Tuesday, 2 July 2019

HAZU Member Milena Žic Fuchs Appointed to ERC Scientific Council

ZAGREB, July 2, 2019 - Milena Žic Fuchs, a professor at the Zagreb Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences and member of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts (HAZU), is among six eminent European scholars appointed to the Scientific Council of the European Research Council (ERC) by the European Commission, the University of Zagreb reported on Monday.

The ERC Scientific Council is composed of eminent scientists and scholars. Members are appointed by the European Commission, at the recommendation of an independent Identification Committee.

Žic Fuchs is the first Croatian scholar to be appointed to that body.

The Scientific Council, the ERC's governing body, consists of 22 eminent scientists who represent the entire European scientific community. It defines the scientific funding strategy and selects experts to evaluate project proposals. It is chaired by ERC President Jean-Pierre Bourguignon.

The mission of the ERC, which was founded by the EU in 2007, is to encourage the highest quality research in Europe through competitive funding and to support investigator-driven frontier research across all fields, on the basis of scientific excellence, according to information on the ERC website.

Every year the ERC selects and funds the best and most creative researchers of all nationalities and ages and it also tries to attract top researchers from other parts of the world. So far, the ERC has funded around 9,000 top researchers at different stages of their career.

More news about science in Croatia can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Friday, 17 May 2019

Uhljeb Alert? One of Poorest Counties in Croatia Establishes Space Technology Centre

Sisak-Moslavina County is one of the poorest in Croatia. However, yesterday it established the Centre for Space and Innovative Technologies. Although the news that a county with many villages without electricity, water and roads has opened a space technology centre sounds like an April Fool’s joke, county officials seem offended by such comparisons, reports Jutarnji List on May 17, 2019.

County prefect Ivo Žinić pointed out that the project “Sisak-Moslavina County - Gaming Industry Centre” has become one of the most innovative projects in Croatia and that the establishment of the Centre for Space and Innovative Technologies will enable the county to become the centre of competence for certain other technologies as well.

“The activities led by the centre can attract a large number of young scientists, and the opening of new jobs will prevent them from leaving the country. The future of Croatia, the future of Sisak-Moslavina County, is in modern technologies,” concluded Žinić.

The decision by the County Assembly has caused an avalanche of comments and jokes on social networks. “A very inventive way to employ party personnel, if there are still few unemployed members left. They need the space centre because HDZ members seem to have come from Mars.”

Some commentators have also advised the authorities to be sure to “set up the Central Agency for the Coordination of County Centres for Space Technology with one coordinator for each county, and a deputy, and a secretary, and a secretary’s deputy.” Others say that the “space centre will gravitate toward HDZ members,” and that the elections are coming soon, but that this idea is too much even for an election campaign.

However, there are other opinions. Danko Bosanac, an astrophysicist from the Ruđer Bošković Institute, support the idea. Several years ago, he initiated the establishment of a similar, never opened centre in Udbina. “I am directly responsible for launching this centre because I have started the Adriatic Aerospace Association.It is fine to express doubts, but it has to be done in a civilized way, because this initiative is supported by A3, with about 60 highly-qualified members from the areas of space technology and science, and with numerous contacts around the world.

The discussion about the Sisak centre lasted for about a year. The centre will primarily focus on the commercialization of top-quality materials that will have the ‘terrestrial’ application. The Faculty of Metallurgy and the Ruđer Bošković Institute will represent a link towards scientific research. There will be a co-operation between science and technology. We should be happy and help this initiative; someone has decided to make a step forward,” said Bosanac.

The information on the establishment of the centre has been published on the Adriatic Aerospace Association’s website. It is a non-profit association that focuses on four main areas: promoting research and development in the aerospace sector, mediating in projects as a point of contact, education and consulting, and regional co-operation.

Translated from Jutarnji List (reported by Anita Belak-Krile).

