Neurodegenerationresearch.euUpdated daily at www.ResearchResearch.com
20 November 2014
Geoghegan-Quinn leaves mixed legacy – p13 ERA Less is more, or is it? – p5
Archiving Cologne collection's comeback
after construction collapse – p6 Commission bids
Glover a silent farewell
Researchers call for clarification as CSA post is left to expire
A tense relAtionship between the European by Laura Greenhalgh
Commission and the chief scientific adviser to its pres-ident ended in unceremonious fashion this month, as work," said Mark Downs, the chief executive of the Anne Glover was quietly relieved of her duties. UK's Society of Biology. Glover's mandate as CSA expired with the tenure Others linked Glover's departure to her support for of president José Manuel Barroso on 31 October, but genetic modification, following a campaign by envi- her contract with the Commission lasts until February. ronmental groups to have the CSA post abolished. But However, on 11 November, she received an email according to Wilsdon: "Characterising this as some informing her that the function of the CSA had ceased sort of anti-science agenda from the Juncker presi- to exist, meaning she was free to leave if she wished.
dency is incorrect—there's no evidence of that." Glover's departure was expected, but many observers On 14 November, the European Academies Science were hoping that the incoming president Jean-Claude Advisory Council asked Juncker to clarify his inten- Juncker would appoint an immediate successor. tions. This was echoed in a statement from Paul Nurse, Instead, they say, the developments show that science the president of the UK's Royal Society, who said: "If advice is not high on Juncker's agenda. "It's a combi- the Commission has a plausible plan for ensuring that nation of indifference and being too busy—it's a low scientific evidence will be taken seriously, it needs priority," says James Wilsdon, of the Science Policy to start sharing it with people soon, otherwise it will Research Unit at the UK's University of Sussex. encourage those who portray the Commission as out This conclusion is seemingly supported by the of touch and not willing to listen to informed advice." explanation from a Commission spokeswoman, who Some believe that Glover's position should be rein- says that the CSA post has "simply expired" and the stated, but others argue that the Anglo-American president has "not yet decided" how to deal with inde- model of an individual CSA is not tenable in Europe, pendent scientific advice. where committees are usually employed to offer col- According to a Brussels source, Glover sent numer- lective advice at both the national and EU levels. ous messages to Juncker after he was elected to make "Europe is not a single monarchy, and if you don't the case for the CSA post to be continued, including have a network you cannot accomplish much," says requests for meetings. However, she received no reply. Jerzy Langer, a member of the Polish Academy of This illustrates the frosty nature of the relationship Sciences. "Glover is a superb individual, but she didn't between the CSA and the Commission—a matter on have much influence." which Glover has spoken frankly in recent months. Both options remain open to Juncker. "The way "The most worrying aspect of this was the cur- he formulated the email to Anne leaves him plenty of sory way in which it was dealt with," says Wilsdon. "I room to say: ‘I never said there wouldn't be a CSA'," thought they might take longer to reach a decision, says the Brussels source. "He could claim there's been and spend time talking to people. But Juncker refused a huge misunderstanding." to engage in a serious way with Glover, which strikes It is also possible that Juncker me as utterly self-defeating." will do nothing, believing he has the Every new opportunity
As the news broke, research leaders expressed their right structures in place already. "He for research funding
annoyance that the CSA post was not being renewed. could just ignore it, as he has ignored from every sponsor in
"This sends a signal that science and its role in policy- all previous debates on the CSA, and the EU, US & beyond
making has been downgraded at a time when Europe delay a decision until nobody's asking needs to do all it can to support innovation through for it any more," says the source. "It's Direct from Brussels
an effective, realist and evidence-led policy frame- a very popular political tactic." Issue No. 398
Research Europe, 20 November 2014 Edited by Colin Macilwain Tel: +44 20 7216 6500 Fax: +44 20 7216 6501 Unit 111, 134-146 Curtain Road, London EC2A 3AR "It would be good to find something
Fabiola Gianotti, the next director-general of the particle physics laboratory Cern, sets her Anguish over losing the chief scientific adviser is first goal. Horizon Magazine, 7/11/14.
largely confined to one side of the English Channel "Proposals are only useful if they are
adopted, accepted and implemented
properly on the ground."
The European Commission's vice-president The departure of Anne Glover as chief scientific adviser to the president Frans Timmermans explains why the of the European Commission has been widely and unsympathetically por- Commission will collaborate with the trayed, at least in the UK media, as a symptom of anti-science sentiment European Parliament from the outset on future work programmes. Pan-European on the part of the Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker.
Scientific leaders who worked with Glover are understandably disap- pointed that the role hasn't been retained. Some say that Juncker's team "Those who fit in the category of ‘good sci-
entists' in the current peer-review-based
doesn't care about research, or that it takes issue with Glover's well-publi- evaluation criteria may not always be so."
cised views, criticised by environmentalists, on genetically modified crops. Guillermo Orts-Gil, who leads a Max Planck Neither assertion rings true. Research is more prominent in the EU's nanotechnology research group in Germany, says citizen engagement may soon equal budget plan—which Juncker was instrumental in framing as head of the citation rates in evaluations of job Eurogroup—than ever before. There is nothing in his public statements or performance. Euroscientist, 12/11/14.
his reputation at the European Parliament (or back home in Luxembourg) "No must mean no."
to suggest that he carries any anti-science agenda in the sense of reject- European Green party spokesman Bart Staes ing scientific evidence in policy-making on ideological grounds. says it's important for member states to have And the idea that Juncker, a mainstream, pro-business conservative, the right to opt out of trials of genetically modified crops. EurActiv, 12/11/14.
is dropping Glover at the behest of the Greens is almost laughable. It is a fantasy to think that a handful of popular but poorly financed pressure "We definitely need to improve the tech-
groups such as Greenpeace could hold such sway in Brussels.
nology in all different energy sectors."
Giovanni De Santi, director of the Joint It is true that Glover made trouble for herself by taking a strident pub- Research Centre's energy research institute, lic position on the issue of GM crops, which deeply divides EU member says the 2015 Strategic Energy Technology states. She struggled to acknowledge the case against the technology, Plan should not attempt to prioritise too much. Science Business, 13/11/14.
last year describing it unhelpfully to The Scotsman as "a form of mad-ness". Perhaps as a laboratory biologist, she was simply unaware of the "Maybe today we didn't just land once,
powerful ecological arguments against GM crops. If so, her misunder- but twice."
European Space Agency project manager standing may inadvertently demonstrate one of the reasons the CSA post Stephan Ulamec says a small bounce explains is not being renewed. the confusion about whether the Philae Different nations around the world have traditionally taken very differ- comet probe had landed. Science, 12/11/14.
ent approaches to receiving scientific and technical advice. The concept "It is never entirely clear what the
of a single CSA is essentially an Anglo-American one. The idea has never numbers really mean, especially in light
taken root in France, Germany or any other major European nation, and of endemic corruption and misconduct."
Richard Suttmeier, a researcher of Chinese has not been employed in China or Japan.
policy at the University of Oregon in the The idea of a single, politically appointed figurehead for science and United States, says reports that China may technology advice does not sit well with federalism or with the concept outspend the US on R&D by 2020 may be exaggerated. Nature, 12/11/14.
of a democracy in which everyone should be allowed a voice. In Germany, for example, the influential Wissenschaftsrat is painstakingly constructed to reflect various different perspectives from all parts of the country. Everyone in Brussels is all too familiar with the infuriating tendency of the British to assume that theirs is the best way of doing things and "The research market is very
that they are enduring any different approaches within the EU almost on sufferance. far away from being open."
Since Glover's appointment by José Manuel Barroso in 2011, the onus Peter Nijkamp, chairman of the has been on advocates of the CSA approach to show that it can be genu- Netherlands Organisation for Scientific inely representative and effective. Merely asserting that this is the case Research, says national research councils in Europe should collaborate more. does not make it so. The Commission needs to take an approach to scien-tific advice that is based on collegiality and diversity, and the loss of the Research Europe, 18 November 2004 CSA post does not stand in the way of it doing this.
Research Europe, 20 November 2014 Moedas's team shapes up
Carlos Moedas, the incoming research commissioner, is to keep several staff members in the
Directorate-General for Research and Innovation. Jack Metthey, Maive Rute, Octavio Quintana
Trias and Pablo Amor will remain as division heads, and Robert-Jan Smits will stay on as
director-general at least temporarily. António Vicente, previously the chief of staff for Moedas in
his former role as secretary of state to the Portuguese prime minister, will be chef de cabinet.
Concerns over unmet payments continue
MEPs have called on the Council of Ministers to prioritise discussions about unpaid 2014 bills
over 2015 budget negotiations. The Council met on 14 November to discuss the 2015 budget,
after its first proposal was rejected by the European Parliament. But the Parliament's budgets
committee has asked the Council to focus on the EU's unpaid bills, which reached €23.4 billion
in 2013 and are expected to hit €28bn by the end of 2014.
Quake convictions overturned
An Italian court of appeal has quashed the manslaughter convictions of six Italian
seismologists. In 2012, a judge found the scientists guilty of releasing "overly optimistic" public
statements in 2009 that may have led to people not preparing fully for an earthquake. The
earthquake hit the town of L'Aquila, killing 309 people. L'Aquila's court of appeal cleared the
six scientists on 10 November after more than 5,000 of their peers asked for an acquittal.
More funding needed to halt brain drain in eastern Europe
Eastern European researchers struggle to win enough funding to justify staying in the region, a
survey by the Swiss National Science Foundation has shown. One third of the eastern European
respondents said they could not find sufficient national funding to make collaboration in their
own countries worthwhile. Researchers also said that not enough grants were given to doctoral
students, forcing many to leave the region.
Commission taken to court over US trade deal
A group campaigning against a proposed trade deal between the EU and the United States has
filed a lawsuit against the European Commission for "stifling citizens". The Stop TTIP coalition,
comprising 290 civil society groups from 23 EU countries, submitted a European Citizens'
Initiative in July to ask for a hearing on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership at
the European Parliament, but the Commission said it would not register the initiative.
Parliament calls for reassessment of EU spending
The success of EU funding should be measured less in terms of error rates and more in terms of
project progress, according to the European Parliament. The European Court of Auditors' annual
report showed that the error rate for EU spending dropped slightly between 2012 and 2013, to
4.7 per cent. However, MEPs said this number did not reflect wider problems affecting EU projects.
