London, United Kingdom
London, United Kingdom

University College London , formerly styled University College, London, is a public research university in London, England and a constituent college of the federal University of London. Founded in 1826 as London University, UCL was the first university institution established in London and the first in England to be entirely secular, to admit students regardless of their religion, and to admit women on equal terms with men. The philosopher Jeremy Bentham is commonly regarded as the spiritual father of UCL, as his radical ideas on education and society were the inspiration to its founders, although his direct involvement in its foundation was limited. UCL became one of the two founding colleges of the University of London in 1836. It has grown through mergers, including with the Institute of Neurology , the Eastman Dental Institute , the School of Slavonic and East European Studies , the School of Pharmacy and the Institute of Education .UCL's main campus is located in the Bloomsbury area of central London, with a number of institutes and teaching hospitals elsewhere in central London, and satellite campuses in Adelaide, Australia and Doha, Qatar. UCL is organised into 11 constituent faculties, within which there are over 100 departments, institutes and research centres. UCL has around 36,000 students and 11,000 staff and had a total income of £1.02 billion in 2013/14, of which £374.5 million was from research grants and contracts. Measured by number of students it is both the largest higher education institution in London and largest postgraduate institution in the UK. UCL is responsible for several museums and collections in a wide range of fields including the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, a leading collection of Egyptian and Sudanese archaeology, and the Grant Museum of Zoology and Comparative Anatomy.UCL ranks highly in domestic and global league tables; it is 20th in the world in the 2014 Academic Ranking of World Universities, joint 5th in the world in the 2014 QS World University Rankings and 22nd in the world in the 2014/15 Times Higher Education World University Rankings. For the period 1999 to 2009 it was the 13th most-cited university in the world . There are 32 Nobel Prize winners and three Fields Medalists amongst UCL's alumni and current and former staff. UCL alumni include the "Father of the Nation" of each of India, Kenya and Mauritius, the inventor of the telephone, and one of the co-discoverers of the structure of DNA. All five of the naturally-occurring noble gases were discovered at UCL by William Ramsay.UCL is part of three of the 11 biomedical research centres established by the NHS in England and is a founding member of the Francis Crick Institute and UCL Partners, the world's largest academic health science centre. UCL has hundreds of research and teaching partnerships, including a major collaboration with Yale University, the Yale UCL Collaborative. UCL is a member of numerous academic organisations including the G5, the League of European Research Universities and the Russell Group and forms part of the 'golden triangle' of British universities. Wikipedia.


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Jahanshahi M.,University College London | Rothwell J.C.,University College London
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences | Year: 2017

Recently, it has been proposed that similar to goal-directed and habitual action mediated by the fronto-striatal circuits, the fronto-striato-subthalamicpallidal- thalamo-cortical network may also mediate goal-directed and habitual (automatic) inhibition in both the motor and non-motor domains. Within this framework, some of the clinical manifestations of Parkinson’s disease, dystonia, Tourette syndrome and obsessive–compulsive disorder can be considered to represent an imbalance between goal-directed and habitual action and inhibition. It is possible that surgical interventions targeting the basal ganglia nuclei, such as deep brain stimulation of the subthalamic nucleus or the internal segment of the globus pallidus, improve these disorders by restoring a functional balance between facilitation and inhibition in the fronto-striatal networks. These proposals require investigation in future studies. © 2017 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.


Wells J.C.K.,University College London
Anatomical Record | Year: 2017

The “obstetrical dilemma” refers to the tight fit between maternal pelvic dimensions and neonatal size at delivery. Most interest traditionally focused on its generic significance for humans, for example our neonatal altriciality and our complex and lengthy birth process. Across contemporary populations, however, the obstetrical dilemma manifests substantial variability, illustrated by differences in the incidence of cephalo-pelvic disproportion, obstructed labour and cesarean section. Beyond accounting for 12% of maternal mortality worldwide, obstructed labour also imposes a huge burden of maternal morbidity, in particular through debilitating birth injuries. This article explores how the double burden of malnutrition and the global obesity epidemic may be reshaping the obstetrical dilemma. First, short maternal stature increases the risk of obstructed labour, while early age at marriage also risks pregnancy before pelvic growth is completed. Second, maternal obesity increases the risk of macrosomic offspring. In some populations, short maternal stature may also promote the risk of gestational diabetes, another risk factor for macrosomic offspring. These nutritional influences are furthermore sensitive to social values relating to issues such as maternal and child nutrition, gender inequality and age at marriage. Secular trends in maternal obesity are substantially greater than those in adult stature, especially in low- and middle-income countries. The association between the dual burden of malnutrition and the obstetrical dilemma is therefore expected to increase, because the obesity epidemic is emerging faster than stunting is being resolved. However, we currently lack objective population-specific data on the association between maternal obesity and birth injuries. Anat Rec, 300:716–731, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


Skalska L.,University College London
Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology | Year: 2017

Transcription and chromatin function are regulated by proteins that bind to DNA, nucleosomes or RNA polymerase II, with specific non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) functioning to modulate their recruitment or activity. Unlike ncRNAs, nascent pre-mRNA was considered to be primarily a passive player in these processes. In this Opinion article, we describe recently identified interactions between nascent pre-mRNAs and regulatory proteins, highlight commonalities between the functions of nascent pre-mRNA and nascent ncRNA, and propose that both types of RNA have an active role in transcription and chromatin regulation. © 2017 Nature Publishing Group, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited. All Rights Reserved.


Chiaravalloti R.M.,University College London
Conservation and Society | Year: 2017

Historically, small-scale inland fisheries have been overlooked. Management practices based on industrial fishing, rarely take into account vital factors such as complex socio-environmental relations. This paper aims to help address this gap, contributing to a better understanding of small-scale inland fisheries. It uses the Pantanal wetland of Brazil as a case study, in which policymakers established restrictive fishing rules based on claims that local overfishing had caused numbers of recreational fishing tourists to decline. Through multiple regressions, participatory observation and mapping, this paper deconstructs the environmental narrative and uncovers the area's complex traditional system of use. The case study, firstly illustrates the adverse consequences of misconceived top-down fishing management practices and, how such environmental narratives may be deconstructed. Then it presents important aspects of customary management in inland floodplains fisheries, including high levels of mobility within a common property regime and unexploitable reserves. It concludes by analysing recently proposed categories of property regimes, identifying fundamental elements that must be taken into account in designing appropriate management policies in inland floodplain fisheries.


