ALLEA Hon. President P. Drenth presents European Code of Conduct on Research Integrity at 2nd World Conference, 21-24 July 2010, Singapore
2nd World Conference on Research Integrity agrees on need to reach a global consensus on basic principles for research integrity.ALLEA documents for the conference P. Drenth, The European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity (pre-publication draft) P. Drenth, A European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity (presentation)The European Code of Conduct on Research Integrity (lead author: Pieter Drenth, hon. President ALLEA)The conference was conceived as a follow-up with global ambitions to the 1st World Conference on Research Integrity (Lisbon 2007). This second, global event allowed participants, during the conference and post-conference workshops, to exchange information and views in order to develop guidelines and recommendations for promoting integrity in research on a global scale.Much of the work of the conference focused on developing recommendations for four key aspects of research integrity:1. National and international structures for promoting integrity and responding to misconduct, 2. Global codes of conduct and best practices for research, 3. Common curricula for training students and researchers in best practices, and 4. Uniform best practices for editors and publishers. Participants also discussed a general “Singapore Statement on Research Integrity” as a starting point for identifying the fundamental values and principles that are common to research wherever it is undertaken.
Source: https://www.wcri2010.org/press/conferencephotos.aspThe European Code of Conduct, developed by ALLEA and a working group of an ESF MO Forum was presented by ALLEA Honorary President Pieter Drenth. Four ALLEA Member Academies were present; the Swiss Academies presented their national experiences, a Dutch delegate, D. de Hen, presented the European Network of Research Integrity Officers (ENRIO); a Russian presentation drew the attention of the conference to the phenomenon of pseudo-science; the Czech delegate did not give a paper.Not surprisingly, the vast majority of presentations – whether at plenary sessions, in parallel sessions, or during the post-conference workshop sessions – were hands-on: on codes of conduct, the role of research integrity officers etc. Comparatively little room was given to reflections on the ethical (or scientific or even socio-economic) issues underlying the apparently rising risk of scientific misconduct (such as: motivation; specificities in different sciences etc.) – except for rare comments by some Japanese and American presenters. Another positive exception was one of the parallel sessions, led by the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, which was devoted to the ethics of dual use research.
Singapore Statement on Research Integrity (22 September 2010).LinksConference websiteALLEA work on research integrity
ALLEA convenes Euro-Asian seminar on science, ethics and society at NTU, 21 July 2010, Singapore
College of Humanities & Social Sciences (Nanyang Technological Univ.) hosts a Euro-Asian seminar on science, ethics and society for Academies from Europe, China, Japan and Singapore universities.The Euro-Asian seminar on science, ethics and society convened by ALLEA and hosted by the College of Humanities & Social Sciences at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore on 21 July 2010 was scheduled to precede the 2nd World Conference on Research Integrity, with its subtitle “Strengthening Research Integrity – The role of Academies in Asia and Europe”. Given the ever higher mobility of researchers and the increasing number of international and interdisciplinary collaborative research ventures (also and especially between Asia and Europe), the objective was to exchange views and experiences on some of the burning issues in the field of science and ethics. One purpose was to debate the usefulness of codes of conduct, such as the European Code of Conduct on research integrity elaborated by ALLEA and an ESF working group and the Japanese code launched by Science Council Japan. Of special concern were the views from fast-rising, high-pressure and budding science environments such as China an Singapore. There was agreement that there can be no scientific progress in society without trust in the integrity of scientists’ behaviour and practice. In the view of many, it is the role of the Academies of Sciences, as wardens of scientific independence and excellence, to stimulate and guide national debates on the issue, given the important role of Academies in upholding high ethical standards among scientists, while at the same time pushing forward the frontiers of knowledge. Notably the Chinese Academy of Science pointed to the detrimental consequences for scientific integrity of exaggerated levels of competitiveness at universities, and also Science Council Japan wished to see more attention given to the socio-economic environment, rather than individualise ethical failure.There was agreement between university representatives and Academies that not sanctions ex eventu, but preventive, educational preparation for ethical behaviour in science are the key. The seminar heard an keynote lecture on Science, ethics and society by Pieter Drenth, honorary president of ALLEA. A central session on scientific integrity was introduced with a paper by Professor Hideaki Karaki, vice-president of Science Council Japan, before discussing the European Code of Conduct, elaborated by ALLEA and an ESF working group, and presented here by P. Drenth. A number of Asian and European case studies were presented, and the respective roles of the role of Academies (awareness raising among the scientific community and among political decision-makers) and universities (training and compliance) were debated. The seminar closed with a tour de table aimed at identifying areas in the broad field of science and ethics as an area for cooperation between Asian and European science organisations.
Links1. Seminar programme and documentation2. ALLEA activities in the field of science and ethics, including research integrity3. Activities of the Chinese Academy of Sciences4. Documents of Science Council JapanDocumentsScience Council of Japan: Code of Conduct for Scientists (2006) Science Council of Japan: Scientific Misconduct and its Prevention (2005)
ALLEA Executive Director joins discussion at National Library of Singapore on research infrastructures, 20 July 2010, Singapore
As Singapore prepares to set up a nation-wide research information system, R. Klein informed about relevant developments in Europe.Discussions with ALLEA members have shown that many are convinced that a well-designed system to provide research information for the full cycle of scientific careers (cv’s, training, assessments, publications etc.) and research projects (application, funding, auditing/evaluation, publications, raw data etc.) will be beneficial for both researchers and research organisations. The ALLEA Executive Director joined a discussion at National Library of Singapore on research infrastructure, where an exchange took place about the current plans (and technological advances) in Singapore, and relevant developments in both fields – research information systems and research infrastructures – in Europe. Plans in Singapore foresee a central clearing house / register for much of this information, a model that might be suitable also for European countries.
