Finnegan's Take

A government-appointed expert group in Ireland makes uncomfortable reading for all invested in Europe’s “knowledge economy” experiment. It questioned (a) whether Ireland’s investment in ‘STI’ (science, technology and innovation) is really economically worthwhile and (b) whether producing 20% more PhD students might be counterproductive. These points are buried in a lengthy report by an academic… » read more

Posted by Gary Finnegan

“European Research Council in full flight,” screams the July issue of the Europe4Researchers newsletter published by the European Commission, which landed in my inbox on this afternoon. The article boasts that the ERC has “developed into a well-functioning research funding body”. Great news, if it were true. Yesterday a panel of experts – assembled by… » read more

Posted by Gary Finnegan

When words like “subprime” and “credit crunch” entered the public lexicon in 2007, commentators said it would pass within a few months. Once banks published their annual reports, they said, we’d know who had toxic assets on their balance sheets and confidence would return to the markets. That was two years ago. Now, as the… » read more

Posted by Gary Finnegan

Irish bookmakers are betting the Lisbon Treaty will win between 60% and 65% of the vote in October’s (2nd) referendum on the issue, but are nervous about getting it wrong (again). Paddy Power – Ireland’s biggest bookie – is offering odds of 1/6 on the Treaty being passed, citing the legal guarantees agreed in June… » read more

Posted by Gary Finnegan

€228 million for entrepreneurs in Cyprus, €300 million for Dutch SMEs, and €200 million for a train in Spain: The European Investment Bank promised three quarters of a billion Euro in loans to help keep economies moving during the credit crunch – and that was just Friday! The Bank has pledged to make €30 billion… » read more

Posted by Gary Finnegan

Zhe Song, China’s main man in the EU, is every bit the modern Chinese diplomat: he knows the official line inside out and offers polite frustration in the face of what he sees as the West’s frequent misunderstanding of China. But he’s pragmatic and outward-looking; he talks of progress and consensus-building. Indeed, as evidenced by… » read more

Posted by Gary Finnegan

Call it a spoof, call it a stunt, but Greenpeace‘s cheeky ‘Special Edition’ of the International Herald Tribune was a masterclass in attracting attention in an age of information overload. The enviro-lobby gave out 50,000 copies of its fake 8-page IHT in capital cities across Europe today, handing them out at train stations and in… » read more

Posted by Gary Finnegan

Oh dear. As if the debate on nanotechnology were not complex enough, it now seems companies are quietly burying references to nanomaterials contained in consumer produts. Until recently, branding something as containing ‘nanotechnology’ was seen as a plus – a marketing boost. Now though, a new pattern is emerging. Consumer groups in Norway, the UK… » read more

Posted by Gary Finnegan

Close the airports, lock up your children, stockpile tinned food and quarantine the next person who sneezes – we’re headed for an all-out flu pandemic! The WHO is preparing to raise the swine flu (sorry, A/H1N1 influenza) outbreak to level six on its six-point pandemic scale. This is it. This is red alert – the… » read more

Posted by Gary Finnegan