NEST – New and Emerging Science and Technology – NEWS
EU at the top in research
NEST-funded scientists win Nobel Prize in Physics 2010
Two EU-grantees, Prof. K. Novoselov and Prof. A. Geim, have been awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics 2010 for their groundbreaking research in two-dimensional graphene. Both professors are member of the University of Manchester (UK).
The team of Prof. Novoselov (on the right in the picture; click on the image for a high-resolution version - 5 MB) and Prof. Geim competed successfully for grants from the EU Framework Programmes, including funding from the FP6 NEST scheme ('New and Emerging Science and Technology'). With this NEST grant (more than EUR 1.5 million), they were able to advance their work as partners in the SIBMAR NEST project, coordinated by the University of Zürich.
The project was bolstered by the participation of both professors, whose know-how and innovative insight into graphene was an essential element in the success of the SIBMAR NEST project.
SIBMAR Final Activity Report 2.4 MB
As follow-up of the FP6 NEST initiative which is coming shortly to an end, we will present the achievements of completed NEST projects on a regular basis.
21. Mindbridge - Measuring consciousness - Bridging the mind-brain gap
Project web site: Mindbridge
More information: see Mindbridge on CORDIS
Summary: This FP6 NEST project studied the topic of human consciousness from a multidisciplinary perspective. Human consciousness can be defined as the inner subjective experience of mental states such as perceptions, judgments, thoughts, intentions to act, feelings or desires. It was the mission of the MindBridge consortium to develop strategies and concrete methodologies that can bridge the gap between subjective experience and objective observation of neural phenomena. A constitutive part is the systematic and scientific exploration of subjective experiences in qualitative and quantitative terms. This introspective approach is complementary to the behavoristic approach usually employed in cognitive neurosciences. For the purpose of adequate characterisation of corresponding neural phenomena, that are parallel to conscious experiences, expertise from functional neuroimaging, electrophysiology and neural modeling was used. By this, an integrated view on the topological and dynamic coding principles of the human brain, related to the phenomenon consciousness, was developed.
Mindbridge final project report 85 KB
20. Gala - Sub-Riemannian geometric analysis in Lie groups
Project web site: Gala
More information: see Gala on CORDIS
Summary: The FP6 NEST project GALA pioneered explorative instruments of mathematical geometric analysis in Lie groups. GALA provided tools for applications to vision and hearing and to magnetic resonance tomography. Sub Riemannian geometric analysis in Lie groups is an innovative field of scientific research, which considers the description of strongly non-isotropic systems. In particular it models the motion of a system in which some directions are not allowed by a constraint that is not necessarily a physical constraint, but that can be a differential one e.g. a magnetic field. The allowed directions of motion are called horizontal directions and are described through vector fields. GALA defined, from a purely mathematical point of view, the main properties of the objects of the space, with instruments of Sub-Riemannian differential geometry, anisotropic partial differential equations of sub-elliptic and ultra-parabolic type and geometric measure theory in Lie groups.
Gala final project report 177 KB
19. Synbiosafe - Safety and ethical aspects of synthetic biology
Project web site: Synbiosafe
More information: see Synbiosafe on CORDIS
Summary: The goal of this FP6 NEST project was to focus particularly on the safety and ethical concerns and tried to facilitate a socially acceptable development in all related fields. We pursued our objectives by means of a fact-finding mission, contribution to the first European Conference on Synthetic Biology, an open e-forum and an international workshop. The foreseen impact of our project was no less than to stimulate a European debate on these issues at an early stage. Past experiences, especially in the field of GM-crops, have shown the importance of an early bio-safety and ethics debate. The community recognized this need, but up to now discussions were fragmentary. Our project aimed to stimulate a European debate in a proactive way. That way we contributed to the European synthetic biology community, supplementing genuine biosafety and bioethics aspects.
