Europe is losing ground in research sector

«Europe is way behind, not only in applied technology but in producing new scientific knowledge. Research is not a right but a duty in this new age. We cannot even imagine future developments in biology, but scientists will have to learn to listen to society,» said the chairman of Scientific Council at the newly established European Research Council (ERC), Professor Fotis Kafatos, in this interview with Kathimerini. The appointment is a great distinction for this Greek scientist who now heads Europe’s scientific community. Here he also sheds light on the potential for his own country’s scientists, despite the difficult conditions. A native of the island of Crete, this 65-year-old professor is well-known among European scientists for his two terms as director-general of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), for his pioneering research in that field and his 30-year academic career at Harvard. He will be no simple figurehead, since the EU is hoping for a great deal from the new council. European Commissioner for Research Janez Potocnik said recently in Brussels that the establishment of the council means that this is the first time that the scientific community itself will be in charge of managing research within the European Union.