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GESDA's best pick from the press, web and science journals, in relation to GESDA's thematic platforms

18-24 December 2020

A GESDA product curated by Olivier Dessibourg


> GESDA gathers its high-level academic and diplomacy panels to leverage anticipatory science advances and address emerging global challenges in an innovative way // 17.12.2020, GESDA press release
GESDA is convening today, 18 December, the first gathering of its Academic Forum and Diplomacy Forum. The latter is formed so far of 17 high-level decision and policymakers whose names are disclosed today.They will meet with representatives of GESDA’s Academic Forum, formed of 68 global leading scientists who have produced the first 10 Scientific Anticipatory Briefs, in-depth anticipatory reports on selected emerging scientific topics (ranging from advanced artificial intelligence, genome editing, and neuro-enhancement, to decarbonization, ethics of anticipation and computational diplomacy). Together, the high-level Academic and Diplomacy panels will produce concrete solutions proposals on how to come to a more efficient and faster use of the identified anticipated science advances to address emerging global challenges for the benefit of all.

Full press release to be found here.

A selection of media articles related to this press release:

Le mariage royal de la science et de la diplomatie // Le Temps
Geneva Science and Diplomacy Foundation reveals its next steps // GenevaSolutions
Des cerveaux pour un monde meilleur // La Liberté
Geneva Science and Diplomacy start-up marks new stage // Swissinfo

La science s’allie à la diplomatie pour relever les défis globaux // Journal de l’Unige

(© Getty)


> Life in 2025: what will the future look like? // 16.12.2020, Financial Times
From finance and tech to work, consumer trends and energy, FT and Nikkei journalists imagine the world in five years’ time.

(Image: DR)


> The future is now: Exploring the post-pandemic direction for Aotearoa New Zealand // 10.12.2020, Koi Tū News
"Koi Tū: The centre for Informed Futures" recently launched its eighth report in its "Future is Now" series - Exploring the post-pandemic direction for Aotearoa New Zealand. Written by Sir Peter Gluckman (also Diplomacy Moderator at GESDA) and Koi Tū Deputy Director Anne Bardsley, the report had input from business, academic and government representatives. Its proposition is while we initially coped with the pandemic hitting, its impacts on society are likely to be so wide-ranging and profound as to trigger a ‘reset’ – necessitating careful consideration of national aspirations and direction as we look beyond the current crisis. The wide-ranging report covers some of the most critical issues we face, and how can we best address them including constitutional and public sector reform and demographic policy, sustainability issues and the future of education.

(© Koi Tū)


> The State of knowledge of soil biodiversity – Status, challenges and potentialities and its summary for policy makers (REPORT) // 10.12.2020, FAO 
The 14th Conference of the Parties invited FAO, in collaboration with other organisations, to prepare a report on the state of knowledge on soil biodiversity covering its actual status and defies. Over 300 scientists from around the world contributed to the preparation of the report, highlighting the threats and the nature-based solutions that soil biodiversity can provide to current global challenges

Related article in Science (11.12.2020): Spare a thought for the teeming ecosystem beneath your feet

(Image: DR)


> COVID-19 edition of the Science Barometer Switzerland: People seek stronger voice for science on pandemic issues // December 2020, Wissenschaftsbarometer
The people of Switzerland have confirmed their faith in science in the present COVID-19 pandemic. They would like to see scientists contributing their expertise more vigorously to the public and political debate. And most of them believe that political decisions on dealing with the pandemic should be based on scientific findings and foundations. The views are reflected in the COVID-19 edition of the Science Barometer Switzerland, which is produced by UZH’s Department of Communication and Media Research (IKMZ) in collaboration with the University of Münster, Germany.

Related article: Face à la pandémie de Covid-19, les Suisses font davantage confiance aux scientifiques // 17.12.2020,

(© Wissenschaftsbarometer)


Platform 1: Quantum Revolution & Advanced AI

Quantum and physics 

> Wall Street’s latest shiny new thing: quantum computing // 19.12.2020, The Economist

> Researchers have achieved sustained long-distance quantum teleportation // 17.12.2020, VICE

IBM ‘super-fridge’ aims to solve quantum computer cooling problem // 15.12.2020, TechHQ

First ever quantum chess tournament won by Amazon researcher // 10.12.2020, New Scientist

Explained: Quantum engineering // 10.12.2020, MIT News

Artificial intelligence and computing

> “I started crying”: Inside Timnit Gebru’s last days at Google—and what happens next // 16.12.2020, MIT Technology Review

Tiny four-bit computers are now all you need to train AI // 11.12.2020, MIT Technology Review