Frachetti M.D.,Washington University in St. Louis | Smith C.E.,Washington University in St. Louis | Traub C.M.,Washington University in St. Louis | Williams T.,University College London
Nature | Year: 2017

There are many unanswered questions about the evolution of the ancient 'Silk Roads' across Asia. This is especially the case in their mountainous stretches, where harsh terrain is seen as an impediment to travel. Considering the ecology and mobility of inner Asian mountain pastoralists, we use 'flow accumulation' modelling to calculate the annual routes of nomadic societies (from 750 m to 4,000 m elevation). Aggregating 500 iterations of the model reveals a high-resolution flow network that simulates how centuries of seasonal nomadic herding could shape discrete routes of connectivity across the mountains of Asia. We then compare the locations of known high-elevation Silk Road sites with the geography of these optimized herding flows, and find a significant correspondence in mountainous regions. Thus, we argue that highland Silk Road networks (from 750 m to 4,000 m) emerged slowly in relation to long-established mobility patterns of nomadic herders in the mountains of inner Asia.


Male V.,University College London
Trends in Immunology | Year: 2017

Mouse liver contains two natural killer (NK) cell populations, one of which recirculates while the other is tissue resident. Following this discovery, several groups have sought to identify liver-resident NK (lrNK) cells in humans. Here, I present an overview of recent advances in the field. © 2017 Elsevier Ltd.


Cooper A.C.G.,University College London
Energy Research and Social Science | Year: 2017

A diagnosis for why the social sciences have limited impact on energy policy-making is proposed, and the outline of a remedy presented. The diagnosis identifies the limited use physical science in social studies of energy as a major cause of this lack of impact. This is illustrated by a qualitative review of studies in psychological and sociological approaches and by a quantitative content analysis of all the articles published in Energy Research and Social Science to July 2016. Only around one in ten papers make any meaningful reference to common physical units for energy analysis, with nearly three-quarters making no reference at all to any of these units, in contrast to the pattern observed in the journal Energy Policy. This is important because while it is possible to make realistic but problematic energy policy with only physical and technical data it is not possible to make realistic energy policy with only social data. To bring more physics into social science of energy without the latter simply serving the framework of the former demands a new socio-technical approach to the study of energy. A potential vision for this approach is set out in order to stimulate wider debate in the academy. © 2017 Elsevier Ltd


News Article | April 17, 2017
Site: www.bbc.co.uk

Nasa believes one of Saturn's moons may be the best place to look for life beyond Earth. Nasa believes one of Saturn's moons, known as Enceladus, may now be the single best place to look for life beyond Earth. The discovery was made through Nasa's Cassini probe, which flew close enough to examine the icy moon. Maggie Aderin-Pocock, space scientist and researcher at University College London, tells Radio 4's Today the moon has the "three key ingredients for life to exist," we just need to find out if it actually does.


News Article | April 20, 2017
Site: www.scientificamerican.com

We humans are social animals. Most of us interact with others on a daily basis, and form complex social groups containing dozens of friends, relatives and peers. Maintaining such a network involves tracking our own relationships to individuals within it, and also requires some understanding of their relationships to one another. With such knowledge, we can quickly figure out another person's social standing and, with that, infer how best to behave toward them. But what happens in the brain during this process? Research published today in Nature Human Behavior shows seeing familiar people activates a network of brain regions that appears to encode their position within the social group. Carolyn Parkinson of the University of California, Los Angeles, and her colleagues from Dartmouth College recruited 275 first-year MBA students and asked them to complete an online survey that included questions about which classmates they like to spend their free time with, who they visit at home and who they have been with most often for informal social events such as going to lunch, dinner, drinks or to the movies. They used the survey responses to assess each participants’ position within the social network of their academic program, according to three different measures: their social distance, or “degrees of separation” from one another; their proximity to other, well-connected individuals in the network; and the extent to which they connected otherwise unconnected individuals in the network. The researchers then used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to scan 21 of the participants’ brains while they viewed pairs of short film clips showing classmates of varying status within this social network, telling them all they needed to do was indicate whether the clips in each pair were the same or different, and that this task was unrelated to the first part of the experiment. Previous research has already identified components of the brain’s social network, revealing the inferior parietal lobule seems to encode familiarity and social distance, and that the medial prefrontal cortex encodes how socially relevant other people are to us. In keeping with these earlier findings, Parkinson and her colleagues found activity in a widely distributed network of brain regions was sensitive to the social status of the people in the film clips, with individual regions responding to different aspects of it. Prefrontal cortex activity, for example, increased according to how well connected each person was whereas the inferior parietal lobule was particularly sensitive to the social distance between the viewer and the person being viewed. “Whenever we see another person, our brains spontaneously register a wealth of information about them, including things like their gender, personality traits, emotions and so on,” Parkinson says. The results suggest that “we also spontaneously activate knowledge of where they sit in our social networks to prepare us to think about and interact with them appropriately” she adds. “This looks like an excellent study,” says psychiatrist Leonhard Schilbach, group leader of the Independent Max Planck Research Group for Social Neuroscience who was not involved with the study. “What I like most is the idea of combining information about everyday-life social networks with standardized brain imaging to assess implicit measures of social perception [that are relevant to the real world].” Another observer not associated with the work—Antonia Hamilton, director of the Social Neuroscience Group at University College London—echoes this view: “The novelty lies in getting a real-world measure of distance and social connections.” She adds a caveat, however: “My only worry is that social distance is strongly correlated with familiarity—you might get similar results if the brain just encodes people you see more often in more detail.” But Parkinson says she and her colleagues took this into account and factored it into their experimental design. “It is, of course, the case that we tend to have more intimate relationships with our friends than with familiar acquaintances,” she says, “and that comes out in the participants’ ratings of how close their relationships were with each person they viewed in the scanner.” She adds, "One way we controlled for this familiarity was that participants never saw strangers in the scanner. Some individuals were their friends, some were friends of their friends and some were friends of their friends’ friends (two vs. three degrees distant). The brain regions that appear to encode social distance responded quite differently to people who were two and three "degrees away" from participants in the social network, although their own ratings of closeness to people in those two categories were quite similar.” Parkinson says she now wants to understand how this social information might influence people's behavior. “A natural question that follows from these findings is, ‘How is this social network position information used?’” she says, “and we’re currently working on behavioral studies investigating how knowledge of others’ social status shapes things like attention, empathy and trust.”


