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

12-18 January 2021

A GESDA product curated by
Olivier Dessibourg


> After sun-dimming setback, geoengineers seek a diplomatic fix // 17.01.2022, Thomson Reuters Foundation News
A snub for a high-altitude Harvard University project to dim sunshine last year has spurred down-to-Earth diplomacy in 2022 to solve solar geoengineering research disputes. Many governances paths are now being followed. Switzerland is considering submitting a resolution to the UN Environment Assembly, which is likely to meet in April, to seek UN-level consideration of climate altering technologies and measures (CATM). "Switzerland is of the view that an authoritative report by the UN system is key to enable an informed debate on CATM and their governance," said Felix Wertli, head of the global affairs section of the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment.

Related articles:
Des scientifiques mettent en garde contre les modifications du rayonnement solaire // 17.01.2022, Le Temps

Solar geoengineering: The case for an international non-use agreement // 17.01.2022, WIREs Climate Change
Wissenschaftler warnen vor Dimmen der Sonne // 17.01.2022, Spiegel

(© Reuters/Michaela Rehle)


> The fusion of mRNA and immunotherapy // 13.01.2022, NEO.LIFE
Combining these two technologies can make CAR T cell therapy effective, accessible, and affordable for heart disease and cancer.

(© Location South / Alamy)


> Gene editing in the wild: shaping decisions through broad public deliberation // 14.12.2021, The Hastings Center Report
Genetic editing technologies have long been used to modify domesticated nonhuman animals and plants. Recently, attention and funding have also been directed toward projects for modifying nonhuman organisms in the shared environment – that is, in the “wild.” Interest in gene editing nonhuman organisms for wild release is motivated by a variety of goals, and such releases hold the possibility of significant, potentially transformative benefit. The technologies also pose risks and are often surrounded by a high uncertainty. Given the stakes, scientists and advisory bodies have called for public engagement in the science, ethics, and governance of gene editing research in nonhuman organisms. The report summarizes the key design elements that can improve broad public deliberations about gene editing in the wild.


> Addiction, crime and data breaches: The metaverse could become a wild west if we’re not careful // 14.01.2022, BBC
The idea of a virtual world that we can all interact with is rapidly becoming more likely – it’s called the metaverse. More and more companies are exploring the possibility of advertisements, games and a future in the virtual world. But with such a rapid expansion, will it be safe, regulated and, is it something we should fear or accept with open arms? David Reid, a professor of AI and spatial computing at Liverpool Hope University, explains the future of the metaverse and its risks.

Related article: Second Life’s creator is back to build a ‘metaverse that doesn’t harm people’ // 13.01.2022, Fast Company


> C&EN’s world chemical outlook 2022 // 12.01.2022, Chemical & Engineering News
Analysis of the key policies, market trends, and economic forces that will affect chemistry worldwide as the pandemic continues.

(© C&EN/Shutterstock)


> The humanities can't save Big Tech from itself // 12.01.2022, WIRED
Hiring sociocultural workers to correct bias overlooks the limitations of these underappreciated fields.

(© Sam Whitney/Getty Images)


> Science diplomacy week to be held in Geneva // 12.01.2022, Geneva Solutions
A week-long conference aimed at advancing diplomacy in science is being launched by a coalition of Geneva organisations, UN agencies and Swiss academic institutions, led by GESDA.

Related GESDA press release: GESDA gathers 14 Institutions to launch a Science Diplomacy Week in International Geneva for current and future leaders in science and diplomacy // 12.01.2022, GESDA



> Science and innovation diplomacy in the Mediterranean (report) // December 2021, Union for the Mediterranean
In the Euro-Mediterranean region, cultures and science met and mingled for millennia, creating spaces for innovative and inclusive solutions to common challenges. This makes science diplomacy a promising tool for cooperation between Southern Mediterranean countries and Europe, and a field that the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) strongly supports through its work on research and innovation, higher education, blue and circular economy, climate change, food systems, and water. This report was led by Marga Gual Solar, founder of SciDipGLOBAL, a purpose-driven consultancy specialized in strategy, research, and training working with governments, universities, and international organizations to build bridges between science, technology, and global policy. She is also a Senior Science Diplomacy Advisor at GESDA.



Platform 1: Quantum Revolution & Advanced AI

Quantum and physics 

> Is Alphabet’s quantum project ready to spinout of the proverbial sandbox? // 11.01.2022, The Quantum Insider

Mini electricity generator from quantum dots // 18.01.2022, EMPA press release

Atom by atom: new silicon computer chip technique opens up quantum computing construction possibilities // 13.01.2022, University of Melbourne

Artificial intelligence & Robots 

> Robot piloted by a ball of algae is powered by photosynthesis // 14.01.2022, New Scientist

How countries are leveraging computing power to achieve their national artificial intelligence strategies // 12.01.2022, The Brookings Institution
China is in better shape than the U.S. to achieve its AI goals because it has the "people power" to develop and carry out its AI strategies.

