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PATHFINDER initiatives 2005/2006

The topic identification and selection process 2005/2006 resulted in the selection of five complementary research topics:

Tackling Complexity in Science

Mastering complexity is a critical challenge towards progress in many areas of science and technology. The initiative is intended to promote the development of techniques for the successful tackling of specific but important, complex real-world problems by encouraging the transfer of complexity-related techniques from one of area of science to another, where particularly promising and appropriate.

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Synthetic Biology

A new "biology revolution" is arising from the convergence of systems biology and engineering, e.g. through the application of engineering approaches to produce and tailor novel artificial systems and devices based on biological building blocks. These systems could foster unprecedented benefits in applications such as health, energy, environment or materials.

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Measuring the impossible

Measurement is at the heart of scientific work. Science, business and government are presenting challenges intrinsically more complex, problematic and subject to interpretation. This initiative aims to give an impulse to fundamental advances that will underpin future measurement methods and techniques, by supporting interdisciplinary research and novel investigative methods that could present prospects for advancing the measurement of multidimensional phenomena which are mediated by human interpretation and perception.

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Cultural Dynamics: from transmission and change to innovation

Understanding culture, its continuities and discontinuities should be a major concern of scientific analyses. Knowledge about the ways in which culture and cultural traits are transmitted, and the possibilities these processes allow for influencing cultural developments and cultural change will be critical components of political, economic and societal development strategies. The research supported by this initiative should be aimed at bringing together from different fields of science, technology, the social sciences and humanities, concepts, data and analytical methods, to promote a better understanding and predictive capacity relating to transmission, change and innovation in human culture.

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What it means to be human

It is now possible to envisage an integrated understanding of the human mind, linking genetic and biological dimensions to the behavioural and ultimately the societal and cultural. The key question to be addressed is "what features make human cognitive abilities unique, and what are the origins of these features?". Projects will take a multidisciplinary approach, bringing together scientists from disciplines ranging from anthropology, neuroscience, linguistic, biology, genetic, to psychology.
Please note that only proposals for Coordination Actions (CAs) or NEST SUPPORT actions (SSAs) are called for "What it means to be human". This call is not open for STREP proposals on "What it means to be human"/td>

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