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The European Commission plans to launch its revised EU pharmaceutical package in the first quarter of 2023. Ahead of its release, two recent STOA studies offer insight to inform upcoming Parliamentary discussions. Fragmentation of EU health research and development, lack of transparency and a translation gap between public investment and clinical output are among the weaknesses identified. Possible solutions include the creation of large-scale European biomedical infrastructure, and a series of targeted ...

By 2050, an estimated two thirds of the world population will live in urban areas. Could vertical farming help feed this growing urban population sustainably by reducing the demand for agricultural land and shortening the travel distance between food production and consumption?

Quantum technologies could be a game-changer in the digital transformation of health care. By enabling much faster and more complex data analysis, they could open the door to the accelerated discovery and development of novel therapeutics, improved diagnostics and treatments, including for rare and complex diseases, genuinely personalised medicine, and better data-driven health policy planning. However, as is also the case in other sectors, quantum technologies come with risks, particularly to cybersecurity ...

Antimicrobial-resistant infections are predicted to become the second biggest cause of death worldwide by 2050. Despite increasing investment in the development of new antimicrobials, awareness campaigns on antimicrobial misuse and abuse, and monitoring of antimicrobial use and resistance in animals, humans and the environment, antimicrobial resistance continues to grow and the last three decades have not seen even one novel antimicrobial class reach the market. Could the answer lie in a 'Trojan ...

The Russian invasion has caused huge destruction of life and property in Ukraine. Reconstruction will be a long and costly process, and the EU and others are already marshalling funds for this effort. Some EU leaders have expressed support for using frozen Russian central bank (RCB) funds towards reconstruction, but it is unclear if this will actually happen. There are recent examples of sovereign assets being confiscated and used to compensate victims of injustice, but the confiscation of Russia's ...

The COVID 19 pandemic prompted reinforced investment in health research, to support rapid research and innovation for vaccine development and health care measures. The European Union response highlighted strengths and weaknesses in EU research organisation and funding. Over time, EU investment in health research has been aimed at increasing knowledge and transfer of knowledge into innovation, for better health. To this end, several instruments have been developed, but the impact of these efforts ...

This study examines how contemporary welfare state policies address the issues of inequality and poverty both between and within EU Member States. It combines quantitative and qualitative analysis to show the strong links between inequality and poverty, not only in statistical terms, but also in terms of wealth distribution, intergenerational mobility and labour market dynamics. Welfare states are discussed in a multidimensional way, covering traditional welfare state policies on social protection ...

One language disappears every two weeks, and up to 90 % of existing languages could be gone by the turn of the century. Globalisation, social and economic pressures and political options can determine whether a language survives. Multilingualism is a cornerstone of the European project, with 24 official and 60 minority languages. In a digital era, ensuring digital language equality can help preserve linguistic diversity.

Artificial intelligence (AI) has been the subject of such strong political and social debate that the question of its suitability for its main original purpose – improving supply chain efficiency – may come as a surprise. What if AI really could help strategic sectors cope with pressure? More specifically, could the agri-food sector benefit from this technology to compensate for the shortages broadly forecast as a result of today's crises?

Biases are commonly considered one of the most detrimental effects of artificial intelligence (AI) use. The EU is therefore committed to reducing their incidence as much as possible. However, the existence of biases pre-dates the creation of AI tools. All human societies are biased – AI only reproduces what we are. Therefore, opposing this technology for this reason would simply hide discrimination and not prevent it. It is up to human supervision to use all available means – which are many – to ...