The European Parliament


2004 - 2007: The NewPOL Network Impression 

The impression regarding STOA even though based on a much shorter period (cf. EC NewPOL Network Impression) is similar to that for the European Commission. 

I had the pleasure of being invited to the first STOA Meeting by a person of exceptional ability and talent a few years ago.

The STOA workshops covered multiple research areas and were so organised as to invite friendly informal interactive discussions between the invited experts, guests and the audience.  

This novel way of presenting workshops particularly appealed to me and I tried to attend most meetings. I took considerable pleasure making reports and sending out my observations.  

I was soon invited to take part in STOA Panel discussions in Strasbourg.   

One of the ideas behind STOA seemed to be precisely: interactivity. But interactivity with what, with whom and to what end ? And how ?   

Interactivity should reach out far beyond the European Parliament amphitheatre…for maximum immediate impact on the inhabitants trying to survive in a back slum only 50 metres away from the impressive European Parliament building in Brussels... or perhaps wandering aimlessly or dying in Africa....!

The top priority of the 3rd Millennium is: World Society Well Being and Quality of Life.

What is the link of each workshop with this priority ? How can it be established ? If this is not possible, what is the use of the workshop ? 

We have reached the stage where making interesting, well-structured but disconnected serial academic presentations is not all that useful anymore. One must now try to articulate these together and create cross-links with the public. This is where traditional/conventional education shows its limits. It can't.

The European Parliament Workshop/Conference structure (as for the EC) is still the reflection of an outdated Educational System whose arrogance, dictatorial academic power and fragmented hyperintellectualism smothers intelligence. A new educational system is necessary.    

The missing link of these workshops is therefore: impact. The common denominator: inappropriate strategy.

The System is unhealthy. A System that is basically ill can only give birth to institutions/systems that are also ill: the Political System is unhealthy... the Educational System is both unhealthy and harmful to the human being.  

The System must be entirely rethought. 

A new thinking paradigm is necessary that can simplify complexities and dissolve internal dysfunctions. This means understanding the notion of interfaces.

Organising a meeting/workshop with fragmented minds shall not give a global integrated interdisciplinary working consensus, whatever the theme.    

As for the European Commission, the more avant-garde personalities in STOA seem to be rather isolated and have to give in to their more conventionally minded peers. So the STOA continues to work in an Ivory Tower despite outward appearances. Practical suggestions are not even recognised. Let's hope for a rapid turnover... [Read more…]



European Parliament - Invitation to STOA Workshop on "Policy options for the improvement of the European patent system". Organised by ETAG on behalf of STOA Chairman: Philippe Busquin, MEP, Chairman of the STOA panel. Brussels, June 14th from 10.00 – 12.00hrs. 

European Parliament - Invitation to attend "The STOA Experience", celebrating 20 years of STOA's existence, which takes place from the 18th to the 21st of June, 2007, during the Strasbourg part-session of the European Parliament. There will be an inauguration ceremony, commencing with cocktails at 18:00 on Tuesday, June 19th.

The STOA Experience is located in the Galerie Sud of the European Parliamentary Building, and includes a variety of events, demonstrating the latest in advanced European technological innovations. Exhibits will range from energy efficient vehicles to computer demonstrations of the CERN grid and Tri-Dimensional Virtual Reality Displays. There will also be the chance to discuss with scientists, the impact of these technologies and what policy changes might be necessary to address the challenges of the 21st century.

Past events:

The future of European transport - New Therapies for Cancer: Prospects, Promises and ProblemsDemocracy Promotion: The European Way. Urgent Messages to Europe from the World's dissidents - Development of Internet Technologies: Human rights, freedom of expression and the protection of the vulnerable population - EU Galileo Satellite NS [Report] - Climate change [Report] - Converging Technologies [Report I: 1) The basic problem regarding "Converging Technologies" seems to be essentially an interface issue. 2) Academia and The People. 3) Regular follow-ups of the CT Workshop should be organised - Report II - Report III] - Eurobot Awards Ceremony

European Parliament - Invitation: STOA Workshop on "The future of European transport" - Brussels, 28th March 2007. [Read more...]

