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LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--XPRIZE, the global leader in incentivized prize competitions, today announced that six international teams have been selected to submit their proposals for the next generation of potential XPRIZE competitions, which will be presented at the foundation’s 2017 Visioneers Summit in October. These teams are comprised of XPRIZE-identified ’Bold Innovators’ -- prominent scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs and other change agents who are passionate about creating impact across several Grand Challenges facing the world today. At this year’s Visioneers Summit, teams will present to more than 250 high-profile CEOs, technology innovators, creative artists, political leaders, entrepreneurs, and philanthropists, who will evaluate, critique, and ultimately determine which team’s proposal might be selected as the next global XPRIZE competition. “The Visioneers process is a key part of XPRIZE’s broader multiphase approach and strategy to drive and scale impact across a variety of domains,” said Marcus Shingles, CEO of XPRIZE. “Our Visioneers model leverages XPRIZE’s unique innovation ecosystem and engages our prominent network into the review, design, and selection of the competitions that we launch.” The following six teams are developing proposals for this year’s Visioneers Summit: The Abundant Clean Energy Team, sponsored by Beyond Carbon Energy, will tackle the need for abundant, clean energy by incentivizing the creation and distribution of new energy technologies. The team is led by Jessica Matthews, a self-taught mechanical engineer and inventor. Matthews is a dual citizen of Nigeria and the U.S., has degrees in psychology and economics from Harvard University, and a master’s degree in business administration from Harvard Business School. She holds 12 patents, including for the SOCCKET ball, an energy-generating soccer ball that provides off-grid power for communities in the developing world. Among her accolades are selection as one of Fortune’s Most Promising Women Entrepreneurs, inclusion in Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list and Inc.’s 30 Under 30 list, and recognition as Harvard Scientist of the Year. The Zero Waste Mining Team, sponsored by the Chilean Mining Consortium, will tackle the Grand Challenge of industrial mining waste that results in negative global health and environmental effects. Led by Carl Brackpool, who serves on the research faculty at the Colorado School of Mines, the team’s Impact Proposal will aim to inspire solutions that safely and cleanly extract critical metals, minerals, and rare earth elements without contaminating water supplies and without generating waste, igniting the path to a zero-industrial waste world. Brackpool has been a Walt Disney Imagineer, and has held leadership roles at telecom and wireless innovation companies in Seattle and Silicon Valley. He guest lectures on communications technologies and participated on the inaugural Responsible Mine Closure Committee. In 2016, Brackpool testified before a U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources hearing on mining and technology in the 21st century. The Alzheimer’s Disease Team, sponsored by Alzheimer’s Brain Trust, seeks to tackle the Grand Challenge of Alzheimer’s disease. The team’s Impact Proposal will incentivize ingenuity across a wide array of disciplines and sectors and leverage exponential technologies that will make Alzheimer’s disease a thing of the past. The team is led by Philip Edgcumbe, a PhD student in biomedical engineering at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in the Engineers in Scrubs research training program, where he is concurrently earning his Doctor of Medicine. He is a graduate of Singularity University’s Global Solutions Program, has significant research experience at the Brain Research Center at UBC, and earned a Bachelor of Applied Science in Engineering Physics. The Clean Air Team, sponsored by Green China, seeks to tackle the global Grand Challenge of poor air quality. The team will develop an Impact Proposal designed to empower and enable people everywhere to have clean air, so they are able to live full lives, realize their full potential, and—finally—take a deep breath. The team is led by Christine Harada, former Federal Chief Sustainability Officer for the Obama Administration. Harada has over 20 years of experience successfully leading government and management consulting organizations. She holds a master’s degree in business administration from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, and a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in aeronautics/astronautics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford, respectively. The Cybersecurity Team, sponsored by the National Research Foundation of Singapore, will tackle the Grand Challenge of cybersecurity in our increasingly interconnected world. The team’s Impact Proposal seeks to leverage emerging technologies to create a world in which citizens and institutions have increased trust in the safety and security of the interconnected systems we rely on every day. The team is led by Or Suesskind, an innovation consultant for Deloitte Israel and a senior cyber-strategy consultant for the Israeli Prime Minister’s office. As an officer in the Israeli Intelligence Corps, Suesskind was the commander of a division of 65 cyber-analysts and then served as a head of the cyber project management team for the Israeli Defense Forces. The Democracy (”True Voice”) Team seeks to tackle the Grand Challenge of revitalizing democracies globally. The team is developing a strategy to address a number of issues that threaten any functioning democracy, including onerous voter identification processes, fake news, the influence of money in the election process, corruption in government, and gerrymandering. The team’s Impact Proposal will incentivize solutions that ensure the right of every eligible citizen to vote and to trust and verify that their vote has been counted and their voice has been heard. The team is led by Joe Trippi, the founder and president of Trippi & Associates, with more than 35 years of experience in political innovation. He was heralded on the cover of The New Republic as the man who “reinvented campaigning,” and in 2004, his innovative use of online technology on Howard Dean’s presidential campaign created the largest grassroots movement in presidential politics up to that time and became a model for movement politics around the globe. Trippi is the author of The Revolution Will Not Be Televised: Democracy, the Internet, and the Overthrow of Everything. “We are excited by the caliber of the Bold Innovators leading each of the six teams, and we look forward to evaluating how their Impact Proposals can be a catalyst for XPRIZE’s mission,” said Jennifer Bravo, senior director of Visioneers at XPRIZE. XPRIZE, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, is the global leader in designing and implementing innovative competition models to solve the world’s grandest challenges. XPRIZE utilizes a unique combination of gamification, crowd-sourcing, incentive prize theory, and exponential technologies as a formula to make 10x (vs. 10%) impact in the grand challenge domains facing our world. XPRIZE’s philosophy is that—under the right circumstances— igniting rapid experimentation from a variety of diverse lenses is the most efficient and effective method to driving exponential impact and solutions to grand challenges. Active competitions include the $30M Google Lunar XPRIZE, the $20M NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE, the $15M Global Learning XPRIZE, the $7M Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE, the $7M Barbara Bush Foundation Adult Literacy XPRIZE, the $5M IBM Watson AI XPRIZE, the $1.75M Water Abundance XPRIZE and the $1M Anu and Naveen Women’s Safety XPRIZE. For more information, visit http://www.xprize.org/.


News Article | May 10, 2017
Site: www.nature.com

In a milestone for African astronomy, engineers have converted an old telecommunications dish in Ghana into the continent’s first functioning radio telescope outside South Africa. The telescope, in Kuntunse near Accra, is the first of an array of such instruments expected to be built across Africa over the next five years, and forms part of long-term plans to develop the skills of astronomers on the continent. It made its first observations this year and will be formally opened later in 2017. “It’s a moment of pride and joy that we have reached this far,” says project manager T. L. Venkatasubramani (known as VenKAT). He says that science operations should begin next year. Once up and running, the Ghana telescope could be incorporated into the European Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) Network — a cluster of far-apart radio telescopes that together act as one large instrument. But astronomers also want to use it in a separate African VLBI Network (AVN). For that, plans are under way to convert telecommunications dishes in Zambia, Madagascar and Kenya by mid-2019. The arrival of undersea cables around Africa’s coast in the past decade has rendered these dishes obsolete for their original purpose. New telescopes could also be built in four other African nations by mid-2022. The AVN will develop the capacity for astronomy in countries that have never had a radio telescope, says Huib Jan van Langevelde, director of the Joint Institute for VLBI in Europe, based in Dwingeloo, the Netherlands, who has been involved in training and testing for the African network. But it will also contribute useful science, he notes. The Ghana telescope has begun observing methanol masers — radio emissions that can arise from a number of celestial phenomena — and pulsars. The AVN will fill in geographic gaps in the global VLBI, improving imaging by increasing the range of distances and possible angles between the telescopes in the network. The more telescopes there are in a VLBI network, the more detail astronomers can see. “If you look at the current VLBI network, we definitely do need antennas filling up the centre of Africa,” says James Chibueze, a VLBI scientist and AVN operator who works with SKA South Africa in Cape Town, which is building part of the world’s largest radio telescope, the Square Kilometre Array. Tony Beasley, director of the US National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Charlottesville, Virginia, says the AVN is a “fantastic” initiative for the Southern Hemisphere, where the VLBI at present shares use of an array in Australia. “The AVN would be a full-time array, would do a lot more science and is going to increase by an order of magnitude the amount of VLBI time available, and the southern skies thing is unique. We have lots of arrays in the Northern Hemisphere,” he says. The AVN would also benefit from the technical advances made for the SKA and South Africa’s radio-astronomy ambitions, says Beasley. The AVN was the brain child of Michael Gaylard, a former director of South Africa’s Hartebeeshoek Radio Astronomy Observatory who died in 2014. During two years of repairs to the observatory’s telescope, Gaylard used Google Maps to scour the continent for old telecommunications dishes. When he saw the Kuntunse dish, he realized that it — and others like it — could be converted for astronomy. The switch has been difficult, says Chibueze. New telescopes are designed and built to set specifications, but during work on the Kuntunse dish, engineers and scientists have had to adapt their plans. And there have been issues with the stability of electrical power and Internet supply. The conversion has been in large part funded by South Africa, whose African Renaissance and International Co-Operation Fund and department of science and technology have contributed 122 million rand (US$9 million) to the project. From South Africa’s point of view, the AVN would help to prepare the continent for the SKA: many hundreds of dishes, and even more antennas, are set to be built in Australia and South Africa. By the late 2020s, the SKA project also plans to construct other stations — separate from the AVN — in eight other African nations. Later this year, the AVN project and South Africa’s SKA project office will be amalgamated into the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory, a unit of the National Research Foundation. The plan, however, is that Ghana and other African nations will ultimately own and operate their AVN telescopes. South Africa hasn’t said whether it will fund further conversions. VenKAT says that it needs cost-sharing commitments from other African nations. “We must ensure the governance set-up is in place before we go in for the engineering,” he says. “It’s not just a South African do-and-deliver, but a joint programme.”


News Article | May 10, 2017
Site: www.prnewswire.com

"Discovered nearly 35 years ago, the mutant RAS protein has been considered a highly-validated cancer drug target, but also has a reputation as being undruggable," said Yong Sung Kim, Ph.D., principle investigator on the paper, co-founder of Orum Therapeutics, and professor, Department of Molecular Science and Technology at Ajou University, Korea. The paper published today by scientists at Ajou University and Orum Therapeutics describes the preclinical characterization of a novel monoclonal antibody, called RT11-i, designed to be internalized by the cell and to directly target the activated form of RAS. The data shows that RT11-i binding is specific to activated RAS, binds these proteins inside the cell and blocks interactions with effector proteins, and results in inhibition of downstream oncogenic signaling. When given to tumor-bearing mice, RT11-i inhibited tumor growth in several xenograft models and shown to be well tolerated. Dr. Kim explained, "This data shows that with our cell penetrating antibody technology, we now have the ability to selectively inhibit activated RAS to achieve anti-tumor activity with a systemically administered monoclonal antibody. Additional data suggests the combination of RT11-i and an anti-EGFR therapy might be an effective clinical strategy for patients with advanced colon cancer who have oncogenic RAS mutations." When tested in xenograft models of human cancer, RT11-i had preferential accumulation in tumor tissue and demonstrated measureable anti-tumor activity in mice where the tumor contained an activating RAS mutation. In addition, in a xenograft mouse model of colorectal cancer resistant to cetuximab, which targets EGFR, co-adminstration of cetuximab and RT11-i was shown to overcome resistance to cetuximab. "As an anti-cancer therapy, our cell penetrating antibodies are easy to produce, allow for systemic administration that is well tolerated, and have desirable pharmacological properties," said Sung Joo Lee, Ph.D., Co-founder and CEO of Orum Therapeutics. "We believe this could be a very important first-in-class therapeutic for hard-to-treat pancreatic, colon and non-small cell lung cancers." The paper entitled, "Antibody targeting intracellular oncogenic Ras mutants exerts anti-tumor effects after systemic administration," was published online today in Nature Communications, and can be found here: http://www.nature.com/ncomms. The DOI for this paper is 10.1038/NCOMMS15090. This work was supported by grants from the Pioneer Research Center Program (2014M3C1A3051470) and the Global Frontier Project (2013M3A6A4043874) from the National Research Foundation (NRF), funded by the Republic of Korea. Orum Therapeutics is a private biotech company developing a new class of therapeutic antibodies to bring new medicines to patients with unmet medical needs. Orum leverages its unique cell penetrating antibody platform to inhibit drug targets undruggable by small molecule or current antibody therapeutics. In contrast to other approaches, Orum's antibody platform can target specific cell types, is easily adaptable to target different cell types and different intracellular proteins, and does not require chemical modification. This provides new opportunities to treat severe genetic diseases and cancer. More information about Orum Therapeutics is available at http://www.orumrx.com. To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/cell-penetrating-antibodies-to-oncogenic-ras-show-anti-tumor-activity-300454705.html


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: CSA | Phase: INT-01-2015 | Award Amount: 999.95K | Year: 2016

The STI cooperation between the EU and South Africa as originally framed by the South Africa-EU Scientific and Technological Cooperation Agreement and as constantly steered by the JSTCC requires a support mechanism which can translate and facilitate policy decisions, and provide intelligence and information services to various actors and stakeholders. In previous years the ESASTAP project series (ESASTAP, ESASTAP-2 and ESASTAP\) has successfully provided this support to the bilateral dialogue. The proposed ESASTAP 2020 project is a coordination and support action that aims at advancing further the EU-SA bilateral STI cooperation, building on the work and results of three preceding actions and responding to the needs and recommendations at the policy dialogue level, in particular to the mandate of the JSTCC and to the adopted Roadmap for cooperation between South Africa and the European Union. The project aims to provide efficient services on three levels (priority areas): a. R&I Cooperation in areas of common interests (Horizon 2020 and others). b. Policy Dialogue between EU and SA and by increasing the knowledge of the EUs external environment. c. Provision of a Cooperation platform and tools to alleviate obstacles. These priority areas translate into four major objectives through which the project is aiming to address the specific challenges of the call.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: CSA | Phase: ISSI-5-2014 | Award Amount: 3.99M | Year: 2015

NUCLEUS develops, supports and implements inclusive and sustainable approaches to Responsible Research and Innovation within the governance and culture of research organisations in Europe. A major goal of the transdisciplinary project will be to stimulate research and innovation which continuously reflects and responds to societal needs. In order to achieve a multifaceted and cross-cultural New Understanding of Communication, Learning and Engagement in Universities and Scientific Institutions, 26 renowned institutions from 15 countries, among them leading representatives of 14 universities, will collaboratively identify, develop, implement and support inclusive and sustainable approaches to RRI. For a mutual learning and exchange process, the project will reach out beyond the European Research Area by including renowned scientific institutions in China, Russia and South Africa. Within a 4-year timeframe NUCLEUS will systematically uncover and analyse structural and cultural obstacles to RRI in scientific institutions. The partners will collaboratively develop innovative approaches to overcome these barriers. The project is expected to lead to an applicable RRI DNA, providing practical guidelines for higher education institutions and funding agencies across Europe and beyond. This DNA will form the basis for the NUCLEUS Living Network, an alliance to ensure sustainability of the approach beyond the project timeline. By offering new academic insights and practical recommendations derived from 30 RRI test beds, NUCLEUS will contribute to the debate on science policies both on a national and European level, including the future design of HORIZON 2020 and the European Research Area (ERA).


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: CSA | Phase: COMPET-10-2014 | Award Amount: 2.00M | Year: 2015

EUSPACE-AWE uses the excitement of space to attract young people to science and technology and stimulate European and global citizenship. Our main goal is to increase the number of young people that choose space-related careers. We shall target diverse groups that influence career decisions, showing teenagers the opportunities offered by space science and engineering and inspiring primary-school children when their curiosity is high, their value systems are being formed and seeds of future aspirations are sown. Activities will 1. Acquaint young people with topical cutting-edge research and role-model engineers, 2. Demonstrate to teachers the power of space as a motivational tool and the opportunities of space careers, 3. Provide a repository of innovative peer-reviewed educational resources, including toolkits highlighting seductive aspects of Galileo and Copernicus and 4. Set up a space career hub and contest designed to appeal to teenagers. Attention will be paid to stimulating interest amongst girls and ethnic minorities and reaching children in underprivileged communities, where most talent is wasted. Targeting policy makers via high-impact events will help ensure sustainability and demonstrate the social value of the space programme. We maximise cost effectiveness by 1 Piggy backing on existing ESERO and other teacher training courses and 2. Exploiting and expanding infrastructures of proven FP7-Space projects, EU Universe Awareness for young children and Odysseus for teenagers. EUSPACE-AWE will complement existing space-education programs and coordinate closely with ESA. We shall reach European teachers, schools and national curricula through host organisations of ESEROs and the extensive networks of European Schoolnet, Scientix and UNAWE. Designated nodes will provide curriculum and resource localisation and test beds for professional evaluation. A partnership with the IAU Office of Astronomy for Development in Cape Town ensures global reach.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: INFRASUPP-03-2016 | Award Amount: 3.00M | Year: 2017

The objective of the AENEAS project is to develop a concept and design for a distributed, federated European Science Data Centre (ESDC) to support the astronomical community in achieving the scientific goals of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA). The scientific potential of the SKA radio telescope is unprecedented and represents one of the highest priorities for the international scientific community. By the same token, the large scale, rate, and complexity of data the SKA will generate, present challenges in data management, computing, and networking that are similarly world-leading. SKA Regional Centres (SRC) like the ESDC will be a vital resource to enable the community to take advantage of the scientific potential of the SKA. Within the tiered SKA operational model, the SRCs will provide essential functionality which is not currently provisioned within the directly operated SKA facilities. AENEAS brings together all the European member states currently part of the SKA project as well as potential future EU SKA national partners, the SKA Organisation itself, and a larger group of international partners including the two host countries Australia and South Africa.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-CSA-Infra | Phase: INFRA-2011-1.1.21. | Award Amount: 11.58M | Year: 2012

RadioNet is an I3 that coordinates all of Europes leading radio astronomy facilities in an integrated cooperation to achieve transformational improvement in the quality and quantity of the scientific research of European astronomers. RadioNet3 includes 27 partners operating world-class radio telescopes and/or performing cutting-edge R&D in a wide range of technology fields important for radio astronomy. RadioNet3 proposes a work plan that is structured into 6 NAs, 7 TNAs and 4 JRAs with the aim to integrate and optimise the use and development of European radio astronomy infrastructures. The general goals of RadioNet3 are to: - facilitate, for a growing community of European researchers, access to the complete range of Europes world-leading radio-astronomical facilities, including the ALMA telescope; - secure a long-term perspective on scientific and technical developments in radio astronomy, pooling resources and expertise that exist among the partners; - stimulate new R&D activities for the existing radio infrastructures in synergy with ALMA and the SKA; - contribute to the implementation of the vision of the ASTRONET Strategic Plan for European Astronomy by building a sustainable and world leading radio astronomical research community. RadioNet3 builds on the success of two preceeding I3s under FP6 and FP7, but it also takes a leap forward as it includes facilitation of research with ALMA via a dedicated NA, and 4 pathfinders for the SKA in its TNA Program. It has a transparent and efficient management structure designed to optimally support the implementation of the project. RadioNet is now recognized by funding agencies and international project consortia as the European entity representing radio astronomy and facilitating the access to and exploitation of excellent facilities in this field. This is of paramount importance, as a dedicated, formal European radio astronomy organisation to coordinate and serve the needs of this community does not yet exist.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: SPA.2010.2.3-1 | Award Amount: 2.63M | Year: 2011

The security of space assets are affected by the high-energy charged particle environment in the radiation belts. The controlling principal source and loss mechanisms in the radiation belts are not yet completely understood. During a geomagnetic storm the length of time during which space assets are in danger is determined by the loss mechanisms, particularly by relativistic electron precipitation. The primary mechanism for this precipitation is the interaction of several wave modes with resonant electrons which leads to scattering into the atmospheric loss cone. The nature of the wave activity and the interactions between the waves and radiation belt particles are strongly governed by the properties of the plasmasphere. At this point there are few existing and regular measurements of plasmaspheric properties, with existing plasmaspheric models lacking the structures known to exist in the real plasmasphere. There is evidence that enhanced wave activity and enhanced radiation belt losses occur due to such structures. In addition, there are large uncertainties concerning the fundamental nature of relativistic electron precipitation (REP), due to the difficulties of undertaking quality in-situ measurements. To address these uncertainties in this proposed project we will provide regular longitudinally-resolved measurements plasmaspheric electron and mass densities and hence monitor the changing composition of the plasmasphere, one of the properties which determines wave growth. This will allow us to develop a data assimilative model of the plasmasphere. At the same time, we will monitor the occurrence and properties of REP, tying the time-resolved loss of relativistic electrons to the dynamic plasmasphere observations. Our approach will primarily use ground-based networks of observing stations, operating in the ULF and VLF ranges, deployed on a worldwide level. Our proposal is made up of 6 work packages to meet these science goals.

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