EASAC (European Academies Science Advisory Council), the federation of the National Academies of Science of the members of the European Union publishes reports about specific subjects on a regular base.
A list of the 6 reports published in 2011:
What is Synthetic Biology?
Synthetic Biology is an important scientific domain. Currently, there is a big advance in this domain. But, as some recent headlines demonstrate, it has already generated questioning and comment.
The more progress that synthetic biology research makes, the more controversy it is likely to generate. Which is one reason why the authors of the EASAC report favour the establishment of a dialogue between scientists and the public on the future of the technology and its potential benefits. Such an exchange of views, based on evidence, offers the best hope of creating a context in which the public can realistically assess the fears expressed in more sensationalist accounts.
This brief document is a contribution to that dialogue.
There have been major advances during the past century in research into and treatment of infectious disease.
However, assumptions that most infectious disease had been conquered are now seen to have been misplaced, and European populations remain vulnerable.
In addition to resurgent infections such as tuberculosis and the growing threat inherent in antimicrobial drug resistance, there are newly emerging microbes, especially those transmitted from animals and new variants of influenza virus.
The public health burden imposed by communicable diseases is exacerbated by the increasing mobility of humans, animals, vectors and pathogens, and by other effects of environmental change and globalisation.
There has been rapid growth in investment in nanotechnology by both the public and private sectors worldwide. In the EU, nanotechnology is expected to become an important strategic contributor to achieving economic gain and societal and individual benefits.
Although there is continuing scientific uncertainty and controversy about the safety of nanomaterials, there is only a limited amount of scientific evidence about nanomaterials and human health risks.
It is important to ensure that timely policy development takes these issues into consideration. Uncertainty about safety may lead to polarised public debate and to business unwillingness to invest further in nanotechnology.
These document are summaries of the full EASAC report on Infectious Diseases. It offers readers conclusions of that report.
The 20th century saw many social, scientific and medical developments that greatly reduced the impact of infectious disease.
But despite many successes, communicable illness still accounts for some 10% of Europe’s burden of disease.
The advent of new infectious micro-organisms, the resurgence of old infections, increased migration and travel, and the emergence of antibiotic resistance have frustrated further improvement.
The economic impact of infection is considerable. The price of treating infectious disease is much greater than that of preventing it.
07/11/2011: Concentrating solar power: its potential contribution to a sustainable energy future
In CSP a high-temperature heat source is created by concentrating the sun’s rays to produce electricity in a thermodynamic cycle.
This study by EASAC has examined the current status and development challenges of CSP, and consequently has evaluated the potential contribution of CSP in Europe and other regions to 2050, and identified actions that will be required to enable that contribution to be realised.
This new report summarises the findings of the study and is intended to inform policy-makers in the European institutions – in particular the European Commission and Parliament – and policy-makers at a national level in Europe and the other mentioned regions.
The EASAC urges world leaders, meeting in Durban in December 2011, to press ahead with the process of international agreement on an effective response to climate change.
The science of climate change reported by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment (2007) has been evaluated by numerous national academies including the Royal Society, Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, National Research Council of the National Academies of the USA, Institut de France Académie des Sciences, and by International bodies such as the InterAcademy Council (IAC) and InterAcademy Medical Panel (IAMP).
Advances in science and technology have increased our knowledge of how to mitigate climate change.
EASAC is concerned, however, that turning the evidence base into an international policy response, notwithstanding the uncertainties, has so far failed to match the full magnitude and urgency of the problem.