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RTD info logoMagazine on European Research N° 45 - May 2005   
 The logic of the ‘leap forward’
 Profile of the Seventh Framework Programme
 Eastern outpost of the European Research Area
 The agricultural tradition
 Birth of Europe-backed research
 Charles Perrings, out of Africa
 Campylobacteria under the microscope
 When distant worlds meet
 Coping with life on the outside
 Researchers take centre stage

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European textiles - Saved by research? European textiles - Saved by research?

Europe has always been a key player in textile innovation. Over the past 20 years, however, the sector has been steadily eroded in the face of increasingly able competitors. 2005 was a turning point, marked by the total liberalisation of the textile industry at global level under the Uruguay Round. As a result, Europe is now looking to its strengths and banking on knowledge.


  Janez Potočnik, Commissioner for Science and Research
The logic of the ‘leap forward’
European research is on the eve of an unprecedented shift. In announcing, in 2004, its proposal to double EU funds allocated to research under the Seventh Framework Programme, the European Commission spectacularly thrust to centre stage the key priority of the Lisbon Strategy: to root renewed European growth and competitiveness in a knowledge-based economy. RTD info meets the new Commissioner responsible for science and research, Janez Potocnik, now one of the driving forces behind this ‘leap forward’.
  Proposed breakdown between the principal FP7 programmes (On the basis of a global budget of €68.5 billion for the 2007-2013 period)
European Research Policy
Profile of the Seventh Framework Programme
"Building the European Research Area of knowledge for growth”. This central theme is inspired directly by the stated desire to make the ‘Lisbon Strategy’ a success and to set out the “growth triangle” formed by research, education and innovation policy. The Commission’s proposal to establish the Seventh Framework Programme has been before the Council and European Parliament for examination since the beginning of April 2005. 
  The University of Lefkosia, in Nicosia. "We are too small and have too few industrial outlets to achieve a high level across the board. Our strategy is therefore to develop poles of excellence.”
Eastern outpost of the European Research Area
For Cyprus, a republic with a troubled past, joining the knowledge society is a major challenge. The difficulties inherent in its remote island location were not made any easier by partition, introduced in 1974, which for many years failed to prioritise science and research. Despite this, the island has a centre of excellence of European renown: the Agricultural Research Institute (ARI). Cypriot research is a recent phenomenon – the University of Lefkosia (Nicosia) was only founded in 1992 – but is driven by youthful enthusiasm and ambition with the focus firmly on innovation.        
  Schistocerca gregaria – a current target for researchers at the ARI. Familiarly known as desert locusts, these insects invade arid regions, mainly in Asia and Africa. They can adapt to a range of environments and reproduce at a staggering rate – which spells disaster for the harvest.
Cypriot research
The agricultural tradition
It is a large cricket of the genus Schistocerca gregaria with a purplish body and a pair of enquiring antennae. No great surprise that it does not like being raised in this glass cage while outside lemon trees, vines and vegetables grow in the warm Cypriot sunshine. But the reason it is here is that a few months previously fellow members of this species landed from who knows where to feast on the local culinary delights. To combat this sudden invasion, agronomists at the Agricultural Research Institute (ARI) decided to set up a rearing scheme. 
  Laboratory at the Malta Centre for Restoration (MCR). Use of a video microscope to analyse the rate of corrosion on a sample from the armoury collection at the Armoury Palace, Malta.
Birth of Europe-backed research
With a university traditionally devoted exclusively to teaching, no specific research grants and no research ministry, it would appear that in the past Malta – population 400 000 – did not prioritise science. But all that changed in 2001 when it achieved the status of official EU candidate state. Its European commitment has since given it the opportunity to develop an almost virgin research area. 
  Professor at the University of York (Department of the Environment), Charles Perrings.
Charles Perrings, out of Africa
A professor at the University of York who has worked in New Zealand and the United States, Charles Perrings is an expert on Africa who has been studying sustainable development for decades. To his mind, economics and ecology form a single interdisciplinary field, the global and the local require responses that take into account their double dimension, and global problems require a global analysis. RTD info meets a tenacious and committed scientist. 
  Helicobacter pylori is the new name for Campylobacter pylori, whose pathogenic role in certain forms of gastritis and duodenal ulcers was recently identified.  © A. Labigne/ Institut Pasteur
Health risks
Campylobacteria under the microscope
Campylobacteria are the primary cause of a vast range of food infections worldwide. Yet we know surprisingly little about them and the tools for isolating, cultivating and describing them are inadequate. A consortium of European, South African and American scientists recently undertook to pursue research into this unjustifiably neglected microbial family and to evaluate its potentially infectious impact.
  The Einstein Cross, a gravitational mirage: the points that make up the cross are four images of the same distant quasar, formed by the gravitational action of a closer galaxy.  © HST
When distant worlds meet
Every year since 1991, European astronomers have gathered for a JENAM (Joint European and National Astronomy Meeting) to discuss the latest progress in fields where Europe is at the leading edge of research. RTD info looks at the five topics on the agenda for the next meeting, in Liège (BE) in July 2005. In addition to the sessions for specialist scientists, there will be public sessions designed to attract ‘stargazers’ from all walks of life who are interested in the latest advances in astronomy, especially in the field of space exploration.
  Women’s prison, Metz (France). © Jane Evelyn Atwood
Coping with life on the outside
The door slams shut – and who can say when it will really open again? Just how do women prisoners reintegrate into a society that has often previously rejected them? The partners in the European MIP (Women, Integration after Prison) project tried to find some answers to these questions in six countries – Spain, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, France and Hungary – by considering the people, infrastructures and legislation that may be available to help them. They spoke at length with female prisoners, both before and after their release, and interviewed a range of people working within or close to the prison system, such as prison warders, judges, probation officers, social and voluntary workers. Their detailed, in-depth and remarkably well-coordinated work sheds light on a form of social exclusion that also shows gender differences. 
  Opening a window on science? That has long been a policy of the prestigious Cern institution in Geneva. Pictured is a visit to its Microcosm.  © CERN/Laurent Guiraud
Science and society
Researchers take centre stage
Researchers have long since left their ivory towers. Yet while links between science and society are beginning to be recognised, the actual work of the scientist remains shrouded in mystery and viewed by many talented young people as offering difficult and poorly paid careers for the dedicated few. In order to shed the spotlight on research occupations, the European Union is launching the Researchers in European initiative. RTD info looks at this multi-faceted event that will run from June to September.