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Additional Publications

Neonicotinoids and their substitutes in sustainable pest control

The EU must close loopholes to prevent the 2018 ban on the three main neonicotinoids from being further undermined, according to a new report by European Academies.

Neonicotinoids, a class of insecticides, indiscriminately affect pollinators and other beneficial insects, thereby threatening biodiversity and longer-term food security. The scientific report commends the EU’s Integrated Pest Management as the primary route to sustainable agriculture, that included banning three neonicotinoids. Yet it identifies loopholes in its implementation: studies that show that seven out of ten honey samples in the EU still contain traces of at least one of the bee-toxic pesticides. “It is counterproductive to kill everything, since once the pest adapts to the pesticide, there may be no natural enemies remaining, let alone essential pollinators. It is a similar problem to that we are seeing with the wide use of antibiotics,” comments Edward Mitchell of the University of Neuchâtel, who had contributed to the new report as delegate of the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences.

Report of the European Academies Science Advisory Council EASAC
Open Access publication under “big deals” and the new copyright rules

Read-and-publish agreements, so-called “Big Deals”, facilitate Gold Open Access publications. ALLEA, the European federation of Academies, applauds this but stresses that they fail to deliver on the promise of an equitable system for sharing and accessing research publications. While EU and national copyright laws provide for many rules to foster such systems, current agreements do not take them into account. ALLEA therefore recommends researchers and libraries to better consider their rights when negotiating future deals and to depart from the rights assignment model that prevails today. Also, national copyright legislation should be harmonised , EU-wide Secondary Publication Rights without embargo introduced and community-driven non-profit publishing ecosystem further developed.

ALLEA Statement
Europe needs more strategic crisis management

The Group of Chief Scientific Advisors’ latest report recommends the EU to plan and prepare for the entire timescale of crises, from preparedness to response and recovery. The report stresses that risk and crisis management approaches need to be rethought, because crises are changing in nature, crossing borders and sectors, with cascading and overlapping effects on society, the economy and the environment. The EU authorities are therefore advised to reinforce synergies across European institutions as well as between those and Member States. The Chief Scientific Advisors’ recommendations are based on the analysis by the academy network SAPEA (Science Advice for Policy by European Academies) in the context of the Scientific Advice Mechanism that provides independent and interdisciplinary advice on request to the European Commission to inform policymaking.

Opinion of the Group of Chief Scientific AdvisorsSAPEA Evidence Review Report
Towards climate sustainability of the academic system in Europe and beyond

A new European Academies report makes recommendations to mitigate detrimental effects of the academic system on the climate. Showing that air travel is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions, it suggests that virtual interactions are critical to bring about a sustainable academic system, with a careful choice of in-person, hybrid, hub-based or fully virtual meetings to coexist. The report, however, emphasises that for example supercomputing, buildings and electricity may be equally or more important emission sources than air travel, depending on the nature of the operations of the stakeholder. The report was drafted by ALLEA, the European Federation of Academies of Sciences and Humanities, and the Young Academy in Germany. On behalf of the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences, Agnes Kreil from the ETH Zurich, was a contributing author.

ALLEA Report
Aligning Intellectual Property Rights with Open Science

Examining the current patent system in the context of the objectives of open science, a new statement contains several recommendations to reconcile these two apparently contradictory elements of research policy. Key among them is the suggestion to introduce a grace period of at least one year in patent applications to make knowledge open as early as possible. In addition, the authors of the statement by the European Academies’ federation ALLEA conclude that patent income must not be seen as a substitute for public funding and patent activity should be used with great caution as an evaluation metric in assessing the performance of research institutions, projects, and individuals.

ALLEA Statement
Regenerative agriculture in Europe

Regenerative agriculture holds promising keys to reducing climate risks while providing the growing world population with food and enhancing biodiversity. Such the conclusions of a new report with first-time scientific analysis by European science academies. Pascal Boivin (HES-SO Geneva) contributed to this report on behalf of the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences and Christian Schöb (ETH Zurich) was one of the reviewers.

Cancer screening in Europe

Improving existing screening programmes for breast, colorectal and cervical cancer, extending their application to lung and prostate cancer and making it easier for people to access such programmes: these are the scientific recommendations for the EU initiative "Europe's Beating Cancer Plan". The recommendations of the Group of Chief Scientific Advisors of the European Commission are based on a report by the academies’ consortium SAPEA (Scientific Advice for Policy by European Academies) under the EU's Scientific Advice Mechanism (SAM).

Opinion of the Group of Chief Scientific AdvisorsSAPEA Evidence Review Report
A patent waiver is not a silver bullet in the pursuit of vaccine equity

Covid-19 vaccine equity requires measures with immediate effect on their manufacturing and distribution in the Global South as well as improved compulsory licensing mechanisms, rather than a patent waiver. The low Covid-19 vaccination level in low- and middle-income countries is unacceptable and risks prolonging the pandemic, but a patent waiver will not solve this situation in the short-term. Instead, measures should be taken to accelerate local manufacturing and distribution of vaccines in these countries, ramp up investment in vaccination campaigns, and facilitate the compulsory licensing of patents and transfer of know-how. These are the main arguments in a new statement by ALLEA (European Federation of Academies of Sciences and Humanities).

ALLEA Statement
Zwischen Wissenschaft, Gesellschaft und Politik – 75 Jahre Schweizerische Akademie der Geistes- und Sozialwissenschaften

Das Jubiläumsbuch schildert den langen Weg von den bescheidenen Anfängen zur anerkannten und breit vernetzten Akademie im Kontext des Schweizer Wissenschaftssystems. Das Buch ist im Auftrag der SAGW entstanden und erscheint im Schwabe Verlag in Basel. Recherchiert und verfasst hat das Buch die Zürcher Historikerin Monika Gisler unter Mitwirkung von zwei Mitarbeitern und dem «Center for Higher Education and Science Studies» der Universität Zürich.

Online-Version im Open AccessPrint-Ausgabe bestellen
Health inequalities research: new methods, better insights?

A new generation of scientific methods can contribute to reducing health inequalities in Europe are helping to better understand health inequalities in Europe. Fully realising this potential will require investment in data infrastructures, according to a new report by European science academies. The Covid-19 pandemic struck disadvantaged groups in society most severely. As a result, this has widened the health gap between socio-economic groups. It is therefore more important than ever to better understand these inequalities as an adequate basis for corrective policy measures. The report was drafted by researchers from the All European Academies (ALLEA) and the Federation of European Academies of Medicine (FEAM).

Addressing climate change and biodiversity together

Better connect climate and biodiversity policies as well as address climate change and biodiversity decline together is central to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). This is the call of the InterAcademy Partnership (IAP), a global network of more than 140 science academies. Climate change and biodiversity decline are predominantly caused by human activities and have profound consequences for people and the ecosystems on which we depend. The UN conferences on biodiversity (COP15) and on climate change (COP26) in 2021 and 2022 provide an opportunity to focus international attention on the interconnectedness and interdependence of climate change and biodiversity.

Maria J. Santos, University of Zurich and Swiss Biodiversity Forum, contributed to the IAP statement on behalf of the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences.

IAP Statement
Climate and biodiversity crises: their urgency requires closer global coordination

Global warming is getting faster and faster and biodiversity loss continues. As the two crises potentiate each other, Europe’s science academies urge governments to treat them as one, and as equally urgent. A new European academy report focuses on 16 areas requiring urgent action to shield humanity from the worst: if humanity wants to stop climate change and preserve the biodiversity that it needs for survival, it must change the economic system to one that rewards and incentivises sustainable choices and behaviour.

A systemic approach to the energy transition in Europe

A carbon-neutral future by 2050 is possible, but requires urgent action. The energy transition is more than a purely technical challenge. Making it a reality requires solving a huge systemic problem, coordinating countless individual voluntary investment decisions, consumption and behaviour across Europe. This transformation of the European energy system will affect every part of society, relies on huge investment during the transition and must be done in a socially equitable way. These are the conclusions of a new scientific report produced by the consortium Science Advice for Policy by European Academies (SAPEA). On this basis and a series of evidence-based policy options, the Group of Chief Scientific Advisors (GCSA) of the European Commission presents key policy recommendations.