More news about Sisak-Moslavina County can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Monday, 29 April 2019

Miroslav Radman Introduced as Associate of US National Academy of Sciences

ZAGREB, April 29, 2019 - Croatian-French geneticist and molecular biologist Miroslav Radman was introduced as one of 17 newly-elected foreign associates of the US National Academy of Sciences (NAS) at a ceremony on Sunday.

The new members were introduced to their colleagues in the Academy and signed the Register of Membership, which is "a widely accepted mark of excellence in science and is considered one of the highest honours that a scientist can receive," NAS said.

Current NAS membership totals approximately 2,300 members and 460 foreign associates, of whom approximately 190 have received Nobel prizes.

Radman's recent studies have changed the view of cell function, ageing and survival from DNA-centric to protein-centric, which is aimed at mitigating age-related diseases. He is recognised for his ground-breaking work on DNA repair, recombination and mutation and their impact on biological evolution and human health.

Radman is known for the discovery (together with Dr. Evelyn Witkin) of the SOS response to DNA damage, particularly in relation to the genesis of mutations;) the discovery of DNA mismatch repair (together with Drs. Matthew Meselson and Robert Wagner) – the key genetic editing system assuring the fidelity of DNA replication and recombination, that generates genetic barriers between closely related species; and more recently, for establishing the role of oxidative damage to proteins in cellular resistance to radiation and desiccation, as well as in ageing and age-related diseases.

Radman graduated biology from the University of Zagreb in 1966 and received a PhD in molecular biology from the University of Brussels in 1969.

He became a research director at the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) in Paris in 1983 and a professor of cell biology at the Medical School of the University of Paris-5 in 1998. In 2013, he moved to his native Split where he founded the private not-for-profit Mediterranean Institute for Life Sciences (MedILS) in 2004 to study the biology of aging and age-related diseases.

Radman has been elected to the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, the French Academy of Science, the World Academy of Arts and Sciences, the European Academy of Science, the European Academy of Microbiology, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the US National Academy of Science.

More science news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Thursday, 25 April 2019

Ivan Đikić Elected Member of American Academy of Arts and Sciences

ZAGREB, April 25, 2019 - Croatian molecular biologist and biochemist Ivan Đikić, who works at Goethe University and the Max Planck Institute of Biophysics in Frankfurt and Genentech in San Francisco, has been elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Since 1780, the Academy has been electing new members to recognise outstanding achievements in the arts and sciences, business, philanthropy and public affairs. Over 250 Nobel and Pulitzer prize winners are among its members, and some of its most famous members were Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein and Martin Luther King Jr.

"I am deeply honoured to join this circle of distinguished personalities. My gratitude goes to all past and present members of my lab, my mentors, and colleagues at Goethe University and to my family for their enduring support and friendship. I also wish to send a message to new generations stressing that science is an amazing profession where we can explore new ideas freely, enrich our creativity by curiosity, benefit society and have fun by sharing knowledge and working together with students and colleagues around the world," Đikić said after being notified of his election.

The induction ceremony for more than 200 new members will be held in Cambridge, Massachusetts in October. Among the newly-elected members is the former First Lady Michelle Obama.

More news about Croatian scientists can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Monday, 11 March 2019

Croatia to Accelerate European Space Agency Accession Process

ZAGREB, March 11, 2019 - A six-member delegation of the European Space Agency (ESA) led by Nathalie Tinjod is paying a visit to Croatia this week and Education and Science Minister Blaženka Divjak said on Monday that this would be an opportunity to use this phase for the enhancement of the innovations system in Croatia and for boosting cooperation, as well as accelerating the process of the country's admission to the ESA.

"The upstream and downstream branches of the space sector created over 230,000 jobs in Europe during 2017, valued at EUR 60 billion," Divjak said at a conference in Zagreb which was attended by the ESA delegation.

She recalled that in February 2018, Croatia and the ESA signed an agreement concerning space cooperation for peaceful purposes.