Synbiosafe final project report 81 KB
18. EyewitMem - The Assessment of Eyewitness Memory: A Multi-Componential, Correspondence-Oriented Approach
Project web site: EyewitMem
More information: see EyewitMem on CORDIS
Summary: The goal of this FP6 NEST project was to develop objective and effective means of assessing the extent to which a particular eyewitness memory report can be relied on as evidence. To overcome the formidable theoretical and methodological challenges that this goal imposed, experts from the fields of Memory research, Forensic Psychology, Neuroscience, Artificial Intelligence, and Law joined forces in a concerted, interdisciplinary effort, based on cutting-edge research in each discipline. The upsurge of interest in memory accuracy in the past three decades has produced extensive evidence for the fallibility and malleability of witness memory. In parallel, reliance on erroneous eyewitness testimony has been shown to be the most common cause of false convictions of innocent people. A question of crucial importance was how we, as scientists, can provide legal personnel with tools that can help them in diagnosing the reliability of a witness report. Further key innovations concerned the development of more sophisticated methods of assessing memory correspondence.
EyewitMem final project report 302 KB
17. Embio - Emergent organisation in complex biomolecular systems
Project web site: Embio
More information: see Embio on CORDIS
Summary: The FP6 NEST-project Embio aimed to develop and apply mathematical and computational approaches that will identify principles governing the emergent organisation of self-organising biomolecular systems. Computational methods for characterising the dynamics of these intrinsically complex processes were developed and applied to protein folding and molecular self-assembly. The methodologies focussed on the complexity of the system's dynamics thus advancing fundamental knowledge concerning the role of complexity in biological systems. The data for these investigations were obtained from sophisticated all- atom simulations of realistic biomolecular systems and experimental mechanical stretching of giant single molecular proteins. The improved understanding obtained from the dynamical complexity of native and folding biomolecular systems should provide a basis for the accurate calculation of biomolecular folding and function and will therefore be of fundamental relevance to biology, medicine and biotechnology.
Embio final project report 2.9 MB
16. EDEN - Ecological diversity and evolutionary networks
Project web site: EDEN
More information: see EDEN on CORDIS
Summary: The FP6 Nest project, EDEN, aimed at considering in depth the representation of ecological and evolutionary relationships among biological entities -organisms, populations, taxa- in terms of networks by developing methods to construct them from genetic data and by expanding the toolbox for their analysis. More specifically, EDEN focussed on: - Networks of genetic diversity, constructed from genetic data of a large sample of marine plants in coastal ecosystems. Innovative network methods were developed to address questions on population structure, gene flow, evolution, biogeography and conservation of these threatened ecosystems. - The tools of reticulate evolution, and novel approaches based on network theory were used to build and analyze phylogenies with rich structure beyond trees. The aim was to gain biological insight on the evolution of life, from specific lineages to the entire spectrum of life forms, by evolving from the present concept of a `Tree of Life' to a more flexible concept of `Network of Life'.
EDEN final project report 787 KB
15. EC-Moan - Scalable modelling and analysis techniques to study emergent cell behaviour -- understanding the E. coli stress response
Project web site: EC-Moan
More information: see EC-Moan on CORDIS
Summary: The FP6 NEST project EC-Moan, was set up to enhance our understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying the behavior of complex living systems. The project investigated how large and complex regulatory networks control the response of a living cell to its ever-changing environment. The stress response to environmental events is induced by the interaction of several interwoven modules with complex dynamic behavior, acting on different time scales. In the project, an integrated model of the stress response system of E. coli, including key metabolic, genetic and signaling modules was developed. Also methods to reduce high-dimensional nonlinear systems of equations were developed. Parallel model checking algorithms were developed for verifying specific properties at the model. So it was possible to explore the models and predict the outcome of experiments. Finally, we validated our model by experimentally testing predicted properties in our labs. Our cross-disciplinary European team of biologists, mathematicians and computer scientists developed a coherent and generic methodology, generalizable to other complex (biological) systems.
EC-Moan final project report 227 KB
14. Cure - Corporate culture and regional embeddedness
Project web site: Cure
More information: see Cure on CORDIS
Summary: The FP6 NEST project CURE aimed at studying processes of cultural change as a result of interaction between companies and regions. The key questions of CURE were: (1) To which extent do company cultures influence regional commitment? (2) Which types of regional culture are of interest for which type of enterprise? (3) How do corporate and regional cultures interact and how do they influence each other? The key target of the project was to study how regional and corporate cultures interact and how they influence each other. The empirical work focussed on 210 case studies and 21 in depth studies in 7 European regions. The project brought together research from cultural science, regional science, social science and economies in an interdisciplinary way.
