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RTD info logoMagazine on European Research N° 41 - May 2004   
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 TABLE OF CONTENTS
 EDITORIAL
 Europeans’ political blues?
 Doubling European research investment
 Showcasing science
 The allergy enigma
 de Gennes – in perpetual motion
 A parliament in search of voters 
 COMMUNICATING SCIENCE
 IN BRIEF
 OPINION
 LETTERS
 PUBLICATIONS
 AGENDA
 CALLS FOR PROPOSALS

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FEATURE
 

Enlargement: Excellence in central Europe Enlargement: Excellence in the Czech Republic and Hungary

Although Union enlargement took effect on 1May 2004, the new Member States were participating in European research programmes long before that fateful day. RTD info brings you the first in a series of reports from Centres of Excellence, laboratories and universities in these countries. We kick off with the Czech Republic and Hungary.

 
 


  Graphic element
Survey
Europeans’ political blues?
How do Europeans see the present and what do they expect from the future? Do they believe in politics and do they trust politicians? Which causes will they take up and in what way? The European Social Survey (ESS), undertaken by researchers from 22 countries, allows us to analyse the values, hopes and fears of the inhabitants of the ‘Old Continent’.   Innovative, rigorous, scientific and based on tens of thousands of interviews, the ESS produces comparative data at regular intervals to track social trends in Europe.
  Graphic element
Interview
Doubling European research investment
Just a few months before the end of its mandate, the current Commission has set out its vision of the financial resources needed to support European Union action for the 2007-13 period. In particular, it is a vision which includes a doubling of the research budget. RTD info talks to Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin, the architect of this radical strategy for growth for an enlarged Europe.      
  During the Make a Face exhibition at the Nemo Science Centre in Amsterdam, the children take on the role of the parents and are able to use various genes to create a virtual baby © Nemo Science Centre/Bruns
Science centres and museums
Showcasing science
The issues facing science museums are plentiful: sparking public interest, balancing between science and fun and finding funding. These were just some of the questions raised at a meeting organised last November at Munich's Deutsches Museum, Munich. In a series of thematic workshops, more than 600 specialists took a close look at the present and the future of these institutions.
  The ‘allergy sufferer’s wave’, an identifying gesture of people suffering from hay fever.
Health research
The allergy enigma
One in four European children under the age of 10 suffers from an allergy. Why is this a growing problem? Are the causes environmental or hereditary? Why is it that, despite relatively homogenous lifestyles in apparently comparable countries, the percentages of allergy sufferers show such marked contrasts? All in all, the scientists have certainly not finished grappling with the allergy headache. As part of their efforts, 25 leading research teams have come together within the GA2LEN European network of excellence.  
  Pierre-Gilles de Gennes: ‘In Latin countries, there is a tendency to believe that theory governs the universe. I totally disagree. Contact with reality is vital. It is only then, after careful reflection, that one tries to explain.’
Portrait
de Gennes – in perpetual motion
A constant difficulty in scientific research is selecting areas that are ripe but not overripe for investigation. Pierre-Gilles de Gennes (72), a Nobel prizewinner in physics and Professor at the Collège de France, now works on memory neurons and certain aspects of cancer. Earlier voyages of scientific discovery took him into the fields of superconductivity, liquid crystals, polymers, and interfacial science.   We met this untypical researcher.
  European elections: propensity to vote by age, sex, income and education
European elections
A parliament in search of voters 
The European institutions are often accused of being too distant from the citizens whose lives they increasingly regulate. Yet paradoxically, in most countries people have constantly failed to make the most of the main means at their disposal for influencing these institutions. Will the June 2004 European elections mark a turning point in the increasingly low voter turnout of the past 25 years? We present the results of a socio-political study into the causes of this paradox.