Tag Archives: Politics

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 [...]

All good things come to an end

The Cambridge Analytics scandal has shown that the work of scientists is not neutral. The work of psychologists who designed the questionnaire aimed at profiling Facebook users might have been stellar work in its own right, within the standards of the field. But the way the answers to the questionnaire were later used for the purpose of influencing the political choices of the Facebook users who took the questionnaire, is--to say the least--questionable. This scandal is a case in point to show that there is no better time to continue the dialogue of the role of scientists in society. After 5 years working as Editor of EuroScientist, I would like to announce that I am now moving on to pastures new. 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 tangledattempt 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 [...]

Can academics entering politics bring more evidence into policy

In Greece and Spain, a new generation of left-wing academics has now entered polictics. They claim to reinvent the way policy is shaped by relying both on evidence and on meeting the need of citizens. However, the way in which the results of academic research are actually taken into account in policy making is not straightforward. So are they likely to rely more than their predecessors on evicence-based policy? Read more [...]

Cedric Villani: Scientists are trained to solve difficult problems

They call him the “Lady Gaga of the mathematicians”. And he does not really mind. French mathematician Cedric Villani has become a bit of a pop icon after obtaining the Fields Medal in 2010. This highly prestigious award is the equivalent of the Nobel Prize for Mathematics; except that it is awarded every four years. And it is only destined to people younger than 40. Incidentally, until now, no woman has won it. Read more [...]

Debating digital democracy

Many have praised the emancipating role played by Facebook and Twitter in the democratic uprisings of the ‘Arab Spring’. Meanwhile, Anders Breivik, fuelled by ideologies and chemicals he found online, emailed his manifesto across the globe before committing his Norwegian massacre. So what role does the internet have to play in modern politics? Read more [...]