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.
The first Middle East particle accelerator – officially opened on 16 May – sets an example for young researchers on how a small group of people can build bridges across the troubled region, according to one of the original founders of the project, Professor Eliezer Rabinovici from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel, who also holds the Louis Michel Chair at France’s Institut des Hautes Études Scientifiques.
More nutritious versions of staple crops could increase daily vitamin and mineral intake for millions of people with poor diets, helping to overcome undernourishment that can cause blindness, brittle bones, feeble muscles and brain damage.
There is an urgent need to understand what would enable the middle-class families that make up the majority of Europe’s migrants to stay in their home countries, a meeting to secure research collaborations across the Mediterranean has heard.
Science diplomacy – where scientific collaboration is used to promote broader discussions between countries – enables scientists to help tackle issues such as protectionism and government control over research findings, and could even mitigate the future threat of wars over knowledge and data, according to Professor Luk Van Langenhove, research professor at the Institute of European Studies at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel in Belgium.
An experimental project connecting renewable energy researchers in the EU with colleagues in Morocco and Tunisia could help pave the way for a market in renewable energy and energy efficiency that spans the Mediterranean, according to Claude Ayache, senior advisor for European affairs at the EU’s public-private green energy partnership, InnoEnergy.
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.
Wireless tags and indicators that mimic decomposition could replace expiry dates.
Capturing carbon dioxide from air is a vital part of limiting global warming.
Deploying this technology rests on successfully making a business case to companies, says Kristin Jordal.