Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research

Halle (Saale), Germany

Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research

Halle (Saale), Germany

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Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: ERA-NET-Cofund | Phase: SC5-15-2015 | Award Amount: 52.36M | Year: 2016

In the last decade a significant number of projects and programmes in different domains of environmental monitoring and Earth observation have generated a substantial amount of data and knowledge on different aspects related to environmental quality and sustainability. Big data generated by in-situ or satellite platforms are being collected and archived with a plethora of systems and instruments making difficult the sharing of data and knowledge to stakeholders and policy makers for supporting key economic and societal sectors. The overarching goal of ERA-PLANET is to strengthen the European Research Area in the domain of Earth Observation in coherence with the European participation to Group on Earth Observation (GEO) and the Copernicus. The expected impact is to strengthen the European leadership within the forthcoming GEO 2015-2025 Work Plan. ERA-PLANET will reinforce the interface with user communities, whose needs the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) intends to address. It will provide more accurate, comprehensive and authoritative information to policy and decision-makers in key societal benefit areas, such as Smart cities and Resilient societies; Resource efficiency and Environmental management; Global changes and Environmental treaties; Polar areas and Natural resources. ERA-PLANET will provide advanced decision support tools and technologies aimed to better monitor our global environment and share the information and knowledge in different domain of Earth Observation.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: IA | Phase: DRS-01-2015 | Award Amount: 14.54M | Year: 2016

The ultimate purpose of ANYWHERE is to empower exposed responder institutions and citizens to enhance their anticipation and pro-active capacity of response to face extreme and high-impact weather and climate events. This will be achieved through the operational implementation of cutting-edge innovative technology as the best way to enhance citizens protection and saving lives. ANYWHERE proposes to implement a Pan-European multi-hazard platform providing a better identification of the expected weather-induced impacts and their location in time and space before they occur. This platform will support a faster analysis and anticipation of risks prior the event occurrence, an improved coordination of emergency reactions in the field and help to raise the self-preparedness of the population at risk. This significant step-ahead in the improvement of the pro-active capacity to provide adequate emergency responses is achievable capitalizing on the advanced forecasting methodologies and impact models made available by previous RTD projects, maximizing the uptake of their innovative potential not fully exploited up to now. The consortium is build upon a strong group of Coordinators of previous key EC projects in the related fields, together with 12 operational authorities and first responders institutions and 6 leading enterprises of the sector. The platform will be adapted to provide early warning products and locally customizable decision support services proactively targeted to the needs and requirements of the regional and local authorities, as well as public and private operators of critical infrastructures and networks. It will be implemented and demonstrated in 4 selected pilot sites to validate the prototype that will be transferred to the real operation. The market uptake will be ensured by the cooperation with a SME and Industry Collaborative Network, covering a wide range of sectors and stakeholders in Europe, and ultimately worldwide.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: NMBP-26-2016 | Award Amount: 10.76M | Year: 2016

An increasing number of nanomaterials (NMs) are entering the market in every day products spanning from health care and leisure to electronics, cosmetics and foodstuff. Nanotechnology is a truly enabling technology, with unlimited potential for innovation. However, the novelty in properties and forms of NMs makes the development of a well-founded and robust legislative framework to ensure safe development of nano-enabled products particularly challenging. At the heart of the challenge lies the difficulty in the reliable and reproducible characterisation of NMs given their extreme diversity and dynamic nature, particularly in complex environments, such as within different biological, environmental and technological compartments. Two key steps can resolve this: 1) the development of a holistic framework for reproducible NM characterisation, spanning from initial needs assessment through method selection to data interpretation and storage; and 2) the embedding of this framework in an operational, linked-up ontological regime to allow identification of causal relationships between NMs properties, be they intrinsic, extrinsic or calculated, and biological, (eco)toxicological and health impacts fully embedded in a mechanistic risk assessment framework. ACEnano was conceived in response to the NMBP 26 call with the aim to comprehensively address these two steps. More specifically ACEnano will introduce confidence, adaptability and clarity into NM risk assessment by developing a widely implementable and robust tiered approach to NM physico-chemical characterisation that will simplify and facilitate contextual (hazard or exposure) description and its transcription into a reliable NMs grouping framework. This will be achieved by the creation of a conceptual toolbox that will facilitate decision-making in choice of techniques and SOPs, linked to a characterisation ontology framework for grouping and risk assessment and a supporting data management system.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: LCE-23-2016 | Award Amount: 10.00M | Year: 2016

The GEMex project is a complementary effort of a European consortium with a corresponding consortium from Mexico, who submitted an equivalent proposal for cooperation. The joint effort is based on three pillars: 1 Resource assessment at two unconventional geothermal sites, for EGS development at Acoculco and for a super-hot resource near Los Humeros. This part will focus on understanding the tectonic evolution, the fracture distribution and hydrogeology of the respective region, and on predicting in-situ stresses and temperatures at depth. 2 Reservoir characterization using techniques and approaches developed at conventional geothermal sites, including novel geophysical and geological methods to be tested and refined for their application at the two project sites: passive seismic data will be used to apply ambient noise correlation methods, and to study anisotropy by coupling surface and volume waves; newly collected electromagnetic data will be used for joint inversion with the seismic data. For the interpretation of these data, high-pressure/ high-temperature laboratory experiments will be performed to derive the parameters determined on rock samples from Mexico or equivalent materials. 3 Concepts for Site Development: all existing and newly collected information will be applied to define drill paths, to recommend a design for well completion including suitable material selection, and to investigate optimum stimulation and operation procedures for safe and economic exploitation with control of undesired side effects. These steps will include appropriate measures and recommendations for public acceptance and outreach as well as for the monitoring and control of environmental impact. The consortium was formed from the EERA joint programme of geothermal energy in regular and long-time communication with the partners from Mexico. That way a close interaction of the two consortia is guaranteed and will continue beyond the duration of the project.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: IA | Phase: WATER-1b-2015 | Award Amount: 8.43M | Year: 2016

Taking into account the current global water scarcity and the expensive operation and maintenance cost of wastewater treatment, INCOVER concept has been designed to move wastewater treatment from being primarily a sanitation technology towards a bio-product recovery industry and a recycled water supplier. A wastewater specific Decision Support System methodology will be tailored to the INCOVER technologies and provide data and selection criteria for a holistic wastewater management approach. Three added-value plants treating wastewater from three case-studies (municipalities, farms and food and beverage industries) will be implemented, assessed and optimised concurrently. INCOVER plants will be implemented at demonstration scale in order to achieve Technology Readiness Level(TRL) of 7-8 to ensure straightforward up scaling to 100,000 population equivalents (PE). INCOVER added-value plants will generate benefits from wastewater offering three recovery solutions: 1) Chemical recovery (bio-plastic and organic acids) via algae/bacteria and yeast biotechnology; 2) Near-zero-energy plant providing upgraded bio-methane via pre-treatment and anaerobic co-digestion systems; 3) Bio-production and reclaimed water via adsorption, biotechnology based on wetlands systems and hydrothermal carbonisation. To improve added-value production efficiency, INCOVER solutions will include monitoring and control via optical sensing and soft-sensors. INCOVER solutions will reduce at least a 50% overall operation and maintenance cost of wastewater treatment through the use of wastewater as a source for energy demand and added-value production to follow UE circular economy strategy. In addition, strategies to facilitate the market uptake of INCOVER innovations will be carried out in order to close the gap between demonstration and end-users. An estimated turnover of 188 million for INCOVER lead-users is expected after the initial exploitation strategy of 5 years implementing 27 INCOVER solutions.


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

The ENIGMA network will train a new generation of young researchers in the development of innovative sensors, field survey techniques and inverse modelling approaches. This will enhance our ability to understand and monitor dynamic subsurface processes that are key to the protection and sustainable use of water resources. ENIGMA focuses mainly on critical zone observation, but the anticipated technological developments and scientific findings will also contribute to monitor and model the environmental footprint of an increasing range of subsurface activities, including large-scale water abstraction and storage, enhanced geothermal systems and subsurface waste and carbon storage. While many subsurface structure imaging methods are now mature and broadly used in research and practice, our ability to resolve and monitor subsurface fluxes and processes, including solute transport, heat transfer and biochemical reactions, is much more limited. The shift from classical structure characterization to dynamic process imaging, driven by ENIGMA, will require the development of multi-scale hydrogeophysical methods with adequate sensitivity, spatial and temporal resolution, and novel inverse modelling concepts. For this, ENIGMA will gather (i) world-leading academic teams and emerging companies that develop innovative sensors and hydrogeophysical inversion methods, (ii) experts in subsurface process upscaling and modelling, and (iii) highly instrumented field infrastructures for in-situ experimentation and validation. ENIGMA will thus create a creative and entrepreneurial environment for trainees to develop integrated approaches to water management with interdisciplinary field-sensing methods and novel modelling techniques. ENIGMA will foster EU and international cooperation in the water area by creating new links between hydrogeological observatories, academic research groups, innovative industries and water managers for high-level scientific and professional training.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-ITN-ETN | Phase: MSCA-ITN-2016 | Award Amount: 3.98M | Year: 2017

Clean drinking water is crucial to human health and wellbeing. The ambition of the NaToxAq ETN network is to expand the research basis for EUs leading role in securing high quality drinking waters for its citizens. Focus is on natural toxins a large group of emerging contaminants with unknown impact on drinking water resources. Both known toxins, like cyanotoxins, cyanogenic glucosides and terpenes and not yet explored toxins will be investigated. Twenty leading universities, research institutions, and water enterprises will pioneer the field through joint training of 15 ESRs investigating natural toxin emission via water reservoirs to water works and consumers. The natural toxin challenge is addressed by the concerted work of the ESRs within 4 scientific work packages comprising origin, distribution, fate and remediation. Priority toxins are selected using in silico approaches accompanied by novel non-targeted and targeted analyses to map natural toxins along vegetation and climatic gradients in Europe. Invasion of alien species, toxin emission, leaching and dissipation will be under strong influence of climate change. Data collected for toxin emission, properties and fate will be used to model effects of climate, land use, and design of remediation actions. Special attention will be paid to toxin removal at water works including development of new technologies tailored to remove natural toxins. The results will contribute to strengthening of European policies and regulation of drinking water, while new business opportunities within the fields of water supply and treatment, chemical monitoring and sensing, and the consulting sector will arise from academia-indstry collaborations. The urgency of the challenge, its eminent knowledge gaps, its multifaceted and multidisciplinary nature, and the need for scientific and public awareness to be communicated by ESRs in a balanced way makes the topic ideal for a European mobility and training network.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: CSA | Phase: SC5-10c-2015 | Award Amount: 3.00M | Year: 2016

The aim of EKLIPSE is to establish an innovative, light, self-sustainable EU support mechanism for evidence-based policy on biodiversity and ecosystems services open to all relevant knowledge holders and users, and to hand over this mechanism to the wider knowledge community by the end of the project. The mechanism will build on existing science-policy-society interfaces and be further refined via iterative evaluation and learning throughout the project. The mechanism will provide trustworthy evidence for policy and society upon request and will make the knowledge community more able to provide synthesized and timely evidence by providing a platform for mutual learning and engagement. All relevant knowledge holders and users will be actively encouraged and supported by the project team through their individual strengths and interests, thus ensuring targeted contributions. Many institutions have already expressed their interest in the Network of Networks of potential contributors to the EU mechanisms activities. EKLIPSE will directly support the further development of this network and ensure the involvement of relevant stakeholders in the following key areas: (a) jointly developing and setting up a business plan for the mechanism after the end of the project (WP1), (b) conducting joint evidence assessments using established and innovative methods to support policy and societal needs (WP3), (c) jointly identifying research needs and emerging issues (WP4), actively building the Network of Networks and (d) encouraging societal engagement (WP6). This will be supported by an interim governance structure, a strong communication component, including a Science-Policy-Society Forum, and an independent formative evaluation to ensure learning (WP2).


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-ITN-ETN | Phase: MSCA-ITN-2015-ETN | Award Amount: 3.84M | Year: 2016

Agricultural production in Europe has significantly damaged soil and water resources, ecosystem biodiversity, socio-economic well-being and contributed to climate change. Expected further intensification of production to ensure food safety for population growth must be sustainable to minimise future impacts and negative externalities. This ETN addresses these challenges by training 15 early stage researchers in cutting edge research skills and innovative approaches to manage soil and groundwater impacts from agriculture for sustainable intensification. It supports EU policy goals on food security, resource conservation, renewable energy and climate change, and the aims of the H2020 Societal Challenge 5 Work Programme for sustainable management of the environment and its resources. The scientific objectives focus on developing (1) management techniques which mitigate environmental impacts of agricultural practices on soil, water and climate systems, and support sustainable intensification using new production methods; (2) smart environmental monitoring, biotechnology and modelling tools to predict the outcome of measures and practices in (1); (3) decision-making tools with sustainability indicators to implement sustainable agricultural production methods. This will be achieved by linking lab-scale studies of processes with field-scale evaluation of novel management concepts, analytical tools and modelling, using state-of-the-art methods. The network includes research, advisory and commercial organisations from all sectors of the agri-environmental management community, and SMEs to multinational firms. Its novel training agenda of workshops and summer schools on technical and business skills, international conferences, industry secondments and knowledge transfer activities has the specific aim of transferable skills training. This is highly relevant for scientific communication, societal impact and entrepreneurship, preparing the fellows for careers in many sectors.


Schroeder T.,Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research
Nature Methods | Year: 2011

Continuous long-term single-cell observation provides insight into the molecular control of cell fate. This is particularly important for rare and heterogeneous populations of cells, such as mammalian stem cells. The current lack of usable off-the-shelf hardware and software for such experiments makes their implementation technically challenging. Here I discuss the need for continuous single-cell quantification to understand molecular cell fate control as well as organizational and technical solutions for long-term imaging and tracking of stem cells. © 2011 Nature America, Inc.

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