Short items, December 2010

Scientific potential 

The UK government’s futures think tank, Foresight, has highlighted scientific and technological areas that it thinks could transform the UK economy over the next 20 years. They include manufacturing, R&D efforts in materials for a low carbon economy, renewable energy, and the increasing importance of intellectual property, all of which could offer opportunities for UK firms to invest and generate significant returns.

Scientific integrity lawsuit

Following the US Department of Interior’s pledge to not alter scientific findings (see Chemistry World, November 2010, p5), a lawsuit has been filed by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, who say the White House is wrongfully withholding documents detailing why its proposed scientific integrity and transparency rules are being waylaid. The rules are already 15 months overdue and no target date has been announced. 

Simple research framework

The European Parliament has voted in favour of implementing Research Framework Programmes that should remove administrative bottlenecks faced by researchers. According to members of the European Parliament the EU research funding system should place more trust in applicants and be more risk tolerant, albeit with clearly defined rules. 

Go Figure

315 per cent

The increase in consumer products that contain nanomaterials from 2009 to 2010, according to the European Consumers’ Organisation and the European Consumer Voice in Standardisation.