Medicines agency responds to ombudsman
The European Medicines Agency has said it is slowly implementing its data publication policy to
improve the transparency of clinical trials, but has to erase confidential data. Emily O'Reilly, the
European ombudsman, wrote to the EMA in May to express her concerns about its proposal to
Research Europe, 20 November 2014 University rankings grow in influence but
leave institutions confused
Universities feel pressured to use rankings despite con- by Safya Khan-Ruf
fusion and criticism over their scope and methodology, the European University Association has said. through increased scientific publications, says Carmen A study by the lobby group says that the rising influ- Pérez-Esparells, a former vice-rector for innovation at ence of league tables has pushed universities to follow the Autonomous University of Madrid. "It's a cycle and rankings closely to maintain or improve their reputations. they're all related: reputation, research production and Of the 171 higher education institutions in 39 European rankings." She adds, however, that the data are useful as countries surveyed for the study, 60 per cent said they a transparency tool, particularly in Mediterranean coun- took rankings into account when developing plans. tries where finding accurate data can be difficult.
However, there is some confusion at universities Many European universities are looking for alternative about what can be considered a ranking and how mean- measures of performance because of perceived league ingful the different indicators are, according to the table bias in favour of English-speaking universities. group's report, Rankings in Institutional Strategies and But Brigitte Göbbels-Dreyling, the deputy secretary- Processes: Impact or Illusion. general of the HRK, Germany's rectors‘ association, says Different ranking systems calculate and define indi- that scepticism about methodology has led to rankings cators in different ways, the report notes, which can having less importance in Germany: "We are convinced be a source of confusion and additional work for uni- it is not possible to measure the excellence of the whole versities as they submit information for league tables. university this way." "Institutional people say it would be easier if they didn't The report suggests the possibility of a common data have to calculate the number of students in different set to allow fairer comparisons at international level. ways for different purposes," says Tia Loukkola of the However, this would require consensus between many EUA's institutional development unit. different systems and institutions on indicators and Peer pressure also causes rankings to be used, and definitions of terms, and is thus "not very likely in the universities must constantly improve their reputation immediate future", says Göbbels-Dreyling.
Alzheimer's research too risky for industry
Europe is at risk of losing its momentum in Alzheimer's by Safya Khan-Ruf
disease research, as increases in public funding are too low and companies are reluctant to take risks, research- minister David Cameron pledged to double spending on ers have said.
Alzheimer's research to £122m (€156m) by 2025. EU The EU-wide Joint Programme on Neurodegenerative member states have been asked to devise national action Disease Research, or JPND, launched in 2010, may not plans, but progress on these has been mixed. be enough to resurrect industry funding in the field, One problem is that the billions of euros spent on according to those involved. The initiative has led to Alzheimer's disease so far have not yet led to any sig- greater collaboration and increases in public funding nificant advances in drug production, says Philippe for work on Alzheimer's, but this progress is far short of Amouyel, the chairman of the JPND. As a result, the what is needed, they say.
European pharmaceutical industry is stepping back The JPND spends about €370 million in pooled nation- from Alzheimer's research because "it has poor return al and EU funding on neurodegenerative diseases. Work on investments, is too risky and is still very difficult to on Alzheimer's receives a third of the funding, but a understand", he says.
single clinical trial for a potential drug can cost €80m, Wischik estimates that, globally, companies have says Claude Wischik, chairman of mental health at the spent €12bn to €16bn on the amyloid treatment option, University of Aberdeen and of the pharmaceutical compa- without producing a successful therapy. "Some of them ny TauRx. "€1m or €5m per project goes a long way when got so badly burnt, they just decided that Alzheimer's you're funding a basic researcher," he says. "But to turn disease is too hard," he says.
that into a product that is useful for people is extraordi- For Amouyel, the problem could be tackled through narily expensive: a different order of magnitude." the JPND if its members increased collaboration, as big A G8 summit held in London last December promised international projects offer the security and access to to focus more EU resources on Alzheimer's, and has led knowledge that can reinvigorate industry spending. "We to an increase in public funding in the UK, where prime need a lot of brains and a lot of money," he says.
Research Europe, 20 November 2014 Variety of funding models
must stay, Commission told
Minimising the differences between national funding by Cristina Gallardo
models in the European Research Area could be detri- mental for science, according to Science Europe.
However, other research policy analysts disagree with In a position statement on ERA progress, the asso- Science Europe's assessment. Manfred Horvat, a senior ciation of research organisations and funders says that adviser at Cesaer, a lobby group of engineering universi- national funders need to be flexible and choose the right ties, says that having more than 30 funding systems in policy mix for their own context and problems, rather Europe is hindering collaboration with agencies in other than being subjected to a one-size-fits-all approach.
regions such as Asia and South America. The document, which refers to a 2012 communication "The ERA needs common basic principles and pro- issued by the European Commission, says that national cedures for funding research while allowing a certain needs vary and evolve. Matteo Razzanelli, a senior pol- degree of flexibility for the accommodation of specific icy officer at Science Europe, says that the Commission regional contexts," he says. should not consider a Pan-European funding model as a Peter Tindemans, the secretary-general of the grass- goal in itself. "Going naively for one single model for the roots scientists' organisation EuroScience, says that sake of the model would be detrimental for research," he Science Europe's statement is "a bit nit-picking and says. "Each country has to find its proper mix." based on a misreading of the ERA roadmap". Science Science Europe also warns that Pan-European peer Europe does not need to warn against homogenisation, review can result in biases, for instance against early- he says, because the Commission is not considering it.
career researchers, women or interdisciplinary research. "The Commission says that the balance between com- This could be avoided by giving funders enough flex- petition-based funding and institutional funding will ibility to experiment with different forms of peer review, vary," Tindemans says. "Science Europe seems to read says Stephan Kuster, the association's head of policy. something in the ERA communication that is not there." Ukraine seeks advice on Horizon 2020 success Ukraine's research system needs more support from by Cristina Gallardo
the European Commission for the country to succeed in upcoming calls for proposals, according to its academics. research facilities and enables Ukrainian scientists to Ukraine's researchers won €26.5 million during visit EU research organisations. An association agree- Framework 7, and the country's government has said ment is expected in early 2015 to allow Ukraine to bid for that the aim is to improve on that figure in Horizon Horizon 2020 funding.
2020. To achieve this, academics say, the country needs To build on its Framework 7 success, the country more guidance on how to assemble winning proposals. hopes to open up some hitherto untapped research fields Yegor Dubynskyi, an adviser at the National Academy with the help of EU partners, Dubynskyi explains. "We of Sciences of Ukraine and a national contact point for need the Commission to come up with a project where the Framework programme, says that researchers have the most experienced EU countries can share informa- approached him looking for advice on how to improve tion and experience with us," he says.
their use of European research infrastructure and win The conflict with Russia has shaken Ukraine's R&D funding for applied research and innovation. system and made its access to EU funding even more "Developing effective science and technology coop- necessary, says Yuriy Yakimenko, head of the Ukrainian eration with the EU is still a complicated task for us," he Research and Academic Network, a group of universities says. "We would like to make our research and innova- and academies. Participation in Horizon 2020 is cru- tion system more in line with those of the EU countries." cial for Ukraine to counteract a dramatic drop in public In a vote on 17 November, Itre, the European spending on R&D, which fell from 1.17 per cent of GDP Parliament's industry, research and energy commit- in 2005 to 0.74 per cent in 2011 because of economic tee, renewed the EU's bilateral treaty for science and problems and low public investment. technology cooperation with Ukraine for 5 years. This "Ukrainian universities really need to be integrated document, identical to the one signed for the first into Horizon 2020," Yakimenko says. "It would be a time in 2002, gives Ukraine free access to EU-funded great step forward for us." Research Europe, 20 November 2014 From dust till dawn
Five years ago, Cologne's city archive collapsed during a construction project. Inga
Vesper talks to director Bettina Schmidt-Czaia about salvaging the past.
Just before 2pm on 3 March 2009, a tube tunnel being archive content is still not sorted and catalogued, and dug below the Cologne archive building suddenly caved many documents have been split between different in. Shelves stretching for 30 kilometres tumbled into archives. "As a history researcher you rarely look at just the waterlogged construction ditch. Two people died. one piece; you usually do your research using context Handwritten medieval contracts, letters from Napoleon materials from the archive," she says. "This kind of con-and Karl Marx, and countless microfilms, videos, deeds, text is what we cannot yet provide."registers and photos were buried under tons of rubble, But the collapse has also given rise to brand-new dust and mud.
research topics. The "Cologne damage symptoms", Bettina Schmidt-Czaia, the director of the archive, including shredding, dust and water damage, and severe is still picking up the pieces. Literally. Thanks to hun- scrunching, are already part of studies on document res- dreds of volunteer helpers, about 95 per cent of the toration and preservation. Progress is also being made archive's content has already been rescued—some of it on developing digitisation techniques for highly sensi-from depths of nearly 30 metres below ground and from tive and fragile materials.
groundwater aquifers. To preserve these sodden docu- Schmidt-Czaia has taken her own lessons from the ments, chunks of archive material mixed with rubble collapse—what she calls the "10 commandments of and silt were deep-frozen and stored, while documents archiving". She has become a staunch supporter of dig-that had remained dry were farmed out to other archives itisation of even the most recent materials, and is urging across Germany to be cleaned and catalogued. other archives to think more about proper packaging and "In the past 5 years we have reduced the number storage. She also says that the fire brigade and emer- of temporary emergency archives from 20 to 10," says gency services should be involved in archive planning, Schmidt-Czaia. "About two-thirds of documents have so that they know where the most important material is been through phase one of our archiving process, so we kept and how archive materials can be safeguarded. And know what condition they are in and where we can find she is keen on public engagement to create pressure on them. But we still have to find space to create a tempo- authorities to support their archives. rary central archive for about 20km of shelving space, so "You need to tell people what cultural treasures are in that we can bring everything together until we have a an archive, and teach them why it's important to support new archive building in Cologne." and respect history and culture," she says. "The archive Schmidt-Czaia praises the city council for standing by should accompany people for their whole lives." the archive from the start, freely dispensing money and And there's still considerable personal fallout from the staff to aid the salvage and reconstruction process. The collapse. Many staff members, including Schmidt-Czaia, total damage is estimated at an astonishing €1 billion, only made it out of the archive with seconds to spare. with €350 million to €400m needed for the document Some still have "scratches on their soul", she says. restoration process alone. "Our aspiration is to make Long-time archivists saw their lives' work drown in everything that was rescued available for use again. All mud and are disheartened by the fact that it could take will be restored," says Schmidt-Czaia.
