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RTD info logoMagazine on European Research N° 50 - August 2006   
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 TABLE OF CONTENTS
 EDITORIAL
 Sound in body and mind...
 "There is plenty to communicate…"
 Science as a sign of the times
 Research and the philanthropists
 Fotis Kafatos: the model mentor
 Movement on the biofuel front
 What’s good for the goose…
 Deviance, the environment and genetics
 Alternative visions of the Euro-Mediterranean
 HD69830 and its three Neptunes
 COMMUNICATING SCIENCE
 IN BRIEF
 PUBLICATIONS
 AGENDA

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FEATURE
 

Cancer research Cancer research

'Female' and 'male' cancers and the benefits of early screening - Research on the typing of various molecular expressions of cancer and new prospects for diagnosis and treatment - Progress in cellular biology, gene therapy, immunotherapy and new weapons for research on medecines.

 
 


  RTD Info - 1993
RTD info, issue 50
Sound in body and mind...
The 50th issue of a magazine is cause for celebration. It is also the ideal moment to look back at what has been achieved and at the prospects for the future. As the communication tool of the Research Directorate-General, the mission of RTD info is to chart the progress of the European Research Area in all its various forms and manifestations – its implications, its challenges, and the debate on the directions science and technology are taking and what these could mean for society as a whole. The total print run for the three language versions – French, English and German – has reached 86 000, copies while the on-line version – also available in Spanish – can be accessed via the Research DG’s website on Europa.eu. To reach a broad public, RTD info is written by scientific journalists whose aim is not only to inform but also to contribute to the understanding of science and its integration within the cultural landscape.
  Philippe Busquin
Science and Society – Interview
"There is plenty to communicate…"
The ‘father’ of the European Research Area – an objective that placed science and technology policy at the forefront of EU strategy – former Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin also contributed greatly to making dialogue between science and society a democratic imperative.
  Pierre Papon
The future of science – PIERRE PAPON
Science as a sign of the times
From Einstein to Picasso and from quantum physics to psychoanalysis, the 20th century was a century that overturned accepted concepts. We no longer think of time, space, matter or energy in the same way as before. But where is science headed today? What should we expect from our research on the living organism, nanotechnologies and the black matter and energy that are believed to make up most of the universe? We look at genuine areas of scientific progress and the real changes they could mean for society in the company of Pierre Papon, a physicist and humanist whose research and books seek to decipher the ‘signs of the times’ that science and culture trace for society.
  The Race for Life gets under way, London 2006. © Cancer Research UK
Foundations
Research and the philanthropists
If public funds are not enough and industry is failing to make the necessary effort, why not turn to philanthropists, foundations and charity organisations? These are particularly active in education and culture and represent under-exploited potential in a large part of the European Research Area. What is more, they are not to be judged solely by the funds at their disposal, but also by the value they can add. A report commissioned by the European Commission and the conference that followed in the spring of 2006 took a look at the role of foundations and the new environment – administrative, fiscal and legislative – they need to give a boost to European research.
  Fotis Kafatos
PORTRAIT
Fotis Kafatos: the model mentor
Driven by a scientific and cultural curiosity rooted in Greek heritage, the new president of the European Research Council’s Scientific Committee is a brilliant biologist who considers himself a very lucky man. That is because he is convinced that he would never have acquired the body of knowledge he has today were it not for the help of mentors – a term of which he is very fond and that originates in the mythological figure of the tutor of Ulysses’ son Telemachus. His intention is to enable others to benefit from similar opportunities by placing human relations at the very heart of the training of upcoming generations of scientists.
  Movement on the biofuel front
SUSTAINABLE ENERGY
Movement on the biofuel front
This year could be a green year for motor vehicles. In February, the Commission published its European Union Strategy for Biofuels, setting out seven policy axes for success. This was followed by the publication of the Biofrac (Biofuels Research Advisory Committee) report, drawn up by a group of experts from large companies and research institutes. Entitled Biofuels in the EU – A vision for 2030 and beyond, this document looks at the current state of knowledge and long-term prospects, proposing a consumption target of 25% of these natural fuels within three decades, compared with under 1% today. The report was discussed at a conference held in Brussels in June, shortly after the launch of the Technological Platform for Biofuels in Paris. Meanwhile, the individual Member States are taking an increasing number of national measures.
  A herd of cows
ANIMAL HUSBANDRY
What’s good for the goose…
Food safety has been an issue of major public concern in Europe since the Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) – or ‘mad cow’ disease – crisis. But the food on their plate is not the only thing that worries Europeans. Citizens want to know more about the conditions in which animals are kept and, in particular, their well-being. This is where the Welfare Quality project comes in. The environment in which the animals are kept, their diet, health and even genetics are all factors being examined by the various working groups. The first task of the partners, however, has been to agree on what this complex notion of welfare actually means. Their ultimate aim is to develop a harmonised set of animal welfare criteria that could be applied throughout the EU. 
  Of all farm animals, Europeans are most sympathetic to the plight of poultry. Living in close proximity can lead to aggressiveness and violence among birds. This photo shows a chicken that has had its feathers pecked out by another chicken. © ASG-Wur (NL)
ANIMAL HUSBANDRY
Deviance, the environment and genetics
What is going on? Chickens are pulling out one another’s feathers, pigs are biting one another’s tails and sheep are chewing one another’s wool! Farmers are mystified. Which is why the Welfare Quality project is looking at these behavioural problems in farm animals.
  Alternative visions of the Euro-Mediterranean
SOCIAL SCIENCES AND HUMANITIES
Alternative visions of the Euro-Mediterranean
"My Mediterranean is beautiful only because it is multiple,” says the Tunisian writer Emma Belhaj Yahia. This complex space – a patchwork of nations and cultures and the setting of a shared, but contrasting, tumultuous history – has been the focus of attention for a group of social science and humanities researchers for several years now. At each stage of their research, their projects have broadened to embrace new disciplines and new partners. Following on from the ‘Représentations’ projects, and the creation of the Remsh network, the Ramses2 network of excellence has now opened up to include the whole of the Euro-Mediterranean area. Experts from 16 countries are currently working within this network, delving deeper into the three ‘inexhaustible’ themes initiated under Remsch: memories, conflicts and exchanges.
  Artist’s impression of star HD69830 © ESO
ASTRONOMY
HD69830 and its three Neptunes
It seems that a trio of planets the size of Neptune are orbiting a star that resembles our own Sun. This latest advance in the discovery of exoplanets is the culmination of two years of study by teams of European astronomers – assisted by the Harps spectograph fitted to one of the European Southern Observatory’s telescopes in La Silla (Chile) – and could prove invaluable in furthering our understanding of the universe.