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Special feature - Blue sky research: a funding lifeline; Interview with Professor Tommaso Calarco of AQUTE
No 1 April 2011 ISSN 1831-9947 RESULTS MAGAZINE European Commission © areashot, Scorpp, 3drenderings, higyou, Shutterstock © ©ar ©ar ©ar © areash eash eash eash easht ot ot ot ot, ,Scor Scor Scor Scor Scorpp pp pp pp, pp, pp pp3dre 3dre 3dre 3dre 3drender nder nder nder nderiings ings ings ings g g ghi hi hi hi , hi , ,gyou gyou gyou gyou gy gy gySh Sh Sh Sh , Sh , ,tt utte utte utte uttet rsto rsto rsto rstock ck ck ck ck Biology and medicine 5 Energy and transport 14 Environment and society 20 IT and telecommunications 30 Industrial technologies 40 Events 46 Special feature Blue sky research: a funding lifeline Interview with Professor Tommaso Calarco of AQUTE Other highlights The promise of metabolic engineering, page 5 Flight of fancy, page 14 L aying the foundations for synthetic biology in Europe, page 20 Virtual business enters the real world, page 30 Big steps in the nano-world revolutionise new products, page 40 INT-09-001_ResearchEU_N1_FINAL.indd 1 1/04/11 14:53 ‘Specials’ icon: ©iStockphoto.com/Tom Nulens Want more information on the contents of this issue? For online versions or information about the contributors in this issue of research*eu results magazine: - Technology Marketplace: http://cordis.europa.eu/marketplace - Research Information Centre: http://ec.europa.eu/research/infocentre - Network of Valencian Universities for the promotion of Research, Development and Innovation: http://www.ruvid.org Thank you to Prof. Tommaso Calarco of AQUTE for his contribution to the ‘special’ dossier in this issue The novelty of wonder Curiosity has long been the origin of some of humanity’s most crowning achievements. Driven by wonder and imagination, scientists have often initiated the first step towards a spellbinding discovery. Centuries ago, mathematicians working by candle light laid the foundation for modern computing. And few could ever have imagined how far their research has changed the world today. Blue sky research builds upon innovation and the pursuit of knowledge. Its final outcome can never really be known in advance. There is only one real objective — to discover. In Europe, the tradition of blue sky research is most apparent in the pursuit of the elusive Higgs boson particle at the Large Hadron Collider in CERN. That pursuit alone has already netted some extraordinary and unexpected results. Europe is financing a growing number of blue sky related research projects. Last year, as part of its commitment towards science, the European Commission announced its biggest-ever investment in research and innovation. The extra funding will advance scientific boundaries and help solve societal challenges such as climate change, energy and food security, health and an ageing population. Therefore, we decided to highlight some of these projects in this issue of research*eu results magazine. Our theme is ‘Blue sky research: a funding life line’. We talk in depth with Tommaso Calarco, coordinator for the EU-funded ‘Atomic quantum technologies’ (AQUTE) project. AQUTE is working to develop quantum technologies based on atomic, molecular and optical systems, including quantum processing chips which could be integrated into the first functional quantum computers. Also in this issue, the biology and medicine section we explore a relatively new discipline of systems biology known as metabolic engineering. The energy and transport section leads with an article on an EU-funded project that is looking ten years into the future of flight design. They hope to design quieter, cleaner and more efficient passenger jets. The top story in the environment and society section looks at using new technologies to tackle pollution with microbes. In our IT and telecommunications section, we see how virtual organisations are able to coordinate the business acumen of distant and distinct SMEs who work together on a project or product. The industrial technology section leads with a story on a project that is coordinating efforts for a united research community in Europe necessary to develop the 45 nm, 32 nm and smaller CMOS technologies The issue then ends with a list of exciting events and upcoming conferences in the field of research and technology. We would also like to inform our readers that the research*eu results supplement has been renamed to research*eu results magazine to better reflect its role. We look forward to receiving your feedback on this issue and on the research*eu publications in general. Send questions or suggestions to: research-eu-results-magazine@ publications.europa.eu The editorial team t at as s. research*eu results magazine — No 1 — April 20112 EDITORIAL RESULTS MAGAZINE Community Research and Development Information Service http://cordis.europa.eu Published by CORDIS Unit Publications Offi ce of the European Union 2, rue Mercier 2985 Luxembourg LUXEMBOURG E-mail: research-eu-results-magazine@ publications.europa.eu Editorial coordination Melinda Kurzné Opóczky All issues of the research*eu results magazine are available online at: http://cordis.europa.eu/news/research-eu Th e research*eu results magazine is published by the Publications Offi ce of the European Union, as part of the EU-funded research programmes. Content is prepared using several sources, including the Technology Marketplace on CORDIS, and Research Information Centre, as well as original material collected specifi cally for this publication. Th e technologies presented in this magazine may be covered by intellectual property rights. Subscriptions Please use the form provided on the back cover or subscribe online at: http://ec.europa.eu/research/research-eu/ subscribe_en Orders for back issues or additional copies Please use the online subscription form at the site indicated above. Submitting project results to CORDIS Th e European Commission is interested in receiving information on research results and the projects which have produced them. For more information, please visit: http://cordis. europa.eu/results/submitting_en.html © European Union, 2011 Reproduction permitted, provided the source is acknowledged. Neither the Publications Office nor any person acting on its behalf is responsible for the use that may be made of the information contained in this publication or for any errors that may remain in the texts, despite the care taken in preparing them. For reproduction or use of photos and any other artistic material, permission must be sought directly from the copyright holder. Excluded from this constraint are the photos and artistic material owned by the European Union. INT-09-001_ResearchEU_N1_FINAL.indd 2 1/04/11 14:54 BIOLOGY AND MEDICINE ENERGY AND TRANSPORT ENVIRONMENT AND SOCIETY The promise of metabolic engineering 5 Hunting a mysterious mood manipulator 6 Study finds genes not environment behind Parkinson's 7 Diabetes, new insights into insulin resistance 8 Finding the elusive cure for Leishmaniasis 8 Study suggests liver plays key role in fertility 9 Study finds link between blood-clotting protein and cancer 10 Worming our way through cancer 11 Fresh technology for new cell creation 11 Could severe bacterial diseases become a thing of the past? 12 Get ready for smarter food packaging 12 Developing new food additives from bacteria 13 Flight of fancy 14 Aero R&D gets EU-Africa uplift 14 Aircraft technology for safer skies 15 Beating ‘complexity’ with integrated systems design 15 Aerospace: the best of east and west 16 Vehicle and vessel design makeover 17 Converting glycerine into biogas and fertilizer 17 Harnessing wave energy 18 Looking at energy use habits 18 Nanostructures build solar cells 19 Laying the foundations for synthetic biology in Europe 20 EU research protects vulnerable communities from erupting volcanoes 21 Preparing Europe for a drier future 22 Reviewing recommendations and roadmap for climate change 23 Biodiversa — collaborating for conservation 24 An EU research programme that is made to measure 25 Ageing at the forefront of European research 26 Towards better suicide prevention in the EU 27 How to combat new threats to old buildings 28 New tools for old building restorers 28 Ensuring chemical safety 29 research*eu results magazine — No 1 — April 2011 3 TABLE OF CONTENTS INT-09-001_ResearchEU_N1_FINAL.indd 3 1/04/11 14:54 INDUSTRIAL TECHNOLOGIES EVENTS IT AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS Virtual business enters the real world 30 Interview : Curiosity-driven research 32 S uper knowledge systems to benefit smaller enterprises 34 The search for super-fast communications 35 Next generation broadband for anyone, anywhere 35 Tiny devices may help reinvent wireless technology 36 A virtual culture built on trust 37 Learning to collaborate…virtually 38 Coping when disaster strikes 38 Emerging technologies — do they pose a security risk? 39 Big steps in the nano-world revolutionise new products 40 New production techniques for single enantiomers 41 Driving the auto industry in Romania 41 Building smaller biosensors with lasers 42 Optical lasers light up the electronics world 42 Lightwight plastics with impact properties 43 The sound of plastic 44 Knock on wood 44 EU researchers to develop low-cost hydro turbines 45 Workshop on document retrieval 46 Workshop on computational colour imaging Science and technology of grapheme conference Second symposium on business informatics in central and eastern Europe Scientix European conference 47 Workshop on pervasive wireless healthcare Fourth international workshop on game theory in communication networks Frequent acronyms ERA European research area FP5/6/7 F ifth/Sixth/Seventh Framework Programme of the European Community for research, technological development and demonstration activities ICT information and communication technologies IST information society technologies R & D research and development SMEs small and medium-sized enterprises research*eu results magazine — No 1 — April 20114 INT-09-001_ResearchEU_N1_FINAL.indd 4 1/04/11 14:54 The promise of metabolic engineering A relatively new discipline in biology is enabling researchers to fully understand — and manipulate — microorganisms in food and medicine. The turn of the century has brought with it important advances in cell biology. The emergence of newer, high- tech disciplines in life sciences or bioscience generally fall under the name of systems biology. One branch of systems biology is known as metabolic engineering — the practice of optimising regulatory and genetic processes of cells to increase production of specific substances. Metabolic engineering also focuses on devel- oping new cell factories or improving existing ones. Cell factories represent equipment designed for large-scale cell culture and production of biomaterials such as antibodies and vaccines. Metabolic engineering is considered an enabling science, i.e. it is not gen- etic engineering in itself but exploits advanced analytical tools and math- ematical models to identify targets for genetic engin- eering. Much of metabolic engineering focuses on computer models to opti- mise cell factories. In this vein, the EU-funded ‘Systems biology as a driver for industrial biotechnology’ (Sysinbio) project is coordi- nating European activities in the field of model-driven metabolic engineering. It is also investigating other tech- nologies required for state-of- the-art metabolic engineering. These include metabolomics (chemical fingerprints that spe- cific cellular processes leave behind) and fluxomics (a math- ematical method for analysing metabolism). The main aim for Sysinbio is to act as a driver for industrial biotechnology. An important achievement of the Sysinbio project is estab- lishing a database containing metabolic models for dif- ferent important microorganisms for industrial purposes. This could have an impact on several industries and their products, such as beer, cheese, wine and pharmaceuticals, among other products related to biotechnology. The data- base also contains different simulation tools required to identify metabolic engineering targets, as well as to ana- lyse emerging models and their data. Summaries of methods for these disciplines have already been drafted, and recommendations for employing these techniques are being elaborated. Sysinbio has also been coordinating education and training activities in the field of metabolic engineering in Europe. This has encouraged students to participate in key confer- ences and courses related to systems biology. Funded under the FP7 programme Cooperation under the theme ‘Knowledge based bio-economy.’ http://cordis.europa.eu/marketplace > search > offers > 5982 ‘Sysinbio has improved on techniques required for metabolic engineering such as metabolomics, fluxomics and identification of mutations in evolved strains‘. research*eu results magazine — No 1 — April 2011 5 BIOLOGY AND MEDICINE BIOLOGY AND MEDICINE © Collpicto, Shutterstock - - . s e- ve h- ng © Collpicto, Shutterstock INT-09-001_ResearchEU_N1_FINAL.indd 5 1/04/11 14:54 Bipolar disorder, major depressive dis- order and postpartum psychosis are mysterious, widespread and totally devastating conditions suffered by mil- lions of people across the globe. One of the most crippling aspects of these conditions is that the victims often feel guilty that they are sick, and cannot understand why it should affect them when it does not affect other people. New research offers relief, at least from guilt. Hopefully it will offer a treatment as well. Scientists discovered that these major mood disorders (MMD) and many oth- ers are to some degree linked to the sus- ceptibility of the patient to inflamma- tion, the first line of immune response. ‘Proneness to inflammation in MMD patients is based on abnormally acti- vated immune cells, including the immune cells in the brain, the micro- glia. This alters the architecture of certain brain areas, such as the limbic system,’ says Dr Hemmo Drexhage, co- ordinator of the Moodinflame (1) pro- ject and professor of medical immunol- ogy at the Erasmus University Medical Centre in Rotterdam. ‘The limbic system influences stress biology reactions, how people react to real or perceived stress with an alteration in their mood and behav- iour. Moreover, the abnormally acti- vated brain immune cells alter the metabolism of trypto- phan, an important pre- cursor for serotonin, a neurotransmitter,’ he explains. ‘In this way, the mild chronic inflammation of the limbic system is linked to a defec- tive stress respon- siveness and a short- age of serotonin in certain brain areas in patients with a major mood dis- order. In our view, MMDs are thus largely caused by a sort of mild chronic inflammation of cer- tain brain areas important for mood regulation, such as the limbic system,’ notes Dr Drexhage. The project is halfway through a research programme that studies the ‘early diagnosis, treatment and preven- tion of mood disorders and is targeting the inflammatory response system.’ It started out with three primary object- ives. Firstly, the research team is taking blood tests and brain scans to deter- mine the proneness to inflammation in patients and its consequences for brain function. Secondly, the project stud- ies useful rodent models. The rodent models are characterised by abnormally activated immune cells, abnormal tryp- tophan breakdown and depressive-like behaviour. Production of serotonin, the happiness hormone, requires tryp- tophan, a protein. Characterisation of animal models will allow the research- ers to advance study of the mech- anisms and consequences of low-grade brain inflammations. Finally, as their understanding of the role of inflam- mation improves, they want to look at the therapeutic potential of using anti- inflammatory medicines as a treatment for mood disorders. Huge effort The project is huge. The consor- tium consists of 18 institutions from 10 countries pursuing 5 strategic approaches across 11 work packages. Moodinflame has an enormous budget of EUR 13.73 million, EUR 10.24 mil- lion provided by the European Com- mission. Moodinflame has already racked up a considerable number of achievements. It has set up logistics to collect and test the blood of patients, which number 300 so far, and it has a high-throughput system in place to establish the inflammatory state of immune cells. This was a good result. Early Moodin- flame data shows that ‘inflammation fingerprints’ are reliable indicators for inflammation and this is important for the development of reliable tests. Their research has also demonstrated that certain hormones, neurotransmitters, bacterial products and drugs can create such inflammatory fingerprints. High performance liquid chromatog- raphy (HPLC) systems were created to track tryptophan, another important factor in inflammation-related mood disorders. HPLC separates biochemi- cal compounds and then the chroma, or colour, identifies the material. It is a reliable, but complex test. Currently the team is developing a simpler, faster method. The consortium has identified a marker for use with a positron emission tomog- raphy (PET) scan to identify inflamed regions of the brain. The team has also developed two further platforms that can detect the presence of particular intracellular proteins associated with inflammation. A particularly interesting result was the discovery of abnormal expression of specific steroid resistant genes, known as a ß-glucocorticoid receptor. ‘This explains the well-known steroid resist- ance of MMD patients. These studies will be continued and expanded,’ notes Dr Drexhage. The rodent models are known as NOD, OBX and GS and characterisation stud- ies are well under way. Work with the NOD mouse is the most advanced and shows a depressive-like behaviour and a pro-inflammatory fingerprint like that found in MMD patients. The research- ers have taken samples from the OBX Hunting a mysterious mood manipulator Inflammation is a hidden and mysterious cause of some major mood disorders, at least partially. New research is giving European scientists a better understanding of the problem, and its treatment. research*eu results magazine — No 1 — April 20116 BIOLOGY AND MEDICINE m p c n © Andrea Dal Max, Shutterstock INT-09-001_ResearchEU_N1_FINAL.indd 6 1/04/11 14:54 rat and studies are underway to identify pro-inflammatory markers. Meanwhile the GS rat model has been validated and the project will soon take samples. Systems for lab-based brain culture studies and their interactions with acti- vated microglia are up and running and yielding data that indicates inflamma- tion affects synaptic transmission and neuronal outgrowth, a big hint that Moodinflame is on the right track. The project wasted no time in its search for potential treatments. COX-2 in- hibitors are non-steroidal anti-inflam- matory drugs (NSAID), a family of extremely useful drugs, some of which have demonstrated great effectiveness for other inflammation treatments. Moodinflame has shown that COX-2 inhibitors had an anti-depressive effect in normal rats and it will soon be tested in the project’s three animal models. Moreover, in a clear illustration of the project’s brisk pace, Moodinflame has taken first steps for a COX-2 inhibitor trial in fingerprint-positive patients. The group has established a protocol and has received approval from some agencies and is now waiting for final approval to begin the study. A lot more work remains to be done over the coming years. But Dr Drexhage believes they will reach their ambitious targets: ‘We are confident that we will be able to detect, using the developed tests, some MMD patients and also in- dividuals who are at risk of MMD, who would benefit from an intervention strategy with anti-inflammatory drugs.’ The Moodinflame project received funding from the Health programme of the EU’s Seventh Framework Pro- gramme (FP7) for research. (1) ‘Early diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mood disorders targeting the activated inflammatory response system’. Promoted through the CORDIS Technology Marketplace. http://cordis.europa.eu/marketplace > search > offers > 5902 Participating in Neuron were experts from Austria, Finland, France, Ger- many, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland, Romania, Spain, Sweden and the UK. The research was recently pub- lished in The Lancet journal. Most researchers thought that environ- mental factors were wholly responsible for Parkinson’s disease. Since 2007, however, scientists have identified six genetic variants or loci that increase the risk of developing the condition. Scientists have now found a further five loci, leading them to suggest that genetic, rather than environmental fac- tors as previously believed, may be the key cause of the disease. ‘This study provides evidence that common genetic variation plays an im- portant part in the cause of Parkinson’s disease,’ the scientists say. ‘We have confirmed a strong genetic component to Parkinson’s disease, which, until recently, was thought to be completely caused by environmental factors.’ They concluded that ‘the identification of additional common and rare risk vari- ants for Parkinson’s disease will prob- ably revise our estimate of the gen- etic component of disease upward.’ The research team came to these conclusions after conducting what they described as the largest gen- etic analysis of Parkinson’s dis- ease ever undertaken. The study involved a meta-analysis of five genome-wide association studies (GWAS) from the US and Europe covering some 7.7 million pos- sible genetic variants. Common variants previously identified in the microtubule associated pro- tein tau (MAPT) and synuclein — alpha non A4 component of amy- loid — (SNCA) precursor genes were shown to contribute the majority of the estimated genetic risk identified. The researchers found that the 20 % of patients with the highest number of risk variants at the 11 identified loci were 2.5 times more likely to develop Parkinson’s than the 20 % possessing the least num- ber of genetic risk factors. Although this suggests substantively more genetic risk than previous studies, the authors cau- tioned that these risk profiles were not yet of clinical validity. However, they said these data highlighted new genes on which to focus future research, and described their findings as a launching point into further investigations into the pathophysiology of this debilitating condition. In a linked comment, Drs Christine Klein and Andreas Ziegler from the University of Lübeck in Germany, say: ‘Clinically, the most burning question is whether these findings will bear on patients’ care.’ They said there was ‘no simple answer’ to this question and urged caution on the potential for screening for possible cases of Parkin- son’s based on this study. ‘Although genetic testing for monogenic Parkinson’s disease might be useful to minimise further work-up, clarify treat- ment approaches, and assist with future family planning, the clinical validity of risk single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) is currently questionable at best,’ they note. Study finds genes not environment behind Parkinson's An EU-wide study has found five new genetic variants for Parkinson’s disease. The research was funded in part by the ‘Network of European funding for neuroscience research’ (Neuron) initiative, a coordinated action funded under the ERA-NET scheme of the EU’s Sixth Framework Programme (FP6) to the tune of EUR 2.7 million. research*eu results magazine — No 1 — April 2011 7 BIOLOGY AND MEDICINE e T © Michael Taylor, Shutterstock INT-09-001_ResearchEU_N1_FINAL.indd 7 1/04/11 14:54 However, they agreed that ‘the con- sortium’s confirmation and discovery of potentially causal SNPs for the dis- ease hold great promise for establish- ing causal hypotheses’, adding that ‘this landmark study also serves another important purpose in that it provides a comprehensive stock-check on where we stand on our way towards clin- ical use of GWAS data in Parkinson’s disease.’ Drs Klein and Ziegler conclude: ‘While being cautious to avoid overstating the value of association findings in terms of personalised medicine, with this confluence of new research leads and impressive technical advances there is good reason for optimism that these advances will be translated into direct benefits for our patients.’ Promoted through the Research Information Centre. http://ec.europa.eu/research/infocentre > search > 19993 Diabetes is a metabolic disorder in which high-blood sugar levels in the form of glucose occur due to insuffi- cient insulin, a glucose lowering hor- mone produced by the body. The con- dition can also be caused by cells not responding properly to the insulin that is produced. A common feature of dis- orders such as diabetes and obesity is the development of IR, where the body’s cells become less sensitive to the hor- mone. This phenomenon is being stud- ied by the MITIN (1) project. The MITIN consortium is investigat- ing the interaction between the insulin signalling pathway, which governs cell activity and mitochondria function. This can help to identify the mech- anisms behind the onset of IR. Mito- chondria are structures found within the cell that help provide them with energy and have been implicated in some metabolic disorders. Project partners are developing a com- bination of computer-based tools and biomolecular techniques as part of an interdisciplinary approach to the IR challenge. Computational tools enable the study of complex biological sys- tems that integrate different regula- tory networks within the body. This can help interactions between insu- lin signalling pathways and mito- chondria to be predicted and the results tested on mice cells and fruit fly model organisms. Researchers are building a compu- tational framework that integrates data on all parts of the insulin signal- ling pathway and mitochondrial pro- cesses, and the relationships within and between both systems. The framework can be improved by generating data about specific actions known to selec- tively modify insulin signalling and/or mitochondrial function. The consortium will also determine the feasibility of applying this new- found knowledge to human diabetes and other related diseases. Data from the MITIN project can help develop new treatments for diabetes and other metabolic disorders, thereby improv- ing the quality of life for sufferers and boosting the competitiveness of the EU’s pharmaceutical sector. (1) ‘Integration of the system models of insulin signalling and of mitochondrial function and its application in the study of complex diseases’. Funded under the FP7 specific programme Cooperation under the theme Health. http://cordis.europa.eu/marketplace > search > offers > 5920 Visceral Leishmaniasis is a severe infec- tion caused by Leishmania parasites. The parasites live on the skin and may even migrate to inner organs. The dis- ease causes unsightly lesions and many strains can be fatal. The parasites have developed resist- ance to some of the current treatments available, and the World Health Organ- isation has been pressing researchers to find more effective drugs. But this is not as simple as it sounds. In response, the EU has jointly funded the Leishdrug (1) project which, through a highly interdisciplinary approach, is developing new ways to treat the disease. Researchers are iden- tifying molecules associated with a key stage in the development of Leishmania parasites — the amastigote stage. Using innovative drug-screening concepts, which have never been applied on Diabetes, new insights into insulin resistance Lack of the hormone insulin brings on diabetes, a chronic condition that affects a growing number of people around the world. An innovative EU- funded project is developing computer-based tools to study the role of the cell’s mitochondria in insulin resistance (IR). Finding the elusive cure for Leishmaniasis The parasitic disease known as Leishmaniasis has plagued man for centuries. Because of its severity — sometimes with fatal consequences — the EU is stepping up efforts to find a cure. research*eu results magazine — No 1 — April 20118 BIOLOGY AND MEDICINE t - es l- o- nd rk ata ec- or © Picsﬁ ve, Shutterstock INT-09-001_ResearchEU_N1_FINAL.indd 8 1/04/11 14:54 EWA received almost EUR 2.4 million in funding, while DIMI clinched EUR 10.7 million in support. Both projects were funded under the ‘Life sciences, genomics and biotechnology for health’ thematic area of the EU’s Sixth Frame- work Programme (FP6). The study was recently presented in the journal Cell Metabolism. Previous studies have suggested that diet may have an impact on fertility, but this latest research provides new insight into the important role of the liver in fertility. The study showed that oestro- gen receptors in the liver are critical for maintaining fertility, and that the expression of those receptors is under the control of dietary amino acids, the building blocks of proteins. These findings, made during experi- ments with mice, may have important implications for some forms of infer- tility and for metabolic changes that come with menopause, according to the researchers. ‘This is the first time it has been demonstrated how important the liver is in fertility,’ said Professor Adri- ana Maggi from the Pharmacology and Biotechnology unit and Director of the Centre of Excellence on Neurode- generative Diseases at the University of Milan. ‘The idea that diet may have an impact on fertility isn’t totally new of course, but this explains how diet, and especially a diet poor in protein, can have a direct influence.’ Scientists had known that the liver expressed oestrogen receptors and that those receptors played some role in metabolism. But Prof. Maggi said those receptors had not garnered a lot of attention, explain- ing that her group only became inter- ested in them by accident. During the murine studies ‘we saw that the organ that always had the highest activation of oestrogen receptor was the liver,’ she said. Initially they thought it was a mis- take and disregarded it, but over time they began to think maybe the mice were telling them something. The researchers discovered that the expression of those oestrogen receptors depends on dietary amino acids. Mice on a calorie-restricted diet and those lacking oestrogen receptors in their liv- ers showed a decline in an important hormone known as IGF-1. The scientists showed that the blood levels of the hormone dropped to levels inadequate for the correct growth of the lining of the mice’s uteruses and nor- mal progression of the oestrous cycle. However, when the calorie-restricted mice were given more protein, their reproductive cycles got back on track. Dietary fats and carbohydrates, on the other hand, had no effect on the oestro- gen receptors or fertility. The researchers suggested that this connection between amino acids, oes- trogen receptor signalling in liver and reproductive functions may have clin- ical implications. For instance, Prof. Maggi said this may explain why people who are anorexic are generally infertile, while it also suggests that diets loaded with too many carbohydrates and too little protein may hinder fertility. parasitic systems, researchers are hom- ing in on compounds that kill intracel- lular Leishmania amastigotes. These compounds are capable of eradicating the parasites without harming the host cell. The strategy relies on fluorescent parasites and macrophages (a type of white blood cell) to measure the effi- cacy of the new compounds and assess host cell toxicity. Beyond in vitro study, the research is being supported in silico (i.e. through computer modelling), using novel bio- informatic analysis developed by con- sortium members. During the first 18 months of the project, the consortium made important progress in perfecting the testing system. In the second funding phase of the Leishdrug project, the consortium aims to pinpoint the most optimal drugs to combat Leishmaniasis. It will undoubtedly be a very important moment for the project and the EU as a whole when these new, highly effective drugs will make this viru- lent and deadly global disease a thing of the past. (1) ‘Targeting the Leishmania kinome for the development of novel anti-parasitic strategies’. Funded under the FP7 specific programme Cooperation under the theme Health. http://cordis.europa.eu/marketplace > search > offers > 5927 Study suggests liver plays key role in fertility The liver may play an important role in fertility, according to researchers from the University of Milan in Italy. The research was funded in part by two EU-funded projects: ‘Estrogens and women ageing’ (EWA) and ‘Diagnostic molecular imaging’ (DIMI). research*eu results magazine — No 1 — April 2011 9 BIOLOGY AND MEDICINE y - a of es’. tion alth. 5927 © 35107993, Shutterstock bu Th m im til co res be liv an B t g o © Sebastian Kaulitzki, Shutterstock INT-09-001_ResearchEU_N1_FINAL.indd 9 1/04/11 14:54 Moreover, the results provide new clues for understanding the increased risk of metabolic and inflammatory disease in menopausal women. Prof. Maggi said those changes may be explained in part by the lack of oestrogen action in their livers and its downstream consequences. Today, given concerns about hormone replacement therapy, menopausal women are often treated with drugs that target one organ or another to pro- tect against specific conditions, such as atherosclerosis or osteoporosis. Given the liver’s role as a central coordinator of metabolism and producer of many other important hormones, she said drugs that ‘target only the liver may solve all the problems.’ Promoted through the Research Information Centre. http://ec.europa.eu/research/infocentre > search > 19953 In the past, stress was a sign of immi- nent danger, which in turn could result in loss of blood. Our body learnt to deal with stress by accumulating blood- clotting factors, experts say. Research- ers from the Molecular Medicine Part- nership Unit (MMPU), a partnership launched in 2002 between the Euro- pean Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and the University of Heidel- berg Medical Centre in Germany, say their findings will not only help phys- icians fight cancer but also septicaemia, a condition that refers to the presence of pathogenic organisms in the blood- stream (blood poisoning). The result is increased blood clotting, which experts say is one of the biggest causes of death. Patients suffering from cancer are at a higher risk of blood clot formation. This was first described by French physician Armand Trousseau in the 19th century. Doctors have recently determined that people with activated blood coagulation have a higher chance of developing cancer than those who don’t. Also, recent studies revealed that anti-coagulants could fight and prevent cancer. But no one had found the con- nection between cancer progression and blood clots. This is where the Ger- man researchers entered the picture. ‘For the first time, we have something in hand that might explain this enig- matic relationship between enhanced pro-coagulatory activities and the out- come of cancer,’ explained MMPU’s Sven Danckwardt. The amount of thrombin produced by the body’s cells is determined by two types of protein: proteins that accelerate production and proteins that slow it down. The researchers say both protein types act by binding to the cellular machinery that synthe- sises thrombin. In normal cases, thrombin levels are kept low by production- slowing proteins. This study found that another protein, mito- gen-activated protein kinase (p38 MAPK), kicks into action when cells are under stress from inflam- mation. P38 MAPK adds a chemical tag to the slow-producing proteins. The result? Production-slowing pro- teins have a hard time to bind to the thrombin-synthesising machinery. This enables the proteins that speed up pro- duction to take control. The team said inflammation triggered by cancer could result in increased thrombin levels and, as thrombin is a blood-clotting agent, this could explain why cancer patients have a higher risk of suffering from blood clots. This novel mechanism of gene regulation may apply to other genes as well, according to them. ‘Knowing the exact molecules involved, and how they act, has implications for treatment, especially as drugs that inhibit p38 MAPK are already being tested in clinical studies for other con- ditions,’ said Matthias Hentze, Associ- ate Director of EMBL and co-director of MMPU. ‘Those drugs could be good candidates for potential cancer or sep- ticaemia therapies.’ Studying liver samples from septicae- mic mice, the Heidelberg team found that p38 MAPK affects thrombin pro- duction during septicaemia. Besides its influence as a blood-clotting agent, thrombin helps the development of new blood vessels and can degrade the extracellular matrix that keeps cells together. The team said there’s a chance that the cancer cells are boosting thrombin pro- duction to help the tumour spread, by making it easier to invade healthy tis- sue and creating blood vessels to supply the new tumour cells. This could be the reason people with blood-clotting prob- lems are more likely to develop cancer. Promoted through the Research Information Centre. http://ec.europa.eu/research/infocentre > search > 19913 Study finds link between blood-clotting protein and cancer Groundbreaking research from Germany shows how stressed cells increase the production of thrombin, an important clot performer. Presented in the journal Molecular Cell, the study provides new insight into how cancer cells may be profiting from this process. Researchers could use this information to develop novel ways to treat various disorders. research*eu results magazine — No 1 — April 201110 BIOLOGY AND MEDICINE c t t © Sebastian Kaulitzki, Shutterstock INT-09-001_ResearchEU_N1_FINAL.indd 10 1/04/11 14:54 It is a baffling disease that results from diverse changes in the genome — the entirety of an organism’s hereditary information. So far, some 300 genes have been identified as cancer-causing ones, with many more crucial genes needing to be identified in order to develop effective drug treatments. While many research teams around the world are mapping cancer genes, many of these studies have not been validated. The mapping or ‘sequenc- ing’ can be done on other organisms and the results can be used to under- stand cancer in humans. One of these organisms is Caenorhabditis elegans, a microscopic roundworm which lives in the soil. Because of its simple cell struc- ture, quick reproductive abilities and transparent nature, C. elegans is perfect for studying cancer. It is ideally suited for iden- tifying the combination of defects in the genome. With this in mind, the ‘Modelling can- cer in Caenorhabditis elegans’ (Can- ceromics) project has set out to pin- point the intricacies of cancer genes in C. elegans and report on them. This four-year initiative has been fully funded by the EU, and ends in October 2011. The project’s team has participated in several conferences on the subject and unveiled its findings so far, although many more results are expected to emerge at later stages. Eventually, the project hopes to produce a functional map for cancer genes that will shed light on how cancer develops and what treatments could be effective against it. Funded under the FP7 specific programme People (Marie-Curie actions). http://cordis.europa.eu/marketplace > search > offers > 5922 New skin must be grown from the patient’s own skin cells, a lengthy pro- cess that could lead to dehydration and infection. Scientists discovered that polymeric material, which is renowned for its extensive range of properties and found in plastics, biopolymers and pro- teins, can be used to grow and multiply human cells but with inefficient results. Enter the Modpoleuv (1) project, which brought together Czech, Austrian and Polish researchers to successfully develop a novel yet easy way to create nano-structured materials that would facilitate human cell development. Modpoleuv is supported by the Euro- pean Platform for Research and Devel- opment (Eureka). ‘About 10 years ago, scientists discov- ered the important influence that nano- structures had on the way a line of cells would develop,’ explained Professor Johannes Heitz from the Uni- versity of Linz, the coordinator of Modpoleuv. ‘It was the begin- ning of an entire new scientific field, somewhere between med- icine and nanotechnology.’ The Poland-based Military University of Technology of Warsaw led the develop- ment of the new laser-brand technology, called extreme ultraviolet (EUV), which was to cre- ate nano-structured polymer surfaces. Reflex of the Czech Republic developed a mirror that formed a beam of EUV light, directed on a surface that enables new polymeric materials to be created. Thanks to this innovative technique, researchers can ensure a very high degree of precision, from 10 to 20 nanometres. The best traditional tech- niques can give is a precision level of 100 nanometres. ‘One of the newest theories in the field of cell growing is that the smaller the structure, the wider the possibilities to manipulate the cells,’ Prof. Heitz said. A major plus with the EUV technique is that the material’s structure is con- served. Conventional methods usually fail in this aspect. ‘A regular structure is essential if the material is to be used for the purpose of growing human cells,’ explained Prof. Henryk Fiederowicz from the Military University of Technology. It should be noted that EUV-generated nanostructures can impact the behav- iour of organic cells. Growing other Worming our way through cancer The simple roundworm may be the answer to mapping cancer genes and tailoring effective treatments for humans. Arguably one of the most elusive diseases in medical history is cancer. Fresh technology for new cell creation Severe injuries from fire result in over 320 000 deaths each year, the World Health Organisation (WHO) says. Experts believe that most of these deaths could be avoided with surgery. But surgical intervention becomes complicated when there isn’t enough skin left to graft on the most damaged part of the burn victim’s body. research*eu results magazine — No 1 — April 2011 11 BIOLOGY AND MEDICINE © Heiti Paves, Shutterstock J v o © icyimage, Shutterstock INT-09-001_ResearchEU_N1_FINAL.indd 11 1/04/11 14:54 types of cells can be improved and accelerated depending on the type of polymer surface used, according to the team. What material is used to grow human stem cells will determine how cells will transform into another human cell type. ‘Using one type of polymer material or another will help you grow different types of muscle, nerves, cells adapted to a human heart, bone or any other part of the human body,’ Prof. Heitz said. The partners said this new technique can be applied in many different fields including biotechnology, microelec- tronics and integrated optics. While the cell-growing technology is still in a testing phase, the team says the results are ‘very encouraging so far.’ (1) ‘Modification of polymer foils with extreme-ultra-violet (EUV) radiation for applications in biomedical technology’. Promoted through the Research Information Centre. http://ec.europa.eu/research/infocentre > search > 19733 Over the course of human history, pathogens that cause serious diseases have been plaguing mankind. These include, among others, diseases caused by salmonella and mycobacteria. The latter are a category of especially resil- ient bacterial strains such as tubercu- losis (TB) and leprosy. Medical science has always wanted to know how such pathogens craftily manipulate mac- rophages (a specific type of white blood cells) to grow and survive. Armed with this knowledge, research- ers can boost the power of phagocytes — white blood cells that rid the path- ogens by ‘eating’ them. The research results in this area may help enhance a person’s innate immunity and help combat the diseases in question. The Phagosys (1) project, funded for the most part by the EU, has brought together a consortium of European experts that are tackling complemen- tary aspects of this challenge. Working in tandem, these experts and their lab- oratories are leveraging their expertise far beyond the state of the art. So far, ongoing research and testing has concentrated on pathogen cell biology related to the maturation of endosomes (highly dynamic membrane systems involved in cell transport). Complex mathematical models and simulations have been developed and improve- ments have been made to modelling approaches so that they fit better with the challenging aspects of cell biology. One of these challenges lies in the intricate analysis phagocytosis, the process of engulfing implicated bac- teria. Experiments are being conducted on mycobacteria and phagocytic cells in mice. This is then being compared to results in human trials, an exercise which will allow a much more precise understanding of these pathogens. Upon the completion of this project, better treatment options for diseases like salmonella, TB and leprosy will be expected. This will come as a relief for suffers of these diseases and associated ones worldwide. (1) ‘Systems biology of phagosome formation and maturation, modulation by intracellular pathogens ’. Funded under the FP7 specific programme Cooperation under the theme Health. http://cordis.europa.eu/marketplace > search > offers > 5926 Ever wondered about the safety of pack- aged food and what risks are involved? The ‘Natural antimicrobials for innova- tive and safe packaging’ (Nafispack) project, funded for the most part by the EU, has embarked on a mission to develop packaging technology to avoid or reduce microorganisms that cause spoilage. This applies especially to per- ishable products such as fresh fish, fresh chicken and minimally processed veg- etables (MPVs). Fish and chicken have long been on the health and safety radar, but MPV con- sumption is a relatively new and grow- ing phenomenon in Europe, which is why Nafispack is aiming to improve packaging in this area. Another im- portant concern is consumers’ Could severe bacterial diseases become a thing of the past? When experts from all over Europe get together to battle a group of diseases, the results can be surprising. A European project may find a viable cure for salmonella poisoning, tuberculosis and others. Get ready for smarter food packaging Technology is bringing ingenious ways to tell if packaged food is as safe as it should be. Consumers will be able to ‘read’ freshness right off the package. research*eu results magazine — No 1 — April 201112 BIOLOGY AND MEDICINE p p g y © Bork, Shutterstock INT-09-001_ResearchEU_N1_FINAL.indd 12 1/04/11 14:54 increasing awareness about synthetic preservatives and their desire for alter- natives. Instead of such preservatives, the project is considering natural anti- microbials, which occur abundantly in the environment and are considered much safer. Nafispack is currently vali- dating the safety of new packaging ma- terials that contain these antimicrobials. In more specific terms, Nafsipack is try- ing to increase shelf life by two to three days for fresh fish, chicken and MPVs. Through thorough risk assessment, it wants to ensure that the natural antimi- crobials are stable, cost-effective, avail- able and comply with the law. Another angle the project is focusing on is to create ‘intelligent packaging’. This a technology based on monitoring the quality of the food. This involves new visual and measurable indicators built into the packaging, informing the consumer about quality and the degree of spoilage. In a way this represents a much more high- tech method than the current ‘best before’ and ‘use by’ philosophy. When intelligent packaging is combined with antimicrobials, the result is expected to supersede current technology. It will increase safety and quality of fresh food products for significantly longer, raising consumer confidence and strengthening food safety. Funded under the FP7 programme Cooperation under the theme ‘Knowledge based bio-economy.’ http://cordis.europa.eu/marketplace > search > offers > 5928 Occurring naturally in many plants, fruits, flowers and vegetables, carot- enoids could be important sources of antioxidants and vitamin A for people. However, food manufactures have had difficulty incorporating them into their products due to their instability, both on the shelf and in the human diges- tive system. The EU-funded Colorspore (1) project started after the discovery of a type of bacteria of the Bacillus genus that forms spores that are rich in carotenoids and are able to survive passage through the stomach which is an environment of low pH — the downfall of traditional carotenoids from the functional food industry’s perspective. The ongoing project, which began in 2008, is investigating these bacteria fur- ther, assessing their safety and seeing how they can be prepared for indus- trial use. The international team, which includes research institutes and indus- trial partners, started by characterising the different related bacteria strains. They identified two which held the most promise for industrial produc- tion and determined their genome se- quences and all genes involved in their carotenoid biosynthesis. The researchers evaluated the two strains — HU36 and GB1 — for safety in animal and laboratory tests and found no cause for concern. Other work found the stability and antioxi- dant activity of the purified carotenoids in the presence of iron to be superior to both b-carotene and lycopene. The final stage of the project, due to end in mid-2011, has begun analysing the potential of the bacteria strains as pro- biotic food ingredients, incorporating spores of HU36 into baked food prod- ucts and assessing the effects on taste, odour, colour and stability. With initial results promising, the pro- ject is taking a big step in the develop- ment of functional food products which can improve health and drive innov- ation in the market. (1) ‘New sources of natural, gastric stable, food additives, colourants and novel functional foods’. Funded under the FP7 programme Cooperation under the theme ‘Knowledge based bio-economy.’ http://cordis.europa.eu/marketplace > search > offers > 5939 Developing new food additives from bacteria Carotenoids hold considerable potential to provide health benefits. A research project is investigating how to make them more stable and incorporate them into functional food products. research*eu results magazine — No 1 — April 2011 13 BIOLOGY AND MEDICINE s e nt © Jonathan Feinstein, Shutterstock © Julián Rovagnati, Shutterstock INT-09-001_ResearchEU_N1_FINAL.indd 13 1/04/11 14:54 Upcoming ultra-modern aircraft types, where the wing and the body fuse into each other for better aerodynamics, are called blended wing body (BWB) aircraft. These and other advanced aircraft require special technology to control and fly them seamlessly. The ‘Active control for flexible 2020 aircraft’ (ACFA 2020) project plans to deliver innova- tive control equipment (or controllers) for ultra-efficient 2020 aircraft configurations, such as BWB aircraft. These new controllers will be a significant improvement over cur- rent technology to deliver a more comfortable ride and handling optimising the load of the aircraft as well. BWB planes are supposed to be lighter, quieter, more aerodynamic and more energy efficient. However, they require complicated con- trol technology — known as multi-channel control archi- tecture — to yield the desired manoeuvres, ensure rigidity and counter vibration. The project aims to apply this advanced technology in these aircraft types, one of which will be a 450-seater commercial aeroplane. The design of such an aircraft with particularly large wings has already been developed in previous initiatives, namely the ‘Very efficient large air- craft’ (VELA) and ‘New aircraft concepts research’ (NACRE) projects. The challenge for ACFA 2020 lies in applying the innovative control technology to the new passenger BWB planes which feature an ultra-wide body fuselage. The project team aims to identify the best control technology configuration to achieve the highest possible fuel savings. There are also plans to redesign the passenger BWB ver- sion to make it lighter and more fuel efficient. In addition, the BWB configuration offers even greater potential to fur- ther minimize noise by putting the engine over the rear fuselage or in the airframe and working with the higher wing area/weight ratio, which allows for a simplified high- lift system. These design modifications will also fall under the responsibilities of the ACFA 2020 project. Once these designs and technologies get off the ground, both figuratively and literally, the road to cleaner, quieter and more efficient aircraft will be within reach. Funded under the FP7 specific programme Cooperation under the theme Transport. http://cordis.europa.eu/marketplace > search > offers > 6021 The AeroAfrica-EU (1) project was the result of an explicit demand to estab- lish a cooperative platform for R&D between the EU, South Africa and other African nations. The first requirements were to map the aeronautical landscape, explore and develop networks and part- nerships, and to identify mutually bene- ficial technical themes for R&D cooper- ation platforms. AeroAfrica-EU had to establish an R&D policy dialogue between all involved parties that would support socio-economic development coopera- tives. These initiatives would also pro- vide the additional benefit of partici- pants being included in FP7. The challenges that face the aeronau- tical industry are globally significant. Therefore, promoting collabor- ation between the two regions and thereby promoting African exper- tise enhances the region’s ability to tackle such issues. It also facilitates the Flight of fancy A complete rethinking of aircraft design and technology may, in less than ten years, see the creation of quieter, cleaner and more efficient passenger jets. Aero R&D gets EU-Africa uplift As the skies become increasingly busier, and aeronautical technology ever- more sophisticated, ensuring that all providers in all nations are on the same page requires cooperation on many fronts. Thus, expanding R&D cooperation with South Africa is the first step in a continent-wide vision. research*eu results magazine — No 1 — April 201114 ENERGY AND TRANSPORT ENERGY AND TRANSPORT © jovannig, Shutterstock © ankur patil, Shutterstock INT-09-001_ResearchEU_N1_FINAL.indd 14 1/04/11 14:55 ‘internationalisation’ of the European Research Area (ERA) thus strength- ening and broadening its collaborative spectrum. In order to continue maximising these collaborative efforts between partners, a collative and analytical process has been developed for their interactions. There are currently seven partners involved, including institutes of education, aero- nautics and business. Future objectives include dissemination of suitable project material via a web- site, the hosting of events to develop awareness, and the creation of high-level advisory groups, to name but a few. (1) ‘Promoting European - South African research cooperation in aeronautics and air transport’. Funded under the FP7 specific programme Cooperation under the theme Transport. http://cordis.europa.eu/marketplace > search > offers > 6077 Arguably the most important issue in aviation is the safety of the aircraft and its crew. Aircraft safety and integrity have come a long way since aeroplanes took to the skies, but the search is on to improve safety and pre-empt any prob- lems such as structural damage. An EU-funded project entitled 'Aircraft integrated structural health assessment II' (AISHA II) is developing advanced monitoring systems to assess the struc- tural state of aircrafts using extended sensor networks. With the help of air- craft operators and manufacturers the project has already compiled detailed specification sheets with technical and economic requirements for aircraft structural health monitoring systems. The team also investigated fatigue cracks in different parts of passenger airlines, many Airbus models, and helicopters. Monitoring aircraft structural health is done by automated sensor net- works, a feat which requires the development of appropriate sensors. This is an intricate procedure that has its various challenges. To begin with, different types must be in- corporated into the system, such as pressure sensors, electromechanical sensors, fibre-optic sensors and others. Because of the number required, they must be manufactured at a reasonable cost to allow for the many sensors to be distributed across the various parts. An essential challenge is durable inte- gration of transducers (devices that transform sensory input into mean- ingful data). The sensitivity of these sensors must be just right and they must also interpret signals very accur- ately. Determining where exactly to put them to obtain the best results is another issue being addressed by the AISHA team. Adhesives that are able to withstand typical temperature and stress variations are also under devel- opment. Moreover, many tests have to be conducted on the sensors, such as using fibre-optic sensors to detect, for example, the effect of corrosion from liquids. The AISHA team now needs to imple- ment the various sensor systems into the main parts of aircrafts and run extended tests. Once validated, tech- nology like this can help to raise safety levels in the aeronautics sector. Funded under the FP7 specific programme Cooperation under the theme Transport. http://cordis.europa.eu/marketplace > search > offers > 6087 Aerospace systems are becoming increasingly complex, to the point that existing methods for systems devel- opment are holding back innovation, which hurts European industrial competitiveness. To overcome this, industry needs to cut the time to market for new technol- ogies, shave costs to demonstrate ‘proof of safety’, and meet the greater demand for skilled resources. It also needs to stream- line the design phase to limit the number of costly design itera- tions. But time- and cost-cutting exercises like this are usually not compatible with tight- ening safety compliance standards. Aircraft technology for safer skies A new system of advanced sensors can help detect cracks and other safety issues in aircraft at very early stages. Beating ‘complexity’ with integrated systems design Product design and safety compliance — especially for critical sectors like aeronautics — is a complex and costly process. But what if the many phases and tasks could be better integrated and optimised? A European consortium is on the job. research*eu results magazine — No 1 — April 2011 15 ENERGY AND TRANSPORT © Katrina Brown, Shutterstock e © Katrina Brown, Shutterstock INT-09-001_ResearchEU_N1_FINAL.indd 15 1/04/11 14:55 A formidable nation with a robust aerospace industry, China has much to offer to the EU in terms of knowledge exchange and joint ventures. The EU-funded Aerochina2 (1) project has achieved commendable progress in furthering the cooperation between industry, university and research organ- isations in the aeronautics sector for both Europe and China. Collaboration focused on the fields of multi-physics modelling, i.e. the study of multiple sim- ultaneous physical phenomena. They also focused on computer simulation and software code validation, as well as experimental testing and design meth- ods for multi-physics challenges within the aeronautics sector. In more specific scientific terms, multi- physics disciplines considered in Aero- china2 are aerodynamics, structures/ materials, fluid dynamics, aero-acous- tics, active flow control and aero-elasticity. Joint progress in addressing the challenges of these com- plex topics and sciences has helped achieve the program’s objectives. To begin with, Aero- china2 mapped out mutual research and development interest. It clarified skills and the experiences and cap- abilities of the Chinese partners in the rele- vant technological areas of multi-physics analysis and design. The initiative then focused on collaboration in those areas between the European and Chinese partners, ensuring a win-win situation for all sides. Also noteworthy was the preparation of specific research and development activities for joint propos- als under the EU’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). The outcomes and results of the Aero- china2 project have been disseminated via the web-based Aerochina2 com- munication system and through several workshops. The multi-physics work- shops were held in different locations such as Nanjing in 2007, Marseilles in 2008, Harbin in 2009 and Brussels in 2009. Several future plans for joint RTD activ- ities between partners from China and Europe related to the analysis and val- idation of multidisciplinary problems in aeronautics have emerged in recent years. These correspond to project pro- posals that have been sent to the differ- ent FP7 calls. Among these calls are the greener aeronautics international net- working (GRAIN) and manipulation of reynolds stress for separation control and drag reduction (MARS). Another important call is titled numerical and experimental investigation of innovative control technologies to reduce aircraft noise production (Nextep). In conclusion, the Aerochina2 work groups have many ambitious projects mapped out for the future, which will further the aerospace industry like never before. Technological advancements, team expertise, cutting-edge research and quality standards from both regions of the world are converging to create a superior aerospace industry. (1) ‘Prospecting and promoting scientific cooperation between Europe and China in the field of multiphysics modeling, simulation, experimentation and design methods in aeronautics’. Funded under the FP7 specific programme Cooperation under the theme Transport. http://cordis.europa.eu/marketplace > search > offers > 5997 The EU-funded project ‘More inte- grated systems safety assessment’ (MISSA) is working to fill this gap by providing methods and infrastruc- ture that, in its words, ‘accelerate the convergence towards optimal systems architecture which integrate safety constraints.’ To reach this goal, MISSA chose to focus on four main ‘enabling contribu- tions’ which are linked together in the design process. First, it is developing new tools to optimise the preliminary design phases — when aircraft func- tions are worked into systems. Second, the researchers must accurately define and assess a ‘systems organic architec- ture’ against the safety requirements resulting from the early design phases. Third, MISSA is providing a way of dealing with detailed system architec- ture and design, and last, developing software infrastructure to deal with the complex information exchange needed in the first three steps. With the project end-date in sight, the partners are advancing well. Among the achievements, they have developed a new modelling approach to support safety analysis, drafted methods and prototype tools for optimising instal- lation, and at the systems architectural level. They also drafted a safety mod- elling handbook which details new approaches. Once complete, MISSA’s methods and tools will help safety engineers to col- lect and manage information, to struc- ture their arguments, express their ideas, and perhaps most importantly, find solutions to problems in an effi- cient, traceable and exhaustive way. Funded under the FP7 specific programme Cooperation under the theme Transport. http://cordis.europa.eu/marketplace > search > offers > 6010 Aerospace: the best of east and west China and Europe are coming together in the field of aerospace. Scientific cooperation in fields like multi-physics, aeronautic design and simulation are allowing both to fly high. research*eu results magazine — No 1 — April 201116 ENERGY AND TRANSPORT a © Andrey Yurlov, Shutterstock INT-09-001_ResearchEU_N1_FINAL.indd 16 1/04/11 14:55 These tiny geometric errors could affect simulation results. And incorrect simu- lation results could develop into poten- tially real-world problems which in vehicle and vessel manufacturing can prove fatal. Computer generated free-form objects, in particular, are extremely difficult to simulate with absolute accuracy because their shapes have to be approx- imated by simple geometric primitives. Free-form objects have well-defined and smooth surfaces except at the vertices, edges and cusps. Examples include ship hulls, propellers, and car frames for the railway and the automo- tive industry. To reduce and eliminate the potential for errors, one EU-funded project ‘Exact geometry simulation for optimised design of ve- hicles and vessels’ (Excit- ing), is bridging the gap between CAD and numer- ical simulation methods by using enhanced isoge- ometric analysis (IGA). IGA provides a new approach for the design and simulation of free- form objects. Exciting, a consortium of academic and industrial institutions from Austria, France, Germany, Greece and Norway, were particularly interested in see- ing how IGA could eliminate errors in the design process of vehicles and ves- sels. According to project researchers, accurately designing the blades of a tur- bine is extremely challenging. But with Exciting’s new IGA application, design- ers can now produce a CAD model for blades that is suitable for numerical simulation. Designers can also create an entire parametric ship-hull model that respects principal dimensions and other integral parameters. And they can now apply IGA to car components. The project, which started in 2008 and ends in 2012, is currently working on tackling some of the more theoretical challenges that underpin the develop- ment of future applications. So far, they have gained a much greater insight into the isogeometric BEM wave-resistance calculations of an immersed sphe- roid. They have also found a solution to a persistent 2D test problem often encountered when modelling pipes and deformable walls. And they even managed to develop a proof of concept for isogeometric design optimisation in structural mechanics. Exciting’s results and continued pro- gress will not only help the industry produce better products, but will also save them considerable time and money in their design and testing. Funded under the FP7 specific programme Cooperation under the theme Transport. http://cordis.europa.eu/marketplace > search > offers > 5924 The aim of the Propanergy project has been to develop a process for convert- ing glycerine from biodiesel production into biogas and 1,3 propanediol (PDO) and fertilizer. Glycerine is type of col- ourless, odourless alcohol often used in pharmaceutical formulations. A bioreactor is used to convert glycerine into PDO and fertiliser, which is then converted into biogas that supplies the necessary energy for product separa- tion. A stream from the biogas reactor is also used to convert residual metha- nol to biogas and deliver nutrients for the bioconversion. The result is the complete use of gly- cerine and methanol residue from biodiesel production for energy production and PDO and fertiliser. Researchers are working to improve unsterile fermenta- tion techniques by developing a strain of the bacteria Clostrid- ium butyricum VPI 1718. An entire production process for PDO was successfully estab- lished on the mini-plant scale. This includes the fermentation step together with a microfiltration unit for separating and recycling biomass, an electrodialysis module for desalination and the concentration of PDO through desalination. Vehicle and vessel design makeover Computer-aided design (CAD) software is the tool of choice for designers and engineers who want to create new products or components. But the transition of a computer-generated model to a numerical simulation tool can introduce tiny errors which in transport can prove critical. Research underway aims to iron out this problem. Converting glycerine into biogas and fertilizer Microorganisms that break down biological material are being developed by the EU-funded Propanergy (1) project to produce renewable energy in the form of biogas. research*eu results magazine — No 1 — April 2011 17 ENERGY AND TRANSPORT T t E © rook76, Shutterstock n r - e. © Philip Lange, Shutterstock INT-09-001_ResearchEU_N1_FINAL.indd 17 1/04/11 14:55 A pilot plant concept is being devel- oped, which uses a two-step continu- ous fermentation for PDO production and the degradation of bioproducts to give biogas. High productivity under unsterile conditions and a stable micro- bial community make this process suit- able for the production of PDO and are significant factors in favour of the con- struction of a pilot plant. The work of the Propanergy project will contribute to Europe’s development of renewable energy from biological material and help to overcome its reli- ance on fossil fuels. (1) ‘Integrated bioconversion of glycerine into value-added products and biogas at pilot plant scale’. Funded under the FP7 specific programme Cooperation under the theme Energy. http://cordis.europa.eu/marketplace > search > offers > 5957 Wave energy converters (WECs) started off as fixed shoreline devices. These have now slowly evolved into floating, deep water and offshore devices. In order for these new devices to be commercially viable, they must be developed into units that are suitable for mass production. This is what the ‘Components for ocean renewable energy systems’ (CORES) project, involving 13 partners from 7 countries, aims to achieve. First g eneration devices (fixed shoreline devices) normally consist of oscillating water column (OWC) systems. How- ever, the next generations of WECs involve floating devices which pose new challenges that CORES aims to address. The project concentrates on the devel- opment of components for power take- off, control, moorings, risers, data acquisition and instrumentation based on floating OWC systems. It is doing this through simulations and small- scale tank tests in 2D and 3D ocean wave basins. Testing will then move to sea-based platforms for sea trials. The results from the sea trials will enable the project partners to cre- ate a system model which will in turn provide a ‘toolbox’ for wave- to-wire simulations of WECs. CORES is creating this ‘toolbox’ to evaluate the effect different com- ponents have on the efficiency and performance of the new devices. The ‘toolbox’ is made up of a number of models that have been developed in four work packages. The first work package deals with the design and production of an alternative air turbine system for OWC WECs. The second work package looks at all the electrical components of the devices. The third examines whether the moor- ings are robust, cost-effective and eas- ily deployable. The final work package brings all of the other packages together to produce a final model toolbox. Substantial results have already been achieved in the project. The partners have completed laboratory testing of a 5 kw turbine model and designed a turbine generator frequency converter. CORES has also commissioned a near shore facility that can be used for test- ing in Galway, Ireland. The project hopes to test a 15 kw model and develop a complete wave-energy toolbox which would be used to improve cost competitiveness. Funded under the FP7 specific programme Cooperation under the theme Energy. http://cordis.europa.eu/marketplace > search > offers > 5972 Climate change and the environmental impacts of our resource use are becom- ing increasingly important factors in many parts of our lives. One key area which needs attention is our future energy supply and use, especially when economic realities are taken into account. We will need to make widespread changes in how we use energy in the future, taking steps to increase efficiency and reduce the amount of energy we consume. All sectors of soci- ety will have to adopt more sustainable and renewable energy sources. However, the level of changes needed require large shifts in consumer behav- iour. ‘Barriers for energy changes among end consumers and households’ (Baren- ergy) was a 30-month EU-funded pro- ject looking into different approaches to influencing energy consumption behav- iour among these groups. Harnessing wave energy Capturing energy from waves is an evolving science. However, in order for it to be commercially viable, the many varying concepts have to be further developed. Looking at energy use habits Changes are needed to the way we produce and use energy in light of rising concerns over environmental impacts and costs. But what measure will help to change people’s energy consumption habits and their attitudes towards alternative energy concepts? research*eu results magazine — No 1 — April 201118 ENERGY AND TRANSPORT op of ac on th s w t © Gustavo Miguel Fernandes, Shutterstock INT-09-001_ResearchEU_N1_FINAL.indd 18 1/04/11 14:55 The project looked at two broad areas for behavioural change: the first was energy saving and improving house- holds’ energy efficiency; the second was the adoption of new concepts for sustainable and renewable energies. For both areas the team looked at specific areas of consumption, such as car use, domestic heating or household appli- ance use, and assessed various barriers and strategies to boost efficiency. The research team identified that the same barriers were relevant for energy saving, increasing effi- ciency and in relation to new technologies. They concluded that a mix- ture of measures focus- ing on broad institutional changes and targeted at individuals are needed to overcome existing barriers. For energy saving meas- ures, the research- ers found that a lack of knowledge was an important barrier blocking behaviour change. They also underlined that any steps to reduce consumption must not compromise comfort or personal status. Clear and reliable product information is needed to improve energy efficiency by encouraging consumers to take steps such as refurbishing household systems and appliances, or buying more fuel- efficient vehicles. Other important fac- tors are awareness of different products and the subsidies that are available for energy saving measures taken at home. A major barrier is that consumers think green products are more expensive and they do not factor in savings in running costs into their initial buying decisions. Meanwhile, when looking at the pur- chases of new ‘sustainable energy’ tech- nologies, such as photovoltaic panels or hybrid cars, consumers need a high level of knowledge and a solid under- standing of the products if they are to invest in new concepts. The project, which ended in mid-2010, has helped to improve understanding of how the public views energy consump- tion and how it fits into people’s lives. The results provide valuable insights into how to successfully introduce greater