For more information about the NLB, see: http://www.nlb.gov.sg/
ALLEA Director attends opening of the Belgian Presidency of the EU competitiveness council (research), 7 July 2020, Brussels
On 1 July 2010 Belgium took over the Presidency of the European Union, with a pledge to focus on promoting Europe as a knowledge-based society with the “innovation union” flagship.The research, development and innovation portfolio of the Presidency programme will refer to the “Europe 2020 Strategy” through the “Innovation Union” flagship initiative. The Belgian Presidency will focus on formulating guidelines, defining policy objectives and developing indicators which allow progress on the creation of a European Research Area (ERA) to be measured. The Belgian Presidency favours an integrated approach covering multiple facets of innovation – technological, non-technological, and social – which promote its distribution throughout the economic fabric and which respond to the current challenges and the needs of businesses.In the context of the knowledge triangle, the role of clusters and the relationship between research centres, training and business will be examined. In light of the development of FP8, under the Belgian Presidency, the Council will conduct work relating to the simplification of administrative procedures and financial controls from FP7.
Throughout the Belgian Presidency, particular attention will be given to the development of the following three initiatives relating to free circulation of knowledge within the ERA: 1) framework conditions for the Joint Programming Initiative, with social challenges as the priority; 2) strengthening the European partnership for researchers, in particular to increase their mobility and improve their status; 3) promotion of improved integration in universities and research institutes within the knowledge triangle.The Council will work to develop the role of the regions in the development, implementation and monitoring of research and European Scientific Policy. Under the Belgian Presidency, the Council will examine the contribution of R&D to a sustainable society through strategic bio-economy initiatives, the plan for the development of low carbon technologies, (SET Plan) and marine and maritime research. The Council will continue the discussion on ITER and examine the possibility of extending the 7th Euratom Framework Programme (scheduled to end in 2011) so that it comes to an end at the same time as FP7, which is due to end in 2013.Documents Belgian Presidency perspectives on science
ALLEA President at European Science Open Forum (ESOF), 2-7 July 2010, Turin
The European science jamboree is still struggling to find its role, as representation across institutions is highly uneven.The European Science Open Forum (ESOF) 2010 took place in Turin following the traditions set up in Stockholm (2004), Munich (2006), and Barcelona (2008). The initiator of the ESOF is Euroscience, a pan-European association of individuals interested in constructing scientific Europe from the bottom-up. In the meantime, a complex committee structure aims to ensure quality, inclusiveness and relevance. In order to ensure continuity from one ESOF to the next, the ESOF Hub was recently created within the Euroscience in Strasbourg.
Core ESOF ideas are to present cutting edge scientific and technological developments in all their varieties stimulating the public’s and policy makers’ awareness of and interest in science and technology. ESOF is meant to be unique opportunity for meeting science operators in Europe under the slogan “Passion for Science”. Scientists from all disciplines, teachers, journalists and representatives from industry, as well as the general public, can meet to discuss the frontiers of science and technology, the relationship between science and society, policies for promoting innovation and fostering cross breeding between science and business.
The core of ESOF2010 was the scientific programme with over 100 very diverse sessions; with the career programme, special attention is given to analysing issues facing young European researchers, alongside offering new opportunities. More than 1.500 young researchers from all over Europe were scheduled to attend. Other programmes include science to business and “Science in the City”, animating Torino’s squares and venues of culture with original and fascinating initiatives.
About 3,500 participants gathered in Turin including about 1,700 young participants. The general sessions dealt with science policy issues, lectures on hot topics in science, lectures on interplay of science and scholarship, etc. An exhibition area was used to promote activities of about 40 organisations – foundations, governmental organisations, universities, companies, etc. The programme Science in the City presented interactive labs, installations, games, etc in public squares of Turin. Several high EU officials were present at the opening, but then left. European science organisations such as EIROforum, ESF, Nordforsk or also the UNESCO Venice Office were present, but the overall picture of attendance was rather uneven, despite the numbers. It would appear as if the scientific community is not entirely behind the idea of ESOF, as also mentioned in numerous media commentaries, which reduces the ability of ESOF to make its mark by enhancing science-society relations. Notably absent from the meetings were Academies, a shortcoming that, it is hoped, will be overcome by better integrating them into preparations for ESOF 2012 in Dublin. For ultimately, ESOF deserves wider support, aiming as it does at fostering a better dialogue on science and technology with society and policy. Presented at the General Assembly of Euroscience was a message, in which the European Union is urged, through the European Commission, to monitor national research and educational investments with the same determination that it is devoting on overseeing and tracking economic and financial parameters. Such an analysis, it is believed, would provide the basis for determined pan-European actions to sustain education, research and innovation.
