Archive for European Union

PhD studenships at Warwick

Posted in Kids, pictures, Statistics, University life with tags , , , , , , , , on May 2, 2019 by xi'an

There is an exciting opening for several PhD positions at Warwick, in the departments of Statistics and of Mathematics, as part of the Centre for Doctoral Training in Mathematics and Statistics newly created by the University. CDT studentships are funded for four years and funding is open to students from the European Union without restrictions. (No Brexit!) Funding includes a stipend at UK/RI rates and tuition fees at UK/EU rates. Applications are made via the University of Warwick Online Application Portal and should be made  as quickly as possible since the funding will be allocated on a first come first serve basis. For more details, contact the CDT director, Martyn Plummer. I cannot but strongly encourage interested students to apply as this is a great opportunity to start a research career in a fantastic department!

congrats, Prof Rousseau!

Posted in Statistics with tags , , , , , , , , on April 4, 2019 by xi'an

ERC panel [step #2]

Posted in Kids, pictures, Statistics, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 2, 2019 by xi'an

Another post that was written ages ago, about the second round of the European Research Council (ERC) panel on starting grants for mathematics in which I took part as an expert and not as an applicant. While anonymity possibly fell apart for the several dozens of applicants who were shortlisted for interview, in particular more like those few from my own field, the official list of the panel only came out much later. The interviews were quite interesting, obviously, with a strict attention to time and questions to make all interviews as “equal” as possible. And sometimes painful to attend as the candidates were visibly stressed and more over-prepared than not. Which did not necessarily help as the preparation, presumably with the help of local consultants out of maths, had removed some of the enthusiasm behind the project and too much of the maths. I think we all stopped breathing when one applicant broke mid-sentence, as in a theatre play when one actor forgets one’s lines… The rehearsal does not work so well for later questions, even though preparing for these is also essential,  and some upgrading or downgrading may then occur because of a single answer. An unavoidable limitation of the exercise.

Overall I remain impressed by the quality of the collective work of the panel [despite a gruelling schedule on interview days] and of the overall selection of eleven projects, even though it sounds like more theoretical and abstract topics seem privileged, in a bias that seems difficult to counteract. And [not because no statistics proposal was selected this time] making me (and others) wonder whether or not a separate statistics section of the ERC would not be more appropriate, since statistics proposals are not uniquely and solely centred on the maths aspects.

5,000,883 signatures later…

Posted in Statistics with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 24, 2019 by xi'an

put it to the people [last chance?!]

Posted in Kids, Travel with tags , , , , , , , on March 23, 2019 by xi'an

ERC panel [step #1]

Posted in Kids, pictures, Statistics, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 16, 2019 by xi'an

Although this post was written ages ago, regulations of the European Research Council (ERC) prevented me from posting it until now, for confidentiality reasons. I was indeed nominated as an expert member of the ERC panel on starting grants for mathematics [a denomination including statistics, obviously, but also quantum physics or some aspects of it], which means evaluating a hundred-ish applications of young researchers (five years from PhD) to select about ten of them to be richly funded for the coming five years. The reason for secrecy is that the panel members have to be protected from pursuits from the candidates (or, more likely, from their senior mentors). While this is a pretty heavy commitment, above 20 days total, the evaluation process gets quite interesting and the most annoying part is to have to reject proposals that should be funded, were more funds available. (For obvious reasons, I cannot get into the details of individual proposals, but let me just bemoan that there were too few proposals connected to statistics!) I may however get into my appreciation of the collective work of the panel during the first step selection process. I actually knew no other member prior to my joining the panel and was impressed at how smoothly we managed to work together and incorporate different opinions in a joint perspective. When I re-read these sentences, it feels like langue de bois (double talk), really!, but they truly represent my feelings at the end of the meeting. Making me (almost) looking forward the second step of interviewing the selected candidates in another week-long meeting, again in Brussels, for the interviews and final selection and ranking. (Which is when anonymity falls apart.)


per un Rinascimento europeo, pentru o Renaștere europeană, na rzecz europejskiego Odrodzenia, &tc.

Posted in Kids, Travel with tags , , , , , on March 9, 2019 by xi'an

[In preparation for the incoming European elections and as a call to arms against populist trends on the rise, Emmanuel Macron has published a tribune in all of the so-far 28 EU countries, written in 24 languages that I aggregated in a single letter, hopefully missing no bit and no language.]

Obywatele Europy,

wenn ich mir heute erlaube, mich direkt an Sie zu wenden, dann tue ich das nicht nur im Namen der Geschichte und der Werte, die uns einen, sondern weil dringend gehandelt werden muss. In wenigen Wochen wird die Europawahl über die Zukunft unseres Kontinents entscheiden.

Jamais desde a Segunda Guerra mundial afigurouse tão necessária a Europa. Contudo, jamais a Europa esteve em situação tão perigosa.

