Publication date: 2008-11-28
The EU's Arctic Policy, the intensification of wind in the southern hemisphere, a link between Rhesus factors in the blood and acidity level in the urine and their effect on fertility, a virtual network for researchers and a new roadmap to the stars. Those are only some of the topics in this week's CORDIS Express. In addition, we will take a look at the landing of flocks of birds, two top events in Brussels and a new call for proposals launched for the Marie Curie International Research Staff Exchange Scheme (IRSES). Our tongue-in-cheek article in the Finally and Briefly section once again rounds off CORDIS Express, this time with insights into the power of love in the underwater world.
News - Top Stories
The European Commission has adopted a Communication on 'The European Union and the Arctic Region' outlining the EU's interests and policy objectives, which include energy resources, fisheries and new shipping routes. The region has increasingly been in the spotlight as a result of its rich resources that could help ease Europe's headaches about energy security. For their part, environmental groups have repeatedly issued warnings on how global warming and climate change, as well as human activities, are affecting the Arctic. This paper, says the Commission, is the first step towards an EU Arctic Policy and will be instrumental in shaping and implementing the EU's Integrated Maritime Policy.
Researchers from Germany and Australia are studying the effect of wind intensification in the southern hemisphere on the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, which has the largest transport volume in the world's oceans, to ascertain its effect on global warming. The study has been published online in the journal Nature Geoscience. The westerly winds of the southern hemisphere are responsible for moving about 140 million cubic metres of ocean water every second. This has a vital role in climate control as the interaction between the winds and current is responsible for transporting a small amount of carbon dioxide emissions from the atmosphere into the depths of the ocean, thereby slowing down the rate of global warming.
Researchers in Belgium and Switzerland have discovered a link between Rhesus factors in the blood and levels of acidity in the urine which could have important implications for male fertility levels. The study, which was funded under the EU's Sixth and Seventh Framework Programmes (FP6 and FP7), is published in the journal Nature. The Rhesus proteins are well known for their importance in blood transfusions, but a study led by Dr Anna Maria Marini of Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique in Belgium has found that the Rhesus protein Rhcg also has a vital role to play. Ammonium is a major source of nitrogen for plants and animals, but it is also a source of toxicity and is involved in regulating blood acidity levels (pH) in humans.
These articles have been taken from CORDIS News, a daily news service updated every weekday lunchtime. For more research and innovation headlines, go to the CORDIS News homepage.
Focus on Innovation
Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn have been instrumental in building social and professional networks all over the world. But do they work in the scientific world? A group of experts tackled this question by kicking off an innovative networking platform where researchers can connect with the click of a mouse. Being the first Web 3.0 Community available to the public, ResearchGATE is now taking the scientific world by storm. This latest platform makes applications available to researchers, effectively fuelling and strengthening cooperation and knowledge exchange across the board. Researchers already have access to a semantic search engine that processes abstracts to find similar ones on various databases, such as PubMed. The new engine also spotlights scientists, groups or group discussions that are related to the search query, ResearchGATE said in a statement.
Future of Research
The EU's ASTRONET project ('Coordinating strategic planning for European astronomy') presented its infrastructure roadmap for the future of European astronomy this week. The roadmap sets out research priorities over the next 20 years and presents a cost-effective approach to addressing them. The plan is supported by astronomers in 28 Member and Associated States of the EU, and reflects a high level of scientific cooperation in the European Research Area (ERA). The field of astronomy has seen unprecedented changes over the past decades, and Europe has been at the forefront of fundamental research. Major findings have come out of facilities such as the Very Large Telescope run by project partner ESO (European Southern Observatory), the Nordic Optical Telescope and the Hubble Space Telescope (a collaboration between the European Space Agency and NASA), to name a few.
A researcher from Hungary has developed a mathematical model that accurately reflects the collective landing of starling flocks. The study was part of the EU-funded STARFLAG project ('Starlings in flight: understanding patterns of animal group movements') under the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6), and is published online in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Starlings are an invasive species of small songbirds native to Europe, Asia and Africa. Dr István Daruka of Eötvös University in Hungary and the University of Geneva in Switzerland investigated the flight of flocks comprising around 200 starlings. In order to describe the birds' motion and landing numerically, he created a robust theoretical model of the intricate interactions between starlings during collective landing (the few seconds between horizontal flight and touchdown).