For more information, see: http://www.esof.eu/
ALLEA Standing Committee member Ayse Erzan is awarded the Rammal Medal for 2009, 5 July 2010, Turin
During ESOF 2010 in Turin, the Rammal medals were delivered to the two laureates, Ayse Erzan and Fondation René Touraine.On 5 July 2010, during ESOF 2010, Jean-Patrick Connerade, former President of EuroScience, and president of the panel of the Rammal Award, delivered the Rammal medals to the two laureates, Ayse Erzan and Fondation René Touraine.Ayse Erzan, a member of the Turkish Academy of Sciences (TUBA), is working at Istanbul Technical University. She is a leading specialist in complex and critical systems, and has collaborated over many years with several research groups in the Mediterranean area and beyond. She is very active in the domain of human rights and ethics, being a member of the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS) and of ALLEA’s Standing Committee on Science and Ethics.Fondation René Touraine was created in 1991 by Louis Dubertret, presently at Hôpital Saint Louis, Paris, and working to screen for and cure genetic skin diseases in Mediterranean countries. The Rammal medal, created in memory of the Lebanese physicist Rammal Rammal (1951-1991), is awarded each year to an outstanding personality of strong scientific stature who, through his or her life and activity in a Mediterranean country (whether in fundamental or applied research, teaching, or the integration of knowledge), has elevated the level of scientific exchanges in that part of the world.For details on the Rammal Medal, see: http://www.euroscience.org/2009,28861,en.html
The Festival of Sciences and Arts of Royal Society hears about Tomorrows Giants, 1 July 2010, London
As the Royal Society of London marks its 350th anniversary, the Southbank Centre and the Royal Society together explored science and our human impulse to understand the world we live in during the a unique ten-day Festival of Sciences and Arts. The festival explored links between the sciences and arts and features a host of cross-disciplinary collaborations, scientific and artistic events.Mirjam Bouter from the ALLEA secretariat attended the conference Tomorrow’s Giants, a one-day conference on the future of science, co-hosted by the Royal Society and Nature. Some of the key questions debated included: What is required to enable academic achievement of the highest quality, putting funding issues to one side and focusing on the concepts and practicalities? What will science be like in ten years’ time? In 50 years? What are the main goals and challenges? Tomorrow’s Giants brings together scientists and policy-makers to gather scientists’ visions of the next 50 years, looking in particular at three major themes: data, careers, and measuring and assessment.Through a combination of parallel sessions, a keynote speech, feedback sessions and a panel discussion, these were discussed under three major themes: 1) Data: The challenge of curating and supporting databases in the future and ethical concerns around the storage and management of certain types of data; 2) Careers: Mechanisms for providing security and support for research careers; 3) Measuring and Assessment: The use of performance indicators and the challenge of having appropriate checks without inhibiting research.M. Bouter alerted participants in the stream “Careers” to the continental model of “Young Academies” where the Academy framework provides for both stepping stone and support for a successful career, and an environment that encourages enquiry beyond the borders of the conventional.
Links1. Festival of Sciences and Arts2. Conference3. ALLEA’s initiatives on Young Academies
ALLEA supports European strategy for research infrastructures, 1 July 2010, European Commission, Brussels
At a meeting of the leading European science organisations, consensus was reached on soliciting stronger political commitments for investments in research infrastructures.The meeting was called by the European Commission to canvas Europe’s leading science organisations and to gather support for a consensus statement on stronger political commitments for investments in medium and small research infrastructures of European interest. A wide range of topics were discussed, including issues related to scale and scope of management of research infrastructures at European level (costs; human resources; performance evaluation). The question of “open access policy” (in the sense of open competition for use of RI’s irrespective of national institutional affiliation) was debated as means to improve the quality also of the national science system supporting a given RI.ALLEA welcomed the establishment of such a forum to develop joint strategies, which would allow all relevant players to remain acquainted about developments in at the various levels (ESFRI projects and others). R. Klein insisted that external communication – as part of promoting the ERA – should not be limited to the lighthouse projects of the ESFRI roadmap, but play on the strengths of the rich European RI ecosystem based as it is on the diverse national institutional cultures. Academies were represented by the ALLEA executive director, who have an action on research infrastructures in Europe; also RASAB’s European liaison officer attended the meeting. ALLEA is concerned that also distributed research infrastructures, and consortia, that would bring together similar RI’s in networks are reflected appropriately in the EU-level discussions. Notably the approach “one size does not fit all” (vide: Humanities vs. ice-breaker or LHC) needs to be fully respected. Academies as operators of RI’s need to take action on making sure that their institutions feature on the respective national roadmaps. ALLEA represents, as observer, its Member Academies in the ESF/EuroHORCs Member Organisation Forum on Medium-Sized Research Infrastructures.LinkEU policies on research infrastructures
European Evaluation Protocol discussed by ALLEA Member Academies at consultative meeting, 28-29 June 2010, Union of the German Academies, Mainz
The Working Group Evaluating for Science convened ALLEA Member Academies to discuss applicability of guidelines for institutional evaluations (European Evaluation Protocol). The ALLEA Working Group Evaluating for Science has brought together scientists and evaluation experts to work jointly towards a new set of guidelines for institutional evaluations (European Evaluation Protocol). Recent years have seen, across Europe, the emergence of a burgeoning evaluation “industry”, with bibliometricians and service providers of all sorts offering to assess academic excellence. Academies, by tradition and by definition, are in the business of identifying and rewarding individual excellence; against this background, the ALLEA Working Group “Evaluating for Science”, launched in 2009, has developed a protocol for institutional evaluation (“European Evaluation Protocol”). The envisaged guidelines seek to simplify (and, at the same time render more meaningful, evaluations as part of a continuous improvement and performance enhancing process, in which the ability to develop credible forward looking strategies are as important as retrospective assessments. Evaluation is used as a tool for decision-making on institutional structures and strategic investments both in research performing academies and at universities. Seemingly, there is a global competition to reckon with, yet even across Europe academics can hardly agree on the appropriate ways to assess the competitivity of their working environments. As universities and academy research institutes are moving into ever greater budgetary autonomy, ALLEA believes that researchers themselves should reflect, in very practical terms, on the ways in which the performance of their institutional environments should be assessed. The new “European Evaluation Protocol” aims at creating a commonly agreed set of parameters for the assessment of achievements, potential and impact that takes into account the process of “doing research” as what is often a long-term process and commitment. The protocol