February 15, 2010 / 12:18 AM / 10 years ago

Darwin's successors to delve into science's future

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - One of the world’s oldest and most prestigious scientific academies will try to map the future of science and its applications in a new far-reaching study.

Britain’s 350-year-old Royal Society — whose members include more than 60 Nobel Laureates — said the findings should help corporate, political and academic leaders around the world tackle some of the planet’s most pressing problems with a better understanding of science, its uses and impact.

“The time has come to assess the changing map of scientific strengths, how collaboration in science and technology...is evolving, and how it can best be harnessed to tackle global problems such as the spread of disease, pollution and climate change,” study leader Chris Llewellyn Smith said.

“More countries are investing in building scientific capacity, and international collaboration is growing and its nature is changing,” he said in a statement Monday.

Royal Society fellows have a history of pushing the boundaries of human knowledge, with past members including Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein.

Llewellyn and his team will analyze publication data and consult with international scientists and research communities for the new study.

They will look in particular at how collaboration networks are changing the way research is conducted and funded, and why this is important, the Society said.

The findings will be published in a report in November.

Reporting by Kate Kelland, editing by Paul Casciato

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