European Parliament - Workshop on "New Therapies for Cancer: Prospects, Promises and Problems" - Organised as part of the project “Future Developments of Cancer Therapy (Pre-Study)" commissioned by the Scientific Technology Options Assessment Panel of the European Parliament (STOA) and carried out by the European Technology Assessment Group (ETAG) - 14.30-18.30hrs, Brussels, 7nth February 2007. [Read more...]

Invitation to the European Parliament - "Democracy Promotion: The European Way. Urgent Messages to Europe from the World's dissidents" + "Italian Transnational Radical (= Root & Non-Violent) Party General Council" - Brussels, 6, 7, 8 & 9 December 2006. [Read more...]

European Parliament - STOA Annual Meeting: "Development of Internet Technologies: Human rights, freedom of expression and the protection of the vulnerable population" - Brussels, 21rst November 2006. [Read more...]

European Parliament - STOA workshop on "Perspectives of the European GALILEO Satellite Navigation System and its Applications". The workshop took place on 13 September 2006 at the European Parliament in Brussels. [Read more...]



                                                         [26 September 2006]

In France alone, there are more than 100000 psychiatrists, psychologists, psychotherapists... Makes you wonder. But this "Unwell-Being" in society is by no means restricted to France. World Society does not seem much better off.

Is the Galileo Project going to make any difference? Is this Space Project going to improve World Society Well-Being and Quality of Life? Where is the relevance? 

The Galileo Project can develop and improve applications in many fields: emergency services, health, industrial policy, transport, local government, crime, foreign policy, education and environmental issues. But the link to Well-Being and Quality of Life still needs to be clearly established and integrated in the population.

Citizens should know to what they are going to be commited  for at least 20 years. This is a long time during which there shall be major constitutional and legal challenges. Changes are highly likely.

The NewPOL Network endeavours to create - in the first instance - ONE ministry of Society Well-Being and Quality of Life per country that would integrate all the present traditional/conventional ministeries: health, agriculture, education, culture, research, economics, politics, defence, .... A quite unique integrated interdisciplinary ministerial configuration leading to a completely new vision of politics, governance and public service. 

Under this framework, space projects (as for ANY project) shall have the legal and constitutional obligation to clearly establish the link between their Mission/Objectives and World Society Well-Being and Quality of Life. 

European Parliament - The 4th STOA Annual Lecture (2005) and related events on "Climate Change" under the patronage of Mr Josep Borrell Fontelles, President of the European Parliament. Brussels 23rd November 2005. 

Please click on the following link for further information: 

- http://www.europarl.eu.int/stoa/annuallecture4/default_en.htm 

- http://www.europarl.eu.int/workshop/co2reduction/default_en.htm          



                                                         [25 November 2005]

STOA succeeded in presenting a complex issue to the participants, inviting open interdisciplinary discussion and suggestions for new strategies.

My reaction after listening to interesting academic presentations is always the same: then what?

There MUST be a follow-up.

The Workshop clearly exposed the inertia of The System regarding the vital issue of Climate Changes and their ominous consequences. There was a feeling of helplessness in the air... What can we do to make things change? How are we going to awaken the world conscience? Basically, this is what we need to do. Is this in any way feasible?

The NewPOL Network offers a solution: interfaces.

The lecture given by Professor Brasseur, Director of the Max-Planck Institute for Meteorology, presented how the Human Being has profoundly transformed the Earth System and the consequences on World Society Well Being and Quality of Life. I told Professor Brasseur that I was a little skeptical regarding the usefulness of Climate Computer Simulations and "State of the Art Climate Models" considering what the French, Asian (Thailand, Indonesian, Indian...) American and Pakistani population had gone through these last few months and deplored the lack of coordination and agreement not only between the experts themselves (geologists, seismologists, geophysicists, meteorologists...) but also between the experts and the other Organisations and scientists. Indeed, the devastating human consequences of these Environmental Catastrophes could have been avoided.

Global issues of World importance CANNOT be dealt with using a fragmented methodology: this is incompatible. You need to offer an acultural apolitical solution that reaches the Human Being beyond frontiers. This approach may then open the way to a new world political and cultural consensus. This is where the NewPOL Network could help STOA, the European Union and the United Nations, through our Customised World Interdisciplinary Networks (CWINs).

CWIN 2 (http://www.imnrc.org/NCN/Activities/CWINs/cwin_2.htm ) is dedicated to "Earthquakes, Tsunamis, Hurricanes... Forecasting, Monitoring and Human Disaster Prevention".

The CWINS shall be launched together with other initiatives - as detailed under Agenda on http://www.imnrc.org/NCN/Activities/activities.htm - once we have met our full quota of 20 National Coordinating (NC) Teams.

We still need four...


The EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT - DIRECTORATE GENERAL FOR INTERNAL POLICIES OF THE UNION - Economic and Scientific Policy Directorate and STOA [Scientific and Technological Options Assessment] decided to organise a workshop at the European Parliament in Brussels on the topic of Converging Technologies in the afternoon of 18 October 2005.

The Workshop, hosted by Malcolm HARBOUR MEP, Vice-Chairman of STOA, brought together relevant experts in this field from Europe and concentrated on strategic aspects in relation with the European Research Area and the 7th Framework Programme. 

The format of the Workshop comprised short presentations from each of the experts followed by questions from members and a discussion open to all participants.

The NewPOL Consortium Network was represented in person by its Principal Coordinator, Professor Vivian R. F. Linssen, Founding Director of the International Multidisciplinary Neuroscience Research Center asbl/vzw.

Please visit the STOA and EPTA Websites.





[19 October 2005. Comments in black. Suggestions in blue.]

To be perfectly honest, I liked the title "Converging Technologies" (CT) but was a little skeptical regarding the Workshop itself. I had therefore prepared a whole series of questions for the Panel.

These were not needed.

All the speakers without exception gave compelling lectures. Such avant-garde presentations of the material take courage, even in 2005 it is sad to say.

"Convergence" may be more important than "Technologies" remarked one of the invited speakers.

Rationale for the Report <<Converging Technologies - Shaping the Future of European Societies>> [The latter should not be considered without the Non European Societies]:

i) The idea that there is a convergence between important and radical technologies; that their present and future trajectories are linked. Advances in one area depends on advances in another; so they should be looked at together. These technological convergences, resting on interdependence, are important in shaping the overall knowledge economy.

ii) The idea that technologies are shaped by social and economic contexts; that they are embedded in society. So to understand the evolution and possibilities of these converging technologies, social science research is needed as much as scientific or engineering research.

Vision and Strategy:

- create a research community [Ideal activity for NewPOL Network National Coordinating Teams]

- integrate CT in FP6 calls [Interface issues for the NewPOL Network]

- launch national CT research [This could be undertaken and further developed by the NewPOL Network National Coordinating Teams]

- establish centres of excellence (in FP7) [I personally disagree here: approach too fragmented]

- I would add the organisation of a CWIN whenever one may be needed.

New Agendas:

- strengthen inter-disciplinarity [NewPOL Network NC Teams]

- strengthen commitment to cognitive sciences [NewPOL Network NC Teams]

- use social sciences [NewPOL Network NC Teams]

The Environment:

- establish societal observatory [How? NewPOL Network NC Teams]

- develop European design [I would add: AND non-European design]

- integrate social research into CT development [NewPOL Network NC Teams]

Ethics - Society:

- keep military separate

- integrate CT in ethics [Define Ethics...]

