Research and innovation can generate the knowledge and solutions to tackle urgent international problems like the Ebola outbreak or the refugee crisis. By removing barriers to international cooperation between researchers and innovators, engaging in science diplomacy, and leading research and innovation partnerships to address global challenges, there is enormous potential for Europe to have a leading voice in global debates. Being open to the world and maintaining the EU’s presence at the highest level of international scientific endeavour is a priority for the European Commission.
We will see vaccines for malaria and HIV within the next one or two decades, predicts Dr Leonardo Santos Simão, the former health minister of Mozambique, who has been appointed High Representative South of the European & Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP), which aims to accelerate the development of new treatments, vaccines and diagnostic tools for diseases in sub-Saharan Africa.
The Pacific region can serve as an exemplar of how science diplomacy could work, according to Professor Jean-François Marini, coordinator of the EU-funded PACE-Net Plus project and former adviser to the French government on science diplomacy.
The United Nation’s declaration on the future of the world’s cities, known as the Quito Declaration, will mean that citizens’ needs are placed at the heart of the urban development process, according to Dr Niki Frantzeskaki, an associate professor at the Dutch Research Institute for Transitions (DRIFT) at Erasmus University in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
The damage that tsunamis could cause is expected to rise due to climate change, say researchers who are developing a tsunami early warning system for Europe and investigating the best way to reduce their impact on people and buildings.
Concentrated solar power (CSP) could have the potential to energise remote areas of the world, but it faces one major obstacle – the amount of water it uses. Now, thrifty water sprinklers, tailor-made rotors and hybrid sunlight-biomass boilers could cut the water bill of concentrated solar power and even help generate electricity when the sun doesn't shine.
As signs of intensifying climate change are seen in Europe, researchers are looking into how life will change for people who live in the Arctic, and helping to count the global economic cost of the ever-increasing loss of sea ice.
A new breed of emergency shelter with built-in solar power, a backpack that gives access to mobile charging and a bag that converts manure into cooking gas are among the new generation of emergency response kits that could help people survive in the wake of a disaster that knocks out their energy supply.
Mini-grids, mobile payments and smart meters are all helping to create an off-grid model of electricity provision in Africa, helped by bottom-up funding and low-cost solar power, according to Michael Gera, managing partner and co-founder of specialist venture capitalist firm Energy Access Ventures (EAV).
New measurements of carbon emissions provide better estimates of deforestation effects.
Illegal logging is a billion-euro racket but trees have traceability built into their trunks.
Better space weather forecasts will help.