Cure final project report 708 KB
13. ComplexDis - Unravelling complex diseases with complexity theory: from networks to the bedside
Project web site: ComplexDis
More information: see ComplexDis on CORDIS
Summary: Common diseases like allergy, autoimmunity and cancer are complex, i.e. caused by multiple interacting genes and environmental factors. Using high-throughput methods all genes and their products were studied in common diseases. The challenge was understanding the complex gene and protein interactions that underlie these diseases. The Pathfinder project has shown that common principles, such as network theory can be used to understand widely different complex systems. Despite this there have been few applications in medical research. The hypothesis behind this project was that complexity theory can be used to unravel disease mechanisms and to develop predictive models of complex disease. The models will be validated experimentally and by solving a real-world clinical problem, i.e. to find biological markers for personalized medication. This involves the design, implementation and enhancement of complexity tools (e.g. network theory metrics) used to assess emergent properties from experimental studies of complex diseases, such as allergy, autoimmunity and cancer. Network theory played a central role in our approach through the use of separators, connectivity, covers and cliques. Complex diseases were seen from a systems perspective and the focus was on the emergent properties of systems rather than individual components. This involved transfer of knowledge from complexity studies in other fields, such as language evolution. An important feature of the project was that it aimed to transfer and develop techniques from complexity science to solve a real-world problem, i.e. to find markers for personalized medication in two different diseases, i.e. allergy and multiple sclerosis.
ComplexDis final project report 162 KB
12. Hand to mouth - Hand to Mouth: a framework for understanding the archaeological and fossil records of human cognitive evolution
Project web site: Hand to mouth
More information: see Hand to mouth on CORDIS
Summary: HANDTOMOUTH developed a framework for understanding archaeological and fossil evidence for the evolution of speech and manual dexterity. We focused on low-order parameters which can potentially be assessed in fossil and archaeological evidence. The focus was on motor control in complex, serially ordered, goal-directed movements, with two sub-themes:
Hand to mouth final project report 1.8 MB
11. Analogy - Humans - the analogy-making species
Project web site: Analogy
More information: see Analogy on CORDIS
Summary: The ability to make analogies lies at the heart of human cognition and is a fundamental mechanism that enables humans to engage in complex mental processes such as thinking, categorization, and learning, and, in general, understanding the world and acting effectively on it based on her/his past experience. This project focused on understanding these uniquely human mechanisms of analogy-making, and exploring their evolution and development. A highly experienced, interdisciplinary, and international team studied and compared the performance of primates, infants, young children, healthy adults, as well as children and adults with abnormal brain functioning. An interdisciplinary methodology was used to pursue this goal, one that included computational modeling, psychological experimentation, comparative studies, developmental studies, and brain imaging.The ability to see a novel experience, object, situation or action as being the same as an old one, and then to act in an approximately appropriate manner (and then fine-tuned to fit the novel experience), is, almost unquestionably, one of the capacities that sets humans apart from all other animals. What are the underlying mechanisms that allow us to do this? How did they evolve in the population? How do they develop in an individual? How do they differ from similar mechanisms in primates? The results from this project will contribute to a better understanding of the mechanisms of analogy-making, their origin, evolution and development and will lead to advances, not only in our basic knowledge of human cognition, but also in the development of educational strategies to help children and young people to be more efficient learners and to achieve a better and deeper understanding of the world in which they live.
Analogy final project report 613 KB
10. Monat - Measurement of Naturalness
Project web site: Monat
More information: see Monat on CORDIS
Summary: The processes involved in deciding whether the look and feel of a material label is perceived as natural are complex and not well understood. The FP6 NEST MONAT 29000 project explored this question in order to develop an application of innovative, leading-edge modelling techniques that link the physical properties of a material with its perceived naturalness. These mathematical models are able to predict human reactions to new materials. Given the premium our society places on natural materials, this project will potentially be of great commercial as well as scientific importance. It could help create everyday items, furniture and clothes that are closer to natural materials, making luxury more affordable and saving precious natural resources.
