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 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).
The sooner-than-expected discovery of gravitational waves, announced in February, has given a new impetus to scientists in the field, who are now working to make sense of what it means not only for their research but also for our understanding of Einstein’s theory of general relativity.
Research that includes input from communities and people working in areas affected by climate change should provide critical input into the sixth assessment due to be undertaken by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), climate expert Dr Debra Roberts explained on the sidelines of the Adaptation Futures 2016 conference in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, on 11 May.
Removing immune-stimulating sugars should also help people with red meat allergies.
Newly domesticated horses may have increased the spread of disease.
Dr Michaël Gillon on what's next for exoplanet science.