40 years for the archive to be fully restored. But the Thanks to the extra funding, the archive has increased eagerness of their new colleagues, many of whom joined its staff numbers from 38 at the time of the collapse to the archive specifically to help with the restoration, has about 200 today. Most are busy restor- motivated them to stick around. ‘Our aspiration ing documents, but some are restarting A cost estimate for a brand-new archive building is original, historical research, based on expected to be finalised this month, and the repository the archive. Digitised content is being is back to receiving about 3,000 enquiries a year, mostly everything that made available as soon as originals are from PhD students and other researchers. For Schmidt- scanned, and several thousand docu- Czaia, this is motivation enough to continue—even if ments are ready for use in physical form. some people who lived through the collapse may never Still, the chaos resulting from the see the restoration completed. collapse has limited the speed at "If there were no research being done here in 30 years' which such research can be resumed. time, that would be the real catastrophe," she says. Schmidt-Czaia explains that much More to say? Email [email protected] Research Europe, 20 November 2014 Wildlife needs a drugs policy When we take medication, a proportion of it passes However, this approach is still not generally accepted through our bodies unchanged and is flushed into the by regulators, who are more comfortable with lab-based sewage system. Some of the more persistent pharmaceu- results and mortality data. A challenge for scientists is ticals, such as antidepressants and the hormones in the therefore to provide a stronger evidence base for the contraceptive pill, evade clean-up processes; they are validity of ecologically relevant measures of eco-toxic- then pumped into streams and rivers, and also spread ity, so that these become reflected in regulation. on to fields via sewage sludge. On top on this, manure Even with a shift in regulators' attitudes towards data, containing veterinary drugs is deposited straight on to challenges remain in getting scientific advice into policy. fields by livestock and used by farmers as fertiliser.
Climate change debates illustrate all too clearly the gaps The effects on wildlife can be dramatic: in India, three that can appear between scientific advice and policy out- species of vulture were almost driven extinct by eating puts. These gaps have a number of causes. One is that the carcasses of livestock that had been treated with scientists can work with long time horizons, whereas the anti-inflammatory drug diclofenac. Recent studies policymakers generally work within terms of office that suggest that drugs designed for humans are entering restrict the options they are prepared to consider, par- the food chain of fish-eating species such as otters and ticularly when some options are unpopular or expensive. ospreys, and can modify behaviour and physiology in Policymakers are also potentially susceptible to busi- creatures including snails, frogs and songbirds. For ness interests. In the EU, for example, moves in summer example, starlings that were fed worms containing a 2013 to regulate three pharmaceuticals, including concentration of Prozac equivalent to that seen in wild diclofenac and two hormones, as priority substances worms showed changes in feeding behaviour and libido presenting a significant ecological risk ran into prob- relative to controls. lems. The European Commission, following scientific Pharmaceuticals have been detected in waterways advice, called to have the pharmaceuticals regulated. and freshwater animals from Texas to Hyderabad and The European Parliament, however—following intense from Beijing to London. With expanding and ageing business lobbying—voted to have the substances placed human populations becoming ever more reliant on drugs on a watch list with no legislative force. to maintain their health and produce intensively reared MEPs argued that during a recession the costs of regu- livestock, the issue of pharmaceuticals in the environ- lation were unjustifiable. Even when scientists have a ment will only become more significant.
compelling case, wider concerns often result in policy It might seem clear that pharmaceutical companies outputs that do not reflect scientific understanding. should be the ones paying to clean up what is effectively A further issue is communication between scientists pollution. But in the EU the onus falls on water compa- and policymakers. It is difficult to communicate com- nies, under the aegis of the Water Framework Directive. plex ideas and data to non-specialists, and scientists There is, then, a mismatch between the policymakers and are not always their own best advocates when it comes agencies regulating the production and release of phar- to presenting their findings and arguments in a read- maceuticals and those responsible for cleaning them up.
ily understandable format. Moreover, they are often Luckily, mass mortality events involving large, char- competing for attention with corporations and interest ismatic animals such as vultures appear to be rare. groups who have experts at public relations on hand to Concentrations of the pharmaceuticals are usually low shape the public and policy debates. and the consequences for animals are apparently sub- These obstacles are not insurmountable: they require, tle—alterations to behaviour or reproductive success, as a first step, greater multidisciplinary and cross-sector for example, often in small, unobtrusive creatures such collaboration, and more effective policy coordination. as cuttlefish, minnows and starlings. Crucially, we need more integration Yet we have a poor understanding of the effects of the between research groups in different ‘Drugs designed combinations of pharmaceuticals being released into the countries. Research funding agencies environment, especially on marine and land animals. have a vital role to play in driving this, Ecologists are increasingly convinced that field stud- and the EU is in a perfect position, with ies are the best way to capture data on this issue, using its Horizon 2020 programme, to fund toxicological endpoints such as behavioural changes as ecologically relevant research that can measures that should prompt regulation. bring to an end the unnecessary medi-cating of nature. Kathryn Arnold and Charlotte Burns work in the Something to add? Email comment@environment department at the University of York, UK. Research Europe, 20 November 2014 Four assets and five policies to help Greece innovate For a production process to increase its competitive- Third, Greece has an impressive diaspora. Of the ness, it needs to become cheaper or more innovative. country's top researchers (defined as those in the most- Governments influence the capacity of companies to cited 10,000 worldwide), 85 per cent work outside the make either change to their processes by shaping the country. There is also no shortage of high-achievers in regulatory environment and the innovation system.
finance and business in the diaspora, many of whom Greece has ample scope for reform in both areas. would be ready to help pull Greece into the future.
Small-business owners complain that they spend up to And fourth, Greece has a quality of life that makes it 30 per cent of their time on bureaucracy related to regu- easy to convince people to move there—a crucial asset in lation. And support, financial or otherwise, to turn ideas the global competition for talent.
into products is almost nonexistent, so most ideas cre- To unlock these hidden assets, the Greek government ated in Greece are turned into products elsewhere. must design an innovation policy that will narrow the But the public have been turned against further gaps in the innovation chain. There are five strategic reform of any kind by 6 years of recession and austerity: steps that could be taken, alongside better allocation of the result of the Greek government's decision, under the the country's meagre public funds. guidance of the European Commission, the European First and foremost, Greece needs to cut the red tape, Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, to making the business environment open to innovation.
cut wages without aiding innovation. Second, Greece must use EU funds to invest in addi- Just what has been lost is shown by comparison with tional, cutting-edge applied research centres that eastern European countries such as the Baltic states produce high-quality science to support entrepreneurs. and Poland. Five years ago, they were much poorer than It needs an investment strategy that combines EU funds Greece. But they strengthened their innovation systems with a shift in public spending from consumption to R&D.
and will soon overtake Greece in terms of GDP per capita. Third, Greece needs to encourage strong ties between The Greek economy is based on relatively small busi- universities, public research institutions and compa- nesses in low-value-added industries such as tourism, nies. Building scientifically competitive research drinks and food. These will not provide strong growth; campuses where people from academia and business instead, the country must lay the groundwork for higher- can mix will help close the gaps in the innovation chain value-added goods and services. R&D investments are and attract talent. Whether or not Greece becomes an critical because they yield innovative, exportable goods innovation hub depends not only on investments in while creating jobs, prosperity and hope.
R&D and research centres, but also on establishing There are reforms under way, but they are not enough: partnerships between the worlds of research, entrepre- R&D needs an innovation-oriented industrial structure neurship and administration.
and a well-functioning innovation system. This will be Fourth, this approach will only work if universities and a considerable challenge. Some Eurozone economies research institutes are politically independent. The gov- invest about 3 per cent of their GDP in R&D. Greece invests ernment needs to give them an overall budget and leave 0.67 per cent. It is the worst-placed Eurozone country on details such as appointment processes to researchers.
the Commission's innovation performance index. Finally, the Greek diaspora is not yet treated as an On the flipside, Greece has assets economic asset. Programmes designed to target its that could support a modern innovation potential could turn brain drain into brain circulation. ‘EU funds must system. First, it has excellent research Combined, these steps would create trust in the Greek institutes. Unfortunately, its publicly political system. The sooner that ministers and MPs funded researchers have retreated into implement them, the sooner Greece will be on the path fundamental research and are not allowed to sustainable growth.
to have real interactions with businesses. More to say? Email [email protected] Second, Greece has retained a few innovative firms, such as the energy com- Alexander Kritikos is a research director at the German spending from pany Systems Sunlight. These work with Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin), a professor research institutes sporadically but not in of economics at the University of Potsdam and a research organised clusters, despite the potential fellow at two employment research institutes: the IZA in for mutually beneficial cooperation. Bonn and the IAB in Nuremberg. every new opportunity every discipline h i g h l i g h t s
d e a d l i n e s iL Lady Davis Fellowship Trust
postdoctoral fellowships 192789 Opportunities from previous issues iL Lady Davis Fellowship Trust
Wood technology award
of Research Europe, listed by closing visiting professorships 185087 iL Lady Davis Fellowship Trust
Holzindustrie Schweighofer invites nomi- The Directorate-General date. European Commission and nations for the Schweighofer prize. This associated funders marked EU.
visiting professorships at the Tech- recognises innovative ideas, technolo- for the Environment nion 192790 Each entry is followed by a Web id Jp Mazak Foundation research
gies, products and services concerning invites tenders for a grants 192896 the European forest-based sector. Four to seven prizes, worth up to €100,000, framework contract Fi Tiina and Antti Herlin Foundation
grants 1182236 are available.
on economic analysis 28 EU Directorate-General for Maritime
Web id: 207235
Affairs and Fisheries study on the DE University of Heidelberg interna-
of environmental and evaluation of specific management tional research award in global scenarios for the preparation of history 1182069 Deadline: 2 February 2015 
resource efficiency multiannual plans in the Mediter- ranean and the Black Sea 1182429 EU environmental policy
policies. The estimated EU Directorate-General for Maritime
The Directorate-General for the Environ- value of the contract is Affairs and Fisheries study on the 1 it European Association of Plastic
Surgeons young plastic surgeon ment invites tenders for a framework implementation of the landing contract on economic analysis of environ- €14 million .
obligation in the Black Sea 1182431 it European Association of Plastic
mental and resource efficiency policies. GR Dragon Star travel grants for
Surgeons fellowship 209839 The estimated value of the contract is twinning opportunities 1182493 NL European Society for Clinical
€14 million over four years.
