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Week 47

Monday, 20 November 2017

  • Research Headlines
    • A new standard for citizen participation in policy
      Group of people shows thumbs up sign O.KWe all have a view on how we want society to be. And we all live in a world that is a result of policies adopted. An EU-funded project is making it possible for European citizens to put the future they want on the research agenda.

    • Deciphering dynamic gene expression
      Human immune defence concept on 3d illustrationAn EU-funded project has generated key insights into how gene expression is regulated dynamically in certain cells of the immune system, opening up novel avenues for research to advance understanding of disease progression.

    • Learning from past crises to protect future biodiversity
      Two small girls on a wooden pierThe EU funded PRIDE project is investigating drivers of biotic turnover (the rate at which organisms die) in lakes in the Black Sea / Caspian Sea (Pontocaspian) region to understand the nature and severity of the current biodiversity crisis. Increased understanding will help the project team design conservation strategies to mitigate biodiversity loss.

    • Taming living cells for industrial production
      Bacterial colonies on agar plateEU researchers have gained new insights into how cells protect themselves in response to external stress. With further development, the results could have wide applications in biotechnology and pharmaceuticals - ultimately helping to reduce the use of petroleum-based inputs and boosting Europe's competitiveness.

    • Stellar careers emerging from black holes
      Visualisation of a black hole in deep space pulls in matterAstrophysics is where the stars meet their makers, literally and perhaps metaphorically too, as young researchers in an EU-funded project have boosted their careers delving into the origins, behaviour and evolution of black holes. The project has led to new tools and discoveries about how matter is treated in space and time - keeping Europe at the forefront of space research.

    • The case for a virus-resistant plum tree
      Photo of plums on the treesA virus-resistant plum tree could save growers billions of euros from crop losses, according to EU-funded researchers who are helping the European agricultural industry reinforce defences against disease and the impact of climate change.

    • A new shine on nickel-plating processes
      Builder with a helmet in handAn EU-funded project has developed a new, eco-efficient waste treatment process for nickel plating that cuts industry costs and contributes to the resource conservation objectives of the circular economy. In addition to clear environmental benefits, it also gives a sharper competitive edge to European SMEs.

Week 46

Friday, 17 November 2017

  • Research Headlines
    • Novel material for managing liver disease
      Hands of many persons folded in one big heart symbol around virtual liver EU-funded researchers have developed a carbon with tiny pores that could prevent infection of livers by intestinal bacteria - a common complication in chronic liver disease. The material could improve patients' quality of life and chances of survival, while reducing the use of antibiotics in managing the disease.

    • Security for a mobile generation
      Picture of laptop and cell phone next to it on the tableDoes our increasing reliance on smartphones make data more vulnerable? An EU-funded project's recommendations on cybersecurity aim to inform policymakers on the best approaches to protect personal data and improve trust in mobile applications.

    • Photo-catalysis for greener, faster manufacturing
      Artificial LeafYoung researchers are developing next-generation manufacturing processes for medicines and chemicals in an EU-funded network. Their innovative and green solutions aim to boost industrial competitiveness.

    • Improving railway maintenance for more reliable trains
      Picture of the tamping machineIf railways could ensure maintenance didn't disrupt rail services, trains could be the main arteries of Europe's transportation infrastructure. The EU-funded OPTIRAIL project has developed a new framework to better maintain railways - it could even unify rail networks across Europe, making the continent a more competitive global force.

    • Young scientists hone skills one cloud at a time
      Woman with cloud and sun. Concept on the topic of computer cloud services.A group of young researchers spent the past couple of years with their heads in the clouds... to better understand aerosol cloud interactions and how they can help predict climate change. The project also led to technological advances in remote-sensing instrumentation and picked up the pace for technological transfer from research to industry.

    • Water flea evolution tells a cautionary tale of lake pollution
      Picture of a river full of communal pollutantsEU-funded researchers studied genomic changes in water fleas for signs of evolutionary adaptation linked to human activities, such as phosphorous contamination in lakes. The results shed light on how species respond to environmental changes, and could feed into measures to protect biodiversity and ecosystems.

