Policy

Top level research policy issues that affect the way science is being organised and funded

The new Yellow-Green Italian Government

There is a refreshing new tone both in the Italian Parliament and Government. A rejuvenated politics, with a shot of populism generated a government of Parties bitterly opposing until the very last minute. The new, Yellow-Green Government, known as “Government of change”, is leaded by a coalition between the two Parties “League” and “Five Stars Movement”; they signed a “Government contract” of about 50 pages and 30 points. We do some considerations on the Research strategy proposed in the contract with specific attention to human resources in research. Talents attraction represents a point of concern. A short comment on Trieste ESOF is also included. Read more [...]

Heightened multi-lateral collaboration fever as Brexit mitigating strategy

Too much is at stakes in European science for people managing research—particularly in the UK—to leave it up to politicians to determine their future. Brexit or no Brexit, there are signs that further integration of the UK scientific activities into the European research fabric is underway. Indeed, universities across the UK are establishing new partnership deals in education and research with European and Commonwealth universities. Whether this move will allow UK research institutions to remain attractive to European collaborators remains to be seen. Read more [...]

Homo scientificus europaeus: Giving European scientists back their voice

Political populism, with its accompanying "fake news" and pseudoscience, leaves scientists distraught. But maybe scientific research itself needs a reboot.
Research can no longer win public funding on the mere promise of a possible contribution to society. Read more [...]

Spain, the European exception: ‘economic miracle’ & scientific suicide

Six years ago, the Spanish parliament approved Law 14/2011, known as the Science Law, aiming to modernise and harmonise different aspects of scientific activity in Spain, by a virtually unanimous vote. Today, Spanish scientists are still waiting for the law to be fully implemented; more than three and half years after the deadline for implementation has passed.

In this article, the 5s6s Platform, a grassroots movement of Spanish scientists, including about 400 tenured scientists working in OPIs, supported by another >1300 scientists working in different Spanish Universities and other research institutions, denounces this untenable situation and requests that the Government finally implements the law. Read more [...]

Scientific advice for politics: The European way

Politics is not an exact science: moral choices, traditions, communication and many other aspects play important roles. But working on politics without caring for scientific evidence is almost certainly a recipe for failure. In the last few years, the European Union has struggled to find its own, formal model for conveying scholarly knowledge in its policies. After a tangled attempt to concentrate this task into a single Chief Scientific Advisor (CSA), the Commission opted in 2015 for a much more complex Scientific Advisory Mechanism (SAM). The High Level Group at the top of the mechanism was appointed in November 2015. The seven prominent scholars that form the committee discuss their first year and a half of work in a debate at the European Conference for Science Journalists, taking place in June in Copenhagen, Denmark. Read more [...]