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. Use the box below to search for keywords, academies or contributors.

Making the commodity sector work for developing countries: local impacts, global links, and knowledge gaps

Daniela Bucher, Thomas Cottier, Pascal Dey, Manfred Elsig, Ilaria Espa, Simone Franzi, …   see more contributors

Stephen Gelb, Markus Giger, Milena Holzgang, Judith Wehrli, Florian Wettstein

Swiss Academy of Sciences

Switzerland occupies an important position in the global trade of hard and soft commodities. Companies headquartered within its borders direct-ly or indirectly shape commodity extraction practices around the world, some of which carry considerable negative environmental and social risks on the ground, particularly in fragile contexts. Minimizing these risks and maximizing shared economic gains could enable mutually benefi-cial development and counteract persistent social and political inequality.

31 / 12 / 2016

Agreement on Access and Benefit-sharing for Academic Research: A toolbox for drafting Mutually Agreed Terms for access to Genetic Resources and to Associated Traditional Knowledge and Benefit-sharing

Susette Biber-Klemm, Sylvia I. Martinez, Anne Jacob, Ana Jevtic

Swiss Academy of Sciences

This manual contains a set of model clauses from negotiations of Access and Benefit-sharing (ABS) contracts that enables users and providers of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge to set up a contract that is adapted to the individual academic research situation. If mutually negotiated and agreed upon by the involved partners it can yield a “Mutually Agreed Terms” ABS contract. The manual provides sectoral model contractual clauses for academic research in the sense of Article 19.1 of the Nagoya Protocol.

31 / 12 / 2016

Utilization of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge in academic research. A good practice guide for access and benefit-sharing

Susette Biber-Klemm, Sylvia I. Martinez

Swiss Academy of Sciences

This guide informs the academic community – researchers and research managers alike – about the system that governs access to genetic resources and Associated Traditional Knowledge and the sharing of the benefits arising from their use, as established by the Convention on Biological Diversity and its Nagoya Protocol. Along Art. 20.1 the brochure explains the steps that researchers must take when accessing biological resources for research purposes and it informs about the Agreement on Access and Benefit-sharing for Academic Research (ABS) legislation in Switzerland.

31 / 12 / 2016

Switzerland and the Commodities Trade: taking stock and looking ahead

Anu Lannen, Elisabeth Bürgi Bonanomi, Stephan Rist, Judith Wehrli

Switzerland has recently emerged as one of the world’s most important hubs in the global trade of commodities. But its rise has been accompa-nied by concerns about transparency, appropriate regulation, and risks to resource-exporting developing countries. A growing body of evidence points not only to beneficial, but also to harmful effects of commodities trading and extraction on resource-exporting poor countries. These in-clude risks of undiversified economic development, political corruption, environmental damage, and human rights violations. However, there is a profound lack of scientific research on the role of major commodity hubs like Switzerland, where vital commodities such as oil, metals, and grains are traded and extractive companies are headquartered. Could policy changes in Switzerland make the commodity sector more sustaina-ble and its impact more mutually beneficial? This factsheet outlines key challenges, knowledge gaps, and research questions centring on Switzer-land’s role and potential responsibility as a leading commodity hub. It concludes with suggestions of possible avenues for future research and policy.

31 / 12 / 2016

Solo self-employment, worker entrepreneurship, crowdworking and co: flexible working and its consequences

Jens O. Meissner, Johann Weichbrodt, Bettina Hübscher, Sheron Baumann, Ute Klotz, Ulrich …   see more contributors

Pekruhl, Leila Gisin, Alexandra Gisler

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

A job for one’s entire working life, with regulated office working hours from eight in the morning until six in the evening – this model belongs to the past. Many people now work on the train and on the bus, from home or at the client’s premises. And they also work on a job late in the evening or even in the small hours of the morning when everyone else is asleep. Work has become flexible: in terms of location and time, but also of content. Businesses too are increasingly elastic in their forward planning. For instance, they allow longer periods of time off and part-time working, and set up project-based working groups for which they also sometimes hire external specialist workers on a temporary basis. Even wages are no longer a fixed value, but can be linked to business performance. In this environment, Swiss employment law compares favourably with that in other European countries. It allows sufficient organisational scope and safeguards employees materially and with regard to their rights and health protection. But the question is, whether the existing legal and institutional framework can still respond to foreseeable changes in the world of work.

31 / 12 / 2016

When the future lies in the genes: non-invasive prenatal tests and their consequences

Susanne Brauer, Jean-Daniel Strub, et al

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

Children represent our future, and on them rests parents’ hope that they will be able to perpetuate their family history. Babies should therefore benefit from the best possible starting conditions: one’s desire for one’s offspring is that they are healthy and strong. Since the 1980s, pregnant women in Switzerland have been routinely offered tests to enable them to find out whether their baby is laying correctly and developing properly – and if need be to initiate therapeutic or other precautionary measures even before the birth. Although the current ultrasound tests provide relatively reliable results, their informative value is not absolute. Especially when they indicate that the embryo may possibly have a medical condition, a more detailed investigation will be recommended to the expectant mother. Until now, this has necessitated removing cells from the placenta or amniotic fluid. However, these invasive procedures increase the risk of a miscarriage. More recently, so-called non-invasive prenatal tests (NIPT) have been available that only involve blood being taken from the pregnant woman. From this are extracted fragments of the embryonic genetic material, which is then tested for possible genetic defects.

31 / 12 / 2016

Outdoor Sports Infrastructure Planning – Hiking and Mountain Biking

Reto Rupf, Astrid Wallner

Swiss Academy of Sciences

Hiking and mountain biking are extremely popular sports activities. Especially in mountain areas, they are the two main summertime leisure activities. Many natural habitats, however, have been affected by the frequent presence of large numbers of people; conflicts between different kinds of users have also arisen. This factsheet presents various planning tools for conflict prevention or resolution, and provides an overview of likely future challenges.

