How does Stockholm need to change to meet the demands and challenges of the future? Driverless electric cars and better recycling facilities were some of the proposals in resolutions developed by a group of Swedish pupils and passed in a student parliament held in April 2014. The parliament’s final debate took place in the debating chamber of the County Hall in Stockholm, where the resolutions were handed over to Per Ankersjö, the Vice-Mayor for Environment at the City of Stockholm.
Politicians come into contact with science on a daily basis, whether it is through lobbying, public enquiries, media stories or policy issues. Very few Members of Parliament (MPs) have a scientific background but they need to be well informed and able to get access to reliable, unbiased information about science and technology quickly.
Spring is now here and it arrives earlier each year. A warmer climate means an earlier spring and a later autumn. But how is the delayed onset of autumn affecting the Swedish ecosystem? A mass experiment involving over 10,000 pupils across Sweden is helping scientists to study the effect of climate change on deciduous trees in autumn.
How does a tree know it is autumn? How is climate change affecting when the leaves of Swedish deciduous trees turn colour in the autumn? Are there variations in autumn leaf development between different tree species and in different locations in Sweden? Is it possible to study autumn using satellite images? These are the questions that the mass ‘Autumn Experiment’ is helping scientists to answer.
In Sweden, universities have three official mandates – research, education and the so-called ‘third assignment’ “samverkan” – interaction with society. The third assignment stipulates that universities should collaborate with the surrounding society, inform people about their research and work to ensure that their research is of use to society. In the 2012 Research and Innovation Bill, the Swedish government tasked VINNOVA, Sweden’s innovation agency, with developing a model that can be used to evaluate the quality and performance of a university’s interaction with society with the ultimate aim of using this model for resource allocation. But how do you measure this type of engagement and which indicators should be used?
VA (Public & Science) is organising a student parliament on urban sustainability from 8 -10 April in collaboration with Thorildsplans gymnasium, an upper secondary school in Stockholm. Five of the Swedish students will be selected to participate in a European Student Science Parliament in Copenhagen in June.
Vetenskap & Allmänhet, VA, (Public & Science) is the Swedish partner in a new European project involving 30 countries. The aim is to improve the research and innovation process in Europe. The work will be carried out in direct consultation with a range of civil society stakeholders.
Public confidence in scientists at universities is at a record high in Sweden and there is large support for investment in research, regardless of whether the results will be of immediate use or not. But age is a factor. It is retired people in Sweden who are the most positive towards scientific progress. However, they are also the ones with the least faith in climate research, whereas young people are the most optimistic. These are results from the latest barometer conducted by Swedish non-profit organisation, VA (Public & Science).