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Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-CSA-Infra | Phase: INFRA-2012-1.1.26. | Award Amount: 8.20M | Year: 2013

This project aims at integrating the major European infrastructures in the field of high-resolution solar physics. The following actions will be taken: (i) realise Trans-national Access to external European users; (ii) enhance and spread data acquisition and processing expertise to the Europe-wide community; (iii) increase the impact of high-resolution data by offering science-ready data and facilitating their retrieval and usage; (iv) encourage combination of space and ground-based data by providing unified access to pertinent data repositories; (v) foster synergies between different research communities by organising meetings where each presents state-of-the-art methodologies; (vi) train a new generation of solar researchers through setting up schools and an ambitious mobility programme; (vii) develop prototypes for new-generation post-focus instruments; (vii) study local and non-local atmospheric turbulence, their impact on image quality, and ways to negate their effects; (viii) improve the performance of existing telescopes; (ix) improve designs of future large European ground-and space-based solar telescopes; (x) lay foundations for combined use of facilities around the world and in space; (xi) reinforce partnership with industry to promote technology transfer through existing networks; and (xii) dissemination activities towards society. The project involves all pertinent European research institutions, infrastructures, and data repositories. Together, these represent first-class facilities. The additional participation by private companies and non-European research institutions maximizes the impact on the world-wide scale. In particular, the project achievements will be of principal importance in defining the exploitation of the future 4-meter European Solar Telescope.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: INFRAIA-1-2014-2015 | Award Amount: 5.00M | Year: 2015

A collective effort is needed to create the environmental research infrastructure for answering pressing questions in a world of rapid social, economic and environmental change. The overall aim of the eLTER project is to advance the European network of Long-Term Ecosystem Research sites and socio-ecological research platforms to provide highest quality services for multiple use of a distributed research infrastructure. eLTERs major objectives and methods are to: (1) identify user needs for the research infrastructure in relation to major societal challenges through consultations with scientific, policy and business stakeholders and horizon scanning; (2) streamline the design of a cost-efficient pan-European network, able to address multiple ecosystem research issues, in collaboration with related global and European research infrastructures, e.g. LifeWatch; (3) develop the organisational framework for data integration and enable virtual access to the LTER data by enabling data publishing through distributed Data Nodes and by providing access to data on key research challenges through a Data Integration Platform; (4) foster the societal relevance, usability and multiple use of information, data and services through new partnerships with the providers of remotely sensed data, analytical services and scenario testing models, and via the adoption of new measurement technologies. The LTER-Europe network and the European Critical Zone community will collaborate to achieve these goals. 162 sites in 22 countries will provide data on long-term trends in environmental change, some reaching back 100 years. Test cases using these data will address a range of environmental and social issues to push innovation in network level services and steer conceptual developments. The envisaged LTER Infrastructure will enable European-scale investigation of major ecosystems and socio-ecological systems, and support knowledge-based decision making at multiple levels.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: H2020 | Program: CSA | Phase: INFRADEV-02-2016 | Award Amount: 9.05M | Year: 2017

The European Solar Telescope (EST) will be a revolutionary Research Infrastructure that will play a major role in answering key questions in modern Solar Physics. This 4-meter class solar telescope, to be located in the Canary Islands, will provide solar physicists with the most advanced state-of-the-art observing tools to transform our understanding of the complex phenomena that drive the solar magnetic activity. The principal objective of the present Preparatory Phase is to provide both the EST international consortium and the funding agencies with a detailed plan regarding the implementation of EST. The specific objectives of the proposed preparatory phase are: (1) to explore possible legal frameworks and related governance schemes that can be used by agencies to jointly establish, construct and operate EST as a new research infrastructure, with the implementation of an intermediate temporary organisational structure, as a previous step for future phases of the project; (2) to explore funding schemes and funding sources for EST, including a proposal of financial models to make possible the combination of direct financial and in-kind contributions towards the construction and operation of EST; (3) to compare the two possible sites for EST in the Canary Islands Astronomical Observatories and prepare final site agreements; (4) to engage funding agencies and policy makers for a long-term commitment which guarantees the construction and operation phases of the Telescope; (5) to involve industry in the design of EST key elements to the required level of definition and validation for their final production; (6) to enhance and intensify outreach activities and strategic links with national agencies and the user communities of EST. To accomplish the aforementioned goals, this 4-year project, promoted by the European Association for Solar Telescopes (EAST) and the PRE-EST consortium, encompassing 23 research institutions from 16 countries, will set up the Project Office

Agency: Cordis | Branch: H2020 | Program: IA | Phase: NMBP-18-2016 | Award Amount: 9.03M | Year: 2017

Sustainability of energy systems goes through high penetration of renewable energy with huge volumes of electricity to transmit over long distances. The most advanced solution is the HVDC Supergrid. But fault currents remain an issue even if DC circuit breakers have emerged. These are not satisfying, whereas Superconducting Fault Current Limiters (SCFCLs) using REBCO tapes bring an attractive solution. SCFCLs have already proved their outstanding performances in MVAC systems, with a few commercial devices in service. However, present REBCO conductors cannot be readily used at very high voltages: the electrical field under current limitation is too low and leads to too long tapes and high cost. FASTGRID aims to improve and modify the REBCO conductor, in particular its shunt, in order to significantly enhance (2 to 3 times) the electric field and so the economical SCFCL attractiveness. A commercial tape will be upgraded to reach a higher critical current and enhanced homogeneity as compared to todays standards. For safer and better operation, the tapes normal zone propagation velocity will be increased by at least a factor of 10 using the patented current flow diverter concept. The shunt surface will also be functionalized to boost the thermal exchanges with coolant. This advanced conductor will be used in a smart DC SCFCL module (1 kA 50 kV). This one will include new functionalities and will be designed as sub-element of a real HVDC device. In parallel to this main line of work, developments will be carried out on a promising breakthrough path: ultra high electric field tapes based on sapphire substrates. FASTGRID will bring this to the next levels of technology readiness. In conclusion, FASTGRID project aims at improving significantly existing REBCO conductor architecture to make SCFCLs economically attractive for HVDC Supergrids. However, availability of such an advanced conductor will have an impact on virtually all other applications of HTS tapes.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-ITN | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2012-ITN | Award Amount: 3.47M | Year: 2013

A network combining 9 academic research groups and 4 collaborating industrial companies is proposed to train the next generation of PhD students and post-doctoral researchers, in developing and applying novel experimental and theoretical methods in the NMR spectroscopy of systems containing paramagnetic metals. The assembled team, with researchers distributed throughout the EU, will investigate a variety of important problems in chemistry and biology including catalysts, battery materials, metalloproteins and large protein-protein assemblies. The researchers will be trained to attack key problems that prevent the widespread usage of NMR spectroscopy as applied to paramagnetic materials, and to develop new methods to improve significantly the structural and electronic information that can be obtained from these systems. Three experimental and theoretical work programs are proposed, which build on, but also move significantly beyond the recent advances in pNMR, many of which have originated from members of this network: i) developing experimental approaches for obtaining NMR spectra from challenging paramagnetic molecules and materials, ii) extending the fundamental theoretical understanding of pNMR parameters, and facilitating their quantum-chemical implementations in first-principles software; iii) attacking relevant chemical and biological problems, with novel techniques to determine structure (e.g., of insoluble proteins and disordered battery electrode materials), dynamics and reactivity around metal centres, and exploring interactions between, e.g., biomolecules, catalytic centres and supports. Integral to the research-based training programme is the series of workshops, practical training courses, international conferences, and outreach actions, located at the different sites. These will i) train the young researchers of the network in the basics of pNMR and ii) disseminate the results of the network to the larger NMR community and to the general public.

Pocs J.,Slovak Academy of Sciences
Information Sciences | Year: 2012

The aim of this paper is to compare an approach of creating fuzzy concept lattices proposed by Popescu with several other approaches. Particularly, we show that this approach is in some way equivalent to the approach of Krajči called generalized concept lattices. We also give a straightforward generalization of Popescu's approach to non-homogeneous cases. © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Biely P.,Slovak Academy of Sciences
Biotechnology Advances | Year: 2012

Several plant polysaccharides are partially esterified with acetic acid. One of the roles of this modification is protection of plant cell walls against invading microorganisms. Acetylation of glycosyl residues of polysaccharides prevents hydrolysis of their glycosidic linkages by the corresponding glycoside hydrolases. In this way the acetylation also represents an obstacle of enzymatic saccharification of plant hemicelluloses to fermentable sugars which appears to be a hot topic of current research. We can eliminate this obstacle by alkaline extraction or pretreatment leading to saponification of ester linkages. However, this task has been accomplished in a different way in the nature. The acetyl groups became targets of microbial carbohydrate esterases that evolved to overcome the complexity of the plant cell walls and that cooperate with glycoside hydrolases in plant polysaccharide degradation. This article concentrates on enzymes deacetylating plant hemicelluloses excluding pectin. They are currently grouped in at least 8 families, specifically in CE families 1-7 and 16, originally assigned as acetylxylan esterases, the enzymes acting on hardwood acetyl glucuronoxylan and its fragments generated by endo-β-1, 4-xylanases. There are esterases deacetylating softwood galactoglucomannan, but they have not been classified yet. The enzymes present in CE families 1-7 differ in structure and substrate and positional specificity. There are families behaving as endo-type and exo-type deacetylates, i.e. esterases deacetylating internal sugar residues of partially acetylated polysaccharides and also esterases deacetylating non-reducing end sugar residues in oligosaccharides. With one exception, the enzymes of all mentioned CE families belong to serine type esterases. CE family 4 harbors enzymes that are metal-dependent aspartic esterases. Three-dimensional structures have been solved for members of the first seven CE families, however, there is still insufficient knowledge about their substrate specificity and real physiological role. Current knowledge on catalytic properties of the selected families of CEs is summarized in this review. Some of the families are emerging also as new biocatalysts for regioselective acylation and deacylation of carbohydrates. © 2012 Elsevier Inc.

Puchart V.,Slovak Academy of Sciences
Biotechnology Advances | Year: 2015

Glycoside phosphorylases (GPs) are the enzymes that reversibly phosphorolytically process glycosidic bond in sucrose (6'-phosphate), α-1,4-glucan and maltodextrins, α-glucobioses, α-1,3-oligoglucan, β-glucobioses and β-glucodextrins, chitobiose, β-galactosides and β-mannosides, and transfer non-reducing end terminal glycosyl residue to inorganic phosphate. They are modular enzymes that form biologically active homooligomers. From a mechanistic as well as structural point of view, they are similar to glycoside hydrolases or glycosyltransferases. Regardless the stereochemical outcome of the phosphorylase-catalyzed reaction (inversion or retention) the phosphorolytic cleavage of glycosidic bond is reversible, therefore glycosyl phosphates may efficiently be used for oligosaccharide synthesis. Although majority of GPs show very high substrate and positional selectivity, they might be employed for a green, inexpensive and often one-pot conversion of one sugar (cheap) to another one (expensive). This fascinating capability is due to the fact that pathways of several GPs share the same glycosyl phosphate, i.e. a product of one phosphorylase is simultaneously consumed as a substrate by another one, or even the same enzyme in a second step if the phosphorylase possesses a relaxed acceptor specificity. In some cases glycosyl phosphates may be interconverted using other auxiliary carbohydrate-active enzymes, achieving for example galactoside synthesis from gluco-configured sugar donors, thus widening synthetic potential of these biocatalysts. In comparison with common hydrolysis, the energy of glycosidic bond is not annihilated during phosphorolysis. This energetic aspect of the reactions catalyzed by GPs and their physiological role is discussed in relation to often concurrently occurring glycoside hydrolases. © 2015 Elsevier Inc..

Balaz M.,Slovak Academy of Sciences
Acta Biomaterialia | Year: 2014

Eggshell membrane (ESM) is a unique biomaterial, which is generally considered as waste. However, it has extraordinary properties which can be utilized in various fields and its potential applications are therefore now being widely studied. The first part of this review focuses on the chemical composition and morphology of ESM. The main areas of ESM application are discussed in the second part. These applications include its utilization as a biotemplate for the synthesis of nanoparticles; as a sorbent of heavy metals, organics, dyes, sulfonates and fluorides; as the main component of biosensors; in medicine; and various other applications. For each area of interest, a detailed literature survey is given. © 2014 Acta Materialia Inc. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Langer P.,Slovak Academy of Sciences
Frontiers in Neuroendocrinology | Year: 2010

High prevalence of thyroid and metabolic disorders has been repeatedly observed in the population living in the area of eastern Slovakia highly polluted by a mixture of PCBs, DDE and HCB since about 50 years ago. Among thyroid disorders, increase of thyroid volume as measured by ultrasound volumetry may be suggested as one of notable findings which appeared possibly related to increased OCs levels and to autoimmunity signs (e.g. positive thyroperoxidase antibodies in blood and/or hypoechogenicity image obtained by ultrasound), while some participation of individual susceptibility and also of immunogenic effect of OCs and iodine in this iodine replete country cannot be excluded. Another notable finding has been the increase of blood FT4 and TT3 positively related to high PCBs level. Such increased FT4 level has been found associated with TSH level in hyperthyroid range in about 2% of examined population from polluted area. High prevalence of thyroid autoimmune disorders strongly supported the assumption on impaired immune system and thus also on presumably increased prevalence of other autoimmune disorders in highly exposed population. In addition, markedly increased prevalence of prediabetes and diabetes significantly related to major OCs (PCBs, DDE and HCB) levels and accompanied by increasing level of cholesterol and triglycerides has been observed. The observations also suggested a role of prenatal exposure to OCs in the development of several adverse health signs (e.g. increased prevalence of thyroid antibodies, impaired fasting glucose level, increased thyroid volume, decreased thymus volume, decreased neurobehavioral performance, increased hearing and dental disorders) in young generation born to highly exposed mothers in polluted area. © 2010 Elsevier Inc.

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