Berlin, Germany
Berlin, Germany

The Freie Universität Berlin is a renowned research university located in Berlin and one of the most prominent universities in Germany. It is internationally known for its research in the humanities and social science, as well as in the field of natural and life science. Founded in West Berlin during the early Cold War period and born out of the increasingly Communist-controlled Humboldt University, its name refers to West Berlin's status as part of the free world, as opposed to the Soviet-occupied "unfree" areas surrounding the city.Freie Universität Berlin was one of nine German universities to win in the German Universities Excellence Initiative, a national competition for universities organized by the German federal government. Winning a distinction for five doctoral programs, three interdisciplinary research clusters and its overall institutional strategy as an "International Network University", Freie Universität Berlin is one of the most successful universities in the initiative. Wikipedia.


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Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: CSA | Phase: ISSI-1-2015 | Award Amount: 3.44M | Year: 2016

Ensuring the availability of and access to sufficient safe and nutritious food is a key priority that impacts all EU citizens and Horizon 2020 has therefore identified food security as one of the major challenges to be addressed. BGCI, an international network organisation will work with botanic gardens, experienced informal science centres with research expertise in food and food plants, alongside other key organisations to implement the BigPicnic project. This project builds, through the co-creation approach and public debate, public understanding of food security issues and enables adults and young people across Europe and in Africa to debate and articulate their views on Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) in this field to their peers, scientists and policy makers. The project involves the delivery of low-cost, co-created outreach exhibitions on food security, using the metaphor of a picnic basket; the exhibition will include information, activities and participatory events that engage a broad range of target audiences (adults, schoolchildren and families). Building on audience engagement and data captured from these initial, locally held, exhibitions, the project will run science cafs in publicly accessible and informal engagement areas as well as in botanic gardens, again capturing public views on RRI and food security. The final phase of the project will consolidate the findings of the public engagement to produce two key publications, a report articulating public opinion and recommendations for RRI on food security and a co-creation toolkit that will build capacity for engagement in further science institutions across the EU. A number of case studies on RRI will be provided to support the EU RRI toolkit currently under construction. It is expected that the project evaluation will show organisational learning and change amongst partner institutions. Partners will go on to disseminate training and promotion of RRI for future public engagement.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-ITN-ETN | Phase: MSCA-ITN-2016 | Award Amount: 3.87M | Year: 2017

Is there a crisis in the legitimacy of the European Union? That research question is timely and important. Investigating it is also an ideal way of training research leaders of tomorrow to rethink our assumptions about the study of legitimate political order. Whilst, however, the financial crisis has raised new questions about the legitimacy of the EU, existing theories of legitimacy crises are largely based on single-state political systems. New theory is, therefore, needed to understand what would count as legitimacy crises in the case of a non-state political system such as the EU. PLATOs (The Post-Crisis Legitimacy of the EU) ESRs will work together as a team to build new theory from 15 investigations into different standards and actors with whom the EU may need to be legitimate. ESRs will go well beyond the state-of-the-art by building a theory of legitimacy crisis in the EU from a uniquely interdisciplinary understanding of how democracy, power, law, economies and societies all fit together with institutions within and beyond the state to affect the legitimacy of contemporary political order. By developing the analytical tools needed to understand a core predicament in which the EU may both need to develop legitimate forms of political power beyond the state and find those forms of power hard to achieve, PLATO will train ESRs with the conceptual clarity needed to define new research questions at the very frontiers of their disciplines and the methodological skills needed to research those questions. They will also be prepared for careers in the non-academic sector (policy-advice, consulting, civil society, European institutions and expert bodies). PLATOs ambitious cross-university, cross-country and cross-sectoral programme of research training, supervision and secondments will pool resources from a unique network of 9 research-intensive universities and 11 non-academic partners who are themselves key users of state-of-the-art social science research.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: SC1-PM-21-2016 | Award Amount: 7.58M | Year: 2017

