SciCom News

Here you will find the very latest SciCom - Making Sense of Science news posts.
JUL
09
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AAAS 2015 Annual Meeting: E-cigarettes: Killing Me Softly or Our Greatest Public Health Opportunity?

Not since the Internet has society seen a comparative disruptive technology with the capacity to so fundamentally impact lives as the electronic cigarette. Hundreds of versions have sprung up, online sales are sky-rocketing and specialized e-cig shops cannot be built fast enough. Tens of millions of smokers have made the switch in a tidal-wave of support. Yet, are e-cigs ‘safe’ or simply ‘safer’ than classical cigarettes. If the former, shouldn’t all harm reduction advocates welcome them? Or does their nicotine-infused vapor risk developing cancer in certain types of human cells much in the same way that tobacco smoke does? Are they child-proof enough?Click to see the full session info here

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1194 Hits
JUL
07
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SciCom CEO Aidan Gilligan Elected to the Governing Board of Euroscience


Aidan Gilligan successfully ran for direct election by full members of Euroscience in results announced by Secretary-General, Peter Tindemans. Aidan’s campaign for election stressed raising the communications bar in how Euroscience goes about presenting itself and its views to third parties. Already co-opted to the Euroscience Governing Board since mid 2012, this new democratic mandate will last for 4 years and commence on 1st January, 2015: http://www.euroscience.org/

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JUL
07
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Mental Health Diplomacy: Building a Global Response


By Vaughan C. Turekian, Allen Moore, and Mark M. Rasenick - First published on
06.23.2014 in Science & Diplomacy

When a person collapses in public, strangers rush to help. When a person manifests symptoms of mental illness in public, strangers look away or cross the street. Sadly, this all-to-common response by individuals could be a metaphor for official policy in much of the world. Most policy makers avoid engaging or investing in mental health programs, preferring to draw distinctions between mental health and somatic health. This is largely a product of stigma and ignorance about the causes of mental illness and potential treatments. It is true in America and other wealthy countries, and even more so in poorer countries.

As U.S. foreign policy makers strengthen the links between health and diplomacy, there is a need to elevate attention to the huge burden of mental illness. The World Health Organization estimates that mental illness constitutes 28 percent of the global burden of noncommunicable diseases, or 14 percent of the overall global disease burden. Around the world, an estimated 450 million people suffer from one or more mental disorders;1900,000 people complete suicide every year;2 and nearly one-quarter of years lost because of disability are attributed to mental illness, including abuse of alcohol and drugs.3 By the end of this decade, depression is expected to be second only to ischemic heart disease as a cause of disability worldwide.4

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JUL
02
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Five things we learned at ESOF 2014

Will Goodbody, Science & Technology Correspondent, in Copenhagen for RTE during ESOF 2014 wrote in his blog: "For those addicted to science, ESOF 2014 in Copenhagen was the perfect fix. For six days, the Danish capital was transformed into a city of science, attracting around 4,500 delegates from all over the world. There were hundreds of lectures, discussions, exhibitions, demonstrations and side events, on science itself, the policies underpinning it, the careers around it, the links to business and even the art the flows from it."Read the full post here: www.rte.ie/blogs/business/2014/06/26/five-things-we-learned-at-esof-2014/

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1084 Hits
JUN
16
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A Revolution of the Mind - ESOF 2014

Wouldn't it be wonderful to attribute our compulsion for addictive damaging activities, such as overeating, taking illicit drugs or smoking, wholly to our genetic make up? Then we could blame our parents for everything! We know it is bad for us but we still do it. Why? This session explores the latest scientific evidence behind compulsive behaviour. Personalised medicine provides plenty of research linking genetics and disease. But establishing a relationship between genetic variation and behaviour is trickier. How does over-consumption of high-fat food trigger addiction-like neuro adaptive responses in our brain-reward circuitry? Read the full session info here.

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1088 Hits
JUN
16
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High-level Topical Session on Global Drug Policy Developments - ESOF 2014

As the world debates the ‘war on drugs’ and what to do next, this session weighs-up the global scorecard which makes pretty dim reading for some, including Brussels.   Despite good intentions, the international drug enforcement regime has failed to reduce the use and harm caused by drugs. Most independent studies show problematic drug use increasing. This prohibitionist approach has been a mainstay of global diplomatic relations for decades, known as the ‘war on drugs’. It costs tens of billions of Euros to run. More difficult to estimate are the health and social costs associated with addiction, mass incarcerations and the emergence of a vast criminal controlled trade. The now fragile consensus around prohibition as a global framework for drug control is increasingly being questioned by reform-minded opinion leaders.Read the full session info here.