    • Energy-efficient metal production ready for industry use
      Picture of workers in the factoryA new EU-funded automated approach for producing customised components is set for integration into manufacturing production lines. The process makes the technique of powder metallurgy faster and more energy efficient, boosting industrial competitiveness.

    • Novel contrast agents to enhance medical imaging
      Picture of an woman with shoulder in painEU-funded researchers are working on novel, more effective contrast agents - the substances that make the contrast between, for example, muscle and bone, in MRI scans. This new level of detail will improve diagnostics and help ensure people receive the right treatment.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

  • Bioeconomy
    • Commission prepares to move its bioeconomy efforts up a gear
      Through its 2012 Bioeconomy Strategy, Europe has made important headway towards becoming a more innovative, resource efficient society. The strategy promotes substitution of fossil based products, addresses sustainable supply of bioresources and food security in view of climate change and global population increase. However, it is now time to step up a gear.

  • Research Headlines
    • Wastewater, an underexploited resource
      Photo of the hand and the water flowing the water pumpProcessing urban wastewater is typically limited to cleaning it up for release into the environment. This is a shame, because it contains compounds that could be put to good use - as could the water itself. EU-funded researchers have tested promising innovations to advance resource-efficient processing, recovery of substances, and re-use.

    • A low-impact transporter lightens the load on forest soils
      Special tractor for processing of harvested timber in the forestForests are versatile renewable resources, but load-carrying forestry machines can damage the soil. An EU-funded project has developed a tracked, off-road timber transporter, or forwarder, that exerts less pressure on soil, as well as a device to measure soil disturbance - part of a sustainable solution to protecting Europe's valuable forests.

    • Study offers promise for treating neuro-psychiatric disorder
      Image of a the boy with a visualization of a virtual brainEU-funded scientists have conducted groundbreaking research into brain cells that control memory formation and recollection, offering the promise of novel treatments for a potentially fatal disease that has a particularly devastating impact on the lives of children and young adults.

    • Creating conditions to help social enterprises flourish
      Young people standing in a circle seen from the bottomBy delivering educational tools and establishing a Europe-wide network of institutions, academics and practitioners, EU-funded researchers are strengthening the role that social enterprises play in addressing social challenges, and helping to foster integration. The project also wants to encourage a new generation of social entrepreneurs to flourish.

    • New sensors paint real-time picture of ocean health
      Picture of big waveEU-funded researchers have developed new marine sensors to meet the growing need for real-time data on the state of our oceans. Such timely and accurate information will help scientists and policymakers react quickly to ecological threats and ensure that environmental policies are properly implemented.

    • Discussing food security over a big picnic
      Picture big hamburger inside the lifebuoyWith a growing population, giving everyone access to enough safe and nutritious food is a challenge. An EU-funded project brings together the public, scientists, policymakers and industry to discuss ways of tackling it.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

  • Research Headlines
    • Nature has the solutions, but still needs help
      Image of the virtual Earth above the handAn EU-funded project is calling for a step-change in how nature-based solutions like green roofs and city lagoons are used for sustainable urbanisation and in tackling climate change. But first, the project's researchers are addressing a yawning knowledge gap on current best practices and impacts.

    • New microscope technologies light up vital medical research
      Image of the virtual runnersNew photonic microscopes, systems and techniques developed within the EU-backed PHOQUS project are shining a light on vital medical research bringing life sciences and physics closer together. Findings will have direct applications in medicine, especially for better disease diagnosis.

    • Better data flows to reduce water use
      Picture of a water pumpIn an effort to reduce agricultural pressure on water resources - the sector accounts for up to 80 % of water use in some parts of the EU, researchers are on a mission to improve on-farm irrigation management. More precise land-surface data will make soil-water content estimates more accurate and reduce water use.

