Technical University of Cartagena
Cartagena, Spain
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Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-ITN-ETN | Phase: MSCA-ITN-2014-ETN | Award Amount: 3.30M | Year: 2015

Electroactive polymers (EAP) consist of materials capable of changing dimensions and/or shape in response to electrical stimuli. Most EAPs are also capable of generating electrical energy in response to applied mechanical forces. These polymeric materials exhibit properties well beyond what conventional metal or plastic-based actuators can offer, including very high mechanical flexibility (can be stretched to twice their initial size), low density, a high grade of processability, scalability, microfabrication readiness and, in most cases, low cost. Micro-EAPs enable a new broad range of applications for which large strains and forces are desirable, and for which built-in intelligence is necessary. The main objective of the project will be the improvement of the career perspectives (in academia and in industry) of young researchers by training them at the forefront of research in the field of smart soft systems made of EAP microactuators for advanced miniaturized devices. The overall objective for the scientific programme is research and development of EAP materials and their integration for industrial applications. Special attention will be devoted to the development of microactuators. The field of smart materials is growing extremely fast. Materials whose stiffness and shape can be controlled, and that are capable of sensing their shape allow new classes of compliant complex systems. Through the MICACT programme, we hope to ensure that European researchers keep their leading role in this blossoming field, and to help them transition to industrial positions.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: IA | Phase: ICT-35-2014 | Award Amount: 1.79M | Year: 2015

Accelerating Entrepreneurial Learning across European Regions There are a number of profound challenges facing the European Union. Despite the single market being in existence for quite some time, start-ups and entrepreneurs tend not to think European wide and business scaling is very fragmented. The entrepreneurial ecosystem is also fragmented and not joined up between countries. Unemployment levels are very high, with high rates of over 50% of under-25s among Mediterranean countries, such as Spain and Greece. Entrepreneurship in Europe lags behind the US, in terms of effectiveness, scale and impact. Set in this context, the focus of the proposal is to develop more ICT entrepreneurs and this is adopted as the key objectives, which is the core outcomes required from the Horizon 2020 ICT 35 call. Specifically this programme sets out to train ICT entrepreneurs to be incubator ready and this is informed by research into current practice in incubators across Europe. The Horizon 2020 is an ideal opportunity for Europe to enable a different breed of European ICT entrepreneurs. Some of the characteristics of achieving this include the need to spend an appropriate amount of time to allow ICT entrepreneurs develop the commercial skills, as well as the technical proposition. This project will develop a network of ICT entrepreneurship creative physical and virtual spaces and coordinate European wide intensive entrepreneurial action training events called Start-up Scrums between consortia members with international teams. The programme will cultivate a European entrepreneurial mind-set and pilot a Born European Enterprise annual event. It is recognised that ICT enterprises take time to develop the technology. The proposal sets out to engage with 300 ICT students using an intensive training package over 4 months, starting with the start-up Scrums, continuing with virtual support via the EU Virtual Incubator and culminating with the best teams competing in the Born European Enterprise Challenge. A key element of the programme is student exchange as well as staff exchange, which will enable cross-fertilisation. This proposal is thematically focused on creating Born European Enterprises and fulfills the three objectives of the Horizon 2020 2014 ICT 35 a, b & c call: a pan European competition (across over 10 MS), summer schools (Start-up Scrums) and supporting the creation of new virtual and physical ICT creative spaces (Athens). The ICT teams will have opportunities to pursue their new ventures in a number of European incubators, within the consortia. The action will combine ICT physical and virtual entrepreneurship spaces, which facilitate European collaboration and on-going support after workshop events.

Exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke (SHS) has been classified as a Group 1 carcinogen (known human carcinogen) by the International Agency for Research on Cancer and has been shown to have adverse health effects on adults and children, including heart disease and respiratory disorders. Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes), the most common electronic nicotine delivery system, have irrupted in the past 5 years with sales volumes increasing considerably across the European Union. The TackSHS Project will try to elucidate the comprehensive impact that SHS and e-cigarettes emissions have on the respiratory health of the European population and how health impacts vary according to socio-economic parameters with particular emphasis on specific vulnerable groups (patients suffering from pre-existing chronic lung diseases, heavy smokers, and other disadvantaged groups). By means of an integrated series of work packages, we will investigate the determinants of SHS exposure, assessed at the individual level and in the environment (survey and air quality assessment in 12 countries), the overall burden of disease caused (lung diseases and cardiovascular diseases), including the specific respiratory health changes in patients and healthy people, the economic impact of both mortality and morbidity caused by these exposures, the methods to better characterize these exposures and novel interventions to reduce them. This comprehensive, integrated approach will enable significant step-change beyond the current state-of-the-art in understanding SHS and e- cigarette emission exposure. The participating partners have been at the forefront of cutting edge research in this discipline, with prior collaboration between them in specific projects. The TackSHS Project will put together for the first time all these first-line research teams, and the conjunction of the work packages will result in a step forward to tackle exposure to SHS and e-cigarettes emissions.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: IA | Phase: ICT-13-2014 | Award Amount: 2.29M | Year: 2015