STRENGTHS aims to provide effective community-based health care implementation strategies to scale-up the delivery and uptake of effective mental health interventions in different country contexts. The current refugee crisis across Europe and the Middle East effects both individual refugees psychological well-being, as they face extreme stressors in their flight from their home country, but also has large effects on the healthcare systems of countries housing refugees. In reponse to this crisis, the STRENGTHS project aims to provide a framework for scaling-up the delivery and uptake of effective community-based mental health strategies to address the specific needs of refugees within and outside Europes borders. STRENGTHS will outline necessary steps needed to integrate evidence based low-intensity psychological interventions for common mental disorders into health systems in Syrias surrounding countries taking up the majority of refugees (Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan), a LMIC (Egypt) and European countries (Germany, Switzerland the Netherlands and Sweden). The consortium is a unique partnership between academics, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), international agencies and local partners with the responsibility to provide and scale-up evidence-based mental health and psychosocial support interventions for refugees. Key preparatory steps in the local political, regulatory and governance processes for uptake and scaling-up of the intervention and key contextual and system-related factors for integration will be validated for the real-life impact on the responsiveness of the system. The low-intensity interventions and training materials will be adapted and implemented in Syrian refugees within Syrias surrounding countries taking up the majority of refugees (Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan), a LMIC (Egypt) and European countries (Germany, Switzerland the Netherlands and Sweden). STRENGTHS will disseminate and promote buy-in of a validated framework for large-scale implementation of the low intensity interventions to providers of health and social services, policy makers and funding agencies.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: INT-05-2015 | Award Amount: 2.50M | Year: 2016

The EUNPACK project unpacks EU crisis response mechanisms, with the aim to increase their conflict sensitivity and efficiency. By combining bottomup perspectives with an institutional approach, EUNPACK will increase our understanding of how EU crisis responses function and are received on the ground in crisis areas. This entails exploring local agencies and perceptions in target countries without losing sight of the EUs institutions and their expectations and ambitions. It also entails examining the whole cycle of crisis, from pre-crisis, through crisis, and into post-crisis phase. EUNPACK analyses two gaps in EU crisis response. First, the intentionsimplementation gap, which relates to 1) the capacity to make decisions and respond with one voice and to deploy the necessary resources, 2) how these responses are implemented on the ground by various EU institutions and member states, and 3) how other actors local and international enhance or undermine the EUs activities. Second, the project addresses the gap between the implementation of EU policies and approaches, and how these policies and approaches are received and perceived in target countries, what we refer to as the implementationlocal reception/perceptions gap. Our main hypothesis is that the severity of the two gaps is a decisive factor for the EUs impacts on crisis management and thereby its ability to contribute more effectively to problem-solving on the ground. We analyse these gaps through cases that reflect the variation of EU crisis responses in three concentric areas surrounding the EU: the enlargement area (Kosovo, Serbia), the neighbourhood area (Ukraine, Libya), and the extended neighbourhood (Mali, Iraq, Afghanistan). The results of our research will enable us to present policy recommendations fine-tuned to making the EUs crisis response mechanisms more conflict and context sensitive, and thereby more efficient and sustainable.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: REV-INEQUAL-06-2016 | Award Amount: 5.00M | Year: 2017

ISOTIS addresses the nature, causes and impact of early emerging social and educational inequalities in the context of socioeconomic, cultural and institutional processes. The aim is to contribute to effective policy and practice development to combat inequalities. Quasi-panels and pooled longitudinal datasets will be used to examine the variation in early educational gaps and developmental trajectories across countries, systems and time. To disentangle the complex interactions between characteristics of systems and target groups, ISOTIS will study significant immigrant, indigenous ethnic-cultural and low-income native groups, associated with persistent educational disadvantages. ISOTIS will examine current resources, experiences, aspirations, needs and well-being of children and parents in these groups in the context of acculturation and integration, and in relation to local and national policies. ISOTIS aims to contribute to effective policy and practice development by generating recommendations and concrete tools for (1) supporting disadvantaged families and communities in using their own cultural and linguistic resources to create safe and stimulating home environments for their children; for (2) creating effective and inclusive pedagogies in early childhood education and care centres and primary schools; for (3) professionalization of staff, centres and schools to improve quality and inclusiveness; for (4) establishing inter-agency coordination of support services to children and families; and for (5) developing policies to combat educational inequalities. ISOTIS will develop inter-linked programmes for parents, classrooms and professionals using Virtual Learning Environments for working in linguistically diverse contexts. All this work together is expected to support the education practice and policy field in Europe in meeting the challenges of reducing social and educational inequalities.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: ICT-35-2016 | Award Amount: 499.98K | Year: 2017

