Tech News in Brief: Cost of attracting EU medicines agency to Copenhagen spiralling

In other stories: climate change action urgently needed and insulin vital for stem-cell growth

On the last day of July, the government submitted the official Danish bid for the European Medicines Agency (EMA), but without revealing the price.

Before the summer holidays, Parliament agreed to spend 49 million kroner to reserve Copenhagen Towers in the event that the agency ended up in Denmark.

However, internal documents show that the government has budgeted 1.7 billion kroner to pay the agency’s costs for two decades, reports Politiken.

The money will pay for the rent of the building, running costs, IT facilities, water, heating, electricity – and a lot more – if the EU agrees to the Danish bid.

“Parliament will obviously be duly consulted in order to approve the specific expenses if the EMA ends up coming to Denmark,” stated the health minister, Ellen Trane Nørby.

Dansk Folkeparti (DF) has made it clear that the government can’t rely on them rubber-stamping a projected cost of 1.7 billion kroner.

“We’ve agreed to 49 million kroner, which is actually a lot of money. But from there to taking it for granted that we can just use a few billion kroner more – we’ve certainly not agreed to that,” said DF’s financial spokesperson, Rene Christensen.

Drastic action needed on climate change, say scientists
Researchers at the universities of Aarhus, Sussex, Manchester and Oxford have published a paper in ‘Science’ magazine warning of the need for drastic action if the goals set in the 2015 Paris agreement on global warming are to be met. The agreement was to keep the global temperature rise this century below 2 degrees C. In order to achieve this, it is necessary to stop the use of greenhouse gases in electricity production, transport, heating, industry, forestry and agriculture across the entire world. However, despite the rapid rise in the sustainable energy sector for electricity production, things in other areas are going too slowly and there is far too little overall co-ordination, conclude the researchers.

Insulin vital to stem-cell growth, new research shows
New research from DanStem at Copenhagen University has shown that insulin plays a decisive role in determining the potential of stem-cells in mammals. When insulin levels are high, the cells retain the ability to produce all types of cells in the body. When it is low, the embryonic stem-cells are changed into another type of stem-cell that produces tissue to support foetal development and contributes to the development of different internal organs. The embryonic stem-cells used in the research carried out using mice, come from embryos implanted in the mother, and the results point to the fact that her insulin levels and diet could play a major part in the early stages of her pregnancy. The research also indicates new ways in which stem-cells could contribute to the treatment of degenerative diseases.

International backing for new Danish anti-doping resolution
At a meeting at the United Nations educational, scientific and cultural organisation UNESCO, held on September 25-26, Denmark received support for a new international resolution to punish governments who don’t live up to the international convention on doping in sport. “This is the first time that on a governmental level within the UNESCO regime we have been unanimous in formulating a set of rules that have consequences if they are not obeyed,” said the minister of culture, Mette Bock. A working group will be set up that will formulate a list of possible consequences for countries disobeying the rules. The group is due to present its deliberations at the next UNESCO anti-doping meeting due to take place in 2019.

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