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

20-26 November 2020

A GESDA product curated by Olivier Dessibourg


> A quoi pourrait ressembler la régulation d'internet et pourquoi Genève en serait-elle le centre? // 16.11.2020,
“Si dans l’économie qui se dessine il est une vision qui tenait à cœur au conseiller d’État genevois Guy-Olivier Second disparu il y a quelques jours, c’est celle du rôle de la Genève internationale dans la gouvernance d’internet. Dans la foulée de la création du World Wide Web au CERN, il s’était employé tant à renforcer des institutions comme l’Union Internationale des Télécommunications qu’à adresser des problèmes comme la fracture numérique, par exemple en prenant la présidence du Fonds mondial de Solidarité Numérique. Pourtant, malgré ces efforts et d’autres, Genève ne s’est pas encore imposée comme centre mondial de la gouvernance du numérique. Le projet de déplacer de Los Angeles à Genève le siège de l’Icann (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), l’organisme chargé de l’attribution des noms de domaine sur le Web, ne s’est par exemple pas matérialisé. Toutefois, le numérique est encore un domaine jeune et l’histoire n’est pas terminée…”

(© DR)


> Doing well? Fulfilling the promise of precision medicine // 12.11.2020, The Economist Intelligence Unit
Precision medicine has the potential to transform healthcare. While there is understandable excitement about the promise of precision medicine, delivery will not be straightforward. Innovation within health systems is challenging at the best of times, and the nature of precision medicine means that substantial process, training and infrastructure changes will be needed. These changes will be challenging even in the most hospitable environments and all stakeholders – including clinicians, patients, payers and the broader community – will need education to undergird the effectiveness of this kind of healthcar. The Economist Intelligence Unit’s new report, sponsored by Qatar Foundation looks at the promise of precision medicine, what it is currently delivering, and the challenges associated with its wider application in large health systems.

Related articles:
>  Proteogenomics enhances the identification of therapeutic vulnerabilities in breast cancer // 18.11.2020, Cell
> The coming revolution of personalized regenerative medicines // 16.11.2020, Hello Tomorrow Global Summit 2020
Keynote talk by Nabiha Saklayen, CEO and Co-founder, CellinoBio


WHO proposes Swiss-based global repository for sharing biological samples related to disease outbreak threats // 13.11.2020, Health Policy Watch
WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has proposed the creation of a Swiss-based global repository for sharing pathogen materials and clinical samples related to potential outbreak threats – allowing for the more rapid development of medical interventions. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the urgent need for this kind of system, he said in his closing remarks to the 73th World Health Assembly.  He alluded to the problems associated with existing WHO-sponsored frameworks for pathogen-sharing, which are based on bilateral agreements between countries, and have no centralized repository.

(© DR)


> These rare seeds escaped Syria's war—to help feed the world // 17.11.2020, WIRED
Conflict forced scientists to abandon a gene bank, but not before duplicating their last remnants of essential crops in the Svalbard vault on a remote Arctic island.

(© CropTrust)


> Switzerland to kick off Space4Impact platform // 19.11.2020, SpaceWatch.Global
The event is to be held online on 25 November through the initiative LinkedIn’s website. The initiative is supported by the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, the Office for Economic Affairs & Innovation at the Swiss State of Vaud and the Swiss Federal Institute (EPFL) Tech4Impact initiative.

More on Space4Impact’s website.


Platform 1: Quantum revolution and advanced AI

Artificial intelligence

The robo-job apocalypse is being delayed // 19.11.2020, AXIOS
A sprawling new report makes the case that automation and AI won't lead to widespread job destruction anytime soon.

> The way we train AI is fundamentally flawed // 18.11.2020, MIT Technology Review
Related article: A leading AI researcher calls for standards to ensure equity and fairness // 19.11.2020, STAT+

Resisting the rise of facial recognition // 18.11.2020, Nature news
Related Editorial: Facial-recognition research needs an ethical reckoning

> Artificial intelligence is reshaping finance // 20.11.2020, Financial Times

Health systems are using AI to predict severe Covid-19 cases. But limited data could produce unreliable results // 18.11.2020, STAT

If deep learning is the answer, what is the question? // 16.11.2020, Nature Reviews Neuroscience

The true dangers of AI are closer than we think // 21.10.2020, MIT Technology Review