sustainability into our societies. Funded under the FP7 specific programme Cooperation under the theme Energy. http://cordis.europa.eu/marketplace > search > offers > 6051 Environmental, commercial and sci- entific interest in organic and polymer solar cells has grown in recent years. This has been due to an increase in the use of low-cost biodegradable materials for producing electricity from sunlight. The Solarpat project focuses on recent advances that have improved thin-film solar cells through the use of nano- structures. The groundbreaking solar cells contain self-assembled, light- induced nanostructures, resulting in improved construction techniques and operation. Project partners have sought to create high-quality fluorescent material by using rhodamine molecules, resulting in a 20-fold increase in fluorescence. Findings reveal that organic solar cells containing a fluorescent active element possess major potential for employing nanostructures as a means to prevent spontaneous emissions. Work conducted by the Solarpat con- sortium can help provide a solid foun- dation for understanding self-assem- bled crystals in organic thin films. The project’s findings can also be used to develop other thin-film solar technol- ogies and help contribute to new nano- fabrication processes, enabling Europe to stay at the forefront of solar cell research. Funded under the FP7 specific programme Cooperation under the theme Energy. http://cordis.europa.eu/marketplace > search > offers > 6112 Nanostructures build solar cells The EU-funded 'Self-nanostructuring polymer solar cells' (Solarpat) project is developing a new breed of solar cells using self-assembly and light-scattering technology. Researchers are also interested in the role of nanostructures in the absorption of sunlight. research*eu results magazine — No 1 — April 2011 19 ENERGY AND TRANSPORT s c n © WDG Photo, Shutterstock © AMA, Shutterstock INT-09-001_ResearchEU_N1_FINAL.indd 19 1/04/11 14:55 Over a two-year period, various European research groups have debated the future of synthetic biology in the EU- funded Tarpol (¹) project. Synthetic biology is an emerging research field which combines several scientific traditions around the goal of designing and manufacturing new bio- logical systems of industrial interest. An intense discussion on concepts and terminology has taken place and common databases have been created. The Tarpol partners also launched an advanced training programme on synthetic biology and, after identifying the needs and priori- ties, developed an action plan for the European Union in this new field of science and technology. At present, the pace of genome sequencing is exponential and this is providing extremely valuable information which boosts our understanding of living systems and the design and manufacture of artificial forms of life. From research to tools Europe has quickly built up critical mass in research and aca- demic institutions and an industrial base to compete world- wide in areas such as the use of synthetic biology to address environmental contamination issues. For example, microor- ganisms can be used to break down toxic compounds acci- dentally released during an oil spill. European science is also progressing in biofuels, hydrogen technology and biomedicine, where researchers have proved that it is possible to produce more efficient and less costly drugs. Eighteen research groups from eight European countries co- ordinated by the Cavanilles Institute of Biodiversity and Evo- lutionary Biology at the University of Valencia (Spain) have developed over two years the Tarpol project. Funded by the FP7 programme Cooperation under the theme ‘Knowledge based bio-economy,’ this is a comprehensive European pro- ject in synthetic biology — from the conceptual framework to applications of the research, while not forgetting the ethical and social aspects and the importance of dissemination. ‘Tarpol has been a foun- dational project that has sought to join forces and unite all European groups involved in one way or another in synthetic biol- ogy to create synergies,’ says Spanish researcher Manuel Porcar. A very important part of the work involved developing databases and bioinformatics tools to work with the vast amount of data these experts handle. They have also reached a consensus on a common language, a crucial step in order to advance in any new discipline. Method and math The researchers have also dealt with the difficult transition between the mathematical modelling of a synthetic con- struction and its actual performance, including how it may evolve over time like any living organism. The researchers have reflected on the milestones and chal- lenges that currently exist to create synthetic life. Among the obstacles to overcome, there is one that seems simple — to put the appropriate groups to work in common pro- jects. However, this is not so easy because it requires experts in many different fields such as biologists, biotechnologists, mathematicians, physicists, and bioinformatics specialists. Many of these researchers do not even know that they can work together in synthetic biology. Here, dissemination and training make a valuable contribu- tion ‘After the experience with GM foods, the Tarpol partners decided to dedicate efforts in dissemination so as to offer the public a realistic picture and explain that synthetic biology is a useful technology,’ says Dr Porcar. Getting the word out The consortium has organised two summer courses for stu- dents, one in Switzerland and one in Valencia which brought together experts in synthetic biology from around the world, and they also supported a number of teams participating in the International Genetically Engineered Machine (IGEM) competition. ‘Our intention is to support more young peo- ple to engage in a discipline that is also very young. In reality none of us working in this field is an expert, so innovative and enthusiastic views are encouraged,’ adds Dr Porcar. Partners have coordinated an extensive analysis on social and ethical issues that will be published shortly. This report approaches the environmental impact, as well as the possible consequences that can result in the development of different technologies. In this regard, they have considered both the negative reactions and the social and economic benefits of synthetic biology. Although the EU-funded part of Tarpol has ended, several art- icles are to be published with the project’s main findings and the partners will submit a full technical report to the European Commission with advice and predictions on the impact of synthetic biology in Europe. They plan to continue to develop the bioinformatics tools, online applications and databases and more applied projects are likely to be launched. (1) 'Targetting environmental pollution with ensinereered microbial systems à la carte'. Promoted through the Network of Valencian Universities for the promotion of Research, Development and Innovation (RUVID). Laying the foundations for synthetic biology in Europe An EU-funded project is looking at new technologies to tackle pollution with microbes designed à la carte. research*eu results magazine — No 1 — April 201120 ENVIRONMENT AND SOCIETY ENVIRONMENT AND SOCIETY © Nataliia Natykach, Shutterstock © Na © N tali ia N ia N ia atyk atyk aty ay ach, ac, a, a, Shu Shu S tter e te stoc sto st k k INT-09-001_ResearchEU_N1_FINAL.indd 20 1/04/11 14:55 An eruption of Iceland’s mighty Eyjafy- allajokull volcano in April 2010 cre- ated a cloud of ash that closed many of Europe’s airports, forcing more than 100 000 flights to be cancelled. Estimates reveal that across the globe 500 million people are at risk from volcanoes. In the European Union, anticipating and measuring the threat posed by vol- canic activity depends upon the latest scientific knowledge and monitoring techniques. But in international co- operation partner countries (ICPC) risk management depends upon local conditions, which can be unfavourable. This is due to several factors, includ- ing local populations living on volcano slopes or possessing limited resources, such as monitoring equipment. A fur- ther challenge is presented by the long periods between eruptions when the volcano lies dormant, which can lull the population into a false sense of security with regard to the real threat. The Miavita (1) project is determined to integrate more cost-effective methods for reducing risks from volcanic activ- ity. Miavita means ‘my life’ in Italian and is a four-year project that addresses the multidisciplinary nature of volcanic threat assessment and management in ICPC and European volcanoes. The initiative builds upon recommen- dations from the UN’s ‘International strategy for disaster reduction’ report, which covers such issues as preven- tion, crisis management and recovery. Although strategies are designed with ICPCs in mind they can also help Euro- pean stakeholders expand their know- ledge of volcanic risk management. Three objectives Miavita has three main objectives. The first is to develop prevention tools based on risk mapping and identifica- tion of possible damage scenarios. The second is to improve crisis manage- ment capabilities through monitoring, early warning systems and secure communications. The third objective is to reduce the vulnerability of local communities and ecological systems and develop their ability to recover from a volcanic erup- tion. To reach these objectives, an inte- grated information system for organ- ising and sharing data about the latest scientific and technological develop- ments, and training is vital. The Miavita consortium comprises a multidisciplinary team that includes civil defence agencies, national geo- logical surveys, scientific teams and a private IT company. Local scien- tists and organisations in Africa (focused on Mount Cameroon, Fogo in Cape Verde) and Asia (on Merapi in Indonesia, and Kanlaon in Philip- pines) are closely involved in the risk assessment. These groups form an important part of the Miavita project thanks to their expertise in handling volcanic threats and their ability to respond to the entire disaster man- agement cycle. Current activities include the instal- lation of equipment at Fogo, Kanlaon and Mount Merapi and data acquisi- tion coming from ground monitoring and remote sensing installations. The result has been a better understanding of the target volcanoes and their local areas. Workshops have been organised in Cape Verde, Indonesia and the Philip- pines for top officials such as minis- ters, governors, local authorities and heads of civil protection agencies. The workshops are intended to identify the stakeholders’ needs and develop local authorities’ awareness of manag- ing risks occurring within the natural environment. According to Miavita’s Coordinator Dr Pierre Thierry at BRGM, the French Geological Survey, the key to the ini- tiative’s success is the close cooperation among project partners. ‘One example has been a training session on gas monitoring at Mount Merapi managed by Cambridge University for our part- ners from Indonesia. Its purpose was to teach how to perform ground-based gas measurements using differential optical absorption spectroscopy (DOAS) tech- niques,’ he says. Collaboration between the two groups has proved particularly useful during the monitoring of the recent eruption of Merapi in October-November 2010. In addition, a partner from the French Civil Defence (DSC) has been to the Philippines to discuss crisis manage- ment with local institutions, stakehold- ers and representatives of the civil pro- tection organisation. EU research protects vulnerable communities from erupting volcanoes Nature’s awesome power has been clearly shown by Indonesia’s Mount Merapi volcano, which roared back into life on 26 October 2010 as searing clouds of gas and ash destroyed crops and villages, tragically killing dozens of local people. research*eu results magazine — No 1 — April 2011 21 ENVIRONMENT AND SOCIETY © Vulkanette, Shutterstock INT-09-001_ResearchEU_N1_FINAL.indd 21 1/04/11 14:55 ‘A similar mission is planned in the near future for Indonesia and will focus on the latest eruption at Merapi,’ Dr Thierry reveals. Mount Merapi blows its top The Miavita project makes an im- portant contribution to volcanic risk assessment and management, espe- cially helping local people who have experienced recent events at Merapi. ‘The eruption of the volcano during the course of a four-year research project is an extraordinary event. It is tragic con- sidering the number of victims and dis- placed people, but it also represents an opportunity to make a step forward in our research,’ says Dr Thierry. During the crisis, Dr Jousset (BRGM) and Dr Boichu (Cambridge University) joined the Indonesian team to help ana- lyse data from the ground and satellite monitoring technologies. As soon as the information was received it was passed to the Indonesian partner organisation CVGHM to help assess and mitigate the eruption. Data, together with results from the United States Geological Sur- vey, were used to determine the vol- cano’s level of activity. This is the first time that the international community has responded in such a large way to combine their efforts following a vol- canic eruption. Large deposits of material from the Mount Merapi eruption have covered a wide area, increasing the potential for major lahars — extremely destructive mudflows formed from a mixture of water and volcanic ash. Professor Lavi- gne (University Paris La Sorbonne) is also collaborating with Indonesian partners to identify potential danger zones that are at risk of inundation from future lahars, which are a major risk during the monsoon period. Furthermore, following the main erup- tions, new equipment has been set up to help rebuild a high standard broadband seismological monitoring network. Today the alert level of the area sur- rounding Mount Merapi has decreased to 2 out of a possible 4 and local part- ners are assessing damage to buildings, soil and agriculture. French and Italian civil protection agencies are expected to visit the region in the near future to share their experience of crisis manage- ment with local counterparts. Project partners are developing guide- lines for multi-hazard and risk-map- ping on active volcanoes. They have also developed and tested new methods for monitoring volcanoes, through the integrated use of remote sensing and geophysics techniques including gas, seismicity and ground deformation. Vulnerability of soils and agricultural systems to eruptions is being studied in-depth for the first time in Europe and guidelines for the integration of socio-economic aspects in risk man- agement should be provided, including community based disaster risk-man- agement plans. Plans for emergency communications systems in isolated areas have been launched and a book on volcanic threat assessment and man- agement, created for decision-makers, scientists and stakeholders, is planned for 2012. Miavita has worked closely with local partners to enable scientists to gain a better understanding of the threat posed by volcanoes. More importantly, however, has been the achievement of improved safety for those communities living in the shadow of one of nature's greatest threats. Results of this major collaboration on the Merapi eruption will be presented to the scientific community at the next European Geosciences Union congress (EGU) in April 2011. The Miavita project is funded by the European Commission’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) under the Environment research theme. (1) ‘Mitigate and assess risk from volcanic impact on terrain and human activities’. Promoted through the CORDIS Technology Marketplace. http://cordis.europa.eu/marketplace > search > offers > 6007 The world is experiencing droughts with greater frequency and intensity. If the climate models are right, even more droughts can be expected in the com- ing years. This challenge of preparing for the future was taken up in the con- text of the Xerochore (1) project, which received funding from the EU. An extensive network of experts on water issues was assembled from universities, research institutes, government author- ities and relevant stakeholders. The scientific aspects of the problem were thoroughly assessed, including all aspects of the hydrologi- cal cycle. Recommenda- tions followed for several important issues such as addressing the weak- nesses and uncertainty associated with computer models. The need for re- liable short and long-term drought forecasts was also emphasised. In order to evaluate the impact of this natural dis- aster on both society and Preparing Europe for a drier future Guidance and recommendations evolving from a recent study on droughts are designed to make sure that Europe is well prepared for a drier future. research*eu results magazine — No 1 — April 201122 ENVIRONMENT AND SOCIETY - y r e- m so he dis- and © Dudarev Mikhail, Shutterstock INT-09-001_ResearchEU_N1_FINAL.indd 22 1/04/11 14:55 the environment, data was collected for a number of recent droughts. The methodology employed integrated concepts of water demand and supply management. Finally, the Xerochore team turned its attention to the role of policy in helping to avoid drought or mitigate its impacts when it occurs. The scope of the study extended beyond Europe’s borders in an effort to identify best practices from around the globe. Looking to share these important find- ings, several workshops and confer- ences were organised which were well attended by members of the European Parliament, European Commission and other high-ranking authorities. A guid- ance document and targeted policy briefs have also been produced. Finally, many of Xerochore’s experts will be continuing their fruitful collaboration through the European drought centre. (1) ‘An exercise to assess research needs and policy choices in areas of drought’. Funded under the FP7 specific programme Cooperation under the theme Environment. http://cordis.europa.eu/marketplace > search > offers > 5994 The EU-funded project ‘Governance and agents in institutional architecture on climate and energy’ (GAIA) set out to draw a clear map on the effectiveness of various ongoing initiatives on climate change and energy issues, both within and outside the UN framework. The project has examined actors and governance related to business, indus- try, NGOs, authorities, scientific net- works and international organisations. Subjects investigated included green- house emissions and environmental effectiveness of institutions in general. The results are expected to have an impact on the actual design of post- 2012 mid- to long-term institutional structures on climate change and energy. They will contribute to scien- tific development in such disciplines as political science and international rela- tions, and environmental policy studies. In its investigations, GAIA elaborated a set of scenarios involving a combin- ation of actors required for long-term governance architecture on climate and energy issues. For example, it found that solid agenda setting in this field comes from combinations of scientific institutions, NGOs, media and interna- tional organisations. The stronger the influence of ‘pusher states’, the higher the chances of effective negotiated set- tlements. In parallel, the stronger the lobbying of ‘insider’ NGOs the higher the chances of effective negotiated settlements. Initiatives in this direc- tion can be greatly supported by strong international organisations and aca- demic communities. Partnerships with NGOs and capacity building by international organisations are also likely to help compliance in developing countries. Collecting data about compliance from independent scientific networks is equally helpful for fostering compliance and govern- ance. GAIA’s findings suggested that multilateral commitments by states and business will be stronger if they were included in climate and energy nego- tiations. Certificate schemes are also recommended, yet with verification by a third party. Unsurprisingly, the project also con- cluded that shaming and blaming by NGOs, amplified by media and scien- tific reporting can build or reinforce state implementation. All these conclu- sions and others established through GAIA can make a solid foundation for the next round of climate negotiations and in tackling energy issues. Funded under the FP7 specific programme People (Marie-Curie actions). http://cordis.europa.eu/marketplace > search > offers > 5989 Reviewing recommendations and roadmap for climate change Climate change and energy-related issues have become a crucial part of our wellbeing and economy. But assessing true progress to address these challenges and proposing better ways has long been on the minds of academia and the public. research*eu results magazine — No 1 — April 2011 23 ENVIRONMENT AND SOCIETY © Gunnar Pippel, Shutterstock INT-09-001_ResearchEU_N1_FINAL.indd 23 1/04/11 14:55 research*eu results magazine — No 1 — April 201124 ENVIRONMENT AND SOCIETY Species are disappearing at an alarm- ing rate, threatening nature’s ability to provide us with essential goods and ser- vices like clean air and water, food, fuel, materials, climate regulation and flood prevention, to name just a few. Enter the EU-funded ERA-NET project Biodiversa (1), which is working to cre- ate a single biodiversity research com- munity in Europe. Biodiversa, which is now in its second phase, has received funding from the EU’s Sixth and Sev- enth Framework Programmes (FP7). Before the Biodiversa project came along, funding for biodiversity research in Europe was fragmented and funding agencies engaged in relatively few joint activities. Yet pan-European cooper- ation is vital for biodiversity research for a number of reasons. In some cases, the European scale is simply the most logical one. Project coordinator Dr Xavier Le Roux of France’s Foundation for Research on Biodiversity gives the example of invasive species. ‘By defin- ition they will cross borders and if you need to develop a management plan for an invasive species, maybe it makes sense to develop a European manage- ment plan, and not only a national one,‘ he says. New and emerging topics, such as the valorisation of biodiversity and ecosystem services (in which scien- tists attempt to quantify the value of biodiversity and the services provided by nature), are also best tackled at the international level. In these cases, it is unlikely that any one country will have sufficient expertise to run a research programme on its own; European col- laboration is essential. In addition, Biodiversa can support pan-European research projects of a size complemen- tary to traditional integrated project (IP) support by the European Commis- sion, and likely more suitable to create actual interdisciplinary work and stake- holder engagement. Today, Biodiversa links up 21 funding agencies in 15 European countries and is effectively constructing a European Research Area (ERA) in biodiversity research. Biodiversa’s core activity is the funding of biodiversity research through joint calls for proposals. Pro- jects are selected principally on the basis of two criteria: scientific excel- lence and policy relevance. The first joint call, launched in 2008, provided over EUR 14 million to 12 projects in the areas of global change and biodiversity dynamics, ecosys- tem functioning and ecosystem ser- vices. Projects funded are studying the impacts of climate change on bio- diversity; the use of fire in biodiversity maintenance; the effect of pollution, precipitation and temperature on peatbog biodiversity; the effectiveness of conservation areas and networks; and the impacts of climate change on insects. A second call, with a total budget of EUR 11 million, was launched in November 2010. Part of the call is devoted to the relationships between biodiversity and the ability of an eco- system to provide services such as food and water provision, climate regula- tion, and crop pollination, to name just a few. Although there is evidence of a link between biodiversity and ecosys- tem services, these links are complex and poorly understood. Biodiversa is also eager to fund projects studying new ways of placing a value on biodiversity and ecosystem services. Although a clear economic value can usually be assigned to the provision of goods such as food, fuel, materials and medicinal plants, the same cannot be said for services such as climate regula- tion or the provision of cultural services such as recreation opportunities. Finally, the call will fund projects that will address ways of developing policies that will both protect biodiversity and thereby ensure the long-term sustain- ability of a wide range of essential eco- system services. Looking to the future, Biodiversa’s members recently pledged to launch a joint call for proposals every year. ‘It’s a very powerful commitment by the partners,’ comments Dr Le Roux. Another recent