Publications

SAPEA publications:

SAPEA publications, including Evidence Review Reports are available here.

Publications from academies and European Academy Networks:

SAPEA provides access to the knowledge and expertise from over 100 academies, young academies and learned societies from over 40 countries across Europe. Over the next few months, we will be developing a database of publications from the European Academy Networks and their member academies. Use the box below to search for keywords, academies or contributors.



Final report for the pilot project “Data and Service Center for the Humanities” (DaSCH)

Pilotprojektgruppe DDZ , Swiss Academy of Humanities and Social Sciences

This report describes the main lessons learned from the pilot phase we have carried out with existing real-world humanities research projects. Above all, it has become clear that no single, monolithic virtual research environment (VRE) with a generic user interface can meet the needs of all projects. A significant number of projects require an open, extensible platform that enables them to choose the functionality that is relevant to their needs, to create custom user interfaces and client applications, and to integrate new research tools into their workflow. The new Knora archi-tecture has been conceived from the ground up to meet these requirements. Salsah still exists as one component of Knora, providing a powerful, but optional, virtual research environment with a generic user interface. The pilot project has enabled us to demonstrate, using real research data, the advantages and disadvantages of using different software technologies to solve the particular problems at hand. The knowledge we have gained from this experience gives us confidence that Knora will be flexible enough to meet the needs of a wide variety of users, and that it will offer the performance and reliability expected of a crucial national infrastructure. The report emphasizes our links with international research projects and our focus on interoperability and open standards, since Knora aims to interface as much as possible with related initiatives else-where. Moreover, fundamental research is closely related to research infrastructure, and all the results of our pilot project sustain the key idea at the heart of the SUC P2 program. Finally, we also discuss the need to train researchers to enable them to take full advantage of Knora. Indeed, a national project in DH infrastructure must be supported by a bottom-up effort and by the dissemination of knowledge, to enable the largest pos-sible number of researchers to use it. In other words, in the digital culture, a VRE centre has to develop close links with research and education challenges.

http://www.swiss-academies.ch/en/dms/publikationen/10/report1001.pdf

31 / 12 / 2015

Engaging politics with science

Paul Messerli, Christian Pohl, Urs Neu

Swiss Academy of Sciences

In the past few years, scientific policy advice has opened up a field for major European academies in which much is achieved, but little is reported. Justifications for this activity are not lacking, but rather specific descriptions of what has been done in practice and an assessment of the effects. The Swiss Academy of Sciences (SCNAT) has been actively and successfully involved in the area of scientific policy advice through its thematic forums for more than 20 years. This publication illustrates how topics that are relevant to society and politics and that have far-reaching consequences, such as climate change, maintaining biodiversity or the importance of genetic research, are made a matter for dialogue between science and politics/society through these forums. Although the three forums operate in very different scientific and societal contexts, they do so in a comparable form. Even though the possibilities for measuring the impact of a dialogue platform are limited, the basic design of the forums has proven its worth. It serves as a model when compared and assessed internationally. Policy advice is not a one-way street, but a dialogue of equals who play different roles. The institutionalisation of the interface between science and politics facilitates the mobilisation of the actors on both sides and at the right time. The creation of dialogue platforms requires longer-term investment in the provision of personnel and professional facilities. Finally, political and economic independence is a central prerequisite for a successful intermediary role between science and politics.

http://swiss-academies.ch/en/dms/publikationen/10/report1005e.pdf

31 / 12 / 2015

Health and global change in an interconnected world

Mirko S. Winkler, Guéladio Cissé, Jürg Utzinger

Swiss Academy of Sciences

Current anthropogenic pressures on the biosphere are historically unprecedented. These complex and far-reaching changes are disrupting many of the Earth’s systems, cycles and feedback mechanisms, leading to adverse impacts and threatening the foundations of human health and well-being. This factsheet highlights the principal drivers of global change, placing particular emphasis on associated health impacts. Relevant issues for Switzerland include local health impacts due to climate change, vulnerability to (re-)emerging infectious diseases, in-migrant health and over-seas health impacts. Inter- disciplinary research and cross-sector action are needed to mitigate adverse health impacts and adapt to global change. The role of Swiss-based multinational companies engaged in commodity trading as well as the extractive, pharmaceutical and food industries warrant particular attention towards promoting sustainable and equitable practices.

http://swiss-academies.ch/en/dms/publikationen/10/factsheet1002e.pdf

31 / 12 / 2015

Biofuel and wood as energy sources: effect on greenhouse gas emissions

Martijn Katan, Louise Vet, Rudy Rabbinge

Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences

The combustion of oil, coal and gas produces CO2 and other greenhouse gases. Plants, on the other hand, absorb CO2 as they grow. Dutch and EU legislation therefore encourage the combustion of wood in power stations and the use of plant-based biofuels (biodiesel and bioethanol) for road transport. Policymakers hear diverging views on the effectiveness of this policy. This document summarises the views of independent experts, who conclude that the combustion of wood in power stations and fuelling cars with bioethanol and biodiesel make virtually no contribution to reducing CO2 emissions. These technologies are therefore unsuitable for facilitating the transition to sustainable energy generation. Subsidies and guidelines in this context do not achieve the intended purpose.

Download the publication https://www.knaw.nl/en/news/publications/position-paper-biofuel-and-wood-as-energy-sources-1/@@download/pdf_file/150112%20position%20paper%20biofuel.pdf

31 / 12 / 2015

Electric energy from deep below

Stefan Hirschberg, Stefan Wiemer, Peter Burgherr

TA-SWISS Foundation for Technology Assessment – a Centre of competence of the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences

Temperatures in rocks lying 4–5 kilometres below the Earth’s surface are as high as 150°C. This represents a vast energy resource, with the potential – in principle – to meet Switzerland’s electricity and heating needs many times over. Given the lack of sites in Switzerland where underground reservoirs of hot water could be tapped to produce electricity, deep hot rocks themselves are considered the most promising potential source of geothermal energy. The so-called petrothermal approach, i.e. extraction of heat from rocks, is more commonly known as hot dry rock, deep heat mining or enhanced geothermal systems (EGS). Key recommendations: Research on the deep subsurface should be intensified. Pilot projects should be used to obtain further experience for the construction and operation of geothermal plants; Models should be developed to facilitate geothermal projects by coordinating and harmonising cantonal approval procedures; The holders of exploration permits or exploitation licences for geothermal resources could be required to make geological data publicly accessible; The entire process of planning, siting and implementing geothermal projects should be closely accompanied by a carefully planned, continuously monitored and scrupulously evaluated process of public and stakeholder engagement.

https://www.ta-swiss.ch/?redirect=getfile.php&cmd[getfile][uid]=2734

31 / 12 / 2015

Energy from the earth: deep geothermal as a resource for the future?

Peter Burgherr, Stefan Hirschberg, Stefan Wiemer

TA-SWISS Foundation for Technology Assessment – a Centre of competence of the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences

Switzerland's Energy Strategy 2050 requires energy efficiency to be substantially improved, the proportion of fossil fuels in the energy supply to be considerably reduced, and nuclear power to be phased out, while meeting highly ambitious climate protection targets. One of the core implications is the need for a massive increase of the use of renewable sources for electricity generation. In this context, the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE) estimates that by 2050 deep geothermal energy could contribute 4-5 TWh per year to electricity generation in Switzerland, which would be a substantial contribution to a projected annual power need of 60 TWh. Geothermal energy is attractive because of the very large scale of the resource, its expected relatively low CO2 emissions, and its reliable, all-day domestic availability. However, the future contribution of deep geothermal energy is subject to major uncertainties: How much of this resource can be exploited and at what economic cost? What are the environmental and risk-related externalities that the public must be willing to bear? How does its overall performance compare to competing energy resources? And will the regulatory framework and public acceptance be sufficient to allow geothermal energy to provide a significant contribution? By way of this major interdisciplinary study, already considered a work of reference, TA-SWISS provides answers to these questions in a comprehensive and balanced way, thereby supplying a sound basis for stakeholder decision-making.

https://vdf.ch/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=1773

31 / 12 / 2015

Biofuel and wood as energy sources: effect on greenhouse gas emissions

Martijn Katan, Louise Vet, Rudy Rabbinge

Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences

The combustion of oil, coal and gas produces CO2 and other greenhouse gases. Plants, on the other hand, absorb CO2 as they grow. Dutch and EU legislation therefore encourage the combustion of wood in power stations and the use of plant-based biofuels (biodiesel and bioethanol) for road transport. Policymakers hear diverging views on the effectiveness of this policy. This document summarises the views of independent experts, who conclude that the combustion of wood in power stations and fuelling cars with bioethanol and biodiesel make virtually no contribution to reducing CO2 emissions. These technologies are therefore unsuitable for facilitating the transition to sustainable energy generation. Subsidies and guidelines in this context do not achieve the intended purpose.