New electronic chip delivers smarter, light-powered AI // 18.11.2020, RMIT University press release - Advanced Materials

Centre bernois pour l’intelligence artificielle dans la médecine // 17.11.2020, University of Bern press release
Medienmitteilung auf Deutsch

Quantum and physics 

Twisted graphene could power a new generation of superconducting electronics // 19.11.2020, Science

> Quantum Networking: emerging applications and what’s needed // 17.11.2020, Hello Tomorrow Global Summit 2020
Talk by Prineha Narang, Assistant Professor, Harvard University

Quantum tunneling pushes the limits of self-powered sensors // 16.11.2020, Washington University - Nature Communications

Quantum technology and impact of the global space security // 17.11.2020,

Quantum computer race intensifies as alternative technology gains steam // 17.11.2020, Nature

(©Honeywell Quantum Solutions)

Platform 2: Human Augmentation


> The tricky ethics of neurotechnologies // 20.11.2020, AXIOS
As the science of brain-computer interfaces (BCI) and other neurotechnologies progresses, researchers are calling for ethical guidelines to be established now — before the technology fully matures.
Related article: Living electrodes for linking brains to computers tested in rats // 13.11.2020, New Scientist

Persistent transcriptional programmes are associated with remote memory // 11.11.2020, Nature

Lien confirmé entre la maladie d’Alzheimer et le microbiote // 16.11.2020, University of Geneva press release - Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease

Nanotech jumps blood-brain barrier to kill cancer in mice // 11.11.2020, Futurity


The last children of down syndrome // December issue, The Atlantic
Prenatal testing is changing who gets born and who doesn’t. This is just the beginning.

Study of “exceptional responders” yields clues to cancer and potential treatments // 19.11.2020, National Cancer Institute press release

New study could help predict which individuals are more susceptible to cancer-causing agen // 17.11.2020, Nature Communications

A key to the mystery of fast-evolving genes was found in ‘junk DNA’ // 16.11.2020, ScienceNews

Safety questions for AAV gene therapy // 16.11.2020, Nature Biotechnology

Longevity and health

Simulating the pandemic: What COVID forecasters can learn from climate models // 13.11.2020, Nature News
Epidemiologists predicting the spread of COVID-19 should adopt climate-modelling methods to make forecasts more reliable, say computer scientists who have spent months auditing one of the most influential models of the pandemic.

California’s vote to revive controversial stem-cell institute sparks debate // 16.11.2020, Nature
The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine will receive billions in state funding — but some scientists oppose the plan.

Stem cell transplantation: undesirable rejection mechanism identified // 19.11.2020, University of Vienna press release - Science Translational Medicine

LifeTime and improving European healthcare through cell-based interceptive medicine // 19.11.2020, Nature

A new era in the fight against antimicrobial resistance - can we revert the silent tsunami? // 19.11.2020, Geneva Solutions
Related report: La résistance aux antibiotiques reste un défi, un nouveau rapport le confirme // 17.11.2020,

Identification of new factor that offers potential new therapeutic strategy for obesity // 16.11.2020, Nature Metabolism

Algae breathe life into 3-D engineered tissues // 18.11.2020, Phys.Org

Bacteria found in yogurt may help bone fractures heal faster // 13.11.2020, New Scientist

Novel magnetic spray transforms objects into millirobots for biomedical applications // 18.11.2020, City University of Hong Kong - Science Robotics

Researchers engineer tiny, shape-changing machines that deliver medicine to the GI tract // 12.11.2020, NSF press release

(© Johns Hopkins University)

Platform 3: Eco-regeneration and Geoengineering


Terrestrial radiative cooling: Using the cold universe as a renewable and sustainable energy source // 13.11.2020, Science

> Solar power stations in space could be the answer to our energy needs // 19.11.2020, TechXplore

Franco-German push for hydrogen is powering new EU drive for green energy source // 16.11.2020, Science|Business

Next-gen solar material excels at harvesting energy from indoor light // 15.11.2020, New Atlas

Commercializing next-generation nuclear energy technology // 13.11.2020, MIT News

New semiconductor coating may pave way for future green fuels // 18.11.2020, TechXplore


Molecular telegraphy: precisely sending and receiving single molecules // 19.11.2020, University of Graz - Science

Giant virus genomes discovered lurking in DNA of common algae // 18.11.2020, Science