31 / 12 / 2016

Scotland and the British Bill of Rights

Christine Bell

The British Academy

Scotland and the British Bill of Rights addresses the specific considerations for Scotland of repeal or replacement of the Human Rights Act. It states that if the Human Rights act 1998 were to be repealed or replaced there would be a consequential need to amend the Scotland Act.

24 / 12 / 2016

Human Rights Reform and the UK’s International Human Rights Obligations

Tobias Lock

The British Academy

This briefing by explores the UK's international human rights obligations and their interaction with domestic law.

24 / 11 / 2016

Industrie 4.0 in a Global Context – Strategies for Cooperating with International Partners

Henning Kagermann, Reiner Anderl, Jürgen Gausemeier, Günther Schuh, Wolfgang Wahlster


The transformation of the economy being brought about by Industrie 4.0 is leading to the emergence of highly flexible value networks. Businesses now need to network their production activities both in-house and with the systems of external partners. This in turn requires new forms of cooperation, both nationally and globally. Common norms and standards enabling interoperability between different systems are equally essential. This acatech STUDY analyses the opportunities and challenges for businesses of international cooperation and the current competition to establish norms and standards. It is based on interviews and discussions with more than 150 experts from Germany, China, Japan, South Korea, the US and the UK. Detailed country profiles describe the background situation and Industrie 4.0 status quo in the focus countries. Finally, the study makes a number of recommendations for German actors regarding cooperation with international partners.

23 / 11 / 2016

Skills for Industrie 4.0 – Training Requirements and Solutions (Short Version)

Michae ten Hompell


Industrie 4.0 is bringing lasting changes in the workplace. Technologies that connect things, data, and processes are placing new demands on employees and management, especially in industry. Workplace training for Industrie 4.0 is thus the key to the success of industrial enterprises. The implementation of the digital transformation possesses particular challenges for SMEs. At the same time, however, Industrie 4.0 is making new, digital continuing professional development formats available that allow training content to be precisely tailored to the knowledge and needs of staff and management. The constantly changing list of skills required for Industrie 4.0 must be regularly updated so that the relevant adjustments in the education system can be made. In the future, the focus will be on interdisciplinary thinking and acting, cross-functional process know-how, and IT skills involving both specialised and more general application knowledge. The goal should be to prevent a twofold digital divide between large and small industrial enterprises and between high-skilled and low-skilled workers. SMEs should receive special support to help them develop the skills needed for Industrie 4.0.

16 / 11 / 2016

Cardiac Surgery in 2025

Alain Pavie, Yves Logeais, Francis Wattel, Iradj Gandjbakhch, Jacques Barbier, Jacques Baulieux, Philippe Boutelier, Christian Cabrol, Yves Chapuis, Christian Chatelain, Claude-Henri Chouard, Gilles Crepin, François Dubois, Henri Laccourrey, François Legent, Michel Malafosse, Paul Malvy, Jean-Marie Mantz, Jacques Philippon, Jacques Saint-Julien, Jean-Louis Arne, Karim Boudjema, Michel Cosson, Hugues Duffau, Michel Germain, Christine Grain-Dagorno, Fabien Koskas, André Lienhart, Georges Mantion, Michel Merle, Francis Michot, Jean-Louis Peix, François Richard, Jean-Pierre Tirboulet, Yves Tropet, Richard Villet, Jean-Marc Vital

Académie Nationale de Médecine

A deep transformation is ongoing for cardiology and heart surgery; we have planned to do a prospective analysis of cardio-vascular surgery in 2025. More severe and older coronary patients will have to be treated in the future. The improving TAVI results will probably allow to enlarge the indications to less severe and younger patients. We can think that in the next 10 years there will be a reduction of aortic valve surgery. The percutaneous procedures will need to be always performed in medico-surgical centers with a multi-disciplinary Heart team. The management of severe cardiac failure patients will probably increase a lot with the development of mechanical cardiac support. Classical adults’ cardiac surgery will need to be done in “local” centers, high level operations performed in “expertise” teams. National Medical Academy recommends: concentrating several surgical teams, and creating networks between local and expertise teams for the management of rare clinical cases.

15 / 11 / 2016

Human Rights from the perspective of Devolution in Wales

Thomas Glyn Watkin

The British Academy

This briefing explores issues in a Welsh context in relation to the European Convention on Human Rights.

04 / 11 / 2016

Indicators for a circular economy

Ioannis Agapitidis, Geraldine A Cusack, Guiseppe Mininni, Sture Öberg, Ionut Purica, Kristin Vala Ragnarsdottir, …   see more contributors

Baiba Rivza, Gunter Stephan, Michael Norton

European Academies Science Advisory Council

This report considers basic drivers for shifting from a linear to a circular economy and the demand for related indicators. Major priorities in circular economy are the decoupling of resource use and environmental impact from economic activities and measurement of resource efficiency and waste reduction. Tracking material flows is thus a key component. However, such basic concepts do not capture the environmental impact of resources extraction and use, or the objective of more efficiently using goods, including repairing and reusing. The report reviews the indicators recently proposed in different fields and assesses their relevance for the circular economy. EASAC makes the following specific points: (1) Resource productivity is already widely measured but captures only whether output is growing more than resource use and emissions. Other measures are required to provide information on environmental pressures in absolute terms. (2) Recycling and reuse targets exist under five existing Directives, which provide an obvious potential source of indicators. A composite indicator expressing the degree to which EU Member States were reaching the directives’ targets could be considered. (3) Material flow indicators should take into account the complexities of recycling and the potential trade-offs between outputs of different recycled metals from mixed waste streams. (4) To support policy objectives, indicators by industrial sector on critical raw materials may be desirable, in consultation with industry. (5) Indicators should provide insights and raise public awareness on the global effects of EU production and consumption. (6) Indicators on materials should receive equal importance as those on energy.