One of the major terminological forces driving ICT development today is that of big data. While the phrase may sound inclusive and integrative, in fact, big data approaches are highly selective, excluding any input that cannot be effectively structured, represented, or, indeed, digitised. Data of this messy, dirty sort is precisely the kind that humanities and cultural researchers deal with best. It will therefore be the contribution of the K-PLEX project to investigate these elements of humanities and cultural data, and the strategies researchers have developed to deal with them. In doing so it will remain at the margins of ICT so as to better shed light on the gap between analogue or augmented digital practices and fully computational ones. As such, it will expand our awareness of the risks inherent in big data and to suggest ways in which phenomena that resist datafication can still be represented (if only by their absence) in knowledge creation approaches reliant upon the interrogation of large data corpora. K-PLEX approaches this challenge in a comparative, multidisciplinary and multisectoral fashion, focusing on 3 key challenges to the knowledge creation capacity of big data approaches: the manner in which data that are not digitised or shared become hidden from aggregation systems; the fact that data is human created, and lacks the objectivity often ascribed to the term; the subtle ways in which data that are complex almost always become simplified before they can be aggregated. It will approach these questions via a humanities research perspective, but using social science research tools to look at both the humanistic and computer science approaches to the term data and its many possible meanings and implications. As such, K-PLEX project defines and describes key aspects of data that are at risk of being left out of our knowledge creation processes in a system where large scale data aggregation is becoming ever more the gold standard.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: INT-08-2015 | Award Amount: 2.67M | Year: 2016

Ten years after its inception, the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) has fallen short of accomplishing its mission. The war in Ukraine and the rising tensions with Russia have made a re-assessment of the ENP both more urgent and more challenging. EU-STRAT will address two questions: First, why has the EU fallen short of creating peace, prosperity and stability in its Eastern neighbourhood? Second, what can be done to strengthen the EUs transformative power in supporting political and economic change in the six Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries? Adopting an inside-out perspective on the challenges of transformation the EaP countries and the EU face, EU-STRAT will develop a conceptual framework for the varieties of social orders in EaP countries to explain the propensity of domestic actors to engage in change; investigate how bilateral, regional and global interdependencies shape the scope of action and the preferences of domestic actors in the EaP countries; de-centre the EU by studying the role of selected member states and other external actors active in the region; evaluate the effectiveness of the Association Agreements and alternative EU instruments, including scientific cooperation, in supporting change in the EaP countries; analyse normative discourses used by the EU and Russia to enhance their influence over the shared neighbourhood. formulate policy recommendations to strengthen the EUs capacity to support change in the EaP countries by advancing different scenarios for developmental pathways. EU-STRAT features an eleven-partner consortium including six universities, three think-tanks, one civil society organization and one consultancy. This consortium will achieve the research and policy relevant objectives of the project by bringing together various disciplinary perspectives and methodologies and strengthening links with academics and policy makers across six EU member states, Switzerland and three of the EaP countries.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-ITN-ETN | Phase: MSCA-ITN-2015-ETN | Award Amount: 3.90M | Year: 2016