- ensure transparency

- address IPR issues [Hopefully, these shall cease to be considered as an issue after the IMIRC]

- start national discussions [NewPOL Network NC Teams]

- include CT in education [NewPOL Network NC Teams]

Master words/phrases during the CT Workshop: Interdisciplinarity - multidisciplinarity - coordination - present education incompatibility with integrated interdisciplinarity - fusion & cross linking of the "hard" and "soft" sciences - adapting research to the needs of the people and society - creating useful(!) projects - the meaning of life: perhaps something more than JUST cash: a vision for the future, our future and that of our children - integration - awareness - enhancement of the Human Being - Trust....


This is fine, but.

As the President of the EPTA so rightly said, we must go beyond words...


1) The basic problem regarding "Converging Technologies" seems to be essentially an interface issue.

This is where the NewPOL Network shall be able to help STOA, EPTA and the European Commission in their endeavours.

An ideal way of catalysing an integrated understanding of the necessity to combine the "hard" and "soft" sciences for the benefit of World Society Well Being and Quality of Life is setting up CWINs for focussed issues of World importance.

The NewPOL Network shall be making presentations to the International Press + European Research Area (ERA) + Apple. A European Parliament presentation would certainly enable us to explain the NewPOL Network Paradigm at the highest level.

Come to think of it, why not the UN? That would be nice!

Now if this help could be funded... 

2) Academia and The People.

As long as Academia and The People are considered as two different worlds, as long as this cleavage is maintained, integrated interdisciplinarity shall fail to benefit humanity and fail to improve world society well being and quality of life.

This World of violence, indifference, social unrest, economic crisis and global incompetence has been so far administered by leaders (teams, experts, ...) - many of whom have "top qualifications" some from "outstanding" Universities - who are responsible for this international mess. 

I therefore question their qualifications and the institutions that gave them their education. 

Are these examples to follow? 

I would think not.

The NewPOL Network is not making any charges against a particular person, but against the mould that The System has created.

The World Educational System must be entirely revised and restructured. This shall be discussed during the International Multidisciplinary Interface Research Congress (IMIRC).

3) Regular follow-ups of the CT Workshop should be organised.

Time passes by ever so quickly.

The following considerations are typically what one would classify as "grass-root level", but the truth is that if we try to deal with the CT issues "higher up", we shall fail. 

[N.B. I dislike this condescending expression "grass-root level", because it is indeed extremely rich in potential and content.]

The NewPOL Network works beyond the conventional scheme "Idea ---> Project": we are basically interested in what leads up to an Idea, "before" the Idea...and not just the Idea itself. 

Sciences are not intrinsically "hard", "soft" or whatever. This judgement (or category, impression) is made by the human being.

The clash between the "hard" and "soft" sciences has multiple origins. One interpretation simply put, "hard" sciences = à priori hard to understand for the majority. "Soft" sciences and non-scientific material = à priori soft/easy to understand for most. Add to this the fierce and sometimes unhealthy competition between "hard" scientists - actually between any specialist in the Academic arena - and you get quite an explosive cocktail.

Of course, what is considered as science and what is not, is debatable. Were it not for the Neurosciences, you would not be able to understand what I am writing now. So literature (soft science) cannot be dissociated from Neuroscience, a "hard" science.

If the "hard" sciences were made as easy to understand as the "soft" and non-sciences, perhaps this emotional pseudo superiority would disappear quite naturally. Considering that the human being is largely made up of - and functions on - what society largely considers as "hard" science, it is surprising that we should have so much difficulty understanding what we are made of and how we function in the first place...

Perhaps the Educational System doesn't go about it the right way...

It is commonly considered that understanding abstract notions (like mathematics, physics, ...) MUST be difficult and "painful" for most, just as for a long time and according to many still in countless regions of the world, a mother MUST feel pain when giving birth to her child. 

Perhaps we should question common wisdom more often.

