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Pan European Networks: Science & Technology







With science considered such a major facet of the European Union’s hopes to develop the world’s

leading knowledge economy, it is no surprise that new developments and discoveries are being

delivered on an almost daily basis.

Some of the more noteworthy events of the last few months include: Slovenia’s capital Ljubljana

being formally handed the prestigious title of European Green Capital 2016; the launch of

GenPORT, an FP7 project for quality gender and science resources; and criticism of Horizon 2020

for its focus on innovation rather than blue sky research.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization has reported that over 80% of the global city

population breathe poor quality air, and €3m in humanitarian aid to provide polio vaccinations in

Syria has been announced by the European Commission.

The following stories all appeared on our website:




new global review of the dangers of

antimicrobial resistance (AMR) says that

infections will kill someone every three

seconds by 2050 without billions in investment.

According to the review, ten million people will die every year due to

resistant infections by 2050, more than any other major cause of death;

financially, this is expected to cost more than €89 trillion. The report

urges the establishment of a global innovation fund with USD 2bn

(~€1.78bn) investment, in order to develop new treatments, and

recommends a global public awareness campaign to ensure that the

potential dangers are recognised.

The review was led by UK economist Lord Jim O’Neill, who warned

that, as large as the report’s estimates are, they may actually be too



ore than 80% of the global city population

breathe poor quality air and are thereby at an

increased risk of life-threatening diseases,

according to the World Health Organization.

Urban residents are worst affected in poorer nations, where nearly

every city (98%) has air which fails to meet WHO standards. The

percentage of cities in wealthier nations with air that likewise fails to

meet these standards is 56%.

Dr Maria Neira, director of public health at the WHO in Geneva, said:

“We have a public health emergency in many countries. Urban air

pollution continues to rise at an alarming rate, wreaking havoc on

human health. It’s dramatic, one of the biggest problems we are facing

globally, with terrible future costs to society. The cost for countries is

enormous. Air pollution affects economies and people’s quality of life. It

leads to major chronic diseases and to people ultimately dying.”

small, because the report does not

take into account a number of

secondary problems caused by

AMR: “We did not even consider

the secondary effects of antibiotics

losing their effectiveness, such as

the risks in carrying out caesarean

sections, hip replacements, or gut surgery. And in the short 19 months

since we started, new forms of resistance have emerged that we did

not contemplate occurring so soon, such as the highly disturbing

discovery of transferable colistin resistance.”

The report argues that co-ordinated international efforts towards

quicker and more effective diagnosis, global monitoring of antibiotic

use and promotion of vaccines and other alternative treatments are

also necessary to prevent the growing threat of AMR.

19 May 2016

Contaminants in outdoor air are the

cause of over three million premature

deaths each year, the report says.

More and more cities are measuring

air pollution levels and recognising

the impacts poor air has on both

human and environmental health.

Assistant director general of the WHO Dr Flavia Bustreo said: “Air

pollution is a major cause of disease and death. It is good news that

more cities are stepping up to monitor air quality, so when they take

actions to improve it they have a benchmark. When dirty air blankets

our cities, the most vulnerable urban populations – the youngest, oldest

and poorest – are the most impacted.”

The WHO urban air quality database builds on well-established, public

air quality monitoring systems as a source of reliable data in different

parts of the world.

12 May 2016

© Damián Bakarcic

© samantha celera