    • Next-gen digital animation tools inspired by Chinese puppetry
      Image of a woman wearing a VR gogglesEU-funded researchers have developed novel design tools, data management systems, apps and best practices for the next generation of computer animation techniques for use in gaming, blockbuster films, training, education and more – boosting Europe’s competitiveness in the sector.

    • Growing the bioeconomy together
      Picture of EarthInnovative bio-based alternatives already exist for many products derived from fossil fuels, and research teams worldwide are busily developing new solutions. An EU-funded project is encouraging Europeans to explore the prospect of a sustainable economy firmly rooted in renewables and fostering dialogue on its governance.

    • A breath of fresh air for concentrated solar power
      Solar panelsBy directing sunlight from a large surface towards a much smaller one, concentrated solar power (CSP) plants can produce temperatures of more than 1000°C. Better heat transfer fluids are needed to capture this bounty. EU-funded researchers have developed a solution involving ceramic particles suspended in air.

    • An efficient test for harmful chemicals in consumer products
      Picture of the hand holding volumetric flask with virtual land insideBrominated organic chemicals, man-made chemical compounds added to many consumer products to make them less flammable, have raised numerous health and environmental concerns in recent years. An EU-funded project is evaluating a commercially ready tool to test for the presence of these harmful substances and prevent them from affecting ecosystems and human health.

    • Virtual models tackle EU healthcare challenges
      Picture of a human skeleton on a tabletHealthcare costs across Europe are increasing, with an ageing population and the burden of treating chronic diseases consuming valuable resources. EU-funded researchers have used Model-Based Therapeutics (MBT) - a process whereby computer models of the human body, patient data and automation are combined - to create new treatments for common medical problems that improve patient well-being and save money.

    • The Higgs boson, and beyond
      Visualization of energy streamsWith the discovery of the Higgs particle, our understanding of the building blocks of everything we see around us was finally confirmed. But this type of matter is only part of what appears to exist in the universe, and the Higgs boson offers a window to this new world. EU-funded research is helping to pave the way for new breakthroughs.

    • New thinking to drive regional economic development
      What are the best ways to revive the economic fortunes of Europe's poorer regions and urban areas? An EU-funded project has looked to America to see how a focus local innovation policies can boost regional and urban development. The recommendations will feed into policymaking for jobs and growth.

  • Success Stories
    • Fish in a new climate
      Photo of a fishWill oysters be able to survive climate change and the expected rise of water temperatures in seas and oceans across the globe? Our Futuris programme brings you the answers.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

  • Research Headlines
    • On course to reduce shipping emissions
      Image of the road sign with writen CO2EU-funded researchers have designed an online planner to help shipping operators reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. The planner provides an optimum speed that takes account of likely weather and sea conditions as well as possible delays at ports.

    • Saving lives with a new liver dialysis device
      Image of hands holding virtual liverNew technology could soon revolutionise the treatment of liver failure: an innovative dialysis device is currently being trialled. It aims to greatly improve the outlook for patients, helping them to recover or supporting them while they wait for a transplant, say the EU-funded researchers taking this innovation forward.

    • More inclusive physical education to better tackle obesity
      Photo of running coach and his trainee on the treadmillObesity is on the rise in Europe and with that worrying signs of poor health, stigmatisation and social exclusion, especially among the young. International research is now under way to help schools tackle this scourge through physical education classes that better communicate the benefits of being active to all students, regardless of their gender, sexuality, ethnicity, race and social class.

    • Using big data to tackle big issues
      An image of a man standing in front of a big wave of dataToday's world is awash with data. But this information is not available as a coherent stream, and the sheer volume isn’t always easy to process for innovative uses. An EU-funded project has set out to address these issues and facilitate the exploitation of big data to tackle key societal challenges.

    • Europe's new neural engineers
      Photo of discussing peopleWith EU support, academic and industrial partners across Europe came together to train early-career researchers in the emerging field of neural engineering. The skills learned promise to advance fields as diverse as cognitive computing and prosthetic limb control.

    • Better water governance in Malta
      Picture of a hand watering a plantAn EU-funded research-capacity building project in Malta is optimising the use of water for agriculture. Experts from across Europe are sharing innovative approaches to water management with scientists and farmers to help conserve this scarce resource.

    • Environmental modelling provides solutions for greener cities
      An image of a man creating a virtual image of the earthUrban areas and their surrounding ecosystems are under increasing strain globally as growing populations, accelerating economic development and increasing agricultural production impact land use, transport networks and air and water quality. An EU-funded project is addressed the challenge of urban sustainability with a novel integrated modelling approach to guide decision-makers towards making cities cleaner, greener and more liveable.

    • From chickenpox to shingles: new insights
      Picture of sick girlThe virus that causes chickenpox can also lead to more serious and painful conditions in older people. An EU-funded researcher is discovering how the virus interacts with the immune system and, possibly, how it might be controlled.

    • Targeted treatment for colorectal cancer
      Woman during the medical examinationEU-funded researchers have developed an efficient colorectal cancer treatment that can prevent relapses in patients post-surgery. It involves applying drugs that kill cancer cells directly to the tumour site, eliminating the need for unpleasant, ongoing injections that can cause side effects.

Monday, 13 November 2017

  • Research Headlines
    • Fruitful insights into the genetics of plant reproduction
      Photo of sacks full of spicesAn international network of researchers established within an EU-funded has gained new insights into the genetics of crop reproduction. The project's results are feeding into global efforts to improve yields, reduce the impact of intensive farming on the environment, and strengthen food security for millions of people.

    • Modelling techniques boost climate knowledge
      EU-funded researchers are transferring modelling and analysis techniques used in other disciplines to climate science in a bid to improve predictions of climate events like El Niño. The research feeds into efforts to better understand complex weather patterns and their impact on the environment, economic activities and society.

    • Political ecology: promoting better environmental policy
      Photo of two children planting a treeEnhanced knowledge and understanding of political ecology should help EU governments achieve better, forward-looking and more sustainable management of their environment. An EU-funded network is training the next generation of researchers in this emerging field of social science.

    • MEET the next generation of mitochondrial researchers
      Photo of female scientist looking through a microscopeAn EU-funded project has trained a new generation of researchers in mitochondrial disease - a range of rare disorders emerging as a new field of medical interest. The research, which included the discovery of novel genes associated with the disease, is feeding into the search for better diagnosis and treatment for the disorder.

    • Ordinary Muslims in European daily life
      Picture of two women sitting on the couch one of them is a MuslimHeadscarves, mosques and halal shops - many EU citizens are Muslims, but visible signs of their faith are often viewed with distrust. What some Europeans see as a right to express their identity, others regard as a threat to societal core values. Insights from ERC-funded research into emblematic controversies may help to find a way forward.

    • Genetics - a smart weapon to battle invasive pests
      Photo of the professional gardener spraying pesticides.EU-funded researchers are tackling crop infestations with a targeted approach to biological pest control. They have used genetic analysis to identify the most effective natural enemies of aphids, mealybugs and other invasive insects. The results are feeding into better pest control approaches to limit crop damage - reducing losses to farmers and increasing food security.

    • Geoscience tools help us better manage Earth's resources
      Visualization of the globe holded by man with the butterfly sitting on it Soil, water and metals are being exploited by agricultural practices, mining and human consumption faster than ever before. To better manage our use of these precious resources, we need to understand how they are made and destroyed at molecular level. On a mission to join the dots and help us use the Earth's resources more sustainably, the EU-funded IsoNose project is using isotopic techniques to measure geochemical processes.

    • A personalised approach to chronic knee problems
      Photo of an elderly man with a grimace of pain on his faceKnee osteoarthritis is a chronic musculoskeletal disorder that affects over eight million people in the EU. The EU-funded KNEEMO project is developing a unique personalised approach to treatment and training a new generation of biomechanical specialists.