This arrogance of many who come from a scientific/medical background with regard to the more "Arts" oriented, and I would even go much further, this condescending attitude of those who "know" with regard those who do "not know" shall cease to exist once knowledge of whatever nature has been made easily accessible to all.

This shall be one of the main themes of our Interface Assimilation Program (IAP) during the International Multidisciplinary Interface Research Congress (IMIRC) hopefully held in China in 2008 immediately before the Olympic Games.


[25 October 2005]

I was wondering... How about considering "Converging Resources" or "Converging Minds" instead of "Converging Technology"?

One of the CT Workshop's goals is to create links between fields that are conventionally considered as separate; more specifically, trying to integrate the social/human sciences in the high tech world: a kind of defragmentation process.

The expression "Converging Technology" - even though it does facilitate cross thinking (and cross linking) between different technologies - nonetheless still remains in the technological domain and thus enforces the barrier between the two worlds: the tech and the non tech, the "hard" and the "soft" sciences.

It seems that an expression like "Converging Resources" (meaning ALSO human potential from all possible sources, social condition and background, not to forget the education/business interface and financial sources) could better integrate the notion of technology with World Society Well Being and Quality of Life.


[26 October 2005]

NewPOL Network Reports I & II point in the same direction: the FP research structure/programs, the selection procedure and funding policy must all be entirely revised.

World Society Well Being and Quality of Life is an Urgent Issue that Must be given Top Priority Everywhere (EU and Non EU)!

Integrated interdisciplinarity (implying necessarily the "hard" and "soft" sciences) is now Openly and  Officially considered as essential for the Well Being of Humanity.

But how is one going to make the hard "hard" scientists step down...? 

Since MONEY is the only incentive that matters/motivates for most researchers, the NewPOL Network shall propose that only those projects that can be linked to World Society Well Being and Quality of Life should be funded. 

Now these new projects are likely to be very expensive because of the training required [the NewPOL Network can provide that] and of the number of participants.

A considerable economy can be made by taking ALL the FP Projects (ideally, ALL Projects throughout the World) from scratch, finding out how these could be linked within a given research area and synchronise/coordinate the common efforts. A further link would then have to be established between the global project and the World Society Well Being and Quality of Life. Which of these may be considered as CWINs shall have to be discussed. 

One of the objectives here is to eliminate inaccessible Ivory Towers that consider themselves above such lowly considerations as the World Society Well Being and Quality of Life. These Closed Sanctuaries often require enormous funds paid by private/public investors and society; in fine, you and me. They are therefore accountable to society and should(*):

- intelligibly explain to the general population just what Their research is about and make sure They are understood.
- convincingly explain to the public (and international audit) just how Their research shall contribute to improve the everyday life (and future) of the population.
- invite direct interactive public participation in Their efforts thereby creating a collective enterprise with the people.

(*): The basic idea here is not to just stimulate the interest of the lay public in a particular field but to give them the taste of discovery and perhaps give a new meaning to their lives - making the latter more interesting - thereby improving their well being and quality of life, i.e. their State of Mind. This implies understanding - and integrating - the fundamental interconnectedness of knowledge. The NewPOL Network can provide training here. 

If unable to do so, these Research Institutions (Laboratories, Organisations and Universities) have no place in this World. Funds could then be used more profitably elsewhere.

Future Human Well Being and Quality of Life ALSO means exploring the Universe... The Planet Earth shall become too crowded some day... 

Eurobot 2004 Awards Ceremony

The NewPOL Consortium Network's Principal Coordinator was invited on 9nth November to the Parliament in Brussels for the Eurobot 2004 [http://www.eurobot.org] Awards Ceremony. Twenty Countries had participated in this International Contest. The 2004 Winner was France. Mr Busquin made his speech in the presence of other important EU DG Officials and the Press. The Principal Coordinator had some very useful discussions with students in mechanical engineering and also spoke to Members of the Jury. All seem interested in the NewPOL Network Paradigm. The P.O. also met the person in charge of organising a robotics meeting in Switzerland next year.