Issue 3 | A world-leading independent review. Neelie Kroes Digital Agenda for Europe “Securing a Free & Open Cyberspace”
Prof. Bernhard G. Herrmann Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics.
Global Science and Technology Hanne Leth Anderson Roskilde University “University Education & Employability”
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven Division M3 - BIORES
PUSHING BEYOND THE BARRIERS
Sharing Excellence & Knowledge & Showcasing Science.
Welcome to global scientia’s spring edition for 2013 This time of year is always a season for remarkable change, growth and development, which fits in well with Global Scientia’s stirring scientific themes! We look at developments for emerging technologies such as the Nanotechnology youngster-Graphene materials, in addition Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping that can help build environmental resistance. If Graphene materials are developed further then this could mean Europe can tap into the possible Trillions of euros that could be made from them. Mapping technologies can be used to chart changes in the environment and wildlife so we can better manage and preserve habitats, oceans and seas, geological sites and ecosystems. Other topics for discussion include looking at educational developments in Europe. One of these articles is a review of the speech by Androulla Vassiliou, Member of the European Commission for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth on the Digital Age & Education. According to Vassiliou where education and digital technologies are concerned “If this is a race, we are not winning”. This important speech looks at ways that the EU states can move forward in ICT education and training for students and ICT teachers. Another article discusses the popular Erasmus mobility student exchange programme. In fact this highlights that not only does this programme cover student exchanges in the EU states but exchanges and training for academic staff, higher education institutions, enterprises and non-academic staff involved in education. We also cover the battle to combat Antimicrobial resistance (AMR), one example being the Swedish Government’s wish to allow for more freedom, risk taking and out of the box thinking for researchers. Other articles we cover in the global contest include an update on renewable energy developments in Africa and Tarsier conservation in the Philippines amongst many others. Recently I went on a visit with a friend to The National Museum in Edinburgh. I had gone there many times as a child and remember being really thrilled as there were lots of ‘exciting’ buttons to press and ‘wonderful’ things that lit up and made interesting sounds. To be honest it was quite basic by today’s standards; a few dim lights, tiny beeps and swirly
burly things! Nowadays everything there is much more sophisticated; technical shows, secret flaps and dials to lift and turn light shows and visual and tactical extravaganzas of all shapes and sizes! It’s wonderful really at how interesting these educational tools are now, so much thought has gone into everything with the help of modern technological advancements. The more I visited the museum as a youngster the more I realised that pressing the buttons didn’t really get much accomplished! But I still had to press the buttons and turn the knobs so the little static train wheels would turn and my brief actions would light up a map of how electricity worked! Why am I sharing this little anecdote you may ask? This to me in a way sums up science and research, if we don’t keep pressing the buttons nothing much happens! We can become predictable too and creativity and ingenuity can lag behind us. So we need to continually adapt, change, develop and look for other ways to do things. At the same time the predictability of carrying out experiments and activities is often needed to do the nitty gritty of research. Pressing button can be tedious, stressful, frustrating but also, reassuring, familiar and fundamental. We need to strive and to see possibilities where perhaps there was none the day before. Progress is needed at the same time we should remember the history behind of how something has got to a certain stage in its development. Continuous effective education and training should be allowed to flourish across the board in all science related subjects, without one another cannot grow and without cooperation progress can be delayed or diminished. Without creative thinkers and inventiveness much would sit on the back burner. Now we can write our own history, or help others do so, there is still time to learn! Gillian McNicoll Global Scientia
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CONTENTS 3 Foreword Global Scientia spring 2013 6 Neelie Kroes “Securing a Free and Open Cyberspace” 8 Global Scientia’s Gillian McNicoll “ICT Developments in Europe Keep on Rolling” 10 Global Scientia’s Gillian McNicoll “Graphene Materials: Nanotechnology with Fringe Benefits” 12 BMBF - Dr. Georg Schütte, - State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Research “Expanding the German-American Partnership” 14 Prof Bernhard G. Herrmann Scientific Director - Max-Planck-Institute for Molecular Genetics “Basic research in developmental biology benefits society” 16 Era-Net Neuron – “Cutting (technological) edges” – Dr Hella Lichtenberg and Dr Marlies Dorlöchter 20 Global Scientia’s Gillian McNicoll “The War against Microbial Resistance rages across Europe” 22 Dr Jeno Major – Director of the National Institute of Chemical Safety Hungary “Sound Management of Chemicals in Hungary”
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24 Ain Vellak - Estonian Environmental Conservation and Environmental Technology Programme Leader “Estonian National Programme of Environmental Technology Achieves Success” 28 Global Scientia’s Gillian McNicoll “The Digital Agendas ‘Silent Crisis’ must be Heard & Acted upon” 30 “Collaboration between Europe and China, an experience from Lund University” ERASMUS MUNDUS PARTNERSHIPS, Elisabeth Axell, Project Manager at Division of External Relations, Lund University 34 Global Scientia’s Gillian McNicoll “The Erasmus Mobility Programme: Where foreign becomes more familiar” 36 Dr Thomas Sinkjaer - Director, Danish National Research Foundation “Curiosity Pays off for the Danish National Research Foundation” 38 Prof Hanne Leth Anderson “University Education and Employability Research-based ways of working and realworld competences” 42 Carsten Orth Gaarn-Larsen Managing Director - Danish Advanced Technology Foundation - From idea to project and results
46 Jukka Gustafsson, Minister of Education and Science Finland “Finland seeks growth through expertise” 50 Prof. Roman Nowak Director, Nordic Hysitron Laboratory, Aalto University – “Nanomechanics under the Northern Lights” 54 Johanna Hermans “Tekes Emphasises its International Efforts” 58 Maria Damanaki “The EU’s fight against illegal fishing: ensuring valuable resources for our common future”
76 “Action on Air Pollution EU Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik on the 2013 “Year of Air” 78 Dr. Olivier Lateltin Swisstopo, Swiss Geological Survey “Geology for the Society” 82 “CGS Europe and CO2GeoNet taste of European research networking” Dr Vit Hladik 86 IFAH - Declan O’Brien Managing Director of IFAH-Europe – “Why innovation in animal health is crucial in the battle against disease”
60 Dr Paolo Mossone “Foundation IMC - International Marine Centre”
88 Prof Daniel Berckmans and Dr Claudia Bahr “The High-Tech Empathy in Livestock Farming”
64 Global Scientia’s Gillian McNicoll “Africa: Renewable Energy’s Sleeping Giant”
90 Barbara Freischem Executive Director of the International Federation for Animal Health (IFAH) “The Costs of Animal Diseases”
68 Global Scientia’s Gabrielle De Juras “The Tarsier Conservation Programme: Protecting one of the Philippines‘s little gems” 70 Prof. Dr. Hojka Kraigher, EUFORINNO Project Coordinator “Rising research potential for studying climate change and biodiversity in forests”
92 Global Scientia’s Gillian McNicoll “GIS Mapping Technologies That Are Helping Create Environmental Resilience” 94 “The European Space Agency: almost 50 years of success”, Franco Bonacina, ESA Director General’s Spokesperson
Commercial Director A. Alim Sales Director Ali Hussain Head of Development Alan Nielsen Head of Design Duncan Cook Drummond Editor William Nielsen Sub Editor Gillian McNicoll Field Journalist Gabrielle De Juras Head of Finance Kevin Shields International Relations Scott Duff Production Bruce Watt Head of Audience Development Martin Johnston Any queries please email email@example.com
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SECURING A FREE AND OPEN CYBERSPACE
Securing a Free and Open Cyberspace Cybersecurity article. Vice President Neelie Kroes
ack in the 1960s few people thought that the large grey terminals that lined a laboratory basement in California would one day change the world. Today, we see their impact on almost every aspect of our lives: the Internet connects rich and poor, boosts trade and broadcasts debate. It brings knowledge to remote villages, provides information for innovators and drives commerce. Over the past five years, the Internet has accounted for a rise in GDP of over 20% in the world’s major economies. By completing the Digital Single Market, Europe could boost its GDP by almost 500 billion euros a year, an average of 1000 euros per citizen. Cyber Commerce also creates new jobs and endless opportunities for innovation. There are now over 2 billion networked people in the world who increasingly rely on the Web to shop, study, bank and vote. The Internet has also become a motor for social progress. In country after country where governments once controlled nearly every aspect of life, citizens now use social media to demand openness, jobs and equal opportunities. With 43 million Facebook
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users in the Arab world, including 15 million women, the region’s socially marginalised and politically oppressed stay connected with each other — and the world. Through online courses, people around the world now have access to world-class education, even in remote and underdeveloped regions.
freedom to blog, study or bank online is undermined by fraud and identity theft. And the most vulnerable members of our societies, our children, can all too easily fall prey to threats and abuse online. Authoritarian regimes are devising new ways — often modelled on commercial internet-monitoring tools — to track and neutralise Internet activism, spread propaganda and impose censorship. Urgent action is needed to preserve the freedoms of our citizens and the Internet’s capacity to drive social and economic progress. Cybercrime undermines the Web’s capacity to drive innovation, growth and job creation. Citizens increasingly doubt the safety of the web; recent data show that almost a third of Europeans are not confident their banking and shopping is safe online and few feel confident disclosing any personal information.
Unfortunately the Web’s great benefits also come with growing risks. Sophisticated malicious viruses increasingly circulate on the Web, attacking millions of new computers every day. Up to 600 000 Facebook accounts are blocked every day, after various types of hacking attempts. The dependence of essential services like transport, power, and water on cyberspace also makes us vulnerable in new ways to cyber-terrorism, or cyberespionage. The bill for these attacks runs into hundreds of billions while the human cost could be incalculable. Citizens are increasingly threatened by new kinds of web-enabled crime. Their
To respond to their concerns and to promote greater safety, the EU recently launched its Cyber Security Strategy. It is designed to safeguard our fundamental freedoms by addressing the growing threats emanating from cyberspace. To do so, the EU has developed some practical solutions. The European Cybercrime Centre helps protect European citizens and businesses against attacks from organised crime groups. Another example is ENISA — the European Network and Information Security Agency, which advises European states on security-related problems in hardware and software products. Preserving an open, free and secure Cyberspace is a global challenge. If we want to guard our freedoms, we need to share the responsibility they bring with them. This is why — together with our international partners — we need to
SECURING A FREE AND OPEN CYBERSPACE
agree on rules for behaviour and devise ways to protect us from attacks in cyberspace. We can only do this by including everyone concernedgovernments, international organisations, the private sector, and civil society. The EUâ€™s Cyber Security Strategy gives us a common framework to take our work forward and engage international partners. In our globalised world cyberspace has become the backbone of our daily interactions. It will only gain significance in years to come. Much as we did not see fifty years ago how the rudimentary version of the Internet could change our lives, so it is hard to predict what technological advances will shape the next fifty years. But no matter where our hyper connected world will lead us, our commitment to a free and secure Internet will prevail.
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ICT: Developments in Europe Keep on Rolling
ICT Developments in Europe Keep on Rolling Gillian McNicoll Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the European Commission deals with the Digital Agenda in Europe.
Neelie Kroes, Vice President EC
“…let’s not act alone in technology silos, in the different compartments of EU funding. That way lies failure. If we can boost industrial leadership and competitiveness, we will also be betterplaced to fix many of society’s problems; and vice versa. So I hope that these different communities will cooperate and engage together”.
ICT is one of the fastest and most promising fields of science today. Despite the grim picture that has been painted about the economy and the austerity measures being experienced across Europe, ICT has shown resilience and the potential to create several new high-tech jobs over the coming years. The President of the European Union José Manuel Barroso, and Vice-President of the European commission as well as other stakeholders have come up with detailed and comprehensive plans to tackle the challenges that lie ahead. Cooperation & Working On The Same Page Is Key Neelie Kroes urged everyone to cooperate and put all their resources and their efforts together instead of acting alone with of EU funding. This is because it is believed that this is a road to failure. The right road is boosting competitiveness and industrial leadership because this will solve many of Europe’s problems. Emphasis has been placed on pooling resources together, greater cooperation for the greater good and a more technologically competitive Europe. Some of the issues to focus on are: funding Europe’s technology industry,
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high speed internet and a framework for ICT research. Additionally there is to be a strong focus on digital jobs and other technological fields. The good news is that significant strides have been made already, but there is still more to be done by all the players and stakeholders of Information & Communications Technology development in Europe. Here is a summary of what has been pledged and intends to do in the near future. Opening up doors for funding the ICT industry in Europe According to Neelie Kroes one of the key cornerstones to all scientific development is funding. The KET (Key Enabling Technologies) High Level Group is one of the sources that interested parties can get funding. The first thing that researchers will need to do to get funded is to show that the funds will be used to create jobs,and especially high-technology manufacturing. However, it has been recognised that there are other areas of ICT where there has to be rigorous effort put in. Research has shown that greater importance has to be put into small and medium (SMEs) sized tech companies because they play a role in Europe’s ICT and digital modernisation journey. Some of the aid they need is with achieving greater and
enhanced access to research facilities and also manufacturing competences. Other areas that require attention include, increasing competiveness as well as encouraging industrial leadership. Government led funding alone is not always enough and the European Investment Bank is open to any suggestions about private funding opportunities. Good News For Digital Jobs In Europe “Europe’s digital businesses, governments, training and education sectors to join a Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs to address up to 900 000 job vacancies expected to exist in Europe in Information and Communication technologies (ICT) by 2015”. Commission President José Manuel Barroso
Barroso called on the various stakeholders to come together in a coalition to address the nine hundred thousand jobs that are to be created by the year 2015 in the ICT sector. In spite of the current economic outlook in Europe the number of jobs that are being created are over one hundred thousand annually. The main issue at present is that the numbers of skilled ICT workers and graduates are not also rising. Many different groups are coming together for change
ICT: Developments in Europe Keep on Rolling and there are fifteen groups and businesses signing up. One of the pledges that has been made was the development of an online arena for learning for young people called the ‘academy cube’. The other pledge that was made is the training module for energy smart grid installers. Some of the other areas that the commission has sought to get pledges are as follows;
2010 ICT jobs increased at yearly rate of 4.3 percent. It is estimated that nearly nine hundred thousand jobs will be created by the year 2015. The President also called on all the stakeholders to see to it that they stay the course of the pledges that have been made for a more successful and technological competitive Europe.
New networks have to be developed in order to ensure Europe does not put its emphasis on using ADSL broadband networks; this could lead to stagnation and Europe could miss out on unlimited opportunities.
High Speed Internet Can Increase Competiveness and Jobs
part of that is to make sure that there are strategies in place that keep the price of copper stable. Another objective is to have a single competitive European telecoms market because this is what is needed by investors to help with long term planning. These policies are meant to shape the European economy into a more proinvestment, pro-competitive regulatory environment.
Today the objective is to make sure that enough investment is put into high speed internet all over Europe. The second
can create new jobs and can increase growth as well as help both large and small businesses to work more efficiently. http://europa.eu/rapid/ press-release_SPEECH-13165_en.htm#PR_ metaPressRelease_bottom http://europa.eu/rapid/pressrelease_MEMO-12-554_en.htm
• To match and train people
for digital jobs - this is going to be put in place to make sure that the businesses get the right people with the right type of skills.
• Certification – To ensure
that the skills that one person has can be verified irrespective of which country the person comes from in Europe.
– The aspect of • Mobility mobility means that skilled labour should go where it is needed. In different cities and towns across Europe, there is a shortage of skilled labour while some towns and cities have a surplus of skilled labour. teaching and • Innovative learning – this entails embracing new ways of learning while also expanding and improving the current training systems in order to give more skilled labour to the job sector.
Awareness raising – to raise awareness to employers and players of the skills that workers have and that both men or women can have careers in the digital field
The workforce of ICT in Europe was estimated to be nearly 7 million in the year 2011. From the year 2000 to www.globalscientia.com
“I am very happy that BEREC (Body of European Regulators of Electronic Communications) has given a positive opinion on our draft Recommendation on non-discrimination obligations and costing methodology for regulated wholesale network access…”
http://europa.eu/rapid/pressrelease_IP-13-182_en.htm https://ec.europa.eu/digitalagenda/en/news/europeancommission-launches-grandcoalition-digital-jobs https://ec.europa.eu/digitalagenda/en/news/ strategical-conference-eutaiwan-ict-technicalcooperation
A good step forward is that Europe is in the middle of great changes and is in transition from its old place in the digital agenda to its new stronger and broader location. From cloud television to eHealth, the possibilities are huge and offer the increased opportunity for the creation of several new high tech jobs.
Europe also needs legal predictability in order to boost investments, innovation and competition. This will also bring about more jobs and create growth over the whole of Europe. The great emphasis has to be on high speed internet, because this is the future of European competitiveness. It is this digital oxygen that Issue 3 | GLOBALSCIENTIA |
Nanotechnology with Fringe Benefits
Graphene Materials: Nanotechnology with Fringe Benefits Gillian McNicoll Nanotechnology has often been looked on as sci-fi technology, sounding more like Star Trek than Hi-Tech. Nanotechnology refers to materials whose properties are designed at the atomic or molecular level, and that are smaller than other similar materials of a larger scale. The increase in knowledge and ingenuity has now boosted nanotechnology production and it is said that 11 million tons of these new materials have a market value worth in excess of €20 billion. By 2015 it is believed that the revenue from nanotechnology and Graphene materials could grow to as high as €2 trillion. The numbers of Nanotechnology Jobs and training courses at Universities have increased and this is said to be growing year on year. What are Graphene Materials? Over the years though, much innovation and development has occurred and now reality has caught up with spaceage dreams in the shape of ‘Graphene’ materials. It’s hard to imagine that this new innovative development is as thin as paper yet stronger than steel. Graphene is also light and hard and is formed from graphite that has undergone an exact chemical process. Monolayers are formed from a framework of carbon hexagons and arranged in layers to create a flexible material that is 6 times 10 | GLOBALSCIENTIA | Issue 3
lighter and denser than steel. Additionally it is, twice as hard and bends 13 times more than its steel counterpart. Uses for Graphene Materials This Nano sized material is expected to revolutionise our communities and society as it has the potential to create simple and inexpensive technologies and products. Graphene can aid all areas and industries, such as health, ICT, environment, finance (credit cards), energy and science. Graphene materials are being developed to produce ultrathin and light screens as well as electronic circuit boards. One other attribute is that Graphene has a low noise factor, ideal for field-effect transistors. This adaptable Nano material can be used effectively in cells and optical modulators. However, production can often be difficult and that is why research and development into this relatively new Nano material must continue in order to better the processes. There are of course a range of different methods for producing Graphene materials depending on its usage. Europe Leads The Way in Graphene Research & Development “Graphene offers a host of potential applications, and I want Europe to be in on the ground floor in benefiting
from and commercialising this material. …While Graphene is a European scientific success story, I am determined that it should also become a European innovation success story”. Máire Geoghegan-Quinn Much of the research and development has hailed from European shores and this growth is said to continue. Graphene research was said to be helped by Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov when they won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2010. They earned this prize by finding unique Graphene properties in 2004. An important key workshop was held in 2011 in Brussels and arranged by the Directorate General for Research and Innovation of the European Commission, Jan Smits. The event began with a speech by the European Commissioner for Research and Innovation, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn and nearly 130 participants attended. This workshop looked at such things as legal concerns, current research as well as the great potential for Graphene materials changing the face of industrial production as we know it today. To continue with this challenge and to increase Europe’s wealth as well as research and development, the European Commission’s Vice President Neelie Kroes www.globalscientia.com
Nanotechnology with Fringe Benefits announced a ‘Graphene Flagship’ which started in January 2013. This initiative received funding of one billion euros for a 10 year period. This program will work over a large area and includes working with many universities, research groups and Nobel laureates. Over 17 European countries will be involved along with 128 academic establishments. One of the first areas that the Graphene Flagship will hone in on is ICT and physical transport. Furthermore, the Flagship will look to support and compliment energy and sensor technology research and development using Graphene materials. Overall the production of Graphene will be the main focus of the initiative. Up and Coming Nanotechnology Enthusiasts The ‘Secret Materials’ project was one way to help create the right environment for children and young people to develop an interest and enthusiasm for design and innovation. Other targets audiences for this initiative were designers, architects and the general public. A group of free Nano materials and information were gathered together to create the ‘Secret Materials ‘box. This box included technical information and material patterns all in a presentable and user friendly format. There were 5 different materials and these could be used to carry out some simple interesting experiments. Although none of the materials were Graphene, the idea was to introduce people to the concept of new and exciting designs that were available today. Some materials in the box included; shape memory alloys, ceramic www.globalscientia.com
wallpaper, and after glowing aluminium. This project was able to be used in many European states as it was available in a range of languages. Two of examples of where this box was used were in Ireland and Romania. Máire Geoghegan-Quinn attended an event in Dublin at the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition in January 2013. Her young students had been inspired by the project to create their own designs, such as the ‘cool’ cool box’ created by students at St Killian’s College.
more exciting, to ignite imagination and curiosity in our pupils, as well as foster a critical spirit when it comes to everyday applications of emerging technologies” Prof Maria Neicu. Current Examples of Ground-breaking Graphene Research
In Romania at the «Mihai Eminescu» School in Braila a special summer school was organised in 2012 using the ‘Secret Materials’ box. This project was aimed at children aged from nine up to fourteen years old. This gave the young designers of tomorrow the ability to experiment with interesting and unusual materials to see
Andrea Ferrari was granted funding to carry out research into designing new types of devices using Graphene technology. This research is based on embedding electronic and optical functionalities of Graphene nanotubes. These nanotubes have their own individual properties that can be harnessed and designed to be utilised for a range of uses; nanotechnology and optics for example. Ferrari is researching into using these nanotubes with polymer photonics. The idea is to create a less expensive alternative to costly polymers.
what could happen. Ideas and thought processes were encouraged and developed. One of the schools professors said “The «Secret Materials» educational sets were a great way to make classes
Klaus Mullen is researching into a chemical synthesis of Graphene, to find out if it is possible to achieve the same type of properties as silicon and plastic. The idea is to produce Graphene
nanoribbons as well as multilayered and mono layered Graphenes. This type of research, where physics and chemistry work together, can improve the quality and cost of making such items as batteries and sensors. As R&D continues across Europe and beyond, it is highly probable that nanotechnology will be further embraced along with the benefits and potential of Graphene materials. Our future technologies, products and social systems could evolve in a way that the SciFi lovers of today would be amazed at. http://ec.europa.eu/research/ industrial_technologies/ conferences-proceedings_ en.html http://ec.europa.eu/ nanotechnology/index_en.html http://www.Grapheneflagship.eu/GF/index.php http://erc.europa.eu/succes-
stories/four-erc-granteespresent-their-researchGraphene-conference-2012 http://ec.europa.eu/research/ industrial_technologies/ materials-blog_en.html Issue 3 | GLOBALSCIENTIA | 11
title Expanding the German-American Partnership
Expanding the German-American Partnership: Science and Research Cooperation with a Green Focus Dr. Georg Schütte, State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Research.
orthern Virginia, which borders America’s capital city, Washington, D.C., has become a laboratory for transatlantic learning. Whether it’s about saving energy or processing rain water, about control systems for public transport or vocational training – the Northern Virginia Regional Commission is working closely with European and German partners and fostering an exchange with experts in Stuttgart and Mannheim. Virginia wants to learn from Europe in all things sustainable. And Virginia is not alone. Many people in America are looking towards Germany
when it comes to finding answers to the challenges of our time, with questions about energy and environmental technologies at the top of the list.
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Dr. Georg Schütte
People are interested to see what kind of science and research the businesses, universities and policies of the old continent have to offer – an interest we could see during President Obama’s re-election campaign when he praised Germany’s shift toward greener energy.
research fields like climate and energy, health and nutrition, as well as mobility, security and communication, in order to develop solutions based on scientific findings. We know that smart research investments produce positive effects. With 2.82 per cent of its 2010 gross domestic product going to R&D investments, Germany
But this is an interest that goes both ways. German businesses and consumers alike are impressed, for example, by California and Silicone Valley – the birthplace of the “cluster” concept, which develops networks of research and businesses in the high-tech sector. The United
is a leader among European countries. In the United States, R&D investments reached 2.9 per cent. There is an upward trend in both countries. And in both countries, those who are responsible for policy decisions are convinced: the key to sustainability and prosperity lies in science and education.
States remains the worldwide leader when it comes to investing in research and development, and American universities and research institutions are at the fore in terms of generating knowledge. President Obama also views science, technology and innovation as crucial to growing the economy, creating sustainable jobs, and maintaining America’s competitive edge.
This is why we must lend new impetus to our transatlantic partnership. It is high time we created a common space for science and research. Certainly the transatlantic agenda has changed significantly in the years after the fall of the Berlin Wall and following the attacks of September 11. America is looking increasingly towards the
It’s clear that America and Europe share a similar line of thought: we need growth in the kind of innovations that precipitate new products and services. For
Pacific region – in terms of both economic and security policy. And Europeans are primarily concerned with themselves, especially now in times of financial or economic crisis. But this is precisely our chance to enliven the broad transatlantic dialogue with new
this reason, Germany’s Federal Government has
issues in the interest of both sides. We have the opportunity for an
been working with science and industry in recent years to develop its High-Tech Strategy – a strategy that addresses great social challenges by focusing on
academic partnership which will fill the vacuum that has developed between our countries in other areas – a partnership that will offer solutions for the future of our energy supply, for dealing with the effects of climate change, for demographic changes, for
Expanding the German-American Partnership
questions of health, mobility and civil security. It would be a partnership that does not live in the past but that derives its vitality from the challenges of the future.
The statement that Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel made before the United States Congress is just as true now as it was then: There’s no better partner for Europe than America, and there’s no better partner for America than Europe. In terms of science and research, we can break new ground in this partnership on the basis of common values. You can see the kind of opportunities close cooperation offers in the everyday research carried out on both sides of the Atlantic: American scientists are working at the Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron (DESY) and at the large Particle Accelerator of the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). Researchers from Germany and the USA are collaborating on the satellite mission GRACE to generate a new model of the Earth’s gravitational field with previously unattained precision. They want to know – are the polar ice caps melting? Are sea levels rising? German research and development know-how is also in demand in the USA: Several research centres have been established in the United States by Fraunhofer
USA, a subsidiary of Germany’s FraunhoferGesellschaft, which is Europe’s largest institute for applied research. Not only are these centres affiliated with some of the 60 Fraunhofer Institutes in Germany, but they also cooperate with a great number of American research institutes, including elite universities. Here new production techniques, medications or
software concepts are developed together with industrial clients. It’s about biotechnology, solar energy and laser technology. And it’s also about market access opportunities for German businesses.
expand our innovative lead and work together to strengthen our capacity to compete in the globalized world. There are clearly enough possibilities. The American-German Framework Agreement on Research Cooperation, which was signed two years ago, could be linked up with America’s “Partnership for Sustainable Communities” (PSC) governmental programme. American cities and communities would make excellent partners, particularly in developing concepts for sustainable urban development or effective health care. We have much to gain from transatlantic inventiveness and creativity.
Research cooperation is based on trust and personal contacts. 1737 German scientists moved to the USA in 2010 – more than to any other country. In the same year, there were 1539 Americans conducting research at German universities, and the number of foreign students is also growing. The United States too is becoming increasingly aware of the significance of international study experience. For this reason, now is the right time to provide fresh impetus. We have a unique opportunity to
Issue 3 | GLOBALSCIENTIA | 13
Basic research in developmental biology benefits society
Basic research in developmental biology benefits society Bernhard G. Herrmann, PhD Professor of Developmental Genetics, Scientific Director
he question of how a human being can develop starting from just a single cell has long puzzled scientists. Many decades of research using various animal models has provided a good understanding of the basic mechanisms behind tissue formation and organ development, and has elucidated the function of particular cell groups in, for instance, brain formation or heart development, along with the role of many individual genes in these processes. Many regulatory proteins controlling organ development have been identified, and the knowledge that has been accumulated over two decades is currently being utilized by many laboratories for the purpose of generating tissues and organ-like structures from embryonic stem cells in the culture dish. These advances have the potential to lead to clinical applications in the area of regenerative medicine. There are still, however, many gaps in our knowledge about embryonic mechanisms. For instance, we do not understand how organ-like structures can form from adult stem cells in culture by seemingly miraculous intrinsic self-organization. We also do not understand the process by which some model organisms are able to regenerate organs or whole body parts. And we are now just beginning to investigate the mechanisms and effects of epigenetic control during organ formation. These questions are of the utmost importance, since understanding these mechanisms is crucial not only for understanding embryonic development, but also tissue homeostasis and regeneration. Thus, a deeper understanding of these processes is indispensable for developing regenerative medicine further, for achieving a longer healthy lifespan, and for the treatment of many diseases. 14 | GLOBALSCIENTIA | Issue 3
Over the past two decades developmental biologists focused research efforts on the identification and functional analysis of the regulatory proteins controlling the formation of particular tissues and organs. It turned out that control factors, which are essential for the formation of particular cell types, were frequently expressed exclusively in the very cell type where they are required. Functional data on many such regulators have been reported and are currently being utilized by various groups to generate particular cell types in culture. In addition, the Engineering of reverse process, particular cell that is to say the types or tissues in reprogramming the culture dish for in culture of transplantation may differentiated not be as tricky as cells such as previously thought. fibroblasts into pluripotent stem cells via the expression of a cocktail of pluripotency control genes, has also been achieved. The research surrounding this ability to experimentally reprogram cells towards a pluripotent state was recognized with the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2012, in large part due to the enormous promise this technology holds for regenerative medicine. A striking and medically promising example of generating organ-like structures in a culture dish has been reported recently. Researchers showed that the expression of two specific transcription factors, which had previously been identified as key regulators for the development of the thyroid gland, when expressed in embryonic stem cells, were sufficient to trigger the formation of thyroid-like follicular structures. Transplantation of these structures into thyroid-less mice cured the animals of their disease symptoms. This elegant experiment
suggested that the engineering of particular cell types or tissues in the culture dish for transplantation may not be as tricky as previously thought. Needless to say, the therapeutic potential for such experimental achievements is tremendous. Several additional examples of the experimental generation of particular cell types in cell culture have been reported. In this regard, many laboratories that were previously engaged in developmental biology research have shifted their focus from basic research towards application of their expertise to tissue engineering. If we are able to turn any cell type into any other cell type at will, there is no limit for applying this to regenerative therapies. Thus, the decade ahead promises a rise in the regenerative therapies industry. The prominent examples given above clearly show the enormous importance of basic developmental biology and genetics research. They also illustrate how intimately basic research in particular fields is linked to potential medical application, though taking these therapeutic approaches to the clinic still requires overcoming of obstacles. That said, once we become aware of what is possible, we have an excellent chance of bringing it to fruition. It is important to realize that, despite the enormous advances in biomedical sciences in recent years, we are still far from reaching the saturation point which would make basic developmental biology research dispensable. Therefore, it is essential that funding of research in this field be continued and even increased, since developmental biology provides the basis for regenerative medicine, and holds the key to understanding the causes of human diseases. The fact that we are still in the midst of investigating tissue development and organogenesis at the molecular level is illustrated by the emerging field of epigenetics. Besides regulatory proteins, a new class of regulators has recently come into focus. It is a class of RNA molecules, which are not translated into proteins, socalled long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs). A few have been known for some time, but only recently the technique of massively parallel sequencing has allowed for the identification of whole transcriptomes (the sum of all RNA transcripts produced in a cell), and has revealed thousands of novel transcribed www.globalscientia.com
Basic research in developmental biology benefits society genes belonging to the lncRNA class. For many of these, the ability to bind to epigenetic control factor complexes has been demonstrated. The most prominent of these complexes are the Polycomb Repressive Complex 2 (PRC2) and the Trithorax Group/Mixed Lineage Leukemia Complex (TrxG/MLL). They work by modifying histone 3, a component of the nucleosome (a complex of DNA packaging proteins), at different positions, leading to either a condensed or an open configuration
for Molecular Genetics, we have demonstrated for the first time that lncRNAs play an essential role in tissue development and organogenesis in mammals. This finding illustrated that we as developmental biologists were unaware of a whole class of developmental regulators – déjà vu of what happened following the discovery of microRNAs, another class of noncoding RNAs acting as regulators in differentiation and organogenesis processes discovered about a decade ago. My laboratory has investigated the role of a particular lncRNA, named Fendrr, in mouse development. We modified the Fendrr gene in mice in order to prevent them from making the Fendrr lncRNA transcript, and then examined the consequences of the loss of Fendrr on embryonic development. We found that without Fendrr the heart and the body wall did not form properly, and this resulted in embryonic death. The heart was unable to support The lncRNA Fendrr is essential for heart and body wall development. Upper panel: blood circulation, The heart of a wild-type (left) or mutant (right) mouse embryo at embryonic day and the wall of 12.5 filled with fluorescent nanoparticles (arrowhead indicates needle injection site) the abdomen shows impaired blood circulation in the mutant. Lower panel: Histological sections through an E14.5 wild-type (left) or mutant (right) embryo showing protrusion of the was ruptured liver (arrowhead) through the body wall in the mutant. (original article: Grote et al. by the growing Dev Cell 2013) liver, which is of the chromatin (complexes of reminiscent of a birth defect known nucleosomes and DNA). In the as omphalocele in humans (Figure). condensed configuration a gene is We investigated the molecular basis of inactive, while the open configuration this phenotype and found that Fendrr allows the gene to be activated. Thus, interacts with PRC2 and TrxG/MLL to lncRNAs can bind to PRC2 or TrxG/MLL modulate the epigenetic landscape complexes and enhance or reduce the of control elements (promoters) of activity of either complex at their target transcription factor genes controlling control elements in the genome, and by the development of the heart and body doing so influence the activity of genes. wall. This modulation at the epigenetic Several other functions of lncRNAs have level is required to correctly set the also been discovered, and we are only activity level of Fendrr target genes. at the very beginning of investigating Overall, we showed that lncRNAs, the properties of these novel and just as regulatory proteins, can act interesting molecules. as essential control factors during developmental processes. From this In the Department of Developmental data we can speculate that various Genetics at the Max Planck Institute human diseases might be caused by www.globalscientia.com
an absence of or malfunctioning of lncRNAs, something that was thus far unheard of. Our analysis of Fendrr in mouse embryos also revealed a striking difference between the action of regulatory proteins and regulatory lncRNAs. While loss of the former causes problems in the cells or tissue expressing the factor, loss of the latter may cause malfunctions at a much later stage in development – in the descendants of the cells in which the lncRNA has been, but is no longer expressed. In the case of Fendrr there was a delay of several days between the loss of the lncRNA and the malfunctioning of the tissue, in this case the heart. However, it is conceivable that there may be an even longer delay between cause and effect by regulation through lncRNAs. Generous funding of basic research is tax payers’ money well spent. This insight is considered trivial among scientists, but it bears repeating at all possible opportunities, since the tighter the budget, the more easily the most fundamental research is ignored. As outlined above, funding for basic developmental biology and genetics research in the past is just now starting to pay off in an economic sense, and it will do so for many years to come. Therefore it is essential that these fields remain at the forefront of research funding in order to reap future rewards.