An AI used Facebook data to predict mental illness //14.12.2020, WIRED

> Digipredict digital twin will predict the evolution of Covid-19 // EPFL press release

Bacterial nanopores open the future of data storage // 14.12.2020, EPFL press release

(© EPFL)

Platform 2: Human Augmentation

> China is reportedly developing ‘biologically enhanced’ soldiers with CRISPR // 08.12.2020, Future Human

“The machine as an extension of the body”: Prof. Gordon Cheng on the challenges of fusing robotics and neuroscience // 11.12.2020, TUM press release


> Brain stimulation via earbuds: Unobtrusive technology could treat a variety of diseases // 10.12.2020, IEEE Spectrum

Facebook working on device to read your brain // 15.12.2020, BuzzFeed

Regulating copper in the brain stops memory loss in a mouse model of Alzheimer's // 17.12.2020, MedicalXpress and CNRS

Preparing for the unknown – Cognitive technologies in 2021 // 13.12.2020, SwissCognitive

Longevity and health

Biotech pigs approved for food and potential medical uses // 15.12.2020, Chemical & Engineering News

The bull's eye: New modified stem cells can deliver drugs specifically to tumor cells // 16.12.2020, MedicalXpress

Cholera outbreaks predicted using climate data and AI // 17.12.2020, ESA

New synthetic molecule can kill the flu virus // 15.12.2020, EPFL press release

Swiss personalized health network: second funding period 2021–2024 and new fact-sheet // 14.12.2020, Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences

Travel time to health-care facilities, mode of transportation, and HIV elimination in Malawi: a geospatial modelling analysis // 01.12.2020, The Lancet

Leopoldina presents report on the future of ageing and life course research in Germany // 16.12.2020, Leopoldina


CRISPR treatment is injected directly into a patient's body — a first for gene editing // 03.12.2020, Discover Magazine

We call DNA a language. Is it? // 10.12.2020, NEO.LIFE
As our understanding of the genome evolves, the metaphors we use to describe it should, too.

Gene editing has made pigs immune to a deadly epidemic // 11.12.2020, MIT Technology Review


Platform 3: Eco-regeneration & Geoengineering

Resources and food

Le niobium, futur or noir du Brésil // 14.12.2020, Korii

Will rising temperatures make superweeds even stronger? // 07.12.2020, Undark

Scientists breed new rice variety with ion beam technology // 15.12.2020, Chinese Academy of Sciences

Why people still starve in an age of abundance // 17.12.2020, MIT Technology Review

‘Year of Action’ launched for 2021 to advance ambitious global nutrition goals // 17.12.2020, Geneva Solutions


Gates and Bezos funds back hydrogen-powered plane startup // 16.12.2020, Bloomberg


SMART researchers engineer a plant-based sensor to monitor arsenic levels in soil // 13.12.2020, MIT News

Climate and environment

Bertrand Piccard: «Il y a 1000 solutions pour le climat!» // 12.12.2020,
L’aérostier-psychiatre, fondateur de Solar Impulse, devient rédacteur en chef d'une newsletter spéciale de, à l’occasion du 5e anniversaire de l’Accord de Paris sur le climat.

Big but affordable effort needed for America to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, study shows // 16.12.2020, Phys.Org

Buildings-related CO2 emissions hit record high: UN (REPORT) // 16.12.2020, UN Environment Programme

Plants are soaking up far less extra CO2 than we thought they would // 10.12.2020, New Scientist

IPBES-IPCC workshop: Spotlighting interactions of the science of biodiversity and climate change // 13.12.2020, IPCC-IPBES

Nature based solutions essential for climate mitigation // 11.12.2020, National Geographic

Geoengineers inch closer to Sun-dimming balloon test // 15.12.2020, Science
For years, the controversial idea of solar geoengineering — lofting long-lived reflective particles into the upper atmosphere to block sunlight and diminish global warming — has been theoretical. It’s starting to get real: Today, after much technical and regulatory wrangling, Harvard University scientists are proposing a June 2021 test flight of a research balloon designed to drop small amounts of chalky dust and observe its effects.

Solar geoengineers would combat climate change with a haze of Sun-blocking aerosols. (© Pixabay)


> €167 million Space Rider contract funds construction of Europe’s first orbital spaceplane // 11.12.2020, SpaceNews

Scientists say more research is needed to study the atmospheric pollution caused by reentering space debris // 11.12.2020, SpaceNews

Swiss space center IGLUNA shooting for the Moon // 17.12.2020,

Space, the final frontier of sustainable investment // 13.12.2020, Swissinfo

Jessy Kate Schingler: Civilization on the Moon -- and what it means for life on Earth // 2020, TED

Platform 4: Science & Diplomacy

Les Etats européens serrent la vis aux Gafa // 15.12.2020, L’Express
Le 15 décembre, Bruxelles a dévoilé deux règlements pour davantage encadrer les géants de l'Internet et, si besoin, les sanctionner. Un changement d'époque.

