We, as European scientists, need to deal with some issues that are common to all European territories. But, until recently, we were not joining forces to solve them. The trouble is that, until now, these issues were discussed at the national level by well-formed researchers’ communities. And not so much in a concerted way across European borders.
It is now time to make communications beyond borders a reality among us within the EU as well as outside. It is also time that we avail of readily available technology to dissect, discuss and analyse the issues that we face to help devise some proposals to policy makers. This blog has a grassroots vocation and calls upon the voices of researchers at all levels of the scientific hierarchy regardless of where they live.
To tell you a bit more about the history of this initiative, the need for the Homo scientificus europaeus (Hse) forum stemmed from the realisation that researchers were not coordinating their efforts enough to shape their own research environment—particularly in the countries most affected by the recession in Eastern and Southern Europe.
It all started with first discussions between Sabine Louët, chief-editor of the EuroScientist, and Gilles Mirambeau, molecular biologist at UPMC Sorbonne Universities, in Paris, and scientist at IDIBAPS, in Barcelona. They came that the conclusion that greater awareness of shared issues among scientists from various parts of Europe, could help improve their research environment.
This led to the publication, in April 2013, of a special issue of the EuroScientist on Austerity, which provided a snapshot of the effects of the recession on Southern European scientists.
Next, Gilles and Amaya Moro-Martin, astrophysicist, at this time spokesperson of the science grassroots organization Investigación Digna in Spain, set out to bring existing active researchers’ communities involved in defending scientists’ working environment and conditions to talk to each other across borders. This became reality by means of the first Hse meeting in Barcelona in November 2013 with Varvara Trachana, cell biologist in Larissa and science activist in Greece, Francesco Sylos Labini, physicist in Roma and Editor of Roars.it and Jose Mariano Gago, former ministry of Science in Portugal and main contributor to the European support for science (May his soul rest in peace). A dedicated session at ESOF 2014 was held in June in Copenhagen and chaired by Jose Mariano. In June 2014, Gilles met Alain Trautmann, Immunologist in Paris and former spokesperson of Sauvons La Recherche in 2004. As a matter of fact, the open letter “They have chosen ignorance!” was published in October by Amaya, Alain, Francesco, Varvara and Gilles plus Rosario Mauritti, sociologist in Lisbon and science activist in Portugal, Jennifer Rohn, cancer biologist in London and head of Science-is-vital in UK, Sebastian Rauspach, physicist and initiator of “Perspektive statt Befristung” in Germany and Patrick Lemaire, embryologist in Montpellier and spokesperson of “Sciences en Marche”.
At the same time, following an original idea of Francesco, the EuroScientist opened the HSE Blog to offer a free space for the researchers to make their voices heard. After two chaotic years due to the inherent difficulty for volunteers to sustain their action, the Hse blog is re-born in September 2016 with a team mostly constituted of young researchers, either PhD students, post-docs engaged in science activism, science writing, science communication and innovation in addition to Amaya, Rosario, Francesco and Gilles, who drives this new challenge.
You will discover them as soon as they will post their texts. Their goals consist in sharing their interests, thoughts and sensations with you, readers of the Hse blog. Already eight of them have started to publish and all together we hope you will enjoy our texts, our passion for science and our preoccupation for a better future, both for scientists and for citizens, throughout the EU and worldwide.
These bloggers are:
Wait for the others. Their texts are in the pipeline.
Photo credit: www.moebius.fr