Bernhard G. Herrmann, PhD Professor of Developmental Genetics, Scientific Director
Max-Planck-Institute for Molecular Genetics Department of Developmental Genetics Ihnestr. 63-73 14195 Berlin Germany Tel: +49 30 8413 1409 Fax: +49 30 8413 1229 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.molgen.mpg. de/en/Entwicklungsgenetik
Issue 3 | GLOBALSCIENTIA | 15
Era-Net Neuron â€“ Cutting (technological) edges
Era-Net Neuron â€“ Cutting (technological) edges
Figure legend: Researchers and ERA-NET NEURON members at the symposium in EIn Bokek, Israel, January 2013
An umbrella of activities integrates the key elements of the ERA-NET NEURON, Joint Transnational Calls for proposals (JTCs), thematic workshops with renowned researchers and the Excellent Paper in Neuroscience Award (EPNA). Since 2007 ERA-NET NEURON creates a strategically operating group of research funding organizations in Europe and beyond to implement research funding programmes in the area of brain diseases. ERA-NETs are projects funded by the European Commission in various research fields. Their goal is to create a European Research Area in which research is conducted and funded across countries, allowing research groups to jointly work on specific problems, exchange ideas, and benefit from cross border expertise. Twentyone funding organizations from 16 European countries, Israel as EU-associated country, and Canada participate in ERA-NET NEURON.
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n normal life, the necessity to cut edges may for instance occur when you head off to mow the grass properly or trim the hedges (in your garden). In scientific terms cutting edge research refers to creative idea and/or hypothesis driven high-risk developments, undertaken in the hope to overcome existing hurdles or limitations. In neuroscience during the last three decades particularly the technological developments like patch-clamp, (functional) Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) or Positronic Emission Tomography (PET), the latter two as imaging procedures, paved the way for the most incredible research approaches and findings. Such high risk research benefits from two preconditions that may even pose success factors: interdisciplinary teams, and expertise, and (sufficient) funding. This paradigm was evidenced as functional at an ERA-NET NEURON symposium in January 2013. The symposium gathered a number of researchers funded by the ERA-NET www.globalscientia.com
Era-Net Neuron – Cutting (technological) edges and provided an excellent view on the technological progresses in the field of disease-related neurosciences. As Heinz Beck, coordinator of a consortium analyzing epileptic networks summarized “All researchers would be keen to collaborate again, should the opportunity arise, because the ERA-NET NEURON funding gave the freedom to do good science”. The challenges for understanding how the brain (dys)functions at multiple levels of integration are numerous. Technical developments may open promising new avenues for a better understanding of the functional mechanisms in the brain. Therefore in 2009, the ERA-NET NEURON launched a Joint Transnational Call for proposals on novel methods and technologies in neuroscience. The scope of this call was method development – ranging from optical, genetic and/or electrophysiological to modeling approaches, or combinations thereof - beyond specifically defined diseases. For projects along the “Development and advancement in methods and technologies towards the understanding of brain diseases” only interdisciplinarity – and of course excellence - in groups from different countries were the requirements to be met. The research question, technique(s) and methodologies were to be freely chosen according to the necessities of the addressed problem. The unbureaucratic funding procedures promoted early-on creative project work and the possibility for international networking in small consortia” appraised Rafael FernándezChacón, coordinator of a consortium investigating nerve terminals (synapses) with nanotechnologies. After three years funding all consortia held a final symposium where in inspiring contributions the speakers presented exquisite results, outcomes and potential new research questions (please visit also www.neuron-eranet.eu).
Sensory functions Deficits in sensory function occur normally during ageing but are common following injury or in neurodegenerative diseases. In addressing this field, a new testing protocol was developed by the international consortium of Carles Escera. It is based on a key principle www.globalscientia.com
in cognitive auditory function: the ability of the auditory system to extract the necessary information in the acoustic environment. Such specific functions – called Mismatch Negativity (MMN, the detection of novelty) – decline in neuropsychiatric and neurological diseases and in aging. Using Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), a non-invasive technique which delivers (non-hazardous) magnetic pulses to a specific region of the brain, the international team around Antoni Valero-Cabré addressed visual abilities. Researchers hope their study could set up a new strategy for the restoration of certain types of visual problems induced by brain damage in stroke or retinal neurodegenerative disorders. “We do not want to replace current therapies but to supplement such interventions and strengthen their outcomes,” explains Valero-Cabré. Olfactory deficits are very common in neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. These deficits may be in part due to alterations in the maturation of adult-born new nerve cells (neurons) which incorporate into the cellular network of the olfactory bulb. Jochen Herms and his intentional team confirmed by cutting-edge imaging techniques that the turnover of adultborn neurons is indeed reduced in the Parkinson’s disease model due to a decreased survival of the newborn cells.
Communication and electrical signaling Brain function relies on regulated communication between neurons at contact points called synapses, where nerve terminals release chemical transmitters. These nerve terminals are degenerated in some neurological diseases with severe consequences. “Normally, nerve cells exchange electrical signals at high speed, a signal exchange disturbed in neurological diseases. When in epilepsy too many nerve cells are active at the same time, in Alzheimer’s disease in contrast nerve cells fail to properly communicate: some fall silent, while others show abnormal levels of activity” explained Arthur Konnerth. His team combined fast two-photon microscopy with in vivo electrophysiology to analyze the
neuronal network dysfunction in animal disease models. Highly advanced electrophysiological recording and electrical stimulation techniques in combination with voltage-dependent dye imaging were also applied by Heinz Beck and his team to investigate the functional changes in the neuronal (micro)circuitry underlying epilepsy. This is important because the cardinal symptom of epilepsy - seizures – consists of synchronized electrical discharges. So far, the complexity of neuronal networks has hampered the investigation of the cellular basis of seizures using conventional electrophysiological approaches. A pioneering in vitro system able to identify the electrical signaling dysfunctions induced by genetic Parkinson’s disease mutations was presented by Vania Broccoli. So called induced pluripotent stem cell (iPS) lines were generated as a system to model the (disturbed) electrical activity. The international consortium successfully converted skin cells into such cells that were functionally equivalent to specific neurons in vitro, and moreover exactly those that are affected in Parkinson’s disease. The disturbed synaptic communication was also the target of the studies by Daniel Choquet and his team. They developed dynamic super-resolution imaging of certain receptor (sensor) proteins on living cells at ultra-high density. The mobility of these receptors is crucial for fast synaptic transmission and disturbed in neurodegenerative diseases. The team discovered that the brain extracellular matrix affects the lateral mobility of these proteins and showed that the receptors inside the synaptic nerve terminals are dynamically organized in nanodomains. Live cell imaging on the level of single proteins was also applied by the multidisciplinary team of Carsten Korth to characterize in detail a certain protein complex that is relevant in mental illnesses like schizophrenia. Molecular interactors, their function in nerve cells and in the development of the nervous system were identified. “Such results will provide insights that may translate into much-needed progress in clinical psychiatry: for example, detection methods to Issue 3 | GLOBALSCIENTIA | 17
Era-Net Neuron – Cutting (technological) edges establish biological phenotype and testing or novel pharmacological targets” anticipated Korth. A “nanotechnology” approach was central to the work of Rafael FernándezChacón. The team engineered light responsive microcapsules loaded with either substitutes for damaged proteins or facilitators for protein repair in nerve cells. The controlled remote release of repair cargo was confirmed by Structured Illumination Microscope (SIM), a cutting-edge technology combining 3-D super-resolution with high acquisition speed.
Transport “The blood brain barrier (BBB) is a delicate guardian of the central nervous system against the transport of medical drugs” explained Claus Pietrzik. The mechanism for maintaining this barrier function lies in the capillary network supplying blood to the brain. To facilitate the transport across the BBB and allow targeted drug delivery to the brain tissue, Pietrzik and his team designed a drug-vehicle nanoparticle system. A proof of concept in vivo study confirmed the increase of a specific AD medication transport to the brain. The hope is that such correct transport into the brain tissue will increase the safety and efficacy of pharmacotherapy in the brains of patients.
Dr. Marlies Dorlöchter.
In concluding remarks Marlies Dorlöchter, the coordinator of the ERA-NET NEURON, emphasized that the funding investments enabled a significant number of outstanding results. “The many methodological and technological developments impact on the understanding of brain functions in normal and disease conditions. Not only do the projects provide fascinating insights into our brains – they help build the basis for new diagnostic tools 18 | GLOBALSCIENTIA | Issue 3
and therapeutic interventions. The technological devices, techniques and achievements employ the most current and high-level developments; in other words, technology at the frontiers of knowledge – cutting edge research!“
Gifts that keep giving Since 2009 the ERA-NET NEURON launches the “EXCELLENT PAPER IN NEUROSCIENCE AWARD” (EPNA). On an annual call basis the most remarkable and outstanding scientific publications by young researchers in the field of disease-related neuroscience are awarded. The award is designed as encouragement for young researchers at the early stage of their career and honors the first authorship of a researcher under 35 years of age in a high impact journal within the first five years after dissertation. Laureates are invited for a specific symposium at an international conference to present the work. This offers a perfect opportunity to present the work to an international audience and thus offers high visibility. As Dr. Marlies Dorlöchter, the coordinator of NEURON, pointed out: “This young scientist supportive measure adds very well to the research funding activities of our network because it emphasizes the importance of research into brain function and its diseases and will contribute to integrate the neuroscience research community”. Over 200 attendees witnessed the award ceremony at the renowned FENS Forum 2012 in Barcelona, enabled by a special cooperation with the Network of European Neuroscience Schools (NENS) within the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS). Within the last four years six female and two male researchers received the highly ambitious reward of their scientific efforts. The attractiveness of neuroscience research within the young generation neuroscientists appears to develop specific emphasis on young female researchers. “The award is indeed a relatively recent honor on the science market…” reckoned Dr. Anat London (Israel), one of this year awardees “...and indeed straight forward to apply to.” A friend had alerted her of this opportunity and she submitted the application online 10 minutes before the deadline. Others, like Dr. Fanie Barnabé-Heider (Sweden) were encouraged by their research www.globalscientia.com
Era-Net Neuron – Cutting (technological) edges director to submit the application, indicative for a growing fan community also within established researchers. In turn such motivations will pay off. The award encourages the young researchers to further proceed their scientific career and – potentially – apply with own larger projects to ERA-NET NEURON’s Joint Transnational Calls.
the NEURON work. Targeted to the interested public, topics of the scientific workshops and the research projects funded by NEURON are addressed. The 2013 announcement for the EPNA call is expected for June this year and the application deadline will be September.
~100 billion neurons situated in the grey matter - the brain's computational area. The white matter is essential to provide fast communication between neurons, crucial for us to be able to think, move, sense our environment and see. In disease white matter damage leads to mental and/or physical disability. Different to the
Figure legend: From left to right: Dr. Erkki Raulo, AKA, Finland and initiator of the award programme, Inbal Benhar, Israel, ERA-NET NEURON coordinator Dr. Marlies Dorlöchter, PT-DLR on behalf of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), Germany, Anat London and Elena Itskovich, Israel. The three young authors from the Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel contributed equally to the awarded publication.
Mix & Match One of the objectives of the ERA-NET NEURON is providing information about brain research in general an the network’s progress in particular to a broader audience. In late January, NEURON (www. neuron-eranet.eu) expanded its routes of public information for the social media, namely Facebook. The new presence addresses the public at large to deliver directly actionable information. That fits in well to NEURON’s information policy already fostered by the release of yet five educational video clips on neurological and psychiatric diseases and their treatment options. The newsletters summarize relevant events or other parts of www.globalscientia.com
European Month of the Brain – May 2013 Brain disorders are an increasing social and economic burden to Western societies. During the last decades, brain research has made great progress on all fronts but much more is still to be discovered. As part of the European Month of the Brain in May 2013, the ERA-NET NEURON organizes a symposium on ‘Neurodevelopment and related disorders’ in Reykjavik, Iceland (www.neuron-eranet.eu). A special lay audience presentation by Dr. Ragnhildur T. Karadottir will focus on the ‘The bright side of the brain’. As Dr. Karadottir explained: “The human brain is equally segregated into grey and white matter. The brain’s white matter provides a data superhighway that links
grey matter the white matter has the capability of repair. This lecture will focus on the function of the brains´ superhighways and how they may be repaired when damaged in disease.” The European Commission ‘Month of the Brain’ initiative is also well matched by ERA-NET NEURON’s other activities. Already since 2010 projects funded by NEURON’s Joint Transnational Call study basic mechanisms through clinical applications to advance our knowledge and treatment of specifically mental disorders. Due to the high call feedback and many impressive publications a new call on mental disorders was published in early 2013.
Hella Lichtenberg Marlies Dorlöchter
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The War against Microbial Resistance
The War against Microbial Resistance rages across Europe Gillian McNicoll
Over the years drug resistant strains are winning countless fights in the war between antibiotics and bacteria. Many people die needlessly because of AMR (Antimicrobial Resistance) every year in Europe alone, around 25000, with a cost of €1.5 billion to the EU states. In over 64 countries, drug resistant TB (MDR-TB) alone has over 400 thousand new cases presenting each year and around 150, 000 fatalities. However, like in any good campaign there are those who are leading various projects and initiatives to develop new drugs and procedures that can be effective and efficient to work to win over on this unseen but deadly force. An Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance for Europe was laid out in 2011 with 12 objectives.
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Despite concerted efforts in the EU and worldwide, bacteria’s resistance against drugs has increased rather than decreased. Some conditions for example pneumonia are being found in greater numbers across all the European states. This action plan highlighted areas to be worked on such as; • Appropriate usage of antibiotics • Preventing the spread of microbial infections • Research and development into new drugs and treatments • Improved monitoring and surveillance • Looking at more effective forms of communication and training • Communication, Education and Training
With all this in mind one of the key messages is to ensure that professionals and people are more aware of this problem. EU Laws in turn, are to be strengthened for both humans and animals and medical facilities are being called upon to utilise best practise in preventing and controlling AMR. In addition for all involved to collaborate more and work together against this onslaught. These actions are also in line with the World Health Organisations work on international concerns regarding AMR, to improve policies, research, awareness and development for example. Reasons for Resistance The range of antimicrobial based drugs available and treatments include antibiotics as well as antiseptics, and other cleaning solutions. Only around 50% of patients with infections can be treated effectively now with antibiotics, as many of us have become immune to their effects. Antibiotics have proved invaluable over the years, but unfortunately the ‘bugs’ bacteria have grown used to these drugs and are often not so effective as they once were. One of the main reasons cited for this is overuse/ misuse of antimicrobials. Often antibiotics have been given to patients who only had viral infections which
The War against Microbial Resistance do not respond to antibiotics as they are not bacteria. In addition antibiotics even when give to combat a bacterial infection may not kill of the correct bacteria and leave the bacteria alive that are causing the infection. Infections can spread between humans and animals either by way of direct contact or through the food chain. Although many of our lives have been extended by up to 25 years because of antibiotics, there have not been any new drugs developed in as many years. However, now this situation is being addressed at both the European and International level.
Richard Bergstrom the Director General of EFPIA (European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries Associations) said that the “…I believe that PPP models are the future of research in the EU, the public and private sectors as good as they are at research will only be made better through collaboration such as this...”
a Bill that addresses this public health issues head on. The following are the main opening points of the Bill:
These projects are innovative in how they seek to collaborate with stakeholders in order to work on the issue to combat AMR. New antibiotics and drugs have to be developed by both public bodies and private
• Good conditions for
• Freedom, long-
term approach and greater opportunities for risk-taking;
• Greater possibilities to achieve high quality; researchers;
• Initiatives for society and business; and
• Increased utilisation of
Collaborative Antimicrobial Resistance Projects That Can invigorate Drug Development
http://www.ecdc.europa. eu/en/healthtopics/ antimicrobial_resistance/ Pages/index.aspx
European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy, John Dalli had this to say: “We need to take swift and determined action if we do not want to lose antimicrobial medicines as essential treatment … success requires joined efforts from the EU, the Member States, healthcare professionals, industry, farmers and many others“. On the 11th of February 2013 in Brussels, two different initiatives were announced to combat Antimicrobial resistance. These projects, using new cooperative models have been developed by Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI). One project has rather a quirky name; New Drugs for Bad Bugs (ND4BB) and the other is called COMBACTE (Combatting Bacterial Resistance in Europe) and Translocation. The latter initiative deals with the ‘Molecular basis of the bacterial cell wall permeability’.
Research based knowledge is key to change and improvements over time. This approach broadens the scope of the research process allowing people to think out of the box and ask ‘uncomfortable questions’. Research and higher and postgraduate education should in this way be enabled to be stretched and bent in new ways that bring about innovative and new ways of thinking and learning. This is believed to open up new channels of frankness so that there are fewer constraints or boundaries to work within, thus sanctioning risk taking in its best and most profitable sense. 265 million Kroner has been allocated to AMR research alone.
http://www.efpia.eu/imilaunches-antimicrobialresistance-amr-projectsrevitalise-antibioticdevelopment http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/ health_consumer/docs/ communication_amr_2011_ 748_en.pdf companies to move forward in the most effective and transparent way possible. Sweden’s Government Bill 2012/13.30; Freedom to Research Issues Such as AMR Research & Development Sweden has long been known as an EU centre of excellence that puts quality and thoroughness at the forefront of initiatives and research. One area is to work to combat drug resistant infections. The Swedish Government has worked with other stakeholders on
‘The Government’s research policy objective is for Sweden to be a prominent research nation in which research and innovation are conducted with high quality, contributing to the development of society and the competitiveness of industry’. Regeringskansliet Government Offices of Sweden.
http://www.euro.who. int/en/what-we-do/healthtopics/disease-prevention/ antimicrobial-resistance http://www.regeringen. se/content/1/c6/20/70/30/ 775db39c.pdf
The Swedish approach is refreshing in that they seek for transparency in the process of research as well as to allow freedom to researchers that haven’t been available in the past.
Issue 3 | GLOBALSCIENTIA | 21
Sound Management of Chemicals in Hungary
Sound Management of Chemicals in Hungary
Jeno Major, PhD Director General
ife itself is a very delicate harmony of countless chemical reactions controlled by chemical substances, so, it is not surprising if some chemicals can disturb this harmony causing serious damage both to human health and to environment. Chemicals bring about benefits of modern human society: sustainable development, high level of employment and a longer, better life, however, odd effects caused by certain chemicals can decelerate this development by environmental pollution and untimely death. The rapidly increasing production volume of chemical industry and the quantity of chemicals – if uncontrolled – can lead to increasing problems related to exposure to chemicals. Therefore, the controlling tasks of chemical safety, i.e. reduction of the health and environmental risks caused by chemicals to the minimum are extremely important. The negative effects are of global scale calling for a global cooperation as it has been suggested by the Agenda 21 accepted on the 1992 Rio de Janeiro Summit. Based on this document the UNO developed two main, global scale activities. The Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) is a policy framework to worldwide foster the sound management of chemicals in order to achieve the goal that, by the year 2020, chemicals are produced and used in ways that minimize significant adverse impacts on the environment and the human health. The other important activity led by the UNO is the so called Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) designed to replace the various standards used in different countries by introducing global and consistent criteria as well as provision of the necessary information. The European Union (EU) plays a pioneer role in chemical safety. With the introduction of the new overall 22 | GLOBALSCIENTIA | Issue 3
chemicals policy in the EU, formulated in two main regulations (the REACH, and the CLP, a European adaptation of the GHS), marketing and registration of chemicals have become more strictly controlled resulting in measures more effective than in the past. Hungary played an eminent role in the development of these regulations, and its proposition shared with the United Kingdom called ‘one substance one registration’ has been incorporated into REACH in order to reduce both the number of unnecessary registrations and the burden of the involved small and medium-sized enterprises. Chemical safety activities in the EU are controlled at Union level by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) managing the technical, scientific and administrative aspects of the REACH and CLP system, and at national level by the Member State Competent Authorities (MSCA) which take part in the risk assessment and evaluation of dangerous properties of substances and the analysis of the socio-economic effects of the necessary restrictions. The most important harmful substances to be restricted are those with mutagenic, carcinogenic and endocrine disrupting effects, which even affect the health of future generations. The enforcement of the regulations is within the competence of the Member States. Hungary, as a Member State of the EU is fully committed to the implementation of the EU chemical safety regulations in order to achieve its main goal, the minimised harmful environmental and health effects of exposure to chemicals. Hungary has a developed chemical, agricultural and food industry with extensive production and use chemicals. Chemical industry with a tradition of over 120 years is one of the most important branches of the economy, producing circa 5% of the gross national product. The contribution
of agriculture to added value in Hungary – farming over 83% of its area – is higher than the EU average. Although the domestic pesticide production has fallen, therefore, the risk arising from production decreases, the annual demand of the agricultural chemicals and, consequently, the environmental and health burden remains. The majority of the Hungarian industry and agriculture consists of small and micro enterprises with low lobbying capacity. A recent environmental chemical disaster in Hungary (i.e. the Ajka alumina sludge spill in 2010) having a death toll of nine and 122 people injured and affecting more than 40 square kilometres (15 square miles) of land, also underlined the importance of a coordinated, regulated and controlled management of the use of chemicals. The overall health status of the Hungarian population is unfortunately below the EU average. The ageing of the population is accelerating, mortality rates are relatively high (13%), and life expectancy at birth is lower than in Western and Northern Europe. Not long ago Hungary had led the world mortality statistics of neoplastic and cardiovascular diseases for decades, both strongly bound to exposures to harmful chemicals. There are several reasons, such as environmental pollution and consequent health status and reasons ranging from the geographic and geologic situation of the Carpathian Basin in which Hungary is located, to the errors of the political system prior to the so called ‘regime change’ in 1990. Understanding the reasons and consequences and considering the international conventions and recommendations the Hungarian government had decided to develop the frames of a chemical safety policy by 2000, when – among the first in the world – Hungary adopted the Hungarian Act on Chemical Safety www.globalscientia.com
Sound Management of Chemicals in Hungary (ACSH) now conformed to REACH. The original ACSH was a multiple composite umbrella act covering all the sectors of chemical safety including data collection, classification and labelling, risk assessment and risk management. The authoritative and professional institutions involved in the various tasks of chemical safety operate under the supervision of several Hungarian ministries responsible for health, environment, industry
methods. According to the most important public health issues of Hungary, i.e. the increase of the incidence and prevalence of the chronic non-infectious diseases, the laboratories deal with the carcinogenic, mutagenic, epigenetic and endocrine disruptor effects of chemicals. The NICS also runs a unique monitoring system for the detection of the earliest signs of changes in the health status of people living or working under
Figure: The tasks of the NICS cover all four pillars of chemical safety.
and agriculture as well as disaster management. The enforcement of national and EU chemical safety regulations – leaving the competencies of the other authorities untouched – is coordinated by the National Public Health and Medical Officers’ Services (NPHMOS) operating under the ministry responsible for human health. A sound chemical management involving several sectors and activities requires the establishment of a national centre that can coordinate chemical safety. This central institution is the National Institute of Chemical Safety (NICS) founded in 1998. The tasks of the NICS cover all four pillars of chemical safety, i.e. risk assessment, characterisation, management and communication (c.f., the figure). The NICS runs the Secretariat of the Council coordinating chemical safety for the Government. Supporting the saving the lives of experimental animals, the laboratories run by the NICS for risk assessment and characterisation use only alternative (in vitro) toxicology www.globalscientia.com
possible mutagenic or immunotoxic conditions. Under the REACH regulation, the experts of the NICS take part in the evaluation of substances with dangerous properties. On the field of risk management the NICS hosts the MSCAs working under REACH, CLP the PIC (based on the Rotterdam Convention) and is active in the various commissions of the ECHA as well as in the Forum for Exchange of Information on Enforcement. As part of the risk communication the NICS runs the Chemical Safety Information System, the REACH and CLP National Helpdesks and the National Poison Centre (NPC) working round the clock on duty in order to inform the public free of charge in cases of intoxications for a successful first aid and hospitalisation. The NICS also co-ordinates the education of chemical safety both for the experts and the public, organises conferences and activities, such as the Day of Chemical Safety, maintains a home page and edits newsletters, books, methodological manuals and other information materials.
Furthermore, the NICS also takes part in the chemical safety activities outside the EU. Its experts are active in the development of the so called alternative toxicology methods under the OECD. The NICS also participates in the work under the SAICM, an activity led by the ministry responsible for the environment. The NICS has also aided the work of the Intergovernmental Forum of Chemical Safety (IFCS) and it was a co-organiser of the successful Forum V of IFCS in Budapest, 2006. Maintaining sustainable development raises new challenges in the field of chemical safety, such as the lack of information on the environmental and health effects of the so called nanomaterials extensively used, as well as those effects that can oddly affect the health of future generations. Again, nobody has idea about the possible future effects of the recent global economic crisis. Such challenges need proper answer, and as part of the answer the Government of Hungary has recently started an overall reorganisation of the institutional background including the means of chemical safety. All we hope is that this progress – within the frame of the EU requirements and regulations – will lead to a simpler and less bureaucratic and, consequently, more effective ‘sound management of chemicals’ in Hungary. Jeno Major, PhD Director General
National Institute of Chemical Safety H-1097 Budapest, Nagyvárad tér 2. Hungary Tel: +36 1476 1195 Fax: +36 1215 2732 Email: email@example.com Home page: www.okbi.hu
Issue 3 | GLOBALSCIENTIA | 23
Estonian Environmental Technology Achieves Success
Estonian National Programme of Environmental Technology Achieves Success Ain Vellak Programme Leader
he penetration of technology is becoming more and more pronounced in all aspects of people’s lives. An effective and intensive application of technology remains the foundation for developing and maintaining a competitive edge and for ensuring the growth of economic welfare. The OECD Directorate for Science, Technology and Industry Economic Analysis and Statistics Division have established a classification of manufacturing industries which divides these according to the complexity of the technology involved into high technology industries (spacecraft, medical instruments, etc.), medium
technology is generally required in certain areas. R&D continues to play an important part at all levels and provides the foundation for different forms of development. Technologies are often analysed and assessed in the context of different sectors, so as to ensure that the specifics of the sector are given proper consideration. However, technologies and the results obtained in the course of their implementation have the potential to be integrated and used in many areas. In light of the need to ensure sustainable development in the society in general, environmental
Figure 1. Measuring photosynthesis in birch (Betula nana L.) Author: Priit Kupper, University of Tartu.
high technology industries (motor vehicles, chemicals, etc.), medium low technology industries (building, metal products, etc.) and low technology industries (food products, textiles, etc.). Of course, this classification is relative at least to some degree, but provides at least a general idea what level of 24 | GLOBALSCIENTIA | Issue 3
technologies, that is, technologies whose applications help to preserve natural resources and to reduce pollution and waste, have become very important. Technologies which can ameliorate or facilitate adaptation to certain environmental processes are sometimes also included in
the category of environmental technologies. The immense diversity of environmental technologies ensures their extensive use in many areas. At the same time, the principle still holds that an environmental technology must provide a competitive edge and make economic sense, both within the national territory and within the EU. The developments in environmental technology demonstrate a clear connection with government policies on the one hand and with actual demands of clients on the other. The influence of government policies can be seen as a broad shaping of the trends in the research and application of environmental technologies, whereas actual demands of clients are more focused on specific solutions to specific problems. Regardless of the difference in scale, both influence and shape the development of environmental technologies. The European Union has shown considerable interest in the effective and rapid development of environmental technologies for more than ten years by now. Different policy documents and the instruments adopted to implement those documents aim to foster the development of environmental technologies in order to increase the competitiveness of our region in the global market and to preserve Europe’s economic strength and the region’s enviornment. Estonia has steered its development work in the same direction. Estonia’s long experience in the field of environmental technologies, including in the design and manufacturing of environmental measurement instruments, as well www.globalscientia.com
Estonian Environmental Technology Achieves Success as the country’s R&D capacity in the field of environmental technologies ensure our effective participation in the corresponding EU policies. In spite of Estonia’s excellent position concerning the development of environmental technologies, the country still needs a planned and coordinated financial support facility for research, development and innovation in this area. The facility should create favourable conditions for entry to the market of new or improved old technologies. Yet, entering the market is only a part of the problems that many technologies face. In view of the fact that there are technologies which have already been developed, yet are not in use, it should definitely be the aim of our work to increase the user-friendliness of these technologies and to expand the circle of their users and the areas of their application. Such an approach in the development of environmental technologies would ensure quick and free access to technologies to many interested parties, including those who do not require a product that is already marketable, but are satisfied with a prototype or a very specific application. Secondly, Estonia also needs to engage in the development of environmental technologies because very often technologies which are developed and successfully applied in a particular area cannot be automatically applied in other areas. The prerequisites for the application of a technology can vary widely between areas in view of the differences on their socio-economic conditions, resources, capacities, etc.
and Ministry of Agriculture) within the priority area Improving the Competitiveness of Estonian R&D through the Research Programmes and Modernisation of Higher Education and R&D Institutions of the operational
2) increase in the synergy of financing measures of different environmental research disciplines, especially the attainment of synergy in environmental research infrastructure, including between
NATIONAL PROGRAMME OF ENVIROMENTAL TECHNOLOGY Development of a new technology or improvement of an old one always requires substantial research and development work. To shape and finance research, development and innovation in environmental technology, several approaches may be used in accordance with adopted policies, strategies, etc. The Ministry of Education and Research has prepared the Estonian Environmental Conservation and Environmental Technology Programme (EECETP) as a joint programme of several ministries (Ministry of Education and Research, Ministry of the Environment, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications www.globalscientia.com
Figure 2. CO2, CH4, N2O emission measurements in Pärnu county in a research project to assess swamp ecosystems. Author: Martin Madisson, University of Tartu.
programme Development of Economic Environment. The primary task of EECETP was coordinated planning of environmental research and development within priority areas. The programme’s objectives included: 1) coordinated development of environmental monitoring work and related research into a researchbased comprehensive system of environmental monitoring and environmental analysis;
the development of the environmental objects of the Estonian Research Infrastructures Roadmap and the related research and development work; 3) increase in the socio-economic effect of environmental research.¹ The national programme alone demonstrates the extent of the area covered by the development of environmental technologies. Issue 3 | GLOBALSCIENTIA | 25
Estonian Environmental Technology Achieves Success SUPPORT MEASURE UNDER THE NATIONAL PROGRAMME A measure entitled Supporting R&D in Environmental Protection and Technology (SRDEPT) was set up in the framework of EECEPT. SRDEPT identifies eligible R&D areas in environmental technology and is implemented by way of pre-negotiated grants and by way of an open call for applications (open round), both of which chiefly relied on structural assistance financing from the European Regional Development Fund. In the field of environmental technology, SRDEPT supports implementation in Estonia of the principles of European Research Area and Innovation Union and is orientated to achievement of the goals of the EU research and innovation strategy for the Baltic Sea region and of the EU Neighbourhood Policy. The measure aims to develop research-based problem solving and promote scientifically sound application of technologies to enhance protection of the environment and improve environmental conditions. SRDEPT’s principal actions include supporting research work required for development of enviromental protection and technologies and funding joint research groups of research institutions, development of required applications and analysis of current situation and of possible development trends. The measure has four principal objectives:
To achieve each of these objectives, the measure contains a corresponding activity. The programme was targeted to accredited research and development institutions (Cybernetica AS, Estonian University of Life Sciences, Institute of Chemical Physics and Biophysics, Tallinn University of Technology, Tallinn University, Tartu Observatory, University of Tartu) with the goal to support the development of environmental technologies required to implement the government’s socio-economic policies and provide funding for R&D work aimed at solving important environmental problems. The grant of funding under SRDEPT was preceded by extensive prior consultations with research groups. On the other hand, in the open round, each application was assessed on its merits, ’as is’. The research and development areas on which the programme focused included climate and environmental change, ecologically balanced use of natural resources, preservation of biodiversity and natural areas, assessment of environmental risks, environmental data acquisition and pollution reduction. The open call for project applications mainly focused on environmental technologies in the
narrow traditional sense, i.e., technical solutions to reduce pollution and waste. FUNDING SUB-ACTIONS AND PROJECTS IN ENVIRONMENTAL TECHNOLOGY The total budget of SRDEPT amounts to 6,697,570 euros. The specific topics of the research and development funded by the programme were selected in consideration of the problems formulated by the ministries, their agencies and partners. The funds allocated for implementation of the actions amounted to approximately 6 million euros. However, the total of funding requested in 12 applications which were received amounted approximately to 12 million euros. Therefore, it was only possible to approve grants for half of the projects. The proposed projects focused chiefly on chemical cycles, biodiversity, information systems, climate change, environmental protection, marine studies, use of resources, risk analysis, pollution reduction, monitoring and studies of inland waters. If all applications had been accepted and all requested grants approved, the measure would have provided employment to approximately 200 researchers.
