Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, welcomed Ukraine as a full member of Horizon 2020 last month.
Climate change, war, water security, energy – these are issues that cross borders and span continents. That’s why science diplomacy is bringing together researchers to help solve problems that politics frequently struggles to address.
During April, we delve into some of the cross-border research projects that are uniting scientists and helping to bridge divides between countries.
We also find out how science diplomacy can help create the conditions for sustainable development to the east and south of the EU, and we follow Commissioner Moedas as he travels to Amman in Jordan to foster research cooperation between the EU and the Middle East.
The challenge of how to rebuild society following conflict is a difficult question that arises all too frequently, but recent studies have demonstrated that putting people at the centre of the process and enabling cooperation on politically neutral issues can help build peace.
The SESAME synchrotron in Jordan shows that science can make positive things happen among countries in a region which is facing political tensions, according to Dr Jean-Pierre Koutchouk, coordinator of the EU-funded CESSAMag project.
The world’s oceans are overfished, polluted and – for something that makes up 70% of the Earth’s surface – still little understood. This month, Horizon looks at some of the science that could help us take better care of our oceans, from robots trash collectors out at sea to finding ways to track the plastic that enters our waters. Plus, we look at how climate change is affecting plans for sustainable aquaculture, tech that can help divers reduce the cost of their dives by more than 50%, and the challenges facing research in the Black Sea.
To mark the European year of cultural heritage, Horizon explores how science is helping to uncover more about our past and to preserve our art, landscapes, buildings and ways of life for the future. We discover why prehistoric humans chose to paint rock art where they did, and how farming techniques from hundreds of years ago could help fight climate change today. Plus, we learn how cultural heritage feeds into European identities and what can be done to prevent the destruction of historical sites during wartime.
Tiny pieces of plastic, now ubiquitous in the marine environment, have long been a cause of concern for their ability to absorb toxic substances and potentially penetrate the food chain. Now scientists are beginning to understand the level of threat posed to life, by gauging the extent of marine accumulation and tracking the movement of these contaminants.
The world’s largest radio telescope, known as the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) and situated over two continents, will be able to detect the first stars and galaxies emerging from the ‘murk’ at the beginning of the universe and much more besides, according to Professor Phil Diamond, Director General of SKA. He spoke to Horizon at the opening of the Shared Sky art exhibition in Brussels, Belgium on 16 April, where indigenous artists from SKA host nations South Africa and Australia use traditional painting and folk art to explore the themes of astronomy, spirituality and a borderless sky.
Tiny plastic particles could impact human health.
Astronomers could use giant radio telescope from 2025.
The EU’s research chief on his new role.