Keele Professor invited to speak at UN science summit

A Keele astrophysicist has spoken of the importance of international collaboration at a recent summit organised by the United Nations.

Professor Raphael Hirschi was invited to speak to delegates at the forefront of international policymaking, when he addressed the Science Summit held as part of the 76th United Nations General Assembly.

The aim of the summit was to promote the role that science can play in helping nations to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and to raise awareness of current initiatives that provide examples of scientific activities which support the SDGs.

Professor Hirschi talked about international cooperation in science from the point of view of the ChETEC (Chemical Elements as Tracers of the Evolution of the Cosmos) COST Action that he chaired between 2017 and 2021. He is also a founding member of the International Research Network for Nuclear Astrophysics (IReNA), which was highlighted at the summit as a prime example of a network that advances and accelerates scientific research across continents - in this case, in nuclear astrophysics.

Professor Hirschi told the summit that such international cooperation is crucial for the advancement of scientific study, and discussed current challenges and opportunities in international cooperation for nuclear astrophysics, as well as how the network approach facilitates global communication between funding agencies and scientists.

Professor Hirschi said: “It was nice to see that the challenges we face in nuclear astrophysics such as inertia and reaching out to new collaborators are also faced by scientists in other research fields. We also discussed new opportunities like virtual collaboration, which is a positive outcome of the Covid pandemic.”