Nanotechnology looks certain to be a major source of progress in the future, benefiting society with its advances and boosting Europe’s economy by opening up new commercial possibilities. However, to achieve these gains, nanotechnology researchers need the best tools.
Two linked European projects, FIBLYS and UnivSEM, have risen to the challenge - creating a unique new machine described by one of its developers as a nanotech ‘Swiss Army knife’.
Though we generally accept the fact that chemicals are a fundamental aspect of life today, we still do not understand their long-term effects on human health. An emerging scientific field, called human biomonitoring, measures the concentration of potentially harmful substances in the body.
The EU-funded project COPHES has elaborated a methodology for harnessing this technology throughout Europe. With the twin project DEMOCOPHES it has mapped the presence of certain substances across the EU.
Managing marine research and creating effective synergies between science, policy and industry is a challenge. Yet sustainable marine governance depends on those three sectors forming strategic partnerships.
The EU-funded project MarineTT aims to boost the impact of marine research by assembling marine projects and their outcomes in a knowledge gate and improving information transfer between the three sectors.
Significant progress has been made in the fight against cancer and HIV, two diseases that affect millions of Europeans every year.
The EU-funded APO-SYS project investigated how the genetically programmed process of cell death can be modulated to improve the treatment efficiency of these disorders and, hence, potentially save the lives of millions of patients.
Sea waves can produce very high forces but they also tend to have very low vertical velocities. Exploiting wave energy from these low velocities often requires large generators which are too bulky and expensive for efficient use.
However, a European consortium has developed a prototype that "snaps" energy out of the rise and fall of the swell, allowing for the efficient extraction of energy. With a generator that is relatively small, light and cheap, the prototype is designed to resist corrosion while deployed in water depths of up to 60m.
Professor Aharon Gedanken says he dreams of a day when hospitals are infection-free. "We are getting closer to the dream," he says of his EU-funded project, which demonstrated how textiles treated with nanoparticles can kill deadly bacteria.
Plastic films are used for packaging a wide range of products, offering protection against humidity and potential contaminants. Over time, however, these films let in air, diminishing the properties of the packed products. And while multilayer films combining several plastics are often used to improve protection, most of this packaging cannot be recycled.
The researchers behind the EU-funded WHEYLAYER project found a cheese-based biodegradable alternative to conventional multilayer films.
Bluefin tuna is so highly prized that it is being driven to extinction from the high seas due to intensive and often illegal fishing. A European research project has found a way of breeding tuna in captivity, potentially saving the coveted fish.