also aims to recover evaluation as a scientific exercise (and not merely as a managerial task), and considers peer review, informed by intelligently composed indicators, as an element of scientific exchange about progress of knowledge. The protocol highlights the need to assess in an appropriate fashion the potential for societal impact of research (which is a particularly urgent task for all areas of fundamental research). ALLEA is committed to promoting excellence in science and believes that the protocol, if adopted, will allow for a greater degree of compatibility among academic institutions in Europe and, possibly, beyond.16 Member Academies from EU countries and beyond convened at this consultative meeting to explore how such a protocol would be received in their respective evaluation contexts, exchange experiences on national evaluation practices (their competitive advantages and shortcomings) and on the role of the academies in overall evaluation processes in the respective national systems. They agreed that there is a need for a more compatible set of evaluation guidelines in the different countries; many Academies who themselves are running research institutes, had started long ago using a self-evaluation protocol proposed by ALLEA, but welcome the modifications and the inclusion of societal impact elements as well as output other than scientific publications. Delegates provided comments on the draft protocol and identified further needs for academy intervention in the field of “evaluation”.LinksActivities of the ALLEA Working Group Evaluating for Science
Tenth anniversary of the German Young Academy celebrated with international symposium, 25-26 June 2010, BBAW, Berlin
The symposium “Between Nations and Disciplines” brought together Young Academies from Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, and participants from ALLEA’s Young Academy workshops.The German Young Academy is celebrating its 10th anniversary. To mark the event, Berlin-Brandenburg Akademie hosted the international Young Academy symposium “Between Nations and Disciplines”. Next to speakers from Young Academies from Austria, Germany and the Netherlands, there were participants from ALLEA’s Young Academy workshops and from recent New Champions for a of the World Economic Forum’s “summer Davos” in China; all in all the meeting had 65 registered participants. Most young scientists presented their research projects, and not always it became apparent what were the unique scientific insights gained through the Young Academy encounters. The meeting also saw the annual reception of 10 new YA members, and the bestowing of the award for the best responses to the “Academy question” (this year’s question: Whose crisis?) Links1. Die Junge Akademie2. ALLEA project “Towards a European Young Academy
EU Academies discuss techniques to translate science into policy, 24-25 June 2010, Leopoldina, Berlin
The 1st workshop of an IAP-funded project on “Science into Policy” was convened for EASAC members at the Leopoldina offices in Berlin.
The rationale of the exercise was described by the original lead academy, Royal Society, as follows: “Although the scientific quality of European policy and legislation has much improved, there remains a perception that EU policy needs to take better account of current scientific knowledge and that there is an unacceptable lag between the emergence of new understandings and their incorporation into European legislation. This is seen in particular in the environmental field, where, for example, Europe has yet to make an effective response, for example, to the immensity of the challenge of climate change. The aim of this project is to improve the processes of science and policy dialogue between the academies/academy networks of Europe and policy makers and legislators within European institutions. The focus will be on inputs of science to policy rather than policy for science. A survey of practice in the particular case of environmental policy will highlight factors leading to success in dialogue and factors that impede it. From this, ideas about best practice will be developed and disseminated to Academies. It is expected that this will strengthen effectiveness and cooperation within the European regional networks, and in particular the weaker academies with limited policy advice profile amongst their governments. In the longer term, it is anticipated that more effective science and policy dialogue will improve the quality and timeliness of EU environmental legislation. The best practice discussion will be fed back into IAP for wider regional dissemination.”This was the first workshop of the study, during which participants from ten academies and the ALLEA director discussed issues related to the “science & policy dialogue”; with the help of a EASAC science consultant (J.Murlis, representing the environment portfolio), the workshop was conducted as a case study based on the study of science policy advice for environmental issues. External speakers from the environment science community (science officer DG research; STS researcher; environmental scientist) provided insights from different angles. They emphasizes several core ideas for further development which situate the science advice process in the general domain of science & society relations.
ALLEA President attends convocation of Royal Society of London to celebrate 350th anniversary, 23 June 2010, London
The convocation of the Fellowship of the Royal Society was held in the Royal Festival Hall in the presence of Queen Elisabeth and other members of the royal family. The convocation celebrated the 350th anniversary of the Royal Society. Convocations of the Royal Society take place only once every fifty years and the guests included Fellows, their guests, and guests of the Society, including the heads of foreign academies and other significant representatives of the international science community. For more information, see: http://royalsociety.org/Royal-Society-350th-anniversary-convocation-gallery/
ALLEA Executive Director attends launch of new advice paper on European university rankings, 23 June 2010, Brussels
Geoffrey Boulton presented the new advice paper by the League of European Research Universities (LERU) ‘University rankings: diversity, excellence and the European initiative’.G. Boulton of the University of Edinburgh and secretary general of the Royal Society of Edinburgh main author of the paper, presented LERU’s views on the potential benefits, difficulties and dangers inherent in classifying and ranking universities. International rankings of universities influence the perceptions and priorities of governments, of businesses and students. Rectors and university councils see the achievement of high ranking as a strategic imperative. However, their value and benefits are questionable. One fundamental defect stems from the fact that most rankings seek to capture characteristics that cannot be measured directly, and require indirect proxies. Moreover, different universities fulfill different roles, which a single monotonic scale cannot capture. Despite these and other defects, rankings continue to have such a hold on the public imagination that they are likely to become permanent features of the landscape. Source: www.leru.orgThe “advice paper” provides a cautious endorsement of and some critical support for two EU-funded projects, U-Map, aiming at a classification of [European] universities, focusing therefore on profiles) and U-Multirank, a feasibility study for a global university ranking, focusing, in other words, on performance). Both projects are funded by DG Culture & Education through the Life-Long Learning Programme, and LERU members Leuven and Leiden are, with their relevant institutes, consortium members in the two projects. Although LERU applauds the attempt, there are both principled and practical reasons for being sceptical about the ultimate validity and utility of rankings, which are spelled out in the paper.In the near future, there will be a testing phase of the U-Multirank with a group of 150 universities (75 in Europe, 75 around the world).The “League of European Research Universities” (LERU) is as an association of 22 leading research-intensive universities that share the values of high-quality teaching within an environment of internationally competitive research. Founded in 2002, LERU advocates education through an awareness of the frontiers of human understanding; the creation of new knowledge through basic research, which is the ultimate source of innovation in society; and the promotion of research across a broad front in partnership with industry and society at large.ALLEA’s Working Group on Evaluation will shortly convene a more workshop in which the different ranking and classification exercises are presented and compared.Links1. Advice paper: University rankings: diversity, excellence and the European Initiative 2. LERU website