News Article | April 29, 2017
Site: www.newscientist.com

“THE doubt-driven ride this book will take you on is going to physically change your brain,” claims Beau Lotto early in Deviate. He wants to change our brains by making us reassess the reality we perceive. The book draws on his research at University College London, where he studies perception, and his work at the Lab of Misfits at London’s Science Museum – an exhibition creating experiences designed to alter how and what our brains perceive. To this end, Deviate plays with the book’s design: some words get larger fonts (making the page look like a word cloud), and occasionally pages are upside down, or columns of text run diagonally across. The intent is to shake up our very experience of reading. The idea that our perceptions don’t mirror objective, external reality is not new. People with neuropsychological conditions provide stark evidence that we can perceive things that really aren’t there. The question is whether everyday perception is also questionable. Deviate takes sides, aiming to convince that normal perception is also suspect. As Lotto says, “We’re all like Alice all the time… except that we didn’t have to drop through the rabbit hole. We’re already deep inside it.” And he tries myriad ways to show us that. There’s the delicious story of Goethe’s ill-advised odyssey to undermine Newton’s theory of light with his own theory of colour. Goethe got it wrong because “like most of us, he took for granted that he saw reality”. Then there’s Michel Eugène Chevreul, a French chemist who showed why the colours of the tapestries displayed in the Paris showrooms of the 1820s (“rich burgundies, grassy greens, sun-kissed golds”) looked so different in the homes of customers. The perception of a colour has to do with the colours surrounding it – reality is constructed in the mind. That’s the key idea: perception is the outcome of the brain trying to make predictions, based on experiences and assumptions that are either hardwired (over evolutionary time) or that accumulate during individual lifetimes. If we have to change ourselves, for whatever reason, then “the first challenge is to accept everything you do is a reflex grounded in your assumptions”, writes Lotto. He reveals how to see things differently, with some tantalising insights. For instance, if your perceptions are the result of what your brain has experienced and the meanings attributed to these experiences, one way to change your future perceptions is to use the power of thought and imagination to rewire those associated meanings. Unfortunately, the book rarely gets stuck in for long. So in the section on changing our past to influence our future, he writes: “Governments – especially totalitarian ones – and their spin doctors understand the power of re-meaning history”. But in two paragraphs, he has moved on to big data. “One way to change future perceptions is to rewire the meanings associated with past experiences” Deviate can wander into pop psychology, as when Lotto talks about how living purposeful, creative lives means having to embrace uncertainty. He even dispenses relationship advice: “Waking… with another needs to be like seeing a sunrise.” In the end, Deviate can’t quite make up its mind if it’s about the neuroscience of perception or helping us change our lives using neuroscience. The tension is best illustrated when Lotto discusses how hard it was to apply his neuroscientific knowledge to make sense of an illness causing him neurological problems: “You know too much and nothing.” This article appeared in print under the headline “Seeing is not perceiving”


Two partial human skulls discovered in China may have belonged to the mysterious cousin of the Neanderthals, the extinct ice age humans known as Denisovans. The Denisovans and Neanderthals are known to have a common ancestor that had split from the modern human lineage. In a 2016 study, researchers found nuclear DNA evidence suggesting that this split may have happened 765,000 years ago. The Denisovans have only been known from bits of DNA taken from a partial finger bone found in the Denisova Cave in Altai Mountains in Siberia. In 2010, researchers from the ancient DNA laboratory of Max Planck Institute in Germany yielded a complete genome of what was previously an unknown type of human using a bit of pinky from a growing girl. That sliver of bone served as the first evidence of the Denisovans, a distinct branch of the Homo family tree that mated with both the Neanderthals and modern humans and whose genes continue to live on today among modern Europeans, Asians, and the Melanesians of Papua New Guinea. The Denisovans are believed to have walked in the lands of Asia with tools as sophisticated as the ones made by humans more than 100,000 years ago. Besides the pinky nub of a young girl, three molars found in the same cave in Siberia also point to the existence of the Denisovans. Since the discovery of the Denisovans, however, researchers have only discovered few tangible evidence that can help prove these archaic humans existed. Now, the newly discovered fossils from China estimated to be between 105,000 to 125,00 years old are being suspected to be new evidence of the Denisovans. The bones called "archaic Homo" emerge as prime candidates that show what these extinct human relative may have looked like. In a paper published in the journal Science, Zhan-Yang Li, from the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, and colleagues avoided using the word Denisovans in their report but noted that the bones could have belonged to a new type of human or an eastern variant of the Neanderthals. "Some features are ancestral and similar to those of earlier eastern Eurasian humans, some are derived and shared with contemporaneous or later humans elsewhere, and some are closer to those of Neanderthals," Zhan-Yang Li and colleagues wrote in their study. Despite that the paper did not mention the Denisovans, other researchers think the bones may have belonged to them. María Martinón-Torres, from University College London, said that the skulls definitely fit what could be expected from a Denisovan. The paleoanthropologist said that the fossils have something with an Asian flavor that is closely related to the Neanderthals. "This would be the combination that one would expect based on the ancient DNA analysis of Denisovans, who were closely related to Neanderthals," said Katerina Harvati, a Neanderthal expert from the University of Tübingen in Germany, who is not involved in the research. Because the investigators have not yet taken DNA from the skulls, the possibility these belonged to the Denisovans remains a speculation. © 2017 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.


News Article | April 23, 2017
Site: www.sciencenewsdaily.org

So we’ve seen how drones can be used for photography, videography, even used to provide internet, and now it seems that drones have found a use in the study of animals. A pair of researchers have used drones in a bid to better learn about the behavior of bats while they’re in-flight that go beyond traditional ground-based monitoring tactics.It seems that what bats get up to while they are in-flight is still something of a mystery to scientists, according to ecologist Kate Jones from the University College London. Jones claims that traditional ground monitoring tactics might not paint a full picture. “We’re monitoring on the ground and thinking that’s representative of the entire air column – but I don’t think that’s true.”However with these drones that are built by Tom Moore who works alongside bat enthusiast Tom August, these drones can fly a pre-planned route and can pick up bat calls via an ultrasonic transmitter. Due to the fact that these drones can fly at higher altitudes, it is possible that the data Drones listen in on bats to reveal their in-flight secrets Using ultrasonic detectors, drones in the air and on the water are detecting bat calls, in the hope of finding out what the mammals get up to when flying


News Article | April 17, 2017
Site: www.newscientist.com

Your apps are conspiring against you. An analysis of more than 100,000 Android apps has found that they sometimes collude with each other to obtain information without permission. “Apps that don’t have a good reason to ask for extra permissions sometimes don’t bother. Instead, they manage to get information through other apps,” says Gang Wang at Virginia Tech. Android apps are screened for viruses and other security issues before being listed in the Google Play store, but only individually. Once downloaded, apps can communicate with each other without notifying the user. But the team found that some apps exploit this feature to gain access to data they shouldn’t be able to. “We’ve suspected that collusion happens between apps for a while, but it’s hard to catch. So we analysed a huge number of pairs of apps,” says Daphne Yao at Virginia Tech. Out of the 100,206 most popular apps on the Google Play store, the researchers found 23,495 colluding pairs. However, all of these pairs contained one of just 54 apps that instigated the collusion. Those that were most likely to be up to mischief often seemed the most innocuous, such as apps that give you extra emojis, personalise your ring tone, or modify your phone’s background. The researchers will present their work at the Asia Conference on Computer and Communications Security in April. “The bad news is that we found that apps can pass information around recklessly. The good news is that the amount of collusion is still quite low,” says Yao. In many cases, it wasn’t clear whether an app was designed to collude with others for malicious purposes, or if it was just a mistake. But as the vulnerability becomes more well-known, developers of malicious apps could exploit it more often. It could allow malware to gain access to a person’s camera or obtain sensitive data without their permission, for example. Identifying colluding apps is “an important step forward in the malware arms-race”, says Vasilios Mavroudis at University College London. App stores like Google Play should start using a similar screening process, he says.