Download the publication https://www.knaw.nl/en/news/publications/position-paper-biofuel-and-wood-as-energy-sources-1/@@download/pdf_file/150112%20position%20paper%20biofuel.pdf

31 / 12 / 2015

Innovation Indicator 2015

Rainer Frietsch, Christian Rammer, Torben Schubert, Oliver Som, Marian Beise-Zee, Alfred Spielkam

acatech

The innovation indicator, which is published annually, is a comparative study on innovation strength. It captures the conditions for innovation in Germany as an industrial location and compares them in a ranking in the areas of industry, science, education, governance and society as well as in an overall indicator with the globally leading industrial countries and emerging nations. This creates a basis for innovation political decisions. The innovation indicator is a cooperation of acatech – National Academy of Science and Engineering and the Federation of German Industries (BDI). The study is conducted by the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI in cooperation with the Center for European Economic Research (ZEW). The innovation indicator was initiated by the BDI together with the Deutsche Telekom Stiftung before acatech became a cooperation partner.

http://www.acatech.de/de/publikationen/stellungnahmen/kooperationen/detail/artikel/innovation-indicator-2015.html

21 / 12 / 2015

Recent developments in personalised medicine

David Weatherall, Walter Bodmer, Alasdair Breckenridge, Kay Davies, Munir Pirmohamed, Andrew Wilkie

The Royal Society

This document focuses on scientific progress, rather than policy developments, in this important field. There now seems little doubt that genomics and its related fields will play an increasing role in medical research and practice in the future. Given the many complexities of disease it is not surprising that progress in some areas of this field has been slow. More rapid progress will be made towards the assessment of this approach to the common diseases of Western society by developing tighter partnerships between clinicians who have the day to day care of patients with these diseases and those who are studying them at the molecular level; lessons from several fields have made it absolutely clear that the phenotype must not be neglected as part of the basic investigations of the role of the genotype and related fields in the evolution of a more personalised approach to medical care.

https://royalsociety.org/topics-policy/publications/2015/personalised-medicine/

11 / 12 / 2015

New autoMobility – The Future World of Automated Road Traffic

Karsten Lemmer, Thoma Klaus, Friedrich Bernhard, Schniede Eckehard, Vieweg Klaus, Damm Werner

acatech

Owing to developments in the field of assistance systems and automated driving, vehicles are taking over more and more elements of the driving tasks hitherto incumbent on the driver. Thus, automation and connectivity are under way of revolutionising the road transport system. In the present POSITION paper, the project group New autoMobility, a joint initiative by the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure and acatech, develops a target scenario of a world of automated road traffic in a future beyond 2030. It provides a set of usage scenarios addressing the challenges of our present mobility system. On the basis of these scenarios, the project group worked out specific policy recommendations for implementation in politics and society. They describe what steps must be taken to set the course towards automated road traffic and how best to take advantage of its ecological, economic and social benefits to promote public welfare.

http://www.acatech.de/de/publikationen/stellungnahmen/kooperationen/detail/artikel/new-automobility-the-future-world-of-automated-road-traffic.html

10 / 12 / 2015

Falsified medicines. More than a Scandal, a Crime

Marc Gentilini, Yves Jiullet, Monique Adolphe, Olivier Andriollo, Jean-Michel Hascoet, Georges Hazebroucq, Jean-Louis Montastruc, Patrice Queneau, Dominique RichardI-Lenoble, Jean-François Rousselot, Jean Paul Tillement

Académie Nationale de Médecine

Falsified medicines are a global threat. Its traffic does not stop to grow. Everywhere particularly in developing countries patients who do not have access to quality drugs providing efficient treatment are exposed to serious harm. More recently, the sales of medicines on the Internet has amplified this hazard. Given the magnitude of the shortcomings at all levels particularly emanating from politicians, the means of this fight are drastically limited. Upon the initiative of the French Academy of Medicine with the French Academy of Pharmacy and the Veterinary Academy of France the report reiterates the absolute need for the fight against dealers who constitute a new and out of control mafia of this traffic generating very large amounts of money.

http://www.academie-medecine.fr/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Rapport-ANM-Med-Fals-3.pdf

08 / 12 / 2015

Ethical and legal aspects of informatics research

Willem Klop, Jan Bergstra, Frank van Harmelen, Jeroen van den, Hoven Bart, Jacobs Corien, Prins Melle de Vries

Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences

The Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) has recommended the installation of ethical review boards for informatics research, based on experience gained in the field of medicine. Cooperation, mutual learning and knowledge-sharing between such boards would give rise to a common review mechanism that is both transparent and distinguishable as such. According to the advisory report, the presence of an ethical review board would not discharge individual researchers from the responsibility of addressing potential ethical and legal dilemmas in their work. The report recommends a number of ways to raise awareness among researchers, for example by drawing up a code of conduct, appointing an ethical adviser, and making training in ethics and academic integrity a compulsory part of a researcher’s education. The Academy expects that instituting ethical review mechanisms in informatics research will inspire other disciplines to follow suit.

Download the publication https://www.knaw.nl/en/news/publications/ethical-and-legal-aspects-of-informatics-research/@@download/pdf_file/20160919-ENG-advisory-ethische-en-juridische-aspecten-van-informaticaonderzoek-web.pdf

01 / 12 / 2015

Submission to the ‘Culture 2025’ Consultation

Chris Morash, Kathleen James-Chakraborty, Michael Ryan , Peter Woodmann, Georg Sevastopula, Maurice Manning

The Royal Irish Academy

Key points: (1) Recognition of the intrinsic value of culture and heritage and the responsibility of the state to properly support and protect Ireland’s cultural heritage, (2) Adoption of the principle that culture and heritage is best managed at arm’s length from government, with a reasonable expectation by the state of transparent and responsible management, (3) A commitment to clear principles on conduct and composition of state boards, including prohibition on replacing entire boards at once, non-remuneration of board members and the clarification of the roles and responsibilities between directors and their respective boards, (4) Incentivisation of external fund-raising, introduction of tax-breaks to encourage collaboration and investment, and adoption of multi-year budgeting, (5) The introduction of a common format system-wide reporting structure to allow for transparent system-wide proactive planning, (6) Ensuring a dynamic and responsive national cultural policy by tasking a national coordinating body to regularly review and revise Culture 2025.

