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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
• 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:

Photo of a Researcher with a petri dish

Deep Cure

Over 99% of the microscopic inhabitants of the world's seas have still not been scientifically studied, even though many of them might be useful to treat cancer and other human diseases. In fact, there are so many unexplored species that it is hard to even estimate how much we still do not know about them.

forest

Unlocking the chemical 'treasure trove' hidden in our forests

Forest-based industries have long been a significant part of the European economy, converting wood into pulp, paper, cardboard, energy and a range of other wood-derived products. However, the side-streams of these industries contain a potential treasure-trove of valuable materials which have not been fully exploited so far. These materials include precious compounds known to have anti-cancer properties, which have in effect been discarded as waste.

 

For more information: