Gent, Belgium
Gent, Belgium

University College Ghent is the largest university college in Flanders, with three faculties, one School of Arts and 13,000 students. Its establishment in 1995 is the outcome of two successful mergers that involved sixteen Belgian institutions of higher education. Many had been influential leaders in higher education for several decades. The current faculties are spread over the city center of Ghent and Aalst. Wikipedia.

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Rombaut L.,University College Ghent
Arthritis care & research | Year: 2012

To investigate the passive properties of the plantar flexors muscle-tendon tissue in patients with the hypermobility type of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS-HT). Twenty-five women with EDS-HT and 25 sex- and age-matched healthy control subjects participated in the study. Passive resistive torque (PRT) of the plantar flexors was measured with an isokinetic dynamometer during 2 standardized stretch protocols to obtain the passive muscle tension. Protocol 1 consisted of 4 continuous cycles to a predetermined angle of 10° dorsiflexion. Protocol 2 consisted of a slow stretch to the onset of pain. Torque, angle, and electromyography were simultaneously recorded during the tests. To take muscle thickness into account, muscle cross-sectional area (MCSA) was obtained with peripheral quantitative computed tomography. Stiffness of the Achilles tendon was assessed using a dynamometer in combination with ultrasonography. The results demonstrate a significantly larger maximal joint angle in the EDS-HT patients accompanied by a similar PRT compared to the control subjects (protocol 2), indicating a lower passive muscle tension in the patient group. PRT for the predetermined angle (protocol 1) was the same for both groups and there was no difference in MSCA. Furthermore, a significantly lower Achilles tendon stiffness was seen in the patient group than in the control group. This study is the first to provide evidence for altered passive properties of the muscle-tendon unit in EDS-HT patients. These changes are thought to be associated with structural modifications in connective tissue. Copyright © 2012 by the American College of Rheumatology.

de Decker P.,University College Ghent
Environment and Planning A | Year: 2011

Between 1995 and 1999 the Flemish government succeeded in approving pieces of legisla- tion intended to counter the spatial developments that had characterised the preceding periods, namely suburbanisation and urban decay. It passed a law to combat vacancy and slum housing (1995), a law to invest in social urban renewal (1996), a housing law (1997), a new law on spatial planning (1999), and the first comprehensive spatial plan (1997). Unfortunately, recent information and an evaluation of the spatial planning effort reveal that these initiatives have not been successful. The suburbanisation of native Belgians did not stop: on the contrary, it is accelerating again. And the population growth in the cities is due to people coming from abroad (through family reunification or formation or as asylum seekers). In this contribution I investigate suburbanisation and deurbanisa- tion, asking why housing sprawl in Flanders is so persistent. I examine the structures behind sprawl, viewing them as the consequence of a longstanding dialectical process whereby physical artefacts interact with political choices and actions, cultural convictions, and economic possibilities that have reinforced each other in daily practice over and over again in one predominant direction. The basic argument is that Flanders' spatial planning and urban policies are locked into historical choices, making it difficult to implement new options successfully. © 2011 Pion Ltd and its Licensors.

Labeau S.O.,University College Ghent
Australian Critical Care | Year: 2013

Background: In the last few decades, e-learning, a method which integrates information technology and the learning process by using materials delivered through the internet, has become widely used in educational initiatives for healthcare professionals. Purpose: To evaluate whether there is a place for e-learning in the field of infection prevention. Methods: Non-comprehensive review of the literature. Findings: E-learning courses in the field of infection prevention and control are still scarce, often restricted to local initiatives and not specifically directed toward critical care providers. Although methodological flaws and potential biases hamper the generalizability of results from some currently available studies, findings related to both learners' satisfaction and effectiveness suggest that e-learning might prove an effective educational tool for the (continuing) education of healthcare providers. Further investigations, including research pertaining to the cost-effectiveness of e-learning, are required to provide a better insight in these issues. Conclusion: Further research is required to determine the (cost)effectiveness of e-learning in general, and in the field of infection prevention and control in particular. Current insights suggest that e-learning should be based Web 2.0 technologies to address a wide range of learning styles and to optimize interactivity. As a gap in the literature was detected with respect to e-learning modules on infection prevention and control which are specifically oriented toward critical care providers, it can be recommended to promote the development and subsequent assessment of such tools that meet high-quality standards. © 2013 Australian College of Critical Care Nurses Ltd.