Download the publication https://www.ria.ie/sites/default/files/ria_culture_2025_submission.pdf

01 / 12 / 2015

Prevention of ageing dependency

Jean Pierre Michel, Claude Dreux, André Vacheron, P. Bégué, E-A. Cabanis, B. Charpentier, J. Dubousset, G. Dubois, J.F. Duhamel, C. Jaffiol, D. Lecomte, J-M Mantz, J.F. Mattéi, G. Nicolas, J.-P. Olié, J. Rouessé, A. Safavian, B. Salle, A. Spira, Y. Touitou

Académie Nationale de Médecine

In 2012, in France, there were 1.2 million of age-related dependent adults. Without any new initiative, this number will raise to 2.3 million in 2060. This new report of the National Academy of Medicine stresses the needed adaptation of the health system. The main goal is to target the midlife risk factors of the most disabling chronic diseases to reduce the number of age-related dependency. Concrete and positive of health promotion and randomized controlled interventions (lifelong or late onset of regular physical and mental activities, Mediterranean diet, stopping smoking, limiting alcohol beverages) as well as targeted prevention of the age-related disabling diseases (vascular pathologies affecting the heart, brain and kidney, diabetes, mood and cognitive disturbances, musculo-skeletal and joint pathologies, as well as sensory impairments, (visual, auditory, dizziness and balance problems) and inappropriate use of medications) contribute establishing useful recommendations to decrease the number and costs of age-related dependency.

http://www.academie-medecine.fr/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/2-Rapport-final-ANM-Prevention-Vieillissement-24-11-15-4.pdf

24 / 11 / 2015

The Co-Benefits of Actions on Climate Change and Public Health

German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina

Over the past century, public health measures such as vaccination, sanitation, water treatment and waste management have improved the lives of many million people across the world. However, this humanitarian progress is now seriously threated by anthropogenic global warming, which is likely to increase the planetary surface temperature by more than 4°C till the end of this century under a business-as-usual scenario. The physiological, economic and sociocultural impacts of such an environmental shock would be devastating for many societies, most notably for the highly vulnerable populations in the low-income countries.

https://www.leopoldina.org/en/publications/detailview/publication/the-co-benefits-of-actions-on-climate-change-and-public-health-2015/

01 / 11 / 2015

Circular economy: a commentary from the perspectives of the natural and social sciences

Gunter Stephan, Ioannis Agapitidis, Geraldine A Cusack, Anni Huhtala, Mark van Loosdrecht, Egbert Lox, …   see more contributors

Guiseppe Mininni, Sture Öberg, Ionut Purica, Kristin Vala Ragnarsdottir, Armin Reller, Baiba Rivza, Filipe Santos, Roger Sheldon, Thomas Sterner, Richard Tol, Michael Norton

European Academies Science Advisory Council

Drawing on independent scientific analysis from the National Science Academies of EU Member States this report represents an important contribution to the on-going discussion of the circular economy, including what the European Union should be measuring to ensure progress towards the circular economy and how to address the shortage of "critical materials" in the future. On indicators for a circular economy, EASAC has analysed the ways to assess progress towards the circular economy and will share its insights on the indicators that are most needed in Europe.

Download the publication http://www.easac.eu/fileadmin/Reports/Easac_15_CE_web_corrected.pdf

01 / 11 / 2015

Consultation response: Food Standards Agency call for views on the European Commission proposal on GM food and feed

The Royal Society

The Royal Society has responded to the Food Standards Agency's call for views on European Commission proposals governing GM food and feed. The Commission proposes to amend the Regulation governing GM food and feed to enable all member states to restrict or ban the use of EU-authorised GM food and feed products for non-safety reasons within their territory. There is  considerable public concern over the use of GM food and feed, particularly around the safety of these products in the food chain. The Society's response highlights the importance of public confidence in the regulatory processes in place to protect their safety. The science around the production of GM food and feed needs to be better communicated so that people are able to feel informed. Further to this, it is important that the public and experts are able to input into decisions over the use of GM food and feed.

https://royalsociety.org/topics-policy/publications/2015/food-standards-agency-GM-food-and-feed/

31 / 10 / 2015

Smart Maintenance for Smart Factories – Driving Industrie 4.0 through smart maintenance

Michael Henke, Alex Kuhn

acatech

With Industrie 4.0, Germany is on the brink of a new industrial age in which smart factories – the intelligent factories of the future – will occupy a central role. In order to realise this vision, it will also be necessary to ensure that smart factories benefit from smart maintenance that is equipped to meet tomorrow’s challenges. Smart maintenance will help to secure jobs in industry, manage the complexity within smart factories and drive Industrie 4.0 by acting as an engine of innovation and a source of knowledge.

http://www.acatech.de/de/publikationen/stellungnahmen/acatech/detail/artikel/smart-maintenance-fuer-smart-factories-mit-intelligenter-instandhaltung-die-industrie-40-vorantrei.html

27 / 10 / 2015

Cybersecurity Dilemmas: Technology, Policy, and Incentives

Andy Hopper, William Press, Ross Anderson, Eric Grosse, Butler Lampson, Susan Landau, John McCanny, Angela Sasse, Fred Schneider

National Academy of Sciences , The Royal Society

Cybersecurity can be seen as demanding a trade-off between functionality and security: users demand flexibility and complexity in the systems they use, but this demand significantly increases the difficulty of ensuring the security of the system. Although perfect cybersecurity is not possible, there are many opportunities to improve systems and better protect their users. A major concern for individuals is protecting their privacy in a world where data about them are increasingly collected, stored, and used for a variety of purposes. Different stakeholders have conflicting interests in the balance between privacy and data collection. Although some service providers are primarily interested in collecting data, even if it is not immediately useful, individual customers value their privacy and autonomy. Customers’ stored data may be anonymized, but such data can be stitched back together to create a detailed profile of an individual with relative ease. If data collection and storage are not carefully controlled, they can introduce new opportunities for criminals to gain access for malicious purposes. Cyberspace is a key topic that transcends borders and should influence (as well as be influenced by) international relations. National and international laws need careful evaluation to help ensure the conviction of cybercriminals, support companies that work internationally, and protect national security. To meet the growing demand for protecting national security, international law and norms could be strengthened to reduce the risk of international cyberattacks. In addition, there is a growing need for future leaders in both the private and public sectors to understand and articulate the implications of cybersecurity risks for their own organizations and for the wider economic and social system.

https://royalsociety.org/topics-policy/publications/2015/sackler-cybersecurity-dilemmas/

09 / 10 / 2015

Academies call for consequences from the Ebola virus epidemic

Hans-Dieter Klenk, Stephan Becker, Bernhard Fleischer, Detlev Ganten, Jörg Hacker, Reinhard F Hüttl, Thomas C Mettenleiter, Alfred Pühler, Günter Stock, Volker ter Meulen

acatech , German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina , The Union of the German Academies of Sciences and Humanities

The Ebola virus is spreading rapidly and to an unexpected extent. The outbreak does not follow the patterns experienced in the past and the virus shows a new disease dynamic in regions, where it has never been recorded before. The German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, acatech – the German Academy of Science and Engineering, and the Union of the German Academies of Sciences and Humanities call for the following consequences to be taken: To combat the Ebola epidemic vaccines and antivirals are urgently needed. To meet this need, the further development of experimental vaccines and medicines for clinical application needs to be accelerated. Even if the pathogen should temporarily disappear again, research must continue as a precautionary measure because another outbreak is highly probable. Such precautionary measures must also include ensuring that sufficient quantities of available vaccines and antivirals are stockpiled in case of a new outbreak. Increasing medical and social science research in this area is also vitally important for future preparedness.

https://www.leopoldina.org/en/press/news/academies-call-for-consequences-from-the-ebola-virus-epidemic/

01 / 10 / 2015

Medical care for older people – what evidence do we need?