1) to create a framework for providing the government, in the priority areas of environmental protection and technology, with solid research-based information which can be used in the making of decisions and policies; 2) to ensure coherence and a scientific basis for the comprehensive development of projects listed in the Estonian Research Infrastructures Roadmap; 3) to analyse national and academic environmental information systems in terms of their coherence in order to support studies in biodiversity informatics and climate and environmental change; 4) to develop research-based estimates which make it possible to respond quickly and with precision in critical situations. 26 | GLOBALSCIENTIA | Issue 3
Figure 3. CO2, CH4, N2O emission measurements in Pärnu county in a research project to assess swamp ecosystems. Author: Martin Madisson, University of Tartu.
Estonian Environmental Technology Achieves Success In the open round, which had a budget of approximately 3 million euros, 43 applications were received requesting funding in the amount of approximately 15 million euros. Thus, here the competition was even stiffer. AREA
Action 2. Supporting research work concerning projects in the Estonian Research Infrastructures Roadmap related to the field of environmental protection and technology, in the course of which experimental basic OPEN ROUND
Use of resources
Table 1. Applications by area as received in the open round and under SRDEPT.
SUB-ACTIONS IN ENVIRONMENTAL TECHNOLOGY As part of SRDEPT, 4 actions and 8 subactions were funded for the purpose of developing environmental technologies. Action 1. Applied research in priority areas of environmental protection and environmental technology (climate and environmental changes, ecologically balanced use of natural resources, preservation of biodiversity and natural communities and pollution reduction): 1) applied research in nature conservation (LOORA); 2) assessment of possible changes in the Estonian climate and environment on the basis of dynamical modeling of the atmosphere, ocean and river runoff (EstKliima); 3) removal of poorly biodegradable substances from waste water by physico-chemical and biological methods in order to reduce the pollution load of aquatic environment (CHEMBIO); 4) dynamics of living systems in the context of nature conservation (EDULOOD). www.globalscientia.com
and applied research is carried out using the projects in the Estonian Research Infrastructures Roadmap for experiments: 1) Estonian observatory of aquatic environment (VeeOBS); 2) research and development work of the Estonian Environmental Observatory on biosphere and atmosphere (BioAtmos). Action 3. Analysis of national and academic environmental information systems in terms of their coherence, preparation of development projects to increase analytic capacity, studies of biodiversity informatics and climate and environmental change:
RESULTS The more interesting expected results of SRDEPT supported projects concern the impact of rare and extreme waves on shore areas, potential changes in the movement of air masses in the atmosphere above North Europe, analysis of principal processes in nature conservation, assessment of the impact of various risks by mobile positioning, risks posed by invasive species to biological environment and risks in sea environment to species, assessment of the the impact of possible changes in water level on shore areas, improvement of remote sensing methods, removal of carbon from lake water, analysis of the compatibility of scientific databases, use of the infrastructure of the Environmental Observatory in atmosphere studies, improvement of various models, cleaning waste water of poorly biodegradable organic compounds. Results of environmental technology research and development provide input for the development of various theories and are used in decisionmaking, expert opinions, improvement of methods, nature conservation and water cleaning applications as well as in assessing the status of different environments. The outcomes of SRDEPT make it possible for Estonian scientists to integrate their work with that of their counterparts in other member states of the European Union, to win recognition among their peers in the EU and to contribute solutions of their own to tackling global and regional environmental problems. SRDEPT was supported from the European Regional Development Fund. Ain Vellak
Geoinformatic development of biodiversity, soil and earth data system (ERMAS). Action 4. Developing research-based estimates for quick and precise response in critical situations.
1 April 2013 ยนEstonian Environmental Conservation and Environmental Technology Programme
Developing research-based estimates and quantifying risks for quick and precise response in critical situations in the Estonian mainland, water bodies, seaboard and atmosphere (TERIKVANT). Issue 3 | GLOBALSCIENTIA | 27
The Digital Agendas
The Digital Agendas ‘Silent Crisis’ must be Heard & Acted upon Gillian McNicoll
Androulla Vassiliou European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth.
“Digital competence has become a core skill that everyone should be learning at school - it is essential to our economic growth and to people’s employability and inclusion in society” Androulla Vassiliou.
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During the The Grand Coalition ICT skills and Job Conference in Brussels on the 5th of March 2013, Androulla Vassiliou, Member of the European Commission for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth made a very important speech about ‘Making education fit for the digital age’. Here at the conference Vassiliou launched the Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs. Those at the conference collaborated in various workshops on different issues relating to ICT. The Commissioner brought to the forefront how vital it is to look at the current educational systems and turn them into systems that fit with the Digital Agenda. Young people need to have all the up-to-date opportunities and resources made available to them in order to grow and develop into ICT savvy students and workers, both now and in the future. Androulla Vassiliou pointed out in great detail that the lack of skillsets in the digital arena is currently holding the EU back and needs to be addressed now rather than further down the road. There needs to be more activities for students to learn that are relevant and concurrent. Teaching ICT must be looked at in terms of change and improving abilities and talents. This ‘silent crisis’ over digital skills must be
addressed head on with greater collaboration and insight to reduce the gaps in the workforce. Without these skills EU jobseekers and employers will both lose out in the global digital agenda. So far Europe has slowed down in terms of these essential skills and the pace must rapidly speed up to not only keep abreast but to leap forward. However, without a restructuring of EU educations systems this cannot be achieved. “If this is a race, we are not winning”
The EU’s jobless figures are not inspiring as there is 1 out of 5 young people in Europe left jobless, despite their being 2 million job vacancies. Although there are many ICT jobs only one graduate is there to apply for every 3 jobs. This situation must not continue or we will fall further behind the rest of the world where many countries have grasped this problem more firmly. We must not miss out as we will allow our young people to miss out on many opportunities for advancement as well as businesses and organisations will miss out on new blood and new skills to boost their economies. There Are Many Practical Steps To Kick-Start The Digital Education One way forward that was announced by the www.globalscientia.com
The Digital Agendas Commissioner in November 2012 is the strategy on ‘Rethinking Education’. This strategy is about pushing the change for education reformation in the EU to greater heights; there needs to be a visible increase in ‘digital competencies and growth. These skills must be embedded into all EU states education systems. Another point is that more technology must be placed in classrooms as without the latest computers students cannot develop in a fast moving world. Today there is only 1 student out of 3 who has access to ICT equipment. Nevertheless ICT technology alone will not grow a future generation of literate digital workers but combined with greater proactivity and reforming education system there is a greater likelihood of progress. Training ICT Teachers Creates Greater Prospects Although many see ICT and STEM (Science, technology, engineering, and math education) as important they are often thought of as boring and complicated. Therefore this subject must be made interesting, innovative and compelling for those learning and teaching. But without teachers who have the backing and support of governments and teaching institutions this dynamic issue cannot be brought forward and addressed.
these are designed to help both academia and enterprises to work to together. In 2014 the Commissioner and Vice President Kroes will launch another new project called the ‘Opening up Education’ initiative. Digital Economy ICT Work Based learning and Apprenticeships could really be another good initiative to develop for example the ‘European Alliance for Apprenticeships’. Last year also saw a High Level Group on streamlining education being set up and is chaired by Mary McAleese who is the former President of Ireland. It is expected that a number of key recommendations will be released by this group in the summer of 2013. People are at the heart of change though they are not machines! But if we can learn about how technologies work and create new pathways our EU citizens can benefit financially as well as educationally. One real positive is that the digital economy is one of the top growth areas in Europe. Consequently what is required is a digital force to reckon with that will carry this digital agenda in a way that not only waves the EU flag but challenges all around to be motivated and vitalised.
Already there are many projects and initiatives that recognise ICT as a basic skill this basic skill must become a specialised skill or more broadly developed for fuller impact. The sharing of ideas from these projects is seen as very important way forward by the Commissioner. One other idea is the Knowledge Alliances Partnerships; www.globalscientia.com
Issue 3 | GLOBALSCIENTIA | 29
ERASMUS MUNDUS PARTNERSHIPS
Erasmus Mundus partnerships â€“ a tool to internationalize higher education and research: Collaboration between Europe and China, an experience from Lund University
Consortium meeting at Beijing Normal University.
Setting up a new project Erasmus Mundus aims to promote European higher education, to help improve and enhance the career prospects of students and to promote intercultural understanding, through cooperation with countries outside of EU. The EU funded projects provide scholarships for mobility on all academic levels between Europe and specific regions or countries, thus creating opportunities for the development of institutional cooperation between the involved universities as well as individual learning, teaching and cultural experiences for the scholarship holders. One of the pioneering universities in Europe managing Erasmus Mundus partnership projects (Action 2) is Lund University in Sweden. At Lund University, the programme was early identified as an important tool to further internationalize the university and to strengthen the cooperation with strategic partners and regions. Since the beginning of the Erasmus Mundus programme, Lund University has coordinated 12 projects and been partner in another 31 projects. An important issue to discuss in this regard is how much and what kind of impact this type of funding has on the participating universities.
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ith the positive experience from coordinating previous Erasmus Mundus projects in the Middle East and India, Lund was keen to apply for a new project when the European Commission launched funding for cooperation projects with Chinese universities in 2008. The interest for cooperation with China has been strong in Lund since the early 90â€™s, including activities such as the management of the EU-China programme and active participation in the Nordic Centre at Fudan University www.globalscientia.com
ERASMUS MUNDUS PARTNERSHIPS as some of the corner stones. China has also been identified as a region of strategic importance in the university’s internationalization strategy, an essential factor in the consideration to invest in resource demanding projects such as Erasmus Mundus. Knowing the importance of a well-functioning partnership from previous projects and with the aim to develop ongoing cooperation links as well as to initiate new, long lasting contacts, it was important to select the partners carefully. Lund as well as several other European partner universities had on-going cooperation with several Chinese universities. At the same time, a shared view about the importance to strengthen the cooperation between European and Chinese universities was an equally important factor in the selection of partner universities. The project eventually succeeded to create a partnership between some of the leading European universities and ten Chinese top universities.
process, are put on the agenda and sometimes lead to legal improvements as well as administrative improvements within the involved universities. Furthermore, since the projects address both administrative and academic staff, they provide a good platform for exchange of knowhow regarding internationalization and mobility management, as well as academic quality assurance and curriculum development. Another major benefit of the programme is the expansion of the scholarship holders’ personal horizon, by experiencing daily life in another culture and learning different research and teaching methods. Some of the European scholarship holders’ arrival at Chinese universities located outside of the largest and most modern
Impact and outcomes Since the beginning of the involvement of Lund University in Erasmus Mundus, around 800 scholarships have been awarded for mobility between Europe and Asia in projects headed by Lund. In the EMECW China project altogether 186 persons, whereof 52 Europeans and 134 Chinese were awarded a scholarship. Considering that mobility on the higher levels (PhD, Post-doc and staff mobility) is outstanding as a capacity building tool and often leads to tangible results, such as joint publications and research projects, the majority of the selected scholarship holders were among those groups. The project’s emphasis on developing institutional cooperation was secured by selecting excellent students, teachers and researchers who often also had plans for future joint projects. The mobilities are designed to foster internationalization in different ways; Exchange mobilities put pressure on the involved universities to identify the necessary processes for credit recognition, an important element to support mobility between higher education institutions; Other obstacles obstructing mobility, such as taxes on scholarships or problems in the visa www.globalscientia.com
Peking University Campus.
urban areas in China, led to cultural experiences beyond the usual. In most cases, the first cultural clash was soon overcome and developed into great insights about the Chinese culture and teaching system. Similarly, the Chinese scholarship holders reported about their positive experience of European culture during the mobility. Most students improve their language skills and several learned completely new languages during their mobility. Those skills and experiences will indeed serve as cultural bridges in the scholarship holders’ future lives. The mobility also gives the scholarship holders access to academic networks and contacts with leading researchers in their respective fields. As expressed by one of the Chinese scholarship holders, visiting University of Vienna: “I am now in what seems like a dream place to me,[….], working with professors whose work I have been quoting in my own research and whose books are on the reading lists I give to my students”.
One of the Erasmus Mundus programme’s objectives is to improve the visibility of European higher education. In general, Chinese students are keener to go to English speaking countries like US and Australia than to European countries for continued studies, but the Chinese partner universities report an increased interest in European universities from their students, since the introduction of the Erasmus Mundus programme. There has been a continuous rise in the number of Chinese students who are studying in Europe during the last decade (GHK, EU-China Student and Academic Staff Mobility: Present Situation and Future Developments, 2011). This can partly be seen in the light of difficulties to meet the demand for higher education in China and the explicit internationalization strategy expressed and supported by the Chinese Ministry of Education. However, the increased presence of European universities in China and of Chinese universities in Europe undoubtedly also plays a significant role. Similarly, European students’ interest in studies in China has grown extensively during several years (ibid), not the least within economics/business studies. Not only have the cooperation between Europe and Asia increased, bringing a demand for people with skills and experience from China and more possibilities for students to study in China, but the focus on creating world class universities in China and the increased availability of courses taught in English, is also part of this development. Securing future cooperation Even though the projects last for four years, it has been important to identify new funding and cooperation opportunities beyond the funding of the European Commission, at an early stage. The first step towards sustainable and long lasting cooperation was setting up consortium meetings, where all the involved universities had the opportunity to meet and learn to know one another and to establish links between them. Similarly, the cooperation conference organized at Peking University in May 2011 created an arena for personal meetings and Issue 3 | GLOBALSCIENTIA | 31
ERASMUS MUNDUS PARTNERSHIPS also provided important information about different tools and financial sources, which can be used to further develop the cooperation between European and Chinese universities. Another step was to continue the cooperation within the Erasmus Mundus partnership framework. Since no China specific call was announced in 2009, the EMECW China project was partly developed into an Erasmus Mundus Asia project (EMEA), including some
as a direct outcome of the projects. In the EMECW China project, a great number of student agreements and MoUâ€™s have been signed, new research collaborations have developed and several joint education initiatives have been taken. With the set-up of a scholarship scheme on different levels, the cooperation subsequently develops into long-lasting relations. Seeing that the set-up of the EMECW China project stems from different partner universityâ€™s previous contacts, the project has been successful in spreading the number of contacts among the European and Chinese universityâ€™s respectively, as ripples in the water. Remain in focus
EHEF Fair, Beijing.
of the previous partner universities from both regions and allowing a number of south Asian universities to learn from the high profile Chinese and European universities regarding internationalization, credit recognition and mobility administration. Parallel to setting up several Erasmus Mundus projects with Chinese universities, Lund University initiated a European University Centre in China. The center was established at Peking University and the European partners overlapped with the ones in the Erasmus Mundus project to a high extent. This created further opportunities to benefit from one another. While the Erasmus Mundus projects are mainly financed by the European Commission, the Centre has so far been financed by the member universities and successfully continues to develop the existing relationships and network independent of external funding. The Erasmus Mundus projects tend to deepen the relations between partners who have previous on-going collaboration. The cooperation often develops from individual research collaboration or student exchange agreements, to include deeper and more multifaceted collaboration. Also, many completely new relations and projects are being developed 32 | GLOBALSCIENTIA | Issue 3
For the EMECW China project, some issues remain to be examined before it is finalized in mid-2013. This includes examining the employment opportunities connected to the mobility, to find out how well the scholarship holders have been doing after finishing their mobility. Also, issues such as how the recognition mechanisms have worked out for the students and how scholarship holders particularly on the higher levels perceive the future cooperation between European and Chinese universities will be examined. In general, the future cooperation between European and Chinese
EHEF Fair, Beijing.
universities would benefit from an increase in the number of courses and programmes taught in English at many of the Chinese as well as at some the European universities. Several countries also have legal boundaries to overcome, to be able to fully implement the European programmes. In summary, the Erasmus Mundus programme as such manages to mix aims of different nature into a good blend of institutional, national and individual opportunities. The drawbacks have been moderate, considering the good results, but never the less periodically troublesome for the involved universities. This includes tight deadlines in implementing the projects and lack of long-term funding for some projects, important issues which should to be addressed in future programmes. For Lund University and the other partner universities, the thorough work with the internationalization
Information meeting Xiamen University.
ERASMUS MUNDUS PARTNERSHIPS agenda and the cooperation between Chinese and European universities continue. Initiatives that have been institutionalized will be mixed with completely new projects within the framework of Erasmus for All, Horizon 2020 and other programmes. A common denominator is that Erasmus Mundus projects, similar to other previous projects will often be used as a stepping stone for future initiatives. References: GHK Consulting, EU-China Student and Academic Staff Mobility: Present Situation and Future Developments, 2011. Elisabeth Axell, Project Manager at Division of External Relations, Lund University, Sweden.
Facts – The EMECW China project
Facts – European University Center at Peking University
Objective: To create a partnership in research and education that will strengthen the ties between Europe and China, by:
Peking University and the European member universities have established a European University Centre for cooperation in research and education. The cooperation includes various activities, such as:
the knowledge about and recognition of the • Increasing European higher education systems for the Chinese participants and the knowledge about the recognition of the Chinese higher education system for the European participants.
Increasing the co-operative activities between the participating universities, such as joint research activities, joint courses, programmes and other activities.-Selecting high achieving students and staff in the scholarship programme that are satisfied with the mobility scheme to a high extent.
Participating European universities: Lund University (Lead University), Free University of Berlin, University of Deusto, International Institute for Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC), University College Dublin, University College London, Autonomous University of Madrid, University of Pierre and Marie Curie, University of Vienna, University of Warsaw. Participating Chinese universities: Beijing Normal University, Fudan University, Harbin Technology Institute, Peking University, Shanghai Jiaotong University, Tsinghua University, University of Science and Technology of China, Wuhan University, Xiamen University, Zhejiang University. Associate partners: Chinese Academy of Sciences, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Institute of Mountain Hazard and Environment. Contact person: Elisabeth Axell, Project coordinator, External Relations division, Lund University, Sweden. E-mail: Elisabeth.Axell@er.lu.se Webpage: www.lu.se/emecwchina
the possibilities to establish joint research • Increase projects knowledge of Europe and China by establishing • Increase courses in European and Chinese studies knowledge about European and Chinese • Increase university systems for staff, researchers and students visiting Peking • Service University cooperation between the involved European • Increase universities, for instance in relation to joint courses/ programmes, Erasmus Mundus, etc, together with Peking University and other selected universities in China of assistance regarding co-ordination of student • Be and staff exchange between the involved European universities and Peking University Member universities: Peking University, Aarhus University, Aristotele University of Thessaloniki, Autonomous University of Madrid, Lund University, Sorbonne Universities (PanthéonAssas –Paris 2, Paris Sorbonne-Paris 4, Pierre and Marie Curie –Paris 6), University College London, University College Dublin, University of Milan, University of Vienna, University of Warsaw, Uppsala University. Contact persons: Kjell Nilsson, Director, Department of Sociology, Lund University, Sweden. Email: Kjell.Nilsson@soc.lu.se and Jan-Olof Nilsson, Co-director, Department of Sociology, Lund University, Sweden. Email: Jan-Olof.Nilsson@soc.lu.se Webpage: www.lu.se/pkueuc
Issue 3 | GLOBALSCIENTIA | 33
Erasmus Mobility Programme
The Erasmus Mobility Programme: where foreign becomes more familiar Gillian McNicoll
Androulla Vassiliou European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth.
For 26 years now the Erasmus mobility student exchange programme has been creating opportunities for students to develop skills and gain experience whilst studying abroad. Additional opportunities exist for students to work in businesses and enterprises. Although initially Erasmus was principally a study abroad initiative for students the programme’s scope has developed and now covers other significant training and exchanges for other dynamic categories. Now the programme also offers University and Higher Education staff opportunities to teach and train in other European Universities or establishments as well as training for business employees. Erasmus Programme Statistics The Erasmus programme statistics are very impressive and this European initiative is a world leader for study abroad programmes. Now around 230,000 students take part each year in the scheme, since the initiative begun in 1987 there have been around 3 million students taking part. Additionally 300,000 Higher Education professors and lecturers have joined in since 1997. The Erasmus €450 million budget is spread out to cover exchanges in 33 European countries in over 4000 higher education
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establishments. It is expected that more and more students, institutions, staff and businesses will join in the programme in the coming years. Erasmus Set To continue In the face of Obstacles Despite fears in 2012 regarding funding for Erasmus due to the economic crisis this has been averted. The European Parliament and Member states came to an agreement to enable the shortfall to be paid for 2012 and for the 2013 -2014 Erasmus programmes to continue. There has also been a new programme proposal for youth and sport. As yet a name has not been devised for this but is suggested to be something that captures the essence of Erasmus whilst being something recognisable across EU states. “I attach great importance to my proposal for a new programme in the area of education, training, youth and sport. It is based on a rationale of strong EU added value, systemic impact, streamlining and simplification… the programme will ensure better value for money, better results, increased user-friendliness for beneficiaries and a more costeffective delivery” Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, at the Education, Youth, Culture and Sport Council.
The Erasmus Programme For Students This long running programme seeks to encourage collaboration between students as they study abroad whilst experiencing a different culture and language. Erasmus students have the chance to visit a new country in any of the European Union member states such as the UK, Germany, France, Denmark, Greece, Croatia, Estonia, Spain, Latvia, Belgium and Turkey. These intrepid students can choose to take placements for periods from 3 months lasting up to 2 years. These experiences can really broaden their current studies and give added value as well to courses and the whole learning experience of both home and abroad students. Teachers and staff can learn from these students and this can help to improve teaching skills and delivery. Students interested in applying can contact their international office from their place of study for more information. There is funding available for staying in another EU country for eligible students as well as extra funding for eligible students with special needs. There are different kinds of initiatives that students can apply to either the Intensive Programme or the Erasmus Intensive Language www.globalscientia.com
Erasmus Mobility Programme Programme. The short intensive programme can facilitate a choice of 380 plus short study programmes across the EU and students can stay from two week or up to 6 weeks. The language programme runs specialised Erasmus Intensive Language Courses (EILC) which can run from 2-6 weeks to enable students to go on to Erasmus mobility study abroad programmes. These courses only cover certain languages and run in specific countries and regions, for example Dutch in Belgium and Catalan in Spain. English, German, French and Castilian are not taught on these EILC courses. The Erasmus Programme For Universities and Higher Education Institutions There are three programmes involving universities and higher educations in the EU; Intensive programmes, Academic Networks and Multilateral. The Multilateral projects are all about improving cooperation and increasing opportunities for inventiveness. These have been brought about to help to improve the quality of education. On this programme, an exchange of ideas is encouraged and allows for those involved to look into varied good practices and teaching methods. The short intensive programme is a place where both students and staff can meet with 3 or more different countries and higher education establishments at one time. These programmes can take place over 10 days or up to 6 weeks. Whilst attending the programmes participants get to discuss specialised topics and are encouraged to contribute www.globalscientia.com
ideas and at the same time learn about the subject from differing angles. Moreover all involved can test available teaching methodologies and techniques in an international setting. Sometimes these programmes can be organised on a one-off basis or annually for up to 3 years. The Academic Network Programme is also about cooperation and working to increase inventiveness and ingenuity in education. In this programme the focus is on specific focus areas that work to improve education and quality of academic teaching. The network works over different higher education facilities in the EU. Elected themes bring all the players together from a wide range of backgrounds such as; professors, staff and outside agencies to discuss topics of note. In addition, this Erasmus programme promotes information sharing and resourcefulness, good practice and a dynamic space for policy review. Networks shall address current, emerging and future developments of the subject area. This Erasmus network is also about long term changes and development in education in higher education facilities across the board. Each different themed network must have 25 or more institutions over 25 countries or more, who are involved in Lifelong Learning. This network must include one EU state at the very least. The Erasmus Programme For Staff – Professors or Others Teachers who are higher education employees and those who work for private enterprises who are asked to attend can attend
teaching projects organised by the Erasmus programme in the EU. These assignments, which are run in participating EU countries, can be as short as I day, or the equivalent of 5 hours of teaching, or teaching posts can last for up to 6 weeks. Another plus point is to build mobile networks between those teaching, institutions and businesses. Additionally there in another vital part to this programme and that is for higher education and enterprise staff to receive training in another business enterprise or institution over 5 days up to 6 weeks. This Erasmus programme is all about creativity, improving teaching styles, sharing methods, collaboration and learning and has arranged 300,000 employees exchanges since its inception. Erasmus For Businesses and Enterprises This innovative programme has opened up doors and shutters for both academic staff and businesses. Ideas can be talked over, new practices and techniques can be mulled over in a conducive atmosphere. Exchange programmes like this can break down any barriers between those in higher education and enterprises of all shapes and sizes. Students can benefit from gaining valuable work experience which can have lifelong effects on careers and life choices. At the same time businesses can benefit from input from new inventive minds who bring freshness and out of the box thinking. Questions can be asked such as ‘why is this done this way and not that way’ and can change the way forward.
Mobility Creates Innovation & Reduces Separation Mobility within the EU states is one of the key themes of all the Erasmus programmes and to encourage free movement within the EU states as norm. Through Erasmus, ‘foreign’ countries should no longer be so unfamiliar; instead they can become more open, friendly and exciting. Although an EU utopia is not round the corner, nonetheless anything that encourages cooperation between people who have diverse cultures languages and structures should be encouraged in all its forms. At their heart the Erasmus Programmes seek to promote rewarding and worthwhile exchanges between students, businesses, and higher education institutions and it is hopes that they continue to do so for many years to come. Watch this space! http://ec.europa.eu/ education/erasmus/ students_en.htm http://ec.europa.eu/ education/erasmus/staff_ en.htm http://europa.eu/rapid/ press-release_MEMO-13105_en.htm http://ec.europa.eu/ education/erasmus/ students_en.htm http://ec.europa.eu/ education/erasmus/ multilateral-projects_en.htm
Issue 3 | GLOBALSCIENTIA | 35
Danish National Research Foundation
Curiosity Pays off for the Danish National Research Foundation
Director, Danish National Research Foundation
y investing in excellence and trusting our researcher’s outstanding talent and courage, the Danish National Research Foundation (DNRF) has seen remarkably results from this funding strategy. Calling for publicly funded research to target specific societal challenges could seem like a very attractive option. However, funders and politicians also must have the courage to fund research that intrigues the best researchers, regardless whether such research shows good prospects of solving these major challenges. By venturing into unexplored territory, new and unanticipated results may be achieved. Many of the technologies that have transformed today’s society the most were not anticipated from the outset of the research. This indicates that the research and ideas behind these technologies were not created within a target specific research investment. Flexible & Creative Research Can Pay Dividends Today, we should be careful putting too much effort into strategic research and thereby miss great opportunities that we could not imagine up front. We must have the courage to let some of the very best researchers follow their dreams and to focus on the research questions that they are most intrigued by. This is the ambition of the Danish National Research Foundation. In Danish, the term “basic research” is included in the name of the Danish National Research Foundation (Danmarks Grundforskningsfond), signaling that the foundation supports what may be defined as fundamental research. But in the DNRF we find that the distinction between basic and applied research is becoming more and more meaningless and that basic and applied research often are two sides of the same coin and not in fact contrasts. In many research endeavors, basic and applied research complement each other and are activities that go on simultaneously or in a reciprocal interaction with mutual inspiration and creativeness. Instead of talking about basic research, the DNRF likes to say that it supports frontier or frontline research defined as being fundamental advances at and beyond the frontier of knowledge. We want to fund research that has the potential to kick start breakthroughs, to advance scientific development and thus to help change the world. When selecting proposals we look for ambitious and bold ideas, and we put much emphasis on the people behind the proposals. It is our experience that research activities propelled by desire, curiosity and wonder, and research conducted with dedication, focus and passion is more likely to succeed. 36 | GLOBALSCIENTIA | Issue 3
Center of Excellence Programme Our prime funding instrument is the Center of Excellence Programme. Only top researchers with very original and ambitious ideas may succeed in obtaining a Center of Excellence. This is a ‘crème de la crème’ funding opportunity for the very best that provides substantial funding with a long term perspective enabling researchers to build an exceptional research environment and to pursue a major research challenge. This approach can provide new insights and ground breaking results. The centers are funded through large grants of 60 – 120 M DKK (6 – 13 M euro) for up to 10 years. Though the foundation takes a keen interest in each center and follows them closely, the grants are very flexible and without restraints; center leaders are trusted to know how to get the most research out of the grants. This funding instrument has proved to be an excellent strategy. It pays to let preeminent researchers tackle the research issues that most ignite their interest. The DNRF has financed research whose significant findings have changed the face of science in the research areas concerned and whose application has made a difference to society. One rather simple analysis the foundation has been able to do regarding scientific impact, concerns the amount of articles authored or coauthored by center leaders. The high numbers of articles published in top prestigious journals compared to other Danish articles shows the high caliber of the Center of Excellence Programme researchers. The figure below shows that the share of Danish contributions to top Nature and Science journals (in %) that are co-authored by DNRF center leaders has increased from about 5% in the mid-1990s to exceed 20% at the end of the first decade of the 2000s. During the same period, the total number of Nature and Science publications from Danish research institutions has more than doubled.
Danish National Research Foundation This trend seems to continue in 2011, 2012 and 2013. Other indicators of this success can be found in the commercialization statistics. In 2010 every sixth patent application submitted from a public research institution came from a DNRF Center of Excellence. This exceeded the share that could be expected since the DNRF only allocates approximately 2% of all public research funds. The high number of patent applications indicates a substantial application potential, even though the foundation does not make this a criterion when selecting new centers. In this process, the foundation solely considers scientific quality. We have awaited the new figures for 2011 with great anticipation to see whether this pattern would repeat itself or if 2010 was a one off event. In 2011, far more patent applications were submitted, of which DNRF centers account for an impressive 14%. Patent applications submitted, 2007-2011 2007
DNRF’s share (number)
DNRF’s share (%)
Public research institutions in Denmark
Both international and national statistics use patent applications, patents granted and spin-outs as commercialization indicators. The relevance and quality of these indicators may be discussed as they are often small, and lump valuable patents together with less successful patents. They also fluctuate considerably from one year to the next. It is debatable whether the numbers suffice to elucidate the application activities in a given research community. Information about the research communities’ collaborations and partnerships - even the more informal ones - might contribute to a deeper understanding of the dynamics and links between research and innovation. Patents granted, 2007-2011 2007
DNRF’s share (number)
DNRF’s share (%)
Public research institutions in Denmark
All of these numbers exceeds what might be expected taking into account how big a share centers constitute the Danish public research institutions. In an effort to try to understand what lies behind some of the numbers, the foundation has looked into eight of the centers and collected narratives from these centers in a brochure which so far is available in Danish (and from May 2013 in English) and can be downloaded from the foundation’s website (www.dg.dk). These examples all confirm that the combination of selection criteria focusing on the ability and courage to pursue new and big ideas and the freedom and flexibility offered by a center grant, produces results that make a difference. At the same time these cases show how having an insatiable curiosity to understand the as-yet unexplainable can foster applications that weren’t foreseen when the research endeavor was initiated. For instance, research at the Center for GeoGenetics has gained international attention and changed the course of world history. Researchers from this center have developed technologies for analyzing ancient DNA, technologies that also led to the development of an entirely new monitoring tool capable of using a single sample of water to determine with extreme accuracy the variety and number of species in a lake or stream. This may become a tool for solving environmental problems and may eventually be used to develop fishing quotas, etc. In this way, research into the now extinct woolly rhinoceros may aid in conserving current animal species and ensuring sustainable commercial fishing. Nor was it a wish to contribute to dealing with extreme weather situations in the future that was the driving force for the Center for Massive Data Algorithmics. But the center’s experience and research on processing massive data algorithmics led to the establishment of SCALGO. This is a spin-off company that has contributed to the development of a cloudburst map which now is being used as a key part of an emergency response system to plan new urban areas and ensure that sewer renovation and road water diversion are high priorities. The research performed by the centers does not take place isolated from the society that surrounds them. Even though research activities are not chosen to solve specific social challenges, researchers are generally dedicated to and absorbed by the world around them – and they seek to apply that knowledge.
Spin-out companies, 2007-2011 From 2007-2011 15% of all spin-out companies based on research from a public institution in Denmark emerged from the foundation’s Center of Excellences. When asked about this, stakeholders behind these new companies are highly aligned in their explanations of success; their competitive edge is down to basing their business on original and groundbreaking research. They are not “just” good at what they do. They have made a scientific breakthrough and have translated this knowledge into practice.
Issue 3 | GLOBALSCIENTIA | 37
University Education and Employability
University Education and Employability Research-based ways of working and real-world competences grand challenges facing humanity, such as increasing growth, extreme urbanization, pollution, malnutrition, conflicts and wars. At the same time, many of Europe’s economies are weakening, resulting in recession and unemployment.