The cooperation with ESA is implemented through three pillars, and the cooperation agreement paves the way for Croatia's cooperation with that agency at the first pillar, including the exchange of information at meetings, workshops and training programmes as well as through the implementation of specific data and the ESA assistance in efforts to draw up a national space strategy.

Tinjod said the objectives of the ESA is to develop cooperation with European Union member-states in space research.

The ESA possesses about 80 satellites and 85% of the agency's budget goes on contracts with the European industry.

The agency's budget is 5.7 billion euro for 2019.

The Paris-based ESA is an international organisation consisting of 22 member states: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Slovenia is an associate member. Canada participates in some projects under the cooperation agreement. Bulgaria, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Slovakia and Croatia have cooperation agreements with ESA.

More science news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Saturday, 23 February 2019

CERN Associate Membership Opens New Window of Opportunity

ZAGREB, February 23, 2019 - Croatian scientists and business people have supported Croatia's joining the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, known as CERN, ahead of the signing of an CERN associate membership agreement which Croatia and CERN are scheduled to sign on February 28.

Associate member status will make it possible for Croatia to participate in CERN-funded projects on an equal footing, Croatian scientists and business people said, commending the signing of the agreement with CERN. It will improve the quality of education and research by Croatian scientists and increase the mobility of scientists and specialists.

Such status will also open up business opportunities for Croatian software, construction, electrical engineering and healthcare companies. Croatia will contribute a total of CHF 1 million annually to finance CERN activities.

The agreement will be signed in Zagreb by Minister Blaženka Divjak and CERN director-general Fabiola Gianotti, after earlier this year the Croatian government decided to initiate the procedure to conclude the associate membership deal with that Geneva-based international scientific institute.

In mid-2018, a CERN delegation visited Croatia to check if the country fulfils membership criteria.

The ministry underscores the associate membership will be a huge step forward for making Croatia's science more visible in international circles.

CERN was established in 1954. It has 22 member states currently: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and United Kingdom, with Israel being the only non-European country granted full membership.

In 2016 it had 2,500 scientific, technical, and administrative staff members, and hosted about 12,000 users. In the same year, CERN generated 49 petabytes of data.

More science news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Sunday, 17 February 2019

Ruđer Bošković Institute Boasts of High Share of Women Researchers

ZAGREB, February 17, 2019 -The Ruđer Bošković Institute (RBI) has a 58% portion of female researchers, which is why it is above the European Union and global average when it comes to the share of female researchers, the Zagreb-based Institute reported when International Day of Women and Girls in Science was observed on 11 February.

This year, the theme for that day was "Investment in Women and Girls in Science for Inclusive Green Growth".

"At present, less than 30 per cent of researchers worldwide are women. According to UNESCO data (2014 - 2016), only around 30 per cent of all female students select STEM-related fields in higher education. Globally, female students’ enrolment is particularly low in ICT (3 per cent), natural science, mathematics and statistics (5 per cent) and in engineering, manufacturing and construction (8 per cent)," according to the information available on the United Nations' website.

"Science and gender equality are both vital for the achievement of the internationally agreed development goals, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Over the past 15 years, the global community has made a lot of effort in inspiring and engaging women and girls in science. Yet women and girls continue to be excluded from participating fully in science"

The main Croatian science institute says that it has a total of 880 employees, and of them 427 have PhD degrees, including 246 women (58%). Also, there are a total of 11 heads of departments and four are women (36%), and when it comes to the heads of laboratories, gender equality is balanced (50% to 50%).

Of the three assistant directors of the RBI institute, two are women.

The European Union's statistical office Eurostat provided data for 2017 about gender equality in science and in that year, 59% of researchers and engineers in the EU were men and 41% were women.

In Croatia, according to the Eurostat figures, the share of women in the science and research field is 48%.

More news on the Ruđer Bošković Institute can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Friday, 11 January 2019

Croatia to Become CERN Associate Member on 28 February

ZAGREB, January 11, 2019 - Croatia and the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, known as CERN, are going to sign an associate membership agreement on 28 February in Zagreb, the Croatian science and education ministry stated on Friday.

