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Published by ikostikas, 2019-06-04 04:26:20




Science Write-ups The latest news and

How music and movement can help kids
understand maths.................................Page 2 science opportunities
Science in Europe: by the numbers......Page 2
Science in Action
OSOS schools from Greece send olive oil to
space .............................................…..Page 3
NUCLEUS Final Conference: Pathways to
Transformation……..........................…..Page 4
Science View at the EUSEA Conference
2019…………………………………........Page 4
CREATEskills Project updates............…..Page 5
SciCulture upcoming event and news..Page 5
Education’s Corner
CASE Summer School 2019
30 June-05 July ..............................…..Page 6
OSOS Summer School 2019
7-12 July .........................................…..Page 6
STEAM Summer School 2019
15-24 July..............................................Page 6
Events - Save the date
FISA 2019 and EURADWASTE ’19............Page 7
EU Sustainable Energy Week 2019
Shaping Europe's Energy Future............Page 7
Horizon 2020 Energy info days .............Page 7
Future of Education International
Conference……...................................Page 8
“Creating Conditions for Deeper Learning in
Science” Conference………..……........Page 8
Tech Open Air 2019..............................Page 8 Science View is communicating science to society since 2008,
Science opportunities sharing a vision of science literacy and science awareness.
EU Code Week - Icebreaker MOOC.....Page 9
Internship opportunities at ECSAT by In this issue you will read about:
ESA………………………………..............Page 9 Discover Events, Conferences, Seminars and the most recent
Creative Communication Training Science News!
Course………..………….....................…Page 9
Education @ EU  Science in Europe: by the numbers
EU eduNews........................................Page 10  OSOS schools from Greece send olive oil to space

Science in a nutshell  Projects updates
Science News...............................Pages 11-13  Summer Schools
Subscribe here if you want to receive monthly these interesting

To download the issue click here.
Cover photo credits: NASA/Lauren Harnett


How music and movement can help kids
How music and movement can help kids
understand maths
understand maths

Staring at rows of numbers or formulas on a page The iMuSciCA project is using music to teach
can be off-putting for many children studying secondary school children about difficult concepts
mathematics or science in school. But music, like wave theory in physics and equations in
drawing and even body movement are providing mathematics. Students design a virtual musical
promising new ways of teaching complex subjects to instrument on a computer, where they can alter its
youngsters. Researchers believe breaking down the physical properties to understand how that impacts
arbitrary barriers between science and art could help the sound it produces.
pupils grasp tricky concepts more easily. It is leading But music is not just providing
to a new way of teaching that aims to combine new ways of teaching teenagers
science, technology, engineering, arts and maths,
collectively known as STEAM. a b o u t s c i e n c e a n d
mathematics. Researchers have
‘We are trying to make been combining it with body
this STEAM learning movements, clapping and
approach known to the touching physical objects to
educational community,’ develop new ways of teaching younger children too.
said Dr Vassilis Katsouros ‘Visual information is not always the best way of
from the Athena communicating things like geometry or arithmetic,’
Research Centre's Institute for Language and Speech said Dr Monica Gori, a neuroscientist at the Istituto
Processing in Athens, Greece, and coordinator of a
project called iMuSciCA. ‘When you bring people Italiano di Tecnologia in Genoa, Italy, and
together from the arts and STEM subjects, they can coordinator of the WeDraw project.
work together to have very creative ideas.’ Her team has been creating a series of games with
This sort of interdisciplinary collaboration is technologies that encourage children under the age
increasingly common at university level and in of eight to create angles with their bodies or play with
industry, often leading to exciting new developments sound.
in technology, science and art. Dr Katsouros and his Read the whole interview here!
colleagues are hoping to introduce this way of The original article was published on May 9th, in Horizon
thinking at an earlier stage. Magazine, the EU Research & Innovation Magazine.

Science in Europe: by the numbers

The European Union is facing a pivotal political and governance to become more influential
moment. Whereas positive economic forecasts around the world in the decade ahead. But not
suggest that Europe as a whole is on the upturn, everyone is as optimistic: Nature presents the views
research spending in some countries hasn’t of nine leading Europeans on the future priorities for
recovered since the global financial crisis of 2008. science. They rail against nationalism and short-term
But researchers hope that these tensions won’t dent planning, appeal to make climate change the
the region’s reputation for world-class, open and main focus of all research programmes and call for
collaborative science — and they are planning for more openness, cooperation and spending.
what the next decade will bring.
Amid all the uncertainty, early-career scientists still
An infographic, published in Nature magazine, on flock to the region, and a Careers feature discusses
May 22th, explores the research investment and what they encounter when they join the European
scientific output of European countries. research community. And an Editorial urges Europe’s
scientists to continue celebrating the strengths that
In a Comment, research-policy specialists James
Wilsdon and Sarah de Rijcke portray the EU as filling make the EU great.
a void in international scientific leadership. They The original article was published
highlight the potential for its model of science policy on May 22nd, in Nature Magazine.



OSOS schools from Greece

send olive oil to space

How will Greek olive oil Messinian products that are the base of the
b e h a v e u n d e r Mediterranean diet will be the food for the astronauts
m i c r o g r a v i t y as well of the passengers of commercial space
conditions? Students flights for many years to come. Students and
from OSOS schools teachers from the Bougas Private Schools
sealed their experiment collaborated with their peers in Ellinogermaniki Agogi
within the capsule and its Research and Development Department
c a r r i e d b y t h e throughout the project.
groundbreaking Blue
Origin’s New Shepard The rocket was
reusable rocket where it s u c c e s s f u l l y
was tested at an launched on May 2,
from Blue Origin’s
Image Credits: OSOS altitude of 100 km.
West Texas Facility
Blue Origin’s space flight tests for the first time the and the launch was
internationally known Kalamata olives, olive oil, figs broadcasted live.
and raisins in their natural forms. The purpose of the Image Credits: OSOS This payload flew on-
experiment that was designed and implemented by board Blue Origin’s New Shepard space vehicle. The
students, is to test the effects on the products once New Shepard vertical takeoff and vertical landing
they travel into orbit. vehicle is capable of carrying hundreds of pounds of
payloads per flight and will ultimately carry up to six
There are two components to the experiment, first, to astronauts to altitudes beyond 100 kilometers, also
observe the behavior of olive oil and specifically to known as the Karman Line, the internationally-
examine if olive oil will maintain its liquid shape once recognized boundary of space. The investigating
it has left the earth. We know that water does not team was thrilled to watch the rocket launch and is
maintain its liquid form in space, and it will be looking forward to proceeding to the next phase of
interesting to see how olive oil behaves. And second, their experiment. The container of the experiment will
the behavior of yeast bacteria growth in space, be returned to Greece a few days after its successful
bread making ability in space
landing so that the students can process and
analyze the collected data.

Image Credits: OSOS
Although the products remain in space for about Image Credits: Blue Origin
seven or eight minutes only, that is enough time to
get a first reading of how they will react. The You can watch the Blue Origin NS-11: New Shepard
advance properties of these foods are further launch & landing here.
developed for space usage by developing “food
supplements that for the first time will have taste”. Up More information about the school project "Olive Oil
to now, food supplements used in space are Experiment in microgravity with Blue Origin Rocket" is
tasteless. available here:
The outcome motivates children to improve their
grades in STEM, science technology, engineering project/olive-oil-experiment-microgravity-blue-origin-
and mathematics. If the experiment goes well the rocket-853971



NUCLEUS Final Conference: Pathways to


Embedded and Mobile Nuclei
(research and higher education
institutions from across the world
participating in the project) will be
presented. The newly developed
NUCLEUS Web tool which
facilitated the process and
provided interesting and useful
On 20-21 June 2019 the final international data will be also presented. At this point, all ENs have
Conference in the framework of the NUCLEUS project finished their three-step cycle by filling in a Self-
will take lace in Brussels. The Conference, titled Assessment, an Action Plan, and a Self-Reflection
“Pathways to Transformation: Insights from global form through the Web Tool. Partners will analyse the
institutional experiments in Responsible Research and data to see how this process including the different
Innovation” will be co-organised together with the proposed actions and interventions did affect the
similar RRI-Practice project consortium in order to integration of RRI principles in their operation.
maximise its impact and outreach. During the Find out more at:
conference the preliminary results of the whole
implementation and evaluation cycle of the

