Tag Archives: European Commission

Preserving data privacy while enabling research

Personal data is a vital resource for research, including studies in medicine, public health and social science. Over decades, researchers have developed approaches to use this data safely and securely to improve our understanding of society, health and disease. Reform of European data privacy laws is now threatening the way that data is used in research. In this article, Beth Thompson, policy adviser at the UK-based Wellcome Trust, explains why we need your help now, to ensure a positive outcome for research. Read more [...]

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. Read more [...]

Is Europe to enjoy science advice or camel design?

A camel is a horse designed by a committee, a proverb says. Policy experts doubt whether a new high level group of eminent scientists will work as planned. It is part of a new scientific advice mechanism, announced on 13 May by the European Commission. In parallel, a completely new feature of the new science advice mechanism is its structured relationship with national science academies and learned societies. The real test will come when controversial issues such as GMOs, shale gas and stem-cells come back to public debates in the future. Read more [...]

The chief is dead: what next for science policy advice in Europe?

Was the recently scraped role of European chief scientific adviser (CSA) position, held by Anne Glover, doomed to fail from the outset? Clearly it was a role that was under resourced and not clearly defined, at no fault of Glover’s, who was clearly full of the right stuff coming from the post of chief scientist in Scotland. And what role did the lobbying by a coalition of NGOs—including Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth—who called for the post to be scrapped? Without an easily identifiable and contactable figurehead, the exact mechanisms by which science policy-makers use evidence – or not – remain as mysterious and opaque as ever. The debate goes further than the question of whether Europe needs a single science advisor or a series of science advisors for every single discipline. It raises the question as to how in concrete terms the evidence-base can weave its way more systematically through the policy-making process. Read more [...]

PhDs seeking more than just student status

The position of doctoral candidates in Europe has rarely been more difficult than it is today; this is especially true for scientists working in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). he past five years have seen many huge changes that have affected the context in which doctoral training is taking place. The first is the inclusion of doctoral training in the Bologna process as a third education cycle. The second is the announcement that the European Commission is aiming to train at least one million more researchers by 2020. The last, but perhaps, the most difficult aspect, is the financial crisis of the past few years; the worst to strike Europe in past 50 years. Read more [...]

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Tackling grand challenges with socially acceptable solutions

Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) encompasses a wide range of efforts. Their common objective is to tackle the grand societal challenges that Europe faces. To achieve this objective, the RRI strategy is to convey the processes of research and innovation towards socially desirable and acceptable solutions to these grand challenges. Read more [...]

Science funding angst: is rhetoric masking what is really at stake?

Some worry basic science will get left in the dust once changes in the new European Commission are set in stone. But before we fret in the wrong direction, should we stop to think about what terms like 'basic,' 'applied,' 'innovation' and 'society' translate to in reality? With all arrows pointing to the need for economic growth, many have begun to wonder how changes in the new European Commission will affect the balance between basic and applied research. But scholars in Science and Technology Studies (STS)— a field that investigates the relationships between scientific knowledge, technological systems and society— say that this linguistic dichotomy of 'basic' versus 'applied' research masks the real issues at stake. Read more [...]

€100 billion for innovation in EU’s regional funds to end research divide and brain drain

Billions in EU regional development funds – used to help poor regions catch up – will now be targeted to support innovation as part of a major reform of EU regional policy, according to an article in Science|Business. The aim is to bridge the Read more [...]