Harvard’s Wyss Institute creates research and innovation alliance with Northpond Labs // 18.11.2020, Wyss Institute press release

> New genetic tools will deliver improved farmed fish, oysters, and shrimp. Here’s what to expect // 19.11.2020, Science


Bringing Mars samples to Earth could cost an extra $1 billion, but NASA should totally do it, experts say // 16.11.2020,

> Here’s how a smart field-to-fork network could revolutionise our food system // 17.11.2020, WEF

> Südkorea will bei Wasserstoff ein Weltmarktführer werden // 17.11.2020, NZZ

Climate and environment

Simulations suggest geoengineering would not stop global warming if greenhouse gasses continue to increase // 17.11.2020, Phys.Org - PNAS

An earth system model shows self-sustained melting of permafrost even if all man-made GHG emissions stop in 2020 // 12.11.2020, Scientific Reports

Countries most at risk from climate change being left behind, IFRC report finds // 17.11.2020, Geneva Solutions

The secret club for billionaires who care about climate change // 16.11.2020, Bloomberg
Creo Syndicate helps the world’s richest families invest in businesses fighting global warming.

The growth equation of cities // 18.11.2020, Nature

Measuring the true cost of conservation // 13.11.2020, Boston University press release


New centre in Luxembourg sets out to exploit space resources // 18.11.2020, Science|Business

Forty years of negotiations on PAROS: Outcomes and new challenges // 17.11.2020,
In the early 80s, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) explicitly pronounced itself in favor of the ‘Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space’ (PAROS). 

ESA engineers assess Moon Village habitat // 17.11.2020, ESA press release
Related article: Moonlight: connecting Earth with the Moon // 16.11.2020, ESA press release


Platform 4: Science and Diplomacy

>  New ESPI Report "European space strategy in a global context" // 19.11.2020, European Space Policy Institute

Why the United States can’t defeat the coronavirus // 18.11.2020, Foreign Policy

Why relations between economists and epidemiologists have been testy // 14.11.2020, The Economist

Beat Kappeler: «Imaginer que la pandémie remet en cause la mondialisation, c’est faire preuve de courte vue» // 17.11.2020,

> The significance of an interceptor missile launched from an American warship // 18.11.2020, The Economist

Climate diplomacy is winning its fight against a zero-sum mindset (Opinion) // 13.11.2020, Financial Times

Special section: data governance

> «Reprendre le contrôle de nos données passera par un contre-pouvoir» // 16.11.2020,
L’avis de l’expert aux origines de l’affaire Cambridge Analytica, Paul-Olivier Dehaye, fondateur de PersonalData.IO et membre du conseil d'administration de MyData Global.

Le rêve de Tim Berners-Lee doit se concrétiser // 15.11.2020, Le Temps
L’inventeur du web lance un service pour que nous reprenions le contrôle de nos données. Les défis s’annoncent gigantesques.

Related articles: 
École Polytechnique and Sanofi inaugurate a Health Data sponsorship program // 13.11.2020, Ecole Polytechnique press release
At Google Brain, a computer scientist focuses on data so doctors can focus on their patients instead // 16.11.2020, STAT

(© DR)


> 10 trends to watch in the coming year // 16.11.2020, The Economist

Luc de Barochez – Le vaccin, ce succès de la mondialisation libérale (EDITO) // 17.11.2020, Le Point 

Why Obama fears for our democracy // 16.11.2020, The Atlantic
In an exclusive interview, the former president identifies the greatest threats to the American experiment, explains why he’s still hopeful, and opens up about his new book.

La diplomatie féministe, un concept en devenir // 17.11.2020, Le Monde

The woman who fell from the sky // 13.11.2020, Reuters
When the pandemic potentially came within a thin sheet of glass to astronauts about to lift off into space, Star City, the secretive home of Russia's space program, became a place of suspicion, fear and blame. One doctor, the leader of the town's ambulance service, found herself in a desperate situation.