The Directorate-General UK University of East Anglia visiting
Virology training fellowship 202938 Web id: 1182640
research fellowships 206641 for Maritime Affairs and FR European Society of Cardiology
FR Airbus fly your ideas 1170724
basic research fellowship 1174474 Deadline: 15 December 2014 
Fisheries invites tenders iE Assistive Technologies for People
DE Gerda Henkel Foundation
with Intellectual Disabilities and EU water innovation
for an evaluation in the research scholarships 1166545 Autism fellowships 1181813 UG International Union for Quater-
EUREKA, through the ACQUEAU cluster, context of the European AU Australian Rangeland Society
nary Research skills enhancement invites proposals for its open call. This grants 1169710 promotes transnational collaboration for maritime and fisheries AU Australian Rangeland Society
UG International Union for Qua-
developing innovative projects in water fund. The estimated travel grants 1170385 ternary Research project grants technologies. The call facilitates access to national funding.
value of the contract is AU Australian Society of Orthodon-
tists Elsdon Storey research award SK International Visegrad Fund
Web id: 1170705
€1 million .
small grants 1169918 UK Bank of England Houblon-Nor-
Jp Japan Foundation advanced
Deadline: 15 December 2014 
Multiple sclerosis research
man and George fellowships 207896 training programme for teachers of iL Dan David Foundation prizes
Japanese language 1165159 EU defence technologies
Merck Serono invites Jp Japan Foundation graduate pro-
The European Defence Agency invites ten- applications for its cZ European Academy of Neurology
gramme in Japanese language and ders for a study. The tenderer will support department to department coopera- culture – master's course 1165157 the agency in assessing the criticality of multiple sclerosis tion programme 190976 Jp Japan Foundation Japanese
raw materials for defence technologies. innovation grant. The ch European Association for the
language programme for specialists The contract is worth up to €200,000 Study of the Liver postdoctoral budget is €1 million .
research fellowships 196095 Jp Japan Foundation Japanese
Web id: 1182709
NL European Society for Paediatric
studies fellowship 1165161 Global challenges scheme
Infectious Diseases training courses SG National Medical Research
Deadline: 17 December 2014 
and workshop awards 254898 Council of Singapore research FR International Agency for
investigator award 1165918 EU noise reduction
Foundation, the Wellcome Research on Cancer postdoctoral hK University Grants Commit-
The Directorate-General for Enterprise fellowships for training 201420 tee Hong Kong PhD fellowships Trust and Bank of Sweden and Industry invites tenders for a study. FR International Agency for
The tenderer will deliver answers to three Tercentenary Foundation Research on Cancer postdoctoral questions relating to the current scope position in section for molecular 3 UK British Academy Neil Ker memo-
rial fund 182097 invite applications for and limit values relating to the noise pathology 1172618 4 FR Agropolis Foundation Louis
emission in the environment by equip- the Europe and global iR Iranian Research Organization
Malassis international scientific ment for use outdoors. The contract has for Science and Technology Khwar- prize 1167723 an estimated value of €150,000.
challenges programme. izmi international award 138968 5 FR AXA Research Fund chairs pro- Web id: 1182731
Funding is worth up to iL Israel Brain Technologies
gramme 1157917 Deadline: 22 December 2014 
mathematical neuroscience prize UK National Centre for the Replace-
ment, Refinement and Reduction EU maritime management 1
iL Lady Davis Fellowship Trust
of Animals in Research 3Rs prize Renewable energy and water
graduate fellowships 192788 The Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries invites proposals The ERA-Net ERANETMED for its guardian of the sea programme. invites proposals for its Online Funding Search
This aims to examine the feasibility and economic viability of maritime activities call on renewable energies For full details of every funding opportunity, visit
other than fishing, using a reassigned fishing vessel. The indicative grant per and water resources.
project will be worth up to €300,000.
The total budget is Online subscribers can view full details of any funding opportunity by Web id: 1182623
€13.42 million .
simply searching for the Web id number as free text in a funding search.
Deadline: 9 January 2015 
EU law information exchange
The Directorate-General for Home Affairs Free text: 1234567 x invites proposals for its internal security For subscriptions call +44 20 7216 6500 fund police call on law enforcement infor- 10 funding opportunities Research Europe, 20 November 2014 mation exchange. Grants support projects Web ids: 1172326 , 1172324, 1172325,
addressing one or both or the following Web id: 1176401
The European University Institute invites priorities: the establishment or streamlin- applications for its doctoral programme. ing of structures and methods for cross- Deadlines: 27, 28 and 29 April 2015,
Deadline: 14 January 2015 
This offers a fully structured programme border information exchange; supporting with close supervision in writing disserta- the exchange of passenger name record data. The budget is €6 million and propos- tions. Researchers will acquire teaching, research and other skills in the fields of The Swedish Farmers' Foundation for als must request at least €250,000 over a The European Association of Percutane- economics, history and civilisation, law, Agricultural Research invites applications maximum term of 30 months.
ous Cardiovascular Interventions, under and political and social sciences. The for grants from the Olle Hakelius scholar- Web id: 1182693
the European Society of Cardiology, programme is for four years. ship fund. These support research and invites applications for its grants. These Web id: 1170933
studies related to agricultural co-oper- Deadline: 14 January 2015 
offer specialised research or clinical train- ative industries' development in order ing in interventional cardiology. Grants Deadline: 31 January 2015 
to enhance primary production. Grants EU maritime management 2
are worth €25,000.
are worth up to SEK100,000 (€10,800). The Directorate-General for Maritime Web id: 259095
EU renewable energy and water Web id: 196251
Affairs and Fisheries invites proposals The ERA-Net ERANETMED invites proposals for strengthening regional cooperation Deadline: 15 January 2015 
for its joint call. This supports transna- in the area of fisheries data collection. No deadline 
This call covers work by regions relating to human growth research
tional research on renewable energies, water resources and their connections coordination of collection management Merck Serono invites applications for its for the Mediterranean region. The total and use of data or provision of these data grant for growth innovation. This sup- budget is €13.42 million for two to three Institut Mittag-Leffler invites applica- to end users, of biological, economic or ports the advancement of science and tions for its postdoctoral fellowships. fisheries data. Two grants, worth up to medical research in the field of growth Web id: 1181502
These support projects within symplectic €400,000 each, are available. and facilitates new external research Email: [email protected]
geometry and topology, and the classifi- Web id: 1182593
to identify potential clinical markers in Deadline: 2 February 2015 
cation of operator algebras – complexity, Email: [email protected]
patients with growth disorders. A total rigidity and dynamics. Fellowships consist Deadline: 15 January 2015 
grant of up to €400,000 will be shared EU toxicology
of accommodation and office space, a between one to three selected projects.
monthly stipend and travel expenses to The European Food Safety Authority high-performance computing Web id: 1182670
and from Stockholm.
invites proposals for new approaches in The Partnership for Advanced Comput- Web id: 1169870
identifying and characterising micro- ing in Europe invites applications for its Deadline: 6 January 2015 
biological and chemical hazards. EFSA programme. This aims to raise awareness Deadline: 12 January 2015 
and provide European SMEs with the Multiple sclerosis research
aims to fund projects focusing on the development and application of read- expertise necessary to take advantage of Merck Serono invites applications for its across methodologies for the hazard the innovation possibilities created by multiple sclerosis innovation grant. This characterisation of chemicals. The grants Institut Mittag-Leffler invites propos- supports translational research projects are worth up to €500,000. als for its research programme grants. Web id: 1182699
improving understanding of MS for the Web id: 1182735
These support programmes that enable benefit of patients. A total of €1 million scientists and postdoctoral students to Deadline: 15 January 2015 
will be awarded to one or more projects.
collaborate in specialised areas of math- Web id: 1182663
Deadline: 30 April 2015 
ematics. The duration of the programme EU cybercrime and abuse
is one to 12 months. The Directorate-General for Home Affairs Deadline: 23 January 2015 
Web id: 260411
invites proposals for its internal security fund police call. Grants support projects Global challenges scheme
The Netherlands Organisation for Scien- Deadline: 9 February 2015 
tific Research, the Netherlands Organisa- addressing one of the following priorities: The Volkswagen Foundation, in col- tion for Health Research and Development creating public-private partnerships; laboration with the Wellcome Trust and and Technology Foundation STW invite cancer research grants
supporting an integrated EU approach to Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Founda- proposals for their innovation research The Union for International Cancer prevent and fight cybercrime; prevention tion, invites applications for the Europe incentives scheme Veni awards. These Control invites applications for the of, and fight against, child sexual abuse and global challenges programme. This enable researchers at the start of their Yamagiwa-Yoshida memorial interna- online. The budget is €5 million and aims to stimulate collaboration between academic career to conduct independent tional study grants. These enable cancer proposals must request at least €250,000.
researchers based in Europe and other research and develop their own innova- investigators from any country to carry Web id: 1182696
parts of the world on important global tive lines of research within a research out bilateral research projects abroad issues. Funding is worth up to €800,000 institution. Grants are worth up to that exploit complementary materials Deadline: 16 January 2015 
for up to three years.
€250,000 each over a three-year period.
or skills. Between 14 and 16 grants with Web id: 212711
Web id: 260542
an average value of US$10,000 (€8,000) EU maritime policy
each are available. The Directorate-General for Maritime Deadline: 30 January 2015 
Deadline: 6 January 2015 
Web id: 211248
Affairs and Fisheries invites tenders for an evaluation. The tenderer will provide EU ship time
theme group collaboration
Deadline: 15 January 2015 
support services related to fisheries and The European Science Foundation invites aquaculture monitoring and evaluation The Netherlands Institute for Advanced in the context of the European maritime applications for ship time under the Euro- Study in the Humanities and Social Sci- cERN summer studentships
and fisheries fund. The contract is worth fleets 2 programme. This provides access ences and the Lorentz Center invite The European Organisation for Nuclear an estimated €1 million over one year, and to 13 research vessels and marine equip- proposals for their theme group pro- Research (CERN) invites applications for can be renewed up to six times. ment for European scientists and their gramme. This enables members to engage its summer student programme for non- Web id: 1182738
international and industrial partners in intensive interdisciplinary collabora- member states. This enables students to working in all fields of marine science.
tion. Three- or five-month fellowships visit CERN, join the day to day work with Deadline: 19 January 2015 
Web id: 1161880
at NIAS are offered. In addition, the fel- the experimental teams, attend lectures, lowship includes a compulsory one-week workshops and discussions with experts Mobilex mobility grants
Deadline: 10 February 2015 
workshop and organisational support.
in their field. The scholarships last for Web id: 1177468
eight weeks and cover accommodation The Danish Council for Independent Research, in collaboration with COFUND, and meals. A limited number of travel Deadline: 1 April 2015 
scholarships will also be available.
invites applications for the mobilex The European Society of Hypertension, Web id: 1182667
mobility grants, available in the areas of through the Talal Zein Foundation, invites technology, natural sciences, humanities EU systems biology
Deadline: 28 January 2015 
nominations for the Talal Zein award. and social sciences. These aim to facilitate This recognises work related to basic sci- ERA-Net ERASysAPP invites proposals more career paths in Danish research, to ence, epidemiology, pathophysiology or for its joint call. This aims to generate increase the mobility in research envi- therapy of hypertension and other cardio- transnational collaboration for research The European Society for Paediatric Infec- ronments and enable researchers at the vascular diseases. The award comprises and development on systems biology in tious Diseases invites applications for its beginning of their research careers to €3,000 and travel expenses.