News Article | April 25, 2017
Site: www.newscientist.com

Extremely premature lambs have been kept alive in an artificial uterus for four weeks. The system uses a fluid-filled plastic bag and could be used for premature babies within the next three years. “We’ve developed a system that, as closely as possible, reproduces the environment of the womb and replace the function of the placenta,” says Alan Flake at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania, who led the study. “It is fascinating,” says Neil Marlow, at University College London. “People have been trying to do this for ages.” But he says the system will have to undergo years of testing to be sure it is safe for babies. Flake and his colleagues developed their system with babies in mind. Being born extremely prematurely is the most common cause of death in babies. Infants born at 22 to 24 weeks, instead of the full 40 weeks, have only a 10 per cent chance of survival, says Flake. Those that survive are vulnerable to a host of disorders, and can develop lasting disabilities, such as poor vision or hearing or cerebral palsy. “They have very immature organs,” says Flake. “They’re simply not ready to be born yet.” Babies supported in incubators are prone to infections, for instance, and the gas ventilation that is needed to help babies breathe can leave them with lung damage. But the plastic bag system provides a sealed environment that should protect a fetus from infections. To mimic the environment of the uterus, the team fill their bags with fluid comprising water and salts. In place of a placenta – which supplies a healthy fetus with oxygen and other substances – the team connected oxygenator devices to the umbilical cords of the developing lambs. Instead of pumping oxygen into the lambs, the team developed a technique that uses the animals’ own heartbeats to drive the collection of oxygen from the device. They hope that providing oxygen in this way would be better than the ventilators currently used for premature babies, which can damage their lungs. In their experiments, the team used lambs that were 15 and 17 weeks into the full 21-week gestational period for sheep. These were removed by Caesarean section, carefully placed into the bags, connected to the oxygenators, and then closely monitored. The lambs were kept in the bags for up to four weeks. Most of them were then euthanised and examined. All of the lambs appeared to show healthy development, and the team found no abnormalities in the lambs’ brains and lungs. “These animals are, by any parameter we’ve measured, normal,” says Flake. Some of the lambs were “born” – removed from the bags and bottle-weaned. The oldest is now a year old and is doing well, say the team. They are now working with the US Food and Drug Administration to develop a version of the device for extremely premature human infants. Their plan is to support babies born at around 24 weeks, until they reach around 28 weeks. By this point, their odds of survival are much higher, say the team. This is a “very reasonable” plan, says Mark Turner, at the University of Liverpool, UK. However, Turner is cautious of the team’s aim to trial the device on babies within three to five years. “I have concerns about getting the details just right,” say Turner. Some treatments for premature babies have previously been rushed through, only for it to be discovered later that they are harmful. In the 1960s, for instance, babies were often given too much oxygen. This disrupted the formation of blood vessels, in some cases causing the retina to be separated from the back of the eye. “Several thousand children went blind because of that, including Stevie Wonder,” says Turner. If the team can get the system working for human infants, it would be useful for only about half of the babies that are born extremely prematurely – those that can be delivered by C-section. For their human device, Flake’s team hope to improve the fluid that babies will be bathed in. Amniotic fluid contains nutrients and growth factors, as well as fetal urine. The team plan on adding substances that are known to aid the development of the gut, for instance. The human device will look different, too. “I don’t want this to be visualised as fetuses hanging on the wall in bags,” says Flake. He says the device will eventually look like an incubator – with a cover and a dark interior. He also plans to make the device “parent-friendly”, allowing parents to communicate sounds to the baby and to see it with a camera. Marlow says this is an important consideration, as having a premature infant can be extremely distressing for parents. On the whole, Marlow is optimistic about the device, but shares similar concerns to Turner. “Anything that is more gentle, and interferes in normal development as little as possible, is to be welcomed,” says Marlow. “But we need to keep an eye on the risks.” Read more: Premature babies’ brains respond differently to gentle touching; Curing congenital diseases in the womb


News Article | April 25, 2017
Site: www.sciencedaily.com

Emotional eating -- eating when you feel sad or upset or in response to another negative mood -- is not uncommon in children and adolescents, but why youth eat emotionally has been unclear. Now a new longitudinal study from Norway has found that school-age children whose parents fed them more to soothe their negative feelings were more likely to eat emotionally later on. The reverse was also found to be the case, with parents of children who were more easily soothed by food being more likely to feed them for emotional reasons. The findings come from researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, King's College London, University College London, and the University of Leeds. They appear in the journal Child Development. "Understanding where emotional eating comes from is important because such behavior can increase the risk for being overweight and developing eating disorders," according to the study's lead author, Silje Steinsbekk, associate professor of psychology at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. "If we can find out what influences the development of emotional eating in young children, parents can be given helpful advice about how to prevent it." When children eat to soothe their negative feelings, their food tends to be high in calories (e.g., sweets) so they consume more calories. If they emotionally overeat often, they are also more likely to be overweight. Emotional eating is also tied to the development of later eating disorders (e.g., bulimia and binge eating). This study sought to determine why children eat emotionally and is the first research to consider the issue in school-age children. Researchers examined emotional feeding and eating in a representative group of 801 Norwegian 4-year-olds, looking at these issues again at ages 6, 8, and 10. They sought to determine whether parents involved in the study (mostly mothers) shaped their children's later behavior by offering food to make them feel better when they were upset (emotional feeding), and whether parents whose children were easily soothed by food (those who calmed when given food) were more likely to offer them more food for comfort at a subsequent time. Parents were asked to complete questionnaires describing their children's emotional eating and temperament (how easily they became upset, how well they could control their emotions), as well as their own emotional feeding. Approximately 65% of the children displayed some emotional eating. The study found that young children whose parents offered them food for comfort at ages 4 and 6 had more emotional eating at ages 8 and 10. But the reverse was also true: Parents whose children were more easily comforted with food were more likely to offer them food to soothe them (i.e., to engage in emotional feeding). Thus, emotional feeding increased emotional eating, and emotional eating increased emotional feeding. The findings held even after accounting for children's body-mass index and initial levels of feeding and eating. Moreover, higher levels of negative affectivity (i.e., becoming angry or upset more easily) at age 4 increased children's risk for emotional eating and feeding at age 6. And this contributed to the bidirectional relation between emotional feeding and emotional eating. "We know that children who are more easily upset and have more difficulty controlling their emotions are more likely to eat emotionally than calmer children, perhaps because they experience more negative emotions and eating helps them calm down," notes Lars Wichstrøm, professor of psychology at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, who coauthored the study. "Our research adds to this knowledge by showing that children who are more easily upset are at highest risk for becoming emotional eaters." The authors suggest that instead of offering children food to soothe them when they are sad or upset, parents and other caregivers try to calm youngsters by talking, offering a hug, or soothing in ways that don't involve food. "Food may work to calm a child, but the downside is teaching children to rely on food to deal with negative emotions, which can have negative consequences in the long run," adds Steinsbekk. The authors caution that because the study was conducted in Norway, which has a relatively homogenous and well-educated population, the findings should not be generalized to more diverse populations or to cultures with other feeding and eating practices without further study.


News Article | April 28, 2017
Site: www.scientificamerican.com

The world is an unpredictable place. But the brain has evolved a way to cope with the everyday uncertainties it encounters—it doesn’t present us with many of them, but instead resolves them as a realistic model of the world. The body’s central controller predicts every contingency, using its stored database of past experiences, to minimize the element of surprise. Take vision, for example: We rarely see objects in their entirety but our brains fill in the gaps to make a best guess at what we are seeing—and these predictions are usually an accurate reflection of reality. The same is true of hearing, and neuroscientists have now identified a predictive textlike brain mechanism that helps us to anticipate what is coming next when we hear someone speaking. The findings, published this week in PLoS Biology, advance our understanding of how the brain processes speech. They also provide clues about how language evolved, and could even lead to new ways of diagnosing a variety of neurological conditions more accurately. The new study builds on earlier findings that monkeys and human infants can implicitly learn to recognize artificial grammar, or the rules by which sounds in a made-up language are related to one another. Neuroscientist Yukiko Kikuchi of Newcastle University in England and her colleagues played sequences of nonsense speech sounds to macaques and humans. Consistent with the earlier findings, Kikuchi and her team found both species quickly learned the rules of the language’s artificial grammar. After this initial learning period the researchers played more sound sequences—some of which violated the fabricated grammatical rules. They used microelectrodes to record responses from hundreds of individual neurons as well as from large populations of neurons that process sound information. In this way they were able to compare the responses with both types of sequences and determine the similarities between the two species’ reactions. The scientists found the brain activity in this situation was remarkably similar in monkeys and humans, and that it varied according to the sequence of sounds in the fake sentences. In both species sentences that obeyed the grammar rules altered the firing of individual cells in the auditory cortex, so that the low- and high-frequency rhythmic activity produced by different populations of neurons became synchronized. Sentences that violated the grammatical rules initially produced a different response, but this was followed by the same synchronous pattern about half a second later, showing the “correct” sequences that had been learned earlier modulated the brain's response to the ones that violated the rules. “We have discovered how individual neurons coordinate with neural populations to predict upcoming events,” Kikuchi says. “This occurs shortly before the neurons notice when an error has occurred, and the brain has to modify its predictions.” This research “could ultimately help people with problems predicting what will happen next,” she adds. “For example, we can now ask how these predictive responses might be malfunctioning in people suffering from disorders such as dyslexia, schizophrenia and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.” The study is the first to directly compare humans’ and monkeys’ neural responses with complex sounds. As such, its results suggest both species use the same brain mechanisms to process such sounds—mechanisms that appear to have been conserved during the course of evolution. According to Sophie Scott, a cognitive neuroscientist who studies brain mechanisms of speech production at University College London and was not involved in the study, the new research provides important insights into the workings of the brain’s primary auditory cortex. “It’s showing that the cells are sensitive to the sequence of the sounds, or what you’re expecting to hear next,” she says. “They found that the signal is modulated by whether or not you're getting an expected sequence, and this demonstrates very nicely that the auditory cortex is either learning about the sequences—or is receiving inputs about them from elsewhere and using that information.” Scott adds it might prove difficult to apply the same methods of analysis to human speech, however, because the made-up language used in the study bears little resemblance to real speech. “The words led and let differ by the sounds at the end. But when I say one or the other, I produce the sound at the start differently, because I'm anticipating the end of the word,” Scott explains. “We use this information in speech but it’s missing from artificial grammar, which has long gaps between the words that are needed to examine how the neural oscillations change. That means [the researchers’ method of analysis] might not work if they look at real speech.”


News Article | March 7, 2017
Site: www.techtimes.com

A ground-breaking research in the field of neuroscience offers an in-depth analysis of the brain's reward system, highlighting its influence on the decision-making process. The study encompasses three decades of investigation into the role of dopamine in everyday life choices and shows how the brain perceives different options, prioritizing those which prompt a better reward. For their outstanding merits, Professors Wolfram Schultz, Peter Dayan, and Ray Dolan received this year's Brain Prize, in the sum of 1 million euros (over $1.05 million). Granted by the Danish Lundbeck Foundation, this award is one of the most prestigious accolades in neuroscience. Focused on the brain's "reward center" and the way it shapes our motivation and feelings of happiness and pleasure, the study revealed how much of the decision-making process relies on dopamine. Also known as the "happiness hormone," dopamine plays an exponential part in determining which choices are more appealing. When having to decide between different courses of action, goals to set, or objects to purchase, this brain chemical helps us assess options and rank them according to how much satisfaction we can anticipate to generate. Dopamine regulates how we optimize choices, explains Professor Dayan of the University College London. The chemical triggers a specific set of neurons, which activates whenever there is the prospect of a reward. In other words, we choose what the brain perceives to be more rewarding, and, according to Professor Schulz, from the Cambridge University, reward is essential to survival. Since humans, just like animals, need to learn to direct their decisions and actions toward outcomes that will satisfy their needs and keep them away from danger, more reward equals "a higher chance of survival." Eventually, the happiness hormone wires the brain to respond even in the anticipation of satisfaction, helping it learn to predict future rewards and making us want to repeat the same behavior to ensure more satisfaction. "This is the biological process that makes us want to buy a bigger car or house, or be promoted at work," comments Schultz. Since this chemical makes the brain associate certain types of actions with pleasure, its effects may be used to curb addictions and recondition negative behaviors. The "reward system" could help the brain reprogram toxic behaviors by drawing reward from something less harmful to the body. This could make people reevaluate the level of satisfaction gained from a toxic behavior, such as compulsive eating or smoking, possibly resulting in the correction of those behaviors. Recalibrating what we perceive as rewarding could help those who struggle with weight gain due to overeating. To remove the temptation of junk food, one way to go could be storing healthy snacks in colorful, attractive packages, to signal the brain that eating them will make us happy. Conversely, learning to associate unhealthy food with negative feelings or sensations could educate the appetite and decrease the level of satisfaction they signal to the brain. "The implications of these discoveries are extremely wide-ranging, in fields as diverse as economics, social science, drug addiction and psychiatry," said Professor Sir Colin Blakemore, member of the Brain Prize selection committee. The study also shows immense applications in the field of behavioral economics, by helping determine how people act in business situations, and in dealing with addiction, such as gambling or drug use, as well as the treatment of schizophrenia. © 2017 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.