The aim of the innovation action STARTUP SCALEUP is to build a European ecosystem around four consolidated entrepreneurial ecosystems in Spain (Cloud Incubator HUB), the Netherlands (Crosspring Lab), Lithuania (Open Coffee Club) and Ireland (The Ryan Academy) and the largest social network for startups in the European Union (F6S), in order to provide a greater range and quality of services to ambitious entrepreneurs who want to launch and grow companies focused on the Internet of Things and Services (IoTS). These four ecosystems, who have a track record and complementary strengths, will be able to support startups by enhancing the basic business skills of the entrepreneurs to strengthen the business sense of their startups,testing the soundness of technological concept and its uniqueness in the market, providing early exposure to EU market access, enabling talent matching and providing Venture Capital groups and other financiers with access to a critical mass of startups. To achieve this aim under the call topic (ICT-13-2014, web entrepreneurship), the STARTUP SCALEUP will: Analyse which of their current services are best-in-class, assess which of these can be offered on a non-local scale and then design and implement a new service model to their entrepreneurs. Set up an online platform for mentoring, networking and training through which the ecosystem members can share knowledge, experience, and contacts to support the startups, transcending geographical, cultural and resouce-related barriers. Generate awareness and interest in STARTUP SCALEUP by developing a specific communication strategy that enables us to to attract the most talented startups to the ecosystem, pull in resources and publicize the activities of the ecosystem Run two sequential acceleration programmes in order to create IoTS-based companies and the validate and readjust the STARTUP SCALEUP ecosystem and services. Set up a dissemination plan to maximize the expected project impact.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: SC5-09-2016 | Award Amount: 5.08M | Year: 2016

NAIAD aims to operationalise the insurance value of ecosystems to reduce the human and economic cost of risks associated with water (floods and drought) by developing and testing - with key insurers and municipalities - the concepts, tools, applications and instruments (business models) necessary for its mainstreaming. We will do this in detail for 8 demonstration sites (DEMOs) throughout Europe and develop tools and methods applicable and transferable across all of Europe. The assumption is that Natural Assurance Schemes can reduce risk, especially to drought and flooding, and this risk reduction can be assessed and incorporated within insurance schemes. NAIADs conceptual frame is based on three pillars: (i) to help build a resilience approach to risk management through nature based solutions, (ii) the operationalisation and testing of scientific methods using a source-to-sea in DEMOs, (iii) the uptake of nature based solutions that are cost-effective and provide environmental, social and economic benefits. Trans-disciplinarity and stakeholder engagement are at the core of NAIAD for two reasons: first, because the conceptual and assessment methodologies combine physical, social and cultural and economic aspects, integrated into tools and methods but second, and most importantly road tested and validated with the stakeholders and end users themselves at the DEMOs. NAIAD will contribute to providing a robust framework for assessing insurance value for ecosystem services by (i) enabling full operationalisation through improved understanding of ecosystem functionality and its insurance value at a broad range of scales in both urban and rural context; (ii) making explicit the links between ecosystem values and social risk perception; and (iii) the application of developed methods and tools in water management by relevant stakeholders, especially businesses, public authorities and utilities.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA-CA | Phase: ENV.2013.6.5-4 | Award Amount: 1.13M | Year: 2013

Bi-regional cooperation between the EU, its Member States and Latin America has focussed on the environment since the 1st EU-LAC Summit in Rio de Janeiro and the creation of the Strategic Partnership in 1999. Within political dialogue and the subsequent EU-LAC summits, the environment has always been a priority, focusing on climate change, sustainability, biodiversity, natural resources and hazards. At the technical level, numerous projects and initiatives have been implemented with EU and Latin American funding focussing on climate change mitigation, loss of biodiversity, natural hazards, desertification, sustainable management of raw materials, and water and waste management, amongst many others. These projects are complemented with development and cooperation projects funded by the EU, as well as research and development projects funded under bilateral EU-LAC schemes or regional environmental initiatives. However, this results in a wide array of initiatives and projects oriented towards scientific development of specific topics or isolated small scale development projects. This approach misses the opportunity to create a structured exchange that goes beyond purely content issues and which could create a strategic input to the political dialogue. The ENSOCIO-LA project aims at establishing sustainable and integrated research and innovation cooperation between the EU and Latin American in the environment field, concretely in climate change, resource efficiency and raw materials, as well as at improving dissemination and the exploitation of research results in this area by different user groups. This will be achieved through networking and twinning of existing multilateral and bilateral projects funded by different sources, through the development of efficient interaction schemes between science, industry and users and the joint elaboration of future research priorities and joint activities.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-TP | Phase: KBBE.2013.1.2-02 | Award Amount: 6.57M | Year: 2014