Hanne Leth Andersen, Roskilde University, Denmark
There is a need for renewed discussion of well-functioning teaching and learning activities, student and teacher roles, and the links between education and the labour market in order to properly address students’ employability and how it is formed.
ince the very first universities were established in Bologna, Paris and Cambridge, education has been an answer to challenges such as increasing growth and urbanization. These elements of human evolution necessarily reveal a need and demand for professional administration, finance and technology, as well as arts and medicine, just to mention a few areas. Today, education is a key issue at the global level, and there is no doubt about the importance of human reflection, responsibility and development in meeting the 38 | GLOBALSCIENTIA | Issue 3
According to the European Commission’s new strategy on education, more young people should develop high-level skills and competences in order to reinvent welfare and jobs in Europe. Logically, educational strategies stress the fact that graduates must not only possess a high level of knowledge, but also be able to contribute to innovation and entrepreneurship in order to be employable. Educating strong thinkers and entrepreneurs In this situation, it is useful to take a closer look at the actual situation of university education and the ways in which students, teachers and future employers understand it. Before we can innovate through education, we must acknowledge that the foundation of education is knowledge and understanding, which are closely linked to concrete skills and transversal competences. Then the “million dollar question” is, how can we offer education to more and more people without losing quality and originality? In other words, how is knowledge constructed, not only repeated, and how can universities meet the needs of the labour market without losing the high level of academic quality that constitutes the very basis of their relevance? If universities are (able) to lift this central task, it is precisely because university education is based on values linked to research that are needed to build a strong and innovative human society. Teaching and learning activities are the key element in educating strong,
independent thinkers and entrepreneurs who can not only repeat or take over existing ideas, but who can recreate Europe in the global era. Universities must therefore carefully and respectfully organize the enormous task of educating larger percentages of the population to face the grand challenges of the present and of the future, without losing the level of education now formulated in the European Qualification Framework (EQF). The EQF states that at the end of the second cycle (master’s level), the graduate should be able to “manage and transform work or study contexts that are complex, unpredictable and require new strategic approaches, take responsibility for contributing to professional knowledge and practice and/or for reviewing the strategic performance of teams” (EQF level 7). Universities must not become schools or factories but must stay alert and creative, working in new spaces and laboratories on the basis of research methods and values.
University Education and Employability From the very beginning, European universities were research universities, and research-based education is a main characteristic of universities. As such, universities value the consistent use of methods and academic rules, as well as respect, honesty and independent critical thinking. The teaching-research nexus is today seen as a hallmark of educational quality. Nevertheless the definition of research-based education is largely discussed, probably also because of the costs certain definitions may entail. Links between research and teaching are constructed in a variety of ways across university, from the inclusion of subject-based research in the curriculum to the provision of opportunities for students to learn as researchers. In addition, concepts such as research-informed or researchenhanced teaching and education have been introduced, pointing mainly to the fact that research and researchers are behind but not necessarily engaged in educational activities. Researchbased education, on the other hand, is characterized by its use of teaching methods designed to bridge the gap between teaching and research by engaging students in research and research-like activities, with teachers serving as active researchers. Learning in research mode means learning from researchers with a focus on methodologies, approaches, methods and instruments of research; essential elements of education are therefore critical reading and thinking skills. An important result of good academic criteria is the graduateâ€™s ability to make coherent, verifiable, convincing and clear presentations. And the concrete learning activities are those of research, such as inquiry-based or problem-based learning tasks, concrete case studies, projects, performance or exhibition, fieldwork and laboratory work. In such an educational design, the ideal relation between teachers and students is that of a collaborative community. The teacherâ€™s role becomes that of a guide and later of a colleague, allowing students to take over a significant portion of the responsibility for their own learning, including planning, execution and evaluation. These characteristics of research-based teaching and learning are underlined in the problem-oriented programs that have existed at certain universities since the reforms of the 1960s. www.globalscientia.com
Problem- and inquiry-oriented approaches The underlying idea of problem- and project-oriented approaches is to create a maximum amount of learning in a specific subject or domain through the experience of posing and solving problems within the discipline or, if necessary, in overlapping disciplines. From the very beginning, the methods used are research methods, as opposed to traditional lecture learning. Students are actively engaged in constructing knowledge on the basis of their own research questions, learning by applying, testing and hypothesising. The pedagogy is deliberately student centred. In the process, it is important to seek and develop knowledge, and students must therefore have strong information management skills and competences. Working with problems and cases, they develop effective problem-solving and collaboration skills as well as intrinsic or inner motivation, which is important for the learning outcome. Motivation is the driving force behind high-level learning and talent development. According to most current economic theory, it is external incentives that stimulate people to act, whereas most psychological and pedagogical theory presents personal, intrinsic motivation as the strongest and most powerful enabler. In the
latter understanding, people must trust and follow their personal drive in order to develop their talent, and in so doing achieve considerable success. This idea is closely linked to student-centred learning and the open-ended ways of working, such as problem-oriented project work and inquiry and curiosity-driven approaches. At the other side of the spectrum are approaches centred on goal orientation, which assume that students are stimulated by the security of right and wrong answers. In innovative and entrepreneurial approaches, the individualâ€™s sense of self-efficacy is the belief in being able to succeed in specific situations. It plays a major role in how students approach goals, tasks and challenges. Self-efficacy is promoted in inquiry-based teaching and in relations between students and between students and teachers. The relational competence of teachers and researchers working together with students is an important element of a strong study environment. It creates confidence and engaged dialogue, and in this way the human relation between teachers and students, as well as between students, helps create a strong relation between the student and the subject. This bond is the essential driving force towards a deep understanding of the field and the challenges it represents. Issue 3 | GLOBALSCIENTIA | 39
University Education and Employability Problem-oriented programmes carry out several of the distinctive elements of research-based education since students in these programmes clearly work together in research-like projects under the guidance of or with researchers. In addition, the learning approach is that of knowledge building and inquiry-driven learning. Groups of students make a collective inquiry into a specific topic, coming to a deeper understanding through interactive questioning and dialogue, and continuously improving on ideas.
defining and analysing problems, and eventually on communicating processes and results, students tend to develop responsible, professional attitudes, as well as problem-solving and collaboration skills. These elements are therefore important in modern teaching. In modern society, where innovation is an absolute imperative, these competences are sine qua non. Intellectual skills, diligence and correctness are the basis of good educational results, but initiative, creativity and engagement through strong motivation make the difference. Challenges
This approach stands in contrast to a lecture-oriented approach aimed at filling knowledge into students’ heads, a teaching method which achieves one of the aims of research-based education (that of teaching new research results) but does not help students become independent thinkers or innovative agents. Inquiry-based learning is a way of ‘learning by doing’ or discovery learning. The questions are real questions from the research field, the real world or both, and there are no correct answers from the beginning. Discovery learning takes place in problem-solving situations where the learner draws on his own experience and prior knowledge: students interact with their environment by exploring and manipulating objects, wrestling with questions and controversies or performing experiments. These activities prepare students for real life. Importantly, these types of knowledge building endeavours and competence development are not confined to education, but apply to creative knowledge work of all kinds. Problem and inquiry-based education is therefore not only a strong version of research-based education; it is also clearly linked to students’ employability on the job market and in society in general.
With the new focus on broadening university education, the problem- and inquiry-based approaches to learning are being challenged: in these approaches, students must have close connections with researchers and teachers, who serve as guides and collaborators, as well as with research environments and real research projects. In the strongest versions, students’ projects are linked to and enhance researchers’ projects. The increasing number of students is therefore in itself a challenge, but an even greater one is the urge of insecure students who may be unfamiliar with academic education to look for answers instead of questions, for lectures rather than autonomous/student-centred learning. Universities risk losing sight of the initial reason for university education, which is the need for independent thinking and innovation, for initiative and engagement to grasp emergent understandings and ask intelligent questions. When it comes to this objective, there is no point in returning to
more traditional school learning far from the research mode. Yet there are several indicators of a development towards the separation of research and education (Brew 2006, Andersen 2010): 1) In external evaluations and accreditations, teaching and research are usually evaluated separately. 2) When addressing the demands for relevant education and employable graduates, universities, industry and governments are tempted to demand more precise professional skills. 3) The Bologna Process represents a major effort to ensure more comparable, compatible and coherent higher education systems in Europe. One consequence has been an increase in standardisation measures that challenge the open-ended learning approaches. For example, the increasing need to define precise learning outcomes threatens to suppress researchbased learning and bring teaching based on transmission of knowledge back to the fore since open-ended assignments and types of exam cannot be designed with the same degree of predictability. If alignment is used intelligently, it allows for an emphasis on process and competence, but problem-oriented knowledge building will never be as controllable as rote learning. 4) Students today often want lectures rather than project work or independent studies: In a time of crisis, they may prefer correct answers to insecurity and openended activities. They may prefer the advantages of being treated as clients in well-functioning diploma-delivering
The specific activities of inquiry and problem-oriented approaches to learning create functional knowledge instead of declarative knowledge; critical thinking instead of repetition and new questions instead of old answers. By working on 40 | GLOBALSCIENTIA | Issue 3
University Education and Employability companies rather than as partners conducting research-like activities at public institutions. This preference is at variance with the educational ideal of fostering collaborative and student-driven learning. For these reasons, the basic question of which learning approach to choose is once again an object for discussion the developments of problem-oriented and inquiry-based education in the 1960s and onwards. For 30 years, the most contested picture has been that of the teacher filling up the heads of students, of knowledge conceptualized through container metaphors.
several projects where students acting as researchers structure and create new knowledge. The students are considered to be learning and acting subjects engaging in collaborative learning, instead of passive objects of teaching. This is an important distinction which is clearly challenged by the production metaphors currently used in education, according to which universities must “produce” graduates. Even a term such as learning outcome is one of objectification. Education is not all about producing a predictable object, but about changing people, enhancing their capacities, empowering them to change existing conditions.
Employability: the link between academic programmes and occupational opportunities
If universities change their inclination to deep thinking and to learner-driven education in order to choose more
Problem orientation refers both to learning and to the use and relevance of student working practices as a tool in working life. The pedagogical idea is that working with a specific problem will provide a model for studying similar problems. Student working practices can be directly valuable to society if they are focused on real-world problems and draw on theories and methods from various academic fields. When defining research questions for their work, students can choose to argue both for social relevance and academic relevance within their subject. Addressing real-life problems can add personal meaning and motivation. However, not all problems should relate to speculations in direct utility, considering that research can both be strategic and fundamental, and that fundamental research – like fundamental project questions – can lead to strategically important findings and discoveries. Collaborative project work is also linked to both learning and employability. Very often, graduates from problem-oriented programmes are well employed. The most probable main reason for this is that problem-oriented learning activities meet society’s demands for flexible and adaptive education and foster independent, critical thinking and creative graduates. The project work is student directed and driven by engagement, mutual responsibility and a sense of ownership. Teachers act as advisors and consultants while also ensuring that student work progresses within the formal framework of the curriculum. Problem-oriented, research-based education is a practice that must be learned in the course of www.globalscientia.com
a good chance that research-based, inquiry-led university education can be a solution in a situation of crisis, but it cannot happen by adapting too strongly to concrete demands. Conclusion and perspectives What is needed in a world of new challenges is the ability to develop new ideas and creative solutions. Universities can support this by focusing on problemoriented approaches, linking research and education together. Problem- and inquiry-based learning and development with integrated collaboration between students, researchers, and external experts are already powerful tools in addressing major issues such as climate change, global warming and resource overconsumption. There is a strong need to develop both teaching and examination methods in order to move away from reproducing knowledge towards building new knowledge and focusing on inquiry- and student-centred learning. Rote learning is not the primary goal of higher education; it is building new knowledge, improving ideas rather that progressing towards a predefined true or warranted belief. Linear programmed thinking presented in lecture halls is not a pathway towards creativity or innovation. Some references
effective goal-oriented presentation approaches with the immediate advantage of predictability, they risk losing strong original thinking and thereby the capacity for innovation. The interesting thing is that the strong inclination to educate more directly towards the job market has often failed. This was expressed quite clearly by Professor Rosni Abdullah at an Expert Meeting on Graduate Employability in Penang, Malaysia, 11-12 February 2009: “When we were not trying to make our graduates more employable, they were more employable. But now that we are trying to make them more employable, they are not”. Education is not a product and not a thing you can buy. Education is about people who grow in knowledge and understanding and who learn to reflect and act, adding their personal skills and talents to existing structures. This may change the world, but we cannot customize or predict how. There is
Andersen, H. L. 2010. Le nouveau discours universitaire : textes de présentation, marketing et recrutement. Vers un discours d’entreprise, Meunier D. et al. Les discours universitaires : Formes, pratiques, mutations, L’Harmattan. Barrett, T., & Moore, S. 2010. New approaches to problem-based learning : revitalising your practice in higher education. New York: Routledge. Berkel, H. J. M. v. 2010. Lessons from problem-based learning. Oxford ; New York: Oxford University Press. Cody, N., & Gagnon, R. 2009. Apprendre autrement : l’apprentissage par problèmes. Montréal: Éditions Nouvelles. Brew, A. 2006. Research and Teaching: Beyond the divide. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, Chapter 11, 169-171.
Issue 3 | GLOBALSCIENTIA | 41
From idea to project and results
From idea to project and results a portrait of the Danish Advanced Technology Foundation Carsten Orth Gaarn-Larsen Managing Director Danish Advanced Technology Foundation
ambitions - at least not this time. These are the terms when taking research and development in new directions. The Foundation puts great emphasis on the parties’ approach to the project. The Foundation has been able to offer 50 project managers from the portfolio a nine-month course at executive level in collaboration with Harvard Business School. In a tailor-made program they were trained in disciplines such as management, negotiation, strategy, culture and technology – part of it at a five days residential course in Boston. The feedback from the participants has been overwhelmingly positive, and the Foundation is working on a new leadership program for 2013 and 2014, says Managing Director of the Foundation, Carsten Orth Gaarn-Larsen. The Danish Advanced Technology Foundation invests in projects that develop knowledge, technology and better opportunities for growth for companies and universities in Denmark. Focus is on results.
The value of the good cooperation
The Foundation provides companies and universities with a space where they can work efficiently keeping focus on results. Some projects succeed better than others. The most important thing is to be dedicated and keep an open collaboration.
3 We have a shared focus on the product
For the Foundation it is everyday work to challenge the projects on their collaboration. It is about focusing on well-defined objectives while making room for contemplation and creativity.
• There are ups and downs in all
development. Some projects reach their ambitious goals, while others create results, but do not fulfil their high 42 | GLOBALSCIENTIA | Issue 3
1 We share protected knowledge and technology 2 We exchange apparatus and equipment
It pays off to be dedicated An analysis made by the Foundation has shown that there is a consequence to betraying the dedicated collaboration. If you have been involved in a project, but have to say no to the above three statements, there is only a 15% chance that you have achieved what you set out to achieve. Among those who say yes to the three statements, 73% were successful. Companies and universities have joint a responsibility for ensuring a good and trusting relationship:
• Negotiating and closing an
agreement, including IPR, before project start.
• All parties meet at a kick-off to
establish the first solid basis for a dedicated collaboration.
• Systematic halfway evaluation
to critically review progress and roadmap.
• Focus on the future of the project and its results.
• Exchange of solutions and contacts across the portfolio.
Focus on leadership skills Leading an Advanced Technology Foundation project is a demanding task with a great responsibility. It is far from trivial to establish a good interaction across research disciplines, cultures and organisations. The Foundation focuses on the establishment of a strong project management to ensure the dedicated collaboration. An active Board – Investment committee The Board of the Advanced Technology Foundation evaluates all projects and decides on which to invest in. The Board requires the projects to focus on creating the greatest value and making an effort where it really makes a difference. They invest in the most ambitious ideas knowing that not all ideas will be realised as they set out to do. Every three months the Foundation prepares a status on all projects. The project’s SPOC, Single Point of Contract, provides a brief overall assessment of progress, results, activities and challenges in relation to the three main criteria. www.globalscientia.com
From idea to project and results Competent steering committee The steering committee is the project board; it sets the direction for the project and takes the necessary decisions to ensure project progress. The steering committee should dare to challenge the prerequisites, the focus and passion within market, technology and collaboration. Dialogue and visibility It is crucial for the Foundation to have an open communication with all potential applicants and in particular with smaller companies and other stakeholders who are not accustomed to applying for funding. A constructive dialogue with applicants who have been refused is also a priority. The Foundation focuses on a direct and proactive contact with potential applicants through meetings and visits across the country. For The Danish Advanced Technology Foundation it is about finding the way together, from when the ideas arise until the results are obtained for the benefit of Danish society.
and entrepreneurship, and be ready to challenge the project’s ambitions, identify potential conflicts and ensure that specific challenges and possible crises are taken well care of.
Three principles of the Foundation Focus on the project
• Projects must never undertake tasks
to satisfy the Foundation - it should always be of value for the project. The aim is minimal administration, and the Foundation therefore gives priority to an open, verbal dialogue and face-toface meetings with the projects.
• It is essential to know when and how
best to intervene in an investment that you have a feeling for the project dynamics and value creation and are able to use your knowledge in the best possible way.
Meeting at eye level
• The Foundation actively supports and works with the parties to increase the likelihood that projects reach their goals.
Foundation can help resolve conflicts while also challenging the projects. Active follow-up requires that you are open to dialogue and learn to listen, so that you know what you are talking about.
• Visibility and accessibility within
new environments - direct dialogue with potential applicants. This helps mature ideas, opening for either an application or pointing applicants in other directions, so that nobody wastes their time.
Time is critical
• The Foundation aims for a two-step
application process to take no more than 3-4 months - from expressions of interest through an application to final commitment of funding. A quick decision is critical in order to get the good ideas into play at the applicant companies and research institutions.
• The Foundation sets up schedules for contracting and negotiation of IPR to get the parties started as quickly as possible. The parties have 60 days to conclude the overall agreement.
Facts Established in 2005 Funds awarded in 2012: EUR 74.23m 50% launch new products within two years after the project 63% make further investments 76% expects increased investments What is SPOC? The Foundation is in direct contact with all its projects through a SPOC (Single Point of Contact) that follows the project closely. A SPOC participates in steering committee meetings and is in regular contact with the project manager to discuss project progress and results. The SPOC should always have a general view of project progress within the three main criteria: market, technology www.globalscientia.com
• An ongoing dialogue with the
projects provides insight into the core of the project, so that the Issue 3 | GLOBALSCIENTIA | 43
DATF projects from 2012-2013
Examples of the Danish Advanced Technology Foundation’s projects from 2012-2013 Safe freezing of stem cells Freezing of stem cells (cryopreservation) is a central process used in the treatment of a number of diseases among which certain cancer forms. In addition, cryopreservation of tissue and stem cells is necessary in human assisted reproduction procedures. In the project a new sugar based liquid for cryopreserving cells and tissue will be developed based on natural carbohydrate polymers. Duration: 4 years Budget: 2.6 €m Foundation investment: 1.5 €m Blood test to detect hidden liver disease Excess alcohol intake or liver inflammation cause scar tissue to form in the liver. This tissue secretes small protein fragments into the blood. In a simple test these may tell whether a patient has scarring of the liver, and whether the disease is rapidly progressing.
The parties will develop and test ‘The Liver Score’ in detection of liver damage in order to provide timely prevention and treatment. Duration: 4 years Budget: 4 €m Foundation investment: 2 €m Oil disaster to be detected earlier The Deepwater Horizon oilrig accident in the Gulf of Mexico has demonstrated a need for systems to detect oil in the water column and at the seafloor. Today, the clean up after oil spills is difficult and inefficient. The project’s aim is to develop methods and equipment to detect the oil based on sonar technology. Duration: 3,5 years
Harvest the energy and throw away your batteries! The goal of the project is to develop miniature energy harvesters that can replace batteries at places where vibrations and rotations are present such as wind turbines. The project has developed energy harvesters with world-class performance, which are fabricated using production friendly methods. A complete miniature wireless sensor system powered by these energy harvesters has also been developed. The system will never require new batteries. Duration: 3,5 years Budget: 3.5 €m Foundation investment: 1,7 €m 3D-ear scanner –customise your hearing aid
Budget: 2.3 €m Foundation investment: 1.3 €m
The project parties collaborate to lift a new concept for digital ear impressions from the laboratory into practical use. A hand-held, optical 3D scanner, which is fast and easy to use, has been developed together with software that in real-time handles the large amounts of data generated by the scanner. The prototype system has been shown at international trade shows where it was received enthusiastically. Duration: 3 years Budget: 2.3 €m Foundation investment: 1.3 €m
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Finland seeks Growth through Expertise
Finland seeks Growth through Expertise Jukka Gustafsson, Minister of Education and Science.
A Jukka Gustafsson The Minister of Education and Science in Finland.
s stated in the government programme of Prime Minister Katainen, key objectives of the Finnish higher education and science policy are boosting Finland’s economic growth, improving competitiveness and supporting employment. Finland will strive to maintain and reinforce the mainstays of the Finnish and Nordic welfare state, including a competitive and open economy and a caring and equal, civilized society. The building blocks of welfare will be sought in a spirit of sustainable development and the green economy, with the aim of increasing our gross national product. In order to secure resources for both welfare services and innovation activities for the decades to come, responsible and even difficult decisions and good cooperation between all actors in society are required right now. It is obvious that we are unable to even ask all the questions that are significant for the future. However, we must attempt to amass all available information to support decision-making and produce new information as necessary. Without fast and decisive action, the foundations of the public finances in Finland are at risk of crumbling as the labour force in working age is declining while the need for private and public services increases. We need solutions that boost economic growth and open-minded adaptation to, or even exploitation of, structural change. In terms of economic growth, an employment rate that is as high as possible, longer working careers, higher productivity of labour and supporting growth-oriented and international enterprising play a major role. Our aim is a low-emission and resource-efficient Finland where the future of jobs is based on sustainable growth. Expertise, and building up and exploiting expertise in a wide sense, will have a crucial part in
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these solutions. When investing in expertise, we must be brave enough to take risks on the one hand, while on the other, we must make longterm investments when diverse and profitable activities can be expected based on earlier achievements. A step towards more long-term research funding was taken by incorporating the Academy of Finland’s targeted ten-year funding scheme in the Action Plan for Research and Innovation Policy recently published by the government. The cornerstones of expertise in Finland are higher education institutions – universities and polytechnics – together with research institutes. The highest standard of education in Finland provided by universities and polytechnics is based on research, and those graduating from higher education institutions have during their studies been exposed to research or development that is either scientific or artistic, or has practical applications in working life. Consequently, the entire educational system and higher education institutions in particular can through their operation significantly influence the renewal of our economic structure, the vitality of business environments, the improvement of productivity, the evolvement of services and the growth of the economy and well-being. Active steps have been taken to develop the structures of higher education institutions in the 2000s. Our aim is to base our long-term growth policy on enhancing expertise as well as the creation and better exploitation of knowledge. The higher education institutions have an increasingly clear role in safeguarding the long-term development of innovation activities. The challenge we face is that in addition to building up expertise, we need to develop our higher education www.globalscientia.com
Finland seeks Growth through Expertise institutions into competence and learning environments that offer better support to creativity and innovations. From 2010, the universities reform has made it possible for Finnish universities to become legal persons and, with stronger autonomy, follow in the footsteps of the worldâ€™s best higher education institutions. The universities reform was also associated with mergers that saw the number of universities reduced from twenty to fourteen, a search for clear-cut profiles and priorities, and agreements upon long-term cooperation and division of labour both among the higher education institutions and with the Ministry of Education and Culture. During this term of government, a polytechnic reform continues the structural development of higher education institutions. Our regions are today increasingly competing in the global market, and as a consequence, a good capacity for internationalisation and, above all, high-quality and high-impact education and R&D activities are required of all higher education institutions. In the duties of the polytechnics, cooperation with working life and a regional impact are highlighted and only polytechnics with high standards and a high impact can support the development of regions and enhance their competitiveness. In 2014, the government will review the operating licences of the polytechnics and their duties to provide education. This process also aims for a structural reform that will improve the quality and impact of education and research. While polytechnics are currently co-funded by municipalities and the state, in the future the entire responsibility for their funding will be transferred to the state, and similarly to the universities, the polytechnics will become independent legal persons operating as limited companies. The criteria for the funding model of higher education institutions will be reformed with emphasis on quality, productiveness, impact, efficiency, internationalisation and the special features of each higher education sector. The new funding model for universities was introduced in the beginning of 2013, and according to plans, the model for polytechnics will www.globalscientia.com
be brought in from the year 2014. Further efforts to develop the funding model for universities are being initiated in order to stress the quality perspective from 2015. The idea is that student feedback and the quality of publications will carry weight in funding allocation to universities. In addition to a structural reform in the higher education sector, the processes of the institutions and regulation of their responsibilities to provide education and confer degrees will also come under review, not only because of the changing trends in population structure but also for such purposes as making the transfer from secondary education to higher education smoother, shortening graduation times, extending working careers and improving research quality through increasingly ambitious goals.
also necessary as the foundation for education, both for degree programmes and for the processes of evolving into a scientist in scientific and artistic doctoral programmes. Exploiting knowledge produced elsewhere, for example in business, does not rest on a sustainable foundation if basic expertise and active research in the field are absent. It is also necessary to build strategic partnerships and focus on the core tasks of each unit, also when exploiting research results. It is particularly important that, in addition to the competitive edge gained from innovations, we also recognize the significance of more long-term research as a source of competitiveness for our nation. The transfer of expertise is more difficult to spot when competences move from one organisation or research project to another in the form of a person.
Research and its processes are frequently categorised, and different approaches to solving interesting research questions are often unnecessarily polarised. When the research environment complete with instruments, materials and personnel resources is right, a single research project may generate both observations of fundamental scientific importance and possibilities for commercial and other exploitation of the results, for example as better treatment practices or findings that support policy-making. While we are faced with making choices in any case, we need a wider focus in scientific research than only reaching international top levels. Active engagement in research is
Finland consistently ranks at the top of international comparisons regarding the share of research personnel in the labour force, when the OECD definition of spending a minimum share of 10% of the working time on research is used. However, less than 17% of our research personnel have a doctorate. The annual number of graduating doctors has tripled in 20 years, and a significant number of doctors are employed outside the academic scientific community. It seems that the work they do outside the universities does not nearly always involve research or leading research. It is important that we can increase the number of doctors in such groups as scientists employed by companies. Issue 3 | GLOBALSCIENTIA | 47
Finland seeks Growth through Expertise On the other hand, the number of doctors employed by higher education institutions has increased in the 2000s, both in universities and polytechnics, but the number of person-years spent by the doctors on R&D has only increased in the polytechnics in this period. As a result of their new researcher career practices, universities can recruit their scientists and teachers in the international labour market, for example by introducing so-called tenure track practices. In the name of the renewal of Finnish expertise - and generating expertise of a completely new type - we should pay attention on ensuring that the labour force educated in research and innovation is employed in a diversity of jobs. It is also possible to speed up the transfer to working life of those with Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, not forgetting doctors, by making the process of moving on to postgraduate studies more flexible and clear-cut and ensuring a clearer organisation of postgraduate studies, both at the institutional and individual level. Doctoral studies take clearly longer, and the graduates’ transfer to working life as independent scientists takes place later in Finland than in reference countries. An amendment to the Universities Act that would lay down a target for the duration of doctoral studies is being drafted. As full-time study, the target time corresponds with four years, and for part-time students, the time may be divided over a longer period than this in the students’ personal study plans. A competent body of scientists will need up-to-date tools. In addition to local, regional and national research infrastructures, we must also secure them access to international infrastructures, either as partners or users. The National Roadmap for Research Infrastructures is currently being updated, and Finland is actively involved in European ESFRI cooperation. In addition to hardware, we must also ensure that data collected and information produced on public funding is accessible to scientists. Open access does not mean that the information is free, and we should agree upon the principles of producing, offering and accessing information before irreconcilable conflicts emerge. 48 | GLOBALSCIENTIA | Issue 3
National work to draft principles guiding open access to scientific data is under way in cooperation between the Ministries. It would be justified to say that in some fields, Finnish research is on the leading edge globally, but considering our population and degree of education, the number of research groups that have reached the international top and the range of research fields could be higher. Relations between states are increasingly about the economy, resource management and competitiveness. Even if Finland’s inputs in research and development have proportionally been some of the highest in the world, in global terms our investments remain very small, no more than one half of a percentage point of all research and product development efforts in the world. We are at the top of the ranking list in a comparison of innovation inputs and outputs, and our scientific publication activities are extensive considering our GNP and population. The publications of our scientists also accumulate high numbers of citations, and our share of the world’s top publications is increasing slightly. However, Finland attracts a very minor share of international research, development and innovation funding. Cooperation in research and the education of scientists between research institutes, public actors and business life only focuses on one part of the higher education institutions, and there are major differences between various fields of education. Improving the R&D environment in polytechnics is one of the challenges requiring rapid action identified by the current governments in its recently released Action Plan for Research and Innovation Policy. Due to their regional development tasks, the polytechnics have close relationships with actors in their area, as well as an understanding of the research and development needs of the SME sector in particular. A better utilisation of the R&D potential of the polytechnic sector requires both a clearer goal-setting at the national level and including the relevant actions in the strategies and action plans of the organisations. It would also be important to find indicators and yardsticks that are idiosyncratic to the polytechnic sector for the practical implementation and
follow-up of R&D activities. The world of work and business life change at a rapid pace, and these changes are also influenced by decisions made outside Finland. Our educational system must be capable of dynamically responding to this rapid change. In addition to degree programmes, various forms of in-service training and on-thejob learning will play an important role in upgrading and adapting expertise. On the other hand, we will need more versatile and smooth study paths that take competence acquired in working life into account better to improve the accessibility of education. In order to support cooperation between top public sector research and the private sector in future key areas of strength of the Finnish industry and society, Strategic Centres for Science, Technology and Innovations (SHOK) that operate as companies were launched in 2007-2009. The purpose of SHOK activities was to reinvent the traditional smokestack industries, recognize new interdisciplinary business opportunities on the interfaces between sectors and fields of science, and to capitalise on the pioneering technological expertise found in Finland. An international evaluation of the concept published in February 2012 called for better possibilities for innovative SMEs to participate, improvements in the monitoring procedures of the activities, better exploitation of existing sources of funding and increased competition. It also appears that both the public and the private sector should show a stronger strategic commitment to the activities. In the future, we should continue to conduct research that is of strategic importance for Finland; both researchercentric research and research directed by government needs. An extensive reform of research institutes is about to be launched under the guidance of the Prime Minister’s Office. In times of financial hardship, the allocation of both material and intellectual research and innovation resources should be carefully considered in order to safeguard the competitiveness of our small country. I believe, however, that the methods I have proposed above will strengthen our expertise to the point that we can reach the goal set by the government of being the most competent nation in the world by 2020. www.globalscientia.com
Nanomechanics under the Northern Lights
Nanomechanics under the Northern Lights: Aalto University (Finland) teams with Hysitron, Inc (USA) to launch new Nordic Center of Nanomechanical Testing and Atomistic Calculations Interview by William Nielson of Global Scientia
he Nordic Hysitron Laboratory (NHL) was founded in 2005 as a Finnish entity combining synergies of a strong Japanese scientific influence and an American industrial partnership; a true bridge between cultures set on the innovative Aalto University Campus in Helsinki. Its groundbreaking discoveries [1-2] in High Pressure Physics of Nanomaterials published in the respected Nature Nanotechnology journal were already reported in past issues of GlobalScientia (Issue 1 2012, p.34). Now however, keeping in tune with the quicklychanging scientific community, the NHL is poised for an extensive development, embracing a more comprehensive understanding of science and the broader interdisciplinary nature of its research. Internationalization continues to fuel these rapid demands for a heightened pace of research results and the global industries who increasingly see the far-reaching value of nanoscale materials characterization. The story started out in quite an ordinary way in 2004 when the President and CEO of Hysitron, Inc. (Minneapolis, USA), Thomas Wyrobek, unexpectedly met Professor Roman Nowak from Hiroshima University at an international materials conference in Europe. As a well-established manufacturer of sophisticated equipment essential for evaluation of nanostructured materials, Hysitron already knew Professor Nowak from his numerous publications in the field of Ion-beam Engineering and Nanomechanics. After spending 13 years with Japanese Universities and moving to Helsinki University of Technology (HUT), Professor Nowak was looking for such an opportunity to link his Japanese experience to his newly-found research base in Finland, the country known for its expertise with novel solutions for modern technology. American businessman, innovator, and active researcher, Mr. Wyrobek immediately recognized a great potential for collaboration, expecting that this unique combination of cultures and expertise could create a novel approach to scientific endeavors. During this initial discussion, the idea of creating an American Laboratory targeting Nanoscience within the structure of a European University was met with strong enthusiasm from the former rector of HUT, Matti Pursula. The opening of the new lab with its international team of scientists soon led to a major Materials Science breakthrough concerning the previously unknown behavior of semiconducting Silicon and GaAs. When a nanovolume of the GaAs material is exposed to an ultrahigh external pressure as a result of a diamond-tip nanoindentation test, this extraordinary behavior which was predicated by Professor Nowak’s atomistic simulations experts could finally be proven experimentally with the Hysitron Triboindenter instrument (refer to GlobalScientia Issue1 2012, p.34, details in Ref. 1-4).
