Breakthrough Prize: Deadline extended to 10 April

The deadline for nominations for the 2021 Breakthrough Prizes has been extended to 10 April 2020. The Breakthrough Prize honours outstanding, primarily recent, achievements in the categories of Fundamental Physics, Life Sciences and Mathematics. The Prize includes special categories to honour junior researchers (New Horizons) and lifetime achievements.

Visit https://breakthroughprize.org to view prize rules, register to nominate or login to renominate past candidates.

ALLEA General Assembly meetings in London cancelled

Due to the ongoing restrictions on public gatherings as a result of the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, ALLEA and the hosting academies have made the decision to cancel all physical meetings in the context of this year’s ALLEA General Assembly.  

We are therefore announcing that the public symposium Research Collaboration in Changing Times on 4 June at the Royal Society will regrettably not take place.  

The business meeting for ALLEA delegates, originally scheduled for 3 June at the British Academy, will be reorganised to take place by correspondence. Member Academies and their delegates will be informed about the procedures in due course. 

This is a difficult decision for ALLEA and the hosting academies in Ireland and the UK, but the health and safety of participants and staff remain our top priority. 

We are asking for your understanding and we are hoping to be able to welcome you on another occasion. 

PEriTiA Call for Papers: Social Indicators of Trust in Experts

ALLEA is pleased to share a PEriTiA Call for Papers for the upcoming international workshop “Social Indicators of Trust in Experts” to be held in Paris on 1-2 October 2020. The deadline for submission of abstracts is 15 April. The aim of this event is to help understand what informal social indicators people use in order to evaluate the trustworthiness of experts.

PEriTiA International Workshop: Social Indicators of Trust in Experts

Date: October 1-2 2020

Organizer(s): Gloria Origgi and Ty Branch, PEriTiA

Location: Paris, Institut Jean Nicod, Ecole Normale Supérieure (ENS)

Keynote speakers: Dan Sperber, Mark Alfano, Cristina Bicchieri

Call for Papers

When we are not competent enough ourselves, we rely on experts to advise us and to act in our best interest, with the vulnerability involved in such a dependence on the competence and goodwill of others. How do we evaluate the trustworthiness of experts? Since we appeal to experts when we lack relevant epistemic competence, we cannot judge their trustworthiness on direct epistemic grounds. Reliance on experts and appeal to their domains of expertise extends well beyond traditional measures of impact, authority, and ranking. Formal indicators are complemented by informal social indicators (quality, credibility and trustworthiness), which work as cues of reputation that are distributed in a social environment.

The aim of this conference, as part of the EU funded project PEriTiA – Policy, Expertise, and Trust in Action, is to help understand what informal social indicators people use in order to evaluate the trustworthiness of experts. Among the informal social indicators there are emotions, gossip, authority, social status and the biases that underscore them. For example, when lay persons rapidly estimate the credibility of a doctor, they rely on informal social indicators like recommendations from trusted individuals (word-of-mouth), perceived social prestige (social status), and emotional response to the doctor. Such examples show how social indicators can combine and conflict in expected and unexpected ways, the consequences of this socially shaped reliance on expertise, and their overall social impact.

On the subject of informal social indicators, we welcome theoretical and empirical contributions (including case studies) addressing epistemic, normative and practical aspects of trust in experts. Questions/topics for consideration include, but are not limited to:

  1. How do people use reputation in order to establish the epistemic credibility of experts?
  2. What is epistemic authority and when is it reasonable to attribute it to experts?
  3. How status relations influence the credibility of experts?
  4. To what extent can gossip be a reliable way of extracting information from an epistemic social environment?
  5. What are the social biases that participate into the formation of credibility deficits of a group?
  6. What are the emotional aspects that influence the attribution of epistemic authority and status to experts?

Papers will be presented in sessions of 40 minutes and a selection of papers will be published in a journal.

Abstract submission details

We invite abstracts of 500-1000 words by April 15th, 2020.

Abstracts should be sent to SocialIndicatorsParis2020@gmail.com.

Information regarding acceptance should be available by mid-May.

‘Trust in a Changing World’ – PEriTiA kicks off with international symposium in Dublin

PEriTiA – Policy, Expertise and Trust in Action – has been launched today with the inaugural symposium ‘Trust in a Changing World’ hosted by University College Dublin (UCD). Funded for three years by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme, the project addresses the rise of an anti-elitist discourse questioning the trustworthiness of scientific expertise. Researchers will explore the conditions under which people trust expert opinion that shapes public policy.

Keynote speakers of today’s multi-disciplinary symposium include David Farrell (UCD/Royal Irish Academy), José van Dijck (Utrecht University/KNAW), Bobby Duffy (King’s College London), Susan Owens (University of Cambridge/British Academy), and Judith Simon (University of Hamburg).

The discussion will help illuminate the main topics to be further investigated by PEriTiA in the next 3 years. You can follow the discussions on Twitter and Facebook under the hashtag #TrustInAction. The lectures will be made available on PEriTiA’s website.

Learn more about PEritiA

Follow the project on Twitter and Facebook

Project on research ethics and research integrity successfully concluded

After three years of work on the ENERI (European Network of Research Ethics and Research Integrity) project, ALLEA and its partners have successfully concluded the project during a final conference at the end of October in Brussels.

As a project, ENERI sought to improve the exchange between experts in research ethics and research integrity across Europe by providing learning material and platforms for exchange for research integrity and ethics practitioners.

While working on this project ALLEA built valuable relationships with the European networks for research ethics, ENRIO, and for research integrity, EUREC, which are an excellent basis for future joint activities and will be put to good use.

The main outcomes of ENERI are:

1) The ENERI E-community

The e-community is a platform for experts in research ethics and research integrity to discuss and share information and documents across Europe. The community is growing and hosts currently just fewer than 200 members. The project ended but the community, which is hosted on SINAPSE, a service provided by the European Commission, will continue to exist.

It is still possible to become a member of the group. To do so, please send a message to Panagiotis Kavouras (kavouras@chemeng.ntua.gr), the administrator of the page.

2) The Research Integrity Handbook

The handbook takes stock of different practices concerning the investigation of research misconduct in different parts of the continent. In the absence of harmonized and formalised European legislation the handbook compiled existing best practices. It is used as a basis for further harmonization on the European level, but also to assist countries with emerging research ethics and integrity structures to quickly establish common standards.

3) The ENERI decision tree

The decision tree is a handy tool for researchers as well as members of research ethics and research integrity committees to reflect on ethical issues and challenges before and during research. It is strongly recommended to work with the ENERI decision tree alongside the H2020 Ethics self-assessment and the European Commission‘s guidelines on ethics and data protection .

ENERI has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 710184.

More information on: www.eneri.eu

Let’s be FAIR! ALLEA presents recommendations for sustainable data sharing in the humanities

A new ALLEA report provides key recommendations to make digital data in the humanities “Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable”, in line with the FAIR principles. The document is designed as a practical guide to help scholars, research funders, professionals and policymakers navigate the shift towards a sustainable data sharing culture.

In a digital world, the abundance of data offers new opportunities for all research fields, including the humanities, where the digitisation of texts, images, sounds, video recordings and other data types can significantly contribute to advancing research, while also transforming methodologies and scholarly communications.

But data requires management, and data management requires common guidelines for good implementation. In recent years, the FAIR principles have been widely adopted as best practice in data management for research and other professional fields. For instance, they are quickly gaining ground in galleries, libraries, archives, and museums, whose data collections hold crucial resources for scholars in the humanities.

Addressing these developments, the ALLEA report “Sustainable and FAIR Data Sharing in the Humanities” helps translate these principles into practice. It proposes technical, legal and ethical considerations to construct, store, preserve, disseminate and publish data in such a way that they can be retrieved, accessed, reused, and interoperable.

“To exploit the true potential of humanities scholarship, and to share and combine data across disciplines to address big challenges, we need an awareness and common understanding of the FAIR principles and the nuances of their implementation. It is clear from ongoing discussions in scholarly communication and through the development and rapid proliferation of the Open Science paradigm that the FAIR principles are having a sustained impact on research practice. To support scholars and institutions aiming to produce FAIR data, this report combines practical advice on how to align with the principles, with a focus on practical guidance from a humanities perspective. We hope they prove useful in the collective effort to move towards more a more open research landscape,” states Dr. Natalie Harrower, Chair of the ALLEA E-Humanities Working Group.

Data management lifecycle

Following the data management lifecycle, the report is structured in five stages: (1) identify, (2) plan, (3) collect/produce, structure & store, (4) deposit for preservation, cite & share, and (5) disseminate. For each phase, a set of practical recommendations and further reading are presented. The authors consider the differences among data sharing cultures across disciplines in the humanities but also encourage pathways towards interdisciplinary data practices.

Launch and Public Consultation

The publication was prepared by the ALLEA E-Humanities Working Group and builds upon the most recent developments in the FAIR and EU research policy landscape. A public consultation to seek feedback from researchers and practitioners was launched at ALLEA’s General Assembly, the annual meeting of European Academies, in May 2019. The working group received more than 200 suggestions, which were carefully considered and incorporated.

The report was launched at the 15th International Digital Curation Conference today. Follow the discussion at #ALLEAFAIR #IDCC20

ALLEA and Global Young Academy launch strategic partnership

ALLEA and the Global Young Academy have started a strategic partnership to foster closer ties between the two organisations. The partnership, formalised in a Memorandum of Understanding, capitalises on the diverse expertise and experience of both organisations.

The Global Young Academy (GYA) gives a voice to young scientists around the world with 200 members from 57 countries, while ALLEA, as the European Federation of Academies of Sciences and Humanities, represents more than 50 academies from over 40 countries in Europe. The partners seek to enhance knowledge exchange and establish a set of joint activities on topics of mutual interest at the interface between science, society and policy.

A first step in this cooperation seeks to strengthen cross-border collaboration between researchers from different age groups, disciplines and at different stages of their career paths. Building on and further consolidating existing forms of cooperation between ALLEA and GYA, the partnership kicks off with projects aimed at analysing and rethinking current research assessment models as well as scientific publication and peer-review practices.

Koen Vermeir, GYA Co-Chair:

The GYA aspires to empower young scientists in regional and global contexts. We see ALLEA as a natural partner for this mission and our collaboration will create new international platforms for intergenerational, interdisciplinary and intercultural dialogue. We are excited to work together more closely in the coming years towards improving the science system and to promote our common values of scientific excellence and service to society.

Antonio Loprieno, ALLEA President:

Promoting science as a global and borderless public good and creating an inclusive, diverse research environment are among our key priorities. Through this partnership, we can further pursue these objectives and enhance the dialogue between researchers at various career stages. In ALLEA we look forward to working even more closely with our colleagues of the Global Young Academy in the future.”

One upcoming joint project develops around a public symposium ‘Research Assessments that Promote Progress in Scholarly Work and Strengthen the Contract with Society’ in the Academy Palace in Brussels on 16 June 2020. The event will focus on the future direction of research; values, incentives and rewards in scientific work; the notion of excellence; and the role of research assessment in scholarly work. To register and read more about the event click here.

ALLEA 2020 General Assembly: Registration is now open

The UK member academies of ALLEA will host the next General Assembly in London on 3 and 4 June 2020. Registration to the event is now open.

On the occasion of the ALLEA General Assembly, a scientific symposium on “Research Collaboration in Changing Times” will take place on 4 June. In addition to the symposium, the event will feature the awarding of the 7th All European Academies Madame de Staël Prize for Cultural Values and the annual business meeting of ALLEA’s membership. The ALLEA General Assembly will bring together representatives of academies of sciences and humanities from 40 countries across the Council of Europe region, leading researchers, policy-makers and civil society representatives.

The core deliberations of the scientific symposium will touch on research collaboration in times of major transformations and challenges for Europe. Discussions will be of particular importance to those concerned with ensuring and enabling high quality international research collaboration.  Among others, core questions will cover how Europe can strike a balance between excellence in research and the development of underfunded regions, and how research can contribute to solving major societal challenges.

These questions will be explored during the three sessions of the Symposium:

  • Protecting Collaborative Research in a Turbulent Europe
  • Balancing Excellence and Regional Equality within Europe
  • Interdisciplinary Research: The Key to the Future?

Detailed descriptions of the individual sessions and the programme are available on the website.

The scientific symposium is free to all participants.

Confirmed speakers:

  • Professor Ash Amin, British Academy, University of Cambridge
  • Professor Mauro Ferrari, President, European Research Council
  • Professor Ivana Gadjanski, University of Novi Sad
  • Professor Anet Rezek Jambrak, Global Young Academy, University of Zagreb
  • Professor Joyce Tait, Royal Society of Edinburgh, Centre for Social and Economic Research on Innovation in Genomics, University of Edinburgh
  • Professor Ulrike Tillmann, Royal Society, University of Oxford
  • Professor Koen Vermeir, Co-Chair, Global Young Academy, French National Centre for Scientific Research

Academic community calls for multidisciplinary approach to reduce health inequalities

Inequalities in health may have different causes, yet the most persistent and man-made are linked to the social factor. Socio-economic position, education or access to healthcare are likely to have considerable impact on our physical and mental wellbeing, as they do on the susceptibility to diseases. So what can societies and especially lawmakers do to reduce the inequalities caused by these factors?

Around 200 researchers, civil society representatives, and members of the public discussed these and further questions at the “Social Inequalities in Health Symposium“. The event was organised by Académie nationale de médecine in partnership with ALLEA and FEAM, the Federation of European Academies of Medecine, and took place on 22 January 2020 in Paris.

Sadly, health inequalities in all European countries are increasing even though we know many of the causes. It was stressed at the symposium that with so much evidence at our disposal we need to act decisively and bring stakeholders from research, civil society, policy and the wider society together to develop policies concerning inequalities.‘, says Professor Graham Caie, Vice President of ALLEA, who chaired the session on health systems, education and mental health. ‘Medical, social and educational factors of health inequalities are closely interlineked and require a multidisciplinary approach. Our networks of academies can assist with finding the best experts to investigate this vitally important topic.’

The recent symposium in Paris followed a successful joint conference of ALLEA and FEAM in November 2019 in Brussels. This event looked further into exploring how vulnerable groups such as migrants often find themselves challenged for various reasons, from language barriers to adaptability of healthcare systems in receiving countries.

The following day, invited experts from across Europe and North America attended a workshop focusing on key methodologies of health inequalities research. This meeting emerged from a joint ALLEA-FEAM-KNAW (the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences) project that seeks to synthesise the evidence-base and identify consensus among the various disciplines involved in the subject of health inequalities. A subsequent expert workshop will address causalities and socioeconomic inequalities in health will take place on 18 March in Berlin.

Conference report ‘Migration, Health and Medicine’ released

The ALLEA-FEAM report of the conference ‘Migration, Health and Medicine’ is now available. The publication summarises the discussions of the event held in Brussels on 22 November 2019. It provides the basis for a scientifically sound analysis on migrant health and, among other topics, addresses the methods and strategies to collect valid and comparable data on this issue.

The conference was organised by ALLEA and the Federation of European Academies of Medicine (FEAM), and hosted by the Royal Academies of Medicine of Belgium (ARMB and KAGB) in collaboration with the French Academy of Medicine (ANM).

Migrant health from a scientific perspective

Migrant health is determined by multiple factors, from socio-economic aspects of health to biological and environmental interactions influencing the health of migrant populations. However, the generalisation of research findings from one community or from one country to the regional or global levels faces considerable hurdles.

From the policy side in Europe, the complexity increases due to the various levels of governance at the EU. Whereas many aspects of migration and health can be dealt with an EU approach, the provision of healthcare services is managed by Member States.

The report seeks to inform policy debates on this pressing issue from a scientific perspective. It also underlines the need for academia, policymakers, civil society and international organisations to join forces to provide scientifically validated data on the health of refugees and migrants across Europe and the world.