Science View at the EUSEA

Conference 2019

Science View participated in the EUSEA Annual Con-
ference which took place on 9-10 May in Vienna,
Austria. Two dynamic days came to an end, full of
ideas sharing, visions and plans around Public En-
gagement. The venue for next year’s conference was
also announced: it will be held at Blackrock Castle
Photo Credits: EUSEA Observatory in Cork, Ireland on 15-16 April 2020.
Cultures of Science Communication was the main focus of #EUSEA19. Participants from across Europe,
scientists and science communication experts shared and discussed the diversity of knowledge, experi-
ences, tools and methodologies that make our field vital and relevant across boundaries of institutions,
subjects and countries.
For the first time, three partners joined expertise and enthusiasm to create an excellent program: The con-
ference was co-organized by EUSEA, OPEN SCIENCE and SCIENCE CENTER NETWORK. Based on EUSEA's
members' proposals and ideas we had three days filled with lively discussions, swirling debates, inspiring
talks and challenging sessions.
Science View was actively involved in the organisation and
facilitation of the parallel workshop titled “Reaching Out to
the Unreachables” together with partners from Nottingham
City University and the University of Malta and during which
the necessary skills, spaces and approach for efficient pub-
lic engagement were explored.
Read more here
Photo Credits: EUSEA



CREATEskills Project updates

CREATEskills Platform “STEM on the WEB” implementing the activities with their students in the
classroom. Both resources aim to strengthen the
The Platform “STEM on the WEB” is fully operational involvement of primary teachers in STEM teaching
and schools have already started disseminating it and to promote inter-disciplinary pedagogical
among students, parents, teachers, school directors approaches.
and other national contacts! The platform supports
teachers, students and their parents in creating Implementation
unique teaching methods and resources of STEM, as Teachers from all 4 partners’ countries
well as it promotes a social learning environment. It is implementing the activities! Some of them:
organized into three sections:
 Portugal
Virtual Library: A place dedicated to keep relevant Multiplier Events “Performing
documents, research studies, articles and other sorts Science” in schools and
of information regarding STEM learning. science contest “Discover
YoUR Science”! Teachers,
Virtual Teacher’s Room: Where teachers from all EU students and their parents,
can directly connect with each other, discuss implemented the activities!
teaching theories and methods for STEM learning  Spain
and share teaching material, practices, their Pedagogical activity "Making Photo Credits: CREATEskills
thoughts, ideas and experiences. Science" in Colegio Consolación and Contest

DIY Photo Gallery: A place where parents from all EU "Performing Science"!
countries can share their home activities and Do It  Greece
Yourself (DIY) projects. List of activities and DIY Constructions with
projects available for parents to experiment at home Arduino and old DVD.
with their children. They contain
components which in
Toolkit “Tools to Socially Learn STEM” combination with
Arduino can create
The Toolkit gathers 41 STEM activities organized by interesting constructions. Photo Credits: CREATEskills
age range: “6 to 9 years old”, “10 to 12 years old” By recycling and reusing seemingly useless items,
and “All ages”. Besides, the consortium developed a students explored the possibilities offered by robotics.
Teacher’s Guide, in order to support teachers in

SciCulture upcoming event and news

The participants two very inspiring blog posts, written by SciCulture
of the SciCulture course participants, highlighting interesting aspects
intensive course from their experience last April.
in Athens last You can read them here and here.
A p r i l w i l l
organise a large-scale dissemination event that will
take place during the first week of July, in Marathon,
Greece. During the event the experience of the
course participants (both local and international) will
be presented as well as the outcomes and results of
their different working groups which worked on
project ideas under the overarching theme: “The
Future of Education: The school of 2050”. The exact
date will be announced shortly; until then there are Photo Credits: SciCulture