Meeting of European Academies Science Advisory Council, 17-18 June 2010, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest
European Academies Science Advisory Council held a full meeting to debate and decide its work programme until the end of 2011.EASAC held a full meeting of Council to debate and decide its work programme until the end of 2011. Meeting participants also heard a short speech by the recently appointed Hungarian Minister for Human Resources Prof. Réthelyi Miklós about priorities of the Hungarian EU presidency in the first half of 2011. This the last Council meeting to be led by the outgoing Chairman Volker ter Meulen was hosted by the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and took place in the Academy’s palace in Budapest on 17-18 June 2010. During its meeting the Council discussed the current and upcoming EASAC work programme in the three scientific portfolios, bio-medical sciences, energy and environment. Currently statements are being prepared on topics such as synthetic biology, infectious diseases in Europe, concentrating solar power, carbon capture and storage, biodiversity and sustainable biofuels. Furthermore, EASAC is running a series of workshops for its members about the Dialogue between Science and Policy, both on a national and on an EU level. The European Academies’ Science Advisory Council sees the task of giving scientific advice to decision-makers of European and national policy as being the core academy activity.This meeting was the last one chaired by Volker ter Meulen (Leopoldina), who will be succeeded as chairman of EASAC by Sir Brian Heap of Academia Europaea, a European, non-governmental association acting as an Academy and composed of individual scientists and scholars. The new vice-chairmen are, József Pálinkás, Sven Kullander and Jos van der Meer, respectively of the Hungarian, Swedish and Dutch Academies of Sciences.
ALLEA President attends round table with ESF member organisations about perspectives for interdisciplinary research, 16-18 June 2010, Istanbul
As ESF moves towards a new structure in the European institutional landscape, this table ronde with research councils and academies addressed needs of interdisciplinary research. The ALLEA President attended an ESF round table with Member Organisations about perspectives for interdisciplinary research focusing on “Grand Challenges and Interdisciplinarity: Opportunities for Member Organisations and ESF in the developing European Research Area”. Most presentations were looking at procedural and organisational issues; among the interesting scientific presentations counted G. Sandini’s talk on reverse engineering of the human brain as an excellent example of interdisciplinarity. During the concluding session, Roderick Floud (British Academy, and chair of the ESF Standing Committee on Social Sciences) warned that interdisciplinarity is not an aim per se, but a tool to tackle highly complex research questions, whether they are of societal relevance or, at first sight, purely curiosity driven. Jüri Engelbrecht emphasised in his contribution the importance to include the next generation of leading researchers Academies in considerations about new formats aimed at fostering interdisciplinarity: the model of the Young Academies shows the innovative and also institutionally creative potential of involving younger scientists.
Science Academies from the Southern EU member states warn about the state of groundwater in the region, 16 June 2010, Halle/Saale
New EASAC report presents evidence on the current status and use of groundwater in the Southern EU for report on sustainability and future development, in agreement with Water Framework Directive.When rain or snow falls on land, some of the water runs into rivers or lakes and some is released back into the atmosphere through evaporation and transpiration (or alternatively combine as ‘evapotranspiration’). Much of it, however, collects in the ground where it is taken up by cracks and pores in rocks and soils. The distinct underground areas where groundwater collects are known, in the terminology of the Water Framework Directive (WFD), as groundwater bodies. Groundwater, drawn up in wells or boreholes, is an important resource and is widely used for irrigation and for domestic purposes. The WFD of 2000 (200/60/EC) contains measures designed to protect groundwater as a valuable resource. However, the considerable differences across the EU in the availability of groundwater and in the pattern of demand for it are not explicitly recognised in the Directive. As a consequence there are different levels of implementation of the WFD. The evidence from the different Member States shows that there are many common factors across Southern Europe which may suggest common approaches. A common concern across the region: there is a rapid growth in the number of users of groundwater, and much of this rapid growth consist of unlicensed pumping. This present a major social and political obstacle to the introduction of good management of aquifers. In some parts of the region there are also concerns about groundwater pollution due to the (mainly) historic uncontrolled use of land, including pollution by nitrates (e.g. in Italy). Even though groundwater may be abundant, it is increasingly vulnerable and has to be considered increasingly unreliable as a source of future drinking water supplies. The science academies of the southern European Union member states have collected evidence in country reports that helped to compile the main report. Links1. Main report2. Country reports
ALLEA Executive Director presents inter-academy collaboration in Europe to Science Council Asia, 13-16 June, Manila
10th SCA conference under the title “Meeting the Health Challenges in the Asia Pacific Region: Responding through an Integrated and Multidisciplinary Approach in Science and Technology”Hosted by the National Research Council of the Philippines, with support from Philippine government institutions and the Science Council Japan, the 10th SCA conference under the title “Meeting the Health Challenges in the Asia Pacific Region: Responding through an Integrated and Multidisciplinary Approach in Science and Technology” convened in Manila on 13-16 June 2010.ALLEA Executive Director presented the different dimensions of inter-academy collaboration in Europe to Science Council Asia members during the business sessions of SCA. Plenary sessions focused on different approaches chosen by the various Academic sessions included reports from SCA projects (e.g.: natural disaster prevention) and emerging new networks, e.g. on popular culture or complexity science.Science Council Asia brings together 11 countries and some of their main research organisations (ministries, academies, research councils, research institutes). It has a rotating presidency, responsible for the annual conferences; currently the presidency is held by the Mongolian Academy of Sciences.Links1. Conference website2. Science Council of Asia 3. Mongolian Academy of sciences
3rd mediterranean scientific conference of Parmenides network and 1st assembly of Euro Mediterranean Academic Network, 21-24 June 2010, Alexandria
As part of the efforts to build a Mediterranean science area, Bibliotheca Alexandrina hosts conference and assembly.
