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Global

 

The EU’S draft documents outlining a future relationship with the UK after 2020 contains little detail about the science and technology component.  The key unresolved issues remaining are role of UK in - Euratom including the ITER project, and in space and security related programmes. Mobility of UK researchers across the UK and vice versa and UK’s participation in EU flagship programme Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe needs to be clarified.

The new legislation “Constitution for Science” passed by the Polish Parliament gives autonomy to universities in setting research priorities, and makes research financing simpler, with the aim of enabling them to become more successful in EU R&D funding programmes and increase their international standing. Separate streams of funding for teaching and for research would now be combined into a single fund by universities. Federations of universities can be created. Research funding will be linked to performance of individual researchers, also changing the way university performance is assessed.

Chinese scientists have released plans for a $5 billion, Circular Electron Positron Collider (CEPC) to be completed in 2030. The machine will enable detailed studies of Higgs bosons. CEPC will consist of an underground tunnel 100 km in circumference. It will produce intense beams of electrons and positrons and investigate high energy collisions of up to 240 GeV and produce Higgs bosons, W bosons and Z bosons. The IHEP expects the Chinese government will fund 75% of the project while 25% will be sourced from an international collaboration. After 10 years, the CEPC can be upgraded to a super proton-proton collider (SPPC) with an energy range of 75 TeV, five times higher than the Large Hadron Collider of CERN. Japanese physicists are also planning a $5 billion machine called the International Linear Collider, to produce and study Higgs bosons.

The latest (22 November) Greenhouse Gas Bulletin issued by the World Meteorological Organisation indicates the level of major Greenhouse Gases in the atmosphere continue to increase. The levels reached in 2017 and growth rates are (1) Carbon Dioxide 405.5 ppm (2.2 ppm per year) (2) Methane 1859 ppb (7 ppb per year) (3) Nitrous Oxide 330 ppb (0.9 ppb per year*). The report also noted that there was a higher than expected level of chlorofluorocarbon CFC-11, a potent greenhouse gas (GHG) and a stratospheric ozone-depleting substance (ODS) and said that "the most likely cause of this slowing is increased emissions associated with production of CFC-11 in eastern Asia. " (* ppm- parts per million by volume ppb- parts per billion by volume)

Researchers at the University of California-Davis have developed a scanner - EXPLORER that uses a combination of Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and X-ray Computed Tomography (CT) – to look at the entire body’s organs and tissues in one go. This machine can take a full body scan in just 30 seconds. The researchers also claim it is far safer, and needs a much smaller radiation dose than a PET scan alone. EXPLORER can also produce movies of the body in motion, capable of tracking blood vessels or even drugs that are making their way through the body.

Russian chemists have developed a unique "transforming nanoparticle" that can help fight cancer and other diseases. The hollow nanoparticles with a covering of polymer filaments and granules of titanium oxide and silver, When illuminated with an infrared laser, the nanoparticle collapses from heat releases the particle's contents, and also releases oxygen. Tests showed that the nanoparticles could release sugars into bacteria. Since infrared radiation passes easily through the human body, the use of such nanoparticles to fight cancerous tumours or various infections will be possible in virtually any part of the body.

COP 14 to the Convention of Biological Diversity is taking place in Egypt, from 17-29 November 2018. The theme of the 2018 Biodiversity Conference is “Investing in Biodiversity for people and planet”

  • Mega project on quantum technologies launched by EU

    The European Union has announced the launch of Euro 1 billion quantum research project in bid to leapfrog progress in the US and China. It aims to develop quantum computers that are exponentially more powerful than today’s supercomputers.

  • NASA and ESA celebrate 18 years of life on the International Space Station

    The European Space Agency and NASA commemorated 18th anniversary of humanity’s permanent presence in space by releasing 8K ultra high-definition video with footage of astronauts working in ISS. This video is a collaborative project between ESA and NASA.

  • New field of nanotech research emerges

    Physicists from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore and University of California, Riverside have proposed a completely new subfield of research called Electron Quantum Metamaterials, based on the engineered manipulation of structures to produce materials with completely new properties. This is seen as a marriage of quantum physics and nanostructures and is being considered as a promising field with potential for many new applications and products.

  • Cell Phone based diagnostic tool to detect HIV developed

    A team of researchers from the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston have designed a cell-phone based novel platform that can detect HIV virus with 99.1 percent specificity. This portable and low cost mobile diagnostic tool utilises cell-phone and nanotechnology.

  • Signs of lead exposure in Neanderthals revealed in a new study

    Earliest recorded evidence of lead exposure has been discovered in the molars of two young Neanderthals found in south-east France. This chemical analysis provides more insights about the environment our ancient relatives lived in.

  • Space telescope Kepler dead after discovering more than 2600 planets

    NASA’s premier planet-hunting telescope has reached the end of its service life because of fuel exhaustion. The mission served the space agency for 9.5 years, discovering around 2720 exoplanets.

  • Space Mission launched off to Mercury: joint project between Europe and Japan
    The BepiColombo Mission which is a joint project between the European and Japanese space agencies, lifted off its journey from French Guinea. The spacecraft will take 7 years to reach the innermost planet.
  • DARPA program to teach common sense reasoning to machines

    Despite recent advances, however, a critical component of Artificial Intelligence (AI) remains just out of reach – machine common sense. Defined as “the basic ability to perceive, understand, and judge things that are shared by nearly all people and can be reasonably expected of nearly all people without need for debate,” common sense forms a critical foundation for how humans interact with the world around them. DARPA has created the Machine Common Sense (MCS) program to develop new capabilities. MCS will explore recent advances in cognitive understanding, natural language processing, deep learning, and other areas of AI research to find answers to the common-sense problem. The programme will seek to develop computational models that learn from experience and mimic the core domains of cognition as defined by developmental psychology. It will also seek to construct a common-sense knowledge repository capable of answering natural language and image-based queries about common sense phenomena by reading from the Web.