CASE Summer School 2019

30 June-05 July (Marathon, Greece)

In the framework of the CASE (Creativity, Art and science education. Register Here!
Science in Primary Education) project, a 5-day Check out the Training Materials
intensive course that introduces case studies for
creative science inquiry for primary schools (Learning The participants of the previous edition of the CASE
Science Through Theater, Through Puppetry and Summer School 2018, have been implementing the
Through Digital Narratives & Storytelling) is organized creative science cases they learnt last year in their
in Marathon, Greece. The second edition of the educational environments all across Europe during
successful CASE Summer School is targeted at the 2018/2019 school year. Participants in this year's
primary school teachers, artists, researchers and Summer School will be invited to do the same;
educational stakeholders/practitioners in order to namely implement the presented cases and
motivate them by combining science education approaches in their local/national context during the
with aspects of art in their own practice and to be next school year. More info here.
aligned to the guidelines of Europe for the future of
OSOS Summer School 2019

7-12 July (Marathon, Greece)

In the framework of the OSOS (Open Schools for Open Societies)
project, the OSOS Summer School 2019 is targeted at School Heads
and Teachers seeking to bring innovation to their schools, while aiming
at offering a high-impact and transformative experience in personal
and organizational level. It also aims to contributing to their professional
development, as it will provide significant insights and tools to
implement the necessary changes and foster the skills to best plan and
then diffuse innovation in schools, helping them evolve to an Open Schooling Environment and establishing
Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) principles. More info here.
Register Here!

STEAM Summer School 2019

15-24 July (Malta)

An intensive programme, open to all motivated STEM students and researchers interested in science
communication, will be held on 15-24 July, in Malta. Teachers, science communication practitioners,
science journalists, and established researchers will also find novel techniques within our content.

STEAM Summer School 2019 will be divided this year into two parts: a multimedia online course and a highly
practical, face-to-face 10-day programme. The online course
will focus on the background information while the Summer
School will build on this knowledge through critical thinking and
practical application. The 10-day intensive course in science
communication integrates Arts into the classical STEM and
includes interactive experiments and informal learning. The
goals are to improve science awareness and develop
informed opinions, increase student uptake of STEM careers for
high-level jobs and enhance the transferable skills of current
researchers. You may apply till 7th June. More info here. Photo Credits: STEAM



FISA 2019 and EURADWASTE ’19

Pitesti, Romania 04-07/06/2019
The European Commission is co-organising the FISA 2019 and EURADWASTE '19 conferences with the Ministry of
Research and Innovation of Romania and the Institute for Nuclear Research (RATEN ICN) under the auspices of the
Romanian Presidency of the EU in 2019. The event will be held on 4 to 7 June 2019, in Pitesti, in Romania.
The overall objective is:
 To present progress and key achievements of some 90 projects carried out, since the previous conference
edition in 2013, as part of the 7th and Horizon 2020 Euratom Research and Training Framework Programmes (FP)
 To stimulate discussions on the state of play of R&D, key challenges addressed at national, European and
international levels on Research and Innovation policies, synergies and partnerships benefitting research and
innovation programmes, and future perspectives.
More info at:

EU Sustainable Energy Week 2019

Shaping Europe's Energy Future

Brussels, Belgium 17-21/06/2019
The Policy Conference is the biggest European conference dedicated to renewables and efficient energy use in
Europe. Sessions organised by the European Commission and energy stakeholders focus on sustainable energy
issues, debate new policy developments, best practices and sustainable energy ideas. Next to the conference,
the Networking Village brings the EUSEW Community together to forge alliances whilst the EUSEW Awards celebrate
outstanding projects and ideas. The policy conference under the theme "Shaping Europe’s energy future" will focus
on latest policy advancements and solutions for a climate-neutral Europe by 2050.
Public authorities, energy agencies, industry associations, businesses, civil society organisations and the media are
all invited to take part in the conference. Past speakers and participants have come from city councils and the
European institutions, private companies and research organisations, citizen groups and NGOs.
More info at:

Horizon 2020 Energy info days

Brussels, Belgium 25-27/06/2019

The Horizon 2020 Energy info days will take place on 25-26-27 June in Brussels. They will present the funding
opportunities for research, innovation and market uptake projects on clean energy.
The event will help potential applicants in preparing successful proposals for Horizon 2020 calls for the year 2020.
A brokerage event, organised by the Horizon 2020 Energy National Contact Points, will be part of the Info Days and
give you the opportunity to network and look for partners to form a consortium. The event will target a wide
spectrum of companies, universities and researchers from Europe and beyond to foster the creation of consortia
for the upcoming Horizon 2020 Energy Calls 2020 (total budget of some EUR 640 million!) in Energy Efficiency, Low
Carbon Energy Technologies, Smart Cities and Communities.
Registrations are open. Check out the agenda of the event and pick the sessions most relevant for you.
More info here.



