Archive for European Union

ISB@CIRM: through the looking glass

Posted in Mountains, pictures, Running, Statistics, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 10, 2021 by xi'an

It’s now official!, thanks to the support of the Société Mathématique de France (SMF), the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), and the Université Aix-Marseille, we are going to have a mirror workshop at CIRM, Marseille (France, not South Africa or Ohio!) gathering local Bayesians to attend ISBA 2021 together over the week of 28 June – 2 July, and share more than a virtual meeting room, while increasing the motivation to attend all sessions over a five day ultra-marathon! We also hope to have outdoor poster sessions around breaks.There is no registration fee and no support either, the only cost being the full-board on-site accommodation at CIRM to be paid upon arrival. Registration is open. Until we reach the upper limit set by the centre and depending on the dynamics of the pandemic (and of the administration). So feel free to apply if you are reasonably confident to be allowed and able to reach CIRM on the week of 28 June – 2 July. Which means travelling within the EU, at best.

no haggis for Burns night!

Posted in Statistics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 25, 2021 by xi'an

so long, U.K., and thanks for all the fish

Posted in Statistics with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 31, 2020 by xi'an

and it only gets worse [last round?!]

Posted in Kids, pictures, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 2, 2020 by xi'an

““A lot of what we’ve done over the last four years will be undone sooner or later by the next election. They won’t be able to do much about [Amy Coney Barrett election] for a long time to come.” M. McConnell, 25 October

“We’re not going to control the pandemic” White House Chief of Staff, 26 October

“The International Criminal Court (ICC) plays an essential role in delivering justice to the victims of some of the World’s most horrific crimes. Its independence and impartiality are crucial characteristics of the Court’s work, which are fundamental for the legitimacy of its judgements. The sanctions announced by the United States administration on 2 September against two Court staff members, including its Prosecutor, are unacceptable and unprecedented measures that attempt to obstruct the Court’s investigations and judicial proceedings. The European Union (…) will resolutely defend it from any attempts aimed at obstructing the course of justice and undermining the international system of criminal justice.” [EU High Representative] Josep Borrell, 03 September

“Under President Trump’s leadership, the United States has defended the dignity of human life everywhere and always. He’s done it like no other President in history (…)  in no case should abortion be promoted as a method of family planning.” M. Pompeo [when signing the Geneva Consensus Declaration]

[signing the Geneva Consensus Declaration] marks another giant step backwards for the United States as it joins a list of countries willingly endangering people’s health and lives. The United States’ stance flies in the face of human rights and decades of health research. This is about people living full lives that are their own – not the lives that the government has prescribed for them,” Tarah Demant, Amnesty International

[Amy Coney Barrett] is the most openly pro-life judicial nominee to the Supreme Court in my lifetime. This is an individual who has been open in her criticism of that illegitimate decision Roe v. Wade.” Josh Hawley, Missouri Republican Senator, 27 October

“Last week, the Supreme Court acquiesced to another attack on the voting rights of all Americans. In a 5-3 decision, the court blocked a trial judge’s ruling permitting Alabama counties to offer curbside voting as a reasonable accommodation to disabled voters.” Ari Ne’eman, The New York Times, 28 October

“In this election America faces a fateful choice. At stake is the nature of its democracy. One path leads to a fractious, personalised rule, dominated by a head of state who scorns decency and truth. The other leads to something better—something truer to what this newspaper sees as the values that originally made America an inspiration around the world.” The Economist, 29 October

resignation of ERC president

Posted in University life with tags , , , , , , , on April 10, 2020 by xi'an

[Reposting the ERC Scientific Council statement about the resignation of Mauro Ferrari:]

The ERC’s Scientific Council notes with regret the statement made by Mauro Ferrari concerning his resignation on 7 April. We here present the facts of the situation.

On Friday 27 March, all 19 active members of the ERC’s Scientific Council individually and unanimously requested that Mauro Ferrari resign from his position as ERC’s President.

This request was made for four reasons:

  1. During his three-month term in office, Professor Ferrari displayed a complete lack of appreciation for the raison-d’être of the ERC to support excellent frontier science, designed and implemented by the best researchers in Europe. Although voicing his support for this in public pronouncements, the proposals he made to the Scientific Council did not reflect this position. He did not understand the context of the ERC within the EU’s Research and Innovation Programme Horizon 2020.
  2. Since his appointment, Professor Ferrari displayed a lack of engagement with the ERC, failing to participate in many important meetings, spending extensive time in the USA and failing to defend the ERC’s programme and mission when representing the ERC.
  3. In contrast, Professor Ferrari made several personal initiatives within the Commission, without consulting or tapping into the collective knowledge of the Scientific Council, and instead using his position to promote his own ideas.
  4. Lastly, Professor Ferrari was involved in multiple external enterprises, some academic and some commercial, which took a lot of his time and effort and appeared on several occasions to take precedence over his commitment to ERC. The workload associated with these activities proved to be incompatible with the mandate of President of the Scientific Council.

Professor Ferrari subsequently resigned on 7 April 2020. Therefore, his resignation in fact followed a written unanimous vote of no confidence. In contrast, Professor Ferrari has stated that the reason for his resignation is that the Scientific Council did not support his call for the ERC to fund a special initiative focused on the COVID-19 virus. To address this point specifically, we did not support a special initiative because that is not our remit and the Commission’s Research and Innovation Directorate General, with which we are connected, was already very active in developing new programmes to support this research through the appropriate channels.

Indeed, many ERC funded researchers have been active for some time in researching the coronavirus family and many other equally dangerous pathogens. Over 50 ongoing or completed ERC projects supported for a total value of about EUR 100 million are contributing to the response to the COVID-19 pandemic by providing insights from several different scientific fields such as: virology, epidemiology, immunology, paths for new diagnostics and treatments, public health, medical devices, artificial intelligence, social behaviour, crisis management.

In addition, as stated on its website in reaction to the COVID-19 crisis, the ERC offers ‘grantees the flexibility to adjust their research project”. This is an efficient measure because several ERC grantees already enquired about the possibility of addressing COVID-19 related research in their ongoing ERC project. All this information is publicly available on the ERC website, which also includes testimonies from funded ERC grantees on how bottom-up frontier research is critical to deliver new – and sometimes unexpected – insights relevant for better understanding and fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as for providing social behaviour and crisis management related solutions.

However, the ERC does not make calls for specific topics, since a guiding principle of ERC is that our researchers are free to pursue the goals they define and to decide on what they wish to work. In our view, this is a crucial way to generate the best science.

The Scientific Council wishes to clarify, in case of any doubt, that they absolutely endorse the view that scientific research will provide the best solutions to tackling pandemics, such as COVID-19.

Therefore, we regret Professor Ferrari’s statement, which at best is economical with the truth. This Scientific Council remains dedicated to pursuing the mission for which the ERC was established: the support of bottom-up ground-breaking research. It is also worth noting that despite the pandemic, the ERC Executive Agency is struggling against the odds to actively process applications for our Consolidator Grants and Starting Grants, which will support researchers throughout Europe to make the discoveries of the future.

The ERC Scientific Council