  •  Eye on Earth Symposium held in Dubai

    Experts from around the world gathered in Dubai between 22nd to 24th October 2018, to discuss catalysing the support of multilateral partnerships and discuss evidence-based decision making for environmental and natural resource aspects of sustainable development.

  •   14th Annual General Meeting of the Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Minerals, Metals and Sustainable Development

    A closed session meeting of the council members of the Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Minerals, Metals and Sustainable Development took place in Geneva between 15th to 18th October 2018. The discussions revolved around topics like environmental and social impact assessments, community engagement, new technologies, UN tools for sustainable mining policies and tax policies.

  • Clean Energy Fund worth € 100M co-financed by Bill Gates and the EU launched in Brussels.

    The Breakthrough Energy Ventures fund has opened a 100 million Euros investment vehicle to invest on cleaner technologies in European companies. The fund is financed jointly by the billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates and the European Union and was unveiled at the Paris Climate Summit in 2015, to limit the looming global warming crisis.

  • France opens joint research unit in South Korea.

    CNRS and Sorbonne University, in collaboration with their South Korean partners- Ewha Women University and Yonsei University have inaugurated an International Joint Unit (UMI) in the field of materials chemistry and organic electronics. Cooperation on these research topics is a long-standing tradition between the two countries.

  • The 45th Session of the Committee on World Food Security held in Rome for 4 days.

    The 45th Session of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) was convened between 15th to 19th October in Rome, Italy to address the issues arising from its Multi-year Programme of Work adopted at CFS 44. The committee was established in 1974 and reformed in 2009 and serves as an intergovernmental and international platform for all stakeholders to work together to ensure food security and nutrition for all

  • Collaboration among six EU science organizations to push for more investment in Science in Europe.

    The research chiefs of six European organizations; Max Planck, CNRS, Germany’s Leibniz Association, Helmholtz, National Research Council of Italy and Spain’s Council for Scientific Research met to join forces for better investment in science and technical fields.

  • Data experts gather to find solutions to worlds' biggest challenges at UN Forum

    Data experts from around the world gathered in Dubai for a 3-day conference, in a bid to accelerate progress on the Sustainable Development Goals. The data forum was organized around six thematic areas including new approaches to capacity development for better data, innovations and synergies across different ecosystems among others.

  • Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 degree Celsius and Summary for Policymakers released at IPCC-48 held in Incheon, Korea

    Leading Climate Scientists from different countries jointly brought out a landmark report on climate change on 8th October 2018. The report was the outcome of the 48th Session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change held between 1st to 6th October 2018 at Incheon, Korea.

  • Global Science leaders meet held in Alberta, Canada.

    The 46th Carnegie Group Meeting of Science Ministers was held during the last week of September 2018 in Banff, Alberta. Global science leaders from the European Union, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States attended the meet. The Agenda was to discuss the need and significance of public participation in science related matters. Also, discussions were on issues like artificial intelligence and its impact; gender equality in science and evidence-based policy making.

  • EU launches Euro 1 billion project to build world’s fastest supercomputer .

    The European Commission is assembling a group to build world’s fastest supercomputer in order to challenge the dominance of China and US in the sector. The completion of the project is expected by 2023.

  • Canada & Germany celebrate collaborations to innovate for a better future .

    Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science & Sport, Canada met her German counterpart to discuss and celebrate Canada and Germany’s mutual interests in advancing research and innovation for the economic benefit of both countries. Themes related to the 2+2 model based on the Advanced Manufacturing Industry 4.0, were discussed. The Agenda was to realise the objective of the model by encouraging small or medium sized manufacturing companies in both countries to work together and engage in industry-academia linkages for socio-economic benefits.

  • Nobel Prize in physiology and medicine awarded for Cancer Immunotherapy work

    The discovery of two immune system regulators and their role in cancer has led to a new way to provide therapy for patients by removing brakes on the immune system. This work earned James P. Allison of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and Tasuku Honjo of Kyoto University in Japan the 2018 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine.

  • Space2030: World Leaders Proclaim Innovative Space Diplomacy as the New Frontier for Peace on Earth

     A High-Level event, "Space2030: Space as a Driver for Peace," was held on the side-lines of the 73rd Session of the UN General Assembly during the High-Level Segment to highlight the importance of utilizing space as a driver for peace and sustainable development on Earth, as a driver for innovative space diplomacy and as the New Frontier for Peace on Earth.

    High level speakers stressed the importance of peaceful uses of space science and technology on Earth for the benefit of humanity, such as using space-based data for disaster risk reduction and poverty alleviation and the importance of public-private partnerships for the successful implementation of the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Agenda.

  • High level multi-lateral meeting held at UN HQ to fight against TB

    A high-level meeting was convened by UN to approve a political declaration for fighting against Tuberculosis. Efforts made by governments across the world to counter the disease were also acknowledged at the meeting

  • Science in Senegal to benefit from NASA mission
    40 scientists from NASA, under the New Horizons probe, are heading to Senegal for an object, ‘MU69’. The mission will aid in building ties between NASA and scientists at Senegal to explore outer space and planet.