Publication date: 2009-10-01
This week's CORDIS Express focuses on the future, with just a hint of tropical flavours. Highlights include an EU-funded study of the world in 2025, the benefits of oranges and a new Commission communication on technology development. Further, EU-funded researchers are hunting down tumours using bacteria. Banana plants may soon provide a renewable source of plastic and new techniques could help limit repeat surgery for cancer patients.
News - Top Stories
The EU must do more to develop and deploy key enabling technologies (KETs) such as nanotechnology, micro- and nano-electronics, advanced materials and photonics. This is the main message from a new Commission communication on the subject. The term KETs refers to technologies that enable the development of new goods and services in a wide range of fields. For example, nanotechnology holds the promise of breakthroughs in healthcare, energy, environment and manufacturing, while micro- and nano-electronics are expected to lead to smart control systems that could revolutionise the energy, transport and space sectors, among others. And advanced materials could lead to major improvements in aerospace, transport, building and healthcare.
British and Portuguese researchers have discovered that vitamin C can be used to treat wounds and protect skin cells from DNA damage. Writing in the journal Free Radical Biology and Medicine, the researchers evaluated the protective properties of this ascorbic acid in human skin cells to determine whether skin regeneration could be improved. The positive results could give the cosmetics industry a huge boost. The researchers from the University of Leicester in the UK and the Institute for Molecular and Cellular Biology in Portugal said this latest study adds weight to previous work carried out by the Leicester researchers concerning vitamin C and its connection with skin repair.
Infamous bacteria impacting our lives are Salmonellae, usually found in chicken and eggs. But are they getting too much of a bad rap? EU-funded researchers in Germany may have actually succeeded in putting a positive spin on Salmonellae following the discovery that the bacteria can migrate into solid tumours and destroy them. The findings are published in the journal Public Library of Science (PLoS) ONE. The research is funded in part by the CLINIGENE and MIDITRAIN projects. CLINIGENE received funding totalling EUR 12 million, and MIDITRAIN was supported with more than EUR 2 million in financing. According to Drs Sara Bartels and Siegfried Weiss of the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI) in Brunswick, Germany, the bacteria can enter and destroy malignant tissue thanks to a messenger substance called 'tumour necrosis factor alpha' (TNF-alpha).
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 developed a technique that could allow surgeons to distinguish between cancerous and healthy tissue in real time as they carry out operations. The novel technique, which is described in an article in the journal Angewandte Chemie International Edition, could spare cancer patients from having to undergo a second round of surgery to remove tumour tissue that was missed during the first operation. EU support for the work came from the DESI_JEDI-IMAGING ('Development of mass spectrometric techniques for three-dimensional imaging and in-vivo analysis of biological tissues') project, which received a EUR 1.75 million grant from the European Research Council (ERC) under the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7).
Future of Research
After a year of work, the European Foresight Expert Group 'The World in 2025' has now presented their findings at conference in Brussels on 24 September. Meeting the challenges of the near future, they write in a new report, may mean moving towards a new production and consumption model, new rural-urban dynamics, and a new gender and intergenerational balance. The experts identified principal trends, tensions and transitions while highlighting strategies that may help policy stakeholders make informed decisions. They also say that competition for natural resources and shifts in wealth, industrial production and populations may lead to tensions over natural resources (food, energy, water and minerals), migration and urbanisation.
Around 25,000 tonnes of banana plants are dumped in the ravines of Spain's Canary Islands following the fruit's harvesting each year. But now EU-funded researchers are working on a new technique that should make it possible to use these plants to produce plastic goods. The ground-breaking results will help Europeans in their quest to develop new and sustainable means of materials production. The research is part of the EU-funded BADANA ('Development of an automated process to extract fibres from the waste of banana food production for exploitation as a sustainable reinforcement in injection - and rotomoulded products') project, supported under the 'Researches for the benefit of SMEs [small and medium-sized enterprises]' Theme of the EU's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7).
The CREATE ('Information and communication technologies (ICT) innovations in creative industries') project consortium is organising an international conference named 'CREATE: Connecting ICT research and creative enterprises', that will take place in Turin, Italy, on 4 and 5 November 2009. Sponsored by the Region of Piedmont, the event will highlight the latest in ICT innovation in creative industries and cluster development. Public, political and entrepreneurial stakeholders will be brought together through targeted workshops and discussions to identify new ICT development trajectories, research priorities and innovative business models. A matchmaking event for creative enterprises will complete the programme.
The second international PROMETEA ('Empowering women engineers' careers in industrial and academic research') conference on women's scientific careers will be held in Paris, France on 26 and 27 November. Organised by two French partners of the EU-funded PROMETEA Network, the Conference of the Deans of French Engineering Schools (CDEFI) and the French equal opportunities association ECEPIE, the event intends to: create opportunities of exchange between researchers, take stock of the situation of women in engineering and evaluate the impact of public policies and of new corporate practices on their careers, and encourage the emergence of new social models better adapted to the reality of contemporary social life.
Calls and Tenders
The Executive Agency for Competitiveness and Innovation (EACI) has launched a call for tenders for a dissemination and support initiative in the field of energy aspects of urban transport. The objectives of the tender are to establish and manage a service portal on the internet and to promote the take-up of sustainable urban mobility plans. Using the existing European Local Transport Information Service (ELTIS) brand and services as starting point, the first objective includes the take-over, further development and management of a service and information portal for urban transport professionals. The second objective is the acceleration of the take-up of sustainable urban mobility plans by competent authorities across Europe.
Organic milk and derivative products rank among the most popular organic food products produced in Europe. Inkoa Systems of Spain is looking to develop novel technology and management solutions that will not only improve sustainability and animal welfare, but also ensure product quality and safety. This will benefit low-input and organic dairy supply chains, while assuring consumers that the products they buy are animal- and eco-friendly. Inkoa is seeking partners from various backgrounds, including the organic dairy and information and communication technology sectors, as well as entities with experience in supply chain impact analysis.
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.
Funded under the Seventh Framework Programme, the MUSTANG ('A multiple space and time scale approach for the quantification of deep saline formations for CO2 storage') project is planning to develop and disseminate a set of methodologies and tools for the assessment and characterisation of deep saline aquifers for CO2 storage. MUSTANG partners are also looking to improve knowledge of the processes of CO2 spreading by means of theoretical studies, laboratory experiments, natural analogue studies and field scale injection tests. Observations at six sites representing different geological settings and geographical in Europe are part of the project.
Finally and Briefly
If you're going to vaporise, smite, zap with a magic wand or otherwise vanquish someone, a recent study says that it's best to do it to a person you don't know rather than friends or family. Not in reality, of course, but in the world of video games. Granted, I don't really play on-line video games. When I do, it's always me versus strangers. I mean if your brother is running the kingdom next to yours, you can't exactly go, take it over, and be happy about that. Can you?