Publication date: 2005-07-29
Concern over Europe‘s ability to compete with others continues this week with the publication of two new reports. Last week we spoke of the Commission‘s Key Figures on research within the EU, which illustrated a ’worrying‘ stagnation, according to Science and Research Commissioner Janez Potocnik. This week we present reports comparing the innovation performance of the EU and the US, and charting the rise of research in Asia.
News - Top Stories
A report comparing the innovative performance of the US and the EU has painted a gloomy picture of Europe's ability to compete, and has offered five recommendations to get the EU back on track. 'We suggest that effective European catching up would require much less emphasis on various types of 'networking', 'interactions with local environment', 'attention to user need' - current obsessions of the European and national policy makers - and, conversely, much more on policy measures aimed to both strengthen 'frontier' research and, at the opposite end, strengthen European corporate actors,' argue the paper's authors.
A new report published in the US has underlined Asia's strengthening global position in research, revealing that the region is catching up with Europe and the US in terms of scientific output. The EU's 'Key Figures' had already shown that China's research and development (R&D) intensity (the proportion of its GDP spent on research) could overtake that of the EU by 2010 if current trends continue. This latest report shows that Asian countries are also catching up in terms of scientific output, as measured by the proportion of global research papers published in each region.
The two and a half year grounding of US space shuttles ended on 26 July and was then put in place again the next day following the launch of Discovery. NASA and the seven astronauts on board declared the launch a success, although there has been some concern about debris seen coming away from the shuttle during take-off. During the 12-day mission, the crew will test safety improvements and deliver essential equipment and supplies to the International Space Station (ISS).
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
A European Business and Innovation Centre Network (EBN) project charged with facilitating the participation of innovative SMEs in projects funded under the EU's Sixth Framework Programme (FP6) is chalking up encouraging results. The FP6 funded LINK initiative, coordinated by PERA Ltd in the UK, focuses in particular on SMEs working in the electronics and plastics industries. Six SMEs from this sector have successfully been integrated into the project SMErobot following the intervention of LINK.
Future of Research
The Spanish region of Catalonia has published its position paper on the Seventh Framework Programme, calling for the inclusion of specific initiatives for Europe's regions and the prioritisation of traditional sectors in addition to emerging sectors. The paper has much praise for centres of excellence, Technology Platforms, the ERC and activities to make Europe more attractive for young researchers.
The Maltese government's Social Affairs Committee has presented recommendations to the national parliament, which support the authorisation of genetic research providing that a number of conditions are met. The conditions include: respecting the dignity and integrity of the human being; not using such research for discrimination on the basis of genetics; and not using the research for genetic selection. The Social Affairs Committee was slightly perturbed when, after securing a fragile consensus after eight months of debate, the bishops of Malta made a statement claiming that human life begins at a point earlier than that on which the committee had based discussions.
An international conference entitled 'nanotechnology and the health of the EU citizen in 2020' will take place in Edinburgh, the UK from 6 to 9 September. During the conference, nanotechnologies such as the following will be discussed: intelligent drug delivery systems; smart biocompatible coatings; whole cells as biosensors; nanorobots in surgery; medical textiles; cantilever sensors; and regenerative medicine.
The second European Science Foundation (ESF) conference on functional genomics and disease will take place in Oslo, Norway, from 6 to 10 September. The conference will be an international event with a programme covering the various areas of biology and disease where functional genomics is currently applied. Focus is put on new and emerging technologies. Topics to be covered include: neurogenomics and disease; ageing; oncogenomics; and inflammation and immunity.
Calls and Tenders
The Commission's Information Society and Media DG has published a call for tenders for a study on the availability and robustness of electronic communications infrastructures. The aim of the study is to develop a forward-looking analysis of the factors influencing the availability of electronic communications networks and of the adverse factors acting as potential barriers to the development of global networked economies by lowering their dependability.
The Institute of Cryobiology and Food Technology in Bulgaria is seeking partners for projects on improving food and beverage quality and safety. The institute's expertise includes: functional foods, brewing technolgoy, grain and bread products, canned foods technology, and biologically active substances. The institute has a particular interest in partners with expertise in remote sensing.
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 PHARMTECH PLATFORM project, funded under FP6, is charged with organising a high-livel workshop on the creation of biopharmaceutical development platforms involving biotech SMEs and the pharmaceutical industry. The project partners - from Sweden, Cyprus and Switzerland - will also compile a report on solutions for Europe. An increasing amount of pharmaceutical research is moving from Europe to the US. Some of the reasons for this phenomenon are outdated development and approval procedures, as well as weak ties between key players.
The EU funded CORSEIS project has developed technology that will help scientists to better evaluate active faults, and to estimate future seismic risk. The partners focused on the examination of past earthquake events in the Eliki fault region of Greece. The derived data provided a valuable insight into fault behaviour and profile, which could be used to potentially predict future seismic activity. Scientists employed radiometric dating, utilising a variety of isotopes, to 'visualise' past seismic events and the effects that they had on the surrounding environment. The owners of the technology are now seeking collaboration in the form of information exchange and/or training.
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…
In a finding that will leave both women and health spa owners everywhere jumping for joy, scientists have shown how buying expensive yet worthless gifts can facilitate courtship...