Inclusion in human–machine interactions // 13.01.2022, Science

Defining what’s ethical in artificial intelligence needs input from Africans // 10.01.2022, Daily Maverick

"L’intelligence artificielle et le quantique vont totalement changer les guerres du futur" // 15.01.2022, RTS

  • Reading and interpreting the genome — whole genome sequencing — has helped to diagnose disease and genetic predispositions to disease.
  • For example, a recent genome-wide meta-analysis linked certain regions of the genome to blood glucose and insulin levels, both of which contribute to the risk of Type 2 diabetes.
  • These kinds of advances will help us identify and respond to potential threats to health.


Platform 2: Human Augmentation


> ‘Ghost’ viruses offer potentially better approach to gene editing // 12.01.2022, Science
Related article:  Engineered virus-like particles for efficient in vivo delivery of therapeutic proteins // 11.01.2022, Cell

LifeBank Chain brings ultimate gene and cell therapy benefits to everyone // 12.01.2022, Digital Journal

CRISPR cell and gene therapies: top 5 hurdles in progressing to the clinic // 13.01.2022, Synthego Blog

Longevity and health

BioNTech and London A.I. firm create ‘early warning system’ to spot dangerous new COVID-19 variants before they spread // 12.01.2022, Fortune
Related article: Early computational detection of potential high risk SARS-CoV-2 variants // 27.12.2021, bioRxiv

Scientists are making CAR-T cells more clever. Here’s what the next generation could look like // 14.01.2022, STAT

Japanese university uses iPS cells in first treatment of spinal cord injury // 14.01.2022, Japan Times

The synthetic artificial stem cell (SASC): shifting the paradigm of cell therapy in regenerative engineering // 11.01.2022, PNAS

After the pig-to-human heart transplant, the FDA, clinicians and insurers have some catching up to do // 13.01.2022, The Washington Post
Related article: First transplant of a genetically altered pig heart into a person sparks ethics questions // 10.01.2022, STAT
Related research: Ethical and policy guidance for translational xenotransplantation clinical trials // The Hastings Center


Jolting the brain’s circuits with electricity is moving from radical to almost mainstream therapy. Some crucial hurdles remain // 12.01.2022, STAT

Like our social media feeds, our brains take a little while to update // 13.01.2022, Science Daily

New research: memories may be stored in the connections between brain cells // 13.01.2022, SingularityHub

Platform 3: Eco-regeneration & Geoengineering


Global race intensifies for EV raw materials // 11.01.2022, Axios


Ultra-long battery life is coming … eventually // 14.01.2022, WIRED

Scientists overcome a hurdle on the path to renewable-energy storage // 14.01.2022, EPFL press release


Method of the Year: protein structure prediction // 11.01.2022, Nature

Genetic strategy reverses insecticide resistance // 14.01.2021, University of California San Diego press release

Cloning goes wild // 13.01.2022, Science
A ferret named Elizabeth Ann could become the first cloned mammal to help save an endangered species.


China has built an artificial moon that simulates low-gravity conditions on Earth // 12.01.2022, South China Morning Post

To the Moon or bust in 2022 // 11.01.2022, Axios

Climate and environment

> Climate change is turning cities into ovens // 07.01.2022, WIRED

The radical intervention that might save the “doomsday” glacier // 14.01.2022, MIT Technology Review

The Sixth Mass Extinction: fact, fiction or speculation? // 10.01.2022, Biological Reviews

The quest to trap carbon in stone – and beat climate change // 28.12.2021, WIRED

Maersk accelerates net zero push in journey to cleaner shipping // 12.01.2022, Financial Times
Danes bring carbon target forward by a decade and launches new environmental goals.

A Maersk container ship at the Yangshan Deepwater port in Shanghai. Maersk is now aiming to be net zero by 2040 in its entire business (© Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

Platform 4: Science & Diplomacy

> U.K. and Swiss researchers left in limbo with European grants // 14.01.2022, Science
Restrictions on first grants from Horizon Europe highlight ongoing diplomatic disputes.
Related press release: Are these the last ERC grants for ETH? // 10.01.2022, ETH Zurich

UN Secretary General António Guterres calls for ‘new global deal’ on debt relief, climate and health // 17.01.2022, Health Policy Watch

SDC and Swiss National Science Foundation launch development programme for transdisciplinary research, innovation and sustainability // 13.01.2022, Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs -


> The secret to building the next Silicon Valley // 13.01.2022, WIRED
Other regions have tried to capture the tech title for decades. Why haven't they succeeded?

Web3, quand le futur d'internet se conjugue au passé // 17.01.2022,

ILO: No return to pre-pandemic job levels until ‘at least’ 2023 // 17.01.2022, Geneva Solutions

The future of work is a 60-year career // 14.12.2021, The Atlantic
Humans may soon live to be 100, which likely means more years on the job. That could be a good thing, if we take the opportunity to redesign work.