Future of Education International


Florence, Italy 27-28/06/2019
The 9th Edition of The Future of Education International Conference will take place on June 27 and 28, in Florence,
The event offers the opportunity to interact with experts in the field of Education from all around the world. The
conference promotes transnational cooperation and shares good practice in the field of innovation for Education.
Teachers, researchers, practitioners and project managers from all over the world are invited to take part in the
More info here.

“Creating Conditions for Deeper
Learning in Science” Conference

Athens, Greece 29-30/06/2019

“Creating Conditions for Deeper Learning in Science” is the topic of the conference, that will be conducted in
Ellinogermaniki Agogi, on June 29th-30th, which aims to bring together researchers, practitioners and decision
makers from all around the world to investigate the concepts of Deeper Learning, the conditions under which it
could lead students to develop mastery in scientific subjects and the methods how these achievements can be
At the same time, training in science using arts has been shown to improve creativity and innovation as well as
students’ Deeper Learning. Students learn to approach issues with a critical mind and a positive attitude towards
problem solving. Exposure to the arts enhances communication skills, which are essential tools for collaboration. It
develops flexibility and adaptability. Thus the combination of those two disciplines appears to be significant
interesting, in regard with the present and future of science education.‘
Conference Themes: Deeper Learning in Science through Arts, Enhancing Science Education through Digital
Storytelling, Inquiry Based Learning, Creativity in Science Education, Open School Culture
More information here.

Tech Open Air 2019

Berlin, Germany 02-05/07/2019
The future of technology, work and life come together at TOA (Tech Open Air) at the impressive Funkhaus Berlin.
Often known simply as Europe’s coolest tech conference, since 2012 TOA has been highlighting the era of
information and technological collaboration we live in.
Attend this conference to learn and share great ideas, find talent, discover job opportunities and be inspired by
visions of a brighter future in a way that seems oh so natural. 150+ thought-leaders from tech, art, and science
share their vision on how they see the world evolving. Connect, collaborate and learn from prominent
entrepreneurs at the iconic Funkhaus Berlin. Deep dive into the tech ecosystem with inspirational storytelling,
interactive panels, workshops, art installations, live music, and so much more!
Get insight into the future of tech, work and life as well as a unique opportunity to network, invest and collaborate
with top tier executives worldwide. Attend TOA19 to futureproof your life and business.
More info at:


EU Code Week - Icebreaker MOOC

This is a very short introductory course that aims to make EU Code Week more appealing and meaningful for
teachers and schools and raise awareness about the importance of integrating coding and computational
thinking into their lesson. This course will provide primary and secondary school teachers with ideas, free training
material and resources to help them organise a Code Week activity, while developing innovative teaching
approaches and increasing students’ knowledge and motivation.
Teachers will learn what is Code Week and how to participate in this initiative, that last year engaged 2.7 million
people in Europe and beyond. At the end of the MOOC, participants will have to register an activity in the Code
Week map. After reporting the activity, participants will also get a certificate validated by the European
Commission for their participation and engagement in the campaign.
This introductory course has an estimated workload of five hours in total.
Participants will have the possibility to start and complete the course in one day or in three weeks, depending on
their availability and free time, between 3rd June and 26th June.
More info here.

Internship opportunities at ECSAT by ESA

Internship opportunities at the European Centre for Space Applications and Telecommunications (ECSAT) are
currently available in the fields of planetary science and geology. ESA is seeking enthusiastic and intuitive
individuals to launch Spaceship ECSAT: a concept designed to further the research and technology development
required for future human and robotic exploration of the Solar System.
Ideal candidates for Spaceship ECSAT projects will have:
 Experience in handling and analysing geological materials
 A good understanding of lunar and/or martian geological processes
 The ability to work independently as well as part of a team, and to communicate effectively.
 A keen interest in Solar System exploration, along with an eagerness to learn and a resourceful approach to
project work
The projects will start on or around 1 July and will last for 3 to 6 months (depending on the availability of the
candidate). The current call for applications is open from 15 May until 12 June 2019.
More info here.

