From insect and plant specimens to slides of fossil samples and microscopic life forms, Europe has an unparalleled wealth of natural history resources. Maintained by museums and institutes, collections are now being made accessible both physically and digitally by an EU-funded project that is helping democratise research and preserve these treasure troves of taxonomic data.
Should we back the world's freedom fighters? If we are sympathetic to their cause, we may consider it a moral duty, even if others see them as terrorists. There is certainly nothing new about countries providing support to non-state armed groups (NAGs). But it is not a successful strategy in the long run, according to EU-funded research.
A chance conversation with a marine archaeologist friend led to Charalambos Poullis joining a dive in Cyprus. The experience revealed the difficulties faced by underwater archaeologists, and set in motion a thought process that would lead him to apply for EU research funding and subsequently develop software enabling archaeologists to reproduce underwater artefacts.
The AircraftFire project is helping aircraft manufacturers and regulators better plan for and prevent fires with new aircraft designs that use composite materials. The data and integrated tool for predicting the consequences of an on-board fire are already available to manufacturers and regulators.
Long journey? Electric car? Will you reach your destination before you run out of juice? Or will you have to recharge somewhere along the way? Range anxiety is one of the main bottlenecks slowing the advance of electromobility, but solutions are being found. On-road charging is a particularly promising approach, say EU-funded researchers.
From UN peacekeeping operations to managing crowds at the World Cup, the G-NEXT project has demonstrated how the EU's Earth observation programme can assist in emergency and crisis situations around the world.
One spacecraft, five years or more, and over a billion stars - ESA's Gaia mission set out in 2013 to produce a three-dimensional map of the Milky Way. It will discover many new celestial objects in the process and provide astronomers with clues as to how our galaxy formed. An EU-funded training network involved 17 early stage researchers in this mission.
Coal-based power stations and industrial facilities are largely powered by harmful fossil fuels. If we replaced fossil fuels with solid biofuels, Europe would dramatically reduce its CO2 emissions. The EU-funded SECTOR project has optimised the production of new solid biofuels - so-called torrefied pellets. Standards to characterise the new properties are now being negotiated, and the product is ready for broad use.
New technologies are progressively changing the face of airport and border security. To contribute to this development, the EU-funded SNIFFER project took a page out of nature's book, using biomimicry to make detecting and analysing odours of persons, illegal substances and in particular explosives more efficient.
Waste residues from powerful anti-cancer drugs used in chemotherapy could cause genetic changes even though levels in the environment are considered to be safe, say EU researchers. Environmental monitoring is the first step towards reducing the potential risk.