Dear members and friends of EuroScience,
We wish you all a rewarding 2015.
Pursuing our vision in 2014 made us focus on some key areas. Let’s remind ourselves that EuroScience is the European grassroots organization of scientists and all those taking an interest in science. It is the voice of European researchers, across disciplines and countries, promoting dialogue with researchers worldwide. It engages with policymakers, business and society to create a stronger Europe through science; convening partnerships to work on careers, rights and responsibilities of scientists and key issues of science policy. It promotes transparency of, and providing information on European STI policies, advancing science for the pursuit of knowledge, prosperity and global development, and for addressing transdisciplinary global challenges. These values and activities are at the core of our vision.
In 2014 Europe was still in the midst of the economic crisis. In consequence thereof, austerity in public finances in large parts of Europe has led to depression and major challenges for the scientific community in many European countries. In some countries this downturn has caused young people to seek opportunities other than a scientific career. EuroScience has been alert to this reality and has argued for remedial actions in order not to lose a generation of Europe’s talent. For many the Horizon 2020 programme of the European Union has been a light on the horizon, and we all hope that this programme will make it possible for the best of our talented researchers to make substantial progress in their endeavours. However, this will not be enough. The EU must also redirect some of its funds for social and regional development towards new programmes in order to strengthen research capacity in the regions and in countries in which the research capacity is in need of reconsolidation.
Europe needs to take action in order to stay competitive. In the end, we have to convince the governments of the Member States that they have the primary duty to maintain and strengthen their science and innovation bases. They owe it to all their own citizens, not only to scientists. To this end, EuroScience will keep working with science movements in many countries. In EuroScience we can look back on 2014 with some satisfaction. ESOF 2014 in Copenhagen was a great success not only because of the congress itself, where scientists, science policy makers, industrial managers and science journalists met and mingled. But also because the hosts managed to engage almost 40,000 citizens in science. Science in the City was the event of the year for many Copenhageners, Danes and tourists. We have no doubt that the impact of this will last for a long time and it is likely to change the mindset of many of the young people participating. We are really happy to note that the Manchester team (ESOF 2016) is well underway with their preparations, and in Toulouse (ESOF 2018) enthusiasm is already building.
The EuroScientist is developing in a highly satisfactory manner, EuroScience’s webzine has now thousands of readers, and the specific issues of the magazine, which we publish with partners are getting more and more attention. The editor, Sabine Louët, assisted by the Editorial Board, will continue to raise important topics for debate and invite contributions from key persons in and for science and society. At the same time, we will keep increasing the outreach and the impact of EuroScientist. Sabine Louët very much welcomes ideas and contributions and we invite all of you to come up with suggestions.
What do we see in the crystal ball? We do see an acute need to address a series of career issues for researchers in Europe. ERA does not function as one fair market for researchers and scientists. There are many reasons for this, but this situation will not change unless EU and the Member States take it seriously. Open access in all aspects of the term is also one of the hot topics in front of us, not only access to publications, data, and infrastructure but also open access to information more generally and to jobs must be addressed. EuroScience will also engage in social aspects of science, for example, issues of social responsibility and open participation of the citizens will be in front of us in the coming years.
Be assured EuroScience takes its role as the voice of European scientists and researchers seriously, we must strive to ensure that policy making all over Europe will be informed by and based on scientific evidence.