Devisch I.,University College Ghent
Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice | Year: 2011

Rationale In this article, I argue that we need a new perspective in the debate on autonomy in medicine, to understand many of the problems we face today - dilemmas that are situated at the intersection of autonomy and heteronomy, such as why well informed and autonomous people make unhealthy lifestyle choices. If people do not choose what they want, this is not simply caused by their lack of character or capability, but also by the fact that absolute autonomy is impossible; autonomous individuals are 'contaminated' by heteronymous aspects, by influences from 'outside'. Consequently, there are many good reasons to question the widely accepted hierarchical opposition of autonomy (progress) versus heteronomy (paternalism) in medicine. In an earlier article an analysis is made of the neologism 'oughtonomy' to support the thesis that when it comes down to human existence, autonomy and heteronomy are intertwined, rather than being merely opposites. Methods In this article, I reflect upon how social conditions might improve our 'choice architecture', what Thaler & Sunstein have called 'nudging': how to change individual health choices without being paternalistic? I explore the extent to which both oughtonomy and nudging are able to challenge the question of autonomy in today's medicine. Results and conclusions Autonomy may and should be a shared target in today's medicine, but we should never forget that it is always intertwined with heteronomy. Starting from this perspective, progress in medicine demands far more than the increase of autonomy. © 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: BSG-SME-AG | Phase: SME-2 | Award Amount: 3.31M | Year: 2008

The EU-27 industrial laundry sector, with 11.000 establishments (more than 90% SMEs), washes 2,7 billion kg of soiled textiles per year (wet weight) employing 168.000 workers and utilizing 42 million m3 of wash water and 60 PJ of energy per year. It generates similar quantities of waste water, to be treated, and substantial CO2 emissions (3,8 million tons CO2/year). The annual turnover of the sector is 5,1 billion euro, which can be doubled if all disposable textile articles were replaced by environmentally friendly reusable items. Focused and coordinated research to develop and improve innovative technologies can greatly enhance the performance of the sector. The conventional laundry processes are characterized by large enthalpy destructions and resource inefficiencies. It is the purpose of the project to design the SMART LAUNDRY-2015 through research, further development and adaptation of 16 key technologies (combined for green sites or individual for existing plant augmentation). These include water reduction, energy savings, green fuel substitutions for CO2 reductions, new energy systems and improved sequencing of the processes, greater textile hyiene. Full implementation of the SMART LAUNDRY-2015 will reduce the annual water consumptions by at least 10,4 million m3 (30%), the energy consumptions by 27,5 PJ (45%) and the overall CO2 emissions by 2,3 million tons CO2 per year (60% reduction) at 100% market penetration in the year 2015. Improved laundry services with the 16 key technologies and practices will enhance reusable textiles and reduce the throwaways and disposables by 20%. The 16 key technologies will be investigated at pilot scale level and subsequently integrated in a unified design. A parallel benchmarking and innovation monitoring will validate both the actual energy demand and the potential of energy savings of the future innovations. Future economic gains from SMILES are projected at 1020 million EUR in the next 10 years. An important component of project SMILES is the educational effort and training of key staff members and hand-on workers to assist in the introduction of the Smart Laundry-2015. The project also encompasses the writing, production and dissemination of key materials by a special website ( to national associations and to all SMEs in the sector. Finally the resource reductions are assured by an automated energy management system controlling and monitoring input and output savings. SMILES has 6 WPs: WP1 Water reduction, WP2 Energy/CO2 reduction, WP3 Chemicals reduction, WP4 Quality improvement/Risk analysis, WP5 Integration/Transfer and WP6 Project management. The project has a well-planned management structure for the cooperation between 5 SME-AGs, 2 SMEs and 8 RTDs from 7 EU countries.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: BSG-SME-AG | Phase: SME-2 | Award Amount: 3.59M | Year: 2010

Mycotoxins are naturally occurring secondary metabolites produced by certain moulds/fungi as a result of their organic processes. Unfortunately, most mycotoxins are known to hazardously contaminate crops and consequently animal feeds and animal products, causing significant economic losses associated with their impact on animal and human health, animal productivity and domestic and international trade. While the economic effects are not easily calculated due to the several participants in the grain sector, European Union is setting stricter and stricter limits of mycotoxin concentrations. Deoxynivalenol also known as DON or vomitoxin is one of about 150 related compounds known as the trichothecenes that are formed by a number of species of Fusarium and some other fungi. It is nearly always formed before harvest when crops are invaded by certain species of Fusarium such as F. graminearum and F. culmorum. Our goal would be twofold: -developing a new sampling technique guaranteeing a 95% bulk transparency, -adapting a biosensor technology for the detection of deoxynivalenol. The electrochemical detection was selected as the amperometric sensor technology using a special biorecognitive layer proved to be the most reliable, low-cost method to be used in an on-site operating device. Our proposed solution will provide an easy-to-use, environmentally friendly, continuously operating system to fight against the mycotoxin infection.

