Prominent scientist calls for greater scientific focus on southern Europe

May 1, 2002

Brussels, 30 April 2002

Santiago Grisolia, a biochemist and winner of the Prince of Asturias prize for scientific and technical research, has called for more European emphasis on scientific development in its southern countries, as well as those in the North.

Writing for the website of the Spanish Presidency, Dr Grisolia calls attention to the fact that scientific progress originated in southern and Mediterranean cities such as Athens and Rome, later followed by Cordoba, Toledo and Valencia of Spain and Florence in Italy. As scientific knowledge spread, Montpellier, Paris, Cambridge, Oxford and London 'began to shine as centres of knowledge,' writes Dr Grisolia, followed much later by 'the great universities' of Germany and Scandinavia.

'Europe's current concentration of centres of power, especially in science, in the northern countries is, historically speaking, irrational,' claims Dr Grisolia, calling for a balance between North and South in EU policy.

'If Europe wishes to maintain the intellectual leadership it has always enjoyed, it needs to encourage all its scientific and cultural oases, not only in the northern countries but also, and especially, in the South, so as to create and maintain a scientific and cultural orchard which includes areas of global interest, as suggested recently by Nobel Prize winner Mario Molina,' writes Dr Grisolia.

Comparing Europe to North America, Dr Grisolia also calls for 'philosophical and scientific liberalism which [...] served as the model for American development. He reminds his readers that many of America's scientists trained in Europe, and that many European scientists entered the USA after political persecution in Europe during the last century.

To see Santiago Grisolia's commentary, please consult the following web address: .asp?idioma=ingles&opcion=1&subopcion=3 &id=1540

CORDIS RTD-NEWS/© European Communities, 2001

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