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01 / 11 / 2016

Genome Editing

Tom Bisseling, Hans Bos, Cock van Duijn, Paul Hooykaas

Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences

A broad international discussion is needed on genome editing. The main question is not whether we should use genome editing but in what way and for what purposes. Existing regulations governing genetically modified organisms must also be re-evaluated because their relevance to genome editing is by no means clear. These are the observations of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences in this position paper on the scientific, ethical and societal aspects of genome editing

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01 / 11 / 2016

Priorities for critical materials for a circular economy

Mark van Loosdrecht, Egbert Lox, Guiseppe Mininni, Kristin Ragnarsdottir, Armin Reller, Gunter …   see more contributors

Stephan, Michael Norton

European Academies Science Advisory Council

Many critical materials still have very low recycling rates, which increases the demand for virgin materials and reduces lifetime of supply. Environmental impacts of extraction of raw materials are substantial and should be considered in criticality assessment. The report compares the energy and water consumption requirements for production of metals from primary ores with those for recycling, and shows major reductions in environmental impact through recycling. EASAC cautions against relying too much on substitution as a solution to anticipated supply constraints and considers securing the future supply of critical materials from two angles: (1) Increase supply, where a fundamental point is that many of the anticipated critical elements are associated in nature with ‘attractor’ or ‘carrier’ base metals and therefore can be co-products of a primary metal smelter, and (2) Improve recycling rates for critical materials, some of which are very low. Consumer goods are an important source but the elements are distributed at low concentrations over a wide range of products, which have to be collected for recycle. However, effective recycling requires sophisticated knowledge of the components present in the end-of-life (EoL) products and this cannot be achieved with mixed recycling in broad categories. A more product-centric approach could encourage EoL recovery, thus providing feedstock for specialised recycling. Product design should consider the complexity of recycling and avoid incompatible material mixtures. The circular economy policy needs to incentivise companies to work towards a circular economy.

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01 / 11 / 2016

Industrie 4.0 – International Benchmark, Options for the Future and Recommendations for Manufacturing Research

Jürgen Gausemeier, Fritz Klocke


Will human workers be the slaves of intelligent machines? Will the internet giants' dominance increase? Is the idea of a networked economy doomed to failure due to security breaches and lack of cooperation? Or will Germany succeed in balancing government engagement, international cooperation, and technical innovation of which workers and companies will benefit equally? In four alternative scenarios for 2030 the project group "International benchmark, future options and recommendations for action for production research" (INBENZHAP) describes possible consequences of digitalisation. The working group surveyed in about 150 interviews of politicians, scientists, companies, and other stakeholders the implementation of Industrie 4.0 in 13 countries worldwide and the European Union. The interviews revealed many different regional strategies for a networked future. Based on this fact, the working group formulated 44 recommendations for action to preserve Germany's digital sovereignty and to make Germany, besides China and the USA, a lead provider and lead market of Industry 4.0.

20 / 10 / 2016

The Charter of Rome on the Resilience of Art Cities to Natural Catastrophes

InterAcademy Partnership , The National Academy of the Lincei

Some 50 international experts converged on Rome, Italy, in October 2016 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Florence flood and to discuss scientific, technological and political developments over the past half-century that can help to protect cultural heritage and ‘Art Cities’ such as Florence from natural disasters. The conference considered catastrophes of ‘natural’ origin, hence the impact of events like floods, tsunamis, hurricanes, landslides, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are included, whilst anthropogenic events, like pollution and war conflicts were excluded. The Charter points out that cultural heritage and Art Cities which should be considered “non renewable resources”, need to have a special status when developing plans for reducing the impacts of natural disasters, and it aims to inform politicians of their responsibilities in this regard. The Charter also notes that academies must also take on activities such as educating the public and raising awareness, promoting additional research and providing a forum for discussing results, and providing advice to policy-makers based on these results in a way that avoids conflicts of interest.

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01 / 10 / 2016

Joint Committee on the Handling of Security-Relevant Research: Progress Report

Frank Allgöwer, Bärbel Friedrich, Stephan Becker, Alfons Bora, Johannes Buchmann, Anke Kaysser-Pyzalla, Kathryn Nixdorff, Lars Schaade, Ulrich Sieber, Fritz Strack, Klaus Tanner, Jochen Taupitz,

German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina , German Research Foundation

This progress report begins with a summary in Chapter A of the developments leading up to the establishment of the Joint Committee on the Handling of Security-Relevant Research by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) and the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina in November 2014. Chapter B reports on the tasks of the Joint Committee and its activities up to 1 October 2016, with particular focus on the progress of implementing the DFG and the Leopoldina’s “Recommendations for Handling Security-Relevant Research” of June 2014. Chapter C provides an overview of the political debate on security-relevant research in Germany, which was prompted by experiments with highly pathogenic influenza viruses. Finally, Chapter D gives an outlook of the planned future development of the Joint Committee.

01 / 10 / 2016

Sackler Forum: Trends in synthetic biology and gain of function and regulatory implications

Jef Boeke, Paul Freemont, Diane Griffin, Peter Kim, Robert Lamb, John Skehel

The Royal Society

This report summarises high-level interdisciplinary discussions on synthetic biology and gain of function. It covers some of the latest cutting edge research and developments and highlights many of the challenges posed by these areas and the possible responses to them, as well as potential gaps in existing regulations. It emphasizes the need for forums that bring together scientists, social scientists and regulators, amongst other stakeholders, to reflect on major new technologies, their potential impacts (both positive and negative), and the regulatory landscape ahead of the time when such discussions may become urgent and reactive. An ongoing scientific dialogue to think ahead on issues such as governance is preferable to blunt-edged tools like moratoriums in the face of undesirable events or negative public relations. The world faces major challenges such as climate change, poverty and infectious disease. New technologies may have a powerful and transformative role in tackling these. Science is advancing ever more rapidly and with it the promise of addressing some of the most pressing global challenges. Discussions from the Forum highlighted that in the future, regulators, scientists and ethicists may need to adjust their traditional models of thinking about risk, to models which also factor in uncertainty and potential benefits, in order to take full advantage of new and emerging technologies. Though new technologies bring with them an entire set of new concerns or raise familiar concerns in a new context, they may also herald a new era of development and optimism, which with considered governance, best practice and appropriate regulations could facilitate their use for humanity’s maximum benefit.

30 / 09 / 2016

Consultation response: Industrial Strategy

The Royal Society

The Society submitted evidence to the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee inquiry into the Industrial Strategy, highlighting issues that the Committee may wish to consider in this Inquiry. These include: the need for long-term investment; increasing productivity; supporting excellence across the UK; building up the national skills pipeline; attracting and retaining key talent; and increasing the UK’s ability to identify and respond to new opportunities and challenges.

30 / 09 / 2016

Northern Ireland and a Bill of Rights for the United Kingdom

Colin Harvey

The British Academy

In Northern Ireland and a Bill of Rights for the United Kingdom, Professor Harvey aims to raise awareness of the Northern Ireland context in any new Bill of Rights, and the influence it would have on future relationships between the UK and Ireland.

24 / 08 / 2016

Government debt: causes, effects and limits

Lars P Feld, Werner Heun, Carl-Ludwig Holtfrerich, Gerhard Illing, Gebhard Kirchgässner, Jürgen Kocka, Moritz Schularick, Wolfgang Streeck, Uwe Wagschal, Stefanie Walter, Carl Christian von Weizsäcker

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

The worldwide financial and economic crisis caused government debt to skyrocket. The German population, particularly sensitized by its experiences with two currency reforms, each of which followed a World War funded by government debt, was particularly spooked. Nevertheless, the ratio of general government debt to gross domestic product (GDP), or government debt-to GDP ratio, has risen since the mid-1970s not only in Germany, but in almost all OECD countries, after having initially fallen after the Second World War or remained at the same low level. German reunification drove the government debt-to-GDP ratio up from 40 percent in 1991 to 60 percent in 1997. The German government debt-to-GDP ratio rose by an additional 17 percentage points following the recent financial and economic crisis; this prompted the enshrinement of the debt brake in the German constitution in 2009. Yet this has failed to quell the public debate on government debt; it is being shaped by a confluence of fears, misjudgments and one-sided assertions. This report aims to clarify misconceptions held within the general public, fill knowledge gaps and shed light on what can be confusing discussion by presenting and explaining the existing evidence in economic, political and social sciences. Though confined to the determinants, the problems and the effects of government debt in the Federal Republic of Germany, this report does not ignore international influences, interdependencies and experiences.

01 / 08 / 2016

Uterus transplantation

Roger Henrion, Jacques Miller, Claudine Bergoignan-Esper, Jean-François Allilaire, Pierre Bégué, Gérard Beniot, Yves Chapuis, Jean-Noël Fiessinger, Pierre Jouannet, Bernard Launois, Yvon Lebranchu, Guy Nicolas

Académie Nationale de Médecine

After recalling the events that preceeded the delivery of the first healthy baby born after uterine transplantation in humans, and reporting the available data, the authors present the updated French legislation on organ transplantation. They then focus on the clinical aspects of uterine transplantation, underlining the complexity of the surgical procedure, the dilemma between the choice of brain dead or deceased donor and living donor, and the indications of uterine transplantation for the recipient. They describe the immunosupressive treatment before and during pregnancy, the complications of variable severity that may happen during the course and the particularly cautious surveillance these pregnancies need, but also the uncertainty concerning breast feeding. They question the middle and long term future of the child, too neglected so far, its psychomotor development and the development of its immune system. They then address the numerous and difficult ethical questions raised by uterine transplantation.

30 / 06 / 2016

Improving management of chronic diseases by generalist practitioner

Claude Jaffiol, Pierre Godeau, Bernard Grosbois

Académie Nationale de Médecine

Chronic diseases lead to most of deaths and health expenses in developed countries. Early diagnosis prevents these diseases from complications and decreases their cost. Two factors may affect the quality of therapeutic control during the follow up: poor compliance in drug use by the patient and clinical inertia by the general practitioner, both leading to a reduced efficiency of therapy, increased complications and health expenses. Therapeutic education of the patients is the best response to improve the management of chronic diseases. However, most practitioners are unable to assume all the steps of health’s path including early diagnosis, prevention of chronic diseases, control and therapeutic education. The reasons are the lack of formation, lack of time and financial difficulties.

21 / 06 / 2016

Rethinking State Fragility

Mats Berdal, Sherard Cowper-Coles, Adam Roberts, Ivan Campbell, Rahul-Roy Chaudhury, Sarah Birch, Sally Healy, Richard Caplan, Christian Dennys, Tom Rodwell

The British Academy

Rethinking State Fragility is a collection of essays from independent analysts and seasoned practitioners that illustrates some of the challenges and contestation in working in areas of conflict and insecurity, and offers insights for future practice and policy.

20 / 05 / 2016

Making education your business: a practical guide to supporting STEM teaching in schools and colleges

The Royal Society

In our Vision for science and mathematics education, the Royal Society called for collaboration between teachers, industry and academia to support excellence and professionalism in science and mathematics teaching. Teachers are a crucial part of inspiring pupils to pursue STEM subjects – in some cases the single biggest influence. By collaborating with teachers, employers can help to ensure confident, well informed and inspiring teaching which helps motivate young people to study STEM and see where these subjects can take them. Developed in collaboration with CBI, this guide sets out five simple steps that can be followed by a company when planning to engage with schools or colleges. It describes the practicalities of setting up a programme, giving key advice at each stage to ensure that the programme supports inspirational STEM teaching. The case studies presented throughout this guide highlight the key features of successful, mutually beneficial, education schemes.

17 / 05 / 2016

Welsh Economic Review – Economic Policies for Peripheral Economies

Gerald Holtham

Cardiff University Press , The Learned Society of Wales

This special issue of the of Welsh Economic Review on Economic Policy for Peripheral Economies was edited by Professor Gerald Holtham FLSW. The papers in the volume range from those taking an extensive view of development issues for peripheral countries in the globalized economy today to those concentrating on particular policy areas.The paper provides an authoritative and objective analysis of the Welsh economy, and regional economies in general, in a manner that promotes understanding and informs future decision-making.

10 / 05 / 2016

Progress and research in cybersecurity: Supporting a resilient and trustworthy system for the UK

Andrew Hopper, John McCanny, Ross Anderson, Philip Bond, Martin Borrett, Sadie Screese, Steven Murdoch, Angela Sasse, Alex van Someren, Claire Vishik

The Royal Society

Digital systems have the potential to deliver significant benefits to society and are central to our security, wellbeing and economic growth. To realise these benefits, we will need robust cybersecurity. This Royal Society report considers the policy frameworks necessary to address these cybersecurity challenges, and the emerging research challenges over the next five to ten years, and finds that (1) Trust is essential for growing and maintaining participation in the digital society. (2) Resilience (the capacity to learn and adapt under stress or in the face of shocks) is essential for earning people’s trust. (3) Research and innovation can generate advances that help cybersecurity keep up with the evolving cyber risks. (4) Translation of innovative ideas and approaches from research will create a strong supply of reliable, proven solutions to difficult to predict cybersecurity risks. (5) Policy, practice and research will all need to adapt. This report makes recommendations to help build a trustworthy, self-improving and resilient digital environment that can thrive in the face of unanticipated threats, and earn the trust people place in it.

01 / 05 / 2016

Genetically modified (GM) plants: questions and answers

David Baulcombe, Jim Dunwell, Jonathan Jones, Ottoline Leyser, John Pickett, John Skehel

The Royal Society

What are genetically modified (GM) plants? Is genetic modification safe? Where are GM crops grown and eaten? Food security is one of this century's key global challenges, and due to the scale of the challenge, we should really think carefully before we rule out any technology that might help deal with the problem. The questions and answers given here are intended to provide a resource to those who are interested in what GM is, how it is used and potential future uses. The Royal Society commissioned Ipsos MORI to find out what people want to know about GM plants, and then drew on a panel of expert, independent scientists to answer your questions. We hope that these answers explain the science behind GM and help you form your own view.

01 / 05 / 2016

Hydraulic Fracturing. A technology under debate


Hydraulic fracturing, commonly referred to as fracking, is controversially debated among politicians and the public. Already employed in Germany for over 50 years, the technology is currently discussed with regard to two applications significant in terms of economic and energy policy: The extraction of shale gas from shale formations and the production of heat and energy from geothermal sources. Addressing the various facets of fracking, the POSITION paper provides a comprehensive scientific and technical overview of the method and its risks and benefits. The study resorts to best practice examples to illustrate how pilot/test projects can be used to continue exploring and implementing the technology while ensuring the highest possible safety standards . acatech thus contributes to broadening the available information base for decision-makers from politics as well as interested members of the public.

30 / 04 / 2016

The Next Generation: Ideas and Experience in African Researcher Support

Caroline Moss

The Association of Commonwealth Universities , The British Academy

As the research leaders of the future, it is early career researchers who will direct and shape the development of African higher education and research. This report does not set out to provide a comprehensive review of early career researcher support. Instead, a number of recommendations are made for developing early career researcher support systems. These recommendations have been formulated in consideration of how early career researcher development strategies can take greater prominence in the African higher education sector, while reflecting on how researcher support systems can be established, sustained, and be most effective, given the context of restricted resources and competing priorities.

30 / 04 / 2016

Consultation response: Commons Science and Technology Inquiry into Science Communication

The Royal Society

This submission provides an overview of the Society’s own science communication activities and an insight into the rationale underpinning these, providing some comment on the broader science communication landscape. Summary: (1) Science communication strategies should be underpinned by the evidence. Large public surveys are important for tracking trends in attitudes to science and public engagement with science and should continue. (2) With most young people attributing their decision to pursue STEM subjects to an inspirational teacher, working with teachers is an effective way to encourage more young people to choose STEM careers. These should be long-term partnerships with STEM professionals, through which teachers can give their students the hands-on opportunity to experiment and solve problems for themselves. Schemes such as the Society’s Partnership Grants scheme are really effective, but more funding is needed to expand their reach. (3) Science should inspire the nation. It is important to expand the offering for those that are already interested in science and reach out to new audiences. By working together and partnering with other organisations, such as the BBC, the scientific community can expand and amplify its reach. (4) Researchers should be supported and encouraged to engage with the public. A key principle of the UK’s research landscape should be openness which engenders public trust, increases transparency and supports the widest possible dissemination and honest discussion of research outputs. (5) Where science or scientific evidence are likely to have a significant effect on policy, public engagement, both as public dialogues and as good science communication, are essential. The UK’s National Academies can play a role in supporting government to do this.

29 / 04 / 2016

Innovation potential of human-machine interaction (Short Version)

Henning Kagermann


Innovation potential of human-machine interaction.

