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Horizon Prizes

Take a look at the new Horizon Prizes web site to see which challenge you might take up ...

• Better use of Antibiotics • Breaking the optical transmission barriers
• Clean air • Collaborative Spectrum Sharing • Food scanner

What was new in the last 3 weeks

Week 48

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

  • Research Headlines
    • Innovative textiles to boost EU seaweed farming
      Seaweed is an important but under-exploited resource for food and feed ingredients, biochemicals and the production of biofuels. But it has been difficult to harvest efficiently on a large scale. Until now. The EU-funded AT~SEA project has developed advanced textiles that give high yields from floating seaweed farms and allow easy, mechanised cultivation.

  • Success Stories
    • Waste: the final industrial frontier
      Industrial waste can be an asset rather than an economic and environmental cost – the key is to find someone who can use it. An EU-funded project has demonstrated that establishing regional networks for waste by-products and materials is not only possible, but can be profitable for all involved.

    • The Euro-Asian collaboration unravelling the mysteries of ageing
      Much as we try to evade it, age catches us all. But are there ways to reverse or slow down the ageing process at a cellular level? An international project examining the biological changes that occur inside our bodies looked at the role of stem cells in organs and tissues, which could lead to a radical new understanding of ageing.

    • New horizons in international goods transport
      Much as we try to evade it, age catches us all. But are there ways to reverse or slow down the ageing process at a cellular level? An international project examining the biological changes that occur inside our bodies looked at the role of stem cells in organs and tissues, which could lead to a radical new understanding of ageing.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

  • Success Stories
    • How local action can boost Europe's flood resilience
      Rail lines swept away by floods in south-west England earlier this year demonstrated that Europe's flood defences need to be strengthened. What is needed are more flood-resilient buildings and infrastructure. An EU-funded project has developed guidance on how to integrate flood resilience into urban planning - helping to protect lives, communities and infrastructure.

    • Cracking the code of the unspoken language
      A Marie Curie research fellow, Oya Aran, has paved the way for the development of computer techniques that could automatically reveal meaning from body language and other visual cues, predict people's mood and help improve, she says, 'collective decision-making'. The scientist studied 100 people interacting in small groups, using computer vision, audio processing and 'machine learning' to detect dominance and emergent leadership.

Monday, 24 November 2014

  • Events
    • The case for a systemic approach to eco-innovation - 2 December 2014, Lyon, France

      Current patterns of growth lead to the irreversible damage of our planet’s natural environment while resources are over-consumed. Furthermore, prices of raw materials are becoming more and more volatile and Europe is almost entirely dependent on imports. The traditional linear model of production and consumption, where resources are extracted processed used and disposed of, needs to be changed.

  • Research Headlines
    • Predicting the eruptions of unrestful volcanos
      Volcanic eruptions are notoriously difficult to predict. Ground-breaking research by EU-funded scientists on the signs of volcanic unrest aims to improve eruption forecasts. Their work on the best ways to communicate such alerts could also help save lives.

  • Success Stories
    • Stem cell mysteries unravelled
      Although stem cells are only microscopic in size, they contain tremendous promise. Through them deeper understanding can be gathered on how cancers progress and persist and, in the case of embryonic stem cells, they look set to become a powerful tool for regenerative medicine.

    • Helping clean city air through local initiatives
      Although Europe's air quality has improved over the last 25 years, pollution is still prominent - particularly in cities. Cleaning the air is more difficult than before, as most people can no longer smell or see the pollution. However, the European Union (EU)-funded research project CITI-SENSE is harnessing novel technologies to detect contaminated air and share the data in real- time.

    • Innovative research to assist start-ups with their growing pains
      Most start-up enterprises face growing pains in their early years as scarce resources limit their ability to scale up fast enough, forcing them to operate at the periphery of the market. The European Union (EU)-funded project OrgGrowth is currently addressing this issue by finding ways for new ventures to better manage their scarce resources in the current economy, thus helping improve their chances of success.

    • Simulating the body's immune defences
      T-cells are white blood cells that circulate in the body, scanning for cellular abnormalities and infections. Sometimes the detecting process goes awry and the T-cells mistakenly attack the body's own cells, which occur in autoimmune diseases, or they ignore harmful cells like cancer.