“Mediterranean Wealth and Diversity; Biology and Culture” was the title of the 3rd mediterranean scientific conference of the Parmenides network, held at Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Alexandria, Egypt, on 21-24 June, 2010. The conference was preceded by the first assembly of the Euro Mediterranean Academic Network (EMAN) on 21 June 2010. Representatives from 21 academies of the Mediterranean area met under the session presidency of Mohamed HASSAN, Co-Chair IAP, Executive Director of TWAS and André CAPRON, President of GID, the Inter-academic Group for Development, member of the Académie des Sciences – Institut de France. Says Professor François Gros, Secrétaire Perpétuel Honoraire de l’Académie des sciences, Président Honoraire du GID: «A new role is clearly outlined for the Mediterranean Academies, which raises planetary level issues. The conclusions drawn by the 3 workshops on June 26th morning, clearly justify the Mediaterranean academies’ missions. Multidisciplinary environment issues, the emergence of knowledge in societies lie in the core of them. Science, inequality, poverty are at the heart of the current problems of knowledge, education, development, and peace. All this needs an integrative vision which can be provided by rejuvenated Academies. EMAN could give an example to the world in these fields. The current challenges nurture a legitimate enthusiasm.»For the detailed conference programme, see: http://www.g-i-d.org/spip.php?article80
ALLEA convenes meeting to support research and higher education in Palestine, 7 June 2010, Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, Oslo
Following discussions in the its Standing Committee on Science and Ethics, ALLEA convened a meeting to support research and higher education in Palestine at the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, Oslo, on 7 June 2010 with delegates from Palestinian and European agencies , academies and universities. The driving force behind the meeting was Dagfinn Føllesdal, from the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters and member of ALLEA’s Standing Committee on Science and Ethics, who had presented a compelling report on the situation of research and higher education in Palestine to an earlier meeting of the Committee.
The aim of the meeting was practical. Moving beyond the statement compiled during a previous meeting towards concrete actions, the meeting collected the reactions of Palestinian research institutions to the statement elaborated by the ALLEA Standing Committee by way of a needs assessment, develop possible, specific interventions for strengthening research and higher education in Palestine, and started developing a plan of priority actions. A short questionnaire helping to gather evidence for the needs assessment received reactions to the following issues: 1) needs that can realistically be fulfilled in Palestine by European academics and Academies without additional financial resources; 2) expectations on how European Academies can help Palestinian researchers in furthering their careers; 3) case studies (positive and negative) illustrating what kind of interventions and cooperation agreements yielded the desired results and which did not (indicating measures for success or failure, lessons learnt etc.); 4) possible role of the Israeli Academy of Sciences and Humanities, a full member of ALLEA.Participants agreed on the following measures to be taken by Committee members and ALLEA at large to implement the recommendations of the statement: strengthen the impact of the joint university action PEACE; ask for support from the Israeli Academy of Sciences and Humanities in publicising the documentation listing violations of the freedom of Palestinian scientists in the pursuit of their work; ask ALLEA Member Academies to identify possibilities to support the mobility of Palestinian researchers; support as much as possible planned conferences in Palestine, by generating financial support for attendance and attending in person; endeavour to establish teaching and exchange programmes with Palestinian institutions of higher learning.A meeting document will be published, and a small steering committee composed of Palestinian and European scientists will facilitate the implementation of the recommendations.Links1. Workshop website2. ICBAS conferenceDocument SCSE proposals
Academies make proposals for repositioning of research organisations in Europe, 30 May 2010, Frankfurt
18 national academies that are currently members of the European Science Foundation present a list of requirements for successful turn-around of the organisation.The European Science Foundation (ESF), a consortium of some 80 national research councils, research performing organisations and academies, is preparing to merge with the EuroHORCs – an informal association of national research councils and public non-university research organisations. One objective is to better position the national research organisations enabling them to interact and coordinate with the research relevant institutions of the European Union, notably the various directorates of the European Commission; another intention is to more efficiently prepare joint action, whether in coordinated priority setting or funding, notably in response to the grand societal challenges that require heavy science investment. In an unlikely twist of their analysis how best to achieve these aims, ESF and EuroHORCs suggest to exclude Academies from membership in the future organisation.In a statement discussed at the ESF Governing Council, the 18 out of 53 ALLEA Member Academies that are currently members of the ESF (some of whom members of the first generation) prepared a list of requirements for a successful turn-around and, overall, stronger showing of the two organisations. They pointed to the failure so far to make the best use of the Academy membership.Following up from this, the Academies make a series of proposals aimed at assisting the new organisation to secure credibility among the scientific communities. The key elements of analysis and the main recommendations, at this stage, are as follows:The Academies are convinced research and science need to have a stronger voice in Europe; their current position has not allowed ESF or EuroHORCs to play this role so far. A new organisation composed of research funders alone would risk being seen as an institutional lobby group. The Academies argue that in addition to creating a broad platform for all science organisations – encompassing next to academies and councils also foundations, public and private research performers, universities, and EC-funded agencies such as ERC and JRC – the scientific governance of the new organisation will be key to its success. Notably for any of their envisaged foresight activities ESF or EuroHORCs are cautioned not to duplicate or neglect the efforts of others: they should ensure that the experience and expertise of Academies to lead foresight activities at national level is used, The Academies are leading science organisations in all European countries, in the EU and beyond; they are concerned that the new organisation, far from strengthening all-European science, will consolidate rather than abolish