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30 June 2021

Q&A: ‘Our society desperately needs objective, truth-based knowledge’

Basic, or ‘frontier’, research that expands the boundaries of our knowledge can help address some of the most important challenges of our time – and it’s important that more people become aware of this, according to Prof. Maria Leptin who has today been appointed president of the EU’s frontier research funding body, the European Research Council (ERC).
18 June 2021

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.
20 May 2021

Q&A: How to track down a new virus – and link it to disease

Finding new viruses is easy – the hard part is understanding which ones cause disease, says Dr Lia van der Hoek, a virologist from the Amsterdam UMC, the Netherlands, who discovered a human coronavirus called NL63, in 2003. 
06 May 2021

Q&A: Why unconventional resources are key to expanding geothermal energy use

The smouldering heat generated during the formation of our planet and the continuous decay of radioactive material lies trapped within the Earth’s crust, just waiting to be tapped to satisfy humanity’s insatiable demand for heat and electricity.
03 May 2021

Q&A: Nanobots could explore human cells – but their size is an engineering challenge

Scientists are developing virus-sized robots that could defuse blood clots, explore human cells or even scrub water of impurities.
08 April 2021

Q&A: BioNTech vaccine is only ‘mRNA 1.0’. This is just the beginning, say co-founders

The successful development of mRNA vaccines for Covid-19 is ‘transformational’ and opens the doors to new types of vaccines for other infectious diseases as well as cancer, according to Dr Özlem Türeci and Dr Uğur Şahin, the co-founders of Germany’s BioNTech.
06 April 2021

Q&A: How we’re gearing up to deflect asteroids that might cause Earth considerable damage

Asteroids — the bits and pieces left over from the formation of the inner planets — are a source of great curiosity for those keen to learn about the building blocks of our solar system, and to probe the chemistry of life.
18 March 2021

Q&A: We need non-critical raw materials for green tech to flourish

Developing new, green technologies has been hailed as a way to both achieve Europe’s environmental goals and support its economic recovery following the coronavirus pandemic. But what type of green technologies do we need and how do we get them scaled up to a point where they can have a real impact?
01 March 2021

Q&A: Climate monitoring, pandemic insight, decomposition – what insects do for us

Insects are vital to the health of our planet but they can also reveal a lot about climate change and help us fight future vector-borne disease outbreaks, says Alexey Solodovnikov, an associate professor at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, who runs the rove beetle-dedicated Solodovnikov Lab and is a curator at the Natural History Museum of Denmark. 
01 February 2021

Q&A: Why shorter isn’t necessarily better when it comes to food supply chains

Fears over supermarket shortages during the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic led many people to buy their food from local producers, raising the prospect of a transformation in the way people get their food in the future. But while eating locally and shorter supply chains are often viewed as a more sustainable alternative to our global food system, the reality is much more complicated, explains Dr Tessa Avermaete, a bioeconomist at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium.