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Italy Postpones G8 Science Meeting

When diplomats from major industrialized nations gather in L’Aquila, Italy, next month for the G8 summit, they'll be discussing the environment, energy, food security, and other topics. But they won't have any official scientific input. Earlier this week, Italy’s Ministry of Education, University and Research (MIUR) decided to postpone a preparatory meeting of the science ministers from the G8 plus five developing countries until September, to the dismay of researchers.

The meeting, one of nine ministerial gatherings scheduled ahead of the main summit, was due to take place at the end of June to provide input on issues such as climate change and renewable energy sources. In an email, MIUR said it decided to push back the meeting to allow the participation of representatives from as many countries as possible and to give the event “greater visibility.”

But perhaps less visibility is the goal. A source tells ScienceInsider that the meeting was postponed for security reasons. The Italian government apparently is keen to avoid a repetition of the violent demonstrations that accompanied a pre-G8 meeting of university chancellors in Turin last month.