Publication date: 2004-03-12
While many of the CORDIS News stories selected for inclusion in CORDIS Express focus on the actions of Europe's policy makers, two of this week's stories take a look at the actions of researchers, intended to influence their national politicians.
News - Top Stories
Some 2,000 French researchers have resigned in protest against the government's lack of response to their plea against budget cuts, fund freezes and post reductions. The protest began in January when a petition, circulating on the Internet and entitled 'Let's save Research', was signed by some 70,000 researchers. Ignored by government in the eyes of the signatories, the protest gathered momentum with waves of demonstrations across France culminating in the resignations on 9 March.
Hoping to influence the political pledges made in the run up to the Spanish general election, 11 renowned Spanish scientists have called on all political parties to sign up to a 'state pact' on science. The pact highlights Spain's economic progress over the past 25 years, and the lack of accompanying investment in research and development (R&D). Now is the time for change, it is claimed.
Competitiveness is driven by the existence of a 'creative class', according to a paper by Richard Florida and Irene Tinagli, and published by the UK think tank Demos. But the development of a creative class depends on what are described as the '3Ts of economic development' - technology, talent and tolerance. Tolerance is the crucial factor which is closing the competitiveness gap between the EU and the US, according to the paper, entitled 'Europe in the creative age'.
These articles have been taken from CORDIS News, a daily news service updated every weekday lunchtime. For more research and innovation headlines, go to the CORDIS News homepage.
Focus on Innovation
Nearly 80 per cent of companies in the EU have introduced new or updated products in the last two years, and the proportion of 'big investors' - enterprises that commit over half their total investments to innovation - is 14 per cent, according to the 2003 Innobarometer survey. Alongside such positive performance indicators, the 2003 survey also reveals that more than 60 per cent of European managers are positive about their improved performance over the last two years, with particularly high levels of confidence recorded in Italy, Spain and Greece.
Future of Research
CORDIS has developed a new service to follow discussions on the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). The debate on FP7 started in September 2003 when the Competitiveness Council invited the Commission and Member States to make more effective use of financing instruments, including the EU's Structural Funds, for research and development (R&D). The service aims to keep users informed of important developments related to the FP7 debate - where appropriate, links are also given to other related web sites.
The Sixth Framework Programme service is the starting point when looking for FP6 information on CORDIS. Developments relating to the European Research Area (ERA) initiative can be found on our ERA Gateway.
As announced on the CORDIS Greek Member State Service, young researchers from all over the world are invited to participate in the Michael Dertouzos Awards. The competition has been organised within the framework of the World Congress on Information Technology, to take place in Athens from 19 to 21 May. Participants must develop their ideas on the topic 'IT with a human face' in order to compete for the prize money. The top three prizes comprise 15,000 euro, 9,000 euro and 6,000 euro respectively.
An international conference on increasing human resources for science and technology (S&T) in Europe will take place in Brussels, Belgium, on 2 April. As part of the European Commission's strategy to address the Lisbon and Barcelona goals, an independent high level group on human resources for S&T was established in 2003. The purpose of the conference is to present the provisional findings and recommendations of the group, and to discuss the conclusions. EU Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin will attend the conference.
APRE, the Italian Agency for the Promotion of European Research, is organising a training course on how to write a competitive Sixth Framework Programme (FP6) proposal, to take place on 1 and 2 April in Rome. The course, aimed at stimulating Italian participation in FP6, will concentrate on the technical and administrative aspects, which are often identified as the major obstacles to writing a successful proposal.
Calls and Tenders
The European Commission's Health and Consumer Protection DG has published a call for expressions of interest for membership of the Commission's new non-food scientific committees. The committees address consumer safety, public health and the environment, and the Commission is looking for high level, independent scientific experts with up to date experience in a wide variety of scientific disciplines in these areas.
The St. S. Nicolau Institute of Virology in Romania is seeking partners and support for the development of new methodologies for epidemiology, surveillance techniques and the economic impact of influenza. The company's target partners have expertise in medical informatics, epidemiology, statistics, electronic patient records, medical database administration and/or the economics of medicine.
The CORDIS Partners Service publish partner profiles and find research collaborators to take part in EU-funded research, join a consortium or run a private collaboration in your area of interest. You can also search by profile type, programme and/or country to Find project partners for FP6 and FP7. To find partners for the Sixth Framework Programme, go to our FP6 Partners Service, which also features an advanced search facility.
The HEALTHSAT project is conducting a feasibility study on an interactive medium for distributing health and wellness programmes and personalised services to European citizens via satellite and Internet to digitial TV sets, computer displays and mobile terminals in the home. Funded under the Commission's IST programme, the consortium intends to develop advanced prototypes that will be functional three years from now.
An EU funded project used radiosonde data from a ten year period to examine geostrophic winds, and to forecast sea surface and temperature conditions. The results are now available in a CD-ROM format. Users are able to find out about long-term wind power resources, examine whether their areas of interest are suitable for offshore windfarming, and predict any harmful coastal climatic changes.
All emerging technologies featured in this marketplace are awaiting further exploitation, be it production, marketing, funding or further development. To see the range of new offers that are posted every week, go to Technology Marketplace.
Finally and briefly…
A study conducted in Austria has shown that laughter really is the best therapy for stroke patients. Psychologist Ilona Papousek divided a group of stroke patients in two. Both groups carried out movement exercises, but only one practiced laughter therapy three times per week. Those undergoing laughter therapy experienced a decrease in blood pressure significantly greater than that of their counterparts carrying out movement exercises.