Dame Jocelyn Bell-Burnell awarded special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics

Picture retrieved from The Royal Society website

Dame Jocelyn Bell-Burnell, Astrophysics professor at the University of Oxford and former President of the ALLEA Member Academy Royal Society of Edinburgh, has been awarded the Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics in recognition of her discovery of radio pulsars, widely considered to be one of the greatest astronomical discoveries of the twentieth century. The prize also acknowledges Dame Jocelyn’s inspiring scientific leadership over the last five decades.

The award comes five decades after Jocelyn Bell-Burnell made the discovery of the pulsar back in 1967. Dame Jocelyn has announced that she will donate the $3 million prize to the Institute of Physics, in order to fund graduate students from under-represented groups who wish to engage in physics research.

Dame Jocelyn will be recognised at the 2019 Breakthrough Prize ceremony on Sunday, November 4, 2018, at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California, United States.

Jocelyn Bell-Burnell is also Fellow of the Royal Society, ALLEA Member Academy.  


About the Breakthrough Prize

The Breakthrough Prize, known as the world’s largest science prize, recognises the world’s top scientists with a prize of US$3 million, and is presented in the fields of Life Sciences, Fundamental Physics and Mathematics. Previous recipients of the award include Stephen Hawking, seven CERN scientists attributed the discovery of the Higgs boson, and the LIGO collaboration that detected gravitational waves.

ALLEA is a partner of the Breakthrough Prize since 2017 and has sought to increase awareness of the opportunity to nominate great scientists and mathematicians on our website and other communication channels. We share the common goal of promoting a culture where science and scholarship can thrive, and where scientists who significantly contribute to our collective understanding of the world should be recognised.

Workshop: Communicating Science in a Complex World

The development of more strategic methods and channels for science communication are needed if we wish our investments in scientific expertise and research to have a bigger social impact. To that end, ALLEA has partnered with Wissenschaft im Dialog to prepare the panel discussion “Communicating science in a complex world: Experiences, Controversies and Future Strategies.”

In the panel discussion, representatives from European networks of science communication, academies, research organisations, EU institutions and industry will discuss and exchange strategies, experiences and innovative ideas for science communication. Participants are expected to develop approaches for a more strategic and effective communication of research topics by analysing previous successes and failures from a wide range of fields.

This event represents a partnership between ALLEA and Wissenschaft im Dialog, a German organisation working on science communication throughout Europe. It is also co-organised by other science communication and science policy organisations, namely Vetenskap & Allmänhet, a Swedish science communication organisation, and the European Science Events Association (Eusea)

The panel will take place on 17 October 2018 in Brussels from 18:00 to 19:30, with a networking cocktail served afterwards. This event is free of charge, but registration is required; if you are interested in participating, please register here.


ALLEA Workshop “Trust in Science & Changing Landscapes of Communication” held in Amsterdam

Public-opinion and perceptions of science and expertise are heavily influenced by old and new forms of media communication. The ALLEA workshop “Trust in Science and Changing Landscapes of Communication” shed light on the ways in which public trust in scientific institutions, evidence and advice is being challenged by new social and technological transformations.

On 31 August 2018, the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) hosted the ALLEA workshop “Trust in Science & Changing Landscapes of Communication.” Chaired by former KNAW President Prof. José van Dijck, the workshop sought to improve our collective understanding on how changing landscapes of communication – brought about by advances in information technology, the media, and a number of socio-technical and political-economic transformations – have altered the way in which scientists communicate empirical and theoretical findings, and the way the public perceives and engages with research and academia.

Overall, trust in science seems to remain relatively high, but might be undermined by an increasing loss of trust in, and trustworthiness of, traditional media, accompanied by a growing importance of social media platforms. The workshop also looked at some of the criticism that has been raised towards researchers and the scientific community’s alleged lack of willingness and/or competence to communicate the results to the public in a differentiated way, adjusting to and engaging with new online communication tools.

Renown scholars and researchers from the fields of Science and Communication, Media Studies, Philosophy, Psychology and Political Theory discussed various aspects from a wide range of perspectives. The discussions were divided into five sessions:

  •  Session I: Stephan Lewandowsky – Rejection of Scientific Findings – Worldview, Ideology, and the Norms of Science
  • Session II: Mike Schäfer – Trusting Science in a Changing Media Environment
  • Session III: Judith Simon – Trust and Knowledge in a Digital World
  • Session IV: Lisa Herzog: Trust in Science – What should Young Scientists do?
  • Session V: Erika Widegren: The Truth about the Truth – A Practitioner’s Perspective on Current Incentive Frameworks

This was the third workshop led by the ALLEA Working Group Truth, Trust and Expertise, which extensively discusses issues regarding trust in science and expertise through a series of events and publications. A discussion paper summarising the outcomes of this workshop and other discussions held within the Working Group will be published in the upcoming months. You may read our first discussion paper here.