La Brexit ne è l’emblema. Emblema della crisi dell’Europa, che non ha saputo rispondere alle esigenze di protezione dei popoli di fronte alle grandi crisi del mondo contemporaneo. Emblema, anche, dell’insidia europea. L’insidia non è l’appartenenza all’Unione Europea ma sono la menzogna e l’irresponsabilità che possono distruggerla. Chi ha detto ai Britannici la verità sul loro futuro dopo la Brexit? Chi ha parlato loro di perdere l’accesso al mercato europeo? Chi ha evocato i rischi per la pace in Irlanda tornando alla frontiera del passato? Il ripiego nazionalista non propone nulla; è un rifiuto senza progetto. E questa insidia minaccia tutta l’Europa: coloro che sfruttano la collera, sostenuti dalle false informazioni, promettono tutto e il contrario di tutto.

Tegenover deze manipulaties moeten wij standhouden. Trots en helder van geest. Laten we eerst eens zeggen wat Europa is. Het is een historisch succes: de verzoening van een verwoest continent, met ongeëvenaarde plannen voor vrede, voorspoed en vrijheid. Laten we dat nooit vergeten. En deze plannen beschermen ons ook vandaag de dag nog: welk land kan er nu in zijn eentje opboksen tegen de agressieve strategieën van de grootmachten? Wie kan pretenderen soeverein te zijn, alleen tegenover de techreuzen? Hou zouden we de crises van het financiële kapitalisme kunnen weerstaan zonder de euro, die de gehele Unie sterk maakt? Europa mai înseamnă și miile de proiecte care au schimbat, în viața cotidiană, chipul teritoriilor noastre, o școală renovată aici, o șosea construită acolo, ori accesul la Internet în bandă largă care se extinde și dincolo. Este o luptă și un angajament de zi cu zi, deoarece atât Europa, cât și pacea, nu sunt un dat imuabil. În numele Franței, eu duc neîncetat această luptă pentru progresul Europei și pentru apărarea modelului european. Noi am arătat că ceea ce ni se spunea că e inaccesibil, și anume crearea unei apărări europene sau protecția drepturilor sociale, este posibil.

Но трябва да се направи повече, и по-бързо. Защото има и друга клопка, клопката на статуквото и на примирението. И когато наблюдават тежкитге трусове, които люлеят света, грежданите много често ни казват : „Къде е Европа ? Какво прави Европа ?”. В техните очи тя се е превърнала в бездущен пазар. А Европа не е само пазар, тя е проект. Пазарът е нещо полезно, но не бива да ни кара да забравяме, че са необходими граници, които пазят, и ценности, които обединяват. Националистите се заблуждават, когато твърдят, че защитават нашата идентичност, оттегляйки се от Европа ; просто защото нас ни обединява, освобождава и защитава европейската цивилизация. Motijo pa se tudi tisti, ki ničesar ne bi spreminjali, saj zanikajo strahove, s katerimi se spopadajo naši narodi, in dvome, ki spodkopavajo naše demokracije. Smo v odločilnem trenutku za našo celino; čas je, da tako na politični kot kulturni ravni skupaj ponovno zasnujemo našo civilizacijo v spreminjajočem se svetu. Napočil je trenutek evropskega preporoda.

Evropský model spočívá na lidské svobodě, názorové různorodosti, tvůrčím přístupu. Naší první svobodou je svoboda demokratická, svoboda zvolit si ty, kdo nám budou vládnout, a učinit tak ve volbách v nichž zahraniční mocnosti pravidelně usilují o získání vlivu na naše hlasování. Navrhuji vytvořit Evropskou agenturu pro ochranu demokracie, jež by každému členskému státu dala k dispozici evropské odborníky, kteří by jejich volební proces chránili proti kybernetickým útokům a manipulacím. Ve stejném duchu nezávislosti musíme také zakázat financování evropských politických stran cizími mocnostmi. Na základě evropských pravidel nesmíme připustit jakékoli projevy nenávisti a násilí na internetu, neboť úcta k jednotlivci je základem naší civilizace založené na důstojnosti.

EU er bygget på intern forsoning men har glemt at kigge på den virkelige verden. Intet samfund er imidlertid i stand til at skabe en følelse af tilhørsforhold, hvis det ikke har grænser, det skal beskytte. En grænse det er frihed i sikkerhed. Vi skal også gennemføre en gennemgribende revision af Schengenområdet: Alle dem der vil deltage skal opfylde forpligtelser om ansvar (streng grænsekontrol) og solidaritet (samme asylpolitik med de samme modtagelses- og afvisningsregler). Et fælles grænsepoliti og et europæisk asylkontor, strenge kontrolforpligtelser, en europæisk solidaritet, som hvert land bidrager til, under myndighed af et Europæisk råd for indre sikkerhed. Jeg tror på et Europa, der, i lyset af migration, beskytter sine værdier og sine grænser.