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JUN
16
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E-Cigarettes Evidence & Ethics - ESOF 2014

Not since the Internet has society seen a comparative disruptive technology with the capacity to so fundamentally impact lives as the electronic cigarette. Hundreds of versions have sprung up, online sales are sky-rocketing and specialized e-cig shops cannot be built fast enough. Tens of millions of smokers have made the switch in a tidal-wave of support. Yet, are e-cigs ‘safe’ or simply ‘safer’ than classical cigarettes. If the former, shouldn’t all harm reduction advocates welcome them? Or does their nicotine-infused vapor risk developing cancer in certain types of human cells much in the same way that tobacco smoke does? Are they child-proof enough?Read the full session info here.

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1074 Hits
MAY
15
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High-Level Consultation Event: “Addiction: Ethics, Integrity & The Policy-Maker” - Tuesday 10 June 2014


Seizing the initiative of our lifelong experiences in science diplomacy and our appointments as President of the European Group on Ethics (EGE) and UN Special Envoy on HIV/AIDS, we are delighted to invite you to attend a one-day, High-Level Consultation Event titled: ‘Addiction: Ethics, Integrity & The Policy-Maker’.

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1009 Hits
FEB
28
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Photos from the SciCom Sessions at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Annual Meeting 2014, 13-17 February, Chicago

SciCom was co-organiser of the following sessions that took place during the Annual AAAS meeting: Meeting Global Challenges: Discovery and Innovation

Building Global Partnerships: Sharing Discovery & Innovation; Protecting Difference & CompetitionResolving Our Greatest Public Health Challenges Via Science DiplomacyAddiction: Our Compulsions and Brain Reward Systems

The photos can be seen in our gallery.

Click here for the direct link
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FEB
03
0

Building Global Partnerships: Sharing Discovery & Innovation; Protecting Difference & Competition

Organised by Dr Phil Mjwara, Director-General of the Department of Science and Technology, South African Ministry for Science and Technology & Co-organised by Aidan Gilligan, SciCom Sunday 16 February, 15h00 PM – 16h30 PM, (Hyatt Regency Chicago)

American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Annual Meeting 2014, 13-17 February, ChicagoMeeting Global Challenges: Discovery and InnovationSession Description

A global village, an inter-connected world, a harmonious scientific community: these are some of the well-quoted end points of science diplomacy. As we strive to understand and mitigate challenges in climate change, energy and resource efficiency, health and demographic change, food security, and the digital divide, global partnerships must be built and sustained. It is not easy. Neither is a one-size-fits-all approach always the best option. Protecting difference and promoting winner-takes-all scientific competition is equally important. This high-profile session spotlights decision-makers from Brussels, Cape Town, and Washington responsible for striking this balance and influencing the largest budgets in global science.Read more: Building Global Partnerships: Sharing Discovery & Innovation; Protecting Difference & Competition

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JAN
19
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Resolving Our Greatest Public Health Challenges Via Science Diplomacy

Organised by Dr. Michel Kazatchkine, UN Secretary General’s Ban-Ki Moon’s Special Envoy on HIV/AIDS in Eastern Europe and Central Asia & Co-organised by Aidan Gilligan, SciCom Sunday 16 February, 13h00 AM – 14h30 AM, (Hyatt Regency Chicago)

American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Annual Meeting 2014, 13-17 February, ChicagoMeeting Global Challenges: Discovery and InnovationSession Description

Science-based issues are crucial to the conduct of foreign policy. Countries large and small, developed and developing, express a clear interest in implementing science diplomacy through politics. This is for the purpose of representation, cooperation, resolving disputes, improving systems, and securing the right to science for citizens and our most vulnerable populations. The same applies to global companies and institutions operating in a complex matrix of technical and relational challenges. This symposium will test this theory against the successes and failures of health diplomacy strategies around two challenging issues: global responses to HIV/AIDS; and harm reduction science linked to lifestyle.Read more: Resolving Our Greatest Public Health Challenges Via Science Diplomacy

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1449 Hits
JAN
19
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Addiction: Our Compulsions and Brain Reward Systems

Organised by Wilson M. Compton, NIDA & Co-organised by Aidan Gilligan, SciCom Friday 14 February, 08h00 AM – 09h30 AM, Regency (Hyatt Regency Chicago)

American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Annual Meeting 2014, 13-17 February, ChicagoMeeting Global Challenges: Discovery and InnovationSession Description