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With these key initial steps in 2005 and further successful publications through to the present time, the group is clearly poised for growth in 2013. The American partner Hysitron, Inc. has meanwhile developed an advanced set of “hybrid measurement techniques” to bring nanoindentation capabilities to new levels. Following the slogan “Seeing is believing,” the company has taken over a major part of the mechanical nanotesting market due to introduction of its novel equipment solutions that offer direct in situ observations of structural changes in a stressed nanovolume of material, as well as the ability to combine the mechanical tests with concurrent electrical resistivity measurements and other complementary microscopy techniques. Furthermore, the new Nano- and PicoIndenters are capable of performing tests at elevated and low temperatures, either in vacuum or ambient atmospheric conditions. For the Nordic Hysitron Laboratory, known to colleagues as “Hunters of Curiosities”, these developments in equipment and techniques present vast new opportunities for the growth of Professor Nowak’s team and its international reputation among the scientific community. Following a Japanese style of management, the NHL has experienced how the great power of creative thinking is so much appreciated in Finland. Their endeavors have consistently found strong support among the leaders of Aalto University who have continued to fund and promote the proven capabilities of the American-Finnish-Japanese cooperation realized by the NHL in its 8 years of existence. Aalto University, since its establishment as the successor to Helsinki University of Technology, has already gained worldwide recognition as a first-class research and educational entity, and its support of many innovative projects so far shows the potential for further research advances on its campus and along the path of its academic mission. In view of this new academic structure and Aalto mission statement, Professor Nowak and Mr. Wyrobek are proposing to transform the NHL into a new expanded lab and team known as the Nordic Hysitron Center of Nanomechanics and Atomistic Calculations, the NHC-NAC. This proposal has already attracted substantial interest from important officials who have encouraged Professor Nowak to reorganize his team and upgrade his lab’s equipment in order to continue to increase its capability to publish in the highest impact-factor journals such as Nature and Science. The positive support and commitment of Professor Ilkka Niemelä (Deputy President of Aalto University), Professor Outi Krause (Dean of the
School of Chemical Technology), and Professor Simo-Pekka Hannula (the Head of the Materials Science Department who personally joined the new enterprise) comprise the necessary creative core and foundation for the realization of this significant expansion project. Professor Mauri Airila, Associate Vice President of the University, has also voiced his positive enthusiastic opinion of the endeavor. The ongoing commitment from Hysitron as the main core partner brings numerous links to the worldwide nanomechanics community while the long-time support of the Academy of Finland has continuously maintained its high reputation through its impartiality and selection of sound research topics. In fact, the systematic funding received by the Nordic Hysitron Laboratory from the Academy of Finland,* Research Foundation of Aalto University, and CSC-IT Center for Science points to the multitude of benefits for the Finnish society as its focus and achievements in nanomaterials and nanoscale testing have experienced unprecedented growth in the past few years. As a consequence, the NHC-NAC is based on the power of carefully selected collaborations with ‘best in their field’ experts. With the Aalto Nordic Hysitron Laboratory (Prof. R. Nowak, Director), Dept. of Materials Science & Eng. (Prof. S-P Hannula, Dept. Head, who brings the expertise in electron microscopy and nanoparticles) and Hysitron, Inc. (Mr. T. Wyrobek – President and CEO of the world’s leading manufacturer of nanomechanical testing equipment) forming its core, the NHC-NAC extends its sphere of close collaborations with the University of Helsinki, Dept. of Physics** and Finnish Center of Excellence in ALD (Prof. J. Räisänen – Materials Physics and Ion Beam Eng.), Åbo Academi University, Center for Process Analytical Chemistry & Sensor Technology ‘ProSens’ (Prof. A. Lewenstam – electrochemical and biochemical sensors) and School of Electrical Eng. of Aalto University, Micro and Quantum Systems (Prof. I. Tittonen –– microfabrication, nanophysics). The picture is complete with the cooperation of the nanotechnology/chemical company - Harima Co. and the renowned Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel (refer to Fig. 1). The involvement of Hysitron, Inc., besides the obvious advantages that come with partial sponsorship, enables the customized instrumentation tailored to the group’s specific needs. It is the only company who can meet the team’s high demands for performance, accuracy, and applications support. Moreover, it allows the exploration of cooperation with the Hysitron
Nanomechanics under the Northern Lights Centers founded in the USA, Japan, Poland , Norway, and most recently a brand new center in Korea, all who offer their own competencies, as well as with the leading American Universities that cooperate with Hysitron (University of Minnesota, MIT, and Stanford among them – see Fig. 2). Although the main aim of forming the NHCNAC is to serve the Finnish Scientific and Industrial Societies and through this to properly contribute to European and world enterprises associated with nanomaterials research and fabrication, it would certainly be more difficult for this laboratory to expand its impact with purely domestic cooperation as opposed to international cooperation (Fig. 2). This is where the American company Hysitron Inc. with its President and CEO, Mr. Wyrobek, should also be counted on as a key element of the project - not only as producer of Nanomechanical Testing Instruments, but as a full partner for the project. The ground-breaking research in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology made possible by this Finnish-American cooperation, both scientific and commercial, will allow the partners to reach greater accomplishments than would be possible working alone. *see GlobalScientia Issue1 2012, p. 34 **see GlobalScientia Issue2 2012, p. 88
The Nordic Hysitron Laboratory at Aalto University has already shown an impressive development from its conception to a renowned international reputation that continues to attract research and industry partners as well as talented students.
Fig. 1 Core partners of NHC-NAC — a vision of the new Finnish-American enterprise.
Fig. 2 Schematic of domestic and international cooperation – the essence of NHC-NAC activity.
Issue 3 | GLOBALSCIENTIA | 51
Nanomechanics under the Northern Lights
Fig. 3 Extension of nanomechanical experiments towards smaller dimensions by using advanced atomistic calculations with full-potential extension. The region marked in red is experimentally achievable by targeted combination of high accuracy TI-950 TriboIndenter and a PicoIndenter inside the chambers of an electron microscope (SEM or TEM).
This unique idea of cooperation that is being explored for establishing and further running the NHC-NAC is best illustrated by the shell-type schematic presented in Fig. 2. To continue the successful path started by the seed-group (NHL), the advanced experiments must be developed towards higher accuracy of probing and a smaller volume of investigated materials. This will be accomplished with the newest models of Hysitron equipment. Impressive results are obtained nowadays with the PicoIndenters where the deformation of a given nano-object is observed in situ, when it occurs inside the TEM or SEM. These new generation hybrid instruments enable us to simultaneously examine in situ the
following equipment: High performance nanoindentation/nanoscratch platform Hysitron TI 950 TriboIndenter ® complete with nano-contact resistivity electrical measurement (nanoECR), acoustic emission analysis, heated stage with atmospheric control and continuous elastic modulus monitoring, PI 95 TEM PicoIndenter® for nanoindentation in the transmission electron microscope (TEM), coupled with special nanocontact resistivity electrical measurement nanoECR, PI 85 SEM PicoIndenter® for the nanoindentation in scanning electron microscope (SEM), coupled with special nanocontact resistivity electrical measurement nanoECR, nanoTensile® 5000 Test System
There are already several Hysitron Laboratories created around the world. However, no one group has the full nanomechanical testing suite as complete as the one in this proposal. Thus the powerful combination of in situ PicoIndenters along with the platform TI 950 and nanoTensile 5000 systems will be realized in Europe for the first time. With the Japanese-European background of its director (see Fig. 4), the creative American business approach, Japanese devotion towards research, and with the Finnish expertise in Innovation at its core, one can expect that new Nordic Hysitron Center will firmly sail towards its bright goals with true Nordic determination. 1. R. Nowak, D. Chrobak, S. Nagao, D. Vodnick, M. Berg, A. Tukiainen, and M. Pessa, An electric current spike linked to nanoscale plasticity, Nature Nanotechnology 4 (2009) 287-290. 2. D. Chrobak, N. Tymiak, A. Beaber, O Ugurlu, W.W. Gerberich and R. Nowak, Deconfinement leads to changes in the nanoscale plasticity of silicon, Nature Nanotechnology 6 (2011) 480–484. 3. D. Chrobak, K. Nordlund and R. Nowak, Nondislocation origin of GaAs nanoindentation pop-in event, Phys. Rev. Lett. 98 (2007) 045502. 4. R. Nowak, F. Yoshida, D. Chrobak, K.J. Kurzydlowski, T. Takagi, T. Sasaki, Nanoindentation examination of crystalline solid surfaces, Encyclopedia of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, Am. Sci. Publ., ed. S.H. Nalwa, (2011) 313-37.
Fig. 4 NHC-NAC - with Professor Roman Nowak at the helm.
mechanical, electrical and acoustic response of a stressed nanovolume, shifting again the limits of nanoexperimentation towards lower dimensions (Fig. 3). The data from such sophisticated measurements are of great importance across the interdisciplinary range of Nanoscience. The core infrastructure planned for the new NHC-NAC center would be comprised of the 52 | GLOBALSCIENTIA | Issue 3
for quantitative experiments on nanowires and fibers - this novel tensile testing system will serve a wide set of Aalto laboratories as well as partners in the whole of Finland and other EU countries, IBM System x3850 x4 and x3950 x5 units for First Principle and MD calculations, and finally a Plasma FIB-FESEM workstation with a Xenon ion source. The set of equipment is absolutely unique. www.globalscientia.com
TEKES INTERNATIONAL EFFORTS
Tekes Emphasises its International Efforts Johanna Hermans
Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation is adopting the principles of its new strategy. Winds of change are also blowing on an organisational level, as the organisation recently had its new Director General start in his job.
ekka Soini started as Director General of Tekes on September 1, 2012. The former Head of Corporate Development Office and Country Director of Nokia Siemens Networks brings with him a business perspective as well as years of experience in internationalisation. “As Director General of Tekes, I will be able to use my experience as a corporate executive for the benefit of companies and the research environment in Finland. In the development of Nokia Siemens Networks, I was involved in each and every step of the internationalisation process from square one. I believe that my expertise and experience will be extremely useful in my duties as Director General of Tekes”, says Soini. Internationalisation is one of the things he wants to introduce to Tekes’ field of operations. In addition to this, he wants to make Tekes more customer-oriented and faster. “In promoting internationalisation, Tekes can, for example, expand the Global Access Program, in which companies aiming to expand abroad are offered individualised coaching by top MBA students from UCLA Anderson School of Management”, explains Soini. Combining expertise in multiple fields
Pekka Soini Tekes, Director General.
From 2012 on, Tekes defined new funding principles for its funding for universities and research institutions. In the revised strategy, cooperation with businesses is not emphasized as much as before, but creative and cutting-edge strategic research is more crucial than ever. Tekes finances public research that is either networked with companies, strategic in nature in significant business areas, or has potential to create new business.
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Together with the Academy of Finland, Tekes also runs the FiDiPro programme, which offers foreign top researchers a good opportunity to do their work in Finland. In his new position, Soini is expected to offer an insight for the future of research and development. Soini believes that innovatios are the key and Finland should combine expertise in multiple fields. “In the future, Tekes will focus on combining knowledge and expertise.” Innovations are created on the interfaces between areas of expertise. Interfaces where Finnish companies have special expertise include ICT and new materials. Besides companies, Tekes serves 50 universities and research institutes annually, and finances and launches some 2000 research and development projects. The issue that makes Soini concerned is the fewness of public research funding.“The public input for research and innovation has to increase at least to the average level among the OECD countries”, Soini says. ”In Finland, the share of public funding in all R&D investments of the industries is no more than three per cent. In terms of renewal, this level is too low. The OECD average is seven per cent. We should at least reach that figure”, he says. Soini points out that in the US, for example, the share of public funding in all R&D investments is nine per cent. “Finland could take an active role in solving global problems, and be a pilot laboratory for the research of different solutions for for example aging population.” Growth companies the most important target group of Tekes In its new strategy, Tekes puts a strong emphasis on young growth companies. Over the past years, funding for these companies has been increased www.globalscientia.com
TEKES INTERNATIONAL EFFORTS significantly, and their success indicates that Tekes has selected the right companies and projects to fund from a wide range of options. Forty-seven out of the top-fifty companies on the Deloitte Technology Fast 50 Finland ranking list have received funding from Tekes. Growth of young innovative companies funded by Tekes is clearly faster than others. A recent evaluation by the Ministry of Employment and the Economy indicates that networking skills and growth orientation comprise a productive combination.
Challenging times generate fresh innovations For a long time, the Finnish economy has relied heavily on the success of telecommunications giant Nokia. Today, new ways of maintaining economic growth are sought. Despite the significant role of Nokia, Soini doesn’t think the best way for Finland would be to moon over a new-born “Nokia”, but to sustain the already
general, the figure is the same. It tells us our risk-taking is on a far too low level.” A leading innovation agency in the world International evaluators see Tekes as a forerunner. It has built a strong reputation as a significant influencer on innovation activities not only in Finland but around the world. Fast and easy
There is a clear market shortfall in the funding for growing start-up companies. These companies cannot obtain commercial funding nor private capital investments during the idea and startup phase, because the risks are too high and the expected yields are too far in the future. International comparisons indicate that the most successful companies have received a reasonable amount of public funding and a significant amount of private funding. About one third of Tekes funding is distributed to micro-sized organisations which have zero to nine employees. To keep up the good work, Tekes focuses on three types of companies: SMEs seeking for growth through internationalisation, moderately growing companies and large enterprises. Soini emphasises the importance of networking and cooperation among the companies as well as research organisations. “Tekes has an important role in encouraging these different actors to work together.” Customer-orientation is one of the most important things for Tekes. “A customer-oriented approach involves the comprehensive analysis of a company’s situation and needs. Even though Tekes is a project funding agency, it is essential to discuss a company’s overall needs with research and development heads. Indeed, Tekes has already made a great deal of progress in this regard, so we’re off to an excellent start”, says Soini. Moreover, Soini mentions growth companies to be significant actors for Finnish economy and growth. “Our industrial life needs their agility, dynamics and growth of business.” www.globalscientia.com
Students from the Aalto University Design Factory.
existing know-how achieved in the Nokia cluster. Finnish wellbeing is based on the wealth and jobs created by the success of Finnish companies on the global market. Soini sees a lot of opportunities around mobile technology. “It would be a waste of an opportunity not to create new business and export around it. For example game-based solutions for education and mobile-based health and senior care undoubtedly create global demand. Smart transportation and smart houses would also be a hit in the Finnish export.” “As one of the most important innovation hub of the world, Finland could take an active role in solving global challenges, like population aging, functioning as a pilot laboratory.” Even though Soini is satisfied with the current strategy of Tekes, he calls for risk-taking. “Only one per cent of the companies financed by Tekes go bankrupt. Among companies in
mechanisms for starting a business, availability of highly educated work-force and public research and development funding makes the innovation and business environment in Finland ideal. The knowledge is actively exchanged between universities and businesses, and Tekes contributes to this continuum by offering funding, networks and expertise. Tekes focuses on six specific focus areas: Natural resources and sustainable economy; Intelligent environments; Vitality of people; Business in global value networks; Value creation based on service solutions and intangible assets; and Renewing services and production by digital means. In these areas, Finnish companies and research have significant potential on the horizon. Almost half of the funding is allocated based on these focus areas. The other half is directed to other areas and is called a non-area-specific funding. Issue 3 | GLOBALSCIENTIA | 55
TEKES INTERNATIONAL EFFORTS Tekes funding has a significant impact on more than half of wellknown Finnish innovations The role of Tekes in the innovationdriven Finland has been significant. A study conducted by Hyytinen et al. (2012, The SfinPact Project) concludes that Tekes participated in the funding of more than 60 per cent of the well-known Finnish innovations created between 1985 and 2007. In addition, according to the creators of the innovations, Tekes funding was significant for over 80 per cent of the innovations. The importance of Tekes funding was higher than average for the innovations that are new to the global market, for the long-term innovations and for innovations based on scientific breakthroughs. Tekes follows up on the outcome of the projects it funds both at the end of the project and three years after its completion. The 1,590 projects that were completed in 2012 produced 1,260 products, services or processes, 980 patents or patent applications and 840 academic thesis. According to a recent evaluation (2012, Ministry of Employment and the Economy), Tekes’ overall impacts on economic development are substantial and Tekes continues to make a positive difference boosting the rate of innovation and growth. Tekes funding has triggered innovations that increase the rate of growth, support globalisation of Finnish industry, commercialise products, services and new business processes. It contributes to building networks, cooperation, new research areas and knowledge bases.
A Tekes customer case study: a university spin-off
Tekes encouraged problem-solving and internationalisation
MultiTouch manufactures and markets large interactive LCD touchscreens that support several simultaneous users.
Together with Finnvera and the Foundation for Finnish Innovations, Tekes co-financed the first steps of MultiTouch’s development efforts. Tekes funding also supported the launch of the first commercial version of the multitouch screen in early 2009, and the release of a second-generation screen that was only half the depth of its predecessor in autumn 2010. The company has also been involved in the Tekes programme Ubicom – Embedded ICT.
MultiTouch was established in 2007, and the product was first conceived as a video wall developed at the Helsinki Institute for Information Technology (HIIT), a joint research institute of the University of Helsinki and Aalto University. The prototype that was displayed on YouTube was attuned to the latest trends and attracted interest around the world. The multi-user touchscreen of MultiTouch recognizes the entire hand, not just individual touch points, which improves its usability. The screens can be equally well set up as a table or a wall and used for images, videos and games. The user interface is made up of a number of different screens that can be combined to form large multitouch walls, reducing hardware costs per user and saving space. The screens are supplied by MultiTouch, and the partners implement their presentations using an open application development platform. MultiTouch screens are in use at the NASA Space Center in Houston and at museums, exhibitions, universities and research institutes. Some 95 per cent of the company’s products are exported, and it operates in more than 40 countries through its own sales network and resellers. The company’s headquarters are located in Hernesaari, Helsinki, with offices in Santa Clara in California and in New York.
“Tekes played a major role in the product development and risk management of MultiTouch. Tekes funding enabled us to push up the risk level; in other words, we have solved problems that we would not have tackled without Tekes”, says CEO Petri Martikainen. MultiTouch has also filed some ten patent applications. Tekes also supported the company in honing its internationalisation strategy through funding for young innovative growth companies. Targeting global and domestic markets Future priorities will include developing the reseller network and setting up affiliated companies. Martikainen believes that in the next few years, MultiTouch will be ready to enter the consumer market. The company has visions of a type of home information screen. “Manufacturing new models in large quantities will be easy, which will translate as cost-effectiveness and lower prices. This will give us access to new market segments”, says Martikainen.
Tekes – the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation Tekes is the most important publicly funded expert organisation for financing research, development and innovation in Finland. Tekes boosts wide-ranging innovation activities in research communities, industry and service sectors. Innovation funding for international businesses and scientists Tekes can also finance R&D projects undertaken by foreign-owned companies registered in Finland. International companies with R&D activities in Finland do not need to have a Finnish partner to be eligible for funding. The financed project should, however, contribute to the Finnish economy. With a view to promoting international R&D cooperation, Tekes funds collaborative research and development projects and facilitates researcher mobility. www.tekes.fi/en
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TEKES INTERNATIONAL EFFORTS
Tekes innovation funding in 2012 Total 570 million euros and 1,639 projects
Funding for SHOK research programmes 117 million euros R&D grants to companies and public organisations 185 million euros
R&D loans to companies 117 million euros
Research funding for universities, research institutes and polytechnics 150 million euros
Photo ÂŠ Tekes, Anton Kalland.
The funding for R&D includes 14 million euros from EU Structural Funds. Research programmes of the Strategic Centres for Science, Technology and Innovation (SHOK) are joint programmes for research organisations and companies.
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The EU’s fight against illegal fishing
The EU’s fight against illegal fishing: ensuring valuable resources for our common future Maria Damanaki
Maria Damanaki European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries
he European Union considers the fight against Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing (“IUU fishing”) one of its most important actions in fisheries management. Since 2010 the EU has been enforcing the IUU Regulation1 – a new and innovative legal tool to prevent illegally-fished products to end up on the plate of European consumers. The fight against IUU fishing – or pirate fishing as it is often referred to – forms part of the EU strategy to ensure the sustainable use of the sea and its resources and as the world’s biggest importer we have adopted a zero-tolerance approach towards illegal fishing. Illegal fishing is big business: it is worth more than 10 billion € per year. We consider IUU fishing a kind of international crime with serious socio-economic and environmental consequences. It is clever and it is complex and IUU fishing can adapt quickly to changing circumstances. So, we need flexible and intelligent tools to fight it. That is why on 15 November 2012 the Commission warned2 eight third countries that they risk being identified as non-cooperative countries in the fight against IUU fishing. These countries are: Belize, Cambodia, Fiji, Guinea, Panama, Sri Lanka, Togo and Vanuatu. This decision is a clear breakthrough. This initiative was the first of its kind. We highlighted that these countries are not doing enough to fight illegal fishing. For instance, the countries need to amend their legal framework to combat IUU fishing, improve control and monitoring actions or take a proactive role in compliance of international law rules. We follow a transparent approach by making clear to the entire world the obligations that countries have under international law to fight IUU fishing. For these eight countries this
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action was the beginning of a formal procedure of dialogue and cooperation with the aim to solve the established shortcomings. The eight countries are now given an opportunity to formally respond, refute and take measures to rectify the situation. The Commission therefore also proposes an action plan for each country. I want to underline that the countries in question are not being “blacklisted” at this stage but this is rather a “yellow card”, a signal to the world that the EU will not tolerate IUU fishing. The Commission is ready to work with these countries in a climate of dialogue and mutual cooperation. We will thereafter assess each country’s progress on an individual basis. The first progress report is expected within 6 months from now. If a country fails to improve the situation, the Commission will have to examine the opportunity of further measures. Trade measures could be imposed: the fisheries products coming from such a third country could be blocked from sales in the EU. For the past years we have been working hard on several fronts and more investigative work is taking place on presumed illegal activities of vessels. And in 2013 we will review the impact of the IUU Regulation for the first three years of its implementation. We are not alone in this battle. We are active on the international arena. We have strong international partners on board with us to combat illegal fishing worldwide. That is why we have signed joint statements with the United States and Japan in order to intensify and harmonise our actions in respect of IUU fishing. We are extremely active in all international organisations. In Regional Fisheries Management Organisations we constantly push for solutions that can make fishing more sustainable and eradicate illegal fishing. We also www.globalscientia.com
The EU’s fight against illegal fishing welcome the creation of an Interpol permanent working group on fisheries crime. Finally, we are also conducting investigations on presumed IUU fishing activities of fishing vessels, both third country vessels and EU vessels. This is a complex and careful procedure that already gave some positive results encouraging some countries to sanction fishing vessels, which do not follow the rules. We are pushing on with our investigations with a view to establishing a list of IUU vessels. Fighting IUU fishing is an important pillar of our EU policies for fisheries,
which serves the need for sustainable fish stocks as well as the need for a maximum economic return for fishing communities. But if want to achieve these tasks we need more. We have to manage each fish stock in such a way that we can get maximum financial gains while still keeping the stock sustainable. Thus, the European Commission has presented an ambitious set of proposals for a reform of the Common Fisheries Policy. Our proposals are currently being discussed between the Member states and the European Parliament. The Council already defined its initial position in June 2012, and
the Parliament’s Fisheries Committee supported our proposals in their vote just before the Christmas break. I am looking forward to the next steps of the Parliament and the Council in early 2013 with a view to ensuring a swift adoption of the reform of the CFP. The ultimate goal of our policies is a sustainable fisheries sector, able to provide a secure and healthy food resource to European consumers. We want to make sure that by 2015 we will make the most of our catches safely in a sustainable way and we will put an end to discards (throwing overboard of valuable fish). Discards are unethical, unacceptable and certainly not justifiable to consumers anymore. Fishing in a sustainable way means that we have to define and respect the Maximum Sustainable Yield for each stock and for each fishing area. Scientific research and advice is of great importance for this task. But we also need advice from scientists for the modernization of the fishing fleet and fishing methods, e.g. for the development of fishing gears which reduce by-catches. The EU’s own Joint Research Center, as well as international scientific organizations and advisory bodies such as ICES (International Council for the Exploration of the Seas) and STECF (Scientific Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries) are valuable partners to the reform. The Common Fisheries Policy reform is a matter that concerns everybody – fishermen, coastal populations, retailers, consumers, taxpayers. Together, we can mobilize governments and people to change the way we fish so we can end overfishing and ensure a future for fish and fishermen.
1 Council Regulation (EC) No 1005/2008 of 29 September 2008 establishing a Community system to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (OJ L 286) 2 The Commission Decision published on 17 November 2012 (OJ C 354)
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The Foundation IMC
Dr Paolo Mossone Fondation IMC - International Marine Centre Torregrande, Loc. Sa Mardini - 09170 Oristano (Italy) Phone (+39) 0783 22027 /22032 Fax (+39) 0783 22002 e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
resources by means of the diffusion of knowledge on the functioning of marine and coastal ecosystems, the impacts of human activity on the marine environment and the suggestion of the best practices for the management of coastal areas.
The Foundation IMC International Marine Centre Fig. 1 Research on coastal ecosystems.
he Foundation IMC - International Marine Centre is a research centre located in Torregrande, the beach of the town of Oristano, in the west coast of Sardinia, operating since 1988 in the study and valorisation of marine and coastal ecosystems.
Fig. 2 The Foundation IMC - International Marine Centre.
Fig. 3 Research on benthic assemblages.
After a long work for the economic upturn and the re-launch of the scientific role of the Centre, in the end of the 2012 it has became a local pole of Polaris, the Science and Technology Park of Sardinia. This is an important result for the IMC itself and an important occasion for the socioeconomic development of the territory. An important role in this new cycle has been played by the municipality of Oristano, charter member of the Foundation, and the new partner Sardegna Ricerche, the regional agency for the promotion of research and technology transfer and the development of a knowledge-based local economy. The mission of the IMC is to promote the raising of environmental awareness concerning the protection of the sea and sustainable management of marine
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The Centre mainly focuses its activity on the Sardinian territory and in the Mediterranean basin, with the aim to contribute to the sustainable development in the Mediterranean environment, encourage the cooperation with developing countries, support the technological development and the dissemination of innovation, at local and international level. The premises cover 2,300 m2 and include research laboratories, wet labs, aquaria, a library, office space and meeting rooms. The strategic approach is based on ‘research for sustainable development in coastal areas’, i.e. activate new concepts and methodologies to be applied for the protection and management of marine and coastal ecosystems, aiming at promoting the sustainable use of natural resources in the Mediterranean Sea. In particular, research focuses on the marine environment and its biodiversity, the aquatic species and their interactions with the environment, as well as the sustainable exploitation of bio-resources for local development. The IMC expertise and field of activity is focused on studies of coastal ecosystem, monitoring and assessment of human impact on marine and coastal areas, performance of MPAs and coastal zone management, field and laboratory studies of benthic macrophytes (both seagrasses and seaweeds), fish and sea urchin’s biology and ecology, geomorphologic and sedimentological surveys. www.globalscientia.com
The Foundation IMC
Main Research Activities The main lines of research are addressed to: (i) coastal ecosystems (ii), aquaculture and fisheries, (iii) environmental economics and sociology. In particular the IMC is engaged in: Assessment of environmental status.
Fig. 4 Field activities for the assessment of Posidonia Oceanica prairies.
The IMC scientists have been involved in European and national researches and transnational cooperation projects dealing with the management of coastal ecosystems, the ecology of Mediterranean environments and the assessment of MPAs as tool for the management and conservation of marine resources. The IMC collaborates with the managers of MPAs in order to implement the management measures on the basis of scientific data. Main studies are focused on benthic biocoenosis mapping and monitoring for the revision of the MPA zonation, assessment of fish and sea urchin abundance, assessment of human effects (e.g. boat anchoring and diving) on benthic assemblages, spread of non-native species and their impact on local marine assemblages. Particular emphasis is given to the anthropogenic impacts on systems of seagrass Posidonia oceanica because of their widespread distribution, sensitivity and vulnerability in the Mediterranean. Assessment and monitoring are being carried out on the vulnerability of sandy shores to erosion and on the factors controlling the dynamics of sandy shores. The relationship between shore stability and the production of biogenic debris in seagrass system is also investigated. Protocols for the monitoring the coastal area subjected to high risk of erosion are also developed. www.globalscientia.com
IMC is actively involved in disseminating of research results and sharing of scientific know-how with stakeholders at local, regional, european level and also to countries from south and east Mediterranean. The dissemination of knowledge is carried out either by participating in meetings, international networks and throughout the production of scientific publications, but also by means of scientific and technological training, through the organization of high level courses and working/ studying stages.
Monitoring and assessment of water quality, census of marine flora and fauna and characterization of sublittoral biocoenosis aimed to identification and zonation of Marine Protected Areas. Census and assessment of the distribution of alien species and their relationship with local assemblages. Assessment of effectiveness of protection measures and design of management strategy. Abundance and population structure of key species with commercial relevance also, in areas under different degree of protection. Effects of MPAs on socioeconomic activities and design of management scenaria. Assessment of tourism pressure. Study of impact of recreational activities (diving, boating, fishing, trampling) on marine flora and fauna and sandy shores.
Fig. 5 Microbiology and histology labs.
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The Foundation IMC Sustainable management of bioresources. Study of the relationship between exploited species and environmental factors, both biotic and abiotic. Stock assessment and population structure of edible sea urchins; evaluation of the effects of fishery on the natural populations of commercial species like sea urchin, gray mullet and shellfish; reproduction in laboratory for experimental restocking of overexploited areas. Identification by means of genetic “fingerprinting” of different populations of commercial marine organisms, aimed to traceability of sea-food products. The IMC has already patented a system for recognizing the origin of gray mullet roe. Distribution, status of health and vulnerability of seagrasses and seaweeds. Mapping at high resolution aimed to assess the impact of anthropogenic activities and infrastructure construction on the coast; identification of areas of seagrass regression. Study on the relationships among the morphostructural characteristics of seagrass
meadows, their distribution and sediment dynamics. Assessment of primary production of seagrasses. Coastal vulnerability and sandy shore management and carrying capacity assessment. Identification of vulnerability indicators of coastal erosion and factors controlling the sandy shore dynamics by means of analysis of morpho-dynamic variables, sediment features and web-cam monitoring. Relationship between shore stability and the production of biogenic sediments in seagrass systems. Assessment of the effects of human activities and beach management on the sandy shores. Geo-morphological and morpho-bathimetric measures in the coastal environment. Modelling of sediment deposition. Determination of the recreational sandy shores use carrying capacity
International projects The IMC’s scientific, organisational and methodological base has been enriched by experiences in EU research
transnational and cooperation projects successfully developed. IMC has been involved in the following EU projects: Co.R.E.M – Cooperazione delle Reti Ecologiche nel Mediterraneo. (Programme de coopération transfrontalière Italie-France “Maritime” 2007 – 2013) IMAC – Integrated Management of East Mediterranean Coastlines – An Action Plan for ICZM in Lebanon. (Third Regional Environment Programme in the Mediterranean SMAP III); EMPAFISH – European Marine Protected Areas as tools for FISHeries management and conservation. (FP6); ECOOP – European COastal-shelf sea OPerational observing and forecasting system. (FP6); SESAME – Southern European Seas: Assessing and Modelling Ecosystem changes. (Specific Programme: integrating and strengthening the european reserch area);
Fig. 6 View of a part of IMC’s wet labs for research activities on aquaculture.
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The Foundation IMC
Fig. 7 A nice place to work
ETHOFISH – The Effect of Turbidity and HypOxia on the behaviour of coastal marine FISHes. (FP5); BIOCOMBE – BIOdiversity Changes in COastal Marine Benthic Ecosystems. (FP5); MAMA – Mediterranean network to Assess and upgrade Monitoring and forecasting Activity in the region. (FP5); MARBENA – MARine Biodiversity research in the European economic area and the Newly Associated states (FP5); MF-STEP – Mediterranea Forecasting System Towards Environmental Predictability. (FP5); Ampamed–Le rôle des Aires Marines Protégées dans la gestion durable d’Activités économiques, telles que la pêche artisanale et le tourisme, en harmonie avec l’identité culturelle des régions de Méditerranée Occidentale. (Interreg IIIB Medocc); H2O-Encourager la pêche responsable dans l’ensemble du bassin méditerranéen www.globalscientia.com
pour limiter les menaces du changement climatique. (Interreg IIIB Medocc); GERER - Gestion intègrèe de l’environnement à haute risque d’èrosion. (PIC Interreg IIIA); MFSPP - Mediterranea Forecasting System Pilot Project. (FP4); EUMAC – Eutrophication and MACrophites (Environment and Climate Programme); ARENA - A Regional Capacity Building and Networking Programme to Upgrade Monitoring and Forecasting Activity in the Black Sea Basin; INDOO - Indonesia Operational Ocean Observing System. (SPF programme EuropeAid). With the results of it’s research activities IMC supports local governments, MPAs and other public institutions in the management of the coastal zone, in matters related with human impacts, coastal erosion, aquaculture and fishery. Issue 3 | GLOBALSCIENTIA | 63
Africa: Renewable Energy’s Sleeping Giant
Africa: Renewable Energy’s Sleeping Giant Gillian McNicoll
“Africa is undergoing a transformation, and has an unparalleled opportunity to use renewable energy to promote growth and improve millions of lives across the continent… It’s an exciting moment, and IRENA is ready to play its role in assisting Africa on its path to a renewable energy future.” Adnan Z. Amin, Director-General of IRENA (International Renewable Energy Agency)
ften we take electricity for granted; our energy supplies seem inexhaustible in countries where ‘on tap’ electricity is the norm. The light switch goes on or off, we are in control, or so it seems! Many countries still use mainly fossil fuels. However, renewable energies such as solar, wind and waves are augmenting supplies and new advances are coming on leaps and bounds across the world. Conversely other countries do not have access to such available power and are turning to renewable sources of energy to create a future. In lots of locations there is plenty of free sunshine just waiting to be harnessed, yet all this can take time and energy!