De Clercq J.,University College Ghent
International Journal of Industrial Chemistry | Year: 2012

Background: The performance of two adsorbents, i.e. a new ultra stable adsorbent SH-ePMO and a commercial ion exchange resin TP-214, for the removal of mercury from aqueous solutions was investigated. The operating variables studied were initial mercury concentration and contact time. Results: The adsorption isotherms showed favourable adsorption. The adsorption isotherms were analysed using Langmuir and Freundlich models. The Langmuir model yielded the best fit for the SH-ePMO, whereas the Freundlich model fitted best the adsorption on TP-214. The maximum adsorption capacities were 66 and 456 mg/g for SH-ePMO and TP-214, respectively. TP-214 is capable of purifying water to parts per trillion levels. The adsorption kinetics showed a fast adsorption for both adsorbents. The kinetics was analysed using Lagergren's pseudo-first-order and pseudo-second-order kinetic models. The pseudo-first-order kinetic model showed a good description of the experimental data of both adsorbents. Conclusions: This study clearly shows the potential of the ultra stable SH-ePMO for removing mercury from aqueous solutions and confirms the performance of the ion exchanger resin TP-214. © 2012, De Clercq; licensee Springer.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: BSG-SME | Phase: SME-1 | Award Amount: 1.04M | Year: 2008

A competitive weapon for companies in process-intensive industries such as the chemical industry, is effective mastery of supply chain management from raw material to end product so as to improve efficiency, effectiveness, & profitability. However, in flow scheduling, the human operator can be overwhelmed by the complexity of the problem. CAP-SCHED involves developing a new intelligent scheduling system for companies in continuous/semi-continuous process industries. The innovative solution uses a multi-agent framework to combine 2 existing approaches which, individually, are inadequate to improve scheduling. However, combining both approaches offers significant improvements to implement more profitable solutions to scheduling problems, with better account taken of constraints. The 2 approaches are: 1. Simulation through trial & error: * The scheduler instructs the system to calculate all material flows in terms of quantity & quality from up- to down-stream throughout the plant; * If infeasibility occurs (e.g. capacity limitation) then the planner readjusts parameters in trial & error mode to reach a feasible solution. and 2. Algorithmic constraint solving: * the problem is represented as a mathematical model & the system attempts a solution, helped by heuristic guesses so as to guide the search algorithm via domain knowledge. The new idea is to allow full interaction with the system via a Graphical User Interface as if running in simulation mode, & to translate instructions, when the value of an operating parameter (or the starting date of an event) is fixed, in terms of constraints imposed in the mathematical model. Thus, the person responsible for scheduling can choose to fix variable values, and to let the system find those left free so as to reach a feasible solution. Overall, the solution will drastically reduce the need for multiple planning/scheduling loops so as to achieve a consistently optimised solution with improved profitability.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: SSH-2007-3.1-01 | Award Amount: 1.65M | Year: 2008

DEMHOW will investigate links between demographic change and housing wealth. Whereas those who rent their homes may have no housing wealth at all, for many older Europeans - perhaps 75% of the total - housing is their single largest item of wealth But, increasing numbers do not have children to whom their wealth might be bequeathed. The potential of housing assets is that they offer: older households a way of increasing their consumption; governments a way to respond to the pension crisis;and financial institutions a way to increase business. DEMHOW will investigate the ways in which, across member states, ageing populations and housing wealth are linked, how housing wealth has been used in the past and how attitudes to its use in old age are changing. In addition, it will investigate developments in policy and in financial markets that may encourage its use as a form of pension, and assess the characteristics of housing assets as a form of pension.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: BSG-SME-AG | Phase: SME-2012-2 | Award Amount: 3.00M | Year: 2012

In the current market, the well-known brands of technical textiles are coated with Perfluorocarbon chemistry to possess highly durable oil and water repellent (OWR) finish. In early days, water repellent finish for fabrics was provided by simple paraffin or wax coatings which washed out eventually. Alternatively, PFOS and PFOA are the chemicals belonging to the family of perflourochemicals (PFCs) also known as C8 chemistry is used. Although PFC-C8 are used together with binders that act as glue to stick to the surface of fabrics, as it is not chemically bonded to the substrate it leaches out, causing ecological threat. Recent studies have found PFC-C8 present in the blood, tissues and foetal-cords of human and its bio-persistence and bioaccumulation in the environment has caused significant concerns. Notably, due to these concerns, 3M withdrew Scotchguard from the market in 2000. C8 Fluorocarbons are currently under high regulatory pressure (2006/122/EC) and its outlawed in favour of C6 chemistry which performs lower to meet the industries durability and repellence standards. There is a strong demand for replacing the C8 chemistry with an equally performing finishing chemical. TEX-SHIELD will develop a novel, multifunctional molecular structure with silica backbone that is chemically bondable to the fibre/filament to achieve a highly durable textile finish that is resistant against the oil/grease /powder stains by biological route. The reasonable silica content in it will replace the C8 chemistry while providing equal performance. A replica of film forming effect will be formulated. The project will evaluate the suitable deposition technique. TEX-SHIELD will provide the textile industry with a cost effective and environmentally safe OWR finish on textiles, revolutionising the current market place, whilst resolving the concerns of the current PFC-C8 based stain-resistant coatings. This will profoundly reduce water consumption during washing for the consumers.

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