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European science: The next generation

Image credit - Werner Du plessis / Unsplash
Image credit - Werner Du plessis / Unsplash

This month we hear from the next generation of scientists and researchers in Europe about how they’re shaping the future, what they see as urgent research priorities to tackle global challenges, and the impact of the pandemic. From biodiversity to how to make industry greener, and the digital divide to the future of work, our stories reflect some of the issues that will be under discussion at the European Commission’s annual Research & Innovation Days conference at the end of June. We look at the impact of Europe’s pandemic response on vulnerable populations, ask five young bioeconomy researchers what this economy really is and how we get there, examine what new business models mean for the future of work, and more.

See also

Covid-19 hastened the digital shift with consequences for the ‘data divide’, wellbeing

Sometimes it can seem like we’ve uploaded our whole lives to the internet: bank accounts, social media posts, dating profiles, work emails – it’s all out there in that nebulous cloud of digital information that is the world wide web. The problems with this new digital way of life are well known. Social media is thought to produce echo chambers in which people aren’t exposed to healthy debates. Big tech companies make money from our personal data. Workers in the gig economy are paid a pittance to deliver groceries to the better off.

Q&A: ‘You are the generation which I hope will fix our society’

Young researchers are curious, energetic, imaginative and look at the world in new ways, but their lack of job security or clear career path is a ‘major, major problem’, says Jean-Eric Paquet, the EU’s director general for research and innovation, who experienced the issue first hand when one of his sons stopped working in science for lack of long-term prospects.

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