DUBLIN—The European Union's increasingly urgent focus on turning the tide on its hard-pressed basic science community saw politicians, high-level scientists, and representatives of industry gather in the Irish capital on Monday (February 16) for a meeting on “Europe's Search for Excellence in Basic Research.”

Organized by the Irish government, which currently holds the rotating presidency of the European Union, the meeting aims to build solid consensus over the state of basic research in Europe, as a basis for potential new action at the EU level.

Such consensus was essential, delegates were told at the opening session in Dublin Castle's state apartments. That's because when researchers or industry approach politicians for change individually, it is seen as special pleading, said Edward Walsh, chairman of the Irish Council for Science, Technology and Innovation.

“But when enterprise and researchers come together and talk to government, it is listened to,” he...

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