Publication date: 2009-09-25
Much of CORDIS Express this week is dedicated to food-related issues including a call for a change in the European food system, news on diabetes and important food research events. We also cover a scientific gathering in Argentina that aimed to tackle global desertification, the Joint Research Centre's (JRC's) Annual Photovoltaics Status Report, a new computer system that makes for safer driving and a new software that facilitates search and navigation of digital image connection. In Finally and Briefly, find out why sisters rule.
News - Top Stories
How significant is the role played by agricultural land use in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions? Huge, say the world's leading scientists for land management in vast dry areas. Gathering in the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires from 22 to 24 September to discuss climate change and the desertification of dry lands, the experts say that not only is prevention of desertification feasible, but it is imperative for the success of a new climate deal. The Dryland Science for Development (DSD) consortium organised the 'Understanding Desertification and Land Degradation Trends' event, which was held in connection with the Ninth Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 9) to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).
The European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) reports a considerable rise in worldwide photovoltaics production. Across the globe, production volume in 2008 increased by 80% as compared to 2007. This resulted in an output of 7.3 gigawatts (GW), the JRC concludes, in its newly published eighth Annual Photovoltaics Status Report. Europe's installed solar cell capacity follows the general trend, albeit at a slightly slower rate; it increased threefold to 4.8 GW. This was significantly influenced by the Spanish market, which augmented its installed capacity fivefold from 560 megawatts (MW) in 2007 to between 2.5 GW and 2.7 GW in 2008. This is mainly due to several successful demonstration projects.
Scientists from six European countries have developed a new computer system that allows vehicles to learn from driver behaviour. When detecting a problem in a curve or an obstacle on the road, for example, an on-board computer will generate an alarm signal, giving drivers additional time to react. These signals will be adapted to individual drivers' styles. The computer system was developed by the DRIVSCO project ('Learning to emulate perception action cycles in a driving school scenario') which was funded under the 'Information society technologies' theme of the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6). The project brought together researchers from Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Spain, Italy and Lithuania.
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
European researchers have developed software that will help users organise, search and navigate digital images collections. The IMAGINATION ('Image-based navigation in multimedia archives') project, funded under the 'Information society technologies' (IST) Thematic area of the EU's Sixth Framework Programme (FP6), sought to bring digital cultural and scientific resources closer to their users, effectively making it easier for them to obtain important information about images and image parts. Financing for IMAGINATION totalled more than EUR 2.10 million. The project partners anticipate that their software, ImageNotion, will hit the market in 2010.
Future of Research
A new report published by the European Science Foundation (ESF) and the European Cooperation in the Field of Scientific and Technical Research (COST) calls for Europe to take a new approach on food security. This new approach should prioritise health and sustainability in research and use a holistic view in policy making. Entitled 'Forward look: European food systems in a changing world', the report was jointly chaired by Peter Raspor of University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, and Rudy Rabbinge from Wageningen University in the Netherlands. They write: 'The past few decades have seen dramatic changes in European food systems. The next few decades may be as radical but the direction that future developments take can be initiated, influenced or mitigated when the right decisions [are made] by policy makers.'
Swedish scientists have discovered a significant difference in the structure and expression of genes that control human cell energy consumption between type 2 diabetes sufferers and healthy people. Published in the journal Cell Metabolism, the findings suggest that epigenetic changes in the body may contribute to the development of diabetes. The scientists from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden isolated the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) from the muscles of diabetes sufferers and discovered chemical marks that are not found in people who respond normally to rising blood sugar levels.
An information and brokerage day on call FP7-KBBE 2010 will be held on 7 October in Brussels, Belgium. The BIOCIRCLE project, in collaboration with the MEDA GO TO EUROPE project and the European Commission, is organising an event on the upcoming call for proposals under the 'Food, agriculture and fisheries, and biotechnology' theme of the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). The objective of the information and brokerage day is to bring together representatives from the Commission and research stakeholders, from both the EU and third country public and private sectors, and to provide a forum for discussion and networking.
In the frame of the European Federation of Food Science and Technology (EFFoST) Conference 2009 'New challenges in food preservation', a pre-conference workshop will take place on 10 November in Budapest, Hungary. During the workshop, several large-scale food projects funded under the Sixth and Seventh Framework Programmes (FP6/FP7) will present their latest findings and future activities. Amongst the projects are PathogenCombat ('Control and prevention of emerging and future pathogens at cellular and molecular level throughout the food chain'), NovelQ ('Novel processing methods for the production and distribution of high-quality and safe foods'), AgriFoodResults ('European initiative for a better use of the results of agri-food research') and others.
Calls and Tenders
The European Commission's Joint Research Centre has published a call for tenders for scientific and technical support on nanomaterials. The tender is divided into two lots: lot 1 will provide specific advice on fulfilling information requirements for nanomaterials under the Regulation on Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH). Lot 2 will be dedicated to specific advice on exposure assessment and hazard/risk characterisation for nanomaterials under REACH.
Coccidia are parasites that are common in poultry around the world. A coccidian infection or coccidiosis affects the intestinal tract of the animals and prevents weight gain and improved feed conversion. Since the infection is usually treated with antibiotics, there is a possibility of drug residues seeping into the human food chain. Gazelle Agricultural Co, a small enterprise based in Jordan, is looking to start a research consortium with universities, research centres and/or other small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to study drug-free feed additives to raise poultry without anitcoccidial drugs. Over the last decade, Gazelle has conducted extensive research in the field.
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.
While classical bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) or mad-cow disease has largely been brought under control, data suggest that there are atypical cases of BSE that threaten to reach the human food chain. In humans, prions, the responsible infectious agents, can cause Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease (CJD). The PRIORITY ('Protecting the food chain from prions: shaping European priorities through basic and applied research') project will attempt to improve our understanding of how prions get into our food, provide a better estimation of current exposure risk to humans and develop improved prion tests. PRIORITY is preparing for launch on 1 October and will receive EUR 6 million in funding from the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7).
Finally and Briefly
Have you ever listened to Sister Sledge's 'We are family'? Well, if you were already around to consciously experience the late 70s and early 80s (or have ever been to an 80s revival party), then I'm sure you have. Now, if Sister Sledge did indeed - as the lyrics continue - have 'All my sisters with me', she must have been one happy and balanced lady, according to recent research from Ireland.