the European research area, with a par- fellowship awards. These support basic or carry out projects at research institu- Web id: 1181792
ticular focus on application-oriented and clinical research that utilises advanced tions in Denmark and abroad. Grants are industry-relevant systems biology. The techniques and methods to improve the worth DKK2.5 million (€335,800) each. Deadline: 31 March 2015 
budget is expected to be approximately health of children through the prevention Research Europe, 20 November 2014 funding opportunities 11 or management of infectious diseases. Natural sciences fellowships
•Past & Present fellowships, worth The annual stipend is worth €50,000 for The scientific and Technological Research The Royal Society and the Engineering approximately £20,000 (€25,200) each. fellows working in the European region or Council of Turkey, under the Newton- and Physical Sciences Research Council Web id: 211537
US$50,000 (€40,200) for fellows working Katip Çelebi Fund, invites applications invite applications for the Dorothy Hodg- •the Pearsall fellowship in naval and in the US or Americas. The duration of the for its fellowship grants. These promote kin fellowships. These enable early-career maritime history. Web id: 211538
fellowship is two years.
scientific and technological collabora- scientists and engineers to take the first Web id: 201147
tion between Turkey and the countries of step into an independent research career. Deadline: 11 April 2015 
prospective fellows. Fellowships include Research may address any subject in Deadline: 31 January 2015 
monthly stipends, which for visiting sci- the natural sciences, including agricul- entists are up to US$3,000 (€2,400) and ture, mathematics, technology, medical, Animals in research
for sabbatical leave researchers up to environmental or engineering science. The 3R Research Foundation Switzer- US$3,500. Travel costs and health insur- Fellowships include coverage of salary land invites applications for its grants to ance are also included.
costs, estate costs and indirect costs for a reduce animal experiments in research. Web id: 1182562
guaranteed maximum period of five years. The University of Queensland invites The foundation supports projects aimed No deadline 
Web id: 212549
applications for the Fryer Library award. at developing new methods or refining This supports research on Australian accepted methods, or validation, which cot death research
Deadline: 12 January 2015 
studies utilising the collections of the offer improvements vis-à-vis standard The Scottish Cot Death Trust invites out- University of Queensland's Fryer Library. animal experimentation in line with the line proposals for its grants. These aim to Levant research grants
The award is worth AU$10,000 (€7,000).
3R motto reduce, refine, replace. Grants increase knowledge and understanding The Palestine Exploration Fund invites Web id: 1172240
are worth up to CHF250,000 (€208,000). of why some babies die suddenly and applications for its grants for travel and Web id: 211761
unexpectedly with no cause of death to research. These enable scholars to con- Deadline: 31 January 2015 
be found. The majority of awards will be duct research into the archaeology and in the region of £30,000 (€37,800) to history, topography, geology, natural theoretical physics visits
Deadline: 15 February 2015 
£80,000 over three years. Small grants sciences, and manners, customs and cul- The Perimeter Institute for Theoreti- of up to £5,000 per year will also be ture of biblical Palestine and the Levant. cal Physics invites applications for the Science and engineering
A total of £4,000 (€5,000) is available, of Emmy Noether visiting fellowships. These The European Organisation for Nuclear Web id: 167929
which up to three awards of £500 each are enable theoretical physicists to pursue Research invites applications for its post set aside for student travel to the Levant.
their research, collaborate and take part career break fellowship. This offers full- Web id: 1170860
in workshops and conferences at the time or part-time fellowships to science No deadline 
Email: [email protected]
and engineering graduates wishing to Deadline: 31 January 2015 
Perimeter Institute in Waterloo, Ontario. restart their careers. One full-time fel- Wellcome senior fellowships
Fellowships include financial and organi-sational support. lowship or two part-time fellowships are The Wellcome Trust invites applications clean technology competition Web id: 1175887
available for up to two years, covering for the following fellowships: The London School of Business and Uni- stipend, insurance, travel expenses and •senior research fellowships in basic versity College London invite submissions Deadline: 15 January 2015 
biomedical science. These include a basic for their CleanTech challenge. This is a Web id: 1176979
salary, normally worth up to £55,000 business plan competition that helps Deadline: 2 March 2015 
inflammatory bowel disease
(€69,300) per year, and a supplement of students to form teams and develop inno- £12,500 per year. Web id: 251190
vative clean technology business ideas The Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of •senior research fellowships in clinical to create viable start ups. The winner Canada invites applications for its inno- The LEO Pharma Research Foundation, science. Web id: 254862
receives £10,000 (€12,600).
vations in inflammatory bowel disease together with the European Society for Web id: 1166240
research grants. These support inno- Dermatological Research, invites appli- Deadline: 5 December 2014 
vative projects that refine hypotheses cations for its awards. These are given to or produce preliminary data that will young scientists who show potential to EU astronomy grants
Deadline: 31 January 2015 
help seed larger projects and have the become prominent contributors to the The European Science Foundation invites potential to improve diagnosis, therapy field of dermatological research. Awards proposals, under its Gaia research for and prevention of inflammatory bowel are worth up to DKK1 million (€134,400). European training in astronomy pro- The Institute of Historical Research invites disease. Grants are worth up to CA$50,000 Web id: 1173790
gramme, for exchange visits. These ena- applications for the Jacobite Studies Trust ble researchers to pursue collaborative fellowships. These non-residential fel- Web id: 1176131
Deadline: 30 March 2015 
work on astronomy, astrometry, galaxy, lowships support historical research into stellar evolution and solar system physics. the Stuart dynasty in the British Isles and Deadline: 20 January 2015 
Grants provide an allowance of €1,600 in exile, from the departure of James II The AO Foundation invites applications for per month, €400 per week or €57 per in 1688 to the death of Henry Benedict the clinical investigation and documenta- day, plus travel costs worth up to €500, Stuart in 1807. Two six-month fellowships The Feinberg Graduate School invites tion research fellowships. These provide over a period of 15 days to four months.
of £7,500 (€9,500) each are available.
applications for its postdoctoral fellow- surgeons with training and experience Web id: 1158727
Web id: 1160615
ships. These support research in the in all phases of clinical research, includ- areas of life sciences, chemical sciences, ing study planning, monitoring, data Deadline: 19 December 2014 
Deadline: 28 February 2015 
physical sciences, mathematical sciences, analysis and publication. Grants also include accommodation and return travel Leukaemia research
computer sciences and science teaching. Fellowships cover a monthly stipend, to Switzerland.
The Department for International Devel- The Lady Tata Memorial Trust invites which was worth ILS8,960 (€1,900) in Web id: 1173199
opment invites concept memos for its applications for its international awards. 2013, insurance, travel and relocation postdoctoral fellowships on innovative These support individuals in conducting allowance for up to three years. methods and metrics for agriculture and leukaemia research, restricted to studies Web id: 251469
Deadline: 31 May 2015 
nutrition actions. These aim to create of the leukaemogenic agents, the epide- emerging leaders in agriculture, nutri- miology, pathogenesis, immunology and No deadline 
palliative care research
tion and health research by supporting genetic basis of leukaemia. Awards are The European Society for Medical Oncol- early career researchers in developing usually worth up to £35,000 (€44,100) ogy invites applications for its palliative and adapting innovative methodologi- per year. In addition, one or more MPhil care fellowships. These enable oncolo- cal approaches with mentors in ongo- or PhD studentships may be granted, nor- The Herzl Institute in Jerusalem, in part- gists or oncology fellows to conduct ing research programmes in low- and mally for two years with renewal possible nership with the John Templeton Founda- observations or research at one of the middle-income countries. Fellows receive for a third year. tion, invites expressions of interest for ESMO designated centres. The research a stipend of £34,000 (€42,900) and a Web id: 202132
its fellowships in Jewish philosophical fellowship is worth €5,000 over up to research allowance of £7,500 to cover theology. These support philosophical three months and the observation fel- travel and other fieldwork expenses. An Deadline: 15 March 2015 
projects in the area of Jewish theology. lowship is worth €2,500 for a minimum honorarium of £1,750 is paid to each of Awards are worth up to US$100,000 of one month.
the mentors. Fellowships last for one year. (€80,200), available for up to two years. Web id: 209398
Web id: 1182733
The Institute of Historical Research Web id: 1169831
invites applications for the following Deadline: 1 June 2015 
Deadline: 10 January 2015 
Deadline: 15 December 2014 
12 funding opportunities Research Europe, 20 November 2014 Broad Foundations inflammatory bowel Database maintenance *ESA
disease research grants The European Space Agency invites 26 NanoTechItaly 2014, Venice, Web id: 199735
tenders for evolutive maintenance of No deadline 
TEC-SW database reference facility. The tenderer will maintain the system site Institute for Aegean Prehistory publica- 27 JRC Conference: Future-ori- survey data bank and the VEGA VIDB/ tion team support FED software up to full coverage by the Web id: 1169667
entated Technology Analysis, Published every two weeks with scales of independent behaviour soft- No deadline 
Brussels, Belgium. To 28. breaks at Christmas, Easter and ware of the capability offered by the Michael J Fox Foundation research in summer. The next issue will be system software database, along with published on 4 December.
grants for levodopa-induced dyskinesia the development of SSDB change report Web id: 1164723
and the SSDB impact analysis report of No deadline 
3 European Academies' Science the SIB database system. The contract is Unit 111, 134-146 Curtain Road, National Multiple Sclerosis Society out- Advisory Council Event on worth up to €100,000. Ref: 14.132.09. London EC2A 3AR, England side meeting support programme Antimicrobial Drug Discovery, Deadline: 9 December 2014 Web id: 1169086
Brussels, Belgium. Enquiries to
No deadline 
Parkinson's Disease Foundation's con- Tel +44 20 7216 6500 The European Space Agency invites 8 JRC Conference on Entrepre- Fax +44 20 7216 6501 tenders for a future cities feasibil- neurship, Innovation and Web id: 1164225
ity study - advanced research in tel- Enterprise Dynamics, Editor Colin Macilwain
No deadline 
ecommunications systems integrated Paris, France. To 9. comment and Analysis Editor
applications programme. The aim is to Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory validate the sustainability of the busi- predoctoral fellowships News Editors
9 Brokerage Day for Horizon 2020 ness opportunity for the integrated Web id: 178711
Inga Vesper, Research Europe ICT Call on Robotics, solution proposed. The contract is No deadline 
Miriam Frankel, Research Fortnight worth up to €500,000. Ref: 14.1AA.01.
