EU Commission logo

This program was held in collaboration with the Delegation of the European Union to the United States.

Even though the pursuit of new knowledge has never been delimited to national borders, the fact that public funds for science are largely in the hands of national authorities acts as a constraint on its international character. Moreover, the private financing of science mostly puts private interests ahead of the common good.

The exceptions are in CERN*, in particle physics, parts of astronomy, and earth sciences (e.g. weather forecasting, ocean studies) and fusion energy. All these are examples of research in so-called “big science” where the costs and infrastructure are beyond the capability of individual countries and where the relevant authorities have no choice but to join forces internationally.

Dr. Gavigan will offer his views on the imprint that three decades of an emerging science policy in the European Union has made on a centuries-old community largely segmented along nation state lines. He will explain the efforts under the “the European Research Area” label to develop a research system which has transnational coherence and meaning. He will also reflect on the potential to strengthen transatlantic Science and Technology links in a similar way, referencing economic and trade implications as much as scientific leadership issues. It’s important to note that the transatlantic corridor accounts for well over half of the world’s Science and Technology output. * The European Organization for Nuclear Research.

The Speakers

James Gavigan Minister Counselor for Science and Technology at the EU Mission to the US
Dr. Gavigan, an EU official since 1990, is Minister Counselor for Science and Technology at the EU Mission to the US where he focuses on facilitating scientific cooperation between the EU and the US. From 2006-2012 he headed the European Research Area Policy (ERA) Unit which is devoted to developing a coordinated approach to research policy among EU members. Prior to his distinguished career at the EU, he worked as a research scientist on the intrinsic magnetic properties of rare earth transition metal borides and magnetic thin films. He holds a PhD in physics from Trinity College Dublin and an MA in public administration from the University of Warwick. He speaks English, French, Spanish and some Irish and Italian. Born in the Yukon, he has dual Canadian and Irish citizenship, is married and has four sons.


St. John’s College, Junior Commons Room. November 24, 2014, from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm

Sold Out


The Visitors Parking Lot is on your left as you enter campus. A few handicapped parking spaces are located at the Visitor’s Circle right in front of the fishpond area and below the Peterson Student Center. A few more are located behind the Peterson Center as follows. Just before the Visitor’s Circle, look for the fork in the road where you would normally drive to the left to get to the Visitors’ Parking Circle just below the Peterson Center. Instead, turn right and follow the drive up to the other parking area. There are two or three handicapped parking spaces on the left. Please note that this parking lot is not open to the public, but handicapped folks are allowed to park in the designated spaces.