(© The Atlantic)


So sieht die Zukunft in fünf Jahren aus // 12.01.2022, Blick
Michael Hengartner ist Präsident des ETH-Rats – und damit so etwas wie der Chef-Forscher der Schweiz – und GESDA Science Breakthrough Radar® Advisory Committee member. In seiner Kolumne erklärt er Wissenswertes aus der Wissenschaft. Diese Woche: Wo in den nächsten Jahren mit wissenschaftlichem Fortschritt zu rechnen ist. (© Frank Brüderli/UNIZH)

Wellcome Trust in £16bn spending pledge as world prepares for endemic Covid // 11.01.2022, Financial Times
Top UK medical charity to focus on next generation vaccines as it warns of complacency over future variants. Explanations with its director Sir Jeremy Farrar, who is also GESDA Board member. (© Tom Pilston/FT)

> Expanding global access to genetic therapies // 07.01.2022, Nature Biotechnology
According to Anne W. T. Muigai, from the School of Biological Sciences, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Nairobi, Kenya, it is time to rethink intellectual property and pricing practices that prevent global access to genetic therapies. 
(© DianaNgila/NMG)

Futurist Amy Webb says babymaking could get crazy and the smartphone will die // 10.01.2022, The Washington Post
The influential thinker has some bold ideas. Why shouldn’t 70-year-olds have children? (© Future Today Institute)

> When hyping technology is a crime (EDITORIAL)// 13.01.2022, Science
Editorial by Holden Thorp, editor in chief of Science, on the case of the fall of Theranos and former CEO Elizabeth Holmes. (© Cameron Davidson)


> Strengthening scientific integrity (EDITORIAL) // 11.01.2022, Science
A robust democracy requires a common wellspring of reliable information. During his first days in office, US President Biden affirmed that evidence-based decision-making –informed by vigorous science and unimpeded by political interference –would be a pillar of his administration. He directed ambitious actions to implement that goal, including the creation of an interagency Scientific Integrity Task Force, which has just released the first-ever, comprehensive assessment of scientific integrity policy and practices in the US government.

'We conclude' or 'I believe'? Rationality declined decades ago // 17.12.2021, Wageningen University press release
Related article: The rise and fall of rationality in language // 21.12.2021, PNAS

« Don’t Look Up » : la satire peut-elle conduire à un sursaut ? // 06.01.2022, The Conversation
Valérie Masson-Delmotte, chercheuse en sciences du climat, coprésidente du groupe de travail I du GIEC, directrice de recherche au CEA (Commissariat à l’énergie atomique), Université Paris-Saclay: “Comme beaucoup, j’ai regardé en famille le film Don’t Look Up : Déni cosmique, sur Netflix. J’ai rapidement entendu mes filles, étudiantes, dire : « Eh, maman, c’est pareil que pour le changement climatique ! » Le réalisateur y mêle « l’absurde, le comique, à une douleur très réelle », pour faire réfléchir sur notre capacité à agir face à une menace grave, et souligner la nécessité de « la prise de conscience, la volonté et l’action ». J’aimerais partager ici les réflexions que ce film m’a inspirées, en tant que chercheuse en sciences du climat engagée pour le partage des connaissances scientifiques, au regard de mes expériences personnelles à l’interface entre science et société.”

Leonardo DiCaprio et Jennifer Lawrence, les héros de Don’t look up.
(© Niko Tavernise/Netflix)


> HAI weekly seminar with Jeffrey Ding: The rise and fall of great technologies and powers // 19.01.2022, 10:00 am - 11:00 am PST, organized by Stanford University
How do technological revolutions affect the rise and fall of great powers? How can this history provide insights into the China/U.S. race for leadership in artificial intelligence? Join us as we kick off this year's Weekly Seminar Series for the Winter Quarter with Stanford HAI and HAI-CISAC postdoctoral fellow Dr. Jeffrey Ding. He will explain his research examining how nations adapt to revolutionary technologies and propose an approach to new technology that could help countries leapfrog the industrial leader.


> La Terre en 2050 : Les indispensables transitions. Cycle de conférences De Saussure // 12.01.2022 - 09.02.2022, every Wednesday, 8pm CET, in Petit-Lancy/Geneva, organized by University of Geneva
Que deviendra la Terre dans trente ans ? Dans un langage accessible, cinq chercheuses et chercheurs de renom apporteront un éclairage approfondi sur de grandes questions de notre futur local, et discuteront comment gérer les transitions rendues nécessaires par le changement global.

A 20h les mercredis :

- Géraldine Pflieger : Les villes: acteurs stratégiques dans la transition écologique. 12 janvier

- Markus Stoffel : Gestion des risques naturels dans un climat qui change. 19 janvier

- Bastiaan Ibelings : La biodiversité, notre bouée de sauvetage. 26 janvier

- Evelina Trutnevyte : Les modèles informatiques pour accompagner la transition énergétique. 2 février

- Julia Steinberger : Une civilisation à l’intérieur des limites planétaires. 9 février


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, Eco-regeneration & Geoengineering, Science & 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).

Forward Forward
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.

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