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RTD info logoMagazine on European Research N° 46 - August 2005    
 Facts, figures and future prospects
 Five-yearly assessment: interview with Erkki Ormala
 The boundaries of surveillance
 Biometrics and justice
 School and equality
 A week with the stars

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Mobile phones and health Mobile phones and health - Waves and research

An ever-present feature of contemporary life, could mobile telephones be damaging our health? And what about the other new technologies and the growing infrastructure they demand? RTD info takes a close look at the work of the researchers and the many unanswered questions.

The Baltic republics - New beginnings for research

With advanced economies and a scientific life organised on the Soviet model of the time of the USSR, the three Baltic republics had to dismantle their existing research system to build a new one.

The Baltic republics - New beginnings for research

  Table 1: Principal indicators of comparison between the EU, USA and Japan Indicators
Seventh Framework Programme
Facts, figures and future prospects
To support its proposals for the Seventh Framework Programme, the Commission has published a very detailed study on European research funding, the budget for which it has ambitious plans to double. This document draws attention to Europe’s weaknesses compared with its principal global competitors, takes stock of EU research policy over the past decade or more, and makes an ex ante evaluation of the impact of its new programme for action. RTD info highlights a number of key points.
  Errki Ormala
European research policy
Five-yearly assessment: interview with Erkki Ormala
Published in February 2005, the Ormala report – named after the chair of the group which drafted it – provides the five-yearly assessment (covering 1999-2003) of the implementation of the EU's R&D Framework Programmes, or the FYA for short. In less than 40 pages, this examination of the current performance and outcomes of the Union's science and technology policy has resulted in an independent and original view of its strengths and weaknesses. RTD info talks to Erkki Ormala, Vice-President of technology policy at Finland's Nokia Group, to get the inside track on this landmark report.
  The use of biometric technologies to identify illegal immigrants has become international practice. It is a form of ‘globalisation’ that raises a number of ethical issues – especially that of the protection of personal data – which the BITE project is now studying.
Control technologies
The boundaries of surveillance
How can security for all be reconciled with the freedom of the individual? And how should new control technologies be used while respecting the fundamental demands of privacy? Partners with different sensitivities and interests – researchers, industrialists, and NGOs – have come together on the BITE project to look at developments in biometric technologies and the issues they raise.
  Prototype of a smart card that makes it possible to identify the holder on the basis of face and fingerprint recognition, developed under the eJustice project. Specific biometric algorithms were produced by Thales Security Systems (comparison of fingerprints) and Viisage (comparison of face). Encoding algorithms (Oberthur card systems) can provide the functionalities of document digital signature, remote authentication, non-repudiation of a transaction, and data integrity control.
Information and communication technologies
Biometrics and justice
In an increasingly permeable and mobile world, in which information must be transmitted as quickly as possible, the need for secure communication is not limited to financial transactions. In the field of justice in the widest sense – thus including magistrates, judicial authorities, police, etc. – there is also keen interest in the design, development and testing of innovative identification and authentication systems that guarantee maximum security against attempts at “deception” or “human error”. The European eJustice project is currently proposing operational technologies for secure co-operation between various European and national organisations and administrations – and not only in Europe. 
  School and equality © Michel Vanden Eeckhoudt
Social sciences
School and equality
European education has changed radically over recent decades. While governments are continuing to dictate the essential rules of play, the trend is to delegate their application to other players. Yet they too have their principles, with the result that it is often entrepreneurial spirit and management tools that are reshaping school systems. The partners in the Reguleduc project looked at the situation in five countries (Belgium, France, Hungary, United Kingdom, Portugal) in an attempt to evaluate the degree of social equality in education.
  Barbara on the road to the stars.
Young scientists
A week with the stars
Barbara Burtscher, a 20-year-old Swiss student of physics at Zurich University, won the Special Donated Prize at the 16th European Young Scientists Contest in 2004 for her work on the 153P/Ikeya-Zhang comet. Her reward was a trip to the European Southern Observatory in Paranal, Chile. Read on…