Annette Becker, Roland Eils, Georg Ertl, Jörg Hasford, Jürgen Heesemann, Frank Jessen, Uwe Koch-Gromus, Gabriele Meyer, Henning Rosenau, Cornel C Sieber, Ursula M Staudinger, Daniel Strech, Petra Thürmann, Hans-Werner Wahl, Hans-Peter Zenner

acatech , German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina , The Union of the German Academies of Sciences and Humanities

In Germany today, reaching a very old age is no longer an exception. About 4.5 million people (5.4 percent of the population) are 80 years of age and older, and their numbers continue to grow. In recent decades, the over 85-year-olds have been the group with the fastest and greatest gain in life span and many positive developments for this growing population group have been recorded. The increasing life expectancy and the improved health of older people over a longer period are also attributable to therapeutic and preventive measures, in addition to other factors. Sick old people, however, may possibly have entirely different medical needs than younger people; this is not sufficiently reflected in the German healthcare system. The high standard in medicine, not only in relation to medical care, but also in research of diseases and the development of therapies, focuses typically on middle-aged patients with a single disease. Accordingly, knowledge gained from the treatment of middle-aged people is frequently also applied for older patients – although they differ both physically and mentally from younger people in terms of their medical care priorities and personal circumstances. This does not comply with good scientific practice, and often leads not only to inappropriate care, but may occasionally also actually endanger the concerned patients. Older people, who frequently suffer from multiple chronic disorders, take many medications at the same time, each of which focuses on one individual ailment. This polypharmaceutical treatment does not at times correspond to the health targets of older patients and may even pose a considerable health risk. There is a lack of external evidence on how to improve treatment for multimorbid older and very old people. There is also a lack of guidelines that indicate the current knowledge gaps and risks. At the same time, important medications are often not offered. Therefore, research to provide specific scientific evidence specifically for older people is absolutely essential. New treatment objectives come to the fore and determine the indication for pharmacotherapeutic, surgical and other interventions: In younger patients cure, restoration of working ability or long-term prognoses determine the course of action. In older patients, these priorities are often replaced by independence, quality of life despite complaints, and the relief of symptoms. The pressure for a quick and effective change to the healthcare situation of older people is growing continuously in line with the rapid demographic change. Physicians, therapists and carers alike must adjust to old and very old people in their daily work – particularly in hospital care. This also applies to basic, advanced and continuing staff training and the cooperation with other health care providers. At all points in the medical care chain, from the lack of scientific evidence to the implementation in practical care, the focus must be on older people and their specific needs.

https://www.leopoldina.org/en/publications/detailview/publication/medizinische-versorgung-im-alter-welche-evidenz-brauchen-wir-2015/

01 / 10 / 2015

Healthcare for Asylum Seekers

Detlev Ganten, Heyo K Kroemer, Christine Langenfeld, Rainer Müller, Bernt-Peter Robra, Ramazan Salman, Peter Scriba, Lothar H Wieler, Walter Bruchhausen, Andreas Gilsdorf, Ute Teichert, Thomas Ziese

acatech , German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina , The Union of the German Academies of Sciences and Humanities

The foremost priority of the German healthcare system is to protect the health of every person living in the country, which includes those seeking humanitarian protection in Germany (asylum seekers). Providing asylum seekers with healthcare is presenting new challenges for the German healthcare system. The academies have identified the following key areas for action: (I) providing medical examinations and care in the initial reception centres, (II) care and treatment of people suffering from mental illnesses and trauma, (III) meeting the demand for qualified personnel, (IV) taking linguistic and cultural needs into consideration, (V) expanding the scope of available data and research. The academies recommend that specialized polyclinics provide medical care in the initial reception centres. The tasks of these clinics should include: ensuring medical expertise that is sensitive to cultural and religious needs; providing (specialist) interpreters; actively engaging with the structuring and organisation of reception centres; networking with hospitals, on-site doctors, and social welfare organisations.

https://www.leopoldina.org/en/publications/detailview/publication/zur-gesundheitsversorgung-von-asylsuchenden-2015/

01 / 10 / 2015

Gain of function: experimental applications relating to potentially pandemic pathogens

Volker ter Meulen, Goran Hermeren, Ursula Jenal, Hans Klenk, André Knottnerus, Maria …   see more contributors

Masucci, John McCauley, Thomas Mettenleiter, Giorgio Palu, Gyorgy Posfai, Bert Rima, John Skehel, Simon Wain-Hobson, Robin Fears

European Academies Science Advisory Council

Background of this EASAC study is the debate about risks and benefits of research that modifies viruses to better understand their functioning, in particular their potential to cause pandemics. Special attention is given to viruses spreading from animals to humans and to human viruses spreading by aerosol route. Such research poses not only questions of biosafety, relating to the prevention of harm by accident, but also questions of biosecurity, meaning the intentional misuse of viruses made more potent in the laboratory.

Download the publication http://www.easac.eu/fileadmin/PDF_s/reports_statements/Gain_of_Function/EASAC_GOF_Web_complete_centred.pdf

01 / 10 / 2015

Facing Critical decisions on climate change in 2015

Michael Norton

European Academies Science Advisory Council

EASAC's statement ‘Facing critical decisions on climate change in 2015’ relates to some of the scientific issues which will be very important to consider in the forthcoming negotiations at COP21 in Paris. Our analysis concludes that recent evidence suggests some climate changes are proceeding faster than models would predict - especially in the cryosphere. The national science academies of the EU Member States thus urge national governments within Europe and the European Commission to play an active role in Paris in seeking a comprehensive agreement, which will limit future warming to below the 2 degree target to avoid dangerous climate change.

Download the publication http://www.easac.eu/fileadmin/PDF_s/reports_statements/Easac_15_COP21_web.pdf

01 / 10 / 2015

The Role of Religion in Conflict and Peace-Building

Sara Silvestri, James Mayall

The British Academy

This report explores how the role of religion in conflict and peacebuilding has all too often been depicted in binary terms, which have obscured the complexity of the subject. The report argues that religion is never a static or isolated entity but should rather be understood as a fluid system of variables, contingent upon a large number of contextual and historical factors. By observing how religion operates and interacts with other aspects of the human experience at the global, institutional, group and individual levels, this report aims to gain a more nuanced understanding of its role (or potential role) in both conflict and peacebuilding.

http://www.britac.ac.uk/sites/default/files/Role-of-religion-in-conflict-peacebuilding.pdf

30 / 09 / 2015

The opportunities and limits of genome editing

Frank Buchholz, Bärbel Friedrich, Elisabeth Gräb-Schmidt, Ralf Kühn, Albrecht Müller, Bernd Mueller-Roeber, Peter Propping, Alfred Pühler, Brigitte Schlegelberger, Jochen Taupitz, Jörg Vogel, Ernst-Ludwig Winnacker

acatech , German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina , The Union of the German Academies of Sciences and Humanities

The National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, acatech – the National Academy of Science and Engineering, the Union of German Academies of Sciences and Humanities, and the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft – DFG) stress the great scientific potential of genome editing. They point out that it is ethically and legally acceptable in many areas. The new techniques should not be automatically equated with sporadic cases of improper use or with applications whose ethical and legal ramifications have not yet been assessed. The DFG and the academies endorse the call for an international moratorium on all forms of human germline engineering that could have an impact on the genome of the offspring. The moratorium should give scientists, politicians and society the opportunity to discuss unresolved questions in a transparent and critical way, to evaluate the benefits and potential risks of the techniques, and to develop recommendations for future regulations. However, the moratorium should not constitute a general restriction on methodological developments and thus limit any promising new genome editing approaches for use in research and application.

https://www.leopoldina.org/en/publications/detailview/publication/chancen-und-grenzen-des-genome-editing-2015/

01 / 09 / 2015

SMART SERVICE WELT Recommendations for the Strategic Initiative Web-based Services for Businesses (Final Report, Long Version)

Henning Kagermann, Frank Riemensperger, Dirk Hoke, Johannes Helbig, Dirk Stocksmeier, Wolfgang Wahlster, August-Wilhelm Scheer, Dieter Schweer

acatech

The Smart Service Welt 2025 vision follows on from the vision of smart factories in Industrie 4.0. In the smart factory, individual customer orders determine manufacturing processes and the associated smart factory produces smart products: intelligent, networked objects, devices and machines that underpin the services provided in the Smart Service Welt. Once they have left the factory, smart products are connected via the Internet. They exchange ever-larger volumes of data during use. It could be argued that these mountains of data (big data) actually constitute the most important raw material of the 21st century.

