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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
Since arriving on the island of Guam in the 1940s, the brown tree snake ( Boiga irregularis ) has extirpated native...
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
- About Us
Europe's New Research Chief: Yes, I Can
11 February 2010 12:29 pm
BRUSSELS--She had been on the job for barely a few hours, but during a 1-hour chat with a dozen reporters yesterday the woman who will hold Europe's top science policy job for the next 5 years oozed self-confidence and a can-do attitude. Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, the Irish politician who was confirmed as the E.U's new Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science on Tuesday, promised to tackle all of the intractable problems in E.U. science policy--but she avoided going into details.
Geoghegan-Quinn said she decided to hold an interview on her very first day--despite being new to the field--because she wants to improve communication about E.U. science and science policy: "There isn't really a communication policy at the heart of the directorate, and that is something I would like to change." A plainspoken woman herself, she hinted that she might retire "Framework Programme" (FP), the technocratic term for the E.U.'s massive research funding mechanism. "If you talk to an ordinary member of the public about FP6 or FP7, they're wondering, 'What the hell is this?' " she said.
She acknowledged that scientists might be worried by her complete lack of experience in science and science policy. "The only way I can learn is by meeting them, by listening to them, by hearing their concerns, and most of all by delivering for them," she said. But not being a scientist is actually an advantage, she claimed: "I have always said that a doctor should never be a minister of health and a lawyer should never be minister of justice. ... It's better to look at things with a fresh mind."
Policywise, Geoghegan-Quinn said research and innovation will be front and center in the new European Commission.
Geoghegan-Quinn will be key in developing Europe 2020, a new strategy that aims to boost the economy through knowledge. She said she'll work to make it easier for researchers to move across borders by harmonizing social security and pension plans; cut the legendary red tape involved in obtaining and managing European research money; increase the participation of small and midsize companies in E.U. research programs; and give innovative companies easier access to capital.
One reporter pointed out that he had seen at least three of her predecessors make similar promises. And didn't the Lisbon Agenda, another 10-year plan that aimed to raise research investments to 3% of GDP, fail miserably? Geoghegan-Quinn said that the economic crisis has changed everything, and that this time, the E.U. means business. Other than that, "all I can say to you today is that I am passionate, and I don't apologize for that. I intend to push to break down the barriers."
Photo Credit: European Communities, 2009