March 25, 2014 | Tuesday

EU promotes scientific thinking in society

“We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology,” stated the famous astrophysicist and scientist Carl Sagan. This quote does ironically reflect upon modern reality whereas humankind uses scientific and technological products but still knows little about the science achievements and its impact on our daily life. Schoolchildren and adults still lack solid knowledge on science and technology outside of the standard framework of data acquired via educational curricula and other means of information.

Recent studies conducted among European countries show that school science education fails to provide incentives for future scientists. One of the challenges faced by the EU nowadays is to rethink science education, and to reconsider how it can be adjusted to the modern world so it does meet the needs of all students especially those inclined towards science studies.

The European Commission recently conducted an opinion poll with EU citizens where 77 percent of them agreed that society benefits greatly from science and technology. Nevertheless, most of respondents across EU indicated that they lack information on developments in this field. The results of the opinion poll have shown that Europeans support the role of science and technology in society, while expecting accountability and diligence from scientists and politicians on these matters.

The Research, Innovation and Science Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn has recently emphasized crucial urgency to open up a dialogue on science with citizens. . In its follow-up efforts, the European Commission said it is launching a pan-European focus group research with citizens and stakeholders under the Science in Society Programme.

Under the new Horizon 2020 programme, the EU has even bigger ambitions for the period 2014-2020. –. Horizon 2020 is the biggest EU Research and Innovation programme ever with nearly €80 billion of funding available over 7 years – in addition to the private investment that this money will attract. It promises more breakthroughs, discoveries and world-firsts by taking great ideas from the lab to the market.

The EU’s Seventh Framework Programme for Research (FP7) is in addition making Europe a destination for world-class researchers. The European Research Council will invest over €1.7 billion in the best researchers and additional €963 million will support mobility through “Marie Curie Actions” (