Publication date: 2009-06-05
Research infrastructures and government policies are highlighted in this week's CORDIS Express. We also look into making superconductors, the link between potassium flow and schizophrenia, and how support for renewable energy may have a positive economic effect. After examining species survival in an era of climate change, we explain, Finally and Briefly, why domestic cats may not make good scientists or test subjects.
News - Top Stories
Many campaigns by EU governments to encourage people to eat more healthily have been carried out in the past decades with varying degrees of success or failure. Now, a new EUR 2.5 million EU-funded project led by the UK's University of Reading is cataloguing these campaigns to see which were successful and which were not and for what reasons. The three-and-a-half-year, nine-partner EATWELL project ('Interventions to promote healthy eating habits: evaluation and recommendations'), funded under the 'Food, agriculture and fisheries, and biotechnology' Theme of the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), will also look at how the public sector can market healthy eating to the general public and what attitude barriers it may face in different countries.
Researchers in Germany have managed to make the old semiconductor element germanium into a superconductive material. The findings, published in the journal Physical Review Letters, have implications for nanoelectronics and the development of novel computers. The study was partly funded by the EuroMagNET ('A coordinated approach to access, experimental development and scientific exploitation of European large infrastructures for high magnetic fields') project, which was funded with EUR 3.68 million under the 'Infrastructures' Thematic area of the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6).
An international team of scientists has identified a variant of a potassium channel that affects patients with schizophrenia. The results, published in the journal Nature Medicine, show how the expression of a formerly unknown form of a potassium channel is 2.5 times greater than normal in the brain memory hub of people suffering from this psychotic disorder, and is connected to a hotspot of genetic variation. Their findings could offer a new therapeutic target to combat schizophrenia.
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
A study on the impacts of supporting renewable energy sources (RES) on the EU's economy has shown that increased support for RES will have a positive effect on the economy and will create a significant number of jobs. The study, carried out on behalf of the European Commission's Directorate-General for Energy and Transport, is the first to assess the economic effects of supporting RES in detail.
Future of Research
European research ministers have agreed on a legal framework for the establishment of European research infrastructures. The decision paves the way for the creation of world class infrastructures that should help Europe to take the lead in a wide range of research fields. The agreement was one of several reached at the latest Competitiveness Council meeting which took place in Brussels, Belgium, on 28 and 29 May.
UK scientists have shown that wildlife conservation areas are crucial to saving species of birds affected by climate change in Africa. Their findings, published in the journal Ecology Letters, reveal that designated wildlife areas are an effective tool to help biodiversity survive the fundamental changes taking place on the planet, and indicate a need for greater emphasis on ecosystem protection.
The European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) and the Institute of Inland Water of the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research are organising the KAM Fall School Rhodes - Greece: Knowledge Assessment Methodologies from 28 September to 2 October on the island of Rhodes, Greece. This seventh edition of the school will present state-of-the-art tools and methods to address policy-related knowledge in extended policy processes. Lectures will cover methodological approaches that aim to combine two goals: extending the range of actors involved in decision-making and being transparent and open about the knowledge that is fed into a policy-making cycle.
A workshop on genomics in cancer risk assessment will take place on 27 and 28 August in Venice, Italy. The event will address emerging genomics-based approaches applicable to toxicity and cancer hazard identification and risk assessment. Special emphasis will be given to the development and evaluation of alternative in vitro models that have the potential to significantly reduce the use of laboratory animals.
Calls and Tenders
The European Commission's Directorate-General for Information Society and Media has published a call for tenders for understanding security, privacy and trust challenges in relation to cloud computing. The objective is to describe the security, privacy and trust issues in cloud computing and to provide an analysis for mitigation of these issues based on technology, legislation and policy. This is to be done for the short term as well as for the longer term, and with specific attention to the European context.
The Department of Physics at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain, is offering its expertise in the field of coastal evolution. Studying mainly the sedimentary coasts of the Canary Islands, the university's experts have been able to gain considerable experience pertaining to coastal changes. Their experience includes a variety of field work techniques such as submarine sampling, precise levelling in both beach and dune environments, measurement of Aeolian transport and use of fluorescent tracers. The department disposes of a lab equipped for sedimentological analysis as well as image processing.
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.
On 3 to 5 June, the EU-funded Co-Extra project held its final project conference after four years of studying the coexistence of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and their non-modified counterparts. Through looking at the question of coexistence from the scientific, legal, economic and social perspective as well as the traceability of GMOs, the large project consortium (51 partners) aimed to provide all stakeholders in the food and feed chains with support and guidelines in the controversial field of GMOs. One of the most important parts of the work was the creation of a tool to help stakeholders in the decision-making process. Co-Extra received EUR 13.5 million in funding under the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6).
Finally and Briefly
A team of scientists in the United Kingdom recently published a report about animals and their ability to understand cause and effect. In the study, scientists specifically wanted to find out if domestic cats could perform a task which would measure their ability to understand physical causality. Fifteen cats were asked to pull a string (How do you ask a cat to pull a string, you might wonder. - Nicely, of course.) with a treat on the end of it. This was done in three variations- a single string, two parallel strings and two crossed strings. In the latter two cases, only one string had a treat attached.