Academies issue recommendations on “Mastering Demographic Change in Europe”

ALLEA supports the joint statement “Mastering Demographic Change in Europe” published by 8 European Academies of Science in order to address the policy challenges driven by significant demographic developments currently taking place in Europe. The statement offers research-based recommendations to encourage well-informed European Union policymaking grounded in an understanding of the causes and outcomes of demographic change.

As Europe’s population ages and lives longer lives, its fertility rate is falling. Europeans are increasingly migrating within the European Union, while a rising number of non-EU citizens are also immigrating to EU countries. These developments, combined with global changes such as climate change, natural resource shortages, as well as economic and social challenges, require careful planning on the part of EU policymakers in order to ensure a high quality of life for future generations.

Professor Günter Stock, President of the Federation of All European Academies (ALLEA), states: “European values on how to combine work and family life, how to use the individual potential throughout the longer lifespan, and how to best integrate and accommodate migrants vary significantly. From a scientific point of view, academies of science across Europe affirm that it is neither the number of children or of immigrants nor of life years per se, but the quality of living in sustainable conditions we need to improve. This is the direction of reconciling demographic change processes with economic, social and environmental conditions.”

The statement calls for a systematic, life-course approach towards understanding how longer working lives need policies that allow for more flexible movement between the spheres of education, career, and family. Moreover, the statement emphasizes that European citizens need the support of both EU and national policymakers for the successful management of longer working and post-retirement lives, the maintenance of productivity and quality of life levels beyond economic employment, and sustainable consumption.

Eight European Academies of Science have contributed their knowledge on demographic change and its causes and consequences to this statement. The full statement can be accessed here. For more information, please click here.

Complete Report Released – Academia-Industry Alliance: Joint Efforts in Science Education

The Royal Irish Academy (RIA)-ALLEA Joint Efforts in Science Education Forum took place on 20 November, 2013. Since the initial release of the summary of the forum discussions, contributions have been added with further reports on the state of science education in numerous European countries.

The first part of the report focuses on the forum, which brought together industry and education partners to discuss existing and identify future potential collaborative efforts to enhance maths, science and technology education and student experiences in Ireland, with reference to existing and emerging European initiatives in this space. The second part of the report encompasses the contributions of numerous ALLEA Working Group Science Education members, who offer detailed reports on science education efforts and challenges in their respective countries. Now available as a complete document, the report provides a comprehensive look at the current challenges of adapting European school curricula to investigation-based teaching methods and the need to simultaneously build an academia-industry alliance to further the progress of science education in Europe.

Please click here to read the full report.

The open session on Academia-Industry Alliances also relates to previous activities of the ALLEA Working Group Science Education and follows up on a comprehensive report written upon request of the European Commission and entitled “A renewal of science education in Europe – views and actions of national academies”. In the report, the Working Group details the views and actions taken by European Academies to advance the renewal of science education and maintain the passion for science and technology among the youth. Building alliances with the business world is seen as an important step towards these objectives.

The Royal Irish Academy (Acadamh Ríoga na hÉireann) was founded in 1785 and is Ireland’s academy for the sciences, humanities and social sciences. The Academy provides expert advice, manages research projects, publishes books and journals and sustains a library. Election to membership of the Academy is the highest academic honour in Ireland and the Academy has currently approximately 460 members.