Let’s talk about Space!
As I like to close circles (from the french expression ‘boucler la boucle’), my last post of the year 2013 will be about an initiative that I really appreciate and which was the topic of one of my first articles on the blog: the Brussels Science Apéros (BSA).
Organised by the communication agency Minerva, the last BSA is already the 4th one. These unformal science popularization meetings started in April and had been such a great success that Minerva had to choose a biggest reception space for the 4th one.
Let’s talk about Space over a drink!
On the topic “Space: The Final Frontier”, the meeting took place the 30th of October 2013 in the Lounge Bar of the Brussels Marriott Hotel with a distinguished speaker: Simonetta di Pippo, head of the European Space Policy Observatory at the Italian Space Agency and President of Women in Aerospace Europe.
This time, about 60 person came and stayed long after the event, mainly to talk personally to the speaker. As Simonetta has selected some astronauts that are on the ISS, one student who said that he would like to become astronaut, managed to ask her precised questions, says Katja Legisa, organiser of the event.
Right: Simonetta di Pippo. Credit: Minerva Communication
A truly lively meeting
According to Katja Legisa ‘the questions were rather technical, there were very few naive or fun/funny question, of which they [we] were surprised. Nobody asked ‘How does it work when an astronaut needs to shave, shower or go to toilet?’ or ‘What are the activities the astronauts needs to do every day while on board of the ISS?’ The public was very keen in asking regarding the exploration of other planets and a possible human life on them!’. Recurring topics were the benefits of Space exploration down in the Earth, Space tourism and the colonization of other planets.
Credit: Minerva Communication
Be ready for the 22nd of January. It is going to be about eating insects! Two entomologists will be guest speakers :Peter de Batist, Board member of the Antwerp Royal Entomological Society, CEO of Ecology-Projects SA & Patrick Grootaert, Head of the Department of Entomology of the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences. And experience will be provided: insect will be cooked in front of the public, and whoever wishes will be able to try them! Yummy!
How to make science and technology ecosystems meet entrepreneurship
To this big question, the not-for-profit organization Build Tomorrow has an answer! In what form? An ambitious European Innovation Challenge.
The Hello TOMORROW Challenge aims to gather designers, coders, engineers, scientists, managers and entrepreneurs from all over Europe to give them the opportunity to develop innovative projects in 5 different fields: Bio & Med Tech, Energy, Big Data, Hardware & Robotics, IT & Com. Recently launched -2nd December-, this promising big event will last 4 and a half months, with 25 selected projets, more than 100 mentors and 12 interactive masterclasses. The Challenge will end with a Grand Finale at the Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie (Paris, France) on the 18th of April 2014. The winning project will get 100K€. 15K€ will also be given to each of the 4 other finalists.They will be judged by a panel of more than 40 rockstar entrepreneurs, investors, industrials and researchers among which Massimo Banzi, founder of Arduino and Henri Seydoux, CEO of Parrot.
Change-makers, don’t miss this great Challenge!
To be noticed: applications close on the 22nd of January.
A prize to reward the most innovative European city
Hum, seems like I am always talking about research. Not this time! Today I present the first-of-its-kind European prize, the European Capital of Innovation Award or iCapital.
The contest is open to any city -which have over 100.000 inhabitants- of any European Member State. The city with the best Innovation ecosystem will get 500 000 € from the European Commission to fund the already running initiatives which have been highlighted for the application. Innovating cities, now you know what to do! And there is one month left to apply (deadline 3rd of December 2013)!
First time such a contest is organized
It is true that there is already a prize for innovating cities in Spain but no money is given to the winning city. The European prize will reward the city with the best Innnovation culture. The applying cities have to show that they have developed a strong global system between the infrastructures, the authorities, the citizens, the organisations, the public structures, the companies, etc… The highlighted initiatives should’nt have started before 1st January 2010 and must show some results. They also have to be:
Innovative - Initiatives must be highly innovative in terms of concepts, processes and tools.
Inspiring - Proposals should manage to attract talent, funding, investment and inspire citizens’ involvement and engagement.
Integrated - The proposal should target the entire innovation ecosystem and has to clearly highlight its links with the Europe 2020 goals.