    • Harnessing high-performance computing to manage financial risk
      A photo of a person holding a piggy bankSince the global financial crisis a decade ago, banks, asset managers, insurers and regulators have been seeking better ways to manage financial risk. The solution may lie in high-performance computing, say EU-funded researchers who have developed novel financial models and algorithms to improve their financial risk management.

Week 45

Friday, 10 November 2017

  • Research Headlines
    • Harnessing the unique properties of soft matter
      Image of the waterLiquid-crystalline fluids are used in many modern optoelectronic devices, from medical tools to smart phone and computer screens - probably including the display you are reading this on. A related soft matter technology currently being explored by EU-funded researchers could have a broad range of novel industrial and commercial applications.

    • Dairy products - without the waste
      Picture of milk and white cheasse on the tableDairy foods are a healthy part of many people's diets. Now milk powder and mozzarella-type cheese could become healthier for the environment as well. EU-funded researchers are applying new techniques to production lines to save energy and water, while finding uses for processing waste. Results to date include a new pasteurisation technique and microwave heating process.

    • Reducing our reliance on critical raw materials
      People with their smartphonesTechnologies such as our beloved smartphones have taken the world by storm, but some of the materials needed to make them are in short supply. This is also true for other crucial applications - industrial catalysts, for instance. Two projects jointly funded by the EU and Japan have looked into possible substitutes for various critical metals.

    • Advancing the treatment of melanoma
      Photo of a female doctor examining a young girlThere is still a lot to learn about the genetic changes that occur as melanoma tumours form - and about the body's response to this illness. Greater understanding could help to predict how individual tumours are likely to respond to various combinations of therapies. An EU-funded network is training young researchers who are exploring this issue.

    • Driving competitiveness through high-tech smart vehicles
      Image of the virtual car floating over the tabletThe EU-funded project ITEAM is developing next-generation technology for intelligent vehicles. The aim is to drive down greenhouse gas emissions while making vehicles easier and safer to operate - and boost the competitiveness of European manufacturers.

    • Illuminating research on light and matter interactions
      Image of chalcogenide glass in a heandUnderstanding the interaction between matter and light could lead to countless scientific and technological applications. The EU-funded MEDEA project is training researchers in photonics on how to put new discoveries to use in industry.

    • Wireless chip-to-chip communication: current and future
      Image showing a multitude of Wi-Fi access points on the background of the cityThe NEMF21 project is working on a new approach to microchip design that would enable wireless chip-to-chip communication. Moving away from wired connections will open the way for more powerful electronic devices that will shape the electronic consumer market of the 21st century.

Thursday, 09 November 2017

  • Research Headlines
    • Alight with possibilities
      Girl with a painted face in the uv lightA consortium of academic and industry partners is developing the skills and tools needed for the development of the next generation of OLED lighting and displays using alternative organic fluorescent compounds. Promising early results have been reported by several EXCILIGHT recruits.

    • Making strides in the development of 'smart' clothing
      Picture of the woman with covered eyesClothing embedded with electronic sensors and microprocessors was once the stuff of science fiction. Now an EU-funded project is looking at ways of improving manufacturing techniques required by so-called e-textiles. The results could lead to a new generation of interactive, or 'smart', clothing and footwear that can monitor health, activity and location.

    • Knocking heads together for better helmet design
      Photo of a group of cyclistsHead injury is the leading cause of death for activities such as cycling and motor sports. The EU-funded HEADS project is aiming to reduce fatal head injuries by developing new criteria, testing methods and product certification for helmets.

    • A creative space for fab innovations
      Image of the Mars - red planetEuropean universities are being encouraged through an EU-funded initiative to set up platforms to boost innovation and co-creation around the use of geo-data and other space-based applications. Their uses range from satellite navigation, geo-mapping and renewable energy to agriculture planning and other areas.