Creative Communication Training Course

Creating and maintaining good quality and empathic online communication is a very challenging activity for the
non-profit organisations worldwide. The huge amount of information and communication styles out on the web
creates sometimes a chaos and mixture of violent and not correctly addressed messages. Although the majority of
the organisations active in the field fully acknowledge the importance of the above described problem, in many
cases they are still lacking proper tools and methods to tackle the issue in a more innovative and creative manner
that could bring greater benefits to the young people they work with.
SALTO-YOUTH, a network of six Resource Centres working on European priority areas within the youth field, invites
from the 2-17 September 2019, 24 youth workers, communication managers and artists from France, North
Macedonia, Greece, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Armenia, Spain and Poland who will participate in a training course in
Brivezac, France. Together they will share personal and professional experiences and explore the potential of
creative communication as a tool for youth work to reach and engage marginalised youngsters and the general
public in personal development, mutual understanding, inclusion and active participation.
Application deadline: 30 June 2019 (24 CET). More info here.


EU edu News

New Horizon Europe programme proposal

approved by the European Parliament

T h e E u r o p e a n implementation in time for 2021. The European
Parliament endorsed Commission presented its proposal for Horizon Europe in
on 17 April 2019 the June 2018.
p r o v i s i o n a l For More Information:
agreement reached
by the co-legislators  Commission proposal for Horizon Europe (2021-
on Horizon Europe, 2027): press release, factsheet on Horizon
the EU research and Europe, factsheet on R&I success stories
i n n o v a t i o n  Provisional agreement on Horizon Europe (2021-
programme for the next budget period from 2021 to 2027): press release
2027. With the adoption of the Horizon Europe  European Innovation Council – pilot phase: press
regulation, the EP paves the way for preparations and release

ET2020 indicators – Does the EU meet its targets?

Eurostat has published a new press release on the progress regarding the indicators and specific targets officially
set by the EU in the fields of Education. The release includes the most recent data for the EU and its Member States
on achievement against the two Europe 2020 education headline targets: Tertiary education attainment and early
school leaving. It indicates that currently 40% of Europeans aged 30 to 34 have tertiary education. Read the full
release here

Cedefop’s Inventory: National qualifications frameworks
gather speed across Europe

As NQFs are being implemented, their benefits and
added value become increasingly visible. Cedefop’s
European inventory on NQF gives an overview of the
frameworks’ progress in each European country with
accessible data.

EU announces record humanitarian funding for 2019:

Education in Emergencies

In May 2019, the European Commission has announced
an unprecedented €164 million for Education in
Emergencies projects in 2019. These funds are allocated
towards helping developing areas affected by
emergencies develop resilient education systems
Together with international and Belgian celebrities as well
as around 400 students, the Commission has launched
a social media campaign to raise awareness and
solidarity among young Europeans.
Read the EC’s press release here.




When making a complex decision, we often break the problem down
into a series of smaller decisions. In a new study, MIT neuroscientists
explored how the brain reasons about probable causes of failure after a
hierarchy of decisions. They discovered that the brain performs two
computations using a distributed network of areas in the frontal cortex.
First, the brain computes confidence over the outcome of each
decision to figure out the most likely cause of a failure, and second,
when it is not easy to discern the cause, the brain makes additional
attempts to gain more confidence. (Image Credits: Chelsea Turner, MIT)

The Moon is a small planetary body that has separated into a crust, a
mantle and a core. However, the composition of the lunar mantle
remains uncertain. In January, the Chinese spacecraft Chang’e-4
landed in a large impact crater on the far side of the Moon and
deployed its rover, Yutu2. Writing in Nature, Li et al. use spectral
observations by Yutu2 to infer the presence of olivine and low-calcium
pyroxene — minerals that might have originated in the lunar mantle.
The results could lead to improved models of how the Moon formed
and evolved. (Image Credits: Nature)

An influential panel of scientists voted this week to designate a new
geologic epoch — the Anthropocene — to mark the profound ways
that humans have altered the planet. That decision, by the 34-
member Anthropocene Working Group (AWG), marks an important step
toward formally defining a new slice of the geologic record, which has
generated intense debate within the scientific community over the past
few years. The panel plans to submit a formal proposal for the new
epoch by 2021 to the International Commission on Stratigraphy, which
oversees the official geological time chart.

