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Pan European Networks: Science & Technology

19

www.paneuropeannetworks.com

12

NEWSDESK

EU SCIENTISTS DECRY

H2020’S FOCUS

L

eading members of several European

scientific bodies have criticised Horizon

2020 for its focus on innovation rather than

blue sky research.

The Horizon 2020 funding scheme was intended to move towards

innovation-focused research and favour market potential when

selecting projects to fund, as a marked change from the priorities of

its predecessor the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). But

representatives of science organisations such as Science Europe,

among others, said that the focus has shifted too far from scientific

research and towards marketable results. The comments were made

ahead of the upcoming midterm review of the funding scheme, which

is due to take place next year.

GENPORT TO LAUNCH

RESOURCES PORTAL

G

enPORT, an FP7 project, is formally

launching its portal for quality gender and

science resources on 21 April this year.

The portal aims to provide information about published research,

studies and events, as well as access to expert advice and networking

opportunities. Its launch will take place at the European Parliament

with its members and other policy makers, GenPORT representatives,

and gender and STEM experts.

The opening session will be chaired by MEP Eva Kaili, who also

represents the Science and Technology Options Assessment (STOA)

as first vice-chair. The session will consider the gender landscape in

European STEM subjects, as well as how GenPORT can actively

influence and contribute to European policy making.

The director of Science Europe,

Amanda

Crowfoot,

told

Science|Business that although the

choice was intentional, it was

unfortunate that science is being

overlooked: “There’s a fear a shift to

innovation is pushing out all the

science. That’s not an unfortunate action – it’s a political choice.”

It is not only the selection of projects that shows a move towards

innovation but also the ways in which those projects are funded. For

example, last year some Horizon 2020 budget grants were made into

loans, meaning that there is increased pressure on researchers to

create marketable results in order to pay back their funds. Crowfoot

said that this decision was “out of step” with the way that science is

funded, and that it would reduce the amount of scientific research

undertaken in Europe.

28 April 2016

Following this, the event will

transfer to the Residence

Palace Press Centre, where the

co-ordinator of GenPORT, Dr

Jörg Müller, will give his

welcoming speech. Müller is

the current senior researcher at

the Internet Interdisciplinary Institute (IN3 – UOC) in Barcelona, Spain.

As a key figure in IN3’s Gender and ICT research programme, he

obtained a PhD in communications at the European Graduate School

(EGS) in Saas-Fee, Switzerland.

Other key participants will include Nordforsk’s Lotta Strandberg,

Gotelind Alber from Gender Climate Change, Arn Sauer of the German

Federal Environment Agency, Dr Ineke Klinge of Maastricht University

and Horizon 2020’s Advisory Group on Gender, and Pan European

Networks’ own Brussels editor, Michael Brennan.

12 April 2016

© GoToVan

EU TO PROVIDE €3M FOR

POLIO VACCINATIONS

T

he European Commission has announced

€3m in humanitarian aid to provide polio

vaccinations in Syria.

The effort is linked to a nationwide vaccination project led by UNICEF

and the World Health Organization, and hopes to provide vaccinations

to children in hard to reach and besieged areas of the country. The

campaign estimates that almost two million children might be at risk

and in need of vaccination. The funding is part of the €445m in

humanitarian aid that the commission has pledged to the Syrian crisis

in 2016.

The commissioner for humanitarian aid and crisis management,

Christos Stylianides, said: “Today we are announcing concrete support

for Syrian children, who are the first to suffer from inadequate access

to healthcare. The EU is committed

to supporting the most vulnerable

victims of the Syrian conflict.”

Stylianides stressed that the effort

would need support from those on

both sides of the conflict in the

country in order to be effective: “For health workers to do their

remarkable job, they need safe and unimpeded access. The systematic

attacks on medical facilities in Syria and the rising civilian casualties

in recent weeks are worsening the humanitarian situation. I continue

to urge all parties to the conflict to cease targeting the civilian

population and medical facilities, in accordance with international

humanitarian law, and to allow medical items through in aid convoys.”

The EU has already provided safe drinking water and hygiene items to

two million people in Syria, along with providing food, shelter and child

protection services in the war-torn country.

03 May 2016

© Richard Friedericks

© OSCE Parliamentary Assembly