News Article | April 25, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Emotional eating - eating when you feel sad or upset or in response to another negative mood - is not uncommon in children and adolescents, but why youth eat emotionally has been unclear. Now a new longitudinal study from Norway has found that school-age children whose parents fed them more to soothe their negative feelings were more likely to eat emotionally later on. The reverse was also found to be the case, with parents of children who were more easily soothed by food being more likely to feed them for emotional reasons. The findings come from researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, King's College London, University College London, and the University of Leeds. They appear in the journal Child Development. "Understanding where emotional eating comes from is important because such behavior can increase the risk for being overweight and developing eating disorders," according to the study's lead author, Silje Steinsbekk, associate professor of psychology at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. "If we can find out what influences the development of emotional eating in young children, parents can be given helpful advice about how to prevent it." When children eat to soothe their negative feelings, their food tends to be high in calories (e.g., sweets) so they consume more calories. If they emotionally overeat often, they are also more likely to be overweight. Emotional eating is also tied to the development of later eating disorders (e.g., bulimia and binge eating). This study sought to determine why children eat emotionally and is the first research to consider the issue in school-age children. Researchers examined emotional feeding and eating in a representative group of 801 Norwegian 4-year-olds, looking at these issues again at ages 6, 8, and 10. They sought to determine whether parents involved in the study (mostly mothers) shaped their children's later behavior by offering food to make them feel better when they were upset (emotional feeding), and whether parents whose children were easily soothed by food (those who calmed when given food) were more likely to offer them more food for comfort at a subsequent time. Parents were asked to complete questionnaires describing their children's emotional eating and temperament (how easily they became upset, how well they could control their emotions), as well as their own emotional feeding. Approximately 65% of the children displayed some emotional eating. The study found that young children whose parents offered them food for comfort at ages 4 and 6 had more emotional eating at ages 8 and 10. But the reverse was also true: Parents whose children were more easily comforted with food were more likely to offer them food to soothe them (i.e., to engage in emotional feeding). Thus, emotional feeding increased emotional eating, and emotional eating increased emotional feeding. The findings held even after accounting for children's body-mass index and initial levels of feeding and eating. Moreover, higher levels of negative affectivity (i.e., becoming angry or upset more easily) at age 4 increased children's risk for emotional eating and feeding at age 6. And this contributed to the bidirectional relation between emotional feeding and emotional eating. "We know that children who are more easily upset and have more difficulty controlling their emotions are more likely to eat emotionally than calmer children, perhaps because they experience more negative emotions and eating helps them calm down," notes Lars Wichstrøm, professor of psychology at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, who coauthored the study. "Our research adds to this knowledge by showing that children who are more easily upset are at highest risk for becoming emotional eaters." The authors suggest that instead of offering children food to soothe them when they are sad or upset, parents and other caregivers try to calm youngsters by talking, offering a hug, or soothing in ways that don't involve food. "Food may work to calm a child, but the downside is teaching children to rely on food to deal with negative emotions, which can have negative consequences in the long run," adds Steinsbekk. The authors caution that because the study was conducted in Norway, which has a relatively homogenous and well-educated population, the findings should not be generalized to more diverse populations or to cultures with other feeding and eating practices without further study. The study was funded by the Research Council of Norway. Summarized from Child Development, Emotional Feeding and Emotional Eating: Reciprocal Processes and the Influence of Negative Affectivity by Steinsbekk, S (Norwegian University of Science and Technology), Barker, ED (King's College London), Llewellyn, C (University College London), Fildes, A (University of Leeds), and Wichstrøm, L (Norwegian University of Science and Technology). Copyright 2017 The Society for Research in Child Development, Inc. All rights reserved.


News Article | April 21, 2017
Site: www.newscientist.com

Bat-detecting drones could help us find out what the animals get up to when flying.  Ultrasonic detectors on drones in the air and on the water are listening in on bat calls, in the hope of discovering more about the mammals’ lives beyond the reach of ground-based monitoring devices. Drone-builder Tom Moore and bat enthusiast Tom August have developed three different drones to listen for bat calls while patrolling a pre-planned route. Since launching the scheme, known as Project Erebus, in 2014, they have experimented with two flying drones and one motorised boat, all equipped with ultrasonic detectors. The pair’s latest tests have demonstrated the detection capabilities of the two airborne drone models: a quadcopter and a fixed-wing drone. Last month, the quadcopter successfully followed a predetermined course and picked up simulated bat calls produced by an ultrasonic transmitter. Moore says one of the major hurdles is detecting the call of bats over the noise of the drones’ propellers, which emit loud ultrasonic frequencies. They overcame this with the quadcopter by dangling the detector underneath the body and rotors of the drone. This is not such a problem for the water-based drone. Last year, Moore and August tested a remote-controlled boat in Oxfordshire, UK, and picked up bat calls thought to belong to common pipistrelle and Daubenton’s bats. The different species often emit different ultrasonic frequencies. “The amount of noise coming from the boat is almost zero – that turned out to be a really fantastic platform for recording bats on the water,” says August. Since starting the project, the duo has experimented with a range of ultrasonic detection technologies. One lightweight detector from Peersonic produced exciting results early on. “We stuck it on the plane, test-flew it and that’s when we think we picked up our first bat call in flight,” says Moore. They are currently also using a detector by AudioMoth. The drones can hear the bats from around 20 metres away, so they aren’t thought to pose any danger to the animals. Little is known about what bats get up to high in the air, says ecologist Kate Jones at University College London, who studies bats. “We’re monitoring on the ground and thinking that’s representative of the entire air column – but I don’t think that’s true,” she says. It’s quite possible bats are commuting from site to site at higher altitudes. Using drones like this could give a more detailed picture of how bats move around than a handheld or ground-based sensor, says Jones. The bats are likely to just fly off if the drone got too close, she says. Drones like those developed by Moore and August could also be useful for environmental surveys. For example, to determine whether placing wind turbines in a certain area could interfere with bats that are active far above the ground or tree canopy. Read more: Bat-inspired robot swoops and dives like the real thing