"L'Europe doit bâtir les piliers de sa souveraineté numérique" (TRIBUNE de Guillaume Klossa, ancien conseiller spécial en charge du numérique du vice-président de la Commission européenne) // 12.12.2020, Le Journal du Dimanche

Facebook is a doomsday machine // 15.12.2020, The Atlantic
The architecture of the modern web poses grave threats to humanity. It’s not too late to save ourselves.

Designing an ethical use of technology // 15.12.2020, Geneva Solutions

International Geneva needs more peace actors. The good news is that they are already here // 12.12.2020, Geneva Solutions

Et si Genève devenait le centre mondial de la gouvernance numérique? (OPINION) // 15.12.2020,
English version on Geneva Solutions: What if Geneva became a global centre for health data governance?

Poverty, depression, and anxiety: Causal evidence and mechanisms // 11.12.2020, Science

What human rights framework can manage big data? // 10.12.2020, Thomson Reuters Foundation News

New Publication: Involving stakeholders in risk governance // December 2020, EPFL International Risk Governance Center
The International Risk Governance Center, based at EPFL, shares a new publication on the role of stakeholder engagement in the risk governance process. This is a revised edition of a report produced in collaboration with our partners at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS).

How treating the planet well can aid human progress // 15.12.2020, Geneva Solutions
The latest edition of the Human Development Report, released on 15 December 2020, states that as people and the planet enter what is believed to be a new geological epoch - the “Anthropocene” - all countries must rethink their “route to progress” by accounting for the related pressures humans put on the planet.


> EU announces budget breakdown for Horizon Europe after 14-hour talks // 11.12.2020, Science|Business
Related article: Farewell to Europe’s Horizon 2020 // 16.12.2020, Nature

Reproductive health // 16.12.2020, Nature Outlook
The freedom for people to have babies when they want, and not have them when they don’t want to, provides a sturdy foundation for families, and indeed societies, to thrive.

Digital disruption: risks and opportunities in the shift to online // December 2020, The Economist Intelligence Unit

Heute darf man das sagen, ohne zu erröten: Früher war es besser! // 17.12.2020, NZZ
Vor einem Jahr führten wir ein aussergewöhnlich glückliches Leben. Und das sogar an normalen Tagen. Daran sollten wir uns orientieren – anstatt eine völlig neue Welt «nach Corona» zu entwerfen.

How science beat the virus // Jan20Feb21 Issue, The Atlantic
Science defeated the coronavirus. This spring, thousands of researchers paused their projects in order to study the deadly disease, COVID-izing their disciplines. And in doing so, they logged countless achievements: a better understanding of it, sharper tests, and, of course, working vaccines in record time. But even triumphs come with an opportunity cost. Today, The Atlantic is taking a moment to reflect on four ways science has not benefited from this singular focus.

(© The Atlantic)

French Minister Says “Non” to Cultured Meat // 11.12.2020, NEO-LIFE

“After four years of Donald Trump, it shouldn’t feel unusual for other politicians to use Twitter to announce government policy—but somehow it still does. Following the announcement last week that the government of Singapore will authorize the sale of Eat Just’s cultured chicken nuggets grown from animal cells in a lab, French agricultural minister Julien Denormandie took to Twitter to defend his country’s patrimoine. “Is this really the society we want for our children? I say NON. Let me be clear: meat comes from the living, not the lab. Count on me so that in France, meat remains natural and never artificial!” Perhaps he should bone up on modern industrial chicken farming, tells NEO.LIFE.