Week 47

Friday, 21 November 2014

  • Research Headlines
    • Car collision avoidance sensors inspired by locusts
      Efficiently detecting possible collisions is vital for the locust - an insect that often needs to quickly overcome big obstacles and avoid what might be, otherwise, a 'fatal crash'. The research team involved in the European Union (EU)-funded project NEURAL DEVELOPMENT has studied the insect's nerve circuits. The project results are expected to help develop highly accurate collision sensors in cars, surveillance technology and video games.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

  • Research Headlines
    • Finding new treatments for phantom pain
      The European Union (EU)-funded project PLASTICITYINAMPUTEES has provided new insights into the ability of the brain to rewire its connections following the loss of a hand. The research work is expected to pave the way towards the development of rehabilitation techniques for both residual and intact limbs.

  • Success Stories
    • Researchers document health impact of noise
      Policymakers now have tangible evidence that living, working or studying in a noisy environment is not only annoying... it could also have a serious impact on your health, productivity and learning ability, according to EU-funded researchers. They have produced new guidelines to help policymakers address the problem.

    • A vision of personalising medicine for epilepsy patients
      EpiPGX is a FP7-funded project that brings together clinical researchers, geneticists and computational biologists from leading centres across Europe to link genomics and treatment outcomes for patients suffering from epileptic seizures. The project, led by Prof. Sanjay Sisodiya from the University College London, UK and running over four years, aims to ultimately contribute to a personalised medicine strategy for epilepsy patients.

    • A quick fix for underground carbon storage
      An EU-funded project has demonstrated technology to shorten the time carbon takes to mineralise underground - from thousands of years down to a few. Storing captured CO2 underground is made safer - opening the door to its wider use in preventing global warming.

    • Smarter is better for systems manufacturers
      In the race for new markets, electronics manufacturers have to produce ever smarter and more streamlined devices. An EU-funded project helps companies achieve this more cheaply and with less waste – a boost to their competitiveness.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

  • Regional Dimension of Innovation
    • New publication: Northern Ireland in Europe - Research and Innovation makes major contribution to Commission Task Force
      This report was launched in Brussels on 3 November 2014, marking an important milestone in a relationship which has deepened ever since the decision in 2007 of then Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso to set up a Northern Ireland Task Force within the institution. DG Research and Innovation has been a member of the Task Force throughout the period, and its contribution is regarded as of particular importance by the Northern Ireland authorities. In the foreword, Mr. Barroso noted "the increasing success of the region's research community in developing more projects than ever with partners in the rest of Europe under the Union's Research Framework Programmes".

  • Research Headlines
    • Pioneering research to promote sustainable forestry
      The demand for wood products and services is increasing worldwide due to economic and climate policy driving forces. It is therefore imperative for experts in forestry research to develop a common framework which could facilitate interactions between different areas of expertise and the exchange of scientific knowledge.

  • Success Stories
    • Sanitation gets social
      Teams of social scientists and engineers are studying different areas of Latin America in an EU-funded project to discover how political processes, community engagement and appropriate technologies combine to deliver clean water and sanitation. The aim is to use the research to help deliver clean water and sanitation to local communities currently without adequate access.

    • Imaginative solution to lifelong learning
      In today's rapidly changing economy, workers need to upgrade their skills constantly. Such continuous lifelong learning is essential to ensure Europeans have the complex problem-solving skills needed to remain employable and for companies to remain competitive. Backed by some of Europe's top universities, an EU-funded project has launched a free online course to teach these skills. Registration for the first course, which starts on 8 October 2014, is underway.

    • Tapping into cleaner water
      Freshwater is necessary for life, but climate change is adding pressure on this vital resource. The EU-funded PolarClean project has successfully tested new types of materials to remove stubborn pollutants so that wastewater can be safely reused.