26 / 04 / 2016

Living in a networked world. Integrated research agenda Cyber-Physical Systems (agendaCPS)

Eva Geisberger, Manfred Broy


The rapid progress of information technology allows for increasingly powerful software intensive embedded systems (machines) executing integrated applications connected by and to global networks. Thus these systems are more and more networked among each other, but also with data and services on the Internet. Intelligent solutions originate which gather processes of the living environment by means of sensors and actuators, connect them to virtual software worlds and interpret, monitor and control these processes in interaction with people. In this way, so-called Cyber-Physical Systems evolve – a living in a networked world. The interlocking applications include smart cities, social infrastructures with integrated telemedicine care, enhanced connected mobility with fully or semi-autonomous driving cars and traffic systems, safety, security and privacy as well as networked production and the sustainable energy turnaround.

22 / 04 / 2016

Genetic modifications of human germinal cells and embryos

Pierre Jouannet, Monique Adolphe, Jean-François Allilaire, Raymond Ardaillou, Claudine Bergoignan-Esper, Yves Chapuis, Francis Galibert, Alain Fischer, Pierre Jouannet, Jean Yves Le Gall, Jean François Mattei, Jacques Milliez, Alfred Spira, Gérard Benoit, Nathalie Cartier-Lacave, Marc Delpech, Philippe Jeanteur, Yves Le Bouc, Jean Louis Mandel, Florent Soubrier

Académie Nationale de Médecine

Interventions causing genome modifications that can be passed on to descendants have been prohibited in France since 1994. New methods, such as CRISPR-Cas9, have been developed, raising questions about their potential use on human germline cells and embryos. The only acceptable medical indication would be to prevent the transmission of a disease gene to the child. However, the necessary conditions have not yet been met for this technology to be considered for clinical use, particularly as concerns the efficacy and safety of these methods. There are also other ways for couples to achieve the goal of having children. The ethical questions raised by these technologies will require multidisciplinary discussions within the wider debate on all assisted reproductive technology procedures, which may affect the genome of the unborn child, and, possibly, of subsequent generations. However, this research should be carried out provided that it is scientifically and medically justified.

12 / 04 / 2016

Rare diseases, the French model

Jean-François Cordier, Alain Fischer, Loïc Guillevin, Stanislas Lyonnet, Jean-Noël Fiessinger, Annie Barois, Pierre Bégué, Gilles Bouvenot, Alexis Brice, Catherine Buffet, Nathalie Cartier-Lacave, Marc Delpech, Elisabeth Elefant, Claude-Pierre Giudicelli, Pierre Godeau, Bernard Grosbois, Jean-Jacques Hauw, Yves Juillet, Michel Komajda, Didier Lacombe, Jean-Marc Leger, Michel Lhermitte, Jean-Louis Peix, Raoul Poupon, Patrice Queneau, Pierre Ronco, Jacques Rouessé, Paul Vert,

Académie Nationale de Médecine

Rare diseases defined in Europe by a prevalence less than 1/2000 persons are about 7000 the majority of which are of genetic origin. The French national Plans for rare diseases allowed to structure their care in the 131 Reference centers and the regional Competence centers. Research progressed especially in diseases of genetic origin. Analysis of gene panels and exome studies allow to identify the genes causing genetic diseases and their mechanism. Orphan drugs have become available for patients. Information and support is provided by the patients’ associations, together with therapeutic education. The Academy recommends that rare diseases are taught in medical studies and in the formation of specialists, that the transition child-adult is structured, and that correspondent doctors are designated in all university hospitals.

05 / 04 / 2016

Strengthening Disaster Resilience is Essential to Sustainable Development

G-Science Academies

Losses due to disasters are increasing in both developed and developing countries. Human factors together with increased extreme events aggravate the negative consequences of hazards. In the globalized 21st century, a disaster in one country creates disruptions in others. In 2015, the international community agreed on three major accords: the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. To expedite the Sendai Framework, G-Science Academies exhort six policy actions for disaster resilience and sustainable development: (1) Develop metrics and indicators for evaluating exposure, vulnerability and resilience; (2) Advance science and technical knowledge and improve assessment of disaster risk including building relevant data infrastructure; (3) Develop innovative engineering for disaster prevention and raise political and public awareness; (4) Strengthen inter- and trans-disciplinary collaborative efforts to accelerate our transformations to a sustainable world; (5) Engage the investor community; and (6) Initiate a forum for information sharing with the private sector and relevant stakeholders to provide practical solutions.

01 / 04 / 2016

Economic relevance of new treatments

Michel Huguier, Gérard MilhaudI, Renaud Denoix de Saint-Marc, Gilles Bouvenot, D. Bertrand, G. Dubois, C. Géraut, JP. Giroud, G. Nicolas, C. Rossignol

Académie Nationale de Médecine

Healthcare expenditures for biotechnology drugs are considerable and paid by the public health insurance with increasing difficulties. For instance in 2013 the cost for neovascular age-related macular degeneration was € 429 million; for the most virulent forms of hepatitis C (F3 and F4) cost was estimated at about € 1.7 billion. In the USA, drugs expenditures for previously untreated melanoma without BRAF mutation with two monoclonal antibodies average $ 296.000 per patient. When these costs are considered it appears that an independent evaluation of the data gathered during randomized testing are more important than any possible conflict of interest. The prescription and control of these high-cost drugs should therefore be extremely rigorous. Next to the European Committee of Health and Medical Products, a European Agency for price determination and a Central European Purchase Agency would carry more weight with laboratories than each EU country individually.

