Biomedicine, Projects: Commission puts NEST
at research frontier
The Commission recently announced its support for ten fledgling NEST projects - more than half of which are in the fields of medicine and bioscience - in its bid to push frontier research to new limits.
The European Commission has named the ten cutting-edge
projects - covering such fields as biotechnologies, the environment,
and bio-optics - it will back in 2004 in the context of its
New and Emerging Science and Technology (NEST) programme.
Part of the EU's Sixth Framework Programme, NEST is designed
to encourage new scientific opportunities and challenges by
promoting interdisciplinary high risk research. It will have
a budget of 215 million over the next four years.
"NEST is leading the way in making the most of our scientific
and technological potential," said Research Commissioner Philippe
Busquin. "Through visionary projects the European Union can
build on the ideas and innovations of bright and iconoclastic
Crossing new horizons
The Commission selected the ten top projects from a bumper
crop of hundreds of highly competitive and creative applications:
170 outline proposals were submitted at the first deadline
in April 2003, and 265 at the second deadline in October 2003.
"The new NEST projects demonstrate how the initiative is open
to new ideas within a wide range of scientific fields," Mr
Busquin noted. "It also gives the perfect opportunity for
up-and-coming researchers to expand their horizons
science fiction is today's science."
Six projects in the field of medicine and biotechnology will
receive Commission funding. Biodefence aims to develop a completely
new mechanism of rapid immunisation against bio-terrorist
weapons. Biofilms seeks to find revolutionary ways of catalysing
and controlling chemical reactions in diverse applications,
such as bio-remediation and biosensors.
The Optical Nose will sniff out trace gases on human breath
to help diagnose certain diseases. Imaging with neutral atoms
will attempt to create a novel 'atom-optics' imaging method
that can be used in a wide range of bio-physical, bio-medical,
electronics, and other applications.
ATOM3D will develop high-tech 'optical tweezers' to catch
biological samples of viruses and DNA. Bioplasma aims to develop
low-cost bioactive coatings suitable for biomedical applications.
Source: EU sources
Commission press release