Publication date: 2010-02-26
A new president for the European Research Council, the environment and aging are all themes in this week's CORDIS Express. Going further, there is a look at the benefits for migrating birds of being fat, the nexus of culture and science, and news on a study which shows that biogas generates 95% less greenhouse gases than petrol. Finally and Briefly, researchers look at when people are the happiest.
News - Top Stories
Austrian social scientist Professor Helga Nowotny has been named as the new President of the European Research Council (ERC) and Chair of the ERC Scientific Council. Professor Nowotny will take up her new role on 1 March. Professor Nowotny is currently Vice-President of the ERC and Vice-Chair of its Scientific Council. Her colleagues on the Scientific Council, which is made up of eminent researchers from across Europe, unanimously elected her to her new post.'I thank my colleagues from the ERC Scientific Council for their trust and I will pursue with vigour and endurance our common endeavour to make frontier research the dynamic element in confronting the challenges ahead,' she commented following her appointment.
A German-led team of scientists has given the thumbs down to an idea that would help tackle global warming by pumping clean water from the ocean floor up to the surface, effectively drawing down carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere. Computer simulations generated by the researchers show that the benefits of implementing the ambitious geo-engineering scheme are minor and the risks too high. Their findings are published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. Large-scale geo-engineering schemes are being touted as 'Plan Bs' in the event that governments around the world fail to meet agreements and reduce their CO2 emissions.
Birds with high levels of body fat take shorter refuelling stops on migration, allowing them to reach their breeding grounds faster and claim the best nesting sites, new research shows. The findings, published in the journal Biology Letters, highlight the importance of maintaining migratory birds' nesting sites, as the birds can only complete their migration if they have access to sites along the way that are rich in foods such as insects, nectar and pollen. Small migratory birds sometimes need to take a break to replenish their fat reserves, especially after crossing vast oceans or deserts.
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
An EU-funded team of researchers has developed an innovative system that helps Europeans with mild dementia take care of themselves. The COGKNOW ('Helping people with mild dementia navigate their way') project received almost EUR 2 million under the 'Information society technologies' (IST) Thematic area of the EU's Sixth Framework Programme (FP6). Experts say that short-term memory loss is one of the first signs of dementia. So while dementia sufferers are able to carry out tasks, they either do not know how to do them or forget how to perform them. Another symptom that affects dementia sufferers is loss of self-confidence. The more insecure a patient becomes, the more unwilling they are to connect with people socially.
Future of Research
How many times have you asked yourself what it would have been like to live in the ancient world, to walk among and live in buildings that only grace the pages of our history books? State-of-the-art technology developed by the Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics Research (IGD) in Germany gives us the chance to imagine just what it was like. The researchers' digital technology enhances real images on a virtual tour through ancient buildings. The end result is a dramatic tour experience for museum visitors.
What do you think is more toxic to the environment? Petrol or biogas? New research from Sweden shows that petrol is more harmful since biogas from refuse generates 95% less greenhouse gas emissions; previously the figure was thought to be 80%. Giving an even stronger edge to biogas is the revelation that a few tweaks to biogas plants could boost this level to 120%, rendering biogas more than climate neutral. Researchers from Lund University in Sweden analysed a biogas plant in Scania on behalf of the Swedish Energy Agency to determine production emissions. The analysis performed at this plant will help researchers to further investigate and optimise other biogas facilities.
A conference on the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) in Spain, entitled 'The European research and technology development (RTD) framework programmes: from economic recovery to sustainability', will be held on 13 and 14 April 2010 in Valencia, Spain. Planned as a major event of the Spanish Council Presidency of the EU, the conference will bring together high-level stakeholders from different public private partnerships (PPPs), and will give an overview of the latest developments in the smart investments of the European Economic Recovery Plan. These investments include the Factories of the Future (FoF), Energy Efficient Buildings (EeB), Green Cars (GCI) and Future Internet (FI) initiatives.
The 14th Pacific-Asia Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining (PAKDD 2010) will take place from 21 to 24 June 2010 in Hyderabad, India. The event is an international forum for researchers and industry practitioners to share their new ideas, original research results and practical development experiences from such related areas as: data mining, data warehousing, machine learning, databases, statistics, knowledge acquisition and automatic scientific discovery, data visualisation, causal induction and knowledge-based systems. The conference is set to include original investigation results and industrial papers on real data mining applications and system development experience.
Calls and Tenders
EUROCONTROL has launched the first call for WP-E Research Networks on behalf of the SESAR (Single European Sky Air Traffic Management Research) Joint Undertaking. The Research Networks will provide a structured way to establish a body of research knowledge, competence and capability that should serve the industry into the future. Each network will have members and participants from academia, research centres and industry that share a common expertise and interest in a relevant air traffic management or transportation domain. These Research Networks will be organised in accordance with a thematic programme.
The Leuven Sustainable Earth Research Centre (LSUE) is a research platform created by the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium. LSUE brings together environmental scientists, engineers, economists, social scientists and legal experts to achieve a transition from disciplinary research on sustainability issues to a trans-disciplinary research strategy integrating the 'technosphere' with the biosphere. The members of the centre include more than 60 senior researchers and their staff. Research activities on sustainability are divided between ten themes: biodiversity, climate, energy, food and biomass production, environment dynamics, geosystems and natural resources, scientific methods for sustainability studies, soil and land, sustainable technologies, and water.
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.
The ALONE ('Small scale solar cooling device') project is developing cooling technologies which use solar power to power thermally-driven cooling machines. While larger solar cooling systems have been successfully demonstrated, smaller systems have not yet entered the market due to various technical and economical challenges. The project is looking to develop and improve new components for small capacity cooling systems, collectors and control systems, as well as a plant characterised by pre-engineered solutions. In order to foster the widespread use of sustainable technology, major attention is being paid to the simplification of unit installation and the minimisation of maintenance. The project will demonstrate this innovative system at four selected end-user sites, collecting real data and assessing performance.
Finally and Briefly
Following on last week’s report about researchers who had found that being happy (or at least not being negative) had positive health effects, other researchers have found when people are ndex? at their happiest.
German and American scientists analysing a survey of 21,000 men and women found that, at least in the United Kingdom, people are the most satisfied at age 74. Writing in the journal Social Indicators Research, the researchers cheerily surmised that this was because an ‘awareness of impending mortality may lead older individuals to focus on making their remaining experiences as enjoyable as possible.’