Publication date: 2011-05-20
This week’s CORDIS Express features a smorgasbord of news, highlights and insight from the world European science and research. Mathematical models are helping highlight ecosystem activities. A Swedish research team are trying to bring life back to areas of the Baltic Sea. Seals have an intricate way of finding their food. Four new super lasers will be built throughout eastern Europe as part of a new initiative. Early detection of breast cancer may soon be a reality thanks to a pan-European team. French scientists have succeeded in identifying the first potentially habitable exoplanet. In Finally and Briefly, read about smells, trouble and a fun night out.
News - Top Stories
New research from Spain reveals that species are to ecosystems as cells are to the human body. The researchers developed a mathematical model that recreates the behaviour of an ecosystem, helping them assess the dynamics and reactions of an ecosystem in various situations. The ecosystem forms a permanent entity while the entities that form the ecosystem are in flux. The model is presented in the Journal of Theoretical Biology. Using the mathematical model, the team from Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M) found that the ecosystem reaches a state in which relatively little affects it even though the species that are contained within are continuously substituted by others.
Can you bring something back from the dead? Scientists in Sweden say that if it's at the bottom of the sea and oxygenation is present, you can. Oxygenation gives ecosystems the boost they need to come to life and helps nature deal with eutrophication, the bloom of phytoplankton in water. University of Gothenburg researchers carried out pilot studies in two Swedish fjords and determined that pumping oxygen-rich surface water down to the bottom of the sea gave them the results they were searching for. The team is now gearing up to test a large wind-driven pump in open water in the Baltic Sea. Oxygenating dead sea bottoms is not a novel idea. Researchers suggest that the idea of oxygenating dead sea bottoms comes from nature itself. For instance, oxygenating the deep water in the Baltic Sea is like creating wetlands on land, they say.
If you ever thought that murky waters would stop seals in their (hunting) tracks, think again. Harbour seals (Phoca vitulina) extend their vibration-sensitive whiskers to find food when their vision is obstructed. But can these mammals differentiate objects that pass them? Scientists from the University of Rostock in Germany shed new light on the ability of harbour seals to distinguish between the wakes (the trails of water disturbance) generated by objects that differ in both size and shape. The findings of the study are presented in the Journal of Experimental Biology.
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 team of EU-funded researchers has developed a new type of mammogram technique using molecular imaging which could help detect breast cancer earlier. The technique was researched as part of the MAMMI (Mammography with molecular imaging) project which received EUR 2.5 million in funding under the 'Life sciences, genomics and biotechnology for health' Thematic area.. Led by the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), the pan-European team was made up of scientists from eight institutions from Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal and Sweden. Specially designed to detect breast cancer in its earliest stages, the MAMMI device offers the highest resolution and sensitivity currently available. This means it will be used mostly for early breast cancer diagnosis and evaluating how patients respond to chemotherapy.
Future of Research
Scientists in France have succeeded in identifying the first potentially habitable exoplanet using a sophisticated computing model. Presented in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, the Gliese 581d planet orbits a red dwarf star; its surface is covered in liquid water, its atmosphere is stable and its temperatures are comfortable. And it's only some 20 light years from Earth. The research was funded in part by the E3ARTHS ('Exoplanets and early earth atmospheric research: theories and simulations') project, which received a European Research Council grant worth EUR 720,000 under the EU's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). Researchers are enthusiastic about Gliese 581d being one of the closest galactic neighbours of Earth.
Gaining and maintaining a strong foothold in the European and global technology markets is high on the EU agenda. Helping meet this goal is the ELI ('Extreme light infrastructure') project, which clinched EUR 6 million under the Research Infrastructures budget line of the EU's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) to build a laser of intensity sufficient to rip photons into electron-positron pairs. A total of four initial high-powered lasers will be built in eastern Europe; three will be built initially, with the fourth one scheduled for a later date. The first super laser will achieve exawatt class, making it around 100 times more powerful than what is currently available. The project partners point out that ELI's primary goal is to serve as a research tool. This type of super laser could play a crucial role in the development of new cancer diagnosis and treatments, and could help fuel our understanding of molecular biology and nanoscience.
A conference entitled 'ICT finance marketplace venture academy and investment forum' will take place on 15 and 16 June 2011 in Brussels, Belgium. The two-day event will focus on small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and how to meet potential strategic partners. Focusing on the information and communication technology (ICT) sector, the conference will be divided into a venture academy and an investment forum. The venture academy will consist of a one-day, coaching event where experienced coaches from relevant industry areas will help SMEs pragmatically to develop their pitching skills towards potential investors. The investment forum will offers SMEs the opportunity to showcase their business in front of an international network of venture capital and corporate investors, strategic partners and expert advisors.
A conference on the topic of cooperation with Eastern Europe and Central Asia in health research will take place on 7 June 2011 in Brussels, Belgium. The main topic of the event will be cooperation between the EU and the Eastern European and Central Asian countries in the area of health research, focusing on three stakeholders group - policy makers, university and academia partners and the wider research public. The event will be sponsored by the EU-funded 'Promotion and facilitation of international cooperation with eastern European and central Asian countries' (Eecalink) project. The project is funded under the 'Health' Theme of the Seventh Framework Programme.
Calls and Tenders
The European Commission has published a call for tenders for the development of tools and services for the Water Information System for Europe (WISE). The integrated approach on water management in the EU implementing the EU water legislation has led to the need for integrated information management of all EU water policies. WISE has become the main reporting tool for water-related legislation- a comprehensive and shared European data and information management system for water, including river basins. It will be able to collect data for multipurpose use with many points of accessibility of information for end-users (primary to public authorities) and the general public and make comparisons of information on an appropriate geographical scale. This will enable more efficient EU-level analyses, streamlines reporting and monitoring and empowers citizens.
The University of Barcelona in Spain is looking for partners in developing applications for nanostructured materials and nanoparticles. So far, many processes in this field are far of being implemented on an industrial scale. This is because they have not been optimised and scaled-up, in one hand, and have not foreseen recovery and recycling of raw materials not forming part of the final nanomaterial on the other. The university would like to establish general rules for determining industrial viability nanostructured material preparation processes such as function of process complexity and performance, raw materials consumption, environmental aspects, safety, and so on.
The CORDIS Partners Service helps you to find research collaborators in order to benefit from EU or other funding. 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 'European network on noise and health' (Ennah) project will establish a research network of experts on noise and health in Europe. This network will help define future research directions and policy needs in Europe. It will also review noise exposure assessment in health studies in order to build more complex analytical models of noise and health effects that take into account moderating factors including the joint effects of air pollution and noise. A specific function of the network will be to establish communication between researchers who focus on noise and those concentrating on air pollution. The initiative plans to train junior researchers in noise and health through setting up an exchange network across Europe.
The CORDIS FP6 Find a Project section offers factsheets and contact details for projects funded under the Sixth Framework Programme. You can also browse the FP5 projects section (archived) to see what kinds of research proposals have been chosen for European funding in the past.
Finally and Briefly
Rainshowers are typical of spring weather in Europe, and it's no secret that some people say that they can smell rain coming. It could be a change in the amount of humidity in the air or just a feeling.
Catching a whiff of trouble coming may be somewhat easier, specially if the trouble is a frowning, beefy guy in a bad suit who bathes in cheap cologne.