the global crisis had hit the Greek economy for good and affected academia and its funding. My attempts to fund my R&D work through EU and National projects, or via outside collaborations, were unsuccessful. Despite these setbacks, Greek artificial intelligence scientist Nikolas Nanas decided to turn his PhD work on adaptive information filtering into a real world application that became the NOOWIT magazine platform.