Brussels, Belgium. Rebecca Hill, Funding Insight Thanks to Scandinavia medical fellow- Deadline: 10 December 2014 Senior Reporters
Laura Greenhalgh, Adam Smith Web id: 1172198
10 SET Plan conference 2014, Large antennas *ESA
No deadline 
Rome, Italy. To 11. Reporters
The European Space Agency invites ten- James Field, Cristina Gallardo, Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropo- Safya Khan-Ruf, Jenny Maukola, ders for radio frequency and deploy- logical Research historical archives pro- 12 Horizon 2020 Infoday: Energy ment test methods for large antennas. Efficiency, Brussels, Belgium. chief Sub Editor Kris Pedder
The tenderer will test methods for key Web id: 202462
parameters such as deployment, surface Sub Editor Martyn Jones
No deadline 
accuracy, thermo-elastic stability, radio 17 Horizon 2020 Infoday: ICT Calls, Funding content Manager
Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation frequency and passive Intermodula- Brussels, Belgium. International short-term fellowships for tion. This activity is restricted to non- Deputy Funding content Manager
discovery consortia prime contractors, including small and Web id: 1182742
medium enterprises. The contract is Funding Editors
Deadline: 12 December 2014 
worth at least €500,000. Ref: 14.1TT.41. Mikael Järvelin, Melinda Sulkama Deadline: 15 December 2014 Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation new 9 Horizon 2020 Infoday: Fast Editorial Researchers
interventions for global health Track to Innovation Pilot, Laura Barclay, Rebecca Blease,
Fibre optics *ESA
Web id: 1182649
Brussels, Belgium. Astrid Boehm, Sofia Capel, Deadline: 13 January 2015 
The European Space Agency invites ten- Demeter Chanter, Charlotte van Hek, Hanna Krantz, Sascha ders for space validation of rad-hard co- Smithsonian Institution Baird Society 27 High-level Conference on Euro- Bjarnø Olinsson, Everarda doped optical fibre amplifier. The tenderer resident scholars pean Space Policy, Slabbekoorn, Tine Stausholm will perform a space validation of rad-hard Web id: 197046
Brussels, Belgium. To 28. Christiansen, Sanja Vlaisavljevic rare earth doped fibres in an optical Deadline: 15 January 2015 
amplifier at 1.55µm addressing different Smithsonian Institution Dibner Library types of space applications. The contract resident scholars Deputy production Manager
is worth up to €500,000. Ref: 14.1QM.15. Web id: 197052
Deadline: 18 December 2014 2 Horizon 2020 Infoday: Societal Deadline: 15 January 2015 
Challenge 4, Transport. technical Director Steve Potter
International Society for Antiviral Electric propulsions *ESA
Brussels, Belgium. Editor, Research Fortnight
Research Gertrude Elion memorial lec- The European Space Agency invites ten- ders for assesment of auxiliary propulsion chairman and Founder
Web id: 198328
26 JRC Workshop on New Narra- William Cullerne Bown arcjets. The tenderer will assess arcjet Deadline: 30 January 2015 
tives for Innovation, applications for auxiliary and complemen- publisher Thérèse Claffey
Brussels, Belgium. To 27. tary propulsion applications for electric International Society for Antiviral Sales Director Nicky Cooper
propulsion platforms. The contract is Research William Prusoff young investi- Sales Managers Alexander Nehm,
worth at least €500,000. Ref: 14.1TT.11. gator lecture award Jon Thornton, Alison Warder Deadline: 21 January 2015 Web id: 198364
Deadline: 30 January 2015 
2 EU Science: Global Challenges, X-ray optics *ESA
Boston College African dissertation fel- Global Collaboration, The European Space Agency invites ten- Brussels, Belgium. To 6. ders for L2 x-ray mirror module assembly, Web id: 260993
integration and testing. The tender- Deadline: 31 January 2015 
10 2015 ITEA-ARTEMIS Co-summit, Published by Research. Copyright er will develop a process and related Progressive MS Alliance Collaborative Research Research Ltd, 2014.
Berlin, Germany. To 11. ground support equipment for integrat- ALL RiGhtS RESERvED
ing silicon pore optics mirror modules Web id: 1182591
Reproducing Research Europe into a mirror support structure with the Deadline: 31 January 2015 
25 Net Futures 2015, Brussels, by photocopying, electronic or required co-alignment accuracy and its other means in any language Children's Literature Association diver- verification by suitable metrology. The without the permission of the sity research grant publisher is illegal. activity shall include the design trade- Web id: 1176598
off for the support structure including Deadline: 1 February 2015 
Please recycle after use material selection. The contract is worth at least €500,000. Ref: 14.164.15. Children's Literature Association faculty 16 European University Associa- Deadline: 5 February 2015 tion Annual Conference 2015, Web id: 1170192
Antwerp, Belgium. To 17. *ESA is at: http://emits.esa.intw Deadline: 1 February 2015 
Research Europe, 20 November 2014 The legacy of MGQ
As Máire Geoghegan-Quinn finishes her term as EU research commissioner, Laura
Greenhalgh asks how she'll be remembered for her 5 years in the Berlaymont.
On 13 January 2010, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn gave her eral and appointed the diplomatic Dutchman Robert-Jan first performance for EU research at her confirmation hear- Smits in his place. "Without Smits, nothing would have ing at the European Parliament. Wearing a purple suit, she happened. It was the team that counted," says Langer. portrayed herself as a forceful and confident woman and Geoghegan-Quinn didn't get everything right: and was warmly received by MEPs as she promised to bring the work considered to be her least successful has been research and innovation "to the heart of European policy".
on the ERA. Despite grand plans to "complete" the ERA Five years later, opinions on her success are mixed. by the end of her term, it remains as incoherent and A retired Irish politician, Geoghegan-Quinn entered amorphous a concept in 2014 as it did in 2009. "The the European Commission after a decade with the Commission is still stuck on how to make member states European Court of Auditors—and some say this lack of coordinate national spending," says Hull. scientific experience showed. "As a trained teacher and Allowing lobby groups to have a bigger influence on a politician, she had no real confidence when it came policies by creating the ERA Stakeholder Platform was a to understanding the heartbeat of the globe," says one good move, some observers say, and Geoghegan-Quinn Brussels lobbyist. "Nobody in science knows who she is." also succeeded in getting ERA topics on to the agenda Others are more positive. "Obviously she came from a of the European Semester, the EU's annual cycle of eco- completely different world, but she picked up very quickly nomic policy guidance and surveillance. But according on a number of issues," says Kurt Deketelaere, secretary- to Deketelaere, her mistake was failing to pressure mem- general of the League of European Research Universities. ber states with legislation on ERA topics earlier in her "She had a broad set of pet topics, including gender, the term. By the time she did, in mid-2012, it was just an blue economy, and reducing red tape—of which she had empty threat. significant experience from the court of auditors." This, coupled with an onset of political lethargy, might In her 5 years in office, Geoghegan-Quinn failed to con- explain an apparent loss of momentum later in her term. vince many of her inspirational leadership—but this may "She ticked a few boxes and that was it," says a Brussels be due to the limits of a post constrained by the decisions lobbyist. "She had a golden opportunity to move science of previous commissioners and the rules of the institu- up through the portfolios, but it remains a lowly priority at tion, as well as a research world resistant to change. "The the Commission. She hasn't really inspired."research commissioner doesn't start with a clean slate," But she gained respect for being hard-nosed on issues says Chris Hull, a former secretary-general of the European such as financial simplification and the use of full costing Association of Research and Technology Organisations. in Horizon 2020. Having decided that the Framework pro-"And there's a whole clientele that doesn't want the apple gramme would only include a flat funding rate for research, cart upset: if she came in and changed everything, it Geoghegan-Quinn refused to cave in to pressure from uni-would cause a huge stink." versities, research organisations and the Parliament. "We Instead, Geoghegan-Quinn stuck to the instructions hung on for an option on real costs until the end," says from Commission president José Manuel Barroso at the Hull. "But she stuck to her guns, and it worked." start of her term: to prepare Horizon 2020, simplify EU So, how will the commissioner be research and make progress on the European Research remembered? For some, she was defined Area. "I think she's done a pretty good job," says Hull. by her Irish sense of humour, charm and Jerzy Langer of the Polish Academy of Sciences says the interesting private conversation. For "main accomplishment of her term is Horizon 2020, for others: "Like a Sunday afternoon foot-sure". Geoghegan-Quinn helped to push through an agree- ball game that finished 0-0. She didn't ment with provisions for small businesses, gender equality cause any trouble, but she didn't really and a fast-track innovation instrument—and also intro- engage." But, above all, she will be duced simpler rules for applicants. "Horizon 2020 would be remembered as tough in negotiations. nothing if not for her tremendous work for simplification." "She took a line and she stuck to it, and But she didn't do this alone—and many people you had to respect that," says Hull. acknowledge that her most successful decision was made Something to add? Email [email protected] in her term, when she booted out the director-gen- Research Europe, 20 November 2014 u k & i r e l a n d
Adviser's power grows as officials depart
The UK government's chief scientific adviser has been by Adam Smith
taking on a more influential role in government ahead of the departure of the most senior civil servant for science, innovation, had "decided to leave" his post in January. Whitehall insiders have said.
His departure will follow other staff changes at BIS. Reports have emerged that Mark Walport is becoming Jeremy Clayton's job as director of the research base has more politically powerful than his predecessors—such been split between two other officials as he has taken on as John Beddington and David King—by increasing his the role of director of knowledge and innovation strat- involvement in tasks that are usually overseen by offi- egy and international. And Maddalaine Ansell, deputy cials in BIS, the Department for Business, Innovation director for international knowledge and innovation, and Skills, including science funding. This is despite and Matthew Hilton, director of higher education, are Walport having previously said that it was not his job to both leaving soon. Whitehall sources are concerned "lobby the government" on science funding. The shift about a lack of continuity in science policy—Walport's has come at the same time as a number of officials have position notwithstanding—in the run-up to the general been leaving BIS.
election and the spending review in 2015.
"I imagine it reflects the wishes of the minister to James Wilsdon, a researcher at the Science Policy seek input from beyond the department, as much as the Research Unit at the University of Sussex, says it is [desire of the] government CSA to offer support," says understandable and inevitable that the government CSA Sarah Main, the director of the Campaign for Science and will always be pressured by scientists to be an internal Engineering. Asked about Walport's role, business sec- voice on science funding. But Wilsdon says it is impor- retary Vince Cable said he was a "very influential voice". tant for a government CSA to distinguish between his Greg Clark, minister for science, universities and cities, or her work on funding and advice on the use of science said that Walport had played a "very important role" in policy-making. "If you slide between the two, there's in the development of the government's forthcoming a risk to the integrity of the role. I don't object to the Science and Innovation Strategy.
government CSA playing that role, but they need to be On 3 November, an internal BIS email revealed that clear and transparent about whether they're operating John O'Reilly, BIS's director-general for knowledge and in favour of science funding or giving scientific advice." Shale gas network planned
the governance of Scottish universities, ensuring that u k & i The UK government is to set up governing bodies are representative, making the selec-
i n b r i e f a network of colleges and cen- tion of university court leaders more transparent, and tres to carry out R&D and train producing a wider definition of academic freedom.
specialists in shale gas. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has pledged £750,000 in funding, Metrics-based REF could lead to dirty tricks
which it says will be matched by industry bodies and Using metrics as the base for research assessment could lead to game playing by academics to increase their citation counts, researchers have warned. Academics Hauser calls on Catapults to pull in more academics
expressed their concerns about the formation of ‘cita- The UK should increase the number of Catapult centres tion rings'—in which groups of researchers agree over the next 15 years and ensure that they improve their to cite each other in order to increase their citation links with universities, according to technology entre- counts—in their responses to a review of research met- preneur Hermann Hauser. In a review of the innovation rics commissioned by the Higher Education Funding networks, written 4 years after their launch, Hauser Council for England.
suggests that about 30 centres should be operational by 2030—up from the seven in place today. He says the Ireland confirms ambitious Horizon 2020 target
centres, which are modelled on Germany's Fraunhofer The Irish government has launched an initiative to institutes, should work more closely with universities identify large-scale projects suitable for Horizon 2020 through the secondment of researchers.
funding. Research minister Damien English announced the formation of a Horizon 2020 Strategic Research Scotland consults on university governance
Proposals Group to help Irish-based researchers achieve The Scottish government has launched a consultation their target of €1.25 billion over the programme's on proposed statutory changes to make the governance 7 years. This is more than double the €600-million tar- of Scottish universities more accountable. The proposed get that Ireland set for Framework 7 funding, which has changes include ending the role of the Privy Council in now been achieved.