the existence of a European science environment divided among three groups of countries of different speed. The Academies therefore call upon a needs assessment – based on the funding formats offered so far – especially as regards seed-money for networking and transnational, jointly funded, collaborative research in a “bottom-up” mode. This would be a first step towards a more equitable change in the institutional landscape, towards improvements that would serve all national science systems, and not only those already in the lead. Against this background the Academies do not endorse the claim that the new organisation would represent the voice of science in Europe: this, they believe, would be a misnomer, since the interests of research funders – at best at arms’ length from politically set priorities – are not, automatically, identical to the interests of researchers or science at large. By the same token, ALLEA has long called for a closer coordination of activities also between the different academy networks in Europe (e.g.: regional networks[Baltic; Vysehrad] , networks covering a political space [EU], networks reaching beyond Europe [Mediterranean]).Document Full statement
ALLEA President participates at Spanish Presidency Conference on ERC From Programme to Institution, 28 May 2010, Barcelona
As the European Research Council needs to consolidate its legal framework, the ALLEA President expresses support of the Academies.The Spanish Presidency Conference on “European Research Council – from programme to institution” addressed one of the chief concerns of the recent independent review of the ERC operations, namely the need for a more permanent status of the ERC as an institution, rather than as a project under the EU Framework Programme. The high-level panel chaired by Vaira Vike-Freiberga from Latvia made strong recommendations to address “…fundamental problems related to rules and practices regarding the governance, administration and operations of the ERC that are not adapted to the nature of modern ‘frontier’ science management.” The conference, organized at the premises of the Institute for Catalan Studies, had the following sessions: (i) views from the EC; (ii) ERC – does it meet the expectations? (iii) review of the ERC structures and mechanisms: analysis and recommendations; (iv) ERC – future development. The ALLEA President contributed to the session on analysis and recommendations: the recommendations made by the Identification Committee have been realized: the main result of the ERC’s activities is a change the mindset in Europe – excellence counts across the continent. Yet, several structural problems still persist: they refer to the legal status of the ERC, and to FP-inspired accounting and funding mechanism. For the future, the ERC and the agencies who support it must work together to make sure that notably the many young researchers it supports are given a voice – one model could be that of the Young Academy/ies. Jüri Engelbrecht had been member of the First ERC Identification Committee (2005-2008) under chair Lord Patten of Barnes, Chancellor of Oxford University, that had established the procedures for selecting the founding members of the ERC Scientific Council.
Académie des Sciences offers worldwide training in hands-on science education, 17-22 May 2010, Sèvres, near Paris
50 trainers and decision-makers from non-European educational systems got acquainted with the methods and the tools developed in France under the heading La main à la pâte.
The French Académie des Sciences is organizing, in collaboration with the French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, its first international seminar on science and technology education in school. The seminar takes place from 17-22 May 2010 at the International Centre for Educational Studies (CIEP) in Sèvres, near Paris. The seminar will address inquiry-based science education issues, strategies for innovation in educational practices and strategies for generalization into educational systems, and is supported by the Directorate for Global Affairs, Development and Partnerships of the French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs and the Directorate for European and International Affairs and Cooperation of the Ministry of Education. This meeting is intended for 50 trainers and decision-makers from non-European educational systems, wishing to get acquainted with the methods and the tools developed in France. The objective is to support them in the rejuvenation of science education and the implementation of an inquiry-based approach in classrooms in their country. ALLEA’s Working Group on Science Education, also led by Académie des Sciences, is working towards spreading the inquiry-based science education approach through the European network of Academies on science education.
For detailed information about the seminar, see: http://www.lamap.fr/seminaire
ALLEA Director speaks at history of science conference on past and future scientific contacts and exchanges between Asia and Europe, 20-21 May 2010,
The conference “The Bright Dark Ages”, hosted by the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, asked participants to rethink Needham’s Grand Question about Euro-Asian scientific contacts. R. Klein surveyed in his keynote address some of the historical dimensions touched upon by speakers, and elaborated on elements for future Euro-Asian scientific collaboration in the field of history of science. He notably raised the issue of funding mechanisms for joint comparative cultural heritage studies (instruments, collections etc.) and the related (possible) emergence of large0-scale research infrastructures and collaboratoria. He also urged participants to strive, within their respective national contexts, for the inclusion of major themes from the history of science and technology in regular history curricula. The conference proceedings will be published by ISEAS.Document Programme
ALLEA President at Annual Academy Conference Science change of paradigms?, 20-21 May 2010, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna
The annual festive conference session of the Austrian Academy of Sciences held under the title “Wa(h)re Forschung?” addressed the position of science between truth and market.ALLEA President Jüri Engelbrecht attended the festive annual meeting of the Austrian Academy of Sciences. The State President and the Minister for Research gave addresses at a time, when Austrian scientists fears reductions in the country’s investments into science. The issue of knowledge transfer, and the critical conditions for improving the efficacy of exchanges in the knowledge triangle were among the issues discussed. The festive session saw a number of high-levekl talks, and featured also the welcome exptended to new members of the Academy and the Junge Kurie. During the conference which had been given the inspiring title “Wa(h)re Forschung?” and which heard comprised many prominent speakers, former Academy president Peter Schuster demonstrated through a compelling comparison with neighbouring Switzerland that Austria has to do more to support its scientific talent (and to attract budding new talent from abroad). The conference papers will be published.