http://www.acatech.de/de/publikationen/stellungnahmen/kooperationen/detail/artikel/recommendations-for-the-strategic-initiative-web-based-services-for-businesses-final-report-of-the.html

19 / 08 / 2015

Submission to the World Humanitarian Summit: The need for joined-up, long-term and evidence-based action

The Academy of Medical Sciences (UK) , The Royal Society

The Royal Society has submitted to the World Humanitarian Summit public consultation. The submission recommends a number of issues that the Summit should address in order for it to set an ambitious humanitarian agenda that is fit for the future. In particular, this submission highlights (1) the need for long-term planning and proactive investment in measures to reduce the future risk of disasters and limit costly disaster response and recovery; (2) the need to bring the humanitarian, development, disaster risk reduction and climate change sectors together for coherent and co-ordinated action on disasters; and (3) that humanitarian action should be evidence-based and should draw on the best available science.

https://royalsociety.org/topics-policy/publications/2015/submission-to-world-humanitarian-summit/

04 / 08 / 2015

Industry 4.0 and Urban Development – The Case of India

Müller Bernhard, Herzog Otthein

acatech

Industry 4.0 and Advanced Manufacturing are topics of a high international relevance. They are currently intensively discussed both in the academic literature, and in practice within the framework of Industry 4.0 which refers to the so-called 4th industrial revolution. They depend to a high degree on the availability of adequate digital infrastructures and well-functioning logistics systems, and they have a number of repercussions on cities and regions. As there has not been much work done yet regarding the interrelations between Industry 4.0 (“Advanced Manufacturing”) and urban development, the report by the Deutsche Akademie der Technikwissenschaften (acatech) presented here is dealing with a new field of academic and practical interest, especially as it also takes up an international development cooperation perspective. The acatech project reported here on “Advanced Manufacturing/Industry 4.0 and Urban Development – Connected, sustainable and urban economic activities in the industrial sector in the context of local, regional and global ICT-based value and logistic chains using the example of selected Indian metropolises” was commissioned by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) on behalf of the Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung (BMZ). The study was conducted in close cooperation with the Indian National Academy of Engineering (INAE).

http://www.acatech.de/de/publikationen/materialienbaende/uebersicht/detail/artikel/industry-40-and-urban-development-the-case-of-india.html

03 / 08 / 2015

Observing the Earth – expert views on environmental observation for the UK

Martin Sweeting, Geoffrey Boulton, Stephen Briggs, Harry Bryden, Alistair Lamb, Vanessa Lawrence, Stuart Martin, John Remedios, Barbara Ryan, John Shepherd, Julia Slingo, Farhana Amin, Jonathan P Taylor

The Royal Society

This report contains the thoughts of a select group of experts informed by consultation with key stakeholders to give an overview of environmental observation in the UK. Six commissioned expert papers form the basis for the chapters of the report and divide environmental observation across six domains, namely climate, air, oceans and ice, land and freshwater, natural hazards, international. For each domain the current use technologies is described, as well as the strengths, opportunities and challenges, where the technologies are going in the next 5 to 10 years and how the UK stakeholders can capitalise on these opportunities. The expert papers highlight a need to think strategically about how to create an integrated system for environmental observation – one that manages the increasing volume of observation data in a way that serves the breadth of uses and users, and allows data to be accessed and processed in a way that creates knowledge to inform policy and action. Key to this capability is a stable, long-term funding commitment and an adequately skilled workforce to ensure that environmental observations are used to their full potential.

https://royalsociety.org/topics-policy/projects/environmental-observation/

31 / 07 / 2015

Joint letter to the HFEA regarding the regulation of mitochondrial donation

The Royal Society

The Royal Society has supported a joint letter to the HFEA commenting on proposals for the regulation of mitochondrial donation. This joint letter comments on the regulatory framework for mitochondrial donation proposed by the HFEA. It highlights the need to ensure that the regulation of mitochondrial donation is evidence-based and proportionate and raises questions including over requirements for follow-up, and the eligibility criteria for undergoing the procedure.

https://royalsociety.org/topics-policy/publications/2015/joint-letter-hfea-mitochondrial-donation/

08 / 07 / 2015

New breeding techniques

Robin Fears

European Academies Science Advisory Council

EASAC expresses its views on the critical importance of supporting innovation in plant breeding to contribute to EU objectives in agriculture and food and nutrition security, and recommends that (1) EU policy development for agricultural innovation should be transparent, proportionate and fully informed by the advancing scientific evidence and experience worldwide, (2) EU regulators confirm that the products of New Breeding Techniques, when they do not contain foreign DNA, do not fall within the scope of GMO legislation, (3) The aim in the EU should be to regulate the specific agricultural trait and/or product, not the technology, (4) The European Commission and Member States should do more to support fundamental research in plant sciences and protect the testing in field trials of novel crop variants, and (5) Modernising EU regulatory frameworks would help to address the implications of current policy disconnects in support of science and innovation at regional and global levels. There is also continuing need for wide-ranging engagement on critical issues, including re-examination of the appropriate use of the precautionary principle.

Download the publication http://www.easac.eu/fileadmin/PDF_s/reports_statements/Easac_14_NBT.pdf

01 / 07 / 2015

The evolution of atmospheric ozone. The point in 2015

Marie-Lise Chanin, Cathy Clerbaux, Sophie Godin-Beekmann

Académie des Sciences

The evolution of atmospheric ozone.

Download the publication http://www.academie-sciences.fr/pdf/rapport/ozone0615.pdf

15 / 06 / 2015

Quantum Technology: From research to application

Wolfgang P. Schleich

German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina; acatech – National Academy of Science and Engineering; Union of the German Academies of Sciences and Humanities

Those involved with quantum technology and their basic physical principles quickly come up against considerable challenges. Quantum physical effects do not directly correspond to our experience of daily life. It is difficult to comprehend that a particle can take two different paths if not observed in the interim and that the two particles, millions of light-years apart, can behave in the same way as if they were somehow linked by an invisible connection. These phenomena have long been the subject of puzzlement in physics and have led to intensive debate, so it is to be expected that this report will prove challenging to many readers. Our objective is to demonstrate that it is worth considering the phenomenon of quantum physics and the technologies based on them as they are part of an already emerging field of specific applications and, in other areas, have the potential to substantially improve on current technological solutions.

https://www.leopoldina.org/en/policy-advice/working-groups/completed-working-groups/quantum-technology/

01 / 06 / 2015

Joint Statement on the Energy Transition in France and Germany

Sébastien Balibar, Catherine Bréchignac, Edouard Brézin, Sébastien Candel, Marc Fontecave, Robert Guillaumont, Didier Roux, Olivier Appert, Yves Bamberger, Alain Bugat, Thierry Chambolle, Jean-Michel Charpin, Yannik d'Escatha, Mrc Florette, Bruno Revellin-Falcoz, Gérard Roucairol, Bernard Tardieu, Harald Bolt, Justus Haucap, Reinhard Hüttl, Eva-Maria Jakobs, Wolfram Münch, Ortwin Renn, Eberhard Umbach, Alexander Bradshaw, Christian Rehtanz, Ferdi Schüth, Reimund Schwarze, Hermann-Josef Wagner, Sigmar Wittig

Académie des Sciences , Académie des Technologies , acatech , German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina

A source of welfare, health, social and economic development, energy is essential to human life. Meeting world energy demand, restraining energy consumption in developed countries, and reducing global emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) raises fundamental challenges for the future of our planet. Because the problem is so pervasive and because of the approaching 21. UN Climate Change Conference, COP 21, the four National Academies of science and technology in France and Germany organized workshops on the 'energy transition' to provide a framework for sharing knowledge, anticipating future challenges, identifying areas for closer cooperation between our countries and generating advice for decision makers and society in general. The workshops defined the following priority areas for further collaboration: energy efficiency, grid infrastructure and smart grids, mobility, nuclear energy (fission): safety and waste management, fusion, renewable energies, energy storage as well as social and economic aspects of the energy transition. In view of the complex challenges, compounded by the political debate, and the different conditions and starting points for the energy transition in the two countries, the four academies also identified the five common lines of action.

