Publication date: 2009-09-18
Environmental topics dominate the first part of this week's CORDIS Express: the effects of ocean acidification on marine ecosystems, offshore wind energy and geoengineering in the fight against global warming are in the limelight. This is followed by news from the field of grid computing, the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) and award-winning young scientists. Our news summary, as always, ends on a lighter note. In Finally and Briefly, we find the ultimate cockroach repellent.
News - Top Stories
The future of several key marine organisms is severely threatened by the increasing acidification of oceans. Two partly EU-funded studies now published in the open access journal Biogeosciences lend emphasis to previous warnings from scientists worldwide concerning this secondary effect of excessive carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Both studies were supported in part by the EPOCA ('European project on ocean acidification') project, which is funded under the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). EPOCA brings together more than 100 researchers to study the biological, ecological, biogeochemical, and societal implications of ocean acidification.
A new report published by the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) predicts that European offshore wind projects - both existing and planned - could soon supply 10% of Europe's electricity. The report, entitled 'Oceans of opportunity', was presented at the European Offshore Wind 2009 conference in Stockholm, Sweden on 14 September. The total of offshore wind energy projects that have been proposed and are currently being developed have the potential to provide over 100 gigawatts (GW), spread across 18 European countries, 15 of which are Member States. According to the EWEA, these 100 GW will produce 373 terawatt hours (TWh) and help avoid over 200 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions per year.
A new international report calls on governments and researchers to turn their attention to geoengineering to counteract the effects of global warming from greenhouse gas emissions, but not to overlook conventional climate mitigation strategies. In their commentary 'The Boundless Carbon Cycle', published in the journal Nature Geoscience, scientists from Austria, Belgium, Sweden and the US say the existing global strategies to mitigate man-made carbon emissions and address climate change have overlooked inland waters - a major component of the global carbon cycle. The scientists say conventional carbon-cycling models fail to explain the significant roles rivers, lakes, streams, reservoirs and wetlands play in the carbon cycle. The commentary was released in advance of COP15, the UN Climate Change Conference that will be held in Copenhagen, Denmark in December of this year.
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
EU-funded researchers have succeeded in establishing a platform for trading computing resources where standardised computing resources can be purchased and sold. The GridEcon ('Grid Economics and Business Models') project partners said computing could become a utility like electricity. GridEcon is funded under the Information Society Technologies (IST) Thematic area of the EU's Sixth Framework Programme (FP6) to the tune of EUR 2.35 million. Thanks to this commodity market platform, users can bid on available computing capacity or invite a tender for a specific computing time slot. According to the researchers, the platform developed by GridEcon enables this spot and future market mechanism. The GridEcon partners developed a virtual trading floor for computing resources. The platform allows validation of new market-based services.
Future of Research
Earlier this year, Belgian immunology professor Michel Goldman was named as the new Executive Director of the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) Joint Technology Initiative (JTI). Before starting work in his new post on 16 September, he spoke to CORDIS News about his career so far and his hopes for the IMI. A physician by training, Michel Goldman started his career caring for patients with kidney problems. His interest in research was motivated by the realisation that further studies were urgently needed if the condition of his patients was to be improved. Over the years, his research has covered the mechanisms of autoimmune diseases and the way adjuvants work in vaccines.
Young researchers from around the globe were named winners in the 2009 EU Contest for Young Scientists, a showcase for flourishing scientific talent held in Paris, France, this week. A total of 15 young stars were selected to receive prizes totalling over EUR 50 000, with first prizes shared by recipients from Ireland, Poland and Switzerland. A new prize for international cooperation was also awarded to a young scientist from the US. The annual contest is open to young people between the ages of 14 and 21, and represents part of a broader EU strategy to encourage students to pursue long-term scientific careers.
'The gender dimension of job quality' will be discussed in the framework of a public debate on 30 September in Brussels, Belgium. The event is part of the EU-funded RECWOWE ('Reconciling work and welfare in Europe') Network of Excellence that aims to develop an ongoing and structured dialogue between the research community, social partners, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), practitioners and policy makers in charge of labour market and welfare policies. Researchers will present their findings in Brussels to foster an open debate on key social challenges. This event is organised in collaboration with the Belgian Federal Social Security Public Service and the European Social Observatory.
The final conference of the EU-funded BITES ('Biofuels technologies European showcase') project will take place on 9 October in Bari, Italy. The event will summarise the results of the project and present a set of recommendations containing an action plan to further the adoption of biofuel chains in Europe. Potential participants include representatives of the biofuel industry, the scientific community, associations and organisations involved in the biofuel policy debate, agro-industry stakeholders and manufacturers of machinery for agriculture and animal husbandry. The project is an initiative funded under the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6) of the European Commission and promoted by five national associations, creating a network with more than 600 members.
Calls and Tenders
The European Commission's Directorate-General for Research has launched a call for tenders for a study on research and development (R&D) investments and structural changes in sectors - quantitative and qualitative analysis, and policy recommendations. The study will have to accomplish the following: analyse the current strengths and weaknesses of knowledge production and use in different industrial sectors of the European economy; identify factors (including effectiveness of policies) that either accelerate or reduce structural adjustment processes (both sector specific and common to all sectors); and analyse the effect of intra-EU investment in R&D on the sectoral structure of the EU economy.
The Faculty of Fisheries at Ege University in Turkey is looking for partners to study the occurrence, fate and effects of organotin compounds in marine coastal systems. Organotin is a chemical compound based on tin with hydrocarbon substitutents. The faculty's study will focus specifically on Tributyltin (TBT) in the Aegean Sea. TBT is an organotin widely used as a biocide in marine paints, for instance, and can cause irreparable damage to marine organisms. Target partners include interested parties from other European marine areas with expertise in ecotoxicology, degradation and fate of organotin.
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.
Developing generic quantitative risk assessment and management tools and strategies for landslides in Europe is the aim of the SAFELAND ('Living with landslide risk in Europe: assessment, effects of global change, and risk management strategies') project, funded under the 'Environment' Theme of the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). The 25 partners will be concentrating on five specific areas: improving the knowledge on triggering mechanisms for landslides, harmonising quantitative risk assessment methodologies, future climate change scenarios, technical and practical issues of monitoring, and providing a toolbox of risk mitigation strategies. SAFELAND will run until the end of April 2012 and receive EUR 6.61 million in funding.
Finally and Briefly
Cockroaches aren't bothered by much, wouldn't you agree? They sneak into our houses, feed on our food and waste. They can even survive for a while with their head cut off! What do you do to get rid of such super-bugs without knowing what their Kryptonite is? Well, I've got good news for you! Researchers in Canada might have found the ultimate 'roach repellent': Eau de Death.