The agreement will be signed by Minister Blaženka Divjak and CERN director-general Fabiola Gianotti, after earlier this month the Croatian government decided to initiate the procedure to conclude the associate membership deal with that Geneva-based international scientific institute.

In mid-2018, a delegation visited Croatia to check if the country fulfils membership criteria.

The ministry underscores that the associate membership will be a huge step forward for making Croatia's science more visible in international circles.

Associate member status will make it possible for Croatia to participate in CERN-funded projects on an equal footing. It will improve the quality of education and research by Croatian scientists and increase the mobility of scientists and specialists.

Such status will also open up business opportunities for Croatian software, construction, electrical engineering and healthcare companies. Croatia will contribute a total of one million Swiss francs annually to finance CERN activities.

The European Organization for Nuclear Research was established in 1954. It currently has 22 member states: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and United Kingdom, with Israel being the only non-European country granted full membership.

In 2016, it had 2,500 scientific, technical, and administrative staff members, and hosted about 12,000 users. In the same year, CERN generated 49 petabytes of data.

"The CERN convention was signed in 1953 by the 12 founding states Belgium, Denmark, France, the Federal Republic of Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Yugoslavia, and entered into force on 29 September 1954. The Organization was subsequently joined by Austria (1959), Spain (1961-1969, re-joined 1983), Portugal (1985), Finland (1991), Poland (1991), Czechoslovak Republic (1992), Hungary (1992), Bulgaria (1999), Israel (2014) and Romania (2016). The Czech Republic and Slovak Republic re-joined CERN after their mutual independence in 1993. Yugoslavia left CERN in 1961," according to the information provided on the CERN website.

More science news can be found in our Lifestyle section.

Thursday, 3 January 2019

Croatia Initiates Procedure for CERN Associate Membership

ZAGREB, January 3, 2019 - The Croatian government on Thursday decided to initiate the procedure to conclude an associate membership agreement with the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, known as CERN.

CERN was established in 1954 by the European Council for Nuclear Research. Based in a northwestern suburb of Geneva on the Franco-Swiss border, it operates the largest particle physics laboratory in the world.

Associate member status will make it possible for Croatia to participate in CERN-funded projects on an equal footing. It will improve the quality of education and research by Croatian scientists and increase the mobility of scientists and specialists.

Such status will also open up business opportunities for Croatian software, construction, electrical engineering and healthcare companies.

Croatia will contribute a total of CHF 1 million annually to finance the organisation's activities.

More science news can be found in our Lifestyle section.

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

State Science Awards for 2017 Presented

ZAGREB, December 12, 2018 - The State Science Awards for 2017 were presented in parliament on Wednesday for life achievements by six reputable scientists - Janko Herak, Helena Jasna Mencer, Vera Garaj-Vrhovac, Josip Kovačević, Vjeran Katunarić and Emilio Marin.

A total of 33 scientists were awarded and 31 received the State Science Awards which were presented by Parliament Speaker and the Chairman for the committee for state awards Gordan Jandroković and Science and Education Minister Blaženka Divjak.

The Croatian parliament, as the highest legislative body in Croatia, has for 23 years been presenting the state award for science and this year the committee decided to recognise a total of 33 scientists, Jandroković underscored.

He said that almost every segment of contemporary man's life is shaped by scientific and technological advancement, and that science is an unavoidable factor in the development of every contemporary state and its social and economic progress and prosperity, including Croatia, which has always been a country of reputable scientists and inventors in all scientific fields and it is that today too.

He added that he was particularly pleased that parliament recently adopted the 2019 budget which has allocated 506 million kuna or 3.7% more for science and education compared to 2018.

Jandroković believes that this will continue in the years to follow and particularly underlined that the increased funds are also related to Croatia's associated membership in the biggest research laboratory in the world – CERN and that this cooperation will provide new opportunities for Croatian scientists and lecturers and for Croatia's innovative industry.

More news on the science and education in Croatia can be found in our special section.

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