Teenagers rarely have a say in the public health policies that concern
them, but we can’t halt the childhood obesity problem without working
with them, says Professor Knut-Inge Klepp, executive director of the
mental and physical health division at the Norwegian Institute of Public
Health. He is the project coordinator of CO-CREATE, an international
public health project working with adolescents to shape measures to
stem childhood obesity by 2025, and spoke to Horizon Magazine about
what is driving obesity in Europe, the need for a range of solutions and
why it’s important to listen to young people. (Photo Credit: Therese Wardenær Bakke)

The natural world is under siege and declining at a dizzying and dismal
rate and the rate of global change in nature during the past half
century “is unprecedented in human history,” according to a landmark
global assessment report on biodiversity and ecosystem services
released on 6 May. The global rate of species extinction “is already at
least tens to hundreds of times higher than the average rate over the
past 10 million years and is accelerating,” according to the report by
the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and
Ecosystem Services (IPBES). The report states that about 1 million species
are threatened with extinction, many within decades.

Continued on next page 11


An estimated 5.25 trillion particles of plastic float in Earth’s oceans,
threatening not only the health of marine ecosystems and animals, but
that of humans in the water we drink and the food we eat. However,
research into the extent of the dangers posed by microplastics is still just
in its infancy. On 30 April, the European Commission’s chief scientific
advisors released its scientific view on the environmental and health risks
of microplastics. The opinion says this pollution could present a
significant problem if it goes unchecked and public concern is growing,
yet we simply don’t have enough scientific evidence to understand the
widespread risks. A Horizon Magazine interview.

5G promises to be a major step forward for wireless communications in
Europe, providing connections that are up to 100 times faster than the
current 4G networks. The speed and capacity of 5G relies on extra
frequency bands to deliver signals. The current problem is that these
extra frequencies are relatively weak, which means a lot of power is
needed to boost the signal. The EU-funded SILIKA project is addressing
this challenge by researching and developing more efficient antennae,
electronics and signal-processing algorithms. The technologies are
being rolled together in a new base-station concept.

Over the past decade, decreases in the costs of chemically
synthesizing DNA and improved methods for assembling DNA fragments
have enabled researchers to scale up synthetic biology to the level of
generating entire chromosomes and genomes. Now, writing in Nature,
Fredens et al. report the completion of a 4-million-base-pair synthetic
version of the Escherichia coli genome. This is a landmark in the
emerging field of synthetic genomics, and finally applies the
technology to the laboratory’s workhorse bacterium. Synthetic genomics
offers a new way of understanding the rules of life and moves synthetic
biology towards a future in which genomes can be written to design. (Photo Credits: Nature)

The researchers, from the University of Cambridge, programmed a small
fleet of miniature robotic cars to drive on a multi-lane track and
observed how the traffic flow changed when one of the cars stopped. A
fleet of driverless cars working together to keep traffic moving smoothly
can improve overall traffic flow by at least 35 percent, researchers have
shown. Additionally, when a human-controlled driver was put on the
‘road’ with the autonomous cars and moved around the track in an
aggressive manner, the other cars were able to give way to avoid the
aggressive driver, improving safety. The results, were presented at the
International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA).

The global mean sea level currently measures 77 millimeters higher than
in 1993 when the satellite sea level record began. According to the Fifth
Assessment Report from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change, the global mean sea level is expected to continue
rising throughout the 21st century. To address this challenge, Ghanbari
et al. developed a new model to facilitate a nonstationary analysis of
coastal flood frequency. The study represents a new approach for
assessing flood risks associated with sea level rise and highlights the
importance of planning for both chronic and acute flooding.