    • From agricultural waste to green energy
      By far the most heated debate surrounding biofuels is the use of food crops to produce fuel, as the practice increases the competition for land and drives up the price of food . With a decade of research behind it, the European Union (EU)-funded project KACELLE has proven that crops such as wheat and maize do not necessarily need to be used in the increasing demand for energy.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

  • Press Centre
    • European Antibiotic Awareness Day 2014 – Statement by the European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, Carlos Moedas
      It is a known fact that growing resistance to antibiotics is one of the biggest challenges to public health today. We need to find new ways to prevent new outbreaks of common infections that have been treatable for decades. The latest EU-wide data on antibiotic resistance in humans, released by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control on the eve of European Antibiotic Awareness Day on 18 November, show that resistance in certain bacteria has nearly doubled in just three years. In the EU alone, drug-resistant infections lead to around 25 000 deaths each year.

  • Research Headlines
    • Cleaner, natural gas engines for ships
      An EU-funded research project has developed a practicable natural-gas fuelling system for current diesel-powered ship engines. The breakthrough is good for the environment and people - while helping the shipping market meet more stringent EU rules on sulphur emissions.

  • Success Stories
    • New research to help manage migration locally
      In most European countries migration is particularly managed at the national level. The European Union (EU)-funded project, MIGRATION POLICY, has challenged the way in which research on migration studies is almost exclusively focused on national models and perspectives. The Marie Curie research fellow has shown that regional and city authorities are taking more responsibility in managing migration, thus helping change the way Europeans relate to their governments.

    • Using satellites to get a closer look at erupting volcanoes
      A European Union (EU)-funded project has developed a new satellite-based system to collect and disseminate information on volcanoes worldwide. Monitoring and studying active volcanoes on the ground can be difficult, dangerous or even impossible, particularly during an eruption. Without these accurate, real-time measurements, scientists cannot fully assess the hazards posed by lava flows and clouds of gases and ash.

    • Expanding insight into Alzheimer's disease
      Chronic neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Huntington's, are all characterised by an inflammatory reaction within the brain. Until now, some of the factors behind this reaction have been unclear; however a European research fellow has identified a molecular system that contributes to the mechanisms regulating the progression of neurodegeneration. This could potentially lead to new therapeutic treatments to effectively combat the condition.

    • Protecting cultural heritage in Europe
      Ancient and historical masterpieces are often exposed to the potential harmful effects of a changing environment or inappropriate restoration and handling. Until recently, the lack of a wider perspective of the heritage conservation activities in Europe, as well as the absence of a universally accepted code as to what constitutes best practice to conserve art and artefacts, have been limiting factors to the development of European research in this field.

Monday, 17 November 2014

  • Events
    • Nanotechnology for Water Treatment - 20-21 January 2015, Barcelona, Spain

      Water treatment and purification is a challenge for the current and upcoming generations. Membrane processes, nanosized materials and the combination from both offer a wide range of possibilities and ways for water treatment by means of filtration and catalytic processes. The nano4water cluster is a focal point for EU research in nano-enabled water treatment. The workshop aims on bringing together activities and results to find synergies and boost development status and ways into application.

  • Success Stories
    • Designing precision gas flows
      A wide range of industrial applications, such as vacuum generators and pressure gauges use gas in tiny amounts. These gas micro-flows behave in a particular manner and need very precise controls of flow.

    • Building new plastics with smart software
      Chemists can help create a wide range of plastics from polymers, which are large molecule strings made of repeated sub-units. When chemists come up with a new idea for a plastic, it can sometimes involve a trial-and-error process of mixing elements in the laboratory. To assist with this, the European Union (EU)-funded NANOPOLY research fellows have developed a new software tool to model the polymer molecules on a nano-scale.

    • Building Europe's leading information source for stem cell research
      Research on stem cells is providing great hope for alleviating a wide range of previously untreatable diseases and injuries. However, in this rapidly evolving field it can be difficult for patients, teachers and the public at large to find reliable, up-to-date information.

    • Connecting scientists and citizens
      Communication between scientists, policymakers and ordinary people is never easy. EU-funded researchers turned this on its head by bringing everyone together around one key issue – sustainable water management. This led to concrete recommendations on water management, as well as a blueprint for increasing interaction on local issues that could be applied to other policy areas.

