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European Commission

MEMO

Brussels, 14 February 2013

The Beauty and Benefits of Science: The European Commission at AAAS 2013 Boston, USA, 14- 18 February 2013

The European Commission is taking part in one of the world's biggest and prestigious science gathering worldwide, organized annually by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (http://www.aaas.org/meetings/). This year's conference entitled "The Beauty and Benefits of Science" will take place in Boston. The Commission will be represented among others by Robert-Jan Smits, Director General for Research and Innovation of the European Commission and Professor Anne Glover, the first Chief Scientific Adviser to the President of the European Commission. The President of the European Research Council, Professor Helga Nowotny, will also take part.

The European Commission's key messages are that Europe is open for business, open for innovation, open for research and open for researchers. Europe punches above its weight in research: the Union accounts for just 7% of the world population but is responsible for 24% of world expenditure on research, 32% of high impact publications and 32% of patent applications.

The EU flagship programmes aimed at direct support for researchers (Marie Curie Actions, European Research Council (ERC)) continue to attract a growing number of the world's best brains to Europe and will be reinforced under the Commission proposal for the next EU research and innovation programme, Horizon 2020. International cooperation on key societal challenges such as fighting infectious diseases and combatting climate will also be targeted.

A campaign "Destination Europe" supported by EU Members States and the EURAXESS network was launched last year in the US to attract the best talents to work in Europe. Two events have already been held in the US, a third will take place on 22 February back to back with the MIT European Career fair in the United States.

Which events is the Commission Involved in?

The Commission is involved in a number of symposia in conjunction with EU researchers, high level panel discussions on EU science policy, and career and networking activities (EU programme at AAAS ). Researchers and students will be able to get more information on what the EU has to offer at the Commission stand in the exhibition hall. 

What is AAAS?

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is the world’s largest general scientific society, and publisher of the journal, Science. AAAS was founded in 1848, and includes some 261 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals. Its annual meeting is widely as the most important ‘science stakeholder’ gathering of the year.

In total, there will be several hundreds of symposia during the AAAS Annual meeting in 2013. The overall programme can be found at:

http://aaas.confex.com/aaas/2013/webprogram/start.html

The AAAS annual meeting brings together a broad spectrum of attendees, including thousands of international scientists, policy makers and science journalists, who choose the sessions according to their professional profiles.

The European Research Council at AAAS

At this year's AAAS meeting, the ERC will be represented by its President Professor Helga Nowotny and three grant winners; Brian Chase (University of Montpellier, France), Maja Schlüter (Stockholm University, Sweden) and Siwan Davies (Swansea University, UK). Professor Nowotny will be a panel speaker in the topical lecture "European science policy on the move", alongside Robert-Jan Smits and Anne Glover as well as Paul Boyle, President of Science Europe. The ERC grantees will speak at a scientific symposium on climate change, moderated by Professor Nowotny, and the ERC will take part in a career workshop together with Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions and Euraxess Links USA. Professor Nowotny will also give a press briefing with US National Science Foundation (NSF) President Subra Suresh.

The European Research Council (ERC) is the first pan-European funding body supporting top researchers of any nationality performing frontier research in Europe. It was created by the European Commission in 2007 and is a component of the EU's Seventh Research Framework Programme (FP7).

The Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions at AAAS

At AAAS the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions will be presented at the Career Development Workshop: “Funding Opportunities in Europe for Creative Minds from Anywhere in the World”. More information about the various opportunities the MSCA offer to researchers to come to Europe will be given at the Destination Europe’s booth and the Career Development Lounge.

The Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) award European research grants, regardless of the researcher's nationality and field of research. In addition to generous fellowships, the programme gives researchers the possibility to gain invaluable experience abroad as well as in the private sector. Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions connect the three sides of the knowledge triangle - research, education and innovation –  and combine excellent research and top-quality training that foster innovation. Since their launch in 1996, the Actions have funded 65 000 researchers from 130 nationalities.

The Joint Research Centre at AAAS

The Commission's in-house science service, the Joint Research Centre (JRC), is an active player at the AAAS Annual meetings. In this year's edition, the AAAS scientific committee has approved 4 sessions organised by the JRC. One session links to the JRC's fundamental role of providing scientific support to EU policy-making, called: "Tales of the Unexpected: How Science Advisers Manage Uncertainty". The session will involve the director of the White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy, John P. Holdren, the former Deputy Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK Government, Miles Parker, as well as Professor Anne Glover of the European Commission. The other sessions cover topics as diverse as security research, healthy living or actinides.

The Joint Research Centre is the scientific and technical arm of the European Commission. It is providing the scientific advice and technical know-how to support a wide range of EU policies. The JRC has seven scientific institutes, located at five different sites in Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain, with a wide range of laboratories and unique research facilities.

The European Commission's Chief Advisor

Professor Glover will give the key note speech at a reception organised by Euroscience, where she will invite researchers and other participants from across the world to come to the next Euroscience Open Forum (ESOF). This Europe's largest general science conference will take place in 2014 in Copenhagen.

Furthermore, as already mentioned above, Professor Glover will also take part in the two sessions described above: "Tales of the Unexpected" and "European science policy on the move".


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