Long term S&T objective: The project is aimed to sustainable use of Leguminous plants and soil resources in order to ensure European citizens with balanced and safe food, ensuring the high quality protein sources in their daily diet by increasing competitiveness and cultivation of legumes for food and feed. Short-term S&T objectives: 1. Evaluation of pea, faba bean and cowpea/black-eye-bean local genetic resources for the development of new varieties for food and feed and further use in breeding; 2. Development of new food and feed products from available European varieties of pea, faba bean and cowpea; 3. Selection of appropriate rhizobium strains and arbuscular mycorrhizae fungi to support nitrogen fixation and development of new, commercial inoculants; 4.Evaluation of influence of leguminous plants on the soil properties in sustainable, regionally specific cropping systems. Activities: WP1 Management and coordination; WP2 Broadening of genetic diversity in breeding trough evaluation of local genetic resources; WP3 Selection of appropriate rhizobium strains to support nitrogen fixation and development of inoculants; WP4 Nutritional value and innovative food and feed; WP5 Legume supported cropping system in sustainable agriculture; WP6 Management and valorization of the residual biomass; WP7 Publicity and dissemination. 19 partners from 10 EU Member States.

Unicorn aims to simplify the design, deployment and management of secure and elastic by design- multi-cloud services. This will be achieved by a) development and design libraries that will provide security enforcement mechanisms, data privacy restrictions, monitoring metric collection and resource management; b) enabling continuous orchestration and automatic optimization of portable and dynamic cloud services running on virtual instances or micro-execution containers for increased security, data protection privacy and vast resource (de)-allocation. Towards this end, and building upon this umbrella concept, the Unicorn vision can be considered two-fold: to enable software developers to design and develop secure and elastic applications and to increase the awareness of all stakeholders, in particular SMEs and Startups. Unicorn will reduce software release time and provide a powerful tool for SMEs to improve software design and continuous productivity enhancement. The innovation activities in the Unicorn project will be based upon existing solutions and developments to the largest possible extent, and build upon the S&T results of European RIA projects including CELAR, PaaSport, PaaSword and ARCADIA.

Lopez-Nicolas A.,Technical University of Cartagena
Tobacco control | Year: 2013

The Spanish government has strengthened tobacco control policies since 2005, including changes in tobacco taxes. Because these changes have targeted cigarettes mainly, the tobacco industry has marketed cheaper alternative tobacco products, offering smokers the possibility to downtrade. This paper traces the evolution of patterns of demand for cigarettes and other tobacco products in Spain over the period 2005-2011 in order to assess the impact of such tax loopholes. The authors use data on tobacco products prices and sales as well as changes in the structure and levels of tobacco taxes to relate tax changes to price changes and subsequent market share changes. Tax reforms have lifted the bottom end of the cigarette price distribution, but the industry has been successful in marketing fine-cut tobacco at cheap prices. There have been partial attempts to correct this asymmetric tax treatment, but these have not avoided a remarkable increase in the market share of fine-cut tobacco. The absence of a minimum tax on quantity for the rest of tobacco products allows the industry to place them as potential future downtrading vehicles. In order to address public health objectives, tax policies should aim to equalise the cost of smoking across different tobacco products. Otherwise the tobacco industry can exploit tax loopholes to market cheap alternatives to cigarettes. This requires all tobacco products to bear a minimum tax on quantity, whose levels need to be adjusted in order to reflect the equivalence between different forms of smoking.

Otero T.F.,Technical University of Cartagena
Polymer Reviews | Year: 2013

Electro-generations of conducting polymers are fast processes through a complex mechanism of parallel reactions giving mixed materials. The films are three-dimensional electrochemical reactors: reactive macromolecules, ions, and solvent. The film composition and its related properties reviewed here change by oxidation/reduction along several orders of magnitude under control. One reaction shifts different properties (multifunctionality). In one device several reaction driven tools, actuators and sensor, work simultaneously (full integration). The activation energy, the coefficient, and the reaction order shift with the initial state of packing conformations. Trapping charges and conformational energetic states constitute new multivalent chemo-conformational memories, close to brain memory. © 2013 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.

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