Monat final project report 330 KB
9. THALES WAS RIGHT - Searching for signals of megathrust earthquakes
Project web site: THALES WAS RIGHT
More information: see THALES WAS RIGHT on CORDIS
Summary: The FP6 NEST project, THALES WAS RIGHT, was set up to detect new types of seismic signals, as well as deep structural images that are relevant to the problem, being possible heralds of mega-thrust earthquakes. The point of Thales of Miletos around 600 BC thinking that water under the earth could be a physicial cause for earthquakes has now been recognised in the source process of peculiar signals that are so weak that they have only newly been detected in the 21st century. Novel methods, techniques and instruments were used for observation in the two European subduction zones, the Western Hellenic and Lesser Antilles Arc in the hope to detect abnormal signs of an earthquake and reduce the risk that Europeans will be taken by surprise as the world was in 2004 by the Sumatra-Andaman earthquake.
THALES WAS RIGHT final project report 45 KB
8. TB REACT - TNF neutralisation therapy for inflammatory diseases strategies to prevent TB reactivation
Project web site: TB REACT
More information: see TB REACT on CORDIS
Summary: The FP6 NEST project, TB REACT, was set up to investigate the scientific basis of the new risk of tuberculosis (TB) infection that has arisen as a side effect of recently developed therapies used to combat serious inflammatory diseases. Drugs that block the effect of the natural protein Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF) can effectively treat the inflammatory diseases but bring a risk of TB for the patients. The goal of the research was to enhance the scientific understanding of the role of the different forms of TNF and TNF receptors in order to avoid a tuberculosis infection during treatment with anti-TNF and in order to design a new generation of safer anti-TNF therapy.
TB REACT final project report 875 KB
7. BRAINTUNING - Tuning the brain for music
More information: see BRAINTUNING on CORDIS
Summary: The FP6 NEST project, BrainTuning 28570, aimed at systematically investigating the subsequent and multidimensional stages of the brain functions enabling us to perceive, perform, and enjoy music. The project achieved several methodological and empirical break-throughs. For the first time, the effectiveness of an active form of music therapy (clinical improvisation therapy) was systematically investigated when it was used to ameliorate symptoms of mild psychiatric disorder (depression). The results suggested that there are changes in brain activity (in limbic processing) as the consequence of recovery and possibly due to the effect of music therapy.
BRAINTUNING final project report 280 KB
6. CULTAPTATION - How culture evolves
Project web site: CULTAPTATION
More information: see CULTAPTATION on CORDIS
Summary: The CULTAPTATION - Dynamics and Adaptation in Human Cumulative Culture - FP6 NEST project, is a pioneering study of the processes that shape cultural change in order to obtain a more integrated view on human history but also to make informed decisions concerning the future. This research includes archaeological and historical investigations of the cultural evolution of food habits and laws, studies of animal proto-cultural capacities, and economic game experiments on social learning. Understanding e.g eating habits could help us to tackle the huge health and environmental issues associated with the over-consumption of sugar and fat that is harmful or time-consuming to produce.
CULTAPTATION final project report 517 KB
5. TACT - Thought in Action
Project web site: TACT
More information: see TACT on CORDIS
Summary: TACT (Thought in Action) is a FP6 NEST research project that studied early infant development using miniaturised sensors and recorders to monitor movements, and register where babies look and the sounds they make. The TACT devices are small enough to be embedded in the toys or clothing of children from newborn to two years old. They record hand and arm movements as well the configuration of the hand as the child grasps the rattle and respond to movement parameters with simple sounds. These tools may allow earlier diagnosis of autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders.
