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The bioeconomy is growing at an unprecedented rate, and the demand for new services and more efficient tools to boost business in this industry is ever increasing. Because of this growth, the need for management of biological information is proving to be vital in keeping up with demand and new concepts. This is evident with the latest figures, which reveal that the global market for bioinformatics is expected to reach more than EUR 4.5 billion next year. In order to home in on this demand, Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation, has devised a concept aimed at small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Its focus is on developing new business from the management of biological information.
Published: 23 January 2013
It is common knowledge that despite significant efforts to reduce the education and employment gap between the sexes, the issue remains unresolved. Women still earn less than men, and are still a minority in political decision-making and senior management positions. Women also form the majority of the unemployed, and perform most of the part-time and unpaid jobs. In the latest data published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, a four-year Structure of Earnings Survey produced detailed information on the distribution of earnings in the EU. Perhaps one of the most startling facts to come to light is the news that one out of every six employees in the EU-27 was a low-wage earner in 2010.
Published: 18 January 2013
Europe has no shortage of potential when it comes to world-leading research, entrepreneurs and companies. But the number of researchers in Europe as a share of the population is well below that of the United States, Japan and other countries. If the EU wants to reach its target of spending 3 % of GDP on research and development it will need to create at least 1 million new research jobs. As global competition for the best research talent continues to grow, a significant number of European researchers are choosing to work outside Europe. Together they represent an untapped asset to further develop European research, which is why the European Commission has initiated the EURAXESS Links project.
Published: 10 January 2013
Disparities in gender equality in science and innovation constitute a major issue as women in science are under-represented in almost all European countries. However, the European Commission has set up a number of initiatives to change this and encourage more women in science. These include 'Science in Society', which provides financial support to research organisations for establishing gender equality plans. Whilst the European Research Council (ERC) are working to inspire female talent to apply for grants. Likewise, the Marie SkÅ‚odowska-Curie Actions (MCA) encourage women to work in research while also helping to address the balance between career and family life. Through this initiative, nearly 40 % of the Marie Sklodowska-Curie fellows funded so far under the EU's current research Framework Programme (FP7) are women.
Published: 21 December 2012
Collecting a million signatures for the European citizens' initiative is not an easy task but social media is rapidly becoming a favoured way to drum up support. Citizens gained the right to request EU legislation on the issues that matter to them on 1 April 2012 following the launch of the European citizens' initiative. This gives citizens the freedom to call directly on the Commission to propose new laws if they can collect one million signatures of support from at least seven Member States. They have one year in which to collect the signatures. Twitter and Facebook are some of the platforms being used for many of the initiatives.
Published: 19 December 2012
Companies have been very slow in recruiting more women board directors; but according to an EU report the period between October 2010 and January 2012 has seen the best progress in improving the gender balance on company boards. While figures are still remarkably low, this development signals a turning point and is seen to be linked to the intensified public debate initiated by the European Commission and the European Parliament in their calls for action. They were followed in some Member States by concrete steps to accelerate the pace of change.
Published: 17 December 2012
A West Nile virus outbreak in 2010 was responsible for the deaths of 35 people in Greece. Can wild or migratory birds influence the import and increase of West Nile virus? A Greek-British team of researchers led by the University of Thessaly in Greece investigated whether they can, finding evidence that wild birds could have permitted West Nile virus maintenance and amplification before and during the virus outbreak two years ago. The study, presented in the Virology Journal, was funded in part by the WILDTECH ('Novel technologies for surveillance of emerging and re-emerging infections of wildlife') project, which has received EUR 6 million under the 'Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, and Biotechnology' (KBBE) Theme of the EU's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7).
Published: 7 December 2012
Professor Christoph Meyer from King's College London in the United Kingdom presented his research on the impact of warnings on policy decision-making vis-à-vis violent intra-national conflicts at the recent United Nations Disarmament Week, an annual observance that begins on the anniversary of the founding of the United Nations. Professor Meyer received a European Research Council Starting Grant worth EUR 754,000 for his research, which was presented in the journals Media, War & Conflict and International Studies Review. Professor Meyer's findings are an outcome of the FORESIGHT ('Do forecasts matter? early warnings and the prevention of armed conflicts') project.
Published: 15 November 2012
Mothers who stroke their newborn infants in the first few weeks of their life could change the effects that stress during gestation has on early-life development, new research from the United Kingdom shows. Increasing maternal depression has been linked with decreasing physiological adaptability and with increasing negative emotionality when mothers do not stroke their babies enough. The study, recently presented in the journal PLOS ONE, could help increase our understanding of this issue and in turn provide better information services for pregnant women and their partners.
Published: 9 November 2012
A new study has revealed some alarming figures showing that the number of women in engineering, physics and computer science are alarmingly low in the world's leading economies and are on the decline in others. Conducted by experts in international gender, science and technology issues from Women in Global Science & Technology and the Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World, and funded by the Elsevier Foundation, the study maps the opportunities and obstacles faced by women in science across Brazil, the EU, India, Indonesia, Korea, South Africa and the United States.
Published: 26 October 2012