News Article | May 3, 2017
Site: www.gizmag.com

In the delicate ecosystems of the world, invasive species are akin to cancer. They arrive where they're not wanted, spread aggressively, and they damage the very system in which they live. Kudzu, zebra mussels and Africanized honeybees are some of the more well-known invasive species, but a team of international scientists says those are just the beginning. In a recently released report they warn that a new wave of biological invaders is on its way. The report, which has been published in the journal Trends in Ecology & Evolution and is the result of a meeting of 17 global experts at Cambridge University, found 14 major issues related to the management and spread of invasive species in the next two decades. "We have identified some potential game-changers" said professor Anthony Ricciardi from McGill University, who led the study. The report makes mention of the spread of invasive species from both animal and plant kingdoms and talks about the way human activities will be affecting them. For example, modern farming techniques that encourage the use of soil bacteria and fungi might have consequences beyond improving crop yields. "The cultivation and distribution of 'growth enhancing' microbes could cause some crop plants or plant species residing near agricultural fields to become invasive pests" says professor Daniel Simberloff from the University of Tennessee. Our work in the lab is also impacting invasive species, especially when it comes to genetic modification. A report about the work from Cambridge University points to the release of mosquitos in the Florida Keys meant to interrupt the disease-carrying bug's reproductive lifecycle. "The push to use genetically modified agents to control invasive species will continue to grow," said professor Hugh MacIsaac from the University of Windsor, "and with it will come public opposition and the view that we are opening Pandora's Box." Also, in terms of human impact on invasive species, the authors of the study site our influence on the Arctic as a major factor. "The gold rush has begun for major expansion of human activities in the Arctic, with the potential for large-scale alien species transfers" says Dr. Greg Ruiz from Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, referring to the way in which melting sea ice has opened up this part of the world to increased human activity. The researchers say that the Arctic was once protected from rampant human exploration, but the melting ice has expanded our forays into the region for fishing, tourism, mining and the development of shorelines. And with increased human activity comes an increase in the likelihood invasive species will be introduced. Of course, some invasive species will do just fine on their own without human influence in the next two decades – particularly bacteria, water molds, fungi and viruses. In terms of their spread, the report points to the "Bsal" fungus wiping out salamanders in Europe; the fungus that causes the bat-destroying white-nose syndrome; and sea star wasting disease which the Cambridge report says is one of the worst wildlife die-offs ever observed. The report also makes mention of the fact that efforts meant to downplay the impact of invasive species have altered the public's perception of the threat they pose, and such a trend needs to be reversed if their influence is to be moderated. "Denialism in science is not new, but its growth in the context of invasive species is especially worrying for people trying to conserve unique native biodiversity" said professor Tim Blackburn of University College London. "Manufacturing doubt about the negative impacts of invasive species can delay mitigating action to the point where it is too late."


News Article | April 17, 2017
Site: www.newscientist.com

IT’S an absolute. Mathematics has put speed limits on cooling, finally proving a century-old law – that unless you have infinite time and resources, you can’t get to the absolute zero of temperature. In 1906, German chemist Walther Nernst formulated the heat theorem, which states that as a perfect crystal approaches the absolute zero point of 0 kelvin  (-273.15°C), the system’s entropy also goes to zero. This work earned him the 1920 Nobel prize in chemistry. The rule was controversial, with heavyweights like Albert Einstein and Max Planck debating it and introducing their own formulations. In 1912, Nernst defended his version by adding another clause, the unattainability principle, which states that absolute zero is physically unreachable. Taken together, these two rules make up the modern third law of thermodynamics. But because earlier arguments focused only on specific mechanisms or were crippled by questionable assumptions, some physicists have always remained unconvinced of its validity. Now Jonathan Oppenheim and Lluís Masanes at University College London have mathematically derived the unattainability principle and placed limits on how fast a system can cool, creating a general proof of the third law. “In computer science, people ask this question all the time: how long does it take to perform a computation?” says Oppenheim. “Just as a computing machine performs a computation, a cooling machine cools a system.” So, he and Masanes asked how long it takes to get cold. Cooling can be thought of as a series of steps: heat is removed from the system and dumped into the surrounding environment again and again, and each time the system gets colder. How cold depends on how much work can be done to remove the heat and the size of the reservoir for dumping it. By applying mathematical techniques from quantum information theory, they proved that no real system will ever reach 0 kelvin: it would take an infinite number of steps. Getting close to absolute zero is possible, though, and Masanes and Oppenheim quantified the steps of cooling, setting speed limits for how cold a given system can get in finite time. As quantum computing advances, the need to quantify cooling becomes more pressing. To store data, the particles in a quantum computer are put in particular energy states; extra energy and the warmth that it brings push particles out of those states, degrading or destroying the stored data. “It’s not just removing the energy of the system,” Masanes says. “It’s also about removing uncertainty.” The limits set by this research are far less stringent than the technological limitations for now: nobody has reached temperatures or cooling speeds near what Masanes and Oppenheim found are the bounds. As technology improves, they hope that these bounds will start to become practically relevant. “The work is important – the third law is one of the fundamental issues of contemporary physics,” says Ronnie Kosloff at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. “It relates thermodynamics, quantum mechanics, information theory – it’s a meeting point of many things.” This article appeared in print under the headline “We’ll never get to absolute zero”