ALLEA Standing Committee member Joe Trontelj nominated to UNESCO International Bioethics Committee, 17 May 2010, Paris
In May 2010, UNESCO nominated Joze Trontelj, President of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and member of the ALLEA Standing Committee on Science and Ethics, as one of the worldwide 35 members of the UNESCO International Bioethics Committee (IBC) for the period 2011-2013.The IBC promotes reflection on the ethical and legal issues raised by research in the life sciences and their applications, and encourages the exchange of ideas and information. It also encourages action to heighten awareness on bioethics matters among wider public, expert and decision-making stakeholders audiences. IBC co-operates with the international governmental organizations and NGO’s concerned by those and more specifically with national and regional bioethics committees and similar bodies. IBC contributes to the dissemination of the principles set out in the UNESCO Declarations in the field of bioethics, and to the further examination of issues raised by their applications and by the evolution of the technologies in question.Please click here for more information about the IBC.
International conference on scholarly publishing in Warsaw, 7 May 2010, Warsaw
The Polish Academy of Sciences continued its tradition of convening international conferences on topical issues in scientific publishing.The Polish Academy of Sciences continued its tradition of convening international conferences on topical issues in scientific publishing, by hosting this year’s conference under the title “Transparency in Science, Open Access, and Scholarly Publishing” in Warsaw on 7 May 2010. Sessions focused on national policies (Canada, China, France, Poland), and on discipline-specific issues (medicine, Humanities) Document Programme
Spanish Presidency Conference discusses ERAB report ERA 2030 Preparing Europe for a new Renaissance, 6-7 May 2010, Seville
ALLEA President Jüri Engelbrecht was invited guest at the Spanish EU Presidency conference of the European Research Advisory Board, “ERA 2030 – Preparing Europe for a new Renaissance”. The ERAB Stakeholder Conference under the Spanish Presidency on 6-7 May 2010 in Seville aimed to foster further pan-European reflection and debate on science and technology and their relationship with the whole spectrum of society and culture. The conference brought together the most important public and private stakeholders of the European Research Area to discuss the requirements for turning into reality the ERAB Strategic View for 2030, as expressed in the 1st ERAB report: “Preparing Europe for a New Renaissance – A Strategic View of the European Research Area”. In her speech to the conference, the Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn reminded the audience of the key elements of the “Europe 2020 Strategy” aimed at boosting “Europe’s competitiveness, productivity, growth and economic convergence: 1) knowledge and innovation, including a flagship initiative to create an “Innovation Union”, 2) a more sustainable economy (“smart growth”), and 3) high employment and social inclusion.”She then listed ten main obstacles as yet in the way of realizing this vision: 1.Our research quality is not consistently high, against a global benchmark2.University/Industry interface is poor, hampering innovation and collaboration3.Low mobility of researchers & engineers within the EU, & between industry & academia4.Financing for early-stage technology companies is scarce5.Financing for mid-stage technology companies is very scarce!6.Patent costs are too high in Europe7.Innovation clusters are weak and dispersed8.Public procurement does not encourage innovation9.European market fragmentation and concentration slow technology demand10.Entrepreneurship is undervalued in many European countries.ALLEA President Jüri Engelbrecht attended the conference of the European Research Advisory Board under the Spanish EU Presidency. A special focus of the conference was on young researchers, Engelbrecht drew the attention of participants to the successful experiments of Young Academies as means to involve early career researchers in science policy debates. ALLEA has promoted, among its members, the notion of Young Academies, held a number of brainstorming and best-practice workshops on the issue, and would welcome a better presence of the best young researchers in the European arena. Engelbrecht also reminded participants that ALLEA and its member academies have established a Working Group Science Education which is in discussions with the relevant directorates at the Commission about the most appropriate lines of intervention
Links1. Conference website2. ERAB report 3. Commissioner’s full speech4. Response of the ERAB panel 5. Conference report
ALLEA General Assembly Conference Learning: from apprenticeship to wisdom, Stockholm, 15-17 April 2010
The ALLEA General Assembly Conference “Learning: from apprenticeship to wisdom” was hosted by the four Royal Swedish Academies of Antiquities, Engineering, Forestry, and Sciences, in Stockholm (Sweden), 15-16 April 2010. The scientific conference programme revolved around the notion of “learning”. Sessions with speakers from across Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas were devoted, in an attempt to stimulate comparative discussions and views, to broad topics such as “science education”, “university reform”, and “social learning and sustainability”. Participants agreed that Academies needed to show even stronger engagement in stimulating better science education, argued strongly in favour of proper support for fundamental research in Academy institutes and universities, and proposed a number of specific measures (for example: supporting “women in science”).The business meeting of the General Assembly heard and approved the Annual Report for 2009 and debated and decided on matters to do with ALLEA’s statutes, strategy and finances. Member Academies agreed that steps need to be taken to further strengthen the independent voice of science in Europe as represented by the Academies.Document Short presentation of the Annual Report