https://www.leopoldina.org/en/publications/detailview/publication/joint-statement-on-the-energy-transition-in-france-and-germany-2015/

01 / 06 / 2015

Public Health in Germany: Structures, Developments and Global Challenges

Detlev Ganten, Jean-Francois Bach, Axel Börsch-Supan, Reinhard Burger, Martina Cornel, Antoine Flahault, Peter Goldblatt, Jörg Hacker, Ilona Kickbusch, Uwe Koch-Gromus, Alfons Labisch, Peter Propping, Bernt-Peter Robra, Frank Rösler, Günter Stock, Volker ter Meulen, Jos van der Meer, Hans-Peter Zenner

German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina; acatech – National Academy of Science and Engineering; Union of the German Academies of Sciences and Humanities

Public health is an important integrative science, translating basic research into better health of populations. Present academic structures for public health research and teaching in Germany are fragmented and, despite continuing efforts and progress, do not always meet national needs and international standards in either scope or scale. Although there are excellent individuals and institutions working in public and global health in Germany, as can be concluded from publication and citation analysis and other indicators, they need increased political support, improved structures and significant research investment.

https://www.leopoldina.org/en/publications/detailview/publication/public-health-in-deutschland-2015/

01 / 06 / 2015

Submission to the Convention on Biological Diversity’s request for information on biodiversity and climate change and disaster risk reduction

The Royal Society

This response is based on the findings published in the Royal Society report ‘Resilience to extreme weather’, which considers the latest scientific evidence concerning the risk of extreme weather – river and coastal flooding, droughts, and heatwaves – on people throughout the world. Risk is determined by the likelihood and severity of a hazard (an extreme weather event, such as a flood), exposure (the presence of people, infrastructure, ecosystems, etc. in a given location) to the hazard, and vulnerability (susceptibility to damaging effects) in the event of a hazard. The report indicates where high densities of vulnerable people are more likely to be exposed to hazards in the coming decades, and assesses actions that can help prevent disasters. It shows how, with forethought and planning, societies can do more than simply cope with extreme weather, and can instead adapt, progress and develop: how they can build resilience. Key points: (1) Recent advances in understanding the mechanisms behind ecosystem-based approaches may allow us to develop more generalisable rules for their application in the future. (2) Ecosystem-based approaches provide many additional positive consequences that are beneficial to local communities and are delivered consistently over time and not just when extreme weather strikes. (3) Maintaining existing vegetation is one of the most affordable options for providing resilience across all types of extreme weather. (4) Improved monitoring and evaluation of ecosystem-based approaches is needed. (5) Physical interventions are more likely to be effective if they are paired with social approaches. Engaging with local communities is necessary to identify additional costs and benefits of interventions, and is vital for building resilience.

https://royalsociety.org/topics-policy/publications/2015/response-uncbd-inquiry-ecosystem-based-adaptation/

14 / 04 / 2015

Future of the Ocean: Impact of Human Activities on Marine Systems

G7 Science Academies

Human activities are driving major changes in the oceans of the world. One key driver of changes is elevated carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration in the atmosphere caused by human activities. This leads to ocean acidification, warming and deoxygenation, changes in ocean circulation, continued sea level rise, and an altered marine productivity and biodiversity. Other key drivers are pollution with nutrients, chemicals and plastic, overfishing and spreading of invasive species. All of the changes in the ocean have profound effects on human wellbeing and human societies in many regions of the Earth. The G7 Academies of Sciences call for: (1) changing the course of nations’ CO2 emissions, (2) reducing and further regulating man-made pollution of the sea, (3) ending overfishing and preserving marine biodiversity and ecosystem function through research-based management and (4) enhancing international scientific cooperation to better predict, manage and mitigate future changes in the ocean, and their impacts on human societies and the environment.

https://www.leopoldina.org/en/publications/detailview/publication/die-zukunft-der-ozeane-der-einfluss-menschlicher-aktivitaet-auf-meeressysteme-2015/

01 / 04 / 2015

Neglected Tropical Diseases

G7 Science Academies

Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) are a group of infections that affect mainly the poorest and place an economic burden on low and middle-income countries. In principle, NTDs are preventable, treatable, controllable and some even eradicable. Moreover, most interventions against NTDs are highly cost-effective. To make progress toward preventing, controlling and eliminating NTDs, the G7 Academies of Sciences call for: (1) increasing efforts to empower and build capacity in affected countries to deal with these diseases, (2) intensifying research on NTDs, (3) developing and delivering affordable and accessible treatments, and (4) NTDs to be fully accounted for in the Sustainable Development Goals.

https://www.leopoldina.org/en/publications/detailview/publication/vernachlaessigte-tropenkrankheiten-2015/

01 / 04 / 2015

Infectious Diseases and Antimicrobial Resistence: Threats and Necessary Actions

G7 Science Academies

Emerging infectious diseases and antimicrobial resistance seriously endanger individual and global health. A comprehensive strategy is needed to tackle health threats from infectious diseases – one that requires a much more visible political and public profile and a cross-sectoral approach, involving health, agriculture, development, economy and other policy areas. The G7 Academies of Sciences call for: (1) accelerating research and production of new antimicrobial agents, vaccines and diagnostics, (2) prioritising the research agenda to fill knowledge gaps for key diseases, (3) installing global surveillance programmes, (4) raising awareness in society, and (5) a coordinated rapid response in the face of major epidemics. Only then can the necessary resources be generated to ensure optimal prevention, diagnosis, and treatment for all.

https://www.leopoldina.org/en/publications/detailview/publication/infektionskrankheiten-und-antimikrobielle-resistenz-risiken-und-erforderliche-massnahmen-2015/

01 / 04 / 2015

Ecosystem services, agriculture and neonicotinoids

Peter Neumann, Jan Frouz, Juha Helenius, Jean-Pierre Sarthou, Alexandra-Maria Klein, Elke Genersch, …   see more contributors

Anikó Kovács-Hostánzki, Ferenc Samu, Jane Stout, Francesco Pennacchio, Frank Berendse, Martin van den Berg, Ingemar Fries, Michael Norton

European Academies Science Advisory Council

A focus on honey bees has distorted the debate around neonicotinoids. There is increasing evidence that widespread use of neonicotinoids has severe effects on a range of organisms that provide ecosystem services like pollination and natural pest control, as well as on biodiversity. Public and political attention has focused on whether honey bee colonies are being affected by neonicotinoids but have failed to pay attention to the many other species providing the ecosystem services of pollination, natural pest control, soil productivity or the underpinning of biodiversity. Some intensive agriculture has become reliant on neonicotinoids, with proponents arguing that their withdrawal would have serious economic and food security implications. However, EASAC notes that some recent research has questioned the benefits of routine use as seed dressing against occasional or secondary pests. In some cases, neonicotinoid use has even made pest problems worse by eliminating insects that provided natural pest control. As the EASAC report acknowledges, all pesticides involve a balancing act between the desired effect on food production and the inevitable risk of collateral damage to non-target species and the environment. In the case of the neonicotinoids, the increase in scientific knowledge over the last two years suggests that the current balance requires reassessment.

Download the publication http://www.easac.eu/fileadmin/Reports/Easac_15_ES_web_complete_01.pdf

01 / 04 / 2015

The scientific basis for climate change

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences

The Earth’s climate is variable and has undergone many changes, both gradual and rapid, throughout its history. During mankind’s time on Earth, periods with temperatures comparable to those of today have alternated with colder ice ages. These often relatively dramatic climate changes have accompanied mankind’s evolution and successful development. A rapidly expanding population and growing economic development over the last two centuries, with increased demands for energy and other natural resources, have resulted in society becoming increasingly vulnerable to environmental changes, both those that are natural and those caused by mankind.

