'Policy Day' will stimulate scientific dialogue
SUCCESSIVE GOVERNMENTS have given strong backing for the scientific research sector given its potential to create both jobs and wealth. The need for a clear policy framework on research and what form this might take comes under debate during the EuroScience Open Forum conference taking place later this month.
The forum will be Europe’s largest single meeting of its kind this year, running from July 11th-July 15th. One of the goals of the forum is to support dialogue between the scientific community and the policy-forming community across Europe.
For this reason, its planners have organised a “Policy Day” on Friday, which has attracted an impressive line-up of international speakers.
Ireland’s EU commissioner Maire Geoghegan-Quinn will formally open proceedings with a plenary address entitled: Collaboration, Competition, Connection – Evidence of Intelligent Design in European Science Policy?
Prof Anne Glover, chief scientific adviser to European Commission president José Manuel Barroso, will participate along with Subra Suresh of the US National Science Foundation, and the New Zealand and UK science advisers Prof Sir Peter Gluckman and Prof Sir John Beddington.
There is also an impressive list of keynote talks from a surprisingly varied range of speakers. For example, Helga Nowotny, president of the European Research Council, will speak, as will Sir Bob Geldof.
The Policy Day programme will include more than 20 individual sessions and workshops throughout the day, dealing with topics such as Horizon 2020, the EU’s new science budget worth in excess of €80 billion; the need to improve research infrastructure; developing the European Research Area; young researchers and their participation in the important Marie Curie Programme; and others.
The programme for the day has attracted senior staff from multinational bodies and governments, but also members of the European scientific community.
Participants include John Bell, Maire Geoghegan-Quinn’s chef de cabinet; Robert-Jan Smits, director general for research and innovation; Dominique Ristori, director general of the Joint Research Centre; and Dr Yongyuth Yuthavong, former Thai minister of science and technology.
The 20 sessions will deal with a wide range of issues of importance to policymakers.
Shale gas fracking comes up for discussion, as does how to get more small to medium enterprises engaged with the Horizon 2020 programmes.
There will be a “great debate” on the battle to feed a changing planet, and a session on building an economy based on the development of good ideas.