The 'IP awareness and enforcement: modular based actions for SMEs' project will hold a seminar on intellectual property (IP) management and enforcement for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) on 11 December in Brussels, Belgium. The seminar aims to raise awareness of the basic concepts and ideas of how to adequately integrate, manage and enforce IP rights. Another focus will be on cooperation activities between national patent offices (NPOs) and business intermediaries in an attempt to identify aspects of IP promotion and management relevant to SMEs. The event is intended for companies, trade associations, public administrations, international organisations and all other entities involved in the promotion, management and enforcement of IP in the context of SMEs, including chambers of commerce and NPOs.
An international conference dedicated to the question of how information and communication technology (ICT) can durably contribute to the well-being of all citizens around the world will be held in Brussels, Belgium, on 22 and 23 January 2009. Organised with the support of the EU-funded PARADISO project, the conference is motivated by the belief that ICT will play a central role in achieving truly sustainable development, more sustainable economic growth, more equally shared resources and ultimately the well-being of all citizens of the world. The 'ICT for a global sustainable future' conference will cover discussions on what is at stake and which ICT research areas have to be explored.
Calls and Tenders
The European Commission's Directorate General for Research has published a call for proposals for the Marie Curie International Research Staff Exchange Scheme (IRSES). The call is part of the 2009 People work programme of the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). The IRSES is a new type of action. It aims to strengthen research partnerships through staff exchanges and networking activities between European research organisations and organisations from countries with which the Community has a science and technology agreement or is in the process of negotiating one, and countries covered by the European Neighbourhood policy. It was first implemented in 2008. While existing Marie Curie actions promote mobility of individual researchers, this new scheme is designed to establish or reinforce long-term research cooperation through a coordinated joint programme of exchange of researchers for short periods.
In recent years the climate change threat has led to increased interest in Arctic and marine research. These are fields that Szczecin University of Technology in Poland specialises in. Looking for partner to join in projects under the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), the university's researchers offer their expertise in marine and freshwater diatom taxonomy. Diatoms are major group of microscopic algae, which can be used as a tool in paleoceanographic studies. With their help, researchers can generate a record of marine climate change and water mass circulation, sea level changes and anthropogenic effects. Beside long-standing experience in research in the North Atlantic and Arctic regions, Szczecin University of Technology's activities include research management for government, information dissemination through workshops and seminars as well as database and knowledge-management activities. The university has also participated in projects under the Fifth and Sixth Framework Programmes (FP5/FP6).
The CORDIS Partners Service publish partner profiles and find research collaborators to take part in EU-funded research, join a consortium or run a private collaboration in your area of interest. You can also search by profile type, programme and/or country to Find project partners for FP6 and FP7. To find partners for the Sixth Framework Programme, go to our FP7 Partners Service, which also features an advanced search facility.
The development of an observation system for the interior of the Arctic Ocean is the aim of the newly launched ACOBAR ('Acoustic technology for observing the interior of the Arctic Ocean') project. Using underwater acoustic methods including tomography, data transmission and communication to/from underwater platforms and gliders, the nine member-strong project consortium hopes to offer alternative observation methods to the ARGO array, which consists of drifting floats and can hence not be used in ice-covered waters. ACOBAR intends to fill in those gaps in the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS). In its work, the consortium will build on the achievements of other EU-funded projects such as DAMOCLES or the ESONET Network of Excellence. The six research and educational institutions and three small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) involved in ACOBAR will receive EUR 3 million in funding under the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7).
Finally and briefly…
Looking at the picture that goes with this story, you might think that it's going to be about elephants. Well, it's not. It's about a fish living in the lower Congo River called the 'elephant nose fish' (Campylomormyrus compressirostris, to you and me) and the electrifying way it finds love.