New ALLEA Vice Presidents elected

The ALLEA Board elected Professor Hubert Bocken (Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts), Professor Graham Caie (Royal Society of Edinburgh) and Professor Krista Varantola (Council of Finnish Academies) as the new Vice Presidents of the European Federation of Academies of Sciences and Humanities until 2020. The decision was taken during the first face to face meeting of the newly elected ALLEA Board in Berlin on 6 September 2018.

The Vice Presidents will work closely with the ALLEA President Antonio Loprieno, who assumed his position during the General Assembly in Sofia at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences on 17 May 2018. The current ALLEA Board was elected on this occasion as well.

From left to right, ALLEA Vice Presidents Hubert Bocken (Royal Flemish Academy of Sciences and Arts), Graham Caie (Royal Society of Edinburgh) and Krista Varantola (Council of Finnish Academies).

ALLEA Vice President Hubert Bocken is honorary President of the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts. Educated in law at Ghent University and the Harvard Law School, Professor Bocken taught law of obligations, comparative law and environmental law at Ghent University, where he also served as member of the Board of the University, as Dean of the Faculty of Law, and as Chair of its foreign relations committee. He presently is co-chair of the Commission for the revision of Belgian Tort Law established by the Belgian Minister of Justice. Since 2016 he is part of the ALLEA Board and was reelected in 2018.

ALLEA Vice President Graham Caie CBE is Emeritus Professor and Professorial Research Fellow in English Language and Linguistics at the University of Glasgow, where he previously served as Vice Principal. His research interests include Old and Middle  English language and literature, the history of the English language, Scots language, and interdisciplinary medieval studies. He is Fellow and former Vice President of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and he was Vice Chair of the Board of the National Library of Scotland, where he remains as Deputy Chair. He is on the Advisory Board of the British Council, Scotland, and on the Court (governing body) of Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh. Since 2014 he is part of the ALLEA Board and was reelected in 2018. He is also member of the ALLEA Working Group Horizon Europe.

ALLEA Vice President Krista Varantola is member of the Council of Finnish Academies and of the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters. She is Professor and Rector Emerita of the University of Tampere in Finland. Her academic field is English linguistics. She is currently Chair of the University Board of the University of Jyväskylä in Finland. Varantola has a long-standing interest in research integrity. She chairs the National Board on Research Integrity in Finland and is member of the ALLEA Permanent Working Group on Science & Ethics. She was one of the drafting group members of the 2017 revised edition of The European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity. She also acts in an advisory role for research integrity in a number EU funded research projects. Since 2016 she is part of the ALLEA Board and was reelected in 2018.

The meeting of the ALLEA Board took place on the kind invitation of the Union of German Academies of Sciences and Humanities, and the German National Academy of Sciences – Leopoldina. Participants were welcomed by Professor Thomas Holstein, Foreign Secretary of the Union of the German Academies of Sciences and Humanities and President of the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities, and Professor Jörg Hacker, President of the Leopoldina.


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ALLEA publishes statement on the inappropriate political infringement on academic curricula in Hungary

ALLEA has published a statement today on the inappropriate political infringement on academic curricula in Hungary. “ALLEA is alarmed by the Hungarian government’s recent, recurring and unfounded intervention in the curricula of private and public universities,  severely compromising academic freedom and autonomy that are key features of modern science and higher education, and regrettably following a pattern witnessed before”, the statement reads.

Read the full statement




European Academies call for a clear and inclusive definition of ‘associated countries’ in Horizon Europe



The European Federation of Academies of Sciences and Humanities (ALLEA) has submitted feedback to the European Parliament with suggestions for concrete amendments to the Proposal for the Regulation establishing Horizon Europe. It welcomes the main direction of the proposal but voices specific concerns in relation to the participation from all disciplines and especially the inclusion of ‘associated countries’ in the next framework programme.

9 July 2018 (Berlin, Germany) ALLEA welcomes the speed with which the European Parliament is dealing with the matter and the flexibility the structure of the legislation permits to keep up with the dynamic change of research agendas in Europe. All the same, there are a number of concerns about the specific wording of the document.

In relation to the encouragement of participation from all disciplines within the research community, ALLEA fears that the Regulation does not sufficiently support the inclusion of all disciplines, especially the social sciences and humanities (SSH), and argues for substantial investments in transdisciplinary research regarding societal challenges. ALLEA also calls for a greater focus on basic research as a precondition for innovation. Innovation should go beyond just technological aspects and enable change by addressing societal and cultural dimensions, too.

Regarding definitions of ‘associated countries’, ALLEA shares the concerns raised by other stakeholders and calls for a clear and inclusive definition. In the current form, the Regulation is not clear enough on whether third countries (e.g. Switzerland) will have opportunities to participate in the same way that worked successfully in Horizon 2020. ALLEA strongly believes in the openness of science and supports the idea of an integrated European Research Area that is open to global research collaboration.

ALLEA is prepared to engage with the European Commission, the members of the European Parliament and the Council to further elaborate on Horizon Europe. The ALLEA Framework Programme 9 Working Group brings together representatives of its member academies from all over Europe and has published several statements developing a vision for Horizon Europe: https://allea.org/framework-programme-9-working-group/.