24 / 03 / 2016

Consultation response: EU regulation of the life sciences

The Royal Society

The Royal Society has responded to the Commons Science and Technology Committee inquiry into EU regulation of the life sciences. The response highlights the importance of scientific evidence and advice to policymaking. Summary: (1) Scientific evidence and advice should be at the heart of EU policy, ensuring that it delivers the best outcomes for society. Other factors, such as moral values, play a legitimate role in shaping policy. (2) Cultural contexts and political priorities differ across countries but science is a global enterprise and scientists from all over the globe draw on the same evidence base to provide advice. The Committee asks about the extent to which the UK is able to shape regulatory processes at the EU level. In this response we highlight the importance of having strong science advice mechanisms informing all parts of the EU policymaking process. (3) The UK’s world class research base means its researchers and institutions are well placed to make a significant contribution to EU policy through these mechanisms. (4) Different mechanisms of scientific advice across EU institutions can lead to a variety of approaches through which science informs policy at the EU level. (5) In developing EU regulations for the life sciences, policy makers should ensure that (a) Broader legislation does not inadvertently have a negative impact on the life science sector, (b) Regulations are structured so that they better keep pace with socially acceptable technological, (c) developments and enable their rapid and safe realisation, (d) The application of the precautionary principle takes into account benefits as well as risks, and the consequences of not acting as well as acting, and (e) Policies that support science are implemented consistently.

04 / 03 / 2016

Consulting with energy scenarios: Requirements for scientific policy advice

Armin Grunwald, Hans-Jürgen Appelrath, Christian Dieckhoff, Manfred Fischedick, Felix Höffler, Christoph Mayer, Wolfgang Weimer-Jehle

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

Energy scenarios can considerably influence political decisions. It is therefore of major importance that the results are both comprehensible and verifiable. However, as calculation models are part of the implementing institutions’ operating capital, they are frequently not disclosed. Also, it is not always clear whether the results are influenced by any provisions by the commissioning institutions. The position paper by the Academies’ Project "Energy Systems of the Future" (ESYS) offers suggestions how transparency can be increased. It aims both at the commissioning organisations and the scientists creating the scenario studies. In addition, it provides assistance for those who wish to evaluate and use energy scenarios, e.g. journalists, NGOs and the political decision-makers.

01 / 03 / 2016

Greenhouse gas footprints of different oil feedstocks

Michael Norton

European Academies Science Advisory Council

In future, road transport will be required to make a stronger contribution to the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the European Union (EU). How to account for the different GHG footprints of transport fuels derived from different sources of fossil oil feedstock is a contentious issue and was extensively debated in the context of proposed amendments to the EU Fuel Quality Directive. One aspect related to the life-cycle assessment of the GHG emissions of transport fuels derived from oil sands, but a broader issue was the extent to which GHG footprints varied both within and across various categories of feedstock. EASAC therefore decided to examine both issues in its latest statement.

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01 / 03 / 2016

Report and recommendations on the implementation in France of the techniques of sequencing of new generation

Francis Galibert, Bruno Jarry, Raymond Ardaillou, Jacques Caen, Marc Delpech, Jean-Yves Le Gall, Patrick Netter, Pierre-Étienne Bost, Alice Dautry, Jean Lunel, Pierre Tambourin

Académie Nationale de Médecine

Next generation sequencing (NGS) technologies, which allow high speed automated DNA sequencing, DNA sequence analysis and comparisons using big data algorithms are being used more and more in medical diagnosis, to provide prognosis information and for choosing a treatment that best fits the patient. The French ‘‘Académie nationale de médecine’’ (ANM) and ‘‘Académie des technologies’’ (NATF) jointly stress the scientific and medical importance of these technologies and call for bringing together strengths of the national computer science industry and the medical community in a public-private consortium in order to build a Demonstrator and Center network filling up the growing gap between France and the most advanced countries in this field with great potential. They underline also common pitfalls which need to be addressed in technic, legal, economic, education and ethics issues, in order to make this complex project a success.

23 / 02 / 2016


Jean-Pierre Olié, Patrick Légeron, Alain Acker, Monique Adolphe, Jean-François Allilaire, Alain Chamoux, Bruno Falissard, Christian Géraut, Claude Pierre Giudicelli, Michel Hamon, Jean-Roger Le Gall, Henri Lôo, Driss Moussaoui, Guy Nicolas, Yvan Touitou

Académie Nationale de Médecine

The expansion of the term ‘‘burn-out’’ is a source of confusion because of the imprecise confines of that reality. The symptomatology of burn-out includes several dimensions: emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, reduction of personal accomplishment. Medical nosographies do not mention burn-out. It can be similar either to an adaptative disorder, a post-traumatic stress disorder or a depressive disorder. It can also designate the picture resulting from an emotional turmoil at a lower clinical level than the one required for a characterized condition. This is confirmed by a few biological data that show a dysregulation of the hypothalamic — pituitary — adrenal axis, of the immune system or of the plasma levels of neurotrophic factors (such as BDNF). The measurement scale developed by Christina Maslach (MBI) cannot be considered as a diagnosis tool: in non-clinical population it divides each dimension (emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, reduction of self-accomplishment) in three tertiles (low, moderate and high levels).

23 / 02 / 2016

Submission to the Nuffield Council on Bioethics on Genome Editing

The Royal Society

The Society has responded to the Nuffield Council on Bioethics inquiry into Genome Editing, providing an overview of the technique and its applications. The submission highlights (1) Genome editing is a valuable technique for biological research to improve our understanding of biological processes and genetic conditions, and possibly it will be used in the future in the treatment and prevention of disease. (2) The speed, ease of use and accuracy of the new gene editing techniques may raise new issues as it becomes feasible to use them for a wider range of applications. (3) Public views should inform how gene editing techniques are used in practice, and how these applications are regulated to earn and maintain public trust. (4) The ethical questions raised by genome editing should be considered on a case-by-case basis, depending on the genes being modified and the context in which they are applied.

12 / 02 / 2016

Shaping Technology Together – Early public involvement based on the example of artificial fotosynthesis (Short Version)

Armin Grunwald, Alfred Pühler


Artificial fotosynthesis is a visionary technology that follows the example of plants in using sunlight to produce energy-rich hydrocarbons or other forms of energy. acatech discussed the opportunities and risks of artificial fotosynthesis with sections of the public at an early research stage. Interested members of the public were able to help shape utilisation of the technology and incorporate their ideals, ideas and concerns in its further development. Dialogue based on technology futures proved successful, but there is no perfect solution for public involvement.

10 / 02 / 2016

Flexibility concepts for the German power supply in 2050: Ensuring stability in the age of renewable energies

Peter Elsner, Dirk Uwe Sauer, Bernd Rech , Christoph Brabec, Rolf Brendel, Bruno Burger, Andreas Bett, Johannes Mayer, Simon Philipps, Oliver Führer, Udo Möhrstedt, Holger Neuhaus, Michael Powalla, Jann Binder, Bernd Utz, Florian Wessendorf, Stephan Wieder, Andreaas Reuter, Stephan Barth, Jörg Hermsmeier, Gundula Hübner, Ronny Meyer, Dörte Ohlhorst, Po Wen Cheng, Matthias Schubert, Jan Teßmer, Jochen Twele, Christoph Clauser, Jörn Bartels, Werner Grigo, Matthias Groß , Reinhard Jung, Thomas Kohl, Frank Schilling, Joachim Oppelt, Hartmut Spliethoff, Christop Wieland, Arno Zang, Robert Pitz-Paal, Patrick Haibach, Berhard Hoffschmidt, André Thess, Reinhard Mackensen, Werner Platzer, Mario Ragwitz, Florian Zickfeld, Eckhard Wedner, Herrmann Garbers, Jan Grundmann, Bernd Hirschl, Elisa Dunkelberg, Joachim Krassowski, Hubert Loick, Michael Nelles, Volker Lenz, Jörg Sauer, Irina Smirnova, Michael Weinhold, Franziska Adamek, Julia Eßer, Gerd Dangrieß, Achim Enders, Jutta Hanson, Florian Bennewitz, Rainer Krebs, Jörg Dorn, Jochen Kreusel, Albert Moser, David Echternacht, Mathias Noe, Christian Rehtanz, Ulf Häger, Frank Schmidt, Rolf Witzmann, Peter Elsner, Harald Bolt, Isolde Arzberger, Rüdiger Eichel, Hans Kungl, Eckhard Weidner, Christian Dötsch, Benedikt Lunz, Jens Tübke, Michael Weinhold, Rainer Saliger, Antje Wörner, Stefan Zunft, Klaus Görner, Reinhold Elsen, Frank Schwendig, Karl-Josef Wolf, Emmanouil Kakaras, Alfons Kather, Helmut Katzenberger, Dietmar Lindenberger, Matthias Oechsner, Gerd Oeljeklaus, Katja Pietzner, Ireneusz Pyc, Adolf Roesch, Günter Scheffknecht, Martin Schönrok, Hartmut Spliethoff, Zbigniew Styczynski, Thomas Aundrup, Reinhard Madlener, Georg Markowz, Ellen Matthies, Marc Richter, Krzysztof Rudion, Martin Stötzer, Dirk Westermann, Steffen Schlegel, Hans-Martin Henning, Dierk Bauknecht, Walter Bornscheuer, Harald Bradke, Dirk Müller, Raoul Neuhaus, Jörg Rummeni, Ulrich Schmack, Serafin von Roon, Christof Wittwer, Manfred Fischedick, Hans-Jürgen Appelrath, Christian Dieckhoff, Bert Droste-Franke, Sascha Eckstein, Arjuna Nebel, Sascha Samadi, Armin Grunwald, Felix Höffler, Christoph …   see more contributors

Mayer, Karen Pittel, Wolfgang Weimer-Jehle

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

So-called flexibility technologies are necessary to balance the fluctuations naturally inherent to power generation from wind and photovoltaics. The various viable options include flexibly dispatchable power plants as well as storage systems or the balancing of power demand and power feed-in (demand-side management). The challenge is to identify the options combining stability, sustainability, cost efficiency and social acceptability.

01 / 02 / 2016

Industry 4.0, Urban Development and German International Development Cooperation

Müller Bernhard, Herzog Otthein, Anderl Reiner, Kuhn Axel


Industry 4.0 has high potential to positively impact the economic development of cities in developing countries and emerging economies. It can help to promote a green urban economy and contribute to sustainable development. However, the success of its potential benefits is also dependent on the appropriate economic and urban framework conditions being in place. In this position paper, acatech makes recommendations on how the framework conditions should be addressed by German development cooperation. India is proposed as a very suitable partner for further action. This position paper is the final report of the acatech project on “Advanced Manufacturing/Industry 4.0 and Urban Development” which was commissioned by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GIZ on behalf of the BMZ. It was carried out in cooperation with the Indian National Academy of Engineering.

04 / 01 / 2016

Marine sustainability in an age of changing oceans and seas

Jörn Thiede, Dag Aksnes, Ulrich Bathmann, Maria Betti, Ferdinando Boero, Geoff Boxshall, Philippe Cury, …   see more contributors

Mark Dowell, Richard Emmerson, Marta Estrada, Maoz Fine, Algimantas Grigelis, Peter Herman, Gerhard Herndl, Jorma Kuparinen, Jann Th Martinsohn, Ondrej Prášil, Serrão Santos, Tarmo Soomere, Costas Synolakis

European Academies Science Advisory Council

Oceans and seas play a crucial role in regulating our climate, nurturing biodiversity, and providing income and food to people around the world. At COP21, governments across the globe agreed that we must set a more aggressive limit for global warming. This limit is one essential step toward a more stable relationship between the ocean and climate. But in spite of this positive direction, marine sustainability faces many challenges, according to a this report from the European Academies of Science Advisory Council and the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre, ‘Marine sustainability in an age of changing oceans and seas’.

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01 / 01 / 2016

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