(© Reuters/Catherine Tai)


Meet the 2020 STAT Wunderkinds // 17.11.2020, STAT
STAT set out to celebrate the unheralded heroes of science and medicine, poring over hundreds of nominations from across North America in search for the next generation of scientific superstars. (© STAT)

> Bhavik Nagda: Delving into the deployment of new technologies // 18.11.2020, MIT Technology Review
“We need more technologists in the room while policies are formulated,” says the MIT senior. (© Gretchen Ertl)


> Five rules for evidence communication (COMMENT) // 18.11.2020, Nature

How DIY technologies are democratizing science // 17.11.2020, Nature

An AI helps you summarize the latest in AI // 18.11.2020, MIT Technology Review
A new AI model for summarizing scientific literature can now assist researchers in wading through and identifying the latest cutting-edge papers they want to read. The Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence has rolled out the model onto its flagship product, Semantic Scholar, an AI-powered scientific paper search engine.

(© Howadesign/Noun project)


> Moving beyond the paradigm // 13.11.2020, Science
A provocative 1975 call to leave behind dogmatic thinking could help scientists strengthen ties with the public. 

Like biological species, languages evolve // 14.11.2020, The Economist
There are parallels between the two processes—as Charles Darwin saw


> A Conversation with Jennifer Doudna, 2020 Nobel Laureate // 20.11.2020 6pm CET, organized by Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News
CRISPR pioneer Jennifer Doudna, PhD (University of California, Berkeley/HHMI) was recently awarded the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Emmanuelle Charpentier, PhD, a microbiologist at the Max Planck Institute in Berlin. In 2012, the Doudna and Charpentier labs teamed up to publish a landmark paper in which they adapted the CRISPR microbial anti-viral defense system to create a programmable method for gene targeting. The work provided the foundation for CRISPR genome editing, which has become not only a ubiquitous research tool used around the world, but also applied in clinical gene therapy, diagnostics, agriculture, and many other applications. Doudna has embraced her leadership role, spearheading vital discussions about the ethics of hereditary genome editing, championing the value of basic academic research, and serving as an inspirational role model for women in science.

> WMO Media Advisory Greenhouse Gas Bulletin and Provisional Statement on the State of the Climate in 2020 // 23.11.2020 10am CET, WMO
The World Meteorological Organization issues its annual Greenhouse Gas Bulletin on atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide and other long-lived greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. There will be a virtual press conference at 1100 CET with WMO Secretary-General Professor Petteri Taalas. It will be broadcast on

How solar energy became cheap // 23.11.2020 5pm CET, organized by The Graduate Institute
According to the World Energy Outlook 2020 published last month, solar power is now the cheapest source of electricity in history . But how did solar become so cheap? Why did it take so long? And which lessons can we draw to accelerate innovation in other low-carbon technologies? In this online CIES policy event, Gregory Nemet, Professor of Public Affairs, will discuss the reasons behind the cost declines of solar energy and review the historical evolution of the institutional context in which solar has developed from the full supply chain of the industry - from sourcing silicon, the primary input material, to the activities of people installing panels on roofs - to the motivations behind adoption behavior.  

Une connaissance approfondie du code du vivant: Nouvelles applications de l’analyse de l’ADN // 24.11.2020 10:15am CET, organisé par TA-SWISS
Faire analyser son propre ADN devient de plus en plus facile et de moins en moins cher. Il existe des entreprises qui proposent des tests génétiques dits de mode de vie (ou « lifestyle ») sur Internet. Ceux-ci peuvent servir à rechercher ses propres origines comme à créer un plan d’entraînement ou d’alimentation personnalisé. Les données ADN permettent également de livrer des informations sur des caractéristiques physiques comme la couleur des yeux et des cheveux. Cette méthode, connue sous le nom de phénotypage de l’ADN, peut fournir des indices dans le cadre d’enquêtes policières. Dans une étude interdisciplinaire, TA-SWISS a examiné les questions techniques, juridiques et sociales soulevées par ce nouveau champ de possibilités en matière d’analyse de l’ADN. Les résultats et recommandations de l’étude TA seront présentés au cours d’une conférence de presse le mardi 24 novembre 2020.

How do we radically decarbonise our world, while meeting vital human needs? // 24.11.2020, 7:25pm CET, organized by Tortoise Media
Climate change is happening here and now. Business leaders know they have to act faster and more effectively against it, but many materials and processes don’t just have a carbon footprint; they have critical value to people. It is clear that business-as-usual needs an overhaul for the sake of forests, oceans and the atmosphere, but where is the balance to be struck between meeting the needs of people and the planet? How do we create a dynamic in which people and our planet are not in competition.


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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