We propose a Multi-Partner ITN-ETN network on Transport of Soft Matter at the Nanoscale. The scientific topic, which is the focus of the proposal, is an emerging field of science and technology. Challenges such as design of environmentally friendly engineering materials or understanding the principles of biological organization crucially depend on fundamental understanding of transport of fluids and colloids at the nanoscale. Topics we will study within NANOTRANS are at the core of modern technology (i.e. active design of smart nanomaterials, nanofluidic and lab on a chip devices, sustainable nanocompounds, energy storage, contaminants dissemination in environment, oil recovery, drug delivery and disease treatment). The main objective of the ITN network is to train students. We will offer a balanced and timely supradisciplinary research training program providing a range of skills in various scientific and technological disciplines and fostering creativity and entrepreneurial mindset. Both, private and academic sectors are strongly represented in the network and will substantially contribute to the NANOTRANS training program, which will offer the participating fellows unparalleled education unavailable in standard academic programs at Universities, as well as excellent career opportunities both in academia and industry. NANOTRANS research will result in improved fundamental understanding of soft matter systems out of equilibrium, novel experimental and theoretical methods for nanoscale exploration, as well as in designing advanced aterials, products and applications. In turn, it will contribute to issues connected to energy production and storage, sustainable development, and novel disease treatment strategies. The NANOTRANS research, training and outreach activities will have a substantial and lasting impact on the society, environment, international scientific community, industry and on the European Union.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: ICT-03-2016 | Award Amount: 3.10M | Year: 2017

The main objective of the project is to design and implement a parameterized, knowledge-based, multi-target food sensitive mini-portable system, with heterogeneous micro-scale photonics for on-the-spot food quality sensing and shelf-life prediction. In particular, the miniaturized smart integrated system will be able to detect food hazards, spoilage (incl. early sign of spoilage) and food fraud through the combined bio-chemical data analysis and additionally will be able to perform food components/additives analysis, food identification and prediction of food shelf-life. The following use case will be addressed during the project: Use case 1: Detection of mycotoxins in various grains and nuts. Aflatoxins detection. A simple, convenient ultraviolet test makes it possible to detect the possible presence of aflatoxin. Use case 2: Detection of early sign of spoilage and spoilage in fruits, vegetables, meat, fish: combined with estimation on product expiration date. Use case 3: Detection of food fraud: Adulteration of alcoholic beverages, oil, milk and meat. 3 sensor devices will be integrated in the miniaturised smart sensor node: i) a MEMS-based near IR spectrometer (950-1900 nm), ii) a UV-VIS spectrometer (450-900 nm) and iii) a micro-camera. Moreover 3 light sources will also be integrated to support the sensing functionality: i) UV-LED, ii) white LED and iii) a miniaturised IR emitter. Smart signal processing of the spectrum images will be performed by an advanced microcontroller, integrated in the sensing device. The data will be communicated to a smartphone device, where the spectroscopy analysis will take place with the help of a cloud-base application connected to a reference database. Advanced detection algorithms will be deployed both in the level of cloud and the smartphone application. PhasmaFOOD system will enable common consumers for on the spot food quality sensing and shelf-life prediction.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: ERC-ADG | Phase: ERC-ADG-2015 | Award Amount: 2.50M | Year: 2016

What exactly are the words which priests recite in the Yasna, the core ritual of one of the most ancient and influential living religions, Zoroastrianism? What is their meaning and how do they relate to the ritual actions? The Yasna is significant for our cultural heritage not only because of its influential thought system which arguably impacted on post-exilic Judaism, nascent Christianity and Islam, but also because with parts of it going back to the 2nd millennium BCE, it is the oldest witness to Iranian languages. Its full appreciation, however, is severely hampered by the presence of outdated editions and translations or by their absence altogether. Moreover, the relationship between the text recited and the action performed during the ritual is unexplored due to a lack of documentary evidence. The Multimedia Yasna proposes to fill these gaps in a methodologically ground-breaking fashion. MUYA combines two different, yet complementary approaches by examining the Yasna both as a ritual performance and as a text attested in manuscripts. The two approaches will be integrated to answer questions about the meaning and function of the Yasna in a historical perspective. The research methods for achieving MUYAs objectives unite cutting edge approaches from Digital Humanities, Philology and Linguistics into four interrelated work-packages. These will involve filming and analyzing the ritual performance and teaching practices in priestly schools, the creation of a suite of electronic tools for editing Avestan texts, a database of transcribed manuscripts of the Yasna and in-depth studies of selected parts of the text by combining datasets produced by electronic processes with philological methods of textual criticism and linguistic analysis. These complementary datasets and methods will be used to produce an online publication of the sub-titled and interactive film of the Yasna ritual, together with print editions, translations and commentaries of the Avestan Yasna.

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