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A new France-South Africa laboratory for ecology and the environment

By 7 décembre 2019 juillet 6th, 2020 No Comments

Hello LABNAUT readers,

This week we learn about a new France-South Africa laboratory, a raid on the Antarctic plateau and reducing risk in AI and ML-based medical technology.

From 7 December 2019 to 25 January 2020, a team of scientists from France (CNRS and the Université Grenoble Alpes) and Italy (Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Istituto Nazionale Geofisica e Vulcanologia) will traverse the middle of the Antarctic plateau, making a 1318 km round trip, from the Franco-Italian Concordia research station towards the South Pole and back. This East Antarctic International Ice Sheet Traverse (EAIIST) expedition is coordinated by the French Polar Institute, in collaboration with the Italian National Antarctic Programme, and backed by the French National Research Agency and the BNP Paribas Foundation. The two main goals of the EAIIST expedition are to acquire a deeper understanding of the climate “archives” encoded in ice cores and more accurately predict the rise in sea levels.


Artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) are increasingly transforming the healthcare sector. From spotting malignant tumours to reading CT scans and mammograms, AI/ML-based technology is faster and more accurate than traditional devices – or even the best doctors. But along with the benefits come new risks and regulatory challenges.

In their latest article Algorithms on regulatory lockdown in medicine recently published in Science, Boris Babic, INSEAD Assistant Professor of Decision Sciences; Theodoros Evgeniou, INSEAD Professor of Decision Sciences and Technology Management; Sara Gerke, Research Fellow at Harvard Law School’s Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics; and I. Glenn Cohen, Professor at Harvard Law School and Faculty Director at the Petrie-Flom Center look at the new challenges facing regulators as they navigate the unfamiliar pathways of AI/ML.

They consider the questions: What new risks do we face as AI/ML devices are developed and implemented? How should they be managed? What factors do regulators need to focus on to ensure maximum value at minimal risk?

Finally, we have heard that Prof. Sibongile Muthwa, Vice-Chancellor of Nelson Mandela University, and Antoine Petit, President and CEO of the CNRS, inaugurated the International Research Laboratory Rehabs (Reconciling Ecological land and Humans Adaptations for Biosphere Sustainability) in Port-Elizabeth (South Africa) on the 5th December. Created for a period of five years between the CNRS, Claude Bernard Lyon 1 University and Nelson Mandela University, in partnership with South African National Parks and the University of Angers, this laboratory in ecology and environment is part of a collaboration that began in 2015 within the global “garden route” ecology study site.

© Nelson Mandela University