Οι ίδιες απαιτήσεις πρέπει να εφαρμοστούν και για την άμυνα. Τα δύο τελευταία χρόνια σημειώθηκε σημαντική πρόοδος, αλλά η γραμμή που καλούμαστε να χαράξουμε πρέπει να είναι σαφής: μια συνθήκη άμυνας και ασφάλειας πρέπει να καθορίζει τις αναγκαίες υποχρεώσεις μας, σε σχέση με το ΝΑΤΟ και τους ευρωπαίους συμμάχους μας: αύξηση των στρατιωτικών δαπανών, ρήτρα αμοιβαίας άμυνας με διασφαλισμένη αποτελεσματικότητα, ένα Ευρωπαϊκό Συμβούλιο Ασφαλείας στο οποίο θα συμμετέχει και το Ηνωμένο-Βασίλειο για την προετοιμασία των συλλογικών μας αποφάσεων.

Nuestras fronteras también deben garantizar una competencia leal. ¿Qué potencia acepta mantener sus intercambios con aquellos que no respetan ninguna de sus reglas? No podemos someternos sin decir nada. Tenemos que reformar nuestra política de competencia, refundar nuestra política comercial: sancionar o prohibir en Europa aquellas empresas que vulneren nuestros intereses estratégicos y valores fundamentales –como las normas medioambientales, la protección de datos o el pago justo de impuestos– y adoptar una preferencia europea en las industrias estratégicas y en nuestros mercados de contratación pública, al igual que nuestros competidores estadounidenses o chinos.

Euroopa ei ole teisejärguline tegija. Euroopa on tervikuna avangardistlik – ta on alati osanud progressi mõõtu määratleda. Seetõttu peabki ta keskenduma enam üksteisele lähenemisele kui konkurentsile – Euroopa, kus loodi sotsiaalkindlustus, peab looma iga töötaja jaoks, olgu ta idast või läänest, põhjast või lõunast, sotsiaalse kaitsekilbi, mis tagab talle samal töökohal sama palga, ning üleeuroopalise, igale riigile kohandatud miinimumpalga, milles igal aastal ühiselt kokku lepitakse.

Kehityksen vauhtiin pääseminen vaatii johtopaikkaa myös ekologisessa taistelussa. Voimmeko katsoa lapsiamme silmiin, jollemme huolehdi myös ilmastovelastamme? Euroopan unionin on määriteltävä tavoitteensa – nollapäästöt vuoteen 2050 mennessä sekä torjunta-aineiden puolittaminen vuoteen 2025 mennessä – ja sopeutettava politiikkaansa niiden mukaisesti. Tarvitaan Euroopan ilmastopankki rahoittamaan ekologista käännettä, eurooppalainen terveysviranomainen vahvistamaan elintarvikkeidemme valvontaa, lobbauksen vastavoimaksi riippumaton tieteellinen arviointi ympäristön ja terveyden kannalta haitallisille aineille jne. Šim imperatīvam ir jānosaka jebkura mūsu darbība: no Centrālās bankas līdz Eiropas Komisijai, Eiropas budžets Eiropas investīciju plānā, visām mūsu institūcijām klimatam ir jābūt kā mandātam.

Napredak i sloboda – to znači moći živjeti od svoga rada: za stvaranje radnih mjesta, Europa treba povećati svoju sposobnost predviđanja. Stoga, uspostavom europskog nadzora velikih platformi (brže  sankcioniranje povreda tržišnog natjecanja, transparentnost njihovih algoritama …), Europa ne samo da mora digitalne divove podrediti zakonskim okvirima, nego i poticati financiranje inovacija dodjeljivanjem novom Europskom vijeću za inovacije proračun za preuzimanje vodstva u novim, takozvanim disruptivnim tehnologijama kao što je umjetna inteligencija, usporediv s proračunom Sjedinjenih Američkih Država.

Európának, a világban elfoglalt jövőbeli helyének a tervezésekor, Afrika felé kell fordulnia. Afrikával kell a jövő paktumát megkötnünk. A közös sors felvállalásával, fejlődésének ambiciózus és nem defenzív támogatásával: beruházások, partnerkapcsolatok, egyetemek, fiatal lányok oktatása…

Le modèle européen repose sur la liberté de l’homme, la diversité des opinions, de la création. Notre liberté première est la liberté démocratique, celle de choisir nos gouvernants là où, à chaque scrutin, des puissances étrangères cherchent à peser sur nos votes. Je propose que soit créée une Agence européenne de protection des démocraties qui fournira des experts européens à chaque Etat membre pour protéger son processus électoral contre les cyberattaques et les manipulations. Dans cet esprit d’indépendance, nous devons aussi interdire le financement des partis politiques européens par des puissances étrangères. Nous devrons bannir d’Internet, par des règles européennes, tous les discours de haine et de violence, car le respect de l’individu est le fondement de notre civilisation de dignité.

Šioje Europoje pačios tautos iš tiesų perims savo likimo kontroliavimą; šioje Europoje, esu tuo tikras, Jungtinė Karalystė ras sau deramą vietą.

In this Europe, the UK, I am sure, will find its true place. The Brexit impasse is a lesson for us all. We need to escape this trap and make the forthcoming elections and our project meaningful. It is for you to decide whether Europe and the values of progress that it embodies are to be more than just a passing episode in history. This is the choice I put to you: that together we chart the road to European renewal.