About ALLEA (All European Academies)

ALLEA, the European Federation of Academies of Sciences and Humanities, was founded in 1994 and currently brings together almost 60 Academies in more than 40 countries from the Council of Europe region. Member Academies operate as learned societies, think tanks and research performing organisations. They are self-governing communities of leaders of scholarly enquiry across all fields of the natural sciences, the social sciences and the humanities. ALLEA therefore provides access to an unparalleled human resource of intellectual excellence, experience and expertise.

Download the Press Release here

Learn more at: www.allea.org

European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity – New set of translations available

With the support of the European Commission’s Translational Services and ALLEA Member Academies, a new set of translations of the European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity was published in June 2018. The new available translations include Albanian, Bulgarian, German, Greek, Estonian, Lithuanian, Swedish and Turkish. These and other translations of the Code of Conduct can be found here.

Throughout the year, ALLEA will be publishing translations of the European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity in all official languages of the European Union, as well as selected languages from around the globe.


Implementing the Code

The European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity serves the European research community as a framework for self-regulation across all scientific and scholarly disciplines and for all research settings. The 2017 revised edition of the Code addresses emerging challenges emanating from technological developments, open science, citizen science and social media, among other areas. The European Commission recognises the Code as the reference document for research integrity for all EU-funded research projects and as a model for organisations and researchers across Europe. The revised Code was published originally in English on 24 March 2017. Since its publication in English, the Code has been used by multiple research institutions and universities across Europe, and presented in various conferences on research integrity and research ethics.


Make codes for research integrity practical

A correspondence by the lead author of the revised ALLEA Code, Maura Hiney (Royal Irish Academy), was published in Nature on 25 April 2018 calling for making codes for research integrity more practical.

ALLEA Publishes Open Letter in support of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences

In response to two proposed laws introduced for voting by the Hungarian Parliament and which threaten the scientific autonomy and financial independence of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, the ALLEA President Antonio Loprieno has sent an open letter to the responsible Hungarian Minister of Innovation and Technology, Mr László Palkovics. You may download and read the letter below.

Download the open letter




Statement from the Czech Academy of Sciences, the Slovak Academy of Sciences and the Polish Academy of Sciences

ALLEA Member Academies, the Czech Academy of Sciences, the Slovak Academy of Sciences and the Polish Academy of Sciences, have joined the initiative and published a statement in support of the Hungarian Academies of Sciences.

Read the statement

ENERI invites European researchers to join E-community for Research Ethics & Integrity experts

As part of the ENERI project, ALLEA is pleased to announce the initiation of the ENERI e-Community. The objective of the platform is to create an open database of Research Ethics and Research Integrity experts and a space for discussion, sharing of information, exchange of good practices and training material.

The e-community is intended to be a place for practitioners in the field of RE&RI to be able to share their experiences and sources of knowledge with their European peers in order to harmonise procedures at a European level.

Interested members are invited to contact vogt@allea.org for further information on the registration process.


The “European Network of Research Ethics and Research Integrity” (ENERI) establishes an operable platform of actors in the fields of research ethics and research integrity. ENERI is based on existing networks, projects and infrastructures that already initiated and developed important steps in sharing information, training and capacity building. Research ethics committees, review boards, ombudspersons’ offices, research integrity offices and supporting structures are the established bodies monitoring, accompanying and assisting the process of responsible and justifiable research. Therefore the European Network of Research Integrity Offices (ENRIO) and the European Network of Research Ethics Committees (EUREC) mutually initiated ENERI in collaborations with experts in academic research ethics (RE) and responsible research and innovation (RRI), practitioners in training and education in research ethics, and specialists in e-communication and database design.

How do we use data in the 21st century?

Data, in its multitude of iterations and the way we make use of the information it contains, affects nearly all aspects of life today, yet rarely do we ever consider what the deeper implications at the governance level are. ALLEA joins forces with The Royal Society to organise the conference “Flourishing in a data-enabled society”.

The event will convene experts from academies across Europe and from different sectors in Buckinghamshire (UK) in November, to reflect on how society can best seize the opportunities and cope with the major challenges brought on by new uses of data.

The conference, hosted by The Royal Society at Chicheley Hall on 1-2 November 2018, seeks to elaborate a vision for a flourishing data-enabled Europe. In a set of keynotes, panel discussions and breakout sessions, the participants will consider current and future challenges from a variety of cross-disciplinary and cross-sectoral angles.

Breakout groups will enable representatives from different sectors, disciplines and geographical areas to make new connections and to discuss key questions in more detail, particularly exploring how different sectors and societies respond differently to these challenges.

Panels will explore how social, ethical and legal tensions arise across sectors, and how different sectors deal with them, so that data and data-enabled technologies can be used for human benefit. Experts will discuss ways to identify, respond and make the most out of the challenges of 21st century data use. The discussions will furthermore address questions on how the use of data for public good might look like in Europe, how societies navigate the significant choices and dilemmas stemming from new data-enabled technologies, and if it is possible to consider a common European vision of the data-enabled society.