Research Europe, 20 November 2014 Spanish research council targets young stars
The Spanish government is to pilot tenure-track recruit-
by Cristina Gallardo
ment at the national research council, the CSIC, in an effort to attract successful young researchers. the planned number of tenure-track positions is not The move, announced by CSIC president Emilio Lora- sufficient to prevent further ageing of the workforce or Tamayo, will involve the council hiring 25 researchers counteract the loss of employees. "This is a ridiculous in 2015 and a further 25 the following year. These number," says Andradas. "At this pace, we would need employees will be subject to evaluation to determine 100 years to recover the levels of research personnel that whether their contracts are renewed and what their we had before the crisis." salaries should be, according to a spokesman for the The government says that existing employees will ministry of economy and competitiveness. also be offered the opportunity to move on to the tenure The council will select the recruits from the winners track, as long as they are willing to abandon their civil of the Ramón y Cajal fellowship, which is awarded to the service status. It is hoped that the offer of tenure track brightest national researchers on the basis of scientific will appeal to leading young researchers, who may be excellence. Previously, council employees were recruit- willing to sacrifice a secure contract in favour of greater ed as civil servants with positions secured for life—but recognition of their success.
researchers have said that this has led to an ageing But Andradas says that for the reforms to be effective, workforce and a lack of productivity. the government will have to guarantee certain condi- The shake-up in recruitment practices comes as the tions for the tenure track, which should include an council emerges from a period of serious budgetary con- initial contract of at least 5 years and an independent straint, having suffered a cut of 32 per cent in its budget evaluation carried out by international review panels. since 2009. During this time, the council has been una- This will be important to guarantee fair recruitment ble to hire staff or replace all the employees who have decisions and prevent favouritism from becoming a retired. A labour union estimated that the CSIC lost 810 problem, he says. researchers last year. The government is expected to provide clarification However, Carlos Andradas, the president of the of the rules for the CSIC's tenure track under a specific Confederation of Spanish Scientific Societies, says that bylaw in the coming weeks. States fail to reinvest extra
ing of the ocean and Arctic climate, healthcare R&D, and n a t i o n s funds in universities
space-based search and rescue systems. i n b r i e f Germany's association of rec- tors, the HRK, has warned that Council calls for more support for medical institutes
extra funding at state level, derived from changes to the Germany should increase the budgets of the BfS institute national student support system, is not being fed back for radiation protection and the BfArM institute for drugs into higher education. Earlier this year, the federal gov- and medical devices, according to the Wissenschaftsrat, ernment took on full responsibility for paying student a science advisory council. The institutes' excellence is support, in order to provide relief to the cash-strapped internationally recognised and their outputs yield impor- state governments. But according to the HRK, states are tant information for policymakers, the council said. spending the funds on areas other than higher education. EU funds Spain's small businesses
French researchers make little headway
The European Investment Fund is to finance loans worth Laboratory directors have come away disappointed after €200 million to small and medium-sized companies in meeting government adviser Vincent Berger to ask for Spain. The deal, signed with the Spanish bank Bankinter, better conditions for researchers in France. Among the was made through the InnovFin SME Guarantee Facility, requests made at the meeting on 4 November were a which is funded by Horizon 2020.
review of laboratory funding and a restructuring of R&D tax credits, as well as an increase in the number of jobs. Germany begins national health study
But Berger indicated that the government would be The German government has launched the largest long-unlikely to change its policies in response to the demands. term health project in the country's history, involving 200,000 people and 18 research centres. The study will Canada and France increase space cooperation
track participants for 20 years to find out more about France's space agency, the CNES, has signed a coopera- genetic, environmental and social influences on health. tive agreement with the Canadian Space Agency. The The aim is to gain a better understanding of common partners will increase their joint work on remote sens- diseases such as diabetes, dementia and cancer.
Research Europe, 20 November 2014 Sweden must improve links between research
policy and evidence, says academy report
Sweden's politicians should commission a higher num-
by Jenny Maukola
ber of relevant scientific studies and incorporate more evidence into research policy, a study has concluded. the people who perform it, the study found. The ques- There is no reliable structure in place in Sweden to tionnaire revealed that many organisations did both, ensure that evidence is used consistently in policy-mak- and that the difference between the two was less clear ing, the study found. And the answers to a questionnaire in Sweden than in Denmark or Norway. Introducing a sent out to a variety of people in academia and politics clearer distinction could improve independent analysis showed that they considered their peers' understand- and evidence for politicans, the final report said. ing of the aims of research policy to be "nonexistent", Sweden spends 3.6 per cent of GDP on research: much according to the findings. more than the EU average of 2 per cent. However, the The Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences report criticised the fact that a lot of this money was commissioned the study, which was carried out by the being distributed without any impact analysis. Nordic research consultancy Damvad. "They spend a lot of money on recruiting leading "If you look at the number of central decisions taken scholars from abroad, but the research base for this is in Swedish research policy, there is almost a blindness to zero," says Rothstein. "Honestly, if you're a leading using research," says Bo Rothstein, a political scientist scholar, why would you go to Sweden and not Paris or at the University of Gothenburg and a former research London? There's a risk that you'll recruit falling stars." adviser for the Swedish government. "It's difficult when The report recommended that the government take a we argue to the rest of the world that they should base greater interest in research-based evidence. Rothstein decisions on research in environmental policy or social suggests that it could establish an expert council for policy, when we don't do that." research, as councils for international aid and econom- A large part of the problem stems from an unclear ics are already in place. "It works in other areas so it relationship between commissioners of research and could also work in this field," he says.
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Finland's national self-confidence has been hit hard by Nokia's decline, but Juha Ylä-Jääski has some firm ideas about how it can recover. Jenny Maukola reports.
The Millennium Technology Prize, a €1-million award It is involved with several projects aimed at capturing given out by the foundation Technology Academy the imaginations of schoolchildren, including an annual Finland, is a source of pride for Finns. It recognises competition in which primary school students have to international researchers who have contributed signifi- design a moving toy. "We teach them the innovation cantly to technological advances worldwide. process and give them a lot of freedom," says Ylä-Jääski. Juha Ylä-Jääski, the foundation's president, is keen to "You should introduce youngsters to a creative and inno- highlight the prize's track record. Winners have included vative way of working very early."Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, and Ylä-Jääski speaks frankly when explaining what he two Nobel laureates: Shuji Nakamura, the inventor of the thinks is wrong with the political approach to innovation blue LED, and Shinya Yamanaka, a stem cell researcher. in Europe. "Finland and other European countries tend However, the foundation is now turning its attention to speak about research and innovation as if they are to problems at home: Finland's innovation competency more or less the same. In many respects they are similar, withered along with the telecommunications company but in one respect they are totally different," he says. Nokia. "We are not happy about the innovation capabili- He explains that research involves putting money ties of Finland," says Ylä-Jääski.
in and getting knowledge out, whereas innovation is Ylä-Jääski was once head of strategy planning at the about putting knowledge in and getting money out. Nokia Research Center. He says that, contrary to popular "Innovation must lead to money, and often this is not belief, few Finnish companies have excelled in consumer understood [by politicians]," he says. "If you try to cope market innovation. "Maybe the only big exception is with the two processes through the same instruments Nokia, and now that story is partly already over," he says. and also with the same people, it often doesn't work." Nokia grew from a toilet paper manufacturer to a glob- Since the economic recession began in 2008, the al leader in mobile phones, and remained a top innovator foundation has been trying to persuade the government in communication technologies for a decade. However, to increase its research spending rather than make cuts. it fell away after missing out on some important develop- "This is maybe our main agenda: to convince the deci- ments—including touch screens—and was partly bought sion-makers that this is not where we should reduce it," up by Microsoft in 2013. Ylä-Jääski says. Ylä-Jääski is optimistic that Nokia will see better days He explains that during the early 1990s, when Finland again: "There is already a new Nokia," he says. "The was in the middle of its previous economic recession, the mobile network business is still with Nokia, and the com- government increased funding for research and innova- pany is actually doing well." He adds that it also makes tion. "This and Nokia's success were the two things that maps for satellite navigators for cars, an income stream pulled Finland out of its problems," he says. that is "healthy and doing quite well". Lobbying the government is easier in Finland than As Finland's foremost technology and innovation in some other countries, because of the accessibility promoter, Technology Academy Finland aims to turn of local policymakers, Ylä-Jääski adds. "Finland is not Finland's innovation performance around. When the a country; it's a club," he says, foundation was established in 2002, its only job was to explaining that "people know manage the Millennium Technology Prize. However, its everybody so it's not complicated activities quickly grew to include lobbying the govern- to talk to a cabinet member or a * 2013-present President and
ment on research and innovation policy, encouraging member of parliament. I can eas- chief executive, Technology young people to take up maths, science and technology ily organise a meeting even with subjects at school, and promoting the image of Finnish the highest decision-makers." * 2004-2013 Director, Federation
of Finnish Technology Industries companies abroad. But finding ways to make them * 1999-2004 Head of strategy
It is funded partly by the Finnish government, which listen to the foundation's recom- planning, Nokia Research Center donates money for the technology prize every other year. mendations, he admits, is a more * 1984-1999 Research professor,
The rest of the money comes from industry. VTT technical research centre One approach the foundation takes is to get people Something to add? Email com- * 1979-1983 Phd in solid-state
interested in research and innovation at an early age. [email protected] physics, ETH Zurich, Switzerland Research Europe, 20 November 2014 Biology and physics findings win millions
Six biologists and 54 physicists have been award-
by Sam Lemonick
ed Breakthrough prizes worth a total of $27 million (€21.5m) for work on topics ranging from the expansion Actors including Cameron Diaz and Benedict of the universe to Parkinson's disease.