Week 46

Friday, 14 November 2014

  • Research Headlines
    • New stent to help lung cancer victims breathe easier
      Many lung cancer patients have trouble breathing - and if they can't be cured, the struggle for air can become a relentless ordeal. Pulmonary stents - tubes inserted in the lung - can help. EU-funded researchers are taking this technique another step ahead with a new type of stent designed to improve and potentially extend the lives of people going through the final stages of the disease.

  • Success Stories
    • Climate change: learning from the past to safeguard the future
      How much can we really predict about the impact of climate change on groups of animals, plants, and natural habitats? The EU-funded Ecochange project turned to fossil records to investigate how species respond to even minor changes. Scientists can use this research to design ways to protect biodiversity from climate change.

    • An eye on Earth-shattering events
      The EU-funded DORIS project has developed highly accurate uses for newly available Earth-observation satellite technologies to monitor and warn of potential ground movements, such as landslides, which could save billions in clean-up costs and thousands of lives. With predicted strong market demand, the technologies look set to have a long-term and sustainable impact across Europe.

    • Stem cells use 'first aid kits' to repair damage
      Neural stem cells – master cells that can develop into any type of nerve cell-are able to generate mini 'first aid kits' and transfer them to immune cells. This is the result of a study published today in Molecular Cell, and led by ERC grantee Prof. Stefano Pluchino, based at the University of Cambridge (UK).

    • 0.05mm: a new accuracy standard for industrial robots
      An EU-funded project brought together industry and scientists to develop pioneering ways for industrial robots to be more accurate, significantly reducing the time and cost of machining processes. Software and know-how from the project is already generating new business for Europe's robotic industry.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

  • Success Stories
    • EU and Russia uniting in the name of science
      The European Union (EU) has maintained a very rich scientific and technological relationship with its largest neighbouring country, Russia. In fact, since 2005, both the EU and Russia have committed to creating a 'Common Space on Research, Education and Culture'. The BILAT-RUS and ERA.Net RUS projects are two key initiatives for developing this 'Common Space'. Both projects have strived for durable partnerships and bilateral research programmes between the EU and Russia.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

  • Events
    • EuroNanoForum 2015 Conference - 10-12 June 2015, Riga, Latvia

      The seventh EuroNanoForum is Europe’s largest networking conference on nanotechnologies and materials science, innovations and business. It will be showcasing the strength of integrating nanotechnologies and advanced materials with the other key enabling technologies, within the new approach of Horizon 2020 in its drive for competitiveness. ENF 2015 is organised as a part of the Latvian presidency of the Council of the European Union.

  • Success Stories
    • Enhancing HIV treatment with more precise patient modelling
      HIV is not curable but it is treatable, states Dr Francesca Incardona, CEO of EuResist Network GEIE and research area manager at Informa s.r.l, the SME responsible for coordinating the EuResist project. The thirty-month initiative was devoted to providing better treatment by implementing an intelligent system that uses patients' clinical information together with viral genetic data.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

  • Research Headlines
    • Next-generation flame retardants to reduce health and environmental risks
      Brominated flame-retardants (BFRs) are chemicals containing bromine that are added to materials such as plastics and textiles to make them less flammable. The wide application of flame-retardants, for example in equipment such as smartphones, laptops and other electronic devices, as well as in special plastics, paints and textiles has grown considerably over the past 30 years. Combined with the increasing environmental impact of these compounds, this has raised potential toxicological and ecological concerns.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Week 45

Friday, 07 November 2014

Thursday, 06 November 2014

  • Press Centre
    • €280 million to tackle Ebola under a joint EU-pharmaceutical industry initiative
      The European Commission and the European pharmaceutical industry are launching today a €280 million call for proposals under the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) to boost EU research on Ebola. The funding will cover urgent actions addressing the current epidemic and put in place a long-term strategy to manage any future outbreaks. €140 million will come from Horizon 2020, the EU's framework programme for research and innovation, and €140 million from the pharmaceutical companies that are members of the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA). This call is a substantial contribution to the EU's strategy to fight Ebola and complements the recently announced €24.4 million of funding dedicated to speed up some of the most promising research to develop vaccines and treatments.

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