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Horizon Prizes

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

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

International Day for Biological Diversity: EU Research

The United Nations has proclaimed May 22 The International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB) to increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues.

Biodiversity is the complex web of life on Earth, incorporating humans and our social and economic systems. The number of life-forms on Earth is unknown, but it may be some 20–30 million species, of which only about 1.8 million are known to science. Biodiversity can be studied at the level of the whole planet or confined to a mountain lake. However, whatever the level, the organisms interact in a complex, dynamic manner – both among themselves and with the non-living environment they share. Animals, plants and micro-organisms are a vital resource for humans, forming important elements in many processes on which we depend. .

European research is directed towards assessing and forecasting changes in biodiversity and understanding the dynamics of ecosystems, particularly marine ecosystems. The relationships between the environment, the society and the economy are analysed in order to identify – and mitigate – potentially harmful effects on the environment and on human health and society. Risk assessments based on European research allow us to better manage, conserve and rehabilitate our ecosystems in a sustainable manner for future generations.

Here are two examples of successful, EU-funded biodiversity-related research projects:

Picture of steaming geyser

Enzyme prospecting in the land of fire and ice

An EU-funded project has extracted enzymes found among Iceland's volcanoes that could lead to more efficient and greener industrial processes-from making food to biofuels. A number of these enzymes have already been patented, ushering in a new generation of natural catalysts for chemical processes and helping industry become more competitive.

Photo of the Amazon river

Understanding climate change impact on Amazon deforestation

EU-funded researchers have assessed the impact of climate and land-use change on deforestation in the Amazon and put forward policy recommendations designed to ensure the long term sustainability of this vast ecosystem.

 

For more information: