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Janez Potočnik: “A Strong and Longstanding Relationship as International Partners”
“Is there a scientific trans-Atlantic divide between the United States and Europe? Of course there are some differences in our approaches to scientific research and technology. That is not surprising, but I have long believed—and I am not alone in this—that the Atlantic today is narrower than ever before. Science and technology is one area in which the new United States administration is fulfilling its promise of hope and change. And involving scientific advice more in the business of policymaking, specifically, has meant the appointment of eminent scientists to steer policies and much-needed increases in research budgets.
“We are also investing in the future, and we must. Three examples spring to my mind. A few weeks ago, the European Commission asked public authorities, business, and researchers to invest an additional $50 billion in low-carbon energy technologies in the next 10 years.... Alongside this, we are promoting research through the already successful European Research Council. And (EU) President Barosso has announced his plan to appoint a chief science adviser for the European Commission.
“This is not to say that there is anything wrong with a little healthy competition between the European Union and the United States. But cooperation is also both natural and crucial. This is true today more than ever as everything becomes more and more connected across our shrinking globe. Partnership is crucial if we are to succeed in tackling the undeniable, shared problems of climate change and energy, or food and security. We can—and we must—build a strong and longstanding relationship as international partners. We share common values and interests and we have clout between us. We account for the largest bi-lateral trade relationship in the world.
“The promotion of international cooperation is therefore naturally a part of the EU’s scientific policy. It enhances access to worldwide scientific expertise, attracts top scientists to work in Europe, puts research in the service of other policies and contributes to international responses of shared programs.
“Over the past five years, I have pursued these objectives—and I know that AAAS shares them, too. As an educator, leader, spokesperson, and professional association...its methods and aims are something we could all aspire to. Enhancing science communication and education, defending the integrity of science, supporting scientific and technological enterprise, promoting the responsible use of science in public policy, and fostering scientific education for everyone—we are clearly speaking from the same script. And this is exactly why we have been able to work together for awhile now and why we want to do more of it in the future.”
6 November 2009