> «La Suisse a été sage» dans sa gestion du Brexit, estime Micheline Calmy-Rey // 15.12.2020,
Ancienne présidente de la Confédération, Micheline Calmy-Rey, membre du Board de GESDA, loue de son œil expert la stratégie du Conseil fédéral vis-à-vis du Royaume-Uni, empêtré dans ses négociations du Brexit avec l’UE. (© DR)

> Jean-Pierre Danthine: “Atteindre la neutralité carbone d’ici à 2025 est possible en Suisse” // 12.12.2020, Le Matin Dimanche
Une étude réalisée sous l’égide de Jean-Pierre Danthine, directeur du centre E4S (et Modérateur académique chez GESDA), montre que la croissance économique suisse n’a pas empêché une réduction des émissions de CO2. Mais il faut aller plus vite en la matière. (© Le Matin Dimanche)

> Esther Duflo: la lutte contre la pauvreté au temps de la pandémie // 05.12.2020, TV5 Monde
Comment soutenir les économies face à la crise sanitaire ? Comment endiguer l'extrême pauvreté qui regagne du terrain ? En 2019, Esther Duflo recevait en Suède le prix Nobel d'économie. Aujourd'hui en France, elle appelle à ne pas regarder à la dépense. 
(© Wikkicommons)

> La scienza a supporto della diplomazia // Dec20-Jan21, Ticino Welcome
Intervista con Olivier Dessibourg, Direttore della communicazione scientifica della Fondazione, GESDA. (p.180): Obiettivo della Fondazione: quello di promuovere la Svizzera come Paese ospitante per le organizzazioni internazionali multilaterali, quelle con sede a Ginevra (comprese le Nazioni Unite) ma anche tutte le istituzioni di altri Paesi che sono interessate a interagire con questo ecosistema. (© Davolo Steiner)

> SpaceWatchGL Interviews: Daniel Neuenschwander of ESA // 14.12.2020,
Europe’s prime launcher Ariane 5 is to retire in 2023, and the development of Ariane 6 is reaching a crucial stage. This week, the ESA Council will decide on additional budget that ESA requested to bring it to fruition. SpaceWatch.Global spoke to Swiss Daniel Neuenschwander, Director of Space Transportation at ESA, about the status of the projects and important market trends. (© Wikkicommons)


> Nature’s 10: ten people who helped shape science in 2020 // 15.12.2020, Nature
Related editorial: Nature’s 10: the human stories behind an extraordinary year in science

Viruses, microscopy and fast radio bursts: 10 remarkable discoveries from 2020 // 14.12.2020, Nature

The WHO’s chief scientist on a year of loss and learning // 17.12.2020, Nature

World summit AI community’s top 50 innovators in 2020 // 1.12.2020, WSAI

2020 was the turning point for CRISPR // 14.12.2020, Future Human

2020, a year into the pandemic, what scientists know about how it spreads, infects, and sickens // 14.12.2020, STAT news

From Elvis worms to the Milky Way’s edge, these science stories sparked joy in 2020 // 17.12.2020, Science News

C&EN’s molecules of the year for 2020 // 8.12.2020, Chemical & Engineering News
Our editors highlight the coolest molecules unrelated to COVID-19 that were reported this year.

In its +6 oxidation state, this aromatic, 12-porphyrin nanoring produces a ring current that induces magnetic fields both opposing (blue) and aligning with (red) an external field. (© Harry L. Anderson)


> World’s largest youth organizations, representing 250 million members, and WHO launch global mobilization to respond to disruptive impacts of COVID-19 on young people // 14.11.2020, WHO
A new ground-breaking global youth mobilization was launched today to invest in and scale up youth-led solutions and engagements in response to COVID-19.

From Scotland to Uganda, climate catastrophe to female exploitation: young people are making a difference // 11.12.2020, Global Geneva

AI can predict Twitter users likely to spread disinformation before they do it // 14.12.2020, TechXplore


Humanity, now more than ever, is facing global challenges (especially with regards to the Covid-19 crisis), putting people and the planet under stress and in great uncertainty. Simultaneously, the world is experiencing breakthroughs in science and technology at an unprecedented pace, which are sometimes hard to grasp. Anticipation, therefore, is key to build the future with the aim of early and fully exploiting this scientific potential for the well-being and inclusive development of all. The Geneva Science and Diplomacy Anticipator was founded in Geneva in 2019 to tackle this issue.

GESDA's ambition is to first anticipate and identify these cutting-edge advances in science and technology throughout various domains (Quantum revolution & advanced AI, Human augmentation, Ecoregeneration and Geoengineering, Science and Diplomacy). Based on this scientific outlook, it will, with its Diplomacy community, translate potential leaps in science and tech into tools that can bring effective and socially-inclusive solutions to emerging challenges. Most importantly, this process will be achieved not only by scientists or diplomats, but will include actors of various professional origins and mindsets (from philanthropy, industry, citizens, to youth).

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Have a very nice and fruitful week! :-)
Copyright ©  2020, All rights reserved for the selection. All rights reserved by the respective media for articles reproduction.
Selection of an article in this press review doesn't mean endorsement by GESDA.

Mailing address:
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c/o Fondation Campus Biotech
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+41 58 201 02 61

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