Engineer Francesco Profumo was today appointed minister of education, universities and research in the technical government being put together by Mario Monti following the resignation of Silvio Berlusconi on 12 November. Read more
Italian scientists are exceptionally good at winning European Research Council (ERC) grants. That means a lot, since ERC Starting Grants and Advanced Grants are highly prestigious and unusually lucrative – they can bring up to €3.5 million to the host institute over five years, enough to establish a well-endowed research group.
German politicians found guilty of plagiarism have seen their careers stumble. First came the forced resignation in March of the German defence minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg – the University of Bayreuth withdrew his PhD thesis after identifying extensive plagiarism. Other German politicians wielding doctor titles were then gleefully been targeted by plagiarism software users. Only last month, Silvana Koch-Mehrin of Germany’s Free Democratic Party (FDP) was forced to withdraw from the European Parliament’s Committee on Industry, Research and Energy after the University of Heidelberg had revoked her plagiarizing PhD. Her predecessor on the committee, Jorgo Chatzimarkakis, had his own PhD revoked by the University of Bonn last week for plagiarism. Read more
The next 24 hours will be critical for scientists in Germany who are trying to understand if an outbreak of infections from a deadly strain of E. coli currently sweeping the country is a severe instance of a normal infection, or something different. Read more
The elaborate webpage of one of the world’s most notorious stem cell-therapy clinics – where an 18-month old boy died, and a ten-year old boy nearly died, under treatment last year – shrunk dramatically last week. Now there is just a single, short – and somewhat disingenuous – page. ‘Due to a new development in German law, stem cell therapy is currently not possible to perform at the XCell-Center’, the page says. ‘Regretfully for this reason, we must cancel your appointment until further notice.’
The Fukushima disaster has shaken public confidence worldwide in the safety of nuclear power stations. Most governments have proven reluctant to pull the plug on their nuclear power stations entirely, promising instead to rethink strategies and undertake safety checks.
The Fianna Fail party, in power in Ireland since 1997, had supported science well enough over the last decade or so to allow the small country to dramatically raise its international profile. This year it even scraped into the top twenty science-producing countries in terms of citations per research paper. Read more