Interactive - The implemented action and the proposed scale-up should help facilitating the interactions between the different actors in the innovation ecosystem.
The applying cities also have to explain how they want to use the money.
Innovation Convention 2014
Of course, Europe communicates about the prize. There is a webpage dedicated to the Contest and a press release written in each European language. The award ceremony will be held during the Innovation Convention 2014, one of the biggest Innovation event in Europe organised by the European Commission. I will definitely write about it and maybe attend to it (if I can)!
Source: Homepage on the European Commission website and Michael Jennings, European Commission spokesperson for Research, Innovation and Science.
Horizon 2020, until the final countdown a video is posted everyday
If you are interested in the next Framework Programme for Research & Innovation (Horizon 2020), you may have seen the video testimonials on the homepage of the Horizon 2020 Research & Innovation website. If not, I warmly invite you to go on this amazing webpage where a new video is posted everyday!
'Your views, your future, your Europe'
Since the 21st November 2011, more than 650 videos have been posted where various speakers such as researchers, entrepreneurs, politicians, academics and the public at large share their views on the future of European research in a short interview.
Asked about the speakers finding process, Tonia Jimenez-Nevado, in charge of this project, explains: ‘We send a film crew to selected events where we will probably find our targeted public, such as TEDx Brussels, European Parliament meetings, European Science Open Forum, TRA (Transport Research Arena), Innovation Convention, EUCYS (EU Contest for Young Scientists), etc…’. The speakers have the possibility to choose between questions such as: What are your main concerns for the future?, What is needed to exit the crisis and help Europe’s economy to grow? or How do you see research & innovation making a difference for a better future?
A tablet app ‘Stars of European Research’
Until today, the webpage was visited more than 127,588 times. And this is not the only way to enjoy the videos. Since June, you can watch them on a dedicated YouTube Channel and even download the tablet app ‘Stars of European Research’ (available on ITunes and Google Play. A new version will soon be released).
Europe promotes the best young scientists projects
The 25th edition of the European Union Contest for Young Scientists (EUCYS) ended few days ago. A good opportunity for me to present this contest which exists since 1989, already welcomed 2 451 contestants and rewarded 633 projects.
EUCYS 2013 awards ceremony. Source: https://www.facebook.com/eucys2012
EUCYS, an initiative of the European Commission, was set up to promote the ideals of co-operation and interchange between young scientists. The contest is the annual showcase of the best of European student scientific achievement and as such attracts widespread media interest. EUCYS gives students the opportunity to compete with the best of their contemporaries at European level.
The young scientists also have the chance to meet some of the most prominent scientists in Europe. In this way, the Commission seeks to strengthen the efforts made in each participating country to attract young people to careers in science and technology.
A historical contest
The contest has been organised since 1989 by the European Commission. In fact the EU Contest was initiated in 1989 when the then European Commission president Jacques Delors took up the challenge from Royal Philips Electronics of the Netherlands of organising the Europe-wide student science fair. Philips had been organising this annual event since 1968, The European Union launched the European Union Contest for Young Scientists (EUCYS) with the aim of encouraging young people to get involved in science and eventually embark on a career in research. In fact this year is the 25th Anniversary of the Contest. The contest is taking place in Prague, 20-25 September 2013.
126 participants and 85 projects
The participants in the EU Contest for Young Scientists are young people aged between 14 to 21. They must have previously won first prize in a competition for young scientists at the national level and their country must have an official National organiser. This high standard sets the EU Contest for Young Scientists apart from similar competitions. Entries from both individuals and small teams of up to 3 people are allowed, This year 126 young participants are participating in the Contest with 85 projects.
This event is attended by the contestants, the national organisers of the different participating countries, the Jury members, eminent scientists.
A widely promoted event
The event is promoted through its website, Facebook page, twitter account as well as through our different media partners. There is also a YouTube account with many different videos on the life during the contest.
Europe needs 1000000 more researchers by 2020 if it is to remain competitive. This contest encourages young scientists to take an interest in science and technology and hopefully pursue carreers in science and technology. In each country where the contest is held, local industry and academia get involved thus creating partnerships and networks and in the process enhancing each others contribution to science.