Download the publication http://www.kva.se/globalassets/vetenskap_samhallet/miljo_klimat/uttalanden/uttalande_klimat_eng_150410.pdf

01 / 04 / 2015

For scientifically sound, impartial, easily accessible and comprehensible information in the field of medicinal products

Gilles Bouvenot, Monique Adolphe, Yves Chapuis, Jean-Paul Giroud, Patrice Queneau, Jean Sassard, Jean-Paul Tillement, Pierre Bégué, Michel Lhermitte, Alain Astier, François Chast, Jean-Pierre Foucher, Jean-Loup Parier

Académie Nationale de Médecine

The French National Academy of Medicine and the French National Academy of Pharmacy consider that the profusion and spreading of contradictory information about medicines and vaccines via the media and websites lead to a loss of markers and sometimes a lack of trust in the messages of official institutions. Deeply concerned by the bad effects some of that information may have on public health, particularly when they are alarming, caricatured, insufficiently founded or even wrong, both Academies put forward a certain number of recommendations aiming at better expressing an objective, impartial and scientifically founded information which can easily be accessible and understandable to the public as they are a non disputable marker in such a confused context.

http://www.academie-medecine.fr/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Bouvenot-amend%C3%A9-ANMmars2014.pdf

04 / 03 / 2015

Is the e-cigarette a way away from tobacco in the society?

Gérard Dubois, Jean-Pierre Goulle, Jean Costentin, Jean-François Allilaire, Guy Dirheimer, Claude Dreux, Bernard Lechevalier, Jean-Roger Le Gall, Henri Loo, Jean-Pierre Olié, Yvan Touitou, Francis Wattel, Michel Hamon, Marie-Thérèse Hermange, Françoise Morel

Académie Nationale de Médecine

The e-cigarette is worrying as it could be not so safe, a way of initiation for youngsters to nicotine, make it impossible to implement the tobacco smoking bans. Its use as a tobacco cessation tool is under evaluation. Even still partials, studies show that if the e-cigarettes have to be regulated and under surveillance, they are too a true new opportunity as their development in France goes along with a marked decrease of the tobacco market.

http://www.academie-medecine.fr/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/15.3.3-DUBOIS-rapport-v-EC-15.3.5.pdf

03 / 03 / 2015

Economic relevance of outpatient surgery

Michel Huguier, Gérard Milhaud, Renaud Denoix de Saint-Marc, Gérard Dubois, Christian Géraut, Jean-Paul Giroud, Guy Nicola,s Claude Rossignol, Jean-Paul Tillement

Académie Nationale de Médecine

For many years, the National Academy of Medicine has considered outpatient surgery with great interest; latest estimates suggest that it can achieve savings between 0.5 to 6 billion euros annually. It is however difficult to establish how these savings are relevant

http://www.academie-medecine.fr/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Chir-ambul-mars-2015.pdf

03 / 03 / 2015

Taking joint actions on disasters, development and climate change

The Royal Society

Building on the Royal Society’s 2014 Resilience to extreme weather report, this statement outlines the need to make international policy frameworks on disasters, development and climate change consistent and underpinned by science. Extreme weather can have a devastating impact on people’s lives and livelihoods. It represents a major obstacle to development, often preventing people from escaping poverty or pulling them into it. Societies are not well adapted to the extreme weather being experienced today. Compounding this, future climatic and demographic changes will increase the exposure of people and their assets to this threat. The three United Nations frameworks provide a unique opportunity to mobilise activity and build people’s resilience to extreme weather in a sustainable and equitable way. The agreements and actions arising from them will be more successful if they are consistent and implemented in a joined-up manner. In all cases actions will be more effective when underpinned by timely, relevant information including the best available science.

https://royalsociety.org/topics-policy/publications/2015/taking-joint-action-on-disasters-development-climate-change/

02 / 03 / 2015

Role, Value and Scale of Higher Education in Ireland

Rory O'Donnell, David Foster, Pat Phelan, Irene Sheridan, Tom Brazil, Richard Hayes, Christine Loscher, Patrick Geoghegan, Jen Harvey, Joseph Ryan , John O'Neill, Rosario Ryan

The Royal Irish Academy

The Royal Irish Academy convened a consultation forum for senior academics in higher education. The four thematic areas considered were (1) Meeting labour-market needs: the role of higher-education institutions in responding to employers’ skills needs and developing the soft skills of students; getting the right balance between meeting employers’ needs and nurturing the individual talents of students; engaged learning strategies; the goal of graduate employment; and the workplace as a centre of learning. (2) Supporting innovation: how best to support foundation, targeted and applied research; the role and potential of humanities and creative-art disciplines in innovation; and the appropriate role of HE institutions in delivering innovation. (3) Quality of student experience: student development; the quality of the student experience; the hollowing-out of the student experience; and the set of balances to be struck in the HE sector. (4) Making access more equitable: access initiatives by HE institutions; key HE access requirements; recognition of experiential learning; and alternative access pathways.

Download the publication https://www.ria.ie/sites/default/files/role-value-and-scale-of-higher-education.pdf

01 / 03 / 2015

Transplantation Medicine and Organ Allocation in Germany: Problems and Perspectives

Dieter Birnbacher, Monika Bobbert, Wolfgang U Eckart, Detlev Ganten, Stefan Huster, Jan C Joerden, Matthias Rothmund, Bettina Schöne-Seifert, Rüdiger Siewert, Urban Wiesing, Hans-Peter Zenner, Wolf O Bechstein, Frank Dietrich, Thomas Gutmann, Bruno Meiser, Rüdiger Strehl, Steffen Augsberg, Friedrich Breyer, Ingwer Ebsen, Wolfgang E Fleig, Gertrud Greif-Higer, Ulrich Kunzendorf, Hans Lilie, Peter Neuhaus, Ruth Rissing-van Saan, Martin Siess

acatech , German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina , The Union of the German Academies of Sciences and Humanities

This paper concerns the structural development of German transplantation medicine and the organ allocation system in the interest of all those involved, especially patients waiting for transplants. The central issues are: (1) The democratic legitimation of basic normative allocation criteria by parliament, (2) An effective legal protection framework for patients, (3) An independent organisational structure that avoids intertwining between specific institutions and practitioners and which facilitates clear accountability, (4) The further development of transplant centres, which are assessed for the quality of their processes, structures and results, and which conduct transplant research, (5) Comprehensive transparency at every level. The following considerations should serve as a springboard for the necessary discussions to further develop transplantation medicine. Whilst the standard of transplantation medicine in Germany is admittedly high, it urgently requires better and more effective structures.

https:www.leopoldina.org/en/publications/detailview/publication/transplantationsmedizin-und-organallokation-in-deutschland-2015/

01 / 03 / 2015

Statement on Plant Genetic Engineering

Hans-Georg Dederer, Bärbel Friedrich, Christian Jung, Bernd Mueller-Roeber, Alfred Pühler, Matin Qaim, Jochen Taupitz

acatech , German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina , The Union of the German Academies of Sciences and Humanities

Genetically modified plants differ from the original cultivars in that genes are deliberately introduced into the plants, or existing genes are deliberately modified. Use of GMOs can result in increased yields, higher incomes for farmers, and reduced use of insecticides. The international trend towards increased GMO cultivation is clear; however, it conflicts with the political and legal situation in Germany, where field tests and commercial cultivation of genetically modified plants are no longer taking place. It is questionable whether the regulations under the German Genetic Engineering Act, which are linked to specific types of genetic modification, are still practicable and appropriate. The breeding products of some new molecular genetic methods can hardly be distinguished, from the products of non-regulated techniques that are considered conventional breeding. The German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, acatech – the National Academy of Science and Engineering, and the Union of the German Academies of Sciences and Humanities strongly recommend that future risk assessment should be based primarily on the specific characteristics of new plant cultivars and not on the process by which they are produced. The Academies argue against a general ban on GMO cultivation, which is not scientifically justified. The Academies consider such prohibitions in Germany an acute threat to freedom of research and professional freedom, to property protection and general freedom of action, and thus to opportunities for studying, developing and commercially utilising genetically engineered crop plants. Therefore, the German academies emphatically recommend a science-based evaluation on a case-by-case basis. Moreover, field trials are indispensable for risk assessment of GMOs, especially following a deregulation procedure.