TACT final project report 1.3 MB
4. ANCIENT CHARM - Analysis by neutron resonant capture imaging and other emerging techniques : new cultural heritage and archaelogical research methods
Project web site: ANCIENT CHARM
More information: see ANCIENT CHARM on CORDIS
Summary: Neutron-based imaging is an ideal, non-invasive technique for archaeologists to analyse the chemical composition of artefacts, although it is rarely used this way. The consortium partners under the NEST ANCIENT CHARM project 015311 combined their expertise in different neutron-imaging methods to refine their technologies and develop new applications, particularly the 3D mapping of elements in objects. Archaeologists will have the ability to obtain 3D maps of the elemental or phase composition of complex objects made from a variety of materials including metals, ceramics, marble and glass. This NEST project aims to make such imaging more mainstream in archaeology, but also could have applications in many areas of industrial materials analysis for example to detect contaminants in materials, or metal enclosed in opaque, sealed containers.
ANCIENT CHARM final activity report 560 KB
3. CONTROL CANCER STEM - Cutting off cancer at the stem
Project web site: CONTROL CANCER STEM
More information: see CONTROL CANCER STEM on CORDIS
Summary: The NEST Control Cancer Stem project 12930 is a trans-disciplinary, innovative and ambitious project in fighting cancer which aims to develop a revolutionary therapeutic concept based on a new synthesis of basic biological science, human cancer biology, biomathematics and bioengineering. The possibility that cancer robustness may be attributed to only a small portion of the bulk tumour mass known as cancer stem cells (CSCs) leads the consortium to devise a novel therapy approach to eliminate CSCs from solid tumours, by modulating their behaviour with appropriate signalling cues and therefore forcing them to differentiate into non-proliferative and non-malignant cells. The study has focused on stem cells from the solid cancer types: breast and brain stem cell cancers.
CONTROL CANCER STEM final report 97 KB
2. SYNTEX - Measuring feelings and expectation associated with texture
Project web site: SYNTEX
More information: see SYNTEX on CORDIS
Summary: We all know that stepping carelessly onto a wet marble floor might cause us to slip. In the same way, we know that running on grass in the park is safe; even if we fall we are unlikely to get hurt. The NEST-SYNTEX project 43157 has developed a new method to estimate the degree to which a person associates certain feelings, emotions and expectations with a particular texture. One of the exploitable results is a copyright-protected software library usable for the design of textures. It automatically creates textures that suit certain desired emotional properties. This will assist the designers in more accurately tuning surface textures to specific needs. The knowledge gathered will have a substantial impact on product design in its most general sense, exterior and interior decorative applications (flooring, decking facades, furniture, etc). Other applications are also possible, e.g. in the design of pavement signs to help blind people to get around more easily, thus improving their quality of life.
SYNTEX final activity report 3.8 MB
1. ARES - Assembling Reconfigurable Endoluminal Surgical system
Project web site: ARES
More information: see ARES on CORDIS
Summary: ARES project 15653 that could revolutionise screening and interventional methods in medicine by introducing highly significant improvements in micro-technology and robotics. The primary achievement of the ARES Project is the development of a promising concept for endoluminal surgery including experimental prototypes. A reconfigurable magnetic self-assembly modular robotic device has been developed to perform screening and interventions in the gastrointestinal tract. In the created device, millimetre-sized robotic modules are ingested and tasked to assemble into an articulated mechanism in the stomach cavity.
Final ARES report 923 KB
Opening the frontiers of tomorrow’s research
NEST (New and Emerging Science and Technology) is a new activity in the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6). It aims to support unconventional and visionary research with the potential to open new fields for European science and technology, as well as research on potential problems uncovered by science.
In addition to developing new scientific understanding and capabilities, and opening up new fields, NEST activities aim to consolidate European efforts in emerging fields of research and assist in planning future activities in support to a European Research Area. They will help to nurture themes that will need larger-scale support in future European research programmes.
NEST is designed to be flexible and interdisciplinary research is encouraged. There are no restrictions on the scientific fields to be addressed except that the research carried out under NEST should cut across or lie outside the thematic priority areas. NEST will not support projects which simply cannot find their home in one of FP6’s thematic priorities.
NEST involves three complementary Action Lines (ADVENTURE, INSIGHT, PATHFINDER), each contributing to the overall goal of improving Europe’s capacity and expertise anticipating future scientific and technological needs.
The overall budget for NEST within FP6 is € 215 million.