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Astronomers at the University of Bonn and their colleagues from Moscow
have identified an unusual celestial object. It is most likely the product of
the fusion of two stars that died a long time ago. After billions of years
circling around each other these so-called white dwarfs merged and
rose from the dead. In the near future, their lives could finally end -- with
a huge bang. The researchers are now presenting their findings in the
journal Nature. "Such an event is extremely rare," explains Gotz
Gräfener, in a press release. "There are probably not even half a dozen
such objects in the Milky Way, and we have discovered one of them."

New rules and initiatives to support communities wanting to produce
their own renewable energy could help ordinary people play a key role
in the European Union’s transition to clean energy. These moves, which
include new EU legislation and the rollout of so-called living labs around
Europe, look set to bolster people’s growing push to get involved in
producing clean energy. Europe now has more than 3,600 renewable
energy cooperatives, up from over 3,400 at the start of the year and
2,400 in early 2015, according to, the European federation
for renewable energy cooperatives. Meanwhile, estimates suggest
that half of the EU's households could produce clean energy by 2050.

Because of their delicate organic and decomposing nature, fossilized
fungi are extremely rare. So rare, in fact, that a new discovery has just
pushed back the earliest evidence of fungi by at least 500 million
years—doubling their age. Until now, the oldest confirmed fungal
fossils dated to around 450 million years ago—about the same time
that plants migrated from sea to land. As you might imagine from their
ancient origins, fungi have played a critical role in shaping Earth’s
terrestrial biosphere over the last billion years. The first plants to emerge
onto land 500 million years ago formed intimate partnerships with fungi.

Each of us harbours hundreds of man-made chemicals inside our
bodies because we are exposed to them in our daily lives. While
individual chemicals may not be of immediate concern to public
health, scientists now worry that certain mixtures of them may pose
previously underestimated risks to health. This year, the European Union
heavily restricted four types of phthalates in consumer products
because of their possible health effects. Phthalates are plasticisers,
ubiquitous chemicals that soften plastics in many consumer products.
They are present in food wrappings, clothes, packaging, car parts,
cosmetics and fragrances.

CERN is launching the Science Gateway, a new scientific education
and outreach centre targeting the general public of all ages, as part of
its mission to educate and engage the public in science. The building
will be designed by world-renowned architects, Renzo Piano Building
Workshop. The project will be funded through external donations, with
the leading contribution coming from FCA Foundation, a charitable
foundation created by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. Construction is
planned to start in 2020 and to be completed in 2022.
(Photo Credits: RPBW)


Mr. Menelaos Sotiriou is a science writer
and communicator. He was the editor of
the official Research and Technology
online magazine in Greece, E&T ( that was published from the
General Secretariat of Research and
Technology. He started his professional
career by developing various Management Systems,
mostly in the field of Education as well as Health Care
and Telecommunications, in over 40 public and private
Organisations. He is a certified auditor and has realised
over 50 audits, mostly in the field of Quality
Management Systems and Assurance. The last twelve
(12) years he is running (project management) and
organising European and national projects for several
institutions (including research institutions) mainly in the
areas of new and innovative technologies (ICT). He has
been involved in more than 30 EU projects in the areas
of SiS, SSH, ICT, Research for the Benefit of SMEs. He has
vast experience in networking activities as the project
Coordinator of EUROSiS Project that is the Network of the
Science in Society NCPs. (Greek NCP for SiS
Programme). During this project he has organized a lot
of brokerage events as well as info days / trainings
concerning the participation of institutions in the specific
programme. He is holding the position of President of
Science View ( a nonprofit, non
governmental organization that has expertise in Science
Communication and Science Journalism. He is
specialised in science communication, organisation of
events (science cafes, conferences, science festivals,
exhibitions, science weeks), publications, science
writing, outreach activities for young students (mainly in
the fields of mathematics, physics, astronomy and
health), and creativity in science education
(Introduction of creative ways to provide science
education like science theatre, music and science).
Finally, he is included in the Evaluators’ Data Base of the
European Commission for the HORIZON2020 and of the
Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and also he had
participated in several EC meetings as an expert in
Science Communication and Journalism issues.

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