2010 statistics for electricity usage in the world show that around 3 million of us use fossil fuels for heat and 64 | GLOBALSCIENTIA | Issue 3
cooking. A further 1.4 billion inhabitants don’t have any form of electric that they can use, the vast majority, 85%, live in rural settings.
continent do not have access to electricity and energy supplies, the potential is there lying waiting to be roused and used. There
In Africa it is estimated that in 2013, approximately 700 million people will use no form of electricity. Electricity usage though in city settings has increased but in rural settings usage has only increased slightly. People generally use what is accessible for burning such as wood which then leads to further problems to the environment. Due to the complexities involved as well as incomplete and inconsistent data, all estimates are only approximate. Africa Has Vast Renewable Potential Just Waiting To Be Tapped Into Although so many people on the expansive African
is an estimated potential yield of 1,750TWh worth of hydropower and a further expected 14,000 MW of geothermal energy waiting to be utilised. At present only around 0.6% geothermal energy is being created. Conversely hydropower’s current output in Africa is estimated to be around 5%. Solar energy and wind power are other areas that could transform the continent’s energy supply. These figures could be higher if more renewables research, training and funding was created and used to turn latent resources into viable resources. Once access has been made to modern energy supplies, there will be no holding back this remarkable continent. www.globalscientia.com
Africa: Renewable Energy’s Sleeping Giant Solar Suitcases Make the Difference in ‘Pakati’ (Life and Death) Some innovations that have been developed include solar suitcases or backpacks; originally these were intended for military use. Research and development has now opened up doors for them to be used to create electricity for a range of uses; educational, health or technical. Further developments are also being made into other uses and to be more efficient and lowcost to make and run. One example of a pioneering invention is the We Care Solar Suitcase, a portable power case used for working in health settings in Africa and other locations. This unit, all housed in a small suitcase, is able to power and
either 40 or 80 watt solar panels. The suitcase has also been created to be easily repaired and maintained with minimal training needed. The technical research for this solar initiative is being assisted by the Blum Center for Developing Economies and The MacArthur Foundation whilst implementation is being supported by volunteers, the World Health Organization and the Liberian Institute for Biomedical Research. charge a range of items such as lights, batteries, walkietalkies, medical devices and mobile phones. The system was designed to be low cost whilst providing good quality light and electricity for health workers in rural areas who have little or no access to power. Its first use was for obstetric care for pregnant mothers. Often at night time
midwives and doctors have to rely on candles, torches or even mobile phones. These solar innovations have often made the difference between life and death for mothers and their children. This solar powered suitcase has LED lights that are designed to be used for medical procedures and has
IRENA Africa’s renewable energy and related growth is evolving and IRENA is at the forefront of change and growth in this industry in the world and in Africa. Strategies and developments are being finalised for this important region. This agency
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Africa: Renewable Energy’s Sleeping Giant seeks to build on and work towards the goals set down by the UN SecretaryGeneral’s Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) initiative and to double current efforts in renewable energy. According to Adnan Z. Amin, IRENA’s Director-General IRENA should be “… the principal platform for international cooperation, a centre of excellence on renewable energy and repository of policy, technology, resource and financial knowledge, and to help countries in their transition to a renewable energy future.” IRENA’a Three Divisions IRENA has three divisions with responsibilities attached that at times interconnect with each other; for 2013 there is US 29.7 million available to them. One division is The Knowledge, Policy and Finance Centre (KPFC), this acts as a place where people can come to find out information on renewable energy. For example, researchers and interested others can find out about financial issues, policy, research and renewables economic value. The second division is the IRENA Innovation and Technology Centre (IITC) which is based in Bonn. Here there is data and information on current stateof-the-art technologies, ideas and designs for renewable energy. This aims to encourage and look for new ways forward in this field; one example being REMAP 2030, which is a world roadmap that can be used to help increase the usage of renewable energy. The last division is IRENA’s Country Support and Partnerships (CSP). This 66 | GLOBALSCIENTIA | Issue 3
section deals directly with countries and aims to assist with putting into practice any innovations in regard to renewables. Moreover, this sector seeks to support renewable energy’s growth and development, in a way which is sustainable and viable and that enables countries and stakeholders to work in collaboration with each other. One example of this being put into action, is by carrying out (RRA) Creating such opportunities could enable Africa’s many countries to become more stable and more economically productive. Of course there are many diverse countries contained in this wide and immense land mass and they all have their own unique attributes, issues and accomplishments. There are those that have already been able to tap into their natural resources. Other countries have not yet had these same opportunities, but there is much going on in the African states and in the World to improve this situation, in terms of new innovations and research. There is in effect, an awakening of ideas and minds, just as it happened in Europe, when some countries were miles ahead of others in the renewable energy and ‘green’ thinking race. Over recent years renewable energy sources have been well-researched and developed. Fortunately for us all, researchers and visionaries continue to try and improve what is already available or create new ideas altogether. Africa is one of the areas of the world that has had a renaissance of renewable energies and technologies made available to them that are transforming lives. Having a readily available access to electricity www.globalscientia.com
Africa: Renewable Energyâ€™s Sleeping Giant
opens up more doors for educational attainment, access to technology, better healthcare and increased work opportunities.
http://publications.jrc. ec.europa.eu/repository/ bitstream/111111111/23076/ 1/reqno_jrc67752final%20 report%20.pdf
http://wecaresolar.org/ solutions/solar-suitcase/ http://www.who.int/bulletin /online_first/12-109660.pdf
http://www.unido.org/ fileadmin/user_media/ Services/Energy_and_ Climate_Change/Renewable_ Energy/Publications/ Scaling%20Up%20web.pdf http://www.irena.org/ DocumentDownloads/ Publications/Africa_ renewable_future.pdf
I wish to acknowledge the following for kindly allowing for the images and resources to be used when creating this article; IRENA (International Renewable Energy Agency), ANSOLE (African Network for Solar Energy) and We Care Solar. Gillian McNicoll
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The Tarsier Conservation Programme
The Tarsier Conservation Programme: Protecting one of the Phillipinnes ‘s little gems
By Gabrielle believed that these species are actually races of the main species, adapted to the requirements of their areas of habitat. Other Tarsier species can be found in neighbouring islands such as Indonesia and Borneo. The Philippine Tarsier Foundation, Inc. (PTFI) The Philippine Tarsier is a little cuddly looking creature with big startling eyes and has this amazing ability to turn its head 180 degrees. In the island of Bohol, visiting the Tarsiers has become a popular tourist activity, attracting thousands of locals and foreigners alike. Unfortunately, together with their popularity, these native creatures have become endangered. From the thousands of Tarsiers that used to roam the forests of the South Eastern islands of the Philippines, the population has now been reduced to hundreds. To address this and to help multiply their numbers, the Philippine government, through the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and the Philippine Tarsier Foundation launched the Philippine Tarsier Conservation Program in 1997. Now, more than a decade after its implementation, volunteers of the Foundation continue to devote their time and efforts in preserving one of the Philippines’ prized gems.
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The Philippine Tarsier Philippine Tarsiers can weigh 113-142 grams once they reach full size and can grow to around 118-149 mm; males are typically larger than females. These remarkable animals are covered with grey fur and have naked tails with tufts of hair at their tip. These long tails can grow to around 232 mm and help them balance on tree branches! Another name for the Philippine Tarsier (Tarsius syrichta) is the “world’s smallest monkey” because an adult can fit into a person’s hand. However, Taxonomists consider the Tarsier to belong to a suborder of primates called prosimians, which are relatives of lemurs and bushbabies. Locally in the Phillipines, there are three identified species: T. philippensis (found in the islands of Samar and Leyte), T. fraterculus (found in the island of Bohol) and T. carbonarius (found in the country’s third major group of islands, Mindanao). It is
At present, the Philippine Tarsier is considered a “lower risk, conservation dependent” species. For decades now it has been feared that the Tarsier will vanish in the near future if proper interventions are not implemented. This belief triggered the formation of the Philippine Tarsier Foundation in 1996. Through the recommendation of Jesus Alvarez Jr. and the initiatives of Bohol leaders and residents it was decided to create the PTFI. (Alvarez was responsible for bringing international attention to the Philippine Eagle conservation problem). This preservation programme was immediately recognised and supported by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Department of Tourism (DOT) in the Phillipines. Presently, the foundation has an office in the nation’s capital, Manila but conducts in main functions in its headquarters in Tagbilaran, Bohol. The Philippine Tarsier Conservation Program As early as 1991, government agencies and various groups
directed their attention to conserving the Philippine Tarsier. In Administrative Order No. 36 was issued by the DENR, the Tarsier was included in the group of national protected wildlife species. According to the PTFI website, the IUCN/SSC Primate Specialist Group had given the species Conservation Priority Rating 4, which means that ‘the species is highly vulnerable and threatened by habitat destruction and/or hunting’. As a result, when the conservation program was proposed, it did not take long before it was approved. Primary Goals In April 1997, a Memorandum of Agreement was issued between DENR and PTFI outlining the main goals of the program. They are as follows: To establish a forest reserve on the island of Bohol, which shall serve as the sanctuary of the Philippine tarsier; To protect and manage the tarsier sanctuary through the active participation of the local communities; To establish and maintain a wildlife research laboratory for the study of the ecology and biology of the Philippine Tarsier; and To establish and maintain visitor facilities for ecotourism and disseminate information material about the Philippine tarsier with emphasis on the species protection and conservation. Generally, the program www.globalscientia.com
The Tarsier Conservation Programme focused on protecting, enriching and if possible, preserving / increasing the Tarsier population in the Philippines. Specific Tarsier Programs To effectively target each objective mentioned above, a four-pronged approach was established. This was made possible through the formation of four sub-programs, namely: Tarsier Research To gather and disseminate as much information about the Tarsier, its way of life and contribution to biodiversity. Over time, this part of the program also played a major role in the propagation of the species.
Since people, specifically the local settlers reside in and around the areas of conservation, it became imperative for the different agencies to inform the residents of the different activities of the program. Aside from merely educating people, this aspect of the program also aimed to get them involved in the activities since their cooperation is vital to forward the program’s causes.
As mentioned above, one of the more important aspects of program is research. Since its implementation there have been numerous research studies undertaken such as:
Visitor Management The last, but not the least, component of the program involves the visitors of the area. Since the areas where
“The knowledge, attitudes and practices of Corella, Bohol residents on the Tarsier and Biodiversity: Basis for a proposed Non-Formal Education Module”; “Territorial Range and Habitat Associations of the Philippine Tarsier in Leyte” and the “Successful Breeding of the Philippine Tarsier (Tarsius syrichta) in a Semi-Captive Captive Environment.” Some of these studies were conducted by the foundation
Development Center Corella, Bohol was constructed and opened to the public. Members and volunteers of the program were trained in caring, managing and handling Tarsiers. In fact, their breeding facility was able to successfully deliver 18 live births from 1999 to 2003 alone. While most of these were set free into the wild, some were kept in the centre to serve as parent stock for future breeding purposes. The “Save a Philippine Tarsier Conservation Project» was launched in cooperation with the local government. At the same time, the Philippine Tarsier Conservation Trust Fund was initiated to provide sustainable funds for the project. Aside from these, the foundation has also been able to disseminate information about the Tarsiers and their conservation. The centre also paved way for livelihood and income-generating activities for the residents. At its heart the conservation project today is about involving as much as possible the local community in preserving the Tarsier. Much has been done and as more research is carried out on preserving not just the Tarsier but the environment and habitats they live in more can be learned and achieved.
Tarsier Habitat Management This part of the program focused on the preservation and if necessary, rehabilitation of the habitats of the Tarsier. Aside from the Tarsier surveys conducted, all the plants and animals in the areas were also recorded to ensure that the unique biodiversity was preserved, and furthermore, improved. www.globalscientia.com
Tarsiers reside are popular tourist spots, it is important for the foundation to prepare the facilities and activities that will cater to both local and foreign visitors. One of the major tasks of this aspect of the program is to construct a visitor complex that will allow the visitors to get near the Tarsiers without distracting their habitats and living patterns.
itself whilst others were made by students and researchers. Achievements After eight years of implementation, the program was able to deliver the following major accomplishments:
http://www.chm.ph/index. php?option=com_content&view=art icle&id=296%3Aphilippine-tarsierconservation-program&catid=87&It emid=90 www.tarsierfoundation.org Photos and materials are courtesy of the Philippine Tarsier Foundation and asianparadise.webs.com
The Philippine Tarsier Research & Development Center Research &
Issue 3 | GLOBALSCIENTIA | 69
Climate change and biodiversity in forests
Rising research potential for studying climate change and biodiversity in forests Prof. Dr. Hojka Kraigher, EUFORINNO Project Coordinator, Slovenian Forestry Institute
Understanding the baseline structure and function are essential steps towards creating a scientifically sound basis for growth of forest use in the South Eastern European region. The EUFORINNO components cover the development of observational and experimental techniques to understand forest functions, especially biodiversity and carbon fluxes, and to quantify the impacts of forest management on biodiversity, carbon fluxes, and the associated mechanisms that regulate these functions. In general the project also pitch towards understanding
Visual presentation of forest carbon cycle
All drawings by: Marko Bajc.
he civilization depends on forests and their functions since prehistoric times. Today, facing fast climate change and weather extremes, studying of forest ecosystems and their functioning has become a worldwide key issue. The paramount question is carbon sequestration, its pools, storage and dynamics, in different components of forest ecosystems, and differently influenced by stress and disturbance, including forest management practices. The sustainable forest management is highlighted in global strategies. Forest scientists are questioned about the term ‘sustainable forest management’, and for developing the tools for forests conservation and sustainable development. South Eastern European forests, named the European biodiversity hot spots, or hot-belts, are critical to carbon storage, biodiversity conservation, water quality and economic revenues, but are also an under-studied natural environment. The project EUFORINNO – European Forest Research and Innovation - is an attempt to explore this forest, through development of an internationally recognized research, innovation and exploitation strategy.
Visual presentation of forest carbon cycle at different scales and stratification across South Eastern Europe.
1) The European forest carbon cycle, and 2) How to manage it wisely to maximize C storage and prevent degradation processes. 70 | GLOBALSCIENTIA | Issue 3
Climate change and biodiversity in forests The project is focusing on 4 RID objectives with scientific action:
B: Biodiversity & functional diversity at gene, species and community level
A: Development and standardisation of a system for genetic monitoring of forest trees
The aim is development of standardised microscopy techniques as an essential prerequisite to visualize, compare and define taxa in combination with microdissection, and genomic and transcriptomic high-throughput sequencing approaches adapted to forest tree (roots, wood), fungal (mycorrhiza, pathogens) and soil (archea, bacteria and other organisms) samples. Why is that important for understanding forest conservation and sustainable development under climate changes and expected weather extremes?
B: Biodiversity & functional diversity at gene, species and community level C: Belowground complexity and carbon dynamics D: Net Ecosystem Carbon Exchange in time and space The project is structured to give the research deliverables in an innovative way. The single beneficiary is the Slovenian Forestry Institute (SFI), that shall cooperate with 8 collaborative partners chosen among most prominent European entities according to two criteria: the scientific field and their excellency, and complementing the existing SFI scopes so that each of the partners will contribute an added value to the project. A: Development and standardisation of a system for genetic monitoring of forest trees The goal is to develop and standardise a system for genetic monitoring of forest trees to facilitate certification of forest reproductive material and implementation of concepts of dynamic conservation of forest genetic resources. The first sub-objective is focused on development of a system for genetic monitoring of forest trees: identification of how changes in the environment (including habitat fragmentation) and silvicultural measures affect adaptability of forest tree populations - monitoring and comparisons in space and time, then the second on implementation of certification of forest reproductive material (origin and quality) and the third on establishment of a forest gene bank, vital component of ex situ conservation measures. Why is genetic monitoring of forest trees so important? Genetic diversity ensures survival and adaptability of forest trees under changing environmental conditions and is needed to maintain the vitality of forests to cope with pests and diseases (Koskela et al. 2007). To assist conservation and management of genetic diversity of forest tree populations, thus enabling continuous adaptability of these populations to future environments, it is becoming increasingly important to monitor consequences of environmental changes and intended or unintended anthropogenic influences on populations (Konnert et al 2011). When artificial regeneration is involved, special care must be taken that the reproductive material used for planting is of a suitable provenance therefore minimising high risks and low revenues when financial terms are considered (Konnert & Behm, 2006) in addition to ensuring future adaptability. The expected outputs comprise developed measures for adaptive forest management based on genetic forest protection. www.globalscientia.com
Higher biodiversity at gene, species and ecosystem level leads to increased productivity (functioning) and resilience of a forest ecosystem in relation to climate change effects (Thompson et al. 2009). To understand the functioning and resilience of a forest ecosystem to changes in the environment the concept of functional biodiversity (i.e. which and how do different species in the diverse complexity of the forests contribute to the functioning of that ecosystem) and defining the specific organisms that the ecosystem functioning relies on is of utmost importance. Special attention will be on key and umbrella species in forest ecosystems, as well as on â€˜hidden speciesâ€™ (such as selected groups of organisms in forest soil and the rhizosphere which are crucial for ecosystem functioning, but still under-studied regarding their potential, diversity and function). The expected outputs comprise development of a microscopy & micro dissection center, molecular analysis and interpretation. C: Belowground complexity and carbon dynamics Belowground complexity is a major issue to be studied with respect to climate change, disturbance and air pollution effects on forest ecosystems and their sustainable management. The first sub-objective is related to fine root turnover and modelling. The outcomes are database organisation, data analysis and interpretation and their use in modelling belowground carbon (C) dynamics. The second sub-objective is connected to mycorrhizal turnover and function, as mycorrhiza can give insights in the form of nitrogen (N) taken up, which can provide an insight into the N cycle of plants and its connection to the C cycle. The third sub-objective is development of innovative forest management tools to predict consequences of disturbance regimes. The outcome will be modeling the effects that forest operations and disturbance to biodiversity can have on the capacity of soil to store C. The fourth sub-objective is microbial activity & soil respiration measurements. The plan is to develop an automatic soil respiration system with chambers at reference plots with measurements of net ecosystem exchange (fine root and mycelial turnover analysis devices with permanent temperature and moisture measurements). Why is belowground complexity important to understand the management impact on C dynamics? Issue 3 | GLOBALSCIENTIA | 71
Climate change and biodiversity in forests
The importance of soil as a major carbon (C) sink is acknowledged as paramount amongst ecosystem services (Ekblad et al 2013): soil contains twice as much C (1550 Pg) compared to the atmosphere (780 Pg) and two to three times more than the amount stored in the vegetation biomass (500-650 Pg) (Lal 2008). While inputs and outputs of C in the above-ground part of forest ecosystems can be recorded continuously with measuring the relevant C-containing gases, and extrapolated from micro- and mezzo-scale to the ecosystem and landscape level, the belowground C processes involved, in particular the dynamics of soil C stocks, are neither easy to monitor nor well investigated and understood. A number of processes are neglected in the ecosystem models, in particular the C input through turnover of fine roots and mycelia of root symbionts - mycorrhizal fungi (Godbold et al., 2006,
Brunner and Godbold., 2007; Finer et al, 2007, Cudlin et al, 2007). Using 13C techniques, mycorrhizal mycelia turnover was shown to be a dominant process for C input into soil C stocks, contributing more than 60% of new soil C (Högberg et al., 1993; Högberg, 2007; Haberer et al., 2007). Additionally, C and nitrogen tradeoff between plants and mycorrhizal fungi can be assessed using carbon isotope ratios in combination with 15N/14N isotope ratios aiding quantification of mycorrhizal hyphal turnover and its function. Human interventions due to climate change, land-use change, and direct application of heavy forest machinery in forestry operations, can contribute to decrease in forest soil macroporosity (>50 μm) up to 50%. Resulting higher water retention and restricted gas exchange lead to decline in mychorrizal and bacterial community structures in soils (Frey et al 2009).
The expected outputs include development of protocols to quantify C fluxes in the soil, including mycelial and fine root turnover and development of C dynamics models including the complex belowground diversity. D: Net Ecosystem Carbon Exchange in time and space (NEE) The main goal here is development of a laboratory for stable isotopes analysis including laser-based in situ methodologies for forestry development of NEE models, upgrading of a standardised LiDAR method for acquiring data relevant for forestry. The first sub-objective is remote sensing of stable isotopes in wood and the second is to develop a fully established laboratory for analysis of stable isotopes of carbon, oxygen and hydrogen, linked to tree-ring widths and densities. And why is the knowledge on Net Ecosystem Carbon Exchange in time and space important today, in era of climate changes?
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Climate change and biodiversity in forests
The application of isotopic science to forestry has been hampered by technical limitations making sampling slow, tedious and expensive, thus limiting our ability to advance in understanding ecosystem processes. Highfrequency approaches, enabling higher throughput sampling at a fraction of a cost of traditional mass spectrometry, are now available to allow rapid measurements of the isotopic composition of stocks and fluxes, such as CO2, H2O, N2O and CH4. They provide novel understanding of the function of plants and ecosystems, the carbon and water cycles, and the interactions of climate and the biosphere. In addition these measurements can be used in a forensic manner to assess sources of anthropogenic contributions to atmospheric greenhouse gases. Isotopic measurements
are significantly enhanced by additional measurements allowing insight into the cause and effect of observed isotopic patterns (Bowling et al., 2005; Barbour et al., 2007a,b; McDowell et al., 2008 and Shim et al., in review). In a forest setting, these measurements include continuous observations of ecosystem and soil carbon and water exchange, standard leaf, soil, and whole-tree level gas exchange measurements, observations of seasonal leaf phenology, and infrequent measurements of the stable isotope pools. Additionally, by using stable isotopes in wood it may be possible to exploit the advantages of tree ring chronologies whilst avoiding some of the problems associated with tree-ring widths or densities. A suitable way to monitor isotopes is application of super-sites.
Tuber aestivum Vittad. is a mycorrhizal fungus – a highly valued edible truffle growing below ground (Photo: T. Grebenc)
Tuber aestivum Vittad. Edible Truffles (Photo: T. Grebenc)
Ramaria aurea Quél., a mycorrhizal fungus of European forests (Photo: T. Grebenc)
A medium-distance mycorrhizal exploration type enlarging the soil volume of a mycorrhizal fine root of Picea omorika (Pančić) Purk . from the Dinaric Alps in Bosnia (Photo: M. Hrenko)
A short distance mycorrhizal exploration type formed by the fungus Cenococcum geophilum Fr. on fine roots of Picea omorika (Pančić) Purk . (Photo: M. Hrenko)
A contact mycorrhizal exploration type, forming a cluster of mycorrhizal fine roots of Pinus nigra Arnold (Photo: M. Hrenko)
The expected outputs include a standardization of trace gas stable isotopes monitoring, and a fully established laboratory for stable isotopes analysis. The overall goal of the project EUFORINNO is to increase excellence of the Slovenian Forestry Institute by developing the means to understand and quantify the structure and function of forests in Slovenia, to extend the same principles in South Eastern Europe and on a broader scale, and provide the means and practices for international recognition of SFI as an innovative forest research centre. The research aims at www.globalscientia.com
Barbour MM, McDowell NG et al. 2007. Plant, Cell and Environment, 30: 456-468. Barbour MM, McDowell NG, et al. 2007. Plant, Cell and Environment, 30: 469-482. Bowling DR, Burns SP, et al. 2005. Global Biogeochemical Cycles, GB3023, doi:10.1029/ 2004GB002394 Brunner I, Godbold DL. 2007. Journal of Forest Research, 12: 78-82. Cudlin P, Grebenc T, Kraigher H, et al. 2007. Plant Biosystems, 141, 3: 406-425. Ekblad A, Wallander H, Kraigher H, et al. 2013. Plant and Soil, Marschner Review, DOI 10.1007/s11104-013-1630-3 Finér L, Grebenc T, Kraigher H, et al. 2007. Plant Biosystems, 141: 394-405. Frey B, Kremer J, et al. 2009. European Journal of Soil Biology, 45, 4: 312-320 Godbold DL, Janssens IA, Ceulemans R, et al. 2006. Plant Soil, 281: 15-24. Haberer K, Grebenc T, Kraigher H et al. 2007. Plant Biol, 9: 242–252. Högberg P, Johannisson C, Hällgren JE. 1993. Plant and Soil, 152: 207-214. Högberg P. 2007. Nature, 474: 781-782 Janssens I. 2003. The European carbon budget: a gap. Science / AAAS. 1681 p. Konnert M, Maurer W, Degen B, Kätzel R. 2011. iForest 4: 77-81 Konnert M, Behm A. 2006. Mitt. Bundesforschungsanstalt für Forst- und Holzwirtschaft, 221: 61-71 Lal R. 2008. Energy Environ Sci. 1: 86-100 McDowell NG, et al. 2008. EOS, Trans, AGU 89: 94-95. Shim J, McDowell NG et al. 2011. Global Change Biology, 17: 2584–2600
exploring rich and under-studied natural environment of South Eastern European forests, though an accurate research, innovation and exploitation strategy. Besides the overall goal an important aim of the project is a deeper integration within the European Research Area (ERA) and collaboration with end-users, the recognition of SFI as a research entity of major excellence; and an increase of forestry research excellence and awareness in Europe. The European forest research and Innovation Area (EUFORIA) is preparing today the answers to questions that will arise with climate changes and extreme weather conditions tomorrow. Issue 3 | GLOBALSCIENTIA | 73
Climate change and biodiversity in forests
EUFORINNO: European Forest Research and Innovation Prof. Dr. Hojka Kraigher, EUFORINNO Project Coordinator
he Slovenian Forestry Institute is a single beneficiary within the project EUFORINNO – European Forest Research and Innovation, financed by the EC 7th Framework Programme, subprogramme area REGPOT-2012-2013-1. The total project costs are estimated at 3.247.749 EURO, from which 2.910.724 EURO will be financed by the EC. The project started on 1st October 2012 and will last till 31st March 2016, for 42 months. The Slovenian Forestry Institute (SFI) is the main national forest research institute in Slovenia with well established European partnerships. Its vision is to become a reference centre for Central and South-Eastern Europe in the European Forest Research and Innovation Area (EUFORIA) and on a global scale. EUFORINNO is a mean for SFI to raise its scientific excellence and better exploit its innovative outputs. The project focuses on filling in gaps in 4 RID sub-objectives (genetic monitoring; biodiversity and functional diversity; belowground
complexity; and net ecosystem carbon exchange in time and space) and 3 supportive transversal non-scientific actions (IP management strategy, scientific publishing and networking). The overall goal of the project EUFORINNO is to increase excellence of the Slovenian Forestry Institute by developing the means to understand and quantify the structure and function of forests in Slovenia, to extend the same principles in South-Eastern Europe and on a broader scale, and provide the means and practices for international recognition of SFI as an innovative forest research centre. It explores rich and under-studied natural environment of South Eastern European forests, through an accurate research, innovation and exploitation strategy. EUFORINNO relies on 8 excellent research partners who support SFI in building its long-term strategy, welcome researchers for mobility trainings and participate to install new research methods and protocols, through on-site trainings on new methodologies, data analysis and interpretation, and writing skills.
Contribution of collaboration partners CP 2: Research Centre of Excellence, PLECO, Department of Biology, University of Antwerp (PLECO) Belgium will support SFI on C dynamics assessments and modelling belowground C turnover, data interpretation and publishing. CP 3: Bavarian Institution for Forest Seeding and Planting - Bayerisches Amt für forstliche Saat- und Pflanzenzucht (ASP) Germany will support SFI on forest genetic monitoring; genetic biodiversity: criteria and indicators. CP 4: Helmholtz Zentrum München, Institute of Biochemical Plant Pathology, the Plant Abiotic Stress group (HMGU) Germany will support SFI on genomic, transcriptomic and high throughput sequencing. CP 5: Institute for Landscape Biogeochemistry, Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF) Germany will support SFI on mycorrhizal fungal turnover and function, the assessment of natural δ15N signatures in mycorrhiza and carbon allocation with 13C enriched labels to mycorrhiza. CP 6: Swansea University, Department of Geography (SWANSEA) United Kingdom will support SFI with cooperation within the Environmental Dynamics research group and the Global Environmental Modelling and Earth Observation research group.
Natural beech regeneration in a misty Dinaric silver fir – beech forest in SE Slovenia (Photo: H. Kraigher)
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CP 7: National Research Council of Italy – Institute of AgroEnvironmental and Forest Biology (IBAF-CNR) Italy will support SFI in developing Multilevel Research and Monitoring Platforms to study www.globalscientia.com
Climate change and biodiversity in forests in detail processes and responses of forest ecosystems to natural and anthropogenic disturbances. CP8: University of Helsinki, Department of Forest Sciences (UH For) Finland will support SFI on fine root turnover measurement and modelling of C dynamics in managed forests. CP 9: Lund University, Faculty of Science (ULund) Sweden will support SFI in mycelial and microbial growth and turnover measurements and interpretation.
The Slovenian Forestry Institute (SFI) is organised in six research departments; each of the departments targets a specific topic: Forest ecology: Encloses research into the status of forest ecosystems and processes taking place within them. Forest Physiology and Genetics: The work area combines research and professional guidance in forest physiology and genetics, biodiversity and belowground complexity, conservation of forest genetic resources,
Beech leaves (Photo: H. Kraigher)
Protection of forests: The main priorities are to determine harmful biotic and abiotic factors, predict their occurrence with application of ecological modelling.
Forest management, landscape planning and monitoring: concentrates on guidance of sustainable development of forests and forest landscape.
Forest silviculture, yield and dendrochronology: Aims at searching into the growth and yield of forests and studying trees and ecosystems response to the past environmental and climate changes.
Beech is the tree that shapes most of Slovenian forests (Photo: H. Kraigher)
Forest engineering and economics: Study and implement the innovative approaches of sustainable acquisition and use of renewable forest resources.
Project coordinator: Hojka KRAIGHER (Professor) Tel:+386-12007820 Fax:+386-12573589 E-mail: email@example.com URL: http://euforinno.gozdis.si
European forests are critical to carbon storage, biodiversity conservation, water quality, socio-demographic stability and economic revenue. Measurable objectives of EUFORINNO are: equipment upgraded; 5 employees are recruited: 3 experienced scientists, 1 Innovation and IP manager and 1 technical editor, 43 visits of SFI researchers out for 54.5MM of mobilities, and 43 partners visits for 21MM; publishing centre (Silva Slovenica boosted); scientific networking (4 conferences, 10 trips to attend conferences); exploitation increase (regional and intercontinental); higher IP management (new office); dissemination (a website, 1 communication package, 8 newsletters); and management (1 RID strategy, 1 sustainability plan, 1 final ex-post evaluation).
7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7
Decaying woody debris, including fallen stems, branches, stumps and roots, are an important source of nutrients and moisture for the formation of next generation of the forest and sustaining the diversity of organisms in sustainably managed forest ecosystems (Photo: H. Kraigher)
Issue 3 | GLOBALSCIENTIA | 75
Action on Air Pollution
Action on Air Pollution EU Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik on the 2013 “Year of Air”
The review will assess the policies and measures we have in place, filling gaps and suggesting areas where new approaches could pay dividends.
Janez Potocnik – European Commissioner for Environment.
ir pollution is often invisible, but its effects are very real. When air quality is poor we pay a heavy price: citizens’ lives are lost, medical costs are high, and working days are lost to illness. More often than not, society is strangely silent about the matter, despite solid research that reveals the scale of the problem. The European Commission is currently reviewing its policies on this most vital issue, with a view to issuing a revamped strategy later this year. It’s clear that this is a timely review. Scientific evidence for the health effects of air pollution is ever more compelling. Using robust yet conservative statistical assumptions, scientists estimate that air pollution currently causes some 400 000 premature deaths in the EU every year. The impacts show up directly in hospital statistics as higher death rates, and treatment costs also rise. The main culprit is particulate matter, the tiny particles that penetrate deep into our lungs and into our bloodstream, often a byproduct of industrial processes, domestic heating, and internal combustion engines. 76 | GLOBALSCIENTIA | Issue 3
Together with the US Health Effects Institute, the Commission hosted a seminar in Brussels in February where the World Health Organisation reconfirmed the links between particulate matter and cardiovascular and respiratory deaths, and revealed new associations with adverse birth outcomes and childhood respiratory disease. It seems that the health impacts of particulate matter are worse than we thought. Ground-level ozone – a gas formed when volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and nitrogen oxides (NOx ) react with heat and sunlight – is another major cause for concern, as it is especially dangerous for children, the elderly, people with chronic lung and heart disease, and even healthy people who exercise outdoors. The effects are not just on human health. Air pollution also threatens natural ecosystems, lowering crop yields and damaging the natural capital we depend on. This is still difficult to quantify in monetary terms, but there is increasing evidence that air pollution has a greatly underrated effect on crop yields, which could run into billions of euro. The ongoing policy review should integrate these factors into its final analysis.
Naturally, we aren’t starting from scratch. The first comprehensive Air Framework Directive, which was agreed in 1996, led to a number of air quality standards with deadlines ranging from 2005 (for particulate matter) to 2010 (for NO2). Some standards were enacted even earlier. In 2008 the Directive was revised, and while the standards were largely maintained, additional flexibility was introduced on request of the Member States to give them 5 more years to comply. These extensions were only granted to Member States that could prove they would meet the standards by the extended deadline. But seventeen years after the legislation was put in place, and two years before the final deadline for achieving compliance, some things are clearly awry. Eighteen Member States are still in breach of one or more air quality standards, and some suggest they cannot reach compliance even by 2015. Almost half of the areas that were given extra time to achieve adequate air quality levels have failed to abide by the conditions set at the time. Each case is different, and there are many reasons behind these breaches, but a number of common problems have come to the fore. Some Member States are still heavily reliant on coal and biomass for domestic heating, causing serious problems for air quality. In many cases national action has been too limited, or has come too late. Responsibility has often been pushed to local or regional authorities, but they have not been given the means or resources to address the problems. Some EU source legislation www.globalscientia.com
Action on Air Pollution has not delivered as expected – this is particularly true of the Euro 2, 3, 4 and 5 standards for diesel vehicles, where real-world NOx emissions have far exceeded those delivered in laboratory test cycles, at a time when diesel cars have been promoted as a climate change measure. Structural changes, often linked to taxation, subsidies and long term investments also play a part – a coal-fired power station, for instance, will often have useful life of 30 years. And in other cases, specific local conditions related to geography or climate have made it especially hard to achieve the limit values. It’s clear that the situation needs to improve, and that a variety of measures will be needed. Our analysis is on-going and it is too early to speculate about conclusions, but we already know we will need a combination of measures to deliver the necessary improvements.
