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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.
Published: 19 November 2014
How reliable is biometric security? Computers recognize us by our faces, voices and fingerprints, but can we trick them by pretending to be someone else? In this edition of Futuris Denis Loctier finds out just how easily this can be done.
Published: 28 August 2014
Although fossil oils are dwindling, they are still our main energy source and continue to dominate the global chemical industry. However, the European Union (EU)-funded research project ICON helped breed crops to produce high-value plant oils that are expected to break the chemical sector's dependence on petroleum.
Published: 1 July 2014
In a time of climate change, when fuel resources are under pressure and lands face potential erosion risks, humble grass seems an unlikely saviour. The European research project OPTIMA is helping cultivate high-yielding perennial grasses that could address these possible challenges, offering a number of valuable environmental and economic benefits.
Published: 11 June 2014
High-profile food scares, such as the outbreaks of mad cow disease, foot-and-mouth disease and dioxin contamination episodes in recent years, have put a spotlight on a growing concern for food safety: the need to ensure that animal feed an expanding global trade is free from contamination. The European Union (EU)-funded project QSAFFE is working on faster and better ways of checking for contaminated feed.
Published: 27 May 2014
The Kyoto Protocol was one of the first major international treaties that focused on human caused climate change. Signed in 1997 by 192 countries, it came into effect in 2005 with a set of legal requirements for industrialised nations to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. One aspect of the Protocol is the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), which enables developed nations to reach their emissions targets by sponsoring emissions-reducing projects in the CDM countries - namely China, India, Brazil and most of Africa.
Published: 12 May 2014
Urbanisation is a significant and growing worldwide trend which raises increasingly important environmental issues for policymakers.
Published: 21 January 2014
In the UK, Plant Health Officials are approving a newly developed portable DNA testing device for disease diagnosis. They are checking for ash dieback, the spore-borne disease caused by the fungus Chalara fraxinea which, according to the UK Forestry Commission, has infected more than 330 sites in the UK and resulted in the destruction of tens of thousands of young trees. A sample of infected bark is taken from an ash tree and prepared in a manner which can amplify and detect DNA from the organism. The result is available within minutes - rather than the days it would have taken if the sample had been sent for laboratory analysis. Since speed is of critical importance in diagnosing such disease outbreaks, this is a major step forward.
Published: 30 July 2013
The European Union's (EU) approach to waste management is based on three principles: waste prevention, reuse and recycling, and improving final disposal and monitoring. In 2010, the total generation of waste from economic activities and households in the EU amounted to 2.570 million tonnes, which equates to 5.1 tonnes of waste per person.
Published: 22 July 2013
Treating schizophrenia presents huge challenges and those involved see first-hand how this diverse medical condition causes huge suffering and requires complex and costly care, often over a lifetime. In the Netherlands, Prof. Jim van Os is heading up an exciting and ambitious international research project that brings together professionals, patients and their families who depend on each other to unlock new answers and approaches to treatment. There is so much that we don't yet understand about it and current treatments are inadequate, so there is a real motivation to work together and solve more bits of a complicated puzzle.
Published: 18 July 2013