Publication date: 2009-12-04
The past days have been extremely important for the European Union with the Lisbon Treaty entering into force and the nomination of new European Commissioners by Commission President José Manuel Barroso. Against this backdrop, CORDIS Express takes a look at the potential new Commissioner for Research and Innovation. We also cover new science and technology agreements involving the European Community, new figures on cancer mortality in Europe, advancements in spintronics and a new world record set at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research in Geneva, Switzerland. Finally and Briefly, we contemplate scientific proof of a link between the Bible and casting shows.
News - Top Stories
Irishwoman Máire Geoghegan-Quinn has been named European Commissioner for Research and Innovation by Commission President José Manuel Barroso. Born in Carna, County Galway in Ireland in 1950, Mrs Geoghegan-Quinn entered the Irish Parliament (the Dáil Éireann) in 1975, representing the Galway West constituency which had been held by her father until his death that year. In 1979, she became the first woman cabinet minister since the foundation of the Irish state when she was appointed to the post of Minister for the Gaeltacht (the Gaeltacht refers to the areas of the country with a high proportion of people speaking Irish as their first language). She became Minister of State for Education in 1982, and also chaired the first Parliamentary all-Party Committee on Women's Rights from 1982 until 1987.
On 30 November, the European Community (EC) signed technology cooperation agreements with Japan and Jordan that will help identify common research priorities and areas of common interest, such as energy, sustainable development and environment. Mechanisms will also be put in place to enable wider science and technology (S&T) cooperation. The agreement with Japan provides for reciprocal participation in research programmes, exchange of researchers, and coordinated calls for proposals. The Jordanian agreement places emphasis on opening a new chapter of scientific cooperation between the EC and this important partner in the European Union's neighbourhood policy.
Cancer mortality in Europe has declined at a steady pace over recent years. New figures now published online in the journal Annals of Oncology show a drop of 9% between the first half of the 1990s and the period between 2000 and 2004 in the 27 EU Member States (EU-27). However, the researchers note differences between individual countries and also between the sexes. The average death toll per 100,000 people from cancer between 1990 and 1994 stood at 185.2 in men and 104.8 in women. Between 2000 and 2004, the number had shrunk to a respective 168 and 96.9.
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 research team has made a breakthrough in nanotechnology by discovering how to transfer magnetic information directly into a semiconductor. The new technique works by the generation and polarisation of spin control in a silicon-based device that functions at room temperature - the first time this has been achieved. The results of the study are published in the journal Nature. As opposed to traditional electronics, which uses the charge of the electron, spintronics uses the electron's 'spin' and manipulates the spin orientation. An electron's sense of rotation is represented by a spin that either points up or down. In magnetic material the spin orientation of the electron can be used to store information. The challenge for nanotechnology is the transfer of this spin information to a semiconductor, so that the information stored can be processed in spin-based electronic components.
Future of Research
A world record was broken this week at CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research) in Geneva, Switzerland, when the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world's biggest particle accelerator, accelerated its twin beams of protons to an energy of 1.18 TeV (a teraelectronvolt is equivalent to a million million electronvolts), beating the previous record of 0.98 TeV set by an accelerator in the United States. Operation of the LHC has just resumed after a year-long suspension triggered by a transformer malfunction in its cooling system which led to a leak of helium. CERN, the world's largest and leading laboratory for particle physics, originally intended to have the LHC functional again by April, but this date was eventually put back to November.
CORDIS, the Community Research and Development Information Service, is pleased to announce the launch of the Champagne-Ardenne Regional Service. The French region has chosen the CORDIS service to increase the visibility of research and development (R&D) activity taking place in the many fields the region excels in, such as agricultural resources, logistics and the metalworking, automotive, medical instrument, textile and packaging industries. Discover the research policy implemented by the region Champagne-Ardenne on CORDIS, the research facilities spread throughout the area, as well as a socio-economic overview. It will also enable you to keep up with the current R&D news in the region.
The Embedded Computing Systems Initiative Joint Undertaking (ARTEMIS JU) is organising a brokerage event for project proposals on 15 and 16 December in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. In March 2010, the ARTEMIS JU is scheduled to launch a call for project proposals. The aim of the brokerage event is to help interested parties the prepare project proposals and search for consortium partners. About 250 participants from all over Europe are expected to attend, using the opportunity to meet consortium partners and draft project proposals with starting consortia. The event will also provide an introduction to the Draft Annual Working Programme 2010 for the ARTEMIS Call 2010 as well as information on the Call 2010 procedure and timeframe.
The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) will hold its annual meeting from 18 to 22 February 2010 in San Diego, California in the United States. Under the title 'Bridging science and society', the meeting will offer a broad range of activities, including plenary and topical lectures by leading scientists and engineers, multidisciplinary symposia, career development workshops and an international exhibition. In addition, seminars will cover the following topics: translational and personalised medicine ('Evaluating and funding translational research', 'Genome analyses and sequencing to advance drug discovery and treatment', 'The road to personalised medicine'), marine sciences and society ('Does size matter? Rationales for large marine reserves', 'Marine spatial planning: a new approach for balancing ocean uses and ecosystem health', 'Arctic sea-ice loss: what this means for the conservation of Arctic marine ecosystems'), and history and future of laser technology ('Celebrating the birth of the laser: a look back after 50 years', 'Next generation of extreme optical tools and applications', 'Ultra-cold, ultra-fast and ultra-hot uses of lasers').
Calls and Tenders
The European Commission's Directorate General for Research is calling for proposals for the Marie Curie International Research Staff Exchange Scheme (IRSES). The call is part of the 2010 People work programme of the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). IRSES 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. While existing Marie Curie actions promote the mobility of individual researchers, the IRSES scheme is designed to establish or reinforce long-term research cooperation through a coordinated joint programme involving the exchange of researchers for short periods. The indicative budget for this call amounts to EUR 30 million.
The Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing and Advanced Materials (IFAM) in Dresden, Germany is suggesting a project for the development of nano-structured hydrides for hydrogen storage systems and system integration. 'Nano-structured metal hydrides are promising materials for the safe, compact, efficient and reversible storage of hydrogen,' the researchers explain. The proposed project will study the hydrogenation/dehydrogenation properties of nano-crystalline hydrides and test materials produced under realistic operating conditions in prototype storage tanks. Potential project partners should be specialised in the following fields: nano-structurisation of materials, materials characterisation, hydride tank design and construction, tank monitoring, heat management, system implementation with polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cells and/or system testing.
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.
Emission-free energy generation in mobile applications could make a considerable contribution to the reduction of global warming. The HYPOMAP ('New materials for hydrogen powered mobile applications') project aims to make headway in a particularly promising approach to this challenge: the electrochemical oxidation of hydrogen fuel cells. The project consortium dedicates their work to two main problems: materials for efficient and energy-neutral hydrogen storage and the electrochemical oxidation of the released hydrogen to produce electric power and water. HYPOMAP unites four partners including universities and the French National Scientific Research Centre (CNRS) and is scheduled for completion at the end of May 2012.
Finally and Briefly
Ever thought about entering a reality talent show? No? Sure? Anyway, if you ever do enter, you should hope to always be the last performer in the line-up, because this will increase your chances of not being voted off, a new study conducted by researchers at the University of Cambridge, UK suggests. Analysing the votes on franchised versions of The Idol casting show from eight different countries, Dr Lionel Page and his colleague Dr Katie Page found that contestants performing later in the evening were less likely to be eliminated than those who sang at the beginning of the show, regardless of their singing skills.