EU present and accounted for at the AAAS
Scientific co-operation between the European Union and the United States takes place in different forms. The USA has a formal co-operation agreement with the EU in research matters and US labs and institutions are involved in many Framework Programme-funded projects and networks. Policy-makers also attend major events, such as next month’s AAAS Annual Meeting, where European Commission delegates will be on hand, not only to wave the EU research flag, but also to discuss the world’s major scientific challenges.
As in past years, the European Commission will play an active role at this year’s Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). This will include several symposia co-organised by the EU and the AAAS to address international scientific challenges, a dedicated stand on European research in the exhibits section and a media breakfast and later cocktail event attended by senior EU policy-makers.
|The first comprehensive EU-US S&T Co-operation Agreement entered into force on 14 October 1998. Today, trans-Atlantic partners collaborate in many fields, from peaceful nuclear research to food safety, nano-science developments, and more.|
© European Commission
The AAAS Annual Meeting is one of the largest conferences of its kind in the world. Thousands of scientists, students, teachers, policy-makers and general visitors are expected at the 2006 edition (16-20 February) in St Louis, Missouri. Under the banner, ‘Grand Challenges, Great Opportunities’, more than 200 symposia, plenaries, seminars and other sessions will keep the delegates informed and entertained.
Of those symposia, the EU will be co-hosting six alongside European and international partners. Two of these will take place under the ‘Sustainability and Resource Management (SRM)’ theme, two under the ‘Equity in Science and Technology’ (EST) track, and one each in the ‘International Challenges’ (IC) and ‘Biological Frontiers’ (BF) themes.
One of the symposia in the SRM theme covers a subject of growing importance, not only to science, but also to knowledge economies either side of the Atlantic. The title Building a Knowledge-Based Bio-economy (KBB): European and US Approaches alludes to the challenges of sustaining economic prosperity and meeting the demands of a growing world population for food, energy and other goods, while preserving our environment, securing public health and alleviating poverty.
How Europe and America take the lead in weaning society off petrochemicals in favour of renewable bio-products will strongly shape the future of global developments, the Commission notes on its Media Fact Sheet about the symposium. Delegates will debate the views of science, industry, governments, and the role of research-funding agencies.
Overcoming gender bias in research
Another symposium in the SRM track will look at International Scientific Co-operation for
the Transition Towards Sustainable Development. Here, the stress is on healthcare systems that deliver adequate treatment and increase quality of life, healthy livestock for safe food trade and stable livelihoods in central Asia, and the documenting of aquatic biodiversity to safeguard nature’s wealth and restore ecosystems.
In the EST theme, the topics up for discussion will be Women in Industrial Research:
American and European Perspectives, and Gender Bias: Obstacles to Excellence Recognition. In the IC theme, the symposium Cardiovascular Research: New Challenges for International Collaboration, tackles the leading cause of mortality in Western countries.
The sixth co-organised symposium – this time in the BF theme – looks at Mouse Functional Genomics: Towards a Global Collaborative Effort. The powerful embryonic stem cell tools and technologies now available for studying mouse genes are just the start of what is needed to understand how they mutate and to work out connections for human health and diseases.
“A comprehensive research effort is needed to add functional understanding to the mammalian gene catalogue. The scale of such an undertaking demands a co-operative worldwide effort,” notes the Media Fact Sheet. This symposium will review existing initiatives in mouse functional genomics and lay a foundation for building the international collaboration needed to meet the challenges in the field.