development in Biodi- versa is the establishment of a common rolling research agenda for all agencies involved in the project. As well as set- ting out the key topics to be addressed by Biodiversa, this document will estab- lish the kinds of activities to be carried out and look at how to communicate research findings to policy-makers and others and how to make best use of research infrastructures, for example. Biodiversa — collaborating for conservation Species are disappearing at an alarming rate, threatening nature’s ability to provide us with essential goods and services like clean air and water, food, fuel, materials, climate regulation and flood prevention, to name just a few. © Tom Davison, Shutterstock © Tom Davison, Shutterst ock INT-09-001_ResearchEU_N1_FINAL.indd 24 1/04/11 14:55 Through the EMRP, they are helping to address the grand challenges facing the world today in diverse fields such as the environment, energy and health. According to EMRP chair Dr Jörn Stenger of the Physikalisch-Technis- che Bundesanstalt (PTB) in Germany, metrology is all about ‘good, reliable and correct measurements’. Further- more, measurements must be compar- able all over the world and at different periods in time. ‘Metrology affects all areas of our lives,’ Dr Stenger insists. For example, if we go to a hospital for a computer tomog- raphy (CT) scan, metrology ensures the radiation dosage we receive will be enough to generate the scan while remaining within safe limits. Simi- larly, if different parts of a car are built in different companies and countries, metrology ensures that the parts fit together in the assembly plant. National metrology institutes exist throughout Europe, and they have a long history of international cooper- ation, as the mutual acceptance of standards and measures across borders is essential. For many years, this co- operation was fairly informal. However, that all changed when the institutes rec- ognised what Dr Stenger calls a ‘metro- logical dilemma’. In short, advances in technology meant research was becoming increasingly expensive, yet national metrology insti- tutes’ budgets were at best stable and at worst declining. Since primary meas- urement standards must be at the fore- front of technology to be able to serve all stakeholder needs, metrology is very research intensive. ‘We agreed that only a joint approach in metrology research could help us out of this dilemma,’ says Dr Stenger. The group obtained funding from the EU for a project called ‘Implementing metrology in the European research area’ (IMERA). This project, financed under the ERA-NET scheme, allowed Europe’s metrology community to for- mulate a joint, coordinated research programme and determine the proced- ures and structures needed to imple- ment it. When the first IMERA project ended, the metrologists carried on work- ing through the EU’s ERA-NET Plus scheme. During this period, the group issued calls for proposals in four key areas: health, the international sys- tem of units (SI units), electromag- netism, and dimensional industrial applications. Projects funded in the SI units field address the challenges of measuring constants of nature to redefine SI units such as the kilogram and the Kelvin. The medical projects focus on, among other things, ensuring that diagnostic tests are precise and reliable enough for a doctor to decide confidently whether treatment is needed or not. The topic of dimensional matters covers everything from what constitutes a nan- oparticle to measuring the larger dis- tances involved, e.g. in manufacturing an aeroplane, where all components must be precisely fabricated. Finally, the electricity projects address various issues including the safe dose for elec- tromagnetic radiation. In 2009, the EMRP obtained article 169/185 status, securing the future of the joint research programme between the participating Member States and the European Union for a further seven years. Article 185 initiatives (which were formerly known as article 169 ini- tiatives) intend that countries integrate their national research programmes more deeply into a single European programme. Meanwhile the EMRP is already hav- ing a huge impact on the European Research Area (ERA), as roughly 50 % of metrology research and development carried out in the countries that have signed up to it is carried out through the EMRP. ‘The EMRP is not some nice-to-have, add-on programme, but is really impacting our core mission we have in our institutions,’ emphasises Dr Stenger. The EMRP is also generating interest beyond Europe’s borders. Countries An EU research programme that is made to measure Metrology refers to the science and application of measurement, and it impacts on our lives in countless ways. Today, Europe’s metrologists are working together in the European Metrology Research Programme (EMRP), which receives 50 % of its funding through the EU’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). research*eu results magazine — No 1 — April 2011 25 ENVIRONMENT AND SOCIETY The project is also expanding its geo- graphical reach; recent additions to the Biodiversa network include fund- ing agencies in Bulgaria, Lithuania and Turkey. For Dr Le Roux, the Biodiversa pro- ject has a key role to play in raising awareness among policy-makers and other stakeholders of the importance of tackling biodiversity loss. Ultimately, the projects funded under Biodiversa will ensure that future generations con- tinue to benefit from the many prod- ucts and services provided by healthy, diverse ecosystems. ‘It’s really of paramount importance to support biodiversity research,’ he states. ‘We hope that the activity of initiatives such as Biodiversa will help to sup- port people working in the field and also promote awareness of the fact that biodiversity is really one of the grand challenges.’ (1) ‘An ERA-Net in biodiversity research Biodiversa’. Promoted through the Research Information Centre. http://ec.europa.eu/research/infocentre > search > 19973 © Elridge, Shutterstock INT-09-001_ResearchEU_N1_FINAL.indd 25 1/04/11 14:55 The EU-funded ‘European Research Area on Ageing 1 and 2’ (ERA-AGE 1 and 2) ERA-NETs have made major headway in tackling these issues by consolidating research resources and know-how, and optimising the impact of research on policy, practice and product development. Thanks to ERA- AGE 1 and 2, Europe is providing answers to issues that weigh heavily on the minds of everyone. ERA-AGE 1 consolidated skills and knowledge to coordinate ageing research and got a multidisciplinary European Research Area in the field of ageing research off the ground. It helped Europe benefit from investments made in this field. Following on the success of ERA-AGE 1 was ERA-AGE 2, initiated to ensure the ERA’s benefits in the age- ing field in the long term. For ERA-AGE coordinator Alan Walker, a professor of social policy and social gerontology at the University of Sheffield in the UK, ageing holds a very significant place for the public and policy-makers. ‘Ageing is defined in various ways. The public and policy-makers tend to think of it in chronological terms, with 60 or 65 as the threshold,’ says Prof. Walker. ‘It is more helpful I think to see it in functional terms. What people are cap- able of or, in other words, what dam- age has been done to people’s bodies and minds over the life course. It is im- portant because the structure of Euro- pean societies is changing in a funda- mental way i.e. fewer younger people and more older people, with life expec- tancy rising year on year and so more very elderly people.’ Before the project’s kick-off, the ERA- AGE team determined that one of the biggest issues facing the ageing research community was the lack of coordin- ation of effort. Despite the involvement of various countries, ‘each country was following its own path regardless of how many times it crossed with another country’s,’ Prof. Walker points out. The headache was the huge duplication of effort. He also notes that there was a significant amount of concern about the lack of capacity among the next generation of researchers in this field. Enter the ERA-NET scheme, which was the best tool for ERA-AGE as it effect- ively brings together national research organisations, such as ministries and research councils, in a coordinated effort. According to Prof. Walker, ERA-AGE 1 and 2 contributed to the creation of the ERA in a number of ways. It brought together partners in a consortium to share knowledge and good practice in mounting ageing research programmes (creating the foundation for the ERA). It also launched the successful 'Future leaders of ageing research in Europe' (FLARE) postdoctoral programme which was designed to address the cap- acity building issue, engaging all major stakeholders (in biological research, medicine and sociology) in discus- sion about ageing research priorities. And finally it planned Europe’s first research programme in this field. that are particularly interested in the EMRP’s work include Australia, Japan, Russia, South Korea, Taiwan and the US. In addition, a number of research- ers from outside Europe are involved in EMRP-funded projects. Looking to the future, the EMRP is keen to address the ‘grand challenges’ facing the world today. It is asking stakehold- ers in a number of sectors, including energy, the environment and health, for feedback on the metrology problems that are specific to their sector. ‘Our community is convinced that it is a very successful research programme that we have launched — everything is running smoothly and IMERA+ is already producing papers and outputs,’ he adds. According to Dr Stenger, the keys to the EMRP’s success are the fact that the national institutes already knew and trusted each other and that they share a common mission, which is funda- mental to European society. ‘This is the basis of everything,’ he underlines. Promoted through the Research Information Centre. http://ec.europa.eu/research/infocentre > search > 19153 Ageing at the forefront of European research Researchers are helping Europe, and the EU in particular, to meet the challenges imposed on the region by an ageing population and declining birth rates. They are also tackling how fragmentation is affecting the impact and efficiency of international and interdisciplinary research efforts. research*eu results magazine — No 1 — April 201126 ENVIRONMENT AND SOCIETY © linerpics, Shutterstock INT-09-001_ResearchEU_N1_FINAL.indd 26 1/04/11 14:55 As for how the scientific commu- nity and the public are affected by the work of ERA-AGE 1 and 2, the benefits are many and huge. ‘Impacts include engagement of the wider research com- munity in the ageing research endeav- our, a sense of a European research community, focus on multidisciplinary approaches to ageing research, a new cohort of young researchers in this field and an identifiable European focus,’ Prof. Walker underlines. ‘The impacts on society will follow the research itself but already the FLARE projects are demonstrating impacts across a broad front — for example, new approaches to the alleviation of hearing loss in later life to understanding the ethical issues involved in the new anti-ageing medi- cines and techniques.’ While the future of the network is unclear, what we do know is that knowledge exchange and cooperation between multidisciplinary and inter- disciplinary researchers are proving fruitful for all Europeans, both young and old. Member States have recog- nised the importance of the area. The Competitiveness Council has asked the European Commission to consider launching in 2011 a Joint Programming Initiative on Demographic Change with which ERA-AGE has proposed to collaborate. With almost EUR 1.7 million in finan- cial support, ERA-AGE 1 and 2 brought together experts from Austria, Bulgaria, Finland, France, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Romania, Sweden and the UK. Promoted through the Research Information Centre. http://ec.europa.eu/research/infocentre > search > 19433 Suicide is a dark topic yet one that demands attention if effective interven- tion is to take place. The ‘Optimising suicide prevention programmes and their implementation in Europe’ (OSPI- Europe) project aims at evidenced- based suicide prevention combined with concrete intervention evaluation and proper implementation. With a consortium that spans 10 European coun- tries, the project aims are targeted at health stake- holders and policy-mak- ers. In accordance with the concepts founded by the European Alliance Against Depression (EAAD), a four- level approach has been adopted for a state-of-the- art intervention programme. This included educating guided practitioners through training sessions and videos, public relations activities, training sessions for commu- nity facilitators, and support for high risk persons after a suicide attempt. In addition to develop- ing the suicide prevention intervention programme, OSPI-Europe has developed instruments for assessing and evaluating primary, secondary and intermediate outcomes. Inter- mediate outcomes are those that not only involve patients but also their relatives and the general public regard- ing such areas as attitude towards depression. Models of intervention implementa- tion have begun in Germany, Ireland, Hungary and Poland. Additionally an official OSPI website was launched and numerous press releases have been published. Awareness of the issue is key, and with such major achievement already in place the current and future results of the pro- ject are likely to have a positive impact on related fields of research. Funded under the FP7 specific programme Cooperation under the theme Health. http://cordis.europa.eu/marketplace > search > offers > 5907 Towards better suicide prevention in the EU Effective implementation of suicide prevention programmes requires efficient evidence-based measures. This concept is driving an EU-funded project towards a multifaceted approach to one of society’s most serious public health problems. research*eu results magazine — No 1 — April 2011 27 ENVIRONMENT AND SOCIETY h , , - rt a p- on me, ed nd ary © Evgeni Gitlits, Shutterstock INT-09-001_ResearchEU_N1_FINAL.indd 27 1/04/11 14:55 But smaller construction companies don’t always have access to the tools and information to carry out the works ef- fectively. A European project may have the answer. New-builds are difficult enough to manage for construction companies, but when you add the need to respect and restore historical, potentially cul- turally sensitive, features in the build- ing, many firms struggle to find the in-house know-how. This can be costly and too complex for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which make up the bulk of Europe’s building industry, to manage. What is the solution? An EU-funded project, called H-KNOW (1), is putting the technical, organisational and functional pieces together for a collaborative website which will give SMEs access to relevant research knowledge. The resulting community of SMEs and research stakeholders will be able to share know-how and collaborate on projects. The methodologies, software and collaborative services and infor- mation management tools being developed by H-KNOW will facili- tate training and e-learning within the community, and the exchange of knowledge and innovation which will boost European competitiveness in the old building restoration sector. The main topics being tackled by the project include restoration tips for New tools for old building restorers The building industry thrives on careful planning and the latest software tools for streamlining its workflow. This is even truer of complex renovation and old building maintenance jobs. Industry, transport and other processes produce a range of chemicals that can damage important old buildings which are mainly found in cities. In addition, the mixing of these pollu- tants means the chemical composition of the urban atmosphere poses new threats. The EU-funded TEACH (1) project has identified the major critical pollutants and changing degrad- ation processes. The researchers have selected and tested the pro- tection offered by various acrylic, wax and polysiloxane coatings on materials such as marble, sand- stone and limestone. The team assessed existing instruments and developed new equipment to monitor and pro- tect buildings. From this they developed a cost-effective kit for assessing the outdoor en- vironment and forecasting damage. One new device they have developed measures the blacken- ing and discoloration effects of various pollutants. In addition, the project partners have developed the necessary electronic and software tools needed to support monitoring efforts. Using these tools and methods, the project has begun tests in six cities across Europe and the Mediterranean. They have also brought together representatives of relevant cultural heritage organisations and increased cooperation in the sec- tor. These activities on the ground are scheduled to run until the end of 2011. The results will help to shape regula- tions and strategies on pollution and help to preserve vital cultural treasures across the EU and beyond. (1) ‘Technologies and tools to prioritise assessment and diagnosis of air pollution impact on immovable and movable cultural heritage’. Funded under the FP7 specific programme Cooperation under the theme Environment. http://cordis.europa.eu/marketplace > search > offers > 5938 How to combat new threats to old buildings Pollution can damage historical buildings in urban environments. Researchers are developing new methods to protect Europe’s cultural heritage. research*eu results magazine — No 1 — April 201128 ENVIRONMENT AND SOCIETY Th ha po at h t w m © fomengto, Shutterstock h e n d r- ng li- hin ge ich ess tor. the for © palmaria, Shutterstock INT-09-001_ResearchEU_N1_FINAL.indd 28 1/04/11 14:55 A 48-month EU-funded project was launched in 2009 with the aim of providing companies with clear REACH risk assessment guidelines. The Cadaster (1) project is identifying assessment methods that minimise the need for animal testing, and trim back on costs and time. The project is examining alternative assessment methods, such as chem- ical and biological read-across, in vitro results, in vivo information on ana- logues, quantitative structure-activity relationships (QSARs), and expo- sure-based waiving. The concept of intelligent testing strategies has also been identified as a possible means of facilitating chemical risk assessments. Cadaster also aims to develop and test operational procedures that ensure transparent evaluations. So far, the project has successfully col- lected experimental data for chem- ical hazard assessments. Models for predicting the effect and properties of chemicals have also been identified. A gap analysis to identify essential, but missing, data and models has also been carried out. These exercises have already yielded results. For example, the project team has found that the amount of experi- mental data is quite large — the data- base already contains 7 027 entries of experimental data within the four classes of chemicals. However, only limited data are available for environ- mental risk assessment within REACH. Indeed, data on adverse effects for rele- vant species have been found to be especially lacking. The project team has also found that only a few QSAR mod- els specifically developed for the four chemical classes of compounds have been published to date. Finally, a prototype of a database for Cadaster participants to upload their models and make them available online to other participants has been devel- oped. The database builds upon the online chemical database and model- ling (OCHEM) environment, which is available on the Cadaster website. It is expected that, by the time the pro- ject is completed in 2012, Cadaster will have been able to demonstrate how businesses can meet the chal- lenge of quantifying and reducing uncertainty when it comes to chem- icals. The end result will be a prac- tical guide to integrated risk assess- ment for chemicals belonging to four compound classes. (1) ‘Case studies on the development and application of in-silico techniques for environmental hazard and risk assessment’. Funded under the FP7 specific programme Cooperation under the theme Environment. http://cordis.europa.eu/marketplace > search > offers > 5932 energy-efficient buildings, old build- ing maintenance, and how to restore cultural heritage objects. Halfway into the three-year project, H-KNOW has made the necessary preparations — including benchmarking state-of-the- art collaborative tools and develop- ing user and technical requirements — and proposed early prototypes and approaches to building the community. Creation of the project website (www.h-know.eu) has helped in these framing tasks and with communica- tion among the consortium partners. The project has also come up with four business cases to illustrate to the stakeholder community of SME build- ers and relevant research organisations the benefits of the overall H-KNOW concept. (1) ‘Advanced infrastructure for knowledge based services for buildings restoring’. Funded under the FP7 specific programme Cooperation under the theme ‘Nanoscience, nanotechnologies, materials and new production technologies.’ http://cordis.europa.eu/marketplace > search > offers > 5948 Ensuring chemical safety The EU’s REACH regulation requires companies to show that they can manufacture and use chemicals safely. Businesses that need to carry out risk assessments could benefit from guidance on how best to carry these out. research*eu results magazine — No 1 — April 2011 29 ENVIRONMENT AND SOCIETY © Alexander Raths, Shutterstock F C m t o o l © Al exander Rath s, S hutt erst ock INT-09-001_ResearchEU_N1_FINAL.indd 29 1/04/11 14:55 Work by EU-funded researchers will help make Europe a world leader in virtual organisations, the new, emerging business real- ity. It is a reality that will change how work gets done. Take Mark Kwan’s company in Frankfurt. It designs the logical functionality of video software and needs help from Soo Chen’s com- pany in Milan for audiovisual inter- faces. They both need Jemish Patel’s platform company in London. They put together software and hard- ware interfaces so a new type of video camera can work with editing soft- ware. They are in a hurry. For this pro- ject the three firms become one joint venture, working as a fully integrated virtual organisation (VO). They will col- laborate virtually. But this VO is much more than video- conferencing. Using a ‘contract wizard’ they are able to rapidly establish the legally binding terms of their cooperation. Their human resources systems link seamlessly, so the right people are assigned to the right job. The three SMEs work as a single company for the purposes of this one-time project. They can co-opt other SMEs or larger companies on the fly, if they need more expertise. At the end they can dissolve the VO, start on a new project, or another VO. This is a world where SMEs can self-organise into ad-hoc virtual corporations to tackle projects, take on markets and exploit opportunities that no single SME could do on its own. It is a big, big vision and it is a lot closer because of the work by the ‘European collaborative networked organ- isations leadership’ (Ecolead) initiative, a major European effort to lead the world in networked collaboration. ‘In ten years, in response to fast-changing market condi- tions, most enterprises and especially SMEs, will be part of some sustainable collaborative networks that will act as breeding environments for the formation of dynamic virtual organisations,’ says Martin Ollus, coordinator of Ecolead and a researcher at Finland’s VTT institute. ‘Collaborative networks of organisations provide a basis for competitiveness, world-excellence, and agility in turbu- lent market conditions,’ he adds. ‘They can support SMEs to identify and exploit new business potential, boost innov- ation, and increase their knowledge. Networking of SMEs with large-scale enterprises also contributes to the success of the big companies in the global market.’ Far-ranging Ecolead project was far-reaching and consisted of many direct and indirect impacts. It had a large work programme involving 27 partners and a budget of EUR 15.22 million, with EUR 9.75 million provided by the EU. Using these resources the project developed dozens of important tools and many pieces of key infrastructure. In the process the partners helped to create a whole new market sector for Europe’s ICT industry, a sector focused on collaborative networking, VOs and the even more complex community of networked organisations (CNOs). More importantly, software development for the European SME market is now a viable proposition. Few enterprise solutions target SMEs because it is a fragmented market of relatively small installations. But by creating a focus on the collaborative networking tools SMEs need, Ecolead helped to overcome this barrier. Virtual business enters the real world Work by EU-funded researchers will help make Europe a world leader in virtual organisations, the new, emerging business reality. It is a reality that will change how work gets done. research*eu results magazine — No 1 — April 201130 IT AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS IT AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS - s d- eo ft- ro- int ted col- © James Thew, Shutterstock INT-09-001_ResearchEU_N1_FINAL.indd 30 1/04/11 14:56 Ecolead’s work had direct application too. Five key strands created the framework for a VO-enabled world. First, there was an important, broad and very influential study of net- working and collaboration theory. Second, Ecolead devel- oped appropriate infrastructure and tools. Next the project developed three strategic processes to enable a sustainable VO ecosystem: VO breeding envir- onments (VBE), dynamic VOs and professional virtual communities. VBEs are the key element to prepare SMEs, typically con- sisting of companies that could potentially form VOs. ‘There are many groups and associations that have some of the characteristics of a VBE, but they are not particularly acting in this capacity. Industry associations and chambers of commerce offer a potential springboard for the develop- ment of VBEs. These potential VBEs have in their DNA the mission to support the overall well-being of their associ- ated SMEs,’ explains Mr Ollus. Here, software is the key enabler and Ecolead developed a series of tools and services that can be used together or separately. The assistance tool, for example, supports rapid creation of a virtual organisation which accommodates issues of trust, competency, and other factors to set it up. For performance, the project developed a measurement tool to record the efforts of each member. Over time this data becomes invaluable for matching SMEs in a VO. A con- tract negotiation wizard allows member to quickly estab- lish the terms of cooperation. Meanwhile an application service provider (ASP) model offers management tools to run the VO, without clogging up the IT infrastructure of member companies with ad-hoc software. There is collaborative problem solving support for trouble-shooting when something goes wrong, and there is an advanced collaboration tool that can match in- dividual competencies across the VO to specific tasks. Ecolead developed all this essential software infrastructure after an extensive theoretical study of the requirements. The work has become so influential that Springer has pub- lished two books about it. These results are real enabling factors for the adoption of ICT solutions in SMEs; VBEs and ICT-vendor companies will be able to provide Ecolead-compatible solutions. But col- laboration frequently requires a preparedness that usually is missing in actual SMEs,’ stresses Mr Ollus. But however many tools, services and supports Ecolead develops, SMEs will always require help at some point. For this reason Ecolead developed models of professional vir- tual communities. These consist of consultancy companies relevant to VBEs and VOs. These consultants provide the key services that are not available within SMEs. It was an enormous work programme, and Ecolead achieved its overall aim to create strong foundations and mechanisms needed to establish the most advanced collaborative and network-based industrial society in Europe. The project’s work continues, moreover; the ‘Collaboration and interoperability’ (COIN) project carries on this work, further underlining Europe’s commitment to be number one in this field. In the future business will be networked, it will be collaborative, it will be agile. Thanks to the work of the Ecolead project, that future is a lot closer than we thought, and Europe is leading the way. The Ecolead project received funding from the ‘Networked business and governments’ initiative of the EU’s Sixth Framework Programme for research. Promoted through the CORDIS Technology Marketplace. http://cordis.europa.eu/marketplace > search > offers > 5949 Watch this space! Coming up in issue 2 of research*eu results magazine a special dossier on ‘Energy and resources’: alternatives, renewables, generation, distribution...efficiency all the way! ‘The global market is pushing SMEs into cooperation with other SMEs and also with big companies in the collaborative network paradigm‘. research*eu results magazine — No 1 — April 2011 31 IT AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS INT-09-001_ResearchEU_N1_FINAL.indd 31 1/04/11 14:56 ‘Good luck came a-knocking at my door. Skies were gray but they’re not gray anymore.’ This is how Irving Ber- lin described his blue skies in the 1927 song of the same name. For many scientists working on far-out, curi- osity driven research, a good dose of good luck goes a long way. Curiosity, alongside the drive to seek out funda- mental knowledge, is a basis for blue sky research. The advent of computers arose from the genius of mathematicians and physicists long before anyone put together the first CPU. Today, scien- tists continue this pursuit of know- ledge without necessarily searching for a solution to a specific problem. It is within this mindset that some of Europe’s brightest are working towards new discoveries. But it takes more than just luck. It also takes deter- mination, drive and imagination. We found these exceptional qualities in Dr Calarco, who coordinates the EU- funded ‘Atomic quantum technologies’ (AQUTE) project. At just 38, he became full professor of quantum information processing at the University of Ulm with full ten- ure two years later. This on the back of a two-year post-doc stint at Harvard University. Today, he also chairs the ERA-Net CHIST-ERA scientific advi- sory board. He’s won numerous prizes and fellowships for his research, including the Marie-Curie Out- going International Fellowship of the European Commission and the ‘E. Wallnöfer’ Prize of the Tyrolean Industry Association. He’s published almost 70 articles in peer-reviewed journals and is often invited to give lectures and presenta- tions at international conferences. • In your view, what are some of the more engaging blue sky research undertaken in the EU? And how do you see this developing in Europe in the near future? Looking at physics and interdiscip- linary related fields, I think the big- gest and most exciting developments are taking place at the smallest scale. From the technological side, this is a consequence of miniaturisation that has been going on at a steady pace in electronic devices for decades. Even Gordon Moore, who created in 1965 the law that bears his name, not- ing that the number of components in integrated circuits had doubled every year from the invention of the inte- grated circuit, could hardly have imag- ined how far into the future this trend would extend. As a matter of fact, he envisioned it to continue ‘for at least ten years’, while it has basically lasted until now. And here is where the exciting part takes place — hitting the atomic scale is a roadblock in terms of conventional semiconductor technology. But it opens up entirely new horizons in term of blue sky research because the behaviour of systems at that scale is entirely domi- nated by the laws of quantum mechan- ics. It gives us the unprecedented possi- bility to observe directly the completely counterintuitive phenomena that take place in the quantum world. This does not involve just quantum information processing, but photonic and atomic- scale technologies in general. Europe is extremely well positioned to take advantage of these developments, as European groups are at the moment among the world leaders in these fields. Until now, European and national fund- ing has been supporting this process with a very effective synergy. The big open question is to which extent this will continue in the future, in particular throughout the Eighth Framework Programme. • Quantum computing is often cited as the next big step towards infinitely faster processors. Yet, for the moment, experiments in the field have only been able to demonstrate that the idea of quantum computing is valid. Why, after all these decades, are we still in this preliminary stage? Because maintaining physical sys- tems under the conditions that allow for truly quantum behaviour is an extremely delicate business — to use a classical metaphor, it’s like preserving a snowball in the middle of hell! In more technical terms, quantum coherence — the feature that is essential for obtain- ing quantum computing speed-up — is rapidly degraded via interaction with the environment surrounding a phys- ical system, and this effect becomes more and more dramatic as the size of the system itself increases. This is why, while we can perform very simple calculations like dividing 15 by 3 on a , - f e n in en Dr Tommaso Calarco ©Tommaso Calarco Interview Curiosity-driven research Europe is a leader in blue sky research. And the quest to unravel secrets on the atomic scale through the laws of quantum mechanics is one of its most exciting undertakings, says Dr Tommaso Calarco, professor at the University of Ulm and coordinator of AQUTE. Dr Calarco answers this month’s research*eu results magazine’s questions. 'To me, it is mind-boggling that paradoxical quantum phenomena, once regarded as almost philosophical speculations, can now be observed and manipulated almost on a routine basis.' research*eu results magazine — No 1 — April 201132 IT AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS INT-09-001_ResearchEU_N1_FINAL.indd 32 1/04/11 14:56 quantum computer, going bigger is a huge challenge. In fact, the scalability of quantum com- puting systems is the major challenge faced in the field today. On the other hand, if we think of time scales, it helps to remember that the quantum computing adventure kicked off only 15 years ago, and that we shouldn’t measure progress with the standards of the present-day microelec- tronics era. Rather, we should compare it to the times when a transistor was several millimetres in size. It took sev- eral years to conceive and develop the integrated circuits that are so pervasive today — remember back in 1943, T. J. Watson, then president of IBM, alleg- edly stated ‘I think there is a world mar- ket for maybe five computers’. To take another very descriptive ex- ample, it took about 50 years since the discovery of quantum theory to con- ceive and realise the laser, and 50 more to bring it to such widespread use today. The first application scientists could envision for a laser was to pop a bal- loon enclosed within a bigger inflated balloon without damaging the outer one! We may laugh at such statements as they appear completely naive, but obviously this is the case only a poste- riori, with today’s knowledge that took decades to develop. As a matter of fact, the progress that has been achieved over the last 15 years in the field of quan- tum physics is simply astonish- ing. I can still remember the first conference I attended as an undergraduate student on what was then called ‘foundations of quantum mechanics’, where a colleague presented the first the- oretical concept of quantum tele- portation. Even among specialists, this was regarded as something very speculative. Barely three years later, three research groups in Aus- tria, Italy and the US independently made it happen in the lab, and now it is possible to achieve it over dis- tances of several tens of kilometres. And the next step is to make it work via a satellite link to enable global- scale quantum communications — this is already being planned. Of course, quantum computing tech- nologies are still much less advanced than that. But first prototypes of spe- cial-purpose quantum computers, namely quantum simulators able to calculate properties of materials well beyond the capabilities of existing clas- sical computers, are well underway and we are expecting them to be operational in a relatively short timescale. • Your project, AQUTE, is currently pursuing entanglement-enabled technologies. Can you explain some of the main objectives behind this research? And what do you hope to see transpire? The main objective in the field of quan- tum technologies is to exploit quantum coherence and quantum entanglement, the very same physical phenomena that lie at the core of quantum informa- tion processing and communication and represent its most basic resource, as resources for other applications in further fields of research. One big ex- ample is quantum sensing. The essential aspect here is the following: we know that quantum entangled states are easily disturbed by the interaction with their environment. This phenomenon, as discussed above, is really an annoying bug for a quantum computer, because it impairs fundamentally its operation if not properly taken care of. But there is an alternative point of view that allows us to turn this bug into a positive feature. Quantum systems are extremely sensitive to external condi- tions, so why not try and use them as high-precision measurement devices and sensors? For instance, one can turn the ability to manipulate single electron spins in dia- mond nano-crystals into the ability to use them for detecting extremely small magnetic field variations. This may sound quite technical, but it is some- thing that has enormous applications in medical imaging and diagnostics. Another example is the possibility of using entangled atoms for ultra-precise frequency measurements — and again, this may sound like stuff just for special- ists, but it is at the core of technological applications like positioning (i.e. GPS), where quantum technologies can allow for a big leap forward in terms of ac- curacy and precision. • How has European research funding/ policy helped in your field? What chal- lenges has it tackled? What improve- ments could be made? European funding has been instrumen- tal in bringing together the different scientific and national communities working in this highly interdisciplinary field. Physicists alone could not make research*eu results magazine — No 1 — April 2011 33 IT AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS y w - s. k l- — © klss, Shutterstock INT-09-001_ResearchEU_N1_FINAL.indd 33 1/04/11 14:56 Small companies often work dif- ferently than large ones in manag- ing knowledge. Generally, know- ledge management programs of larger organisations are expensive, relatively inflexible and unsuitable for knowledge-intensive SMEs in Europe. Traditional knowledge management focuses on top-down, detailed and tightly controlled knowledge reposito- ries. On the other hand, small knowledge-intensive Euro- pean companies practice ad hoc, people-centred work processes, relying heavily on the social structures of the company (i.e. the indi- vidual knowledge and com- plex team formations). This has led to a need for a next- generation knowledge management system that manages and promotes social structures. The EU-funded Organik (1) project is developing an innovative knowledge management approach, consisting of theoretical knowledge management foundation and technol- ogy of business social software appli- cations. The approach deploys a new breed of digital environments, such as Web 2.0, for generating, sharing and refining organisational knowledge. As a result, the participating SMEs can manage content and knowledge while allowing for informal, people-centred and ad hoc everyday procedures to be employed, upon which they heavily rely. Organik’s results with the develop- ment of innovative know-how, prod- ucts and services, as well as improve competitiveness. Organik is already applying the result- ing knowledge management capabil- ities among the nine participating SMEs and research partners from Ger- many, Greece, Italy and UK. The pro- ject team has successfully devised the system and has launched a prototype version. It has customised, deployed, and integrated Organik solutions in the SMEs partners. In its essence, the Organik technical architecture is facilitating research of data, retrieval, publication, and col- laboration. This is achieved through Super knowledge systems to benefit smaller enterprises Small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) are set to benefit from a novel knowledge management approach. The technology integrates new web tools yet considers human networks as well. it without the help of mathematicians and computer scientists to understand the foundations and the full potential of quantum-based information process- ing paradigms, as well as contribution from chemists and material scientists towards the necessary technological basis. Nor could a single country alone make it, because the broad spectrum of competencies needed for this undertak- ing is necessarily delocalised across the continent. In this context, the European Com- mission — and pre-eminently its unit on Future and Emerging Technologies — has played a pivotal role in enabling the necessary competencies to coalesce around a common goal and vision, which is laid down in the European QIPC Roadmap that I have the privilege to coordinate. The main improvement that is needed, given the scale of the ambition at stake, is to secure suffi- cient stability to the time horizon for the funding of these activities, as well as an even stronger synergy with national funding agencies and research agendas. • What drew you to this field? As a schoolboy, did you ever imagine you would be doing this? I had absolutely no idea about this. When I was in high school, I was actu- ally taught that atoms could not be seen with optical means. Ten years later, in my first month as a postdoc in Inns- bruck I visited the ion trap lab and looking through an optical microscope — merely a series of crystal lenses — I could observe a single ion trapped inside a vacuum chamber. It was very faintly glowing with a greenish light and looked a little bit lonesome, plus abso- lute obscurity was necessary to be able to make it out, but you could do it with your eye! I still remember this as one of the most impressive sights in my entire life... Even during my university years I was drawn to the field of quantum theory because I was attracted by its completely crazy and paradoxical aspects, which defied any intuition. Only later on — actually, around the end of my under- graduate studies — it started becoming clear that these apparently philosophical issues had in fact very concrete applica- tions, going much beyond what any of us would have imagined only a few years before. I still remember the day that I saw for the first time one of the papers that laid the foundation of the field, Ignacio Cirac’s and Peter Zoller’s proposal for an ion-trap quantum computer. I remem- ber that I was thinking to myself ‘boy, this is the thing I’ve got to do for a liv- ing’. My thesis advisor didn’t take me seriously at all, and probably I wasn’t doing that either... Having had the chance, just a few years later, to work together with those very people and to contribute — to a much more modest level — to the develop- ment of this very vision, has been for me a dream come true, and to a large extent it still is. research*eu results magazine — No 1 — April 201134 IT AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS k p h p o © YanLev, Shutterstock INT-09-001_ResearchEU_N1_FINAL.indd 34 1/04/11 14:56 Fast, reliable data communica- tion has become a pillar of techno- logical advancement and information exchange. As more complex data — such as audiovisual, educational or cor- porate — are being shared, accurate and rapid transmission of large amounts of information is vital. Both radio waves and copper wires have played an important part in the data transfer, from the days of AM radio and telegraphs to the digital and fibre-optic formats of today. While advances have been made as transmission became digital and could carry more information, there is room for much newer technology. One of the most up- to-date communications technol- ogies is known as synchronous quadrature phase shift keying (QPSK) transmission. It is much faster than current technology, both wired and wireless. When QPSK is combined with a multi- plexing approach (transmitting different streams of informa- tion through one medium), the results could mean spectacu- larly fast communication. One EU-funded project, entitled ‘Com- ponents for synchronous optical quad- rature phase shift keying transmission’ (SYNQPSK), has taken fibre-optics using QPSK and multiplexing to new heights. The project succeeded in vir- tually perfecting the technology and has spurred commercial ventures that will see it enter into operation. The trans- mitted signals generated by the project were faster than anything else available on the market, cost less than existing technologies, and offered very high quality in many ways. The new standard put forward by the consortium of researchers is ideal for metropolitan areas and long-haul fibre- optic communications. In addition to crisper sound, increased data and better video, the internet is expected to benefit from this technology in years to come. Funded under the FP6 programme IST (Information society technologies). Collaboration sought: further research or development support. http://cordis.europa.eu/marketplace > search > offers > 5973 advanced information retrieval, visual- isation, and navigation tools. The sys- tem encourages the publication of data by supporting the authoring, structur- ing, contextualisation and release of knowledge. It enhances collaboration by enabling the joint creation, shar- ing and application of information by knowledge providers and seekers. The latter is achieved through communi- cation, coordination, and community management services of Web 2.0 tech- nologies such as Wikis. Overall, the Organik consortium has generated significant results to support the ongoing advancement of European knowledge-intensive SMEs. This will facilitate knowledge collaboration and the efficiency of European SMEs. (1) ‘An organic knowledge management approach for small European knowledge-intensive companies ’. Funded under the FP7 programme Capacities under the theme 'Research for the benefit of SMEs'. http://cordis.europa.eu/marketplace > search > offers > 5990 The search for super-fast communications As files get bigger, software gets heavier and long-distance calling lasts longer, better communications technology is a must. A new, much faster standard for data transmission may be in the making. Telecom operators often do not see a viable business incentive to install conventional networks in areas where few people live and on terrain that elevates infrastructure and mainten- ance costs. Those who visit or live in areas like deserts or remote mountains simply cannot take full advantage of all the benefits affordable and reliable telecommunications has to offer. A new concept and method to deliver broadband based on flexible relays in wireless orthogonal frequency division Next-generation broadband for anyone, anywhere Getting access to affordable, reliable broadband and good mobile reception remains an issue. Difficult terrain, in particular, is a barrier towards efficient telecommunications that most enjoy in urban settings. research*eu results magazine — No 1 — April 2011 35 IT AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS r © Andrea Danti, Shutterstock l n © Image-Master, Shutterstock INT-09-001_ResearchEU_N1_FINAL.indd 35 1/04/11 14:56 Mobile and wireless technology has come a long way in recent years. Consumers are accessing huge amounts of informa- tion, communicating with each other and sharing media like never before. As their needs grow, so does the need for faster, more efficient wireless technology. In the meantime, devices are getting smaller while demand on their performance and power output is increasing. Enter nanotechnology, which could help change mobile communication to the better. The ‘Microwave amplifi- cation by spin transfer emission radi- ation’ (Master) project, funded by the EU, is currently exploring the poten- tial of spin-transfer nano-oscillators (STNO) to help upgrade wireless tel- ecommunication technology. These are minute structures driven by an electric current that emit microwave radiation. Master is investigating how to increase their efficiency and power output. At the heart of this initiative lie the chal- lenges of magnetisation and storing of magnetic data, which the project has overcome after intense effort. In light of this, a patent has been filed to safeguard the technology and ensure proper ex- ploitation channels. In parallel, the project has been bring- ing together highly trained scientists and engineers. Synergy between par- ticipants has helped put the European teams involved at the forefront of inter- national research. The quality of work performed has already been acknow- ledged through several publications, and if all goes to plan the technology will help take mobile communications to a much higher level. Lastly, the innovative microscopy tech- niques developed under Master will have a broader, long-term impact for nanotechnology on the whole. Funded under the FP7 specific programme Cooperation under the theme ‘Nanoscience, nanotechnologies, materials and new production technologies.’ http://cordis.europa.eu/marketplace > search > offers > 5921 Tiny devices may help reinvent wireless technology The advent of nanotechnology and minute circuitry is allowing European researchers to develop ultra-fast wireless technology. multiplexing (OFDM) networks is therefore required. One EU-funded project, ‘Flexible relay wireless OFDM- based networks’ (Fireworks), stepped up to the challenge. Fireworks set out to design and validate a next-generation broadband access (BWA) prototype. By using novel concepts like mesh net- work architecture and flexible relay- based deployment and cooperative communications, the researchers were able to enhance OFDM based WMAN/ WLAN technologies. To achieve their goal, they had to address two major issues. First, they needed to design advanced cooperative transmit and multiple receive (MTMR) techniques. Com- bined with hybrids of multiple- input and multiple-output (MIMO) and beam-forming techniques, the advanced MTMR would be able to adapt itself to any number of radio and network variations while simultan- eously maintaining spectrum efficiency and systems performance. Secondly, researchers needed to make the medium access control (MAC) flex- ible enough to handle both ad-hoc and mesh networks. MACs enable several terminals or network nodes to commu- nicate within a multi-point network. An ad-hoc network is a decentralised wire- less network that does not rely on pre- existing infrastructure. Fireworks managed to complete both of these challenges. During their research, they also developed a mechanism that reduces interference, created new algo- rithms for the OFDM relay system, and came up with a new way to optimally place fixed relays. The potential impact of their results could not only reduce investment risks of telecom operators but also lower all associated infrastructure costs. And the ad-hoc nature of the mesh network reduces the probability of network fail- ure. In the end, however, Firework’s in- novative research will stand to benefit the people most of all — regardless of where they work, visit or live. Funded under the FP6 programme IST (Information society technologies). Collaboration sought: further research or development support. http://cordis.europa.eu/marketplace > search > offers > 5943 research*eu results magazine — No 1 — April 201136 IT AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS © wrangler, Shutterstock INT-09-001_ResearchEU_N1_FINAL.indd 36 1/04/11 14:56 We are clearly heading towards the era of e-business. E-transactions have already laid the ground for electronic commerce and their scope in terms of applications is constantly growing. And as new opportunities arise, the way of conducting business is chang- ing too. Faced with the rapidly changing customer demands and the chal- lenges a competitive market presents, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) choose to share expertise and resources to survive the battle. Thanks to information technology such alliances are not solely formed between companies in their own neighbourhood. Unlike traditional ‘bricks and mor- tar’ companies, virtual organisations (VOs) which span national borders are being built. During the life-time of these dynamic alliances, old part- ners may leave while new partners are joining — all according to the business needs at the moment. Over the past years numerous pro- jects and studies have been carried out with the aim of establishing the technology and best practices to support these on-demand busi- nesses. This effort is visible in Europe through funded programmes sup- porting various projects in this area. A case in point was Trustcom funded under the Sixth Framework Pro- gramme. This project looked into a number of barriers hindering the migration of SMEs to empowered alliances, but focused on a gap in the management of risks. The established way of minimising risks and building trust is through service-level agreements (SLAs) between partners. Besides the obli- gations and the quality of service (QOS) promised to a client, an im- portant element of these contracts is the penalties implicated in case of non-compliance. For negotiating SLAs in a semi- automated way, Trustcom developed a generic framework of web ser- vices. This service-oriented archi- tecture (SOA) can run on a virtual, shared infrastructure, using physical resources spread all over the world to monitor their fulfilment in real time. It was designed to make business information such as internal busi- ness processes transparent and within reach. It has security and privacy implications as well — trust is essen- tial for any VO to work. That is why the Trustcom framework offers partners the choice to share only the data they need, not more. Furthermore, grounded in the experi- ence and expertise of lawyers, busi- ness and software developers, criteria were established to help identify part- ners that fail to fulfil their obligations. However, much more needs to be done before the technology is mature enough to be deployed on a wide scale. Legal issues also have to be ironed out, if com- panies are to take full advan- tage of the benefits promised — especially as most legislation today covers paper contracts, not digital ones. (1) ‘Trust and contract management framework e nabling secure collaborative business processing in on-demand created, self-managed, scalable, and highly dynamic virtual organisations’. Funded under the FP7 specific programme Cooperation under the theme ‘Nanoscience, nanotechnologies, materials and new production technologies.’ http://cordis.europa.eu/marketplace > search > offers > 5945 A virtual culture built on trust Today’s business climate is demanding and fast-paced. Companies rely on technology for a competitive edge. The Trustcom (1) researchers looked into the adoption of entirely new business models as yet another solution to improve their position in the market. research*eu results magazine — No 1 — April 2011 37 IT AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS Ho be ma on ha pa ta — t n © James Thew, Shutterstock INT-09-001_ResearchEU_N1_FINAL.indd 37 1/04/11 14:56 Satellite systems can help in the rapid deployment of telecommunications infrastructure where ground-based alternatives are no longer available, such as after a natural or industrial hazard. However, satellite phones and other heavy cumbersome devices are not always suitable for these situations. As a result, an EU-funded proposal was launched in 2006 to study, develop and validate rapidly deployable lightweight communications infrastructures spe- cifically designed for emergency con- ditions. The goal of the ‘Wireless infra- structure over satellite for emergency communications’ (Wisecom) project was to define the reference architecture of an emergency telecommunication solution, to be called Wisecom system. The project was split in two main phases. The first phase involved ana- lysing and designing the reference architecture of the Wisecom system. The second phase focused on the devel- opment and testing of this system, and vali- dating the key features. During the first phase, the team looked at issues ranging from clas- sical management of dis- aster situations to licens- ing and regulatory issues for emergency telecom- munications. These inves- tigations reinforced the necessity of a lightweight, robust and easily deploy- able telecommunication system to quickly restore local coverage with the most common wireless com- munication standards. Such a system would enable highly stressed victims and members of rescue teams to use their own well-known, personal tel- ecommunication devices to access the provided telecommunication services. The investigation phase identified the wisecom access terminal (WAT) as the Coping when disaster strikes One of the most crucial factors in dealing with emergency situations is time. Effective coordination between rescuers and communication with victims can save time, and thus save lives. Creative people are typically thought to be individuals working in solitude. Yet in today’s fast-changing business environment, teamwork is needed to achieve larger goals. Without adequate support, however, partners which are often geographically dispersed struggle to complete their joint task. A range of e-business solutions and virtual plat- forms exist on the market, but they are of variable quality and many rely on technology alone to support collabora- tive working. The EU-funded ‘Learning to col- laborate’ (L2C) project was launched to address the wider need for corpo- rate learning solutions that help peo- ple develop the skills needed to col- laborate more effectively. A working prototype of a next-generation com- puter-supported learning system was implemented to provide an intensive and game-like learning experience. This series of software tools for the development of collaborative compe- tencies is L2C’s most tangible result. In creating its open platform, which is suitable for a broad range of simulated exercises, the L2C team drew on lessons offered by top business schools to man- age change and innovation. Funded under the FP6 programme IST (Information society technologies). Collaboration sought: information exchange/training. http://cordis.europa.eu/marketplace > search > offers > 5930 Learning to collaborate…virtually We know we need to collaborate to achieve common business goals. We have the tools to do it, but how can we get the full potential of collaboration among members of globally dispersed teams? A European project worked to provide the best corporate learning solutions to help develop the necessary skills and attitudes. research*eu results magazine — No 1 — April 201138 IT AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS © tommistock, Shutterstock - e , - n © Chris P., Shutterstock INT-09-001_ResearchEU_N1_FINAL.indd 38 1/04/11 14:56 Developments in science and tech- nology can also be used for harmful purposes; computer hackers can cause widespread disruption, while bioter- rorists could release a deadly virus into the population. The aim of the EU-funded project Festos (1), which began in 2009, is to identify and assess the security threats posed by the abuse of emerging technologies and propose ways of addressing these threats. The project team has car- ried out horizon-scanning activities to pick up emerg- ing trends and new drivers of change in the next two decades. The team focused in par- ticular on 80 technologies from the fields of robotics, information and communica- tion technologies (ICTs), new materials, nanotechnologies and biotechnologies. This analysis was comple- mented by a global expert sur- vey which uncovered insights regarding the risk and severity of abuse of given technologies. Festos identified three broad cat- egories of potential threat: mali- cious disruption (i.e. communi- cation jamming); easier access to technologies once reserved for the likes of the military or authorities (i.e. signal interceptors); and misuse of technologies designed for good pur- poses (i.e. toy robots). Elsewhere, the Festos project embarked on discussions with stake- holders about how to prevent know- ledge falling into the wrong hands. This controversial issue involves a trade-off between security, human rights and the freedom to create knowledge. Meanwhile the Festos team is con- tinuing to work on threat scenarios and related early warning procedures. (1) ‘Foresight of evolving security threats posed by emerging technologies’. Funded under the FP7 specific programme Cooperation under the theme Security. http://cordis.europa.eu/marketplace > search > offers > 5979 critical device for emergency telecom- munication. As this device would be carried to the place of the disaster, it had to be light and as small as a suitcase. In addition, it needed to be resistant to shock, water, humidity, dust and heat. The integration of satellites with ter- restrial technologies also needed to be taken into account. The Wisecom pro- ject came up with a solution that could be easily upgraded to fit with upcom- ing technologies, and accommodate the complex interactions between rescue teams and different service providers. Testing and validation was then carried out. The project succeeded in integrating several terrestrial mobile radio net- works over lightweight and rapidly deployable satellite systems, designed specifically for public safety commu- nication. The targeted infrastructure, covering bi-directional communica- tion needs for voice and data, is scal- able and works for limited user group up to a larger group. What is more, the equipment can easily be carried by one person. By facilitating effective communica- tion to and from citizens and enabling rapidly deployable emergency telecom- munications systems, the Wisecom pro- ject could help save lives. Funded under the FP6 programme IST (Information society technologies). Collaboration sought: further research or development support. http://cordis.europa.eu/marketplace > search > offers > 5910 Emerging technologies — do they pose a security risk? While most technologies are developed with good intentions, if they fall into the wrong hands there can be serious consequences. European researchers are investigating the security threats posed by emerging technologies. research*eu results magazine — No 1 — April 2011 39 IT AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS © Pedro Miguel Sousa, Shutterstock s © Pe dro Miguel Sousa, Shutte rstock INT-09-001_ResearchEU_N1_FINAL.indd 39 1/04/11 14:56 Electronic devices are getting smaller but their power, speed and functionality is getting bigger. And with pro- gress in nano-electronics come substantial new oppor- tunities to develop more powerful microchips at smaller and smaller scales — a nanometre, or nm, is a billionth of a metre — and at a price that remains attractive for industry and for the end-user. Aware of this challenge, the European Commission gath- ered key players in the field — scientists from industry, research institutes and universities — to work together on advanced processes with the aim of developing ever- smaller microchip technology, 32 nm and below. But the laws of physics have not made this task an easy one. Moore’s law — named after Intel’s co-founder Gor- don Moore — states that the number of transistors in a microchip doubles every two years. Computer scientists are reaching beyond that limit by packing more functions onto a single chip. And European researchers are at the cutting-edge of the complementary metal-oxide-semicon- ductor (CMOS) technologies underscoring this progress. Beyond physical limits In 2004, the EU kicked off its campaign to take a lead in CMOS by funding an integrated project, called Nanocmos (¹), which acted as a platform for knowledge and expertise development. By working together, the participants cre- ated a vibrant, united research community in Europe ne- cessary to develop the 45 nm, 32 nm and smaller CMOS technologies. The encouraging results of Nanocmos prompted the EU to pursue its efforts and fund the ‘Pulling the limits of nanoc- mos electronics’ (Pullnano) project. Uniting those involved in Nanocmos with around 15 new academic partners, Pull- nano continued to advance knowledge in this challenging field. As a result of the project, 45 nm and 32 nm CMOS tech- nologies were rolled out, allowing European integrated circuit manufacturers to consolidate their position in the global microelectronics market. Both the 45 nm and 32 nm CMOS technologies have been taken up by the Eureka nano-electronics clusters. They developed a project, enti- tled Foremost (²), which successfully finalised work on an industrial version of the 45 nm technology in mid-2009. This technology is now used in production by the leading European chip manufacturer STMicroelectronics. The results accomplished by Pullnano are today under- pinning important innovation which is taking place in Europe’s R&D sector, leading to products and services in a range of applications, from communications and con- sumer products to embedded electronics in industrial applications. For example, the applications being devel- oped are used in new generations of i-phones, televisions, videos and audio systems, and a raft of mobile devices and portable computers. The Nanocmos and Pullnano projects have helped Euro- pean chip manufacturers to maintain their strong con- tribution to the worldwide microelectronics industry and paved the way for new challenging system-on-chip designs and their successful introduction to the market. The technologies developed by these successive projects are also now being used in a series of more application- oriented projects focusing on such challenges as energy efficiency, CO2-reduction and electric cars. Thanks to some far-sighted research funding policy, the Commission has helped European industry gain a valuable lead in a fast-moving and vital enabling technology. The results of which can be seen in the small but powerful elec- tronic devices that help us in our daily lives, at work, on the road and in our homes. (1) ‘CMOS backbone for 2010 e-Europe "nanocmos" from the 45 nm node down to the limits’. (2) ‘Fullerene-based opportunities for robust engineering: making optimised surfaces for tribology.’ Promoted through the CORDIS Technology Marketplace. http://cordis.europa.eu/marketplace > search > offers > 6058 Big steps in the nano-world revolutionise new products Not so long ago a mobile phone had the dimensions of a brick, laptops were not yet invented and tiny electronic devices in our pockets and embedded in our lives were still a figment of a scientist’s imagination. Nanoscience — the science of the very small — has transformed the electronics industry. And European research has been at the heart of this transformation. research*eu results magazine — No 1 — April 201140 INDUSTRIAL TECHNOLOGIES INDUSTRIAL TECHNOLOGIES © silvano audisio, Shutterstock INT-09-001_ResearchEU_N1_FINAL.indd 40 1/04/11 14:56 Romania, particularly its western region, has exhibited strong potential in the auto industry over the last few decades. By creating the right condi- tions and expertise, this potential has been transformed into establishing a formidable auto-industry cluster in the region. The EU-funded Westeer (1) project has promoted co-operation among regional development promoters, universities, research centres, enterprises and other stakeholders in the automotive sector, laying the foundations for promot- ing sustainable development based on stronger collaboration between research and regional policies. To achieve this, the pro- ject team established a cluster management unit (CMU) to pro- mote research-indus- try co-operation in the automotive industry. It set up databases on research and devel- opment and sup- ported the transfer of research results towards local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Mentoring of the newly established cluster by experi- enced European partners has also taken place, and involved the exchange of information and transfer of good prac- tices in cluster development. In add- ition, Westeer implemented a complex set of activities in support of a research- industry pilot project on fostering co- operation between research entities and SMEs. Project deliverables included a compre- hensive report on the sector, relevant databases, a roadmap on future stake- holder cooperation, and marketing ini- tiatives including a newsletter. Com- munication and cooperation among regional and international stakeholders was further enhanced via a virtual com- munication platform and through other communication tools. All this has resulted in improved under- standing and greater capacity for policy actions concerning the dynamics of the automotive sector at regional level. Enantiomers are pairs of molecules that, like a pair of human hands, are non-superimposable mirror images of one another. Therefore, they are identical in composition but not in form. Currently the pharmaceutical, fine chemical, food and agrochemical industries are showing great interest in enantiomers and in methods for their production. The initiative’s aim has been to create a combined approach for producing a number of target compounds and develop tools that are capable of evalu- ating innovative processes. Following suggestions by industrial partners, the researchers have selected 18 com- pounds to be carefully studied. One of the first and most important tasks has been to deliver sufficient quantities of the pure compounds to the different participat- ing laboratories, in order to provide a basis for the study. At the same time the consortium has been devel- oping theoretical models and appropriate tools for investigating ways of pro- ducing the different tar- get components. The most promising process routes can then be validated. The approach used by the Intenant project has combined two competing techniques and simplified the synthesis and purification of single enanti- omers. These compounds are of great value to industry and their rapid, reliable and cost-effective pro- duction will help Europe to compete more effectively on the global stage. Funded under the FP7 specific programme Cooperation under the theme ‘Nanoscience, nanotechnologies, materials and new production technologies.’ http://cordis.europa.eu/marketplace > search > offers > 5935 New production techniques for single enantiomers The ‘Integrated synthesis and purification of single enantiomers’ (Intenant) project has combined two different approaches to speed up the production of single enantiomers. Driving the auto industry in Romania Romania’s western region may soon emerge as a strong hub for the automotive industry, thanks to the efforts of an enterprising EU project. research*eu results magazine — No 1 — April 2011 41 INDUSTRIAL TECHNOLOGIES s r - - st an he ed nd nd © 47394373, Shutterstock r p © Rainer Plendl, Shutterstock INT-09-001_ResearchEU_N1_FINAL.indd 41 1/04/11 14:56 Biosensor technology has made sig- nificant advances over the past 20 years. The sector still holds enormous potential for the future, however, par- ticularly in the fields of environmental monitoring, industrial and food pro- cessing and health care. The EU-funded Biolift (1) project has employed a new technique for devel- oping biosensors that do not require the use of biological labelling. Pro- ject partners have successfully used the ‘Laser-induced forward transfer’ (LIFT) technique to deposit biomol- ecules on the surface of the sensor. Use of the LIFT tech- nique has enabled sample sizes to be greatly reduced while employing capacitive transducers that allow high sensitivity and low-power operation. Researchers began by first identifying an appropri- ate laser system and then optimising the laser pulse intensity. Scientists then selected the most suitable carrier for the material to be deposited and optimised the dis- tance between the carrier and the sub- strate. The aim is for the sensor to be used to analyse thousands of types of samples including proteins, different ribonucleic acid (RNA) strands and pathogens. The Biolift consortium has successfully designed a sensor that is both highly efficient and robust and can rapidly conduct analyses. Results from the project will enable European research to remain at the forefront of biosensor technology. (1) ‘Fabrication of capacitive biosensors using the laser induced forward transfer process.’ Funded under the FP7 specific programme People (Marie-Curie actions). http://cordis.europa.eu/marketplace > search > offers > 5905 Optoelectronics refers to electronic devices that produce, detect and control light and certain forms of radiation. It is a technology used in transistors, cir- cuits, imaging devices, lasers and fibre- optic communications, among oth- ers. Perhaps the best known example of this technology is light emitting diodes (LEDs), today used to illumi- nate anything from appliances to vehi- cle instrumentation. One area of this technology is called organic based optoelectron- ics, which uses organic compounds such as carbon. This makes the technology inexpen- sive, lightweight, flexible and eco-friendly. Thus, organic optoelectronics offer many advantages over traditional or inorganic counterparts. A consortium of research partners, backed by EU funding, embarked on a project to create what is known as an ‘Organic electrically pumped laser’ (OEPL). The project team used cutting- edge organic circuits and semiconduc- tors to overcome the main difficulties of the new laser. Such lasers have a pro- found impact on science, technology and communications. They can be used in a variety of applications and are more effective than their predecessors and can interact with more types of mater- ials such as glass, polymers and silicon. It also led to region-wide consensus in support of the cluster development initiative. The resulting multi-annual action and business plan for the clus- ter is evidence of the project’s success, as is the significantly increased capacity at regional level to enhance science and technology-based development, with a special focus on the automotive sector. Westeer has had a substantial impact on the policy and socio-economic environment in Romania’s western region which is bound to have a long- term effect on the pattern of economic development, the region’s overall eco- nomic performance and its integration into relevant European structures and networks. (1) ‘Support actions for the emergence of a research driven automotive cluster in west Romania’. Funded under the FP7 programme Capacities under the theme ‘Regions of knowledge’. http://cordis.europa.eu/marketplace > search > offers > 6035 Building smaller biosensors with lasers European scientists are developing highly sensitive biosensors that can conduct rapid analysis of very small samples of biological material. Optical lasers light up the electronics world Optical lasers with an organic edge represent the latest in the field of optoelectronics. These lasers developed by a European consortium are redefining electronics and technology. research*eu results magazine — No 1 — April 201142 INDUSTRIAL TECHNOLOGIES s n © Albert Lozano, Shutterstock y r © nikkytok, Shutterstock INT-09-001_ResearchEU_N1_FINAL.indd 42 1/04/11 14:56 Not all plastics are equal. Some are stronger and more rigid, others softer and pliable. Some are easier and cheaper to make and some are more easily recycled than others. The EU-funded ‘Resource-efficient self-reinforced plastic materials and processing’ (Esprit) project is devel- oping lighter plastic components by shaving the amount of plastic that goes into them by up to 30 %. But the trick is keeping the plastic strength and form while reducing weight. So Esprit set out to develop the next generation of lightweight, self-reinforced plastics (SRPs) together with the energy-effi- cient manufacturing processes needed to produce components from this fam- ily of materials. In SRPs, a polymer matrix is reinforced with high-tenacity fibres or tapes of the same polymer family creating a material with typically three to five times the strength and stiffness of un-reinforced polymers. This means getting more strength from less weight and no need for ‘foreign’ reinforce- ments like glass or carbon which affect the plastic’s recyclability. But there is a catch. Current forms of SRP, especially in commodity and low- cost polymers, are only available in sheet or fabric form. This restricts the range and types of components that can be manufactured. Esprit is working to remedy this by developing what it calls a ‘flowing versions of SRPs from com- modity polymers — polyolefin’s, poly- amides and polyesters.’ Key to this is the development of techniques allowing the selective melting of the polymer matrix without causing adverse effects on the polymer reinforcement fibre. Typically, it is expected that the materials savings will be in the region of 30 % for general plastic mouldings, but higher for com- ponents that have performance criteria dominated by material strength and stiffness. About halfway into the 42-month Esprit project, initial work has centred on ma- terials investigations and the characteri- sation and testing of possible polymer and additive combinations. There are some particular characteristics required from the basic polymer ma- terials which are different from most other moulding applications — melt temperature in particular. Esprit faces some several pressing challenges in meeting the demand for high-quality SRPs that meet diverse market considerations, applications, recycling options and processing equipment. Neverthe- less, progress is being made and the first round of materials have been selected — polypropyl- ene (PP), nylons (PA, including semi-aromatic PAs) and polyes- ters (PET). Whilst these materials were being purchased, modified and combined by the researchers, initial moulding trials were carried out using a ‘model system’ of PET rein- forcement and PP matrix designed as a framework for testing and refining the problems. There is still a lot of work to do but the effort will pay off. Self-reinforced plastics are more resource efficient, much stronger and fit-for-purpose as a component part than conventional polymers. They use less material to reach a particular spec- ification, but they require innovative new heating processes to form them into components, which include alter- native energy sources. And this is where Esprit comes in. Funded under the FP7 specific programme Cooperation under the theme ‘Nanoscience, nanotechnologies, materials and new production technologies.’ http://cordis.europa.eu/marketplace > search > offers > 5966 While both Japan and the US have been experimenting with this technology, the team managed to make important headway. Three patents were filed which leave the door open for possible exploitation of the results in the future, with a general consensus that the pro- ject results were highly successful. Dis- ciplines from physics to optoelectron- ics stand to benefit significantly, and the EU is already showing its leadership in this area. Funded under the FP6 programme IST (Information society technologies). Collaboration sought: further research or development support. http://cordis.europa.eu/marketplace > search > offers > 5974 Lightwight plastics with impact properties European scientists are developing lighter, stronger and more energy-efficient reinforced plastics for a wider range of applications. Industry and the environment are likely benefactors. research*eu results magazine — No 1 — April 2011 43 INDUSTRIAL TECHNOLOGIES r t © Sergio Schitzler, Shutterstock INT-09-001_ResearchEU_N1_FINAL.indd 43 1/04/11 14:56 Many of the complex materials used in industry — such as composites and p olymers — are derived from non-renewable sources like fossil fuel. This problem is exacerbated by an ever-growing demand for plastics and similar materials. The EU-funded Woody (1) project aims to change this by developing new materials based on types of wood that can regenerate easily, with the focus on maximum eco-sustainability. Several breakthroughs have already been achieved by this project, such as the development of novel fibres, foam types and resins to create new materials. Nanotechnology has also played a role in rendering these materials attractive to many industrial processes. Studies and tests have been conducted on separate parts of the composites, such as fibres and resins. Novel approaches to chemical and mechanical treatment of cellulose — the structural component of wood — have been undertaken to produce fibrils (very small fibres). This process has the potential to yield newer, stronger and more flexible materials and even textiles. Another research focus is on the ‘pro- teic treatment’ of cellulose, a method which holds much promise in reduc- ing the costs of both the raw materials Most people are familiar with the ultrasound technology (sound waves beyond those of human hearing) used to map images of foetuses in hospi- tals. The same technology has many other applications, such as welding and moulding plastics, because of the heat that ultrasound technology can generate. Sonoplast (1) is an EU-funded project that is working on a completely revo- lutionary concept of plastification and moulding for very small plastic parts. It is based on the use of ultrasound tech- nology to respond flexibly, reliably and cost effectively to the needs of suppli- ers for the production of complex parts. In more specific terms, the project is developing the first ultrasound-based moulding machine for the production of plastic parts at the micro- and mini- scale size. Development of this machine requires a new concept of mould and plastic feeding system that fits its ultra- sound and mechanical features. Thus, Sonoplast is working on the machine’s product design, mould making and injec- tion moulding, among other features. Previous trials have already confirmed that it is pos- sible to fill tiny cavities in a mould with plastic melted by using ultrasound tech- nology. The equipment provides heat for melting the polymer while pro- ducing the required filling pressure. Taking only a few tenths of a second, the energy provided by the ultrasounds also allows for filling the mould while applying signifi- cantly less pressure com- pared to the solutions currently in use. The new technology also eliminates the plastification unit, common in traditional plastics manufacturing. All these advantages help reduce cost and increase efficiency during production. The project had to overcome many challenges. It studied how ultrasounds affect the melting properties, and deter- mined how to achieve the best results in this respect. It also worked out all the details in developing a mechanical concept and novel moulding techniques for the ultrasound moulding machine. Sonoplast also developed a new feed- ing system, followed by process-control strategies and systems, including imple- mentation of a sensor system to ensure process reliability. Automation was also studied and incorporated, rendering the equipment as efficient as possible. In a nutshell, Sonoplast’s original aim — the development of the first ultrasound moulding machine for the production of micro and mini plastic parts — has been successfully achieved. The new technology positions Europe as a leader in manufacturing minute plastics, and will have a positive impact on a myriad of applications. (1) ‘New process and machinery for microparts moulding based on ultrasound excitation’. Funded under the FP7 programme Capacities under the theme 'Research for the benefit of SMEs'. http://cordis.europa.eu/marketplace > search > offers > 6069 The sound of plastic Moulding miniature plastic parts is costly yet important for intricate processes, technology and industry. Ultrasound technology is a new way of overcoming the challenge and simplifying these processes. Knock on wood In the future, novel wood-based composite materials that can be recycled and come from renewable sources may help to make polluting plastics obsolete. research*eu results magazine — No 1 — April 201144 INDUSTRIAL TECHNOLOGIES ma mo tio fea Pr co si m b n © Romanchuck Dimitry, Shutterstock INT-09-001_ResearchEU_N1_FINAL.indd 44 1/04/11 14:56 and the processing. Overall, the pro- ject aims to create materials that derive from different sources, are resistant, conform to different surfaces and pos- sess the ideal chemical properties. The interconnectedness of fibres in these new mater- ials — or matrix — is also being addressed. There are efforts to render the res- ins involved fire resistant. The ultimate goal is to reduce flammabil- ity and increase overall resistance. One of the main consid- erations in creating new wood-like composites is the core of the material, i.e. what lies between the ‘skins’. The project is examining efforts to create cores made from natural poly- mers. It is exploiting different mater- ials, mixtures of polymers and shapes for foamed material to be used in filling the core. While this is set to reinforce the composite, tests must be taken to ensure the compatibility with skins. The implications of such new, eco- friendly material will help the sustain- ability of industry, conserve energy and lower our carbon footprint. Since these new composites are more natural, their recyclability will be enhanced while pollution is set to decrease. Meanwhile, the composites’ novel properties and the lower costs will make production viable and keep both industry and con- sumers happy. 1) ‘Innovative advanced wood-based composite materials and components’. Funded under the FP7 specific programme Cooperation under the theme ‘Nanoscience, nanotechnologies, materials and new production technologies.’ http://cordis.europa.eu/marketplace > search > offers > 6013 The productivity and costs of tailor- made, small hydro turbines should be improved by 3-5 % through the application of a numerical optimisation methodology currently being designed by EU-funded scientists. Having received positive feedback from small EU hydro companies about the need for such a project, the research team selected different parameterisation methods for each turbine type, with best features concerning both the design flexibility and the cost-effective applicabil- ity for optimisation. The team behind the Hydroaction (1) pro- ject then selected flow simulation tools, which involved adopting and applying the ‘Lagran- gian smoothed part- icle hydrodynamics’ model. Thirdly, the team adopted hierarchical, distributed and meta-model assisted evolutionary algorithms to accelerate the optimisation of turbine design. The team noted that preliminary per- formance was satisfactory, and has con- tinued with the construction and adap- tation of three test rigs for the prototype turbine models, namely the action type turbines pelton and turgo, as well as the reaction type matrix turbine. The researchers believe that within 30 years most small action turbines installed in Europe could take advan- tage of the project results, thereby enhancing the competitiveness of Euro- pean companies and the EU in general. (1) ‘Development and laboratory testing of improved action and Matrix hydro turbines designed by advanced analysis and optimization tools.’ Funded under the FP7 specific programme Cooperation under the theme Energy. http://cordis.europa.eu/marketplace > search > offers > 6208 EU researchers to develop low-cost hydro turbines European researchers are developing a methodology for low-cost hydro turbines of up to 5 megawatts, which are more efficient than currently available models. research*eu results magazine — No 1 — April 2011 45 INDUSTRIAL TECHNOLOGIES T f i b © Georgi Roshkov, Shutterstock H fe h th t d m © Keith Bell, Shutterstock INT-09-001_ResearchEU_N1_FINAL.indd 45 1/04/11 14:57 The following upcoming events were selected from the event diary of the Directorate-General for Research and from the CORDIS event calendar. For further information on past and upcoming events, please visit: http://ec.europa.eu/research/events http://cordis.europa.eu/events Workshop on document retrieval A workshop entitled 'Diversity in document retrieval' will take place on 18 April 2011 in Dublin, Ireland. When an ambiguous query is made by a user, a sensible approach is for the infor- mation retrieval system to send back a diverse range of results. This is done in the hope that at least one of the inter- pretations of the query intent will satisfy the user. As diversity is, in general, an emerg- ing topic, there is no overall consen- sus which has been set on the various aspects of the field. The primary aim of this workshop will be to foster an inter- active, in-depth environment, with dis- cussions centering on four themes: - modeling ('What are the key compon- ents of diversification models?'); - evaluation ('How can a better evalu- ation experiment for diversification be structured?'); - applications ('What are the key appli- cations for diversity in commercial search?'); - presentation ('How should diverse results be presented?'). The event will take place at the same time as the 33rd European Conference on Information Retrieval. For further information, please visit: http://www.dcs.gla.ac.uk/workshops/ddr2011 Workshop on computational colour imaging A workshop on computational colour imaging will take place from 20 to 21 April 2011 in Milan, Italy. The workshop will present research that advances colour image processing, colour image quality assessment, col- our vision modeling and colour image reproduction. The scientific programme of the conference is planned to include both invited talks by speakers and con- tributions by participants. The event is intended for researchers and practitioners in the digital imaging, multimedia, visual communications, computer vision, and consumer elec- tronic industry, who are interested in the fundamentals of colour image pro- cessing and its emerging applications. For further information, please visit: http://www.ivl.disco.unimib.it/cciw11 Science and technology of graphene conference A conference on the ‘Fundamental science of graphene and applications of graphene- based devices’ will be held from 24 to 29 April 2011 in Obergurgl, Austria. The event will be devoted to the science and technology of graphene, advances in its growth and chemical processing, manufacturing graphene-based devices and studies of electronic transport, investigation of physical properties using various methods and emerging applications of this new material. Graphene is a one-atom-thick planar sheet of bonded carbon atoms that are densely packed in a honeycomb crystal lattice. It has a variety of uses in gas detection, transistors, integrated circuits, solar cells, capacitors and biodevices. The conference will also address studies of optical properties of graphene and their applications in optoelectronics, graphene manufacturing by mechanical and chemical exfoliation, synthesis and growth on metals and semiconductors. For further information, please visit: http://bit.ly/ajdKBq Second symposium on business informatics in central and eastern Europe The second symposium on business informatics in central and eastern Europe will be held from 28 to 30 April 2011 in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. The event will seek to integrate the sci- entific business informatics research mainly from central and eastern Euro- pean countries and to provide oppor- tunities for collaboration of researchers and professionals. The symposium will also seek to create new bridges — and build on the existing ones — for scien- tific debates amongst researchers in business informatics from this region. Topics are set to include: - digital economy; - business intelligence; - cloud computing; - new enabling technologies; - virtualisation; - curriculum content design and development; - e-learning; - virtual environments for education; - evaluation and assessment; - research and teaching methodologies; - frameworks and models for region- specific business informatics projects; - intellectual property rights and research innovation exploitation. For further information, please visit: http://www.econ.ubbcluj.ro/sbicee2011 research*eu results magazine — No 1 — April 201146 EVENTS EVENTS INT-09-001_ResearchEU_N1_FINAL.indd 46 1/04/11 14:57 Scientix European conference The ‘Scientix European conference’ will be held from 6 to 8 May 2011 in Brussels, Belgium. The event will be an opportunity to learn more about different science edu- cation projects in Europe, get to know the people behind the projects, and share expertise, knowledge and best practices. The conference is intended to give a thorough view of the potential and possibilities of the scientix.eu portal and community. Scientix collects teaching materials and research reports from European sci- ence education projects financed by the European Union under the Sixth and Seventh Framework Programmes for research and technological develop- ment, the ‘Lifelong learning programme’ and various national initiatives. The conference is not only intended for science, math and technology teach- ers, but other stakeholders, such as researchers, policy-makers and science communicators. For further information, please visit: http://www.scientix.eu/web/guest/conference Workshop on pervasive wireless healthcare A workshop on pervasive wireless healthcare will take place from 16 to 21 May 2011 in Paris, France. The average age of the population is increasing, while the number of people requiring care intensive medical moni- toring is not diminishing. This increases overall cost of medical care. Therefore, partially replacing the assistance of nursing staff by small health surveil- lance and communication equipment like sensors, networks and monitoring software could be cost effective and increase the quality of life for patients. Recent advances in technology have led to the development of small, intelligent, wearable sensors. These are capable of remotely performing critical health monitoring tasks and then transmitting patient data back to healthcare cen- tres over wireless medium. Such wire- less health monitoring platforms aim to continuously monitor mobile patients needing permanent surveillance. The workshop will aim to be a forum for discussing what aspects have to be considered to provide effective and pervasive wireless healthcare systems. The event will include presentations of theoretical and experimental achieve- ments, innovative wireless systems, prototyping efforts, case studies and advances in technology related to wire- less healthcare networking and systems. For further information, please visit: http://www-l2ti.univ-paris13.fr/~boudjit/MobiHealth Fourth international workshop on game theory in communication networks The fourth international workshop on game theory in communication networks will take place on 16 May 2011 in Cachan, France. Advances in information and commu- nication technologies are leading to increasing demand for networks that are self-organising, self-optimising, and autonomous. This need is generating new technical challenges that next-generation com- munication and wireless networks must meet. Due to this, game theory has recently emerged as a key tool in the design and analysis of next-generation communication networks. Game theory is a branch of applied mathematics that is used in a variety of areas, including: biology, engineering, political science, international relations, computer science and elsewhere. The games studied in game theory are well- defined mathematical objects which consist of a set of players, moves, or strategies and a specification of payoffs for each combination of strategies. The field of game theory can be used in a variety of applications such as resource allocation, network formation, routing, interference management, dynamic network operation, spectrum allocation, cooperative transmission, cognitive radio, security, ad-hoc net- works and the deployment of wireless agents. For further information, please visit: http://www.game-comm.org/2011 research*eu results magazine — No 1 — April 2011 47 EVENTS EVENTS INT-09-001_ResearchEU_N1_FINAL.indd 47 1/04/11 14:57 EN research*eu results magazine English To modify or cancel an existing subscription, please supply your subscription number 0:/-------- (indicated with your address on the routing slip) and tick as appropriate: Modify Cancel You can subscribe free of charge to the research*eu publications or modify/cancel your subscription through the website: http://ec.europa.eu/research/research-eu/subscribe_en If you wish to subscribe for multiple copies of the publication or obtain copies of back issues, please use the online subscription form. For single-copy subscriptions, you may alternatively complete this coupon in block capitals and return it to: research*eu, BP 2201, 1022 Luxembourg, LUXEMBOURG Subscription form Name Organisation Address Postcode Town/City Country E-mail Online services oﬀ ered by the Publications Oﬃ ce eur-lex.europa.eu: EU publications bookshop.europa.eu: Research and development ted.europa.eu: EU law cordis.europa.eu: Public procurement Helping you to better exploit new technologies: • supports interaction between research & business communities and society; • encourages technology transfer and promotes European best research results; • offers links to support organisations around the world; • helps you in promoting your research results; • offers helpful technology business tips, and more. CORDIS is a service provided by the Publications Office of the European Union. CORDIS Technology Marketplace: Connecting people with technology http://cordis.europa.eu/marketplace Introducing the latest research results: • a selection of the latest and best technologies emerging from European R & D; • a focus on key exploitable results in three sections: business, science, society; • a short presentation of each new technology with contact details. contact details. ZZ-AC-11-001-EN-C INT-09-001_ResearchEU_N1_FINAL.indd 48 1/04/11 14:57 al health monitoring tasks and then transmitting patient data back to healthcare cen- tres over wireless medium. Such wire- less health monitoring platforms aim to continuously monitor mobile patients needing permanent surveillance. The workshop will aim to be a forum for discussing what aspects have to be considered to provide effective and pervasive wireless healthcare systems. The event will include presentations of theoretical and experimental achieve- ments, innovative wireless systems, prototyping efforts, case studies and advances in technology related to wire- less healthcare networking and systems.