Policy

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

Designing antivirus for nuclear power plants to fend off cyber-terrorism

In 2008, it was the first time that a software virus replicating the automatic process control system of a nuclear facility was recorded. In this opinion piece, Anastasia Tolstaya, an engineer at the Institute for Cyber-Intelligence Systems, Moscow Engineering Physics Institute, in the Russian Federation, explores what can be done to prevent exposing the safety of nuclear plants, in the case of a cyber attack. Finding solutions, she argues, is not trivial. Read more [...]

Nightmare on Academia Street: an English horror story coming to a campus near you

Any politician that dangles the carrot of a graduate premium on future earnings to justify increases in student fees, interest rates on loans, or adjusting student loan repayment thresholds, should be challenged for gross mis-selling. These are the findings of a recent report by the UK Intergenerational Foundation. In this opinion piece, the author of the report warns of the possible financial implications of postgraduate student loans for the future financial health of students and their career prospects. This phenomenon, particularly acute in the UK, could soon reach other countries in Europe, should they be tempted to follow suit. Read more [...]

UK scientists’ loss of influence to be felt at home and across Europe

Brexit keeps resounding in the many aspects that its implications may have for European research. In this opinion piece, Thomas König, Austrian social scientist, who was previously scientific advisor to former ERC president Helga Nowotny, examines the consequences of the predicted fall of influence of British scientists on the future of European science. He believes the consequences of Brexit are likely to be felt, not only in UK science itself, but also at the level of pan-European research endeavours, such as ERC-backed activities. This shows that scientists are not sheltered from the vagaries of politics when policies emanating from the popular vote forces them to defend their interests. Read more [...]

Top Trumped: what does the US election mean for science and Europe?

Donald Trump’s imminent arrival at the White House has blown a cold wind through the scientific community. In this article, Arran Frood, investigates the likely impact the Trump presidency could have on research in Europe. He also explores how a likely change in science policy in the US may result in a shift of the centre of gravity of research, particularly in certain disciplines. Finally, there could be some consequences for the mobility and career of scientists themselves. Read more [...]

Open governance enhances the value of land use policy software

moja global is a collaboration among governments to develop software informing land use policies. It is also designed to estimate greenhouse gas emissions from the land sector. Thanks to its open governance structure, funders, developers and users, have their say in the development of the software. The private sector is rapidly adjusting to this opportunity to gain value from the process. According to an opinion piece by Guy Janssen, interim director at moja global, this should, in turn, inspire governments to explore how open governance can create a vituous circle leading to a similar multiplier effect for the common good. Read more [...]