Cumberbatch presented the 2015 Breakthrough prizes in Leading the physics awards were Saul Perlmutter of life sciences and physics at a ceremony hosted by come- the University of California, Berkeley, Brian Schmidt of dian Seth MacFarlane in Silicon Valley on 9 November. the Australian National University and Adam Riess of The inaugural mathematics awards were announced ear- Johns Hopkins University for their discovery that the lier, in June.
acceleration of the universe was increasing. They won The 3-year-old prizes are funded by technology stars $3m each and shared the prizes with 51 collaborators. such as Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, Alibaba's Jack Ma The three earlier won the 2011 Nobel prize for the same and Google's Sergey Brin. Zuckerberg told Bloomberg research, and split the $1.1m award.
Businessweek: "I feel like the thing we can do is In the life sciences, six researchers each won $3m for celebrate people doing great work and create more cul- work on four different projects. Alim-Louis Benabid of tural momentum and awareness that this is an important the Joseph Fourier University in France developed brain thing in the world. So when the next economic crisis implants to treat Parkinson's disease. Charles David hits and people are talking about where to cut from the Allis of the Rockefeller University in New York identi- budget, science isn't the thing." fied how modifications to proteins activate genes. After the inaugural Breakthrough prizes in 2013, Victor Ambros, of the University of Massachusetts, and many scientists—including Breakthrough recipients— Gary Ruvkun, of Massachusetts General Hospital and questioned the value of such large prizes. One common Harvard University, each received a prize for their dis- refrain is that winners are already likely to be well known covery of microRNAs . Jennifer Doudna of the University and well funded. Others pointed out that many recipi- of California, Berkeley, and Emmanuelle Charpentier of ents have already or will soon receive a Nobel prize. In the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research in Germany short, they wondered whether tens of millions couldn't copied a method used by bacteria to edit the genome.
be better spent on funding research.
Energy department funds
wildlife conservation. Coburn accused Terrie Williams, u s a research into coal gasification a biologist at the University of California, Santa Cruz,
i n b r i e f The Department of Energy has of wasting her $850,000 (€681,000) National Science awarded $16 million (€13m) to Foundation grant. But Williams says the treadmill four companies studying ways to make gas, for fuel testing was a necessary step in calibrating wildlife moni- or chemical manufacturing, from coal and other fossil toring collars.
fuels. The funding, which comes from the DoE Office of Fossil Energy's National Energy Technology Laboratory, Darpa streamlines biotech funding
is aimed at reducing the costs of gasification technolo- Biotech researchers can apply for as much as $700,000 gies. Two of the projects focus on turning coal into (€561,000) in seed funding with just a two-page propos- synthesis gas, a mixture that can be used to generate al under a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency electricity or to power vehicles.
programme designed to bring in new blood. Rather than having to submit 40 to 60 pages focused on a specific First winner of award for women in biotech named
problem, Darpa says, applicants can now seek funding The Biotechnology Industry Organization is to give its on any biotechnology problem with a brief description of inaugural Rosalind Franklin award to Debbie Yaver, a the project, plan, goals and expected costs.
microbiologist at one of the world's largest industrial-enzymes companies. Yaver is the director of expression NIH lab director punished for falsifying data
technology, genomics and bioinformatics at Novozymes, The National Institutes of Health is to put Bijan Ahvazi a Californian biotechnology company. In its announce- under close supervision for 2 years for manipulating ment, the BIO cited Yaver's work on genetic engineering and misrepresenting data in three papers in 2004 and of fungus to produce biofuels. 2006. The former director of the X-ray crystallography laboratory at the National Institute of Arthritis and Biologist defends work with lions
Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases will need to prove A researcher lampooned by Republican Senator Tom that his work is being overseen to receive any public Coburn for putting mountain lions on treadmills has funding. He will also not be allowed to sit on NIH peer- said that Coburn's "misinformed" critique will damage review boards during the 2 years.
Research Europe, 20 November 2014 African partners propose SKA research fund
Nine African countries who are partners in the Square
by Maina Waruru
Kilometre Array project have proposed the creation of a fund to support research into radio astronomy and the and Technology. "Once radio equipment is in place, training of scientists in Africa.
there will be a lot of data to be interpreted and we will Senior officials from science ministries in Botswana, need a pool of young people capable of performing this Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, task," he says.
Namibia, South Africa and Zambia proposed the fund at Botswana's Ministry of Infrastructure, Science and a steering committee meeting in Kenya this month.
Technology plan to draft a proposal to detail how the The countries will contribute a joint total of $6 million fund would operate. The document will be discussed by (€4.8m) to the fund every year if it is approved at the SKA senior officials before being submitted to the SKA minis- ministerial meeting in March 2015, says Moses Rugutt, terial meeting for approval, says Val Munsami, the chief the director of Kenya's National Commission for Science, director of astronomy and African space science at South Technology and Innovation. The ministerial meeting is a Africa's Department of Science and Technology.
forum of African science ministers involved in the project.
"We hope that donors, development partners and "Astronomy is a relatively new field for many coun- African institutions such as the African Development tries in this project. A lot of money will be needed to Bank will donate money to this fund," says Munsami.
convert existing telecommunications infrastructure to The SKA is under construction in South Africa and be able to operate and gather data for radio astronomy Australia. The costs of the project's first phase are esti- and later build capacity," Rugutt says.
mated at €650 million, provided by the two host nations The money would also be used to help scientists gath- and the SKA's international partners and funders. er data and conduct experiments, says Phil Mjwara, the The project's headquarters are at the Jodrell Bank director-general of South Africa's Department of Science Observatory in the UK.
Science portfolio split in
Asia's rise continues as OECD influence declines
w o r l d early Modi reshuffle
China is poised to become the world's biggest R&D India's science minister Jitendra spender by 2020, according to the latest figures from i n b r i e f Singh has been moved on to the OECD. The OECD predicts that China will overtake the a role developing the country's north-eastern region United States in 2019 in terms of absolute spending on in a reshuffle just 6 months after the election of the R&D. The Asian nation is already on a par with the EU's Bharatiya Janata party government. On 9 November, 28 member states combined, with its gross domestic prime minister Narendra Modi changed several minis- expenditure on R&D reaching $397 billion in 2012, the ters and expanded his cabinet by 21 posts. Singh was OECD says. The rapid rise in China's spending has con- replaced on the science and technology brief by Harsh tributed to a decline in OECD countries' proportion of Vardhan, a former health minister under Modi and a global R&D spending, as China is not a member country.
member of the reigning BJP.
UN agency launches online archive
Iran's parliament still to approve science minister
Unesco, the UN's education branch, has created a President Hassan Rouhani of Iran has proposed World Library of Science to share scientific papers with Fakhroddin Ahmadi Danesh-Ashtiani as the country's researchers and students globally. The library, launched next science minister, following the Iranian parliament's in conjunction with the publisher Nature Education decision to refuse his previous choice in August. Danesh- and the diagnostics company Roche, will contain arti- Ashtiani, a civil engineer specialising in seismology, has cles, books and videos. As well as making scientific previously held the position of education minister.
information freely available, it will provide educational resources for students and teachers.
Government sets goals for science minister
New Zealand's science minister has been told to focus
South Korea shows nuclear ambitions in Europe
on encouraging more R&D investment by industry and An atomic consortium from South Korea is to upgrade a furthering plans for regional science institutions. A gov- nuclear reactor and build a cold-neutron research facil- ernment briefing, published on 12 November, said that ity at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, Steven Joyce should lead efforts to raise R&D invest- in a deal worth $23.6 million (€19m). The two countries ment by industry to 1 per cent of GDP by 2018. He was signed an agreement to update the capacity of the nucle- also advised to help establish four further Centres of ar reactor from 2 megawatts to 3 megawatts. The Korea Research Excellence to be funded from 2016 to 2020.
Atomic Energy Research Institute will lead the work.
Research Europe, 20 November 2014 Working through the rAnks University rankings are early. Others gave him a magician's persona: The Great
often criticised as a gross simplification of university
Osbornio. However, as one contributor pointed out, performance, and this might exemplify why. One univer- Osborne did at least achieve something remarkable: he sity, we are reliably informed, told the HRK, Germany's put Nigel Farage, the leader of the UK Independence rectors' association, that it improved its position by party, in the right. 20 places in one well-known league table just by report-ing the value of its buildings based on their true market nApping on A comet The Philae lander, part of the
value instead of what was written on its balance sheet. European Space Agency's Rosetta mission, has become the first spacecraft to go to sleep on a comet, after land- pArting shot The webpage of the chief scientific adviser ing in the shadows and running out of battery sooner
at the European Commission was immediately branded
than expected. Scientists have tried to fix the problem, with a large ‘archive' stamp on 1 November, the day after caused by an unfortunate landing position that prevents Anne Glover's role officially ended, despite other depart- the lander's solar panels from receiving enough light, by ing officials' pages remaining active. Glover's contract rotating it. After a 10-year journey to catch the comet, doesn't end until February so, if she's so inclined, she Philae only saw 57 hours of action. Rosetta will continue might be twiddling her thumbs in Brussels for a while. to track the comet's progress, however.
Perhaps she could spend her time making an education-al video along the lines of the Commission's infamous better off in As the prospect of an EU in-out referendum
"Science: It's a girl thing" campaign. Our suggested title looms in the UK, it's a good time to revisit the benefits of is "Science Advice: It's a vital thing". EU membership—and this month the Daily Mirror newspa-per did just that. As well as conferring the right to work AbrAcAdAbrA After meeting foreign affairs ministers on and live in other member states, the paper points out,
7 November, the UK chancellor George Osborne rashly
membership prevents citizens having to pay for costly claimed he had halved the country's €2.1-billion extra- visas, such as £125 to visit Russia. It also gives access to costs bill from the EU. Luckily the Twittersphere wasn't state healthcare and cheaper roaming phone charges— fooled by this assessment. Some likened Osborne's and, of course, those EU-only queues at passport control. trick to that of a child opening their Christmas presents Not too bad for only £34 each a year, the paper says.
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Valoración económica de la oportunidades y riesgos ¿Hay que poner precio a la biodiversidad para conservarla? Con la colaboración de: Conclusiones del Seminario sobre la valoración económica de la biodiversidad, oportunidades y riesgos. Madrid, 30 septiembre - 1 octubre de 2011
The Reta Trust Pharmacy Schedule of Benefits for 3-Tier Formulary Brand Non Summary of Benefits Formulary Formulary Retail Pharmacy Copayment (per Prescription Unit or up to 30 days) Mail-Service Pharmacy Copayment (up to 3 Prescription Units or up to 90 days)