The package is likely to include a proposal to revise the National Emissions Ceilings Directive, the legislation that manages the amount of pollution Member States can export to neighbouring countries, and which is already long overdue. We will be looking for ways to ensure that source legislation such as the Euro vehicle standards and the Industrial Emissions Directive deliver the emission reductions they were designed for in full. And we will seek ways to guarantee that coming initiatives on source legislation, for non-road mobile machinery for example, maximise the positive impact they will have on air quality. New legislation may also be tabled for agriculture and small-scale combustion, if cost-effective measures are found to be available. And of course we will continue to press Member States to make good the
is the only remaining option. It might not be popular with governments, but they have committed themselves to achieving levels of air pollution that do not have significant negative impacts on human health and the environment, and that is what citizens deserve. Delivering change is hard, and we will never succeed without the support of citizens. But we know the appetite is there: our most recent consultation showed that most Europeans feel the quality of their air has deteriorated over the past decade, and four out of five believe that the EU should propose additional measures to deal with the problem. By declaring 2013 as a Year of Air, I want to spur action on the ground beyond the present EU policy framework. The Year of Air will provide a focus for platforms for local communities and NGOs, public authorities and businesses, who can all do more to improve the air we Photo © Stephen McCluskey.
The review kicked off in early 2011, after I first raised the matter with my fellow Commissioners. The Commission has been assessing current policy framework in collaboration with other stakeholders, and we are now looking at ways to strengthen the policy framework. I hope to publish the results of this analysis in the autumn, together with a full package of measures to meet the air quality challenges of the future.
supply chain will deliver most for those with the most effective solutions.
The review will deliver a revised strategy, with key milestones for the period until 2030. Some of the recommendations will be actionable more or less immediately, while others will look to the future, allowing for consultation of the public, and giving decision makers the time required to plan the appropriate actions and investments. One key stakeholder group will be the “silent majority” – the entrepreneurs, companies, and job holders who are generating the high-end technologies and new production methods that will deliver the solutions. Europe has traditionally been strong in this field, although we now risk being outpaced by some of trading partners. We will be working hard to reinforce the policy framework, looking to ensure that the investments for clean air made by car manufacturers, farmers, combustion plant owners, and many more in the www.globalscientia.com
current shortfalls in implementation support of the Ambient Air Quality Directive itself. The picture here is not bleak – after all, the air we breathe today is much cleaner than in previous decades, and there has been an absolute decoupling between economic growth and emissions – but major efforts are still required in certain quarters. We have been successful in the European Court in this area on several occasions, and we won’t hesitate to return to the Court and ask for stronger measures if that
breathe. It should reinforce awareness and gather the forces and political momentum that we need to make real progress at all levels. It’s a year of citizen involvement, and we are constantly open to suggestions on how to improve our current legislation.
Issue 3 | GLOBALSCIENTIA | 77
GEOLOGY FOR THE SOCIETY
SGM Swiss Geological Survey/swisstopo
Geology for the Society Geological maps for planning, resources and safety
Dr. Olivier Lateltin SGMâ€™s Director
Geological maps provide valuable information to contracted professionals for this first conceptual phase. They supply a basis for decision-making on possible routing for roadwork, railway lines, tunnel projects, and pressurized
water or gas lines. The best sites for dams, landfills or cable car pylons can only be determined when the local geological conditions are known. Once engineers have drawn up an initial geotechnical site model of the building site, they can identify gaps in knowledge and locate critical areas that may require further geological studies, such as exploratory drilling. Geotechnical characteristics of different rock formations give engineers critical clues on the partly heterogeneous properties of the ground, an important factor in many projects. Switzerland meets its needs for rock and earth for its own construction industry mainly through domestic quarries. The need to gather together knowledge on historical raw material deposits in this country provided the initial impetus for drawing up the first geological maps. Switzerland is poor in ore minerals and fossil fuels. But it can cover its internal demand for Comet Photoshopping GMbH, ZĂźrich, D. Enz.
For the sustainable use, planning, and design of our environment, basic geological information plays an increasingly important role. In addition to the analog information presently available in map form, digital and threedimensional data visualizations are more and more in demand. As the center of competence at the federal level for the collection, analysis and archiving of geological information, the Swiss Geological Survey is working intensively on these tasks.
he production of nationwide geological maps at a scale of 1: 25 000 is a long and challenging task. Since 1930, generations of earth scientists have mapped about twothirds of Switzerland at a scale of 1: 25 000. The result of their work comprises over 140 map sheets of the Geological Atlas of Switzerland. Mostly academic institutions and private offices carry out this program of geological mapping under the aegis of the Swiss Geological Survey. As of 2013, the Survey will provide geological GIS data for the whole of Switzerland.
Fig. 1 HG-A experiment in Mont Terri: excavation damage zone, gas migration and canister corrosion.
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GEOLOGY FOR THE SOCIETY
Geological knowledge is an important basis for providing Switzerland with a sustainable supply of high-quality drinking water. Total annual use of water in the country amounts to nearly one billion cubic meters. The supply is largely decentralized; 80 percent derives from underground water resources that renew themselves continuously through precipitation seepage. For hygienic reasons, groundwater pumped by thousands of wells and tapped natural springs must be protected from contamination by pollutants. To provide this protection, authorities establish clearly defined requirements and restrictions for land use in graduated zones centered around the source areas. Hydrogeological maps, data, and hydrodynamic modeling provide specialized professionals with important information on the spatial extent of groundwater resources and their quality. Thus they help to define and ensure the sustainable use of groundwater reservoirs and protected areas. As a mountainous country, Switzerland is exposed to a variety of natural hazards. The basic data and products of the Swiss Geological Survey help to assess these risks and to ensure sustain-able regional development. The landscape of Switzerland has been created mainly by the collision of the African continental plate with the European plate. The pressure www.globalscientia.com
that began around 60 million years ago at the edges of the two plates has continued over the subsequent millions of years to form the highly folded, thick thrust sheets comprising the Alpine region. Due to the ongoing plate movements between Africa and Europe, coupled with the fault system of the Rhine Graben in the Basle region, major earthquakes can still occur in Switzerland. A detailed knowledge of the local geological situation is a crucial contribution to
generation of geothermal energy and deep geological repositories, the Swiss Geological Survey at swisstopo develops three-dimensional geological models. The energy supply in Switzerland is today mainly based on import of nonrenewable fossil fuels and propellants. In the future, however, Switzerland will need to locate and tap renewable sources such as geothermal energy. In the Swiss subsurface one reaches the Comet Photoshopping GMbH, Z端rich, D. Enz.
industrial minerals such as gypsum, table salt, and high-quality clays with its domestic quarries and mines. This also applies to the major industrial use of rocks and unconsolidated deposits such as gravel, sand, marl or natural building stone. Cement works, brick and plaster factories, sand and gravel plants, and other enterprises in the construction industry process mineral resources to achieve sales reaching billions of dollars. In their search for productive occurrences of such resources, professionals can use geological maps, drill core archives, and rock analyses to narrow the search radius for possible quarry sites. Knowledge of the historical use of natural resources, which have been enriched by geological processes over millions of years, was the impetus for the preparation of the first geological maps. To this end the Swiss Geological Survey archives some 40,000 geological records and documents.
Fig. 2 On-site monitoring of stress measurements performed by overcoring a borehole in which a probe was previously installed.
protecting our living space against this natural hazard. As a result of large differences in elevation over short distances, mountainous areas are especially prone to threats of landslides, like rock falls, rock debris and earth slides as well as ice breakoff from glacier snouts. In combination with relatively high precipitation in the region of the watershed separating the Northern from the Southern Alps, these natural conditions increase the flood risk in low-lying areas. Using geological maps and other geological data, experts can recognize these risks and take timely action to mitigate the hazards. In this way, geological information helps to identify, localize and, through land-use planning as well as organizational and structural building measures, minimize potential threats to human life and property.
temperatures required for practical exploitation of geothermal energy (ca. 100 degrees Celsius) at a depth of approximately 3,000 meters.
Safer use of the deep subsurface
The Swiss Geological Survey provides the geological information to help our economy to tap this enormous geothermal energy potential for reliable heat and power production. Threedimensional models and their possibilities for the visualization of complex geological situations in the underground play an increasingly important role. Their big advantage is that they depict geological formations, not only at the surface but also underground. Geological maps, natural outcrops, drill cores, and seismic data form the basis for 3D modeling.3D models are well suited to estimate the potential for containerless storage of the main greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, in deep underground rock formations.
Management of the deep subsurface is becoming increasingly important. For complex applications, such as
In Switzerland, the most likely candidates for such a repository are the porous sand- and limestones in the Issue 3 | GLOBALSCIENTIA | 79
GEOLOGY FOR THE SOCIETY homemade, decentralized green energy by exploiting geo-potentials and using subsurface storage capacities. It will thereby improve the sustainable development of and will further consolidate competitiveness and economic growth.
Comet Photoshopping GMbH, Zürich, D. Enz.
The long-term safe storage of radioactive waste is the focus of research at the Mont Terri rock laboratory in St. Ursanne (JU). Swisstopo leads an international project with 15 partner institutions to study the Opalinus Clay formation. The objective is to characterize the hydrogeological, geochemical and geotechnical features of this clay, which formed during the Jurassic (180 million years ago) in a shallow ocean basin. The results indicate that Opalinus Clay can bind radioactive substances over long periods and thus isolate them from the biosphere.
Fig. 3 Installation of a casing equipped with strain gauges for a heater experiment in order to simulate the heat produced by radioactive wastes.
sedimentary beds of the central plateau between Fribourg, Olten, and Lucerne.
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Comet Photoshopping GMbH, Zürich, D. Enz.
Under the Alpine Space Program, co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund and by Geological Surveys and Industry of several European countries (Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Slovenia and Switzerland), geophysical and geological information of the Alpine Foreland Basins have been gathered in the framework of the GeoMol Project “Assessing subsurface potentials of the Alpine Foreland Basins” (2013-2015), to build 3D numerical models of the geology of the Molasse Basin and Pô Plain, based mainly on wells and seismic data. These new models provide some answers to various questions regarding the usage of subsurface resources, as there are geothermal energy, CO2 and gas storage, and support decision to national and local administrations as well as to industries. In Switzerland, this project is supported by 5 federal offices and five cantonal authorities and will provide a 3D geological model of 12 layers for the Swiss Foreland
Basin at the scale 1:50’000, under the coordination of the Swiss Geological Survey. Enhancing the common knowledge of the subsurface in the Alpine Foreland Basins will boost
For example, the HG-A experiment in Mont Terri is a large-scale experiment which aims to demonstrate potential gas escape from a sealed disposal tunnel, resulting from the corrosion of the emplaced steel canisters. The objectives are to assess the role of the excavation damage zone as an important gas path, to evaluate the sealing processes along the excavation damage zone and to determine the rock permeability on the scale of the tunnel (“macropermeability”).
Fig. 4 In-situ inspection of core samples by the geologist and conditioning of samples by the krypton method.
GEOLOGY FOR THE SOCIETY Sharpening the awareness of geology The changing course of geological history shapes our landscape and controls the possible use by humans. With new attractions targeting the general public, the Swiss Geological Survey at swisstopo is sharpening perception of this exciting geological heritage. The Swiss Geological Survey is involved in various projects reaching out to
nearby mountains, 250–300 million year-old Verrucano rocks overlie the much younger 35 – 50 million yearold Flysch formation. This unique view into the details of how mountains are built is particularly impressive: one can actually touch the place where kilometer-thick rock layers were thrust over one another! The map of Switzerland during the last glacial maximum ca. 24,000 years ago, when most of the country was covered by ice, is a further example of the Survey’s efforts to reach a wider audience.
economic performance and ensure that investments made in building and infrastructure assets are based on highquality geological data. Swiss Geological Survey SGM Federal Office of Topography swisstopo Tel +41 31 963 25 71 www.swisstopo.ch
Comet Photoshopping GMbH, Zürich, D. Enz.
Fig. 5 Drilling for collecting rock samples for pore water characterization.
an increasingly wider audience with the exciting findings of geological research. Topics and events offered include teaching trails on Earth history, special hiking guides, and events managed by professionals as part of the national “Experience Geology” and the international “Via GeoAlpina” projects. In the future, the touristic potential of Switzerland’s unique geology will be exploited with even more activities. The Survey also supports the Visitor Center Glarnerland, a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Tectonic Arena Sardona. Along a distinct line clearly visible in the www.globalscientia.com
If we better comprehend the details of the geological past of our landscape, we can also better predict future changes. This is true for the analysis of natural hazards in mountain areas, soil investigations, quality assurance of groundwater. Exploration of mineral resources, exploitation of geothermal energy, and the storage of waste. Public agencies, universities, technical institutions, geology and engineering offices, and also the private sector use geological data to protect human life and property. The Swiss Geological Survey and these agencies contribute to Switzerland’s strong
Pictures: Comet Photoshopping GMbH, Zürich, D. Enz.
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CGS Europe and CO2GeoNet
CGS Europe and CO2GeoNet — taste of European research networking
By Vit Hladik Knowledge dissemination leader of the CGS Europe project
GS Europe, the Pan-European Coordination Action on CO2 Geological Storage (CGS), and CO2GeoNet, the European Network of Excellence on CGS, were introduced to Global Scientia readers last year (Issue 2, pages 75-77). Since that time, Europe has, unfortunately, recorded only little progress in development and implementation of the CO2 Capture and Storage technology (CCS), rather the opposite. The start of the long prepared European Demonstration Programme had to be postponed, mostly due to lacking commitment of national governments and funding gaps. This must not, however, make the impression that CCS, a key bridging technology for combating climate change, is not needed any more. The reverse is true. If we really want to decarbonise the power sector and heavy industry, as proposed by the EU Roadmap for moving to a competitive low carbon economy in 2050 and the EU Energy roadmap 2050, the share of the CCS technology on the decarbonisation efforts will be vital. The role of science, research and development remains highly important in this area, not only with respect to the necessary cost reduction of the technology itself but also (and maybe primarily) in relation to the security of geological storage of the captured CO2. The knowledge connected with safe CO2 storage sites needs to be spread out across the whole Europe, since also the CCS technology is expected to be widely applied throughout the continent. In this respect, pan-European networking is inevitable, and the CGS Europe project (www.cgseurope.net) is playing its unsubstitutable role. 82 | GLOBALSCIENTIA | Issue 3
Pan-European networking and knowledge-sharing The importance of international networking in research & development is often underestimated, and such activities and projects are sometimes regarded as second-class or unimportant in comparison with “real research” projects. Such opinions are, however, truly incorrect, and CGS Europe, in combination with all the
Fig. 1 “Our first research project on CO2 storage in 2004 was worth 1,500 euros and aimed at a rough assessment of CO2 storage possibilities in Romania. Now we are involved in the Romanian CCS demonstration project proposal worth 1.5 billion euros.” - Dr Constantin Stefan Sava, National Institute for Research and Development of Marine Geology and Geoecology – GeoEcoMar, Romania.
preceding networking activities in the field of CCS and CO2 storage, is a clear evidence of how useful such networks can be. It was back in autumn 2001, when ENeRG – the European Network for Research in Geo-Energy (www. energnet.eu) – for the first time invited researchers from the – at that time – EU Candidate Countries from Central and Eastern Europe to participate in the network’s activities. It was also for the first time when most of the researchers from “the East” heard about geological storage of carbon dioxide.
Since then, a lot has changed. The “new” network members of 2001 (and a few following years) have become research pioneers in the field of CO2 storage and CCS in their countries and have also been active on the European research scene, including prestigious Framework Programme projects like EU GeoCapacity, CO2NET EAST, ECCO and, most recently, CGS Europe. It was impressive to follow the research careers of some colleagues based on their growing knowledge and international overview. The pioneering role of the institutions brought their CCS research leaders not only in positions of project coordinators, evaluators and scientific reviewers but also in roles of government and ministry advisors and industry consultants or firstever university teachers of subjects like CO2 storage or CCS technology. An impressive story titled “From € 1,500 to € 1.5 billion”, describing the development of CCS in Romania from the first sub-contract in the FP6 CASTOR research project in 2004 to the GETICA CCS demonstration project proposal in 2011 and presented recently by GeoEcoMar, the Romanian partner in CGS Europe, is another tangible example of how national R&D activities can grow using international support. All the achievements and progress described above would have not been possible without European and international networking. Of course, the networking and knowledge-sharing activities alone are unable to build excellent national research in a new area. There must be commitment, efforts and governmental or industrial support on the national level as well, but with help of networking, the capacity building is much quicker and much easier. www.globalscientia.com
CGS Europe and CO2GeoNet CGS Europe is an excellent example of such a networking action. Pooling together research institutions from “forerunner” countries, with significant track record in CO2 storage research (especially current members of the CO2GeoNet Association – www.co2geonet. eu) and those from “follower” countries, with less experience and knowledge, the project offers abundant opportunities for knowledge-sharing, education, capacity building and awareness raising. Reducing the gap To reduce the knowledge gap between the “forerunner” and “follower” countries is one of the main goals of the CGS Europe project. Several types of instruments are used to achieve this objective. Among them, knowledge-sharing workshops, awareness-raising workshops and staff exchange play the cardinal role. Thematic knowledge-sharing workshops are organized every six months, providing an opportunity for spreading and exchange of knowledge among consortium partners. Four workshops have been organized so far, focused on natural CO2 field laboratories, lessons learned from pilot and demonstration projects, legal and regulatory issues of CO2 storage and national research programmes. Some of them included field trips providing opportunities to visit sites of high interest for CGS researchers.
The workshop on natural CO2 laboratories (sometimes also called “natural analogues”), organized by the German project partner BGR at Laacher See in the Eifel region in western Germany, was an excellent example of a knowledgesharing activity. The area offers a unique setting of a natural laboratory where naturally originated carbon dioxide streams from deep underground to the surface. Why do we need to study such sites? In fact, they represent an opportunity to study an analogue of a “worst-case” scenario of a CO2 storage site, i.e. the case when CO2 is leaking from the storage reservoir. Such scenario is presumably highly undesirable for a real storage project, and, due to the complex and strict regulatory requirements that a storage site has to meet to get a storage permit, it is very unlikely to appear in practice. Nevertheless, studying of such “what-if” cases in the form of natural analogues is very valuable from several points of view. Firstly, the scientists can study the behaviour of “leaking” carbon dioxide in shallow subsurface and its reactions with rocks, soil and groundwater. Secondly, these sites provide a good opportunity to study the impact of the “leaking” carbon dioxide on the environment. It would be appropriate to mention here, that the impacts observed at natural analogue sites are mostly very limited in size, usually not exceeding a few meters around the CO2 vent itself. And, last but not least, the natural analogues
Fig. 3 Culture and Convention Center of the Middle East Technical University in Ankara – venue of the 2nd CGS Europe CCS awareness-raising workshop.
provide an excellent opportunity to test various monitoring methods that have to be effective at different storage sites in future. All of these aspects related to the ongoing and planned research of natural CO2 laboratories were discussed at the above-mentioned workshop, contributing to spreading of the relevant knowledge throughout Europe.
Fig. 2 Natural CO2 seep near Laacher See, Germany.
CCS awareness-raising workshops represent a completely different kind of activity. They focus on all kind of CCS stakeholders in “follower” countries, i.e. countries with limited CCS activity so far. The tradition of these workshops dates back to 2007 when the first awarenessrising workshop was organized in Zagreb, Croatia. Since then, three more workshops took place in Slovakia, Lithuania and Turkey, each significantly increasing the level of general awareness of and knowledge about the CCS technology in a particular region of Europe. The workshops usually start with an explanation about the role of CCS in the decarbonisation portfolio and climate change mitigation, followed by presentation of the principles of CCS and description of the current status of the technology and its deployment in Europe and worldwide. Country/region specific topics are usually discussed after that, including the local potential of implementation of the technology, suitable examples from abroad and more technology-specific subjects. As a result, workshop participants (embracing usually a broad spectrum of stakeholders from policy makers and regulators, through industry representatives and consultants, up to researchers and students) are provided with a comprehensive overview of the CCS technology, its current status and future expectations. Issue 3 | GLOBALSCIENTIA | 83
CGS Europe and CO2GeoNet International staff exchange is another activity contributing to the pan-European character of the CGS Europe project. Study visits provide an excellent opportunity for knowledge transfer and knowledge sharing to both young and senior researchers. One of the typical cases is a study visit of a researcher from a “follower” country at one of the “forerunner” project partners, aimed at execution of advanced laboratory tests or advanced modeling techniques that are not available at the home institute. Such visits represent an invaluable input in research capacity building across Europe. Mapping of European research “Who is doing what?” is a frequent question at international research events or in discussions with “people from Brussels” – those who are acting on European level, no matter if they are representing a European institution, association or multinational company. It is a big advantage of active networks like CGS Europe that such overview information can be gathered relatively easily and quickly. The feedback from Member States to the centre is one of the important roles of European
networks, and CGS Europe is no departure from this rule. This networking capacity has already been used several times during the project, like, e.g. when mapping the national research programmes on CO2 storage or following the progress of the transposition of the EU directive on the geological storage of carbon dioxide (well beyond the official statements that were available). An interesting project outcome is scheduled for the first months of 2013 – an overview report entitled ‘State of play on CO2 geological storage in 28 countries covered by CGS Europe’. It will provide a long desired overview of current status of CGS-related research in Europe, including national programmes and projects that are often not well-known on the European level. In addition, an overview of other CCS-related activities like pilot and demonstration projects or status of national legislation are handled as well. As a result a “CO2 storage activity map of Europe” could be compiled, describing the level of activities and commitment of individual countries (see Fig. 5). The report will be public and will be available on the CGS Europe website at www.cgseurope.net
Fig. 4 “Thanks to my CGS Europe study visit at IFPEN, I was able to perform first-class laboratory experiments on my rock samples that represent an important part of my PhD research.” - Kazbulat Shogenov, PhD student of Tallinn University of Technology, Estonia (pictured at IFPEN laboratory in Rueil-Malmaison, France).
CO2GeoNet Open Forum – European top event on CO2 storage research The annual Open Forum held at the San Servolo island in Venice in the spring of each year is the knowledgedissemination highlight of CGS Europe. The Forum represents a tradition founded by the CO2GeoNet Network of Excellence (now CO2GeoNet Association) in 2006. It is a European top conference bringing together CCS stakeholders from various target groups and providing them with the opportunity to keep up-to-date with and discuss the latest progress of CO2 geological storage with researchers. In 2013, the 8th edition of the Open Forum is being prepared, with the main theme ‘Are pilot-scale CO2 storage projects the way forward for CCS in Europe?’ The event dates are 9 – 10 April 2013. A CGS Europe knowledgesharing workshop on ‘International cooperation and key results from European projects’ will be organized on 11 April as an affiliated action. More information about the event is available on the CO2GeoNet website at www.co2geonet.com Looking to the future
Fig. 5 Map of CO2 geological storage activity in Europe. The countries are ranked according to the extent of relevant activities and commitment to CCS. Pilot and demonstration projects, status of national legislation, scope of national research and governmental support of research and development are taken into account.
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CGS Europe and CO2GeoNet will continue working on durability of the pan-European CGS networking in future. www.globalscientia.com
CGS Europe and CO2GeoNet
Fig. 6 San Servolo island in Venice – venue of the 8th CO2GeoNet Open Forum held on 9 -11 April 2013 (www.co2geonet.com).
This will be achieved by expanding the membership of the CO2GeoNet Association to the interested research institutions who are active in CGSrelated research. This process will start in 2013, changing CO2GeoNet – currently comprising 13 members from 7 countries - into a really pan-European scientific body and strengthening its unique multidisciplinary expertise.
The enlarged Association will be ready to respond to the expected future research, training, scientific advice and information needs in the area of CO2 geological storage. These needs will mostly be connected with the prepared pilot and demonstration projects that are likely to appear across Europe in near future, even if later than originally planned. The reason for
this expectation is obvious – it would be extremely difficult for Europe to achieve its long-term decarbonisation objectives and contribute to the worldwide climate change mitigation efforts without the CCS technology. Or shall we rather stop fighting climate change and release the CO2 into the atmosphere without limitations?
CO2GeoNet The European Network of Excellence on the Geological Storage of CO2 CO 2GeoNet (www.co2geonet.com), the European scientific body on CO 2 geological storage, brings together over 300 researchers with the multidisciplinary expertise needed to address all aspects of CO 2 storage. With activities encompassing joint research, training, scientific advice, information and communication, CO 2GeoNet has a valuable and independent role to play in enabling the efficient and safe geological storage of CO 2 . CO 2GeoNet was created in 2004 as a Network of Excellence under the EC 6th Framework Programme for 5 years. In 2008, the Network became a non-profit Association under French law. It currently comprises 13 public research institutes from 7 European countries, but expansion of membership is underway to include other partners of the CGS Europe project.
CGS Europe The Pan-European Coordination Action on the Geological Storage of CO2
Contacts Secretariat: firstname.lastname@example.org President: Isabelle Czernichowski-Lauriol email@example.com
CGS Europe (www.cgseurope.net), a three-year Coordination Action (11/2011 to 10/2013) funded by the EC 7th Framework Programme, has been created to complement existing CCS initiatives and, more specifically, to tackle the part of the CCS chain dealing with CO2 Geological Storage (CGS) on a true European scale. CGS Europe is a networking project that pools together the expertise of 34 key research institutes in the area of CO 2 geological storage across 28 countries (24 European Member States and 4 Associated Countries). It builds upon the networking and integration experience of CO 2GeoNet with the ultimate goal of providing an independent, scientific, panEuropean platform and reference source where national, European and international experts, institutes and regulators can access the most up-to-date results of CO 2 storage-related studies, share experiences and good practices, discuss the implementation of regulations, identify research needs to face upcoming challenges, and build new projects. Contacts Secretariat: firstname.lastname@example.org Coordinator: Isabelle Czernichowski-Lauriol (BRGM) email@example.com
Members of CO2GeoNet:
CGS Europe partners:
The lighthouse event is the annual CO2GeoNet Open Forum in Venice enabling dialogue between the scientific community and all CCS stakeholders (www.co2geonet.com/openforum2012_presentations).
• GEUS (Denmark) • BRGM (France) • IFPEN (France) • BGR (Germany) • OGS (Italy) • URS (Italy) • TNO (Netherlands)
• IRIS (Norway) • NIVA (Norway) • SPR SINTEF (Norway) • BGS (UK) • HWU (UK) • IMPERIAL (UK)
• CO2GeoNet Association • GBA (Austria) • RBINS-GSB (Belgium) • SU (Bulgaria) • UNIZG-RGNF (Croatia) • CzGS (Czech Republic) • TTUGI (Estonia) • GTK (Finland)
• G-IGME (Greece) • AGES (Serbia) • MFGI (Hungary) • SGUDS (Slovakia) • GSI (Ireland) • GEO-INZ (Slovenia) • LEGMC (Latvia) • S-IGME (Spain) • GTC (Lithuania) • SGU (Sweden) • PGI-NRI (Poland) • METU-PAL (Turkey) • LNEG (Portugal) • GEOECOMAR (Romania)
Issue 3 | GLOBALSCIENTIA | 85
Why innovation in animal health is crucial
Why innovation in animal health is crucial in the battle against disease Declan O’Brien, Managing Director of IFAH-Europe, reflects on the big impact the relatively small animal health industry has on issues that matter to both man and beast.
Declan O’Brien, Managing Director IFAH-Europe
“At least 60% of all human infectious diseases have their origin in animals. Effective prevention and control of infectious diseases at the animalhuman-ecosystem interface are key to combating the spread of diseases in animals and humans, enhancing food security and fostering poverty reduction. Increased transparency in the animal health situation contributes to better public health”, according to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE). It is a quote that resurfaces in almost any article or text written about the importance of animal health to society as a whole, because certainly the general public is unaware of the impact of animal health on human health. Needless to say the public or even some key decision-makers are often oblivious to the importance to 86 | GLOBALSCIENTIA | Issue 3
safeguard and encourage innovation in this relatively small industry sector not just to protect animal health and welfare for our own health. The world spends $22 billion per year (one-fortieth of that spent on human medicines) on medicines to care for its animals yet that investment underwrites discovery, development, manufacture, distribution, support and education, all aimed at improving the health of the many species of animals around the world. A number of breakthrough discoveries made regarding animals have benefited the human health sector too. One example is from Edward Jenner who more than two centuries ago observed that milk maids who shared a minor form of skin disease with the cows in their care did not catch small pox. This led to the development of the human smallpox vaccines which finally in 1979 eradicated this 12,000 year old disease which is thought to have killed as many as 500 million in the 20th century alone. Louis Pasteur applied the underlying principle of vaccination to other diseases and created the first artificial vaccine strains (attenuated strains) for anthrax and chicken cholera – knowledge that eventually resulted in the first human rabies vaccine. Rabies has been a success story in large parts of Europe where it is mostly eradicated due to effective vaccination programmes of dogs and foxes as wildlife reservoirs. Work remains though in some parts of Eastern Europe and globally. However, the tools are available.
By Declan O’Brien Managing Director of IFAH-Europe
to be treated. This means that the existing medicines available need to be handled responsibly – as little as possible, as much as necessary. But it also means that the European and global animal health industry needs to keep developing new and innovative products. This requires an environment which stimulates innovation. At the moment it takes between 8-12 years to bring a product to market. This is speeded up in cases of disease outbreaks where the authorities and regulators can cut through the paperwork and much needed vaccines, for example, are on the market in 2 years. However, even then there are limits as the products are only given temporary licenses to deal with the outbreak. The administrative burden involved in bringing veterinary medicines and vaccines to the market is not stimulating innovation. Given the latest outbreaks in Europe of unprecedented diseases (bluetongue in 2008 and recently schmallenberg), the importance of being prepared for new and emerging diseases is vital. And this preparedness rests on the industry’s ability to innovate and invest in its R&D departments. Where the rabies case is a great example of one of the industry’s success stories for pets and wildlife in large parts of Europe, the bluetongue case is a great example of what the industry can do in a short space of time. In 2008, 45,000 outbreaks of bluetongue were reported across the EU. By 2009 this number had dropped to 1,118 and in 2011 to just 39.
Maintaining those tools is important; ensuring that new tools are available to vets, farmers and pet owners is vital. The world evolves, so do bacteria and pathogens. Diseases travel, mutate, jump species, new ones are born, and some have as yet not been able www.globalscientia.com
Why innovation in animal health is crucial Vaccination along with other prevention and control measures was responsible for the containment of this disease. In order to keep on top of animal diseases, especially the zoonotic ones that pass between man and animal, it is crucial to see where the gaps in knowledge are to know how to prioritise the research. In Europe, DISCONTOOLS (www.discontools.eu)
was set up to do just that. It is a platform, funded by the EU, that is led by IFAH-Europe. The 5-year project started in 2008 and should drive the delivery of new and improved diagnostics, vaccines and pharmaceuticals to improve our ability to control animal diseases. Deploying new technologies in the animal health area as rapidly as possible is another objective of this platform by developing a blueprint for the identification and evaluation of new technologies. The platform is stakeholder-driven and includes chief veterinary officers, farmers, vets, representatives from universities, research institutes, the diagnostics industry, the animal health industry, heads of medicines agencies, the European Medicines Agency and the OIE, amongst others. The platform has fulfilled its task in detailing out the gaps for 52 diseases and the database is online and open for all relevant bodies to scrutinise and use the information and take it to the next level. That next level will also unsurprisingly include new technologies. In similar ways as technology has enhanced our day to day lives, so it has the medical sector, both human and animal. The first use of modern biotechnology in the pharmaceutical industry is recognised as being the first production of human insulin in 1978. Advances in medical science and technology have provided the potential to develop new or improved vaccines, pharmaceuticals and diagnostic tests for the prevention and control of animal disease such as avian influenza, foot and mouth disease, rabies and classical swine fever. One of the earliest developments in animal health was an Aujeszky’s disease vaccine, which allowed a successful eradication programme in several European countries. The use of biotechnology and cutting-edge research means that new vaccines can be developed in the future www.globalscientia.com
e.g. against diseases for which currently it is impossible to vaccinate. It will allow more effective and simple ways to protect animals against two or more diseases with one product, enabled through a wide variety of administration routes (water, baits, air spray, eye inoculation, intra-nasally, through skin (needle-free), etc). Biotechnology-use will also provide improved stability of the animal health products which can reduce the need for the cold chain, which in turn means that more animals can be included in vaccination programmes in developing countries thereby helping to eradicate diseases, increase food availability and secure the livelihood of farmers.
All these advances in animal health, the potential to produce new innovative products, while maintaining the existing ones and safeguarding their use for the future (cf. antibiotics), will inevitably benefit human health. But if we are to ensure our animals’ health and welfare for the future - be it our farming animals, the cat that sits on our lap after we get home from a hard day’s work, or the dogs that are trained to protect people’s lives - we must safeguard the veterinary medicines we have in terms of their availability and efficacy for now and for the future. And this means we must encourage innovation whenever we can. Protecting them is after all, protecting ourselves!
