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Agency: Cordis | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: COMPET-08-2014 | Award Amount: 2.00M | Year: 2015

Sample return missions (SRMs) are a critical next step in our exploration of the Solar System and are identified as strategic missions by international space agencies. Europe has a very strong legacy in the curation and research of precious extraterrestrial materials. To maintain European leadership and ensure high-level involvement in future SRMs, a dedicated European Sample Curation Facility (ESCF) to receive and curate returned samples from the Moon, asteroids and Mars, is of critical importance. Euro-CARES will focus on 5 key themes for developing a ESCF: o Planetary Protection- protocols and methods for future SRMs o Instrumentation and Analytical Methods- in the fields of cosmo/geochemistry and biosciences o Facilities and Infrastructures- to curate sensitive extraterrestrial or biological materials o Analogue Materials- that are most appropriate and can be used in end to end SRM planning o Portable Receiving Technologies- used to move samples whilst retaining scientific integrity and bio-containment (for Mars samples) Using the 5 key themes Euro-CARES will: 1) Evaluate and critically assess the state of the art within Europe and internationally to identify critical requirements for the ESCF 2) Determine and verify European readiness levels to identify where investment is required and opportunities for European leadership in scientific and engineering fields related to curating extraterrestrial samples 3) Engage with scientific, industrial, governmental and public stakeholders through community workshops, conferences, publications and educational opportunities 4) Deliver recommendations and roadmaps defining the steps necessary to deliver a ESCF to ensure high-level involvement in future ESA and international SRMs Euro-CARES comprises a team of scientists and engineers from across Europe with internationally recognised expertise in astrobiology, biosciences, cosmo/geochemistry, extraterrestrial sample curation, planetary protection and space exploration.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: H2020 | Program: ERA-NET-Cofund | Phase: SC5-15-2015 | Award Amount: 50.73M | 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.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-IEF | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2012-IEF | Award Amount: 168.79K | Year: 2014

The proposed project aims to investigate and understand the development of seasonality in terrestrial ecosystems of Northern Hemisphere during the last 23 million years, which caused massive ecosystem transformations, such as the spread of grasslands over large fractions of the globe. The project will concentrate on giving the researcher, Jussi T. Eronen, training in vegetation modelling and understanding of isotope analysis to enable him to work fluently within both modeling and proxy data communities. There are two main components that constitute this project: Global-scale vegetation modelling (first objective), and synthesis of vegetation modelling with fossil and isotopic paleoenvironmental data (second objective). Main research tools are dynamic vegetation modelling, fossil data, and isotope records. The project innovatively uses the fossil data to derive proxy estimates of the key environmental variables such as Net Primary Production, temperature, precipitation and seasonality. The original approach in this project is to merge vegetation modelling seamlessly with fossil data and stable isotope records to synthesize available information. Aim is to gain insight into interactions of biotic and abiotic systems on long (geological) timescales. As a result, we can investigate the biological dynamics of pre-Quaternary times at a global scale and identify critical transitions and thresholds in the past. This project increases our understanding of the processes by which terrestrial ecosystems respond to increased seasonal variations of climate. It is directly related to one of the major societal challenges in the Mediterranean region, the projected impact of current climate change on heat waves, and increased rainfall seasonality. This project establishes Eronen as one of very few people in the palaeo-community who can work with actual fossil data, derive variables based on fossil data as well as design modelling scenarios based on fossil data and perform modelling.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-IRSES | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2013-IRSES | Award Amount: 163.80K | Year: 2013

India is a global hotspot for snakebite mortality, yet management of this significant public health issue requires substantial improvement. Many problems arise from lack of knowledge of the biology of biting species, and much remains to be learned about taxonomy, distribution, and venom characteristics of species such as Russells viper (widely considered to be the most dangerous snake in the world). This project will address four main research areas with fundamental gaps in knowledge, to provide a basis for subsequent improvement in clinical treatment and antivenin formulation. The project will synergistically combine EU experts in taxonomy and barcoding of venomous snakes (Bangor; SGN), proteomics of snake venom (CISC, SGN), and transcriptomics of venom glands (Bangor, CSIC, SGN) with corresponding centres of activity in India, including taxonomy and phylogeography at IISC (Bangalore), snake venom proteomics at Sastra (Tamil Nadu), transcriptomics and antivenomics at Tezpur (Assam). Involving both early-stage and experienced researchers, this project will address priorities such as identification of the species responsible for bites in the north-eastern region, where the so-called Big Four species (against which antivenin is currently raised in India) are mostly absent, as well as establishing the basis for reference collections of species and their venoms. Several workshops will be run in India to disseminate best practice, training in taxonomic and omic technology and analyses among early researchers. In turn, Indian partners will second experienced and early-stage staff to the EU for longer-term training in state-of-the-art techniques (such as next-generation approaches to transcriptomics and genomics). This partnership will also form the basis for further collaborative applications to address wider issues such as the use of venom components as drug leads, the evolution of snake venom, as well as application of knowledge gained for snakebite management.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-CSA-Infra | Phase: INFRA-2012-1.1.16. | Award Amount: 10.15M | Year: 2013

SYNTHESYS3 will create an accessible, integrated European resource for researchers in the natural sciences in Europe and globally. Building on the success of the previous SYNTHESYS IA, the NA will focus on improving collections management of new physical and virtual collections. By focusing the JRA on extracting and enhancing data from digitised collections, SYNTHESYS3 will increase the accessibility of these 390 million strong collections. A wide range of services and access both physical and digital will be provided to a broad range of scientific Users (from biological and geological related disciplines) in a consistent and accessible way. The natural history collections, held within the museums and herbaria, of Europe are World-class in terms of their magnitude and taxonomic coverage. They represent a resource unique in Europe as a model of the diversity of life on earth and are a physical dataset enabling Users to research how the human activity (including climate change) is having an increasingly negative impact on the diversity and distribution of biodiversity, which is threatening the continued provision of ecosystem services essential to human well-being.

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