Wouldn't it be wonderful to attribute our compulsion for addictive damaging activities, such as overeating, taking illicit drugs or smoking, wholly to our genetic makeup? Then we could blame our parents for everything! We know it is bad for us but we still do it. Why? This session explores the latest scientific evidence behind compulsive behaviour. Personalised medicine provides plenty of research linking genetics and disease, but establishing a relationship between genetic variation and behaviour is trickier. How does over-consumption of high-fat food trigger addiction-like neuro adaptive responses in our brain-reward circuitry?Read more: Addiction: Our Compulsions and Brain Reward Systems

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JAN
07
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Key Principles Emerge in Health Science Diplomacy


As health science diplomacy becomes further established as an effective way to bring nations together to address local and regional health challenges, key principles are taking shape, said Alan I. Leshner, the chief executive officer of AAAS and the executive publisher of the journal Science, at the sixth World Science Forum, held this year in Rio de Janeiro.

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1673 Hits
DEC
20
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Co-created Knowledge to Strengthen Sustainable Societies


by Dino Trescher, German TELI
(posted originally on EUSJA.ORG in by Wolfgang C. Goede)


The ‘Davos of Science’ has just been held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, between 24th and 27th November 2013. Also known as the World Science Forum (WSF), this is a biannual meeting of scientists and decision-makers in the world of politics and industry. This year’s 6th edition focused on science for global sustainable development in its environmental, economic and social dimensions—overlapping with many of the themes covered in the Millennium Development Goals. One of the key goals of the WSF is to ensure that evidence-based knowledge feeds into policies applied on a global, regional and local level to foster transitions to more sustainable societies, as outlined in their conference declaration.

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1110 Hits
DEC
20
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Declaration of the 2013 Rio de Janeiro World Science Forum on Global Sustainable Development


World Science Forum issued five recommendations towards a more responsible and ethical conduct of research and innovation while underscoring the need to greater integrate the voices and actions of government, society, industry and media: 

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1627 Hits
NOV
20
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SciCom well represented following competitive selection for thematic sessions at the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Annual Meeting (AAAS): Meeting Global Challenges – Discovery & Innovation, 13 – 17 February, 2014, Chicago


Addiction: Our Compulsions and Brain Reward Systems

Friday 14th February, 08h00 – 09h30

Session Description:
Wouldn't it be wonderful to attribute our compulsion for addictive damaging activities, such as overeating, taking illicit drugs or smoking, wholly to our genetic make up? Then we could blame our parents for everything! We know it is bad for us but we still do it. Why? This session explores the latest scientific evidence behind compulsive behaviour. 

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1486 Hits
NOV
20
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Leveraging The Nexus Between Health Science, Policy & Business: Insights From The BRICS, USA & Europe


SciCom’s health panel generated a lively but timely assessment of the inherent risks of simply ‘exporting’ as best practice the killer diseases, killer policies and expensive but failing health systems of the richer and more ‘developed’ world to so-called ‘emerging’ economies. Whereas emphasis differed, panelist case-studies (see session slides) clearly showed the absurd and unsustainable nature of global health and development policy. EU Chief Science Adviser, Prof. Anne Glover flagged how hunger and malnutrition as the leading cause of preventable death is a ‘choice we make and impose and not something that just happens. Only 1% of EU development aid goes to health in real terms and Horizon 2020, the world’s largest investment programme in science will dedicate 10%’. South African Deputy-Minister Michael Masutha challenged the perception that non-white-men could not do it for themselves, stressing the good science happening right now in places like Africa that often gets unreported and has to fight its corner to be valued in the scientific community.

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JUN
18
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SciCom leading an ESOF 2014 Copenhagen Delegation to the World Conference of Science Journalists 2013 Helsinki, 23 – 26 June


SciCom will be leading an ESOF 2014 Copenhagen Delegation to the World Conference of Science Journalists 2013 which will be held in Helsinki, Finland from 23 – 26 June.

The leading theme of the conference is Critical thinking in the public sphere. This applies equally to both journalists and the public. Media content and channels are in rapid flux. Evolution is taking place in the social media. What does this mean for science journalism?

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MAY
31
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Leading Members of the International Science & EU Affairs Media Confirm Consultation Event Participation


Organisers are pleased to announce that Ms. Ann Cahill (Irish), President of the International Press Association and Europe Correspondent at the Irish Examiner is joining the Global Research & Policy Insights into Alcohol Addiction Panel on 4th June.

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1236 Hits
MAY
30
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Mr. Martin Dockrell, Action on Smoking & Health’s (ASH), Director of Research & Policy Confirms Consultation Event Participation

Organisers are pleased to announce that Mr. Martin Dockrell, Action on Smoking & Health’s (ASH), Director of Research & Policy is joining the Global Research & Policy Insights into Nicotine Addiction Panel on 4th June.

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1621 Hits