    • Insights into youth unemployment
      Picture of young woman with laptop on her kneesDespite signs that Europe's economic troubles are easing, unemployment and insecurities in the labour market remain an issue for young people. Involving them more strongly in employment policymaking and implementation is just one of the insights to come out of ongoing EU-funded research.

    • Developing a blood test to diagnose curable hypertension
      Picture of the nurse with blod samplesMany people suffering from curable secondary hypertension - high blood pressure that is the result of a condition - are incorrectly diagnosed, so they don't receive the treatment they need. An EU-funded project's research aims to lead to a blood test that aids diagnosis and improves treatment.

    • Giving sustainable construction a strong platform
      Imafe of separate waste collection on the grassA new software platform by an EU-funded project will help Europe's construction sector to develop new sustainable and cost-effective supply chains that reduce waste, make use of high quality recycled products and create new market opportunities.

    • Truck platoons - a way to cut costs and emissions
      Picture of trucks at the openair parkingIt could make sense for trucks travelling in the same direction to just hand over the controls to one of the drivers. For one thing, they would use less fuel, say EU-funded researchers who have developed a 'platooning' system. Their technology creates an electronic link between the vehicles.

    • Ensuring Europe's nuclear fuel supply
      Image of nuclear power plant seen through the bulbEnergy security is getting a boost from EU-funded research on an alternative, European supply of the fuel assemblies used in Russian-made nuclear reactors.

    • EU, China: Fibre crops for a bio-based future
      Picture of the flour hemp in bowl with spoons on the tableFlax, hemp, kenaf... Fibre crops are used to make objects as varied as clothes, particle board and cosmetics. Research collaboration between Europe and China could help to make them even more attractive as a source of bio-based materials for industrial products. An EU-funded project has mapped out a path.

Wednesday, 08 November 2017

  • Research Headlines
    • Advancing women's health through scientific mobility
      A photo of a man with sun painted with sunscreen on his bodyA Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellowship grant has enabled an ambitious young French researcher to make important advances in identifying a possible genetic association between endometriosis (when tissue that normally grows inside the uterus grows outside) and a higher risk of developing melanoma, a skin cancer.

    • Fast signal and data processing from deep space to medicine
      Black hole over star field in outer spaceFrom wireless medical imaging devices to a camera for a telescope, an EU-funded cross-disciplinary network of physicists and engineers has advanced pioneering signal and data processing solutions while training the next generation of researchers in frontier areas of fundamental and applied science.

    • Working across borders for better disaster management
      Picture of two medical rescuersWhen disaster strikes, seamless coordination among emergency services is essential. But how can services work together and effectively share potentially life-saving information across borders? Four EU-funded projects have developed techniques to enable emergency workers to work better together and coordinate their responses.

Tuesday, 07 November 2017

  • Success Stories
    • The taming of the bacteria
      Microphotography of immunocytostained bacterial cells EU-funded researchers have developed two cutting-edge software platforms that European crisis responders can now use to improve coordination, communication and preparedness. The platforms could help prevent catastrophes escalating, reduce economic losses and save lives.

Monday, 06 November 2017

  • Research Headlines
    • Helping airframe manufacturers reach new heights
      Photo of a wing of a plane with the engineNew automated assembly line techniques developed via an EU-funded project could lead to highly efficient production methods for composite airframes for next generation aircraft. The project partners behind these technologies are now looking to commercialise their innovations, boosting the industry's competitiveness.

Week 44

Friday, 03 November 2017

  • Research Headlines
    • New tools to boost solar energy sector efficiency
      Picture of photovoltaic panelsEuropean researchers have developed models and tools to boost the performance, reliability and lifetime of commercial photovoltaic (PV) systems. Their results, which are already being used by energy operators, were validated using data analysed from diverse installations across Europe.

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

  • Research Headlines
    • Using health records to help clinical research
      Picture of two doctors with medical fileNew treatments must be tested in clinical trials to ensure they are safe and effective. The EU and industry-funded EHR4CR project has enabled scientists to find suitable patients by searching millions of medical records while keeping personal data secure.


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