GCSA reportSAPEA report
A sea of change: Europe’s future in the Atlantic realm

A new European expert report assesses the latest knowledge on ocean issues and its implications for Europe.

A key finding: the state of the Atlantic adds a layer of variability to local sea level rise in Europe, and the massive loss of ice mass in the Antarctic due to climate change suffices to affect the gravitational pull on the oceans so that they move towards the Northern Hemisphere. Other effects of increasing CO2 levels in the atmosphere are increased acidification of the world’s oceans and reduced fishery yields.

This report of the European Academies Science Advisory Council (EASAC) is launched on the occasion of the UN World Oceans Day on 8 June, thereby emphasising that the health of the oceans is intimately tied to our health.

Decarbonisation of buildings: for climate, health and jobs

A new report by European academy experts calls for policy action in three areas to make buildings in the European Union nearly zero greenhouse gas emitters: construct energy-efficiently to reduce the need for heating and air conditioning or generate renewable energy on site, reduce emissions of the construction industry and supply chain, and design buildings that can be disassembled and recycled at end of their lifetime. These measures would allow the EU to live up to its climate pledge under the Paris Agreement.

The Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences contributed to the report by delegating Arno Schlüter (ETH Zurich) as author and Matthias Sulzer (Empa) as reviewer.

Code of conduct for scientific integrity

A group of experts with representatives from the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences, the Swiss National Science Foundation, swissuniversities and Innosuisse has drawn up a new code of conduct for scientific integrity. The principles of reliabilityhonestyrespect and accountability form the core of the new code. These values help strengthen a culture of scientific integrity in the long run. One of the chief aims of the code is, to improve scientific integrity in all aspects of research and teaching, in particular in the training and promotion of young scientists. The code takes into account current developments in the areas of open science and social media, in addition to, shedding light on the issue of statutes of limitations.

DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.4707560

PDFPDF (Italiano)
Fact or fake? Tackling science disinformation

European academies call for an improved exchange and coordination on technical and policy measures at a European level to tackle science disinformation.

While disinformation strategies are intoxicating public discourses in many fields, science disinformation is particularly dangerous to democratic governance and society at large. As highlighted by the ongoing pandemic, an undermining of trust in science poses a fundamental threat to political and individual decisions based on evidence and scientific knowledge.

The report has been produced by ALLEA, the European Federation of Academies of Sciences and Humanities.

Decarbonisation of the health sector

Drafted by European academies, this document considers the contribution of the health sector to the decarbonisation targets of the European Union. Achieving these targets requires integrated action across all sectors, including the health-care sector with an estimated 5% share in total emissions.

Reducing carbon footprints of health systems, for example by reducing greenhouse gas emissions during construction and running of hospitals and associated transportation, can bring local and near-term benefits to health. There are also considerable opportunities with procurement, for example by providing sustainable and healthy diets for patients.

International sharing of personal health data for research

Legal challenges hamper the sharing of anonymised health data with researchers outside the EU/European Economic Area (EEA), a new report by European academies concludes. Its authors call for solutions to overcome the barriers to ensure timely and straightforward research collaboration in the public sector in the interest of health benefits for European citizens. Delegated by the Swiss Academies, Christian Lovis, Professor of Clinical Informatics at the University of Geneva and of Medical Information Sciences at the Geneva University Hospitals, contributed to this report.

COVID-19: empirical study on vaccine skeptics and strategies to increase the take-up of COVID-19 vaccines

13.7 million new vaccine opponents since pandemic onset;

  • skepticism mostly exacerbated by fears of long-term damage and fast vaccine approval processes, correlates with corona virus denial;
  • 90% of skeptics feel they have no influence over politics, are predominantly AfD-leaning and about 45% attained the lowest level or left secondary school without certification;
  • while new skeptics could be convinced by facts, long-term anti-vaccinationists appear to be unyielding.
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