Issue 3 | GLOBALSCIENTIA | 87
The High-Tech Empathy in Livestock Farming
The High-Tech Empathy in Livestock Farming
Daniel Berckmans and Claudia Bahr
s the worldâ€™s population continues to grow rapidly, so too does the demand for food. In addition, the middle classes in rising economies such as China and India have increasing access to animal based food. Consequently, the consumption of meat and other animal-related products continues to rise; studies have estimated a growth in meat consumption of more than 40 per cent within the next 20 years. Livestock farming is fundamentally changing in the 21st century. New approaches and concepts are inevitable to improve the efficiency of production with respect for animal health, welfare and environment The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) has stated that worldwide food production will undoubtedly have to depend upon some of the technologies of intensive animal food production systems. European livestock is predominantly reared in intensive systems designed to maximise profits. However, in recent years animal welfare has become a greater concern within the public domain and consumer power has thus led to policy makers taking the matter more seriously.
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In support of this, the scientific community has realised the potential of sensor-driven livestock technology to address animal health and welfare. Precision Livestock Farming (PLF) develops management tools aimed at continuous automatic monitoring of animal production, health and welfare in real-time. Using electronic information transfer, PLF applies principles of control engineering in optimising production and management processes. PLF is regarded as the heart of the engineering endeavour towards sustainability in (primary) food production. Its application allows making optimal use of knowledge and information in the monitoring and control of processes. The research scope ranges from monitoring feeding times, feed intake, and performance parameters to real time analysis of sounds, images, live weight assessment, condition scoring, on-line milk analysis and more. The final aim is to achieve a full picture of the state of the animals (cows, pigs, chicken, etc.) and their environment on a continuous basis, regarding the main parameters of animal health, animal behaviour and animal performance. Sensor
technology integrated in monitoring systems allows farmers to follow the individual animalâ€™s status and observe their performance or detect diseases at an early stage. With the help of this technology, farmers and veterinarians
can collect and manage the information needed to assure citizens that livestock production is safe, humane and environmentally sustainable. It also allows farmers to effectively monitor large stocks. But what needs to be done to get PLF widely accepted as a useful tool in livestock production? In particular, it is necessary to agree on the appropriate indicators for animal health and welfare and evaluate the cost/benefit of PLF. There is a need of showing farmers, retailers and consumers the benefit of PLF, such as a good return on investment for farmers and a good animal health and welfare being important for consumers. From a research point of view PLF technology very often has the potential to serve as a good tool for the farmer. Scientific papers provide evidence that the biological information measured on the animal can be interpreted in such a way that it creates valuable knowledge for the farmer. Nevertheless, certain issues can hamper the commercial application, namely (1) are the results and the presentation of the results in accordance with the expectations www.globalscientia.com
The High-Tech Empathy in Livestock Farming of farmers and (2) what are the cost benefits? Moreover, PLF technology should be efficient, accurate and reliable. It should function at any time in any farm and independent on climate conditions. This requires product development beyond prove of concept with additional investments in finances, human resources and further research. Therefore, a close but complementary collaboration between universities/ research institutes and companies is needed to enhance the valorisation efforts and turn knowledge into products. A success story showing that all the investment is worth it is the Synchro-Hatch™ system of the company Petersime. In industrial incubators, the hatching times of chicken eggs can vary to a big extent. These variations can cause considerable economical loss by operating the incubator for a longer period of time than in an ideal case where all chickens would hatch at the same time. The spread in hatching also affects the time for first access to food and water in the new-born chickens and is therefore relevant for the welfare of the chickens as well as their further growth. Long term research on improving conditions for incubating eggs of chickens helped to overcome these problems and to develop a commercially very successful product. The research focused on the relationship between the environment and embryonic development, and on identifying optimal incubation conditions.
contributes to narrowing down the hatch window (i.e. the time between the first and last hatched chicken) significantly.
Another very successful application based on PLF technology is the automatic measurement of dairy cow’s activity to detect oestrus and estimate the correct moment for insemination. The majority of dairy cows worldwide conceive nowadays by artificial insemination. A high conception rate is an economic measure that matters to the farmer. To detect oestrus is therefore important and in the past it had to be done by visual observation. Farmers watched their cows searching for animals showing restlessness, mounting behaviour and a higher activity in general as signs of approaching oestrus. Scientists found out that sensor devices sensitive to any kind of movements (Pedometer, accelerometer) combined with an appropriate mathematical model can be used to Synchro-Hatch™ enables a much smaller hatch window (www.petersime.com) automatically identify The Synchro-Hatch™ is a patented higher activity levels of dairy cows in embryo-response technology that oestrus. The research was picked up synchronises the hatch profiles to the by industry and global market players hatching process of chicken eggs. It such as DeLaval developed it further to automatically detects the exact timing an automatic oestrus detection system. of 100% internal pipping (IP) and then The automatic system increased the initiates a sequence of modifications detection of oestrus events on average to the incubation environment to by 20-30% compared to the visual stimulate simultaneous hatching observation and today it can be found (www.petersime.com). This technology in many dairy farms worldwide. www.globalscientia.com
It is important to underline that PLF does not have the intention of making robots of the farmer’s animals. Neither is it intended to replace a farmer by an automated system. On the contrary, it allows the animals to directly report to the farmer by transferring information via sensor technology. However, the very technical terms such as sensor and control engineering combined with biological terms such as animal and behaviour lead to the automatic reaction that PLF is associated with factory farming and unnatural, forced and stressful procedures. Thus, there is a need to improve the image of PLF in the eyes of consumers. The majority of western consumers are urbanized and disconnected from food production. In western countries only about 2% of people are in charge or in a wider context related to animal based food production. This is a huge responsibility but often the impression is left that the recognition of the farmer’s job compared to the society’s claim for save and high quality food is not in balance. It is time to raise more awareness of food production in general and livestock farming in particular. Also scientists must, from time to time, leave their nut shell and approach the public more pro-actively to better inform about recent developments and consequently improve the image of livestock farming in society. Authors’ address: Daniel Berckmans & Claudia Bahr KU Leuven Department of Biosystems Division M3-BIORES Kasteelpark Arenberg 30 3001 Heverlee/ Leuven Issue 3 | GLOBALSCIENTIA | 89
The Costs of Animal Diseases
The Costs of Animal Diseases By Barbara Freischem Executive Director of the International Federation for Animal Health (IFAH)
Barbara Freischem, Executive Director of the International Federation for Animal Health (IFAH), reflects on the importance of animals, how their health and welfare impacts ours, and the costs when animals get sick. • 22 million poultry* • 3.3 billion cattle, sheep and goats* • Almost 1 billion pigs* • 223 million domestic dogs** • 220 million domestic cats**. Animals are all around us and impact our everyday lives. Livestock animals help us to be fed and clothed and provide us with power needed to run machines and transport us and our goods; the other, even more domesticated animals give us support, friendship, companionship and – when necessary – help to make our lives easier or even save them. Add to that the ever growing human population, which means man and animal are inevitably living in closer proximity to each other than ever before, and it should not come as a big surprise that when these animals get sick, it impacts us as well. An epidemic among animals can have devastating effects on human societies around the world, including tales of famine and war (as was the case with rinderpest in Africa). Not only can an infectious disease in animals directly threaten our own health (depending on the diseasecausing agent), it can also put our food supply at risk. In addition, global environmental changes, population growth, increasing international trade have resulted in expansive and rapid movement of animals and animal products around the world. Such movement can be a challenge to disease control. Trans See the Oxford Journal of Infectious Diseases article from June 2011: http://jid.oxfordjournals.org/content/ early/2011/06/20/infdis.jir327.full.pdf+html
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boundary diseases (those that cross borders) were for instance identified by the FAO’s 2008 summit on world food security as one of four key obstacles to raising global food output. It goes without saying that healthy animals are free of such diseases and that in turn means that the products that originate from them can move around the world more easily. In 2012, the International Federation for Animal Health (IFAH) commissioned Oxford Analytica to write a white paper on the cost of animal diseases to better understand the effects they have on a global society. A panel of international experts was to look at the economic and social effects of three particular conditions: rabies, a zoonotic disease
transmitted from animal to man; foot and mouth disease (FMD), an animalonly illness; and salmonellosis, which can be transmitted between animals and people, most commonly through eating contaminated food products. The idea was to assess the direct and indirect costs associated with the three diseases, such as obvious losses due to death, illness or stunted growth, but also the money spent on mitigation and control of the diseases, such as the cost of medicines and surveillance activities as well as the cost of labour, the effects on human health (treatment costs and loss of productivity due to illness e.g.), as well the indirect costs to food producers due to loss of access to important
markets and damage sustained because of lost consumer confidence. There are difficulties in estimating the costs of animal disease globally as livestock product prices and productivity vary widely, as do the costs of resources used for disease monitoring and control. This might well make it tricky to estimate total costs on a global scale, however, there is some meaningful sense to be made of the available information on social and economic costs of recent disease outbreaks. Salmonellosis for instance has been estimated to carry disease costs in the US alone of somewhere near the $3 billion mark a year. Considering that the US is a first world economy, it shows this is not an easy to manage disease. Progress towards controlling Salmonella in the US has been slow with no real discernible fall in human infections in the past 15 years. In comparison, in the EU the total confirmed human cases of salmonella dropped from 166,819 in 2006 to 99,020 in 2012, largely due to mass vaccination campaigns for egglaying hens. In the case of rabies, there has been significant success for example in Europe (esp. the western European countries) through co-ordinated vaccination campaigns of domestic animals as well as wildlife that very effectively control, even eradicate the disease. But on the global scale it remains a very dangerous zoonotic disease that still claims around 55,000 deaths each year (compared to e.g. 80 people dying each year from highly pathogenic avian influenza virus of type A subtype H5N1). Up to 99% of these 55,000 deaths occur in rural areas of Africa and Asia where medical services are a long way away. Tragically, most of these victims are children. The disease claims animals as well; around one million cattle die of rabies each year in South and Central America. The tools to manage the disease are available and there is no reason why it cannot be fully eradicated but it would require a better application of disease control strategies, including vaccination programmes. In developing countries of South America, Africa and Asia, FMD remains a scourge and its impact on livestock productivity does much to help maintain the poverty in those countries. That’s not to say that FMD is only a www.globalscientia.com
The Costs of Animal Diseases problem in the developing world. The UK was hit by an epidemic in 2001, which led to the destruction of 6 million cattle, sheep and pigs which were infected, lived close to a diseased farm or could not be fed and cared for because of restrictions on transport of livestock in affected areas. The direct costs of this particular outbreak were estimated to be ÂŁ3 billion ($4.3 billion), but the indirect costs, notably through disruption to tourism, cost a further ÂŁ5
billion ($7.2 billion). It was estimated that if a similar FMD outbreak occurred in California in the US it could cost as much as $69 billion. Diseases and their causative agents do not stop at national borders and many different types of societies are confronted with comparable threats; animal disease costs change as societies evolve, so it is important to monitor these changes in society to ensure that we are in a position to react to outbreaks in a timely and proportionate fashion. What this implies is that the way forward in controlling animal health and disease outbreaks in animals needs to be improved. And improvement is needed in several areas, from enhancing data collection and surveillance methods to bolstering veterinary services in quite a few countries where this is still inadequate, to encouraging investments in animal health and creating an optimal regulatory environment from animal health companies to invest in innovation and R&D. www.globalscientia.com
This requires wider collaborative discussions with international stakeholders, including regulators, governments, the animal health industry, veterinarians, farmers, and international organisation on what the future efforts are to establish effective disease control and preventative activities based on technical merits, but also based on their socio-economic impact. A better understanding of the institutional frameworks and responses
to regulation needs to be integrated in control programmes. An excellent example of such collaboration was the successful international campaign for eradication of rinderpest, the devastating cattle disease mentioned at the beginning of this article, run by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) which led to the global eradication of that virus in 2011. It not only involved long-term vaccination campaigns in many countries, but also long-term disease monitoring in order to ensure that it had well and truly been eradicated. This was one disease where costs of disease and costs of eradication could be estimated and so clearly came out in favour of eradication that the international community embarked on this long-term process.
as better governance on food safety matters. This will involve effective and proportionate legislation on the authorisation and regulation of animal health products, their control in the market place, as well as consistent application of guidelines relevant to animal health and the movements of livestock and animal products in an increasingly global economy. For the animal health industry itself it all essentially boils down to staying ahead. The animal health industry must keep on innovating to deal with zoonotic, infectious diseases for the sake of animal health and welfare, but also for the sake of human health. It must invest in research and development to ensure that new and emerging diseases, which know no boundaries, can be dealt with effectively and efficiently. The industry must put the development of new animal health products at the fore. There are still diseases out there that require solutions or could do with better solutions, well known ones as well as new ones. Investing in new technologies is vital. This will require a favourable regulation system which enables manufacturers to invest more in developing new vaccines and treatments, but will also need to have consumer acceptance, especially when it comes to new technologies. All this needs to be underpinned by thoroughly tested and highly regulated approaches. At present, it takes at least 5 years (often 8-10 years) for a product to come to market. Hopefully, by taking a science-based approach and through on-going dialogue with regulators there can be more harmonisation in the global regulatory environment which will allow the animal health industry to bring products to market faster and will enable them to invest in the future so new outbreaks of disease can be dealt with quickly and succinctly. Barbara Freischem Executive Director, IFAH www.ifahsec.org
What will be needed is further investments and capacity building, especially in the developing world, but also working on the necessary physical and technical infrastructure to allow early identification and action against new disease outbreaks, as well Issue 3 | GLOBALSCIENTIA | 91
GIS Mapping Technologies
GIS Mapping Technologies that are helping create Environmental Resilience Gillian McNicoll The environment has for several years been a hot topic for discussion and quite rightly in the forefront for improvement. This works inline with the EU Environment Action Programme ‘Living well, within the limits of our planet’ which was instigated to help influence environmental policies until 2020. This plan is about building the EU’s environmental resilience in a sustainable way. Although a lot has already been achieved in certain areas there still are a number of environmental problems remaining. Change happens and is not always a good thing and the environment has been one of the casualties, this new approach is about looking for new ways and opportunities to prevent problems and adapt better to challenges. Seeing Is Believing One way to combat change head on is to find out as much as possible about our environment and wildlife’s diverse areas, habitats, flora and fauna. From looking at their history and current situation this can help plan for the future and strengthen resilience. Digital technologies such as GIS can be used to gather the information together and create digital wildlife or environment ‘maps’. These are useful too as an educational tool to be 92 | GLOBALSCIENTIA | Issue 3
used in schools, colleges and universities around the world. These maps can be compared with other areas, regions and countries again creating a useful means to gauge change both positive and negative. In turn lessons can be learned, ideas formulated and research topics discovered. Geographic Information System (GIS) Using a system to collect information brings together hardware software and data capturing. Digital technologies gather the data, or geographical referenced information, and analyse it before presenting it in a way that we can see it or read in a user friendly format. These technologies are used for a wide range of activities around the world but one of these areas is to map the environment. This GIS shows things such as the quantity of a specific woodland, rock type, habitat or species. At the same time the viewer can see the density of woodland or the sparseness of a marshland. Spatial relationships, patterns and connections on different subject matter can be compared, researched and studied. The GIS EU INSPIRE Directive GISCO (Geographical Information System at the Commission) is part of
Eurostat. This program offers a service that endorses and encourages European states to use GIS technology as part of the Commission and European Statistical System. GISCO leads INSPIRE and support the European Spatial Data Infrastructure. INSPIRE is responsible for developing spatial data and information within Europe and also assists with community environmental initiatives. ISPIRE operates a leGISlative methodology and was initiated in 2007; this programme still continues today across 27 member states and 34 diverse spatial data themes. Rules are set by the Directive in order that there is consistency across EU states when gathering information in this fashion. Some of the recent work includes drafts on technical guideless for gathering spatial data on; habitats and biotopes, energy resources, soil, oceanographic, geology, natural risk zones, and land cover. Examples of GIS Technology in Practise Scotland’s Precious Wild Lands Using GIS technologies the Scottish Natural Heritage (Dualchas Nàdair na h-Alba) have been able to start on a project to find out the most precious wild lands in
Scotland. This is believed to assist with those involved in preserving the environment to recognise and understand better what the current situation is. This specific project is concerned with mapping out levels of relative ‘wildness’ and although it is understood defining wildness is not easy this can however be done justice by looking for certain physical characteristics. These are: how natural an area is felt to be, how rugged the area is, how remote from roads, and the absence of buildings or other such modern developments. This project is on-going. Durham Wildlife Trust, England: EcoServ-GIS Pilot According to a recent summary report of the use of a GIS system, EcoServGIS, the Durham Wildlife Trust has been piloting this system to be used as a toolkit across Wildlife Trusts. This GIS system has been designed for use as an effective ecosystem mapping tool. Maps can be created using this technology and results in a fine scale map of 10m or 50m that uses a systematic and technical methodology. By overlaying maps, wildlife can be managed more accurately as the demands and capacity for available space can be better assessed. Those who work with this GIS www.globalscientia.com
GIS Mapping Technologies technology have a range of benefits that come from using this mapping system. Prime examples being wildlife and environment management, helping to better designate land areas and wildlife, showing habitat types, and assisting changes in policy. According to the English National Planning Policy Framework (NPPT) “the planning system should contribute to and enhance the natural and local environment by: recognizing the wider benefits of ecosystem services” These resulting maps are only part of the picture of decision making but they can be used to indicate what our current wildlife patterns are so as to create better conservation and management programmes. Some of the serviced areas of this GIS system include Regulation of Biotic Environment; e.g. pollination, Physical or Experiential Use of Ecosystems; wildlife watching, accessible nature experience, Flow Regulation; erosion regulation. Other things that encroach or could adversely affect wildlife too can be seen more clearly, such as factories asking for planning permission or possible threats to ecosystems. In addition to identify those wildlife/environment areas that needs higher levels of safeguarding and control. There are several examples of how the results can be used in practise. One of the Ecosystems looked at showed that there was a need for this service to conserve the ecosystem and maintain good wildlife planning. Another observation was to keep up present wildlife management structures whilst bringing down the noise in certain areas to help wildlife. Other zones www.globalscientia.com
needed activities such as better footpaths and access (to help the ecosystems), wildlife watching or to plant woodlands. GIS Ireland In Ireland there is a programme called the Irish Geological Heritage (IGH) Programme which is run jointly by the Geological Survey of Ireland (GIS) and the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) of The Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government (DEHLG). This Irish initiative has been running for a number of years, 1998, and is designed to help preserve the natural environment in Ireland. The GIS provides information and Data on geological and geomorphological sites in order that conservation management can work to its best abilities. They also offer guidance and support. In addition this programme can assist in identifying any areas that can be targeted as a Natural Heritage Site (NHA). This programme was founded after looking into systems in other European countries that could be utilised within an Irish setting. One group that was of assistance was the European Association for the Conservation of the Geological Heritage, ProGEO). here are 16 different categories that are serviced by GIS technology for example, stratigraphy, sedimentology, structural geology, volcanic rocks. After looking over potential sites a number were narrowed down as of particular interest to be developed. Once these have been further investigated and fieldwork undertaken boundaries can be set out. This service offers a number of different websites to download various maps such as the Interactive Web Data
Delivery System (IWDDS). On these pages you can find a particular area of interest such as Onshore Geology or Offshore Geology by using Offshore (INSS and INFOMAR) and onshore GIS data area of interest. https://jetstream.GIS.ie/ iwdds/index.html In addition there is DCENR Spatial data, GIS data (ESRI shapefiles) http://www. dcenr.gov.ie/Spatial+Data/ Geological+Survey+of+Irela nd/GIS+Spatial+Data+Down loads.htm and the GIS Map Services (WMS). A number of initiatives across Europe are benefiting from the GIS in Ireland’s knowledge and data. Several surveys on interoperable marine geological and hydro graphic data are being carried out so that datasets become more available on the internet. Some examples are Irelands own seabed mapping programme INFOMAR, EMODNET, EMODNET - Marine geological data, EMODNET - Hydro Graphic Data and Geo-Seas. One of these programmes is the EMODNET European Marine Observation and Data Network (EMODNET) which has been activated from the perceived need for improved data integration and availability. This has been brought about by the European Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD). GIS Ireland has been instrumental in working on this programme alonGISde research establishments and using geological surveying. EMODNET and GIS are partnered in this programme.
wider audience more can be discovered, and learned as well as improvements made to management, conservation and protection. In addition it is crucial for GIS and other technologies to be further developed and for higher education facilities to be encouraging young people into training and education in digital mapping technologies. Further training for those already working in this field would also be of great benefit. GIS mapping is set to continue to help those working in this area as well as to shape policy and decision making. http://www.snh.gov.uk/ protecting-scotlands-nature/ looking-after-landscapes/ landscape-policy-andguidance/wild-land/ mapping/ http://www.durhamwt. co.uk/wp-content/ uploads/2012/06/EcoServGIS-Executive-SummaryOnly-WildNET-Jan-2013-9pages.pdf http://www.GIS. ie/Programmes/ Heritage+and+Planning/ Heritage/ The+IGH+Programme.htm http://europa.eu/rapid/ press-release_SPEECH-12900_en.htm http://www.GIS.ie/Mapping. htm http://ec.europa.eu/ environment/newprg/index. htm http://inspire.jrc.ec.europa. eu/
GIS technology Needs More Study & Development By continuing to increase availability of data to a Issue 3 | GLOBALSCIENTIA | 93
ESA: almost 50 years of success missions like ESA’s Automated Transfer Vehicles, the supply freighters to the International Space Station.
The European Space Agency: almost 50 years of success Lift Off for Ariane 5 from Guiana Space Centre.
Franco Bonacina, ESA Director General’s Spokesperson.
n 2014 the European Space Agency (ESA) will blow out 50 candles on its birthday cake. Born in 1964 as the European space Research Organisation (ESRO), ESA is Europe’s gateway to space. Its mission is to shape the development of Europe’s space capability and ensure that investment in space continues to deliver benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world. ESA is an intergovernmental organisation which now counts 20 member states. By coordinating the financial and intellectual resources of its member countries’ industry, research centres and institutions, it can undertake programmes and activities far beyond the scope of any single European nation. Exploring the Universe, understanding the functioning of our home planet, and ensuring that satellites can deliver services for societies and citizens are among the major challenges for developed nations in the 21st century. This is why the 20 European countries members of ESA are pooling resources and putting Europe at the forefront of space science, launchers, telecommunications, satellite navigation, Earth observation, technology, as well as human spaceflight and operations Today, Europe’s citizens enjoy the benefits, from jobs and economic growth, to public services, efficient communications and security. The 94 | GLOBALSCIENTIA | Issue 3
results of 50 years of space activities in Europe are, outstanding scientific discoveries, a stronger, richer European identity and a world-class industry which has not moved off-shore. To cover the 50 years of successes (and the few setbacks we suffered along the way, as Space - like any other human activity - is not exempted from mishaps) it would take much more “space” than is available here. Let’s concentrate on the highlights of last year and take a glimpse at what’s up for 2013 and beyond.
ATV docking with the International Space Station.
Major events in 2012 13 February marked the first launch of ESA’s new launch vehicle Vega, from Kourou. After lift-off from its new launch pad, the launcher conducted a flawless qualification flight. With Vega extending the family of launchers available at the spaceport, Europe now covers the full range of launch needs, from small science and Earth observation satellites to the largest
On 23 March ESA’s third Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) lifted off from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, on an Ariane 5 launcher heading towards the International Space Station. The ATV, the most complex spacecraft ever produced in Europe, delivered essential supplies to the orbital outpost. The spacecraft is also used to re-boost the Space Station’s orbit while it remains attached to it. Its mission ended on 3 October, when the vessel re-entered the atmosphere burning up as planned over an uninhabited area of the southern Pacific ocean. July and September marked important milestones when ESA’s role in weather and climate watch was once again recognized. The third in a series of four Meteosat Second Generation (MSG) satellites introduced in 2002 was launched on board an Ariane 5 on 5 July. The satellite’s sensors ensure that Europe and Africa continue to receive up-to-date weather coverage. MSG is a joint programme undertaken by ESA and EUMETSAT. After commissioning MSG-3 has become Meteosat-10, and is stationed at 0° longitude, over the Gulf of Guinea on the Equator, in geostationary orbit, where its speed precisely matches the Earth’s rotation. The second Metop satellite was launched on 17 September from the Baikonur cosmodrome, in Kazakhstan, atop a Russian Soyuz launcher. Metop-B ensures the continuity of the weather and atmospheric monitoring service provided by its predecessor Metop-A, which has been circling the globe from pole to pole, 14 times a day, since 2006 and has now exceeded its design lifetime. Developed for EUMETSAT’s polar satellite system, Metop-B, was handed over to EUMETSAT for a six months of commissioning of its payload, before entering routine service with Metop-A. Unlike the Meteosat satellites, which are watching about half of our planet from a fixed vantage point almost 36,000 km above the Gulf of Guinea, Metops work at the much lower altitude of about 800 km, and scans the whole globe to provide additional data on the atmosphere. www.globalscientia.com
ESA: almost 50 years of success The third and fourth satellites of Europe’s Galileo global navigation satellite system were lofted into orbit on 12 October from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana on a Soyuz ST-B launcher, operated by Arianespace. They joined the first pair of satellites launched a year before to complete the In-Orbit Validation (IOV) phase of the Galileo programme. The Galileo system will consist of 30 satellites and their associated ground infrastructure. The definition, development and In Orbit Validation phase of the Galileo programme are carried out by ESA, and co-funded by ESA and the European Commission. The IOV phase led to a mini-constellation of four satellites and the first phase of the ground segment dedicated to the validation of the overall concept. The four satellites launched during the IOV phase are the nucleus of the constellation that will then be extended to reach its Full Operational Capability. By late 2014, 18 satellites are scheduled to have been launched, by which time early services to Europeans can begin. Galileo’s Full Operational Capability will be reached with 30 satellites (including the four IOVs and in-orbit spares) in 2018. A major milestone: the Council meeting at Ministerial level of November 2012 The successes of 2012 were the result of investment decisions taken a decade or more earlier. On 20 and 21 November 2012, Europe’s space ministers set the objectives and priorities for Europe in space for the years to come and committed over €10
International Space Station and the space exploration programme to allow Europe to take part in humankind’s future ambitious adventures of discovery and innovation.
Galileo satellite in Orbit.
billion to new investments in Europe’s future in space. The decisions taken following on from the Council meeting at ministerial level in The Hague in 2008, when almost €10 billion were similarly agreed in already worsening economic conditions - are testimony to a far-ranging conviction that space is a catalyst for growth, innovation and knowledge for the benefit of citizens. The new investments were carefully balanced among three complementary strategic objectives: Pushing the frontiers of knowledge, Supporting an innovative and competitive Europe and Enabling space-based services. The first objective (Pushing the frontiers of knowledge) will be achieved thanks to a smart combination of mandatory activities within ESA’s scientific programme (exploring the solar system and the universe) and optional activities that take into account Earth sciences for the increased understanding of our planet (the 4th slice of the Earth Observation Envelope Programme), the science coming from the exploitation of the
The second objective (Supporting an innovative and competitive Europe) involves substantial investments in telecommunications, launchers, technology research and technology transfer. The investments in telecommunications are complemented though partnerships mostly with private partners (industry and operators). Telecommunications is the primary commercial field of space activities and PPPs are the basis for the development of the next generation platforms including satellites fully operated by electric propulsion. In the launcher sector the main objective was to decide and properly manage its evolution within the next decade. Today, European launch services are the most reliable in the world but, economically speaking, they operate in a commercial market where competitors are heavily supported by a guaranteed governmental market. To meet this challenge, ministers have agreed to the continuation of the development of an adapted version of Ariane 5, the Mid-life Evolution, with a re-ignitable upper engine dubbed “Vinci”, while also beginning detailed definition studies for the new Ariane 6 in order to receive industrial offers in 2014 with the aim of a maiden flight in 2021. Finally, Europe’s edge in world markets will be supported via the Technology programmes which are interlinked with all other programmes.
ESA Council meeting at Ministerial level in Naples, November 2012.
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ESA: almost 50 years of success security are also contemplated in the third objective. Looking at 2013 The decisions taken by Ministers last November could build on an uninterrupted string of successes in space achieved by ESA, its Member States, researchers, industry and other stakeholders since the previous Council at Ministerial level in 2008. All these achievements demonstrate the high technical maturity of ESA and its partners and the robustness of ESA’s programmatic framework. 2013 will again be rich in activities and events with 12 satellites planned for launch in 7 separate missions, utilising all three of Europe’s launchers. In spring, the launch of Proba-V (Vegetation) will take place on the second Vega launcher from the Guiana Space Centre. An Ariane 5 will then carry the fourth ATV, named after Albert Einstein, to the International Space Station to deliver supplies for the crew (food, drinking water, oxygen), experiments and 3 tons of propellants to boost the station’s orbit at regular intervals. At the end of May, ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano from Italy will fly to the ISS on a long duration mission until November.
Proposal for Ariane 6.
The investments allocated for the third objective (Enabling services) are at least doubled through partnerships with EUMETSAT and the European Union. These investments aim at maximising benefits deriving from satellites to society and the economy, in particular though programmes such as Meteosat Second Generation in the field of meteorology, IRIS for safe communications in air traffic management and SAT-AIS, which deals with vessel identification for maritime surveillance. The European Global Navigation Satellite System Evolution Programme – where the second generation of Galileo will be prepared – and third slice of the space component of the EU-ESA GMES/ Copernicus programme in the field of Earth observation for environment and 96 | GLOBALSCIENTIA | Issue 3
In the summer from Plesetsk, we will witness the launch of the multi-satellite mission Swarm to study the magnetic field of the Earth. the first out of the next generation of six astronauts selected in 2009. Also during the summer, an Ariane 5 will carry into orbit the Alphasat mission, a PPP between ESA and Inmarsat. ESA is providing the first flight model of the new Alphabus platform to allow European industry to significantly extend their telecommunications satellite range providing a new high power multipurpose platform. In the second half of 2013 the first member of the new family of satellites of the EU-ESA GMES (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security) programme will be launched: Sentinel1 will be launched on a Soyuz launcher from the Guiana Space Centre. Another Soyuz from the CSG will carry later in the year an amazing scientific satellite, Gaia, to chart and understand the evolution of our home galaxy, the Milky Way.
Last but not least, following the In Orbit Validation (IOV) phase described above, the first Full Operational Capability satellites of the Galileo constellation will also be launched in 2013, with two FOC launches planned, each taking two satellites on a Soyuz launcher. ESA does not just develop and launch satellites for the purpose of demonstrating the amazing technical capacities of European industry. The exploitation of our spacecraft by the space communities is the ultimate goal of all of our missions. In 2013, the Sun will reach a maximum in its 11-year cycle of activity, one which is likely to be the weakest for a century. Throughout the year, ESA’s fleet of spacecraft currently operating (including SOHO, Cluster, Swarm, Mars Express and Venus Express) will observe at the same time the Sun and the impact of solar activity on our Solar System’s three terrestrial planets providing, for example, an unprecedented view of how magnetic
Artist’s view of the Proba-V satellite.
fields shield a planetary atmosphere from powerful solar eruptions. In June ESA’s Mars orbiter Mars Express will celebrate 10 years in orbit. This event will be marked with the release the complete mineralogical map of Mars, in particular hydrates leading to the history of water and supporting the selection of landing sites for the ExoMars missions of 2016 and 2018. At the end of the year (29 December) Mars Express will perform the closest ever fly-by of martian moon Phobos, passing only 58 km from the moon’s centre (or within around 47 km of the moon’s surface). Flying so close to the surface will in itself be a navigation feat, and will provide an unprecedented determination of the moon’s mass distribution. www.globalscientia.com
ESA: almost 50 years of success strive to further improve its efficiency in order, above all, to contribute to the effectiveness of the European space sector overall. This sector has become increasingly complex because of the widening of the scope of space activities, the evolution of European governance in particular with respect to the implementation of the Lisbon Treaty that has clarified the EU’s competence in space matters, and the emergence of new public and private actors, both in Europe and abroad. The European space sector has also to operate within a fast changing world, competing in some areas while cooperating in others. European public investments in space are low compared to other space powers, so governments rely on the European industry being even more competitive than the US and others on the commercial market.
The Herschel mission has been operating since 2009, painstakingly mapping the plane of our galaxy, the Milky Way, one small segment at a time. A complete map of the Galactic plane will be released, at the end of 2013 allowing scientists in Europe and all over the world
ESA Earth Observation missions for Earth’s environment and climate at the “Living Planet Symposium” held in Edinburgh from 9 to 13 September. The decisions taken by Ministers last November will ensure that such events continue to be a highpoint of the scientific calendar for a decade or more to come. An ever changing international organization Like every efficient and successful organization, ESA must continuously
Thus it is now essential to streamline investments, maximising their efficacy and avoiding duplications while taking maximum benefit of existing capabilities. ESA has already adapted itself to many evolutions and it is ready to further evolve so that it remains the one collective framework through which European space programmes become a successful reality. In Naples, Ministers were invited to provide guidance in order to set the direction of ESA’s future relationship with the EU and to initiate a process in order to make of ESA the space agency that best serves Europe, Member States and the EU, providing the most appropriate framework in which to develop space capabilities and resources at European level for R&D. The next rendezvous for the Ministers to meet and decide on the further evolution of ESA is 2014.
Herschel’s three colour view of the Asteroid Apophis.
to study in detail all the sites where stars are currently being born in our galaxy. International conferences will also be held in 2013 to highlight the results of spacecraft already in orbit, such as SMOS, launched in 2009 to study soil moisture and ocean salinity, and Planck, also launched in 2009 to help describe the birth of the universe and its subsequent evolution. These will take place in the first part of the year, while in early September, hundreds of scientist will present and learn about the results of www.globalscientia.com
Mars Express mosaic.
Issue 3 | GLOBALSCIENTIA | 97
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