Evaluation: dogma of excellence replaced by scientific diversity

The current dogma says that the largest part of available research funds must be assigned only to the best scientists. This way, researchers are put in competition with each other . Only a small fraction will be able to obtain the research funds needed to fully develop their own scientific projects. There is a fundamental flaw in this strategy. If some competition is good for public research, it is clear that there is a threshold beyond which competition creates more adverse than positive effects.

The case for fostering school-industry collaboration

A recent report points to the future labour market as being characterised by a quantitative and qualitative mismatch of skills. This means that there will be fewer workers than jobs in the future. And the skills of the workers will not match the required skills for these jobs. STEM has therefore become a key priority in western governments’ policy agenda. To remedy this situation, some advocate the benefits of partnerships between industry and schools on increasing the attractiveness of STEM education.

When magic stimulates science education

How can a bowl of water vanish from under a cloth, and what does this magic trick have to do with science education? Harnessing the emotional power of magic, myth and mystery is one of the latest trends in science education. Many barriers to learning through enquiry currently exist. Foremost among these are a crowded curriculum with little time to deviate from the directed path. And the challenge of training students to take more responsibility for their own learning. For teachers, enquiry means coping with the often unexpected directions of students thinking.

Turkish academics in a bind over conservative policies

Since May 2013, Turkey has seen a wave of protests from part of the population expressing its opposition to conservative government moves imposed on a society that is no longer aligned with its traditional culture. Scientists in international circles expressed concerns about their Turkish colleagues, as reports of police violence and oppression emerged. They wonder how best to support the Turkish scientific community

Tentative solutions to Balkans’ science anaemia

The chronically underfunded Balkan R&D landscape only offers one exception with Slovenia. In the second part of this two-part series of articles on Balkan science under pressure, the Euroscientist looks into the root cause preventing greater dynamic in research among this mosaic of very different States. We also find out about recent initiatives that could provide the blueprint for further developing R&D activity in the region.

Balkan R&D is largely anaemic, with an exception

Western Balkan countries still lag far behind EU countries when it comes to funding science and producing high-quality research and innovations. This is not changing despite these countries’ aspirations and expectations, as well as the publication of many strategic documents to align their policies with the Europe 2020 strategy. In the first of a two-parts series on Balkan’s science under pressure, the Euroscientist explores the Balkan R&D scen

The German Science Debate: innovation with democratic participation

Science and technology are always intertwined with the economic and political system. Therefore it needs to be submitted to fundamental democratic procedures. For the upcoming federal elections in September 2013, the German Association of Science Writers TELI has launched a Science Debate . On its internet platform , every citizen is able to share a topic of concern. These will subsequently be discussed with experts.

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?

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Two myths shattered: the gender differences in leadership and the glass ceiling for women

According to a new doctoral thesis by Anne Grethe Solberg, there is no difference in the leadership styles of men and women. In groups comprised of both genders, an androgynous leadership style was found to be the best for creating a climate for innovation. Her study shows that women’s and men’s leadership styles are only marginally different.