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EDITO
Thursday, 29 June 2017
As the internet develops from an information source to a place for e-transactions, European researchers are exploring the psychological impact of websites and why people trust one site over another. One such study, by British psychologists, explores how trustworthy people find different health advice websites.Psychologists in Europe are discovering what people look for when deciding whether or not a website offers trustworthy health advice and why people sometimes reject advice from some of the better-known sources.
In a project supported by the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) – a research funding and training agency – under its e-Society initiative, researchers from different universities in England studied the internet habits of 15 women who were considering taking hormone replacement therapy over a period of six months.The study, carried out by Professor Pamela Briggs and Dr Liz Sillence of Northumbria University’s PACT Lab, together with colleagues at both Northumbria and Sheffield Universities, is being presented, in the first week of April, at the British Psychological Society (BPS) Conference at the University of Manchester.
ropean Medicines Agency (EMEA) is a decentralised body of the European Union with headquarters in London.
Its main responsibility is the protection and promotion of public and animal health, through the evaluation and supervision of medicines for human and veterinary use. The EMEA coordinates the evaluation and supervision of medicinal products throughout the European Union. The Agency brings together the scientific resources of the 25 EU Member States in a network of 42 national competent authorities. It cooperates closely with international partners, reinforcing the EU contribution to global harmonisation.
In 2001, the Committee on Orphan Medicinal Products (COMP) was established, charged with reviewing designation applications from persons or companies who intend to develop medicines for rare diseases (so-called ‘orphan drugs’). The Committee on Herbal Medicinal Products (HMPC) was established in 2004 and provides scientific opinions on traditional herbal medicines.A network of some 3,500 European experts underpins the scientific work of the EMEA anA new section of the EMEA website has been created to highlight the Agency's activities relating to its implementation of the new EU pharmaceutical legislation. The section provides overview information and a release schedule for documents and guidelines being drafted during the year as part of the implementation process. EMEA stakeholders and interested parties will be requested to provide their comments on these draft documents and guidelines during the consultation periods specified. Consultations are expected to start from March 2005.
Achieving innovation in Europe depends on retaining and attracting more researchers. Among other objectives, this means improving European researchers’ work conditions and encouraging more professional mobility – strong reasons behind the Commission’s new recommendation for a Charter and Code of Conduct for Researchers.Unveiled on 11 March by Science and Research Commissioner Janez Potoznik, the European Charter for Researchers and accompanying Code of Conduct for recruiting researchers create a blueprint for improving Europe’s research network, the quality of research and development and the conditions under which researchers will deliver the best results.

It is not just a question of spending more on research but also improving scientists’ work facilities, mobility, employment conditions and their opportunities to branch out into related areas of activity. It is crucial to address the status of researchers, said Commissioner Potoznik, adding that Europe must ensure that, wherever they work, “researchers are treated with the respect and esteem they deserve.”

Europe needs to produce an additional 700 000 research-related jobs, the estimated minimum needed to help the EU reach its Lisbon and Barcelona targets – to be the world’s knowledge powerhouse by 2010 and for Member States to spend 3% of gross domestic product on research to achieve this.

It has made some progress in recent years, but still lags the United States and Japan in terms of the number of researchers in the general workforce. Effort is needed to cut red tape and to address the lack of mobility, the poor gender balance, the problem of overworked and underpaid personnel and the rigidities of tenure systems at institutions and universities that discourage risk-taking or unorthodox career moves, the Charter stresses.
Tuesday, 05 April 2005
In March, the Policy Working Group of CONCORD (Task force on the Development Policy Statement) issued the position paper "Review of the EU development policy statement: Europe must send a strong positive signal to the developing world". The document is the CONCORD contribution to the electronic consultation on the future of the EC development policy (conducted by the EC between January 18 and March 19, 2005). It questions that an internet consultation is the appropriate way to discuss the future of development policy and urges all actors involved to start serious debate on the future development statement in governments, parliaments and civil society constituencies. The policy paper is intended to serve as a first general CONCORD position on the important issues at stake.
The European Commission wants to know how genetically modified (GMO) crops might affect human and animal health in the longer term, eight years after the EU first allowed biotech crops, a document showed on Tuesday. In a tender published on its website, the Commission's environment unit has advertised for interested parties to study the "potential cumulative long-term effects" of individual groups of GMO crops, and say where more research is required. Only a handful of GMO crops may be grown commercially on EU territory, mostly maize types. These crop approvals were issued in 1997 and 1998, before the bloc began a six-year moratorium on new GMO authorisations that ended in May 2004. This task should be prioritised to take account of the types of GM plants released within the Community at the present time and those predicted in the near future, the notice said. Last week the Commission held its first debate on GMO policy in more than a year, vowing to press ahead with authorising more gene-altered crops and foods even if EU governments could not break years of deadlock over the issue. While new approvals are trickling in, they have so far related to imported GMOs for use in food, animal feed and industrial processing. No GMO crop has been won EU approval for planting since 1998.
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