https://www.leopoldina.org/en/publications/detailview/publication/stellungnahme-zur-gruenen-gentechnik-2015/

01 / 03 / 2015

Incorporating the German Energiewende into a comprehensive European approach

Christoph M Schmidt, Hans-Jürgen Appelrath, Ulrich Büdenbender, Ottmar Edenhofer, Justus Haucap, Brigitte Knopf, Thomas C Lange, Christoph Mayer, Christian Rehtanz, Michael Themann

acatech , German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina , The Union of the German Academies of Sciences and Humanities

The working hypothesis underlying the academies’ position paper is that climate protection is the main objective in the efforts leading to a transition of the energy system (“Energiewende”). The statement describes different options for an incorporation of the German Energiewende into a comprehensive European approach. It focuses on the EU emissions trading scheme (EU ETS) as a key instrument for tackling climate change and facilitating European market integration. Furthermore, it describes how the EU ETS could be complemented by measures strengthening the European internal electricity market. Subsequently, the issued recommendations are reviewed regarding their legal feasibility and compliance with European law.

http://www.leopoldina.org/en/publications/detailview/publication/die-energiewende-europaeisch-integrieren-2015/

01 / 03 / 2015

Royal Society Submission to the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee 2010-2015 report

The Royal Society

The House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee plays a vital role in scrutinising the environmental protection and sustainable development policies and programmes across government. The Society wishes to highlight some additional issues that should be addressed in the next parliament: (1) International agreements – on disaster risk reduction, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and climate change – must be ambitious, aligned and consistent. (2) A vital issue is how to move beyond GDP to more comprehensive wealth measures. (3) The Committee could scrutinise the degree to which the Natural Capital Committee’s (NCC) recommendations are being followed-up under the new Government, and the future oversight of the issues they have highlighted. (4) Two other issues which may warrant further investigation include the effectiveness of the environmental measures within the Common Agricultural Policy; and the issue of multifunctional landscapes, including the success of Nature Improvements Areas, uplands policy etc. (5) The next parliament will play an important role in ensuring the 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets are reached by 2020. It would be useful if the Committee were to assess UK progress towards these targets. The Society recommend that (1) The Committee actively engage with and draw upon the strong UK research base in identifying emerging issues for assessment throughout the next parliament. (2) The Committee could examine how well departments work together to deliver these objectives. (3) The Committee consider working with other Select Committees to address issues where remits and expertise overlap. (4) The Committee consider working with parliaments overseas to consider issues which require co-ordinated global action such as population and consumption, alternative wealth measures and, more broadly, how governments can overcome barriers to sustainability together.

https://royalsociety.org/topics-policy/publications/2015/submission-hoc-environmental-audit-committee-progress-report/

02 / 02 / 2015

Palliative care in Germany: Perspectives for practice and research

Lukas Radbruch, Hans-Peter Zenner, Klaus Auernhammer, Georg Ertl, Dominik Gross, Michael Hallek, Gerhard Höver, Ferdinand Hucho, Saskia Jünger, Martina Kern, Ulrich R Kleeberg, Volker Lipp, Friedemann Nauck, Thomas Norgall, Jürgen Osterbrink, Christoph Ostgathe, Klaus-Maria Perrar, Holger Pfaff, Mathias Pfisterer, Jan Schildmann, Thomas Schmitz-Rode, Nils Schneider, Werner Schneider

acatech , German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina , The Union of the German Academies of Sciences and Humanities

The aim of palliative care is to achieve or maintain the best possible quality of life for patients, their families and relatives in the face of life-threatening, incurable conditions. ‘Palliative care’ is used here as a generic term for any activities involving such individuals. The prevention and relief of suffering are key priorities. A prerequisite of this is the early recognition and accurate recording of all impairments, symptoms and areas of conflict at all physical, mental, social and spiritual levels. There is also conjecture about the efficiency of palliative care, since health care research in this area is still in its early days, and there is a substantial need for studies focused on the field of palliative medicine. This statement will make recommendations about what has to be done in the light of both the need to catch up and the perceptible additional demands the future will bring.

https://www.leopoldina.org/en/publications/detailview/publication/palliativversorgung-in-deutschland-2015/

01 / 02 / 2015

Submission to the UK Parliamentarians on population dynamics in the post-2015 world

The Royal Society

Royal Society submission to the UK All-Party Parliamentary Group on Population, Development and Reproductive Health inquiry into population dynamics in the post-2015 world. Key points: (1) Societies around the world face a number of challenges including the distribution of limited resources, inequality and risks from climate change. (2) Action must be taken to address these challenges and place the world on a sustainable path. (3) Population and the environment are inseparable factors in sustainable development. (4) Action should be taken to continue the downward trajectory of fertility rates including education, investment in young women, improved reproductive health and voluntary family planning programmes. (5) Future changes in demography across the world are expected to significantly increase the number of people exposed to extreme weather and their vulnerability to it. (6) Addressing population growth is key but it isn’t sufficient to provide a sustainable future. (7) The agreement of the 2015 Sustainable Development Goals this year offers an opportunity to recognise these issues and align action with other global policy frameworks.

https://royalsociety.org/topics-policy/publications/2015/population-dynamics-post-2015/

31 / 01 / 2015

Submission to the Environmental Audit Committee on the Environmental Risks of Fracking

The Royal Academy of Engineering (UK) , The Royal Society

The Royal Society and Royal Academy of Engineering have jointly responded to the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee inquiry into the Environmental Risks of Fracking. In particular the report concluded: (1) Fracking can be managed effectively in the UK as long as operational best practices are implemented and enforced through regulation. (2) Seismicity induced by fracking is likely to be of even smaller magnitude than coal mining related seismicity. (3) Shale gas extraction in the UK is presently at a very small scale, involving only exploratory activities. Uncertainties can be addressed through robust monitoring systems and research activities identified in the report. There is greater uncertainty about the scale of production activities should a future shale gas industry develop nationwide. Attention must be paid to the way in which risks scale up. (4) Risks should be assessed across the entire lifecycle of shale gas extraction, including risks associated with disposal of wastes and abandonment of wells and seismicity. (5) Decision making would benefit from further research into the climate risks associated with both the extraction and use of shale gas and into the public acceptability of all these risks in the context of the UK’s energy, climate and economic policies.

https://royalsociety.org/topics-policy/publications/2015/submission-on-environmental-risks-fracking/

07 / 01 / 2015

The Public Understanding of Synthetic Biology: Considerations in the context of science-based advice to policy-makers and the public

Renate Kocher, Markus Küppers, Bärbel Friedrich, Jörg Hacker, Alfred Pühler

German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina , Institut für Demoskopie Allensbach

Public opinion plays an exceptional role in society’s willingness to accept new research fields and technologies. But what about those research areas which are scarcely known outside the labs in which they are studied? This paper uses a representative population survey to analyse the level of knowledge and attitude of the German population to innovative technologies, using the example of synthetic biology. The paper presents the results of the survey, as well as the thoughts of a group of experts on improving communication on synthetic biology. The authors aim to encourage debate on the – as yet – unexploited opportunities for scientific communication. At the same time, the empirical data provides initial insights into the perception of synthetic biology by the population, journalists and researchers.

https://www.leopoldina.org/en/publications/detailview/publication/die-synthetische-biologie-in-der-oeffentlichen-meinungsbildung-2015/

01 / 01 / 2015



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