News Article | April 27, 2017
Site: www.businesswire.com

I am delighted to present the Company’s ninth Annual Report and Accounts covering the year to 31 December 2016 (the Reporting Period). The D Share class reached its five year anniversary on 30 July 2015. The D shares were cancelled and extinguished on January 18 2017 with all residual funds repaid to the relevant shareholders. The E and F Share classes reached their five year anniversary on 30 July 2016. The E and F shares were cancelled and extinguished on January 18 2017; with all residual funds repaid to the relevant shareholders. The Company has now completed its investment strategy and is fully invested under the VCT regulations for its G and H Share classes. The Manager will focus upon maximising the returns from the investments. The Company continued to actively source and review investment opportunities during this Reporting Period for the H Share class. The Company made one investment during the Reporting Period. Details of all investments can be found in the Manager’s Review. During the Reporting Period two live events were undertaken by two of the Company’s Investee Companies. Brighton Boundary festival took place on 17 September as part of Fresher’s Week in Stamner Park. Just for London put on Just for Laughs comedy festival for the week commencing the 14 July in central London. The Company raised no further funds during the Reporting Period. The D Shares, E Shares, F Shares, G Shares and H Shares are accounted for as separate pools of funds necessitating separate non-statutory reporting. The Company continues with its core strategy of blending high levels of downside protection with its attempt to drive positive returns from the investment portfolio. The Directors and the Manager have also maintained their prudent approach in the valuation of investments with the view that it takes at least two to three years to build brand awareness in the live entertainment sector. They remain cautiously optimistic about the future performance and the long term outlook of the Company. The D Shares made a profit of £43,000 (31 December 2015: loss of £153,000). The E Shares made a profit of £1,000 (31 December 2015: loss of £100,000). The F Shares made a profit of £5,000 (31 December 2015: loss of £60,000). The G Shares made a loss of £776,000 (31 December 2015: loss of £264,000). The H Shares made a loss of £202,000 (31 December 2015: loss of £41,000). The net asset value per D Share at 31 December 2016 was 1 pence although this is after the deduction of the dividend of 1.6 pence per Share in the Reporting Period and the deduction of a total of 80 pence per Share of dividends in previous years (31 December 2015: 2.0 pence). The net asset value as at 31 December 2016 including distributions was therefore 82.6 pence per D Share (31 December 2015: 82.0 pence). The net asset value per E Share at 31 December 2016 was 1 pence after the deduction of the dividend of 62.7 pence per Share in the Reporting Period and the deduction of a total of 20 pence per Share of dividends in previous years (31 December 2015: 63.7 pence). The net asset value as at 31 December 2016 including distributions was therefore 83.7 pence per E Share (31 December 2015: 83.7 pence). The net asset value per F Share at 31 December 2016 was 1 pence after the deduction of the dividend of 65.2 pence per Share in the Reporting Period and the deduction of a total of 20 pence per Share of dividends in previous years (31 December 2015: 65.9 pence). The net asset value as at 31 December 2016 including distributions was therefore 86.2 pence per F Share (31 December 2015: 85.9 pence). The net asset value per G Share at 31 December 2016 was 40.1 pence after the deduction of the dividend of 5 pence per Share in the Reporting Period and the deduction of a total of 15 pence per Share dividends in the previous years (31 December 2015: 67.2 pence). The net asset value as at 31 December 2016 including distributions was therefore 60.1 pence per G Share (31 December 2015: 82.2 pence). The net asset value per H Share at 31 December 2016 was 68.8 pence after the deduction of the dividend of 5 pence per Share in the Reporting Period and the deduction of a 10 pence per Share dividend in the previous years (31 December 2015: 81.4 pence). The net asset value as at 31 December 2016 including distributions was therefore 83.8 pence per H Share (31 December 2015: 91.4 pence). The changes to the VCT rules that were introduced in 2015 have not had a significant impact on the operation of the Company. Live entertainment continues to appeal to customers as an experience that is completely unique to the individual. When this appeal is combined with enjoying the live experience with other likeminded participants, then it is easy to understand why those events that can create their own ‘niche’ will continue to thrive whatever the economy may throw at them. The portfolio includes investments other than festivals; such as investments in venues that are set up to hold live events and therefore take advantage of different areas of the live events industry. The Company’s main objective is to invest in companies established to create and bring to market live events and premium entertainment content which will provide Shareholders with an attractive return. This strategy will aim to maximise the opportunities for making tax-free dividends to Shareholders from both the actual income received and capital profits on the sale of investments in Investee Companies or their assets. The Company and Ingenious Entertainment VCT 1 plc have made equal investments into each qualifying investment. The Company and Ingenious Entertainment VCT 1 plc are collectively known as ‘the Ingenious Entertainment VCT’s’. A summary of the Company’s investments, their individual valuations and the split between the various share classes as of 31 December 2016 is shown below: In May 2016 the Ingenious Entertainment VCTs made an investment of £500,000 into Brighton Boundary Limited to promote a music festival in Brighton. The Ingenious Entertainment VCTs joined forces with LWE, SWG Power Limited (SWG) and Matt Priest to produce, promote and manage a new music festival called Boundary Brighton to be held in Stamner Park in Brighton. The first event was held in September 2016 and formed part of Freshers’ Week for the University of Sussex as well as being aimed at the local audience in and around Brighton and London. Although the festival was well-received by the press and public, it did not sell the required amount of tickets to break-even and it incurred a loss. In October 2014, the Ingenious Entertainment VCTs invested £1,750,000 into a company to co-promote the Just For Laughs comedy festival. The first event was held in July 2016 in Russell Square and Logan Hall which is part of University College London and although it was a well-received show by the press and public, it did not sell the required amount of tickets to break-even. The show made a significant loss which has been taken into account in the valuation of the investment. There is no clear plan in place to stage another event. However, options are being discussed. In March 2014, the Ingenious Entertainment VCTs invested £600,000 into a company to co-promote The Zoo Project Festival. Over the course of 2012 and 2013 the festival promoters established a strong festival brand with a core following and although it was very well received by the press and public, the attendance levels were disappointing and the event incurred a loss in the region of £40,000. The Manager is currently reviewing future options for the brand. In November 2015 the Ingenious Entertainment VCT’s made an investment of £500,000 into SWG which has been established to provide power to festivals, live events, conferences and exhibitions. SWG has been established to act as a service provider supplying on-site power to the festival, exhibition, conference and live event market. SWG will aim to exploit the growing market for festivals and live events and will look to sign multi-year deals with events to provide a reliable source of income. SWG will use a portion of the investment to purchase new power generation equipment to enable it to tender for a greater number of power contracts. During the ‘build’ of events, the purchased assets will be brought to the respective event sites to provide power for the event (e.g. for stage lighting, sound systems and back office) and to power individual traders and exhibitors working at the event, for which SWG will receive supplementary income to the tendered amount with the event promoter. Revenues will be generated from power supply contracts which will encompass fees for the supply of power, service fees for staff operating the equipment and maintaining the equipment on site, and a mark-up on fuel costs charged to traders on the event site. In September 2014, an investment of £1,000,000 was made by the Ingenious Entertainment VCTs into Winterville Events Limited to promote an annual Christmas based event - Winterville. The first event took place in Victoria Park in East London and ran for the duration of December 2014. Winterville hosted indoor and outdoor activities including an ice rink, a live pantomime production, a vintage fun fair, themed food stalls, bars selling craft ales, beer and cider, a roller disco and a spiegeltent staging both comedy and live music for all age groups. For the 2015 event, the Ingenious Entertainment VCTs and partners Marcus Weedon and Darren Guerin joined forces with AEG Live to utilise AEG’s experience in this market (AEG have promoted four Winter Wonderlands in Hyde Park and a winter season in Dublin). Unfortunately, due to the wettest December on record and the impact of an average event in 2014, the event made a loss which has been taken into account in the valuation of the investment. The event was not held in 2016. In March 2014, an investment of £1,400,000 was made by the Ingenious Entertainment VCTs into FM3 2013 Limited to film festival and live event content. The business strategy was to deliver five core revenue streams through the exploitation of music festival content, namely commissioned productions, distribution, advertising, brand activation and online video channel creation. Unfortunately, due to several setbacks, relating to the ability to exploit the proposed revenue streams, the Manager has concluded that very little value can be extracted from the investment and recommended the write down of virtually all of the FM3 investment at this stage. There remains the potential to exploit the proposed revenue streams in the future but, given the difficulties faced to date, any possible time frames or quantum of such earnings is uncertain. In December 2014, an investment of £1,250,000 was made by the Ingenious Entertainment VCTs into Event Spaces Limited to promote a wide range of events to be hosted from a semi-permanent events structure situated in London. A large semi-permanent structure was purchased that was situated on the Pontoon Dock site. However this project was abandoned due to unresolvable issues with the landowner over the length of time the site could be leased for. The structure has been sold for a loss and the directors of Event Spaces Limited decided to reinvest the capital into a new project called ‘Art of the Brick’. Art of the Brick is a Lego Exhibition based behind the National Theatre on the Southbank in London with life size imitations of DC Comic Superheroes which will initially run from February to September 2017. Tickets went on sale in December and are currently ahead of expectations. The break-even point is 183,000 tickets. A provision has been made for the aborted costs incurred by the Ingenious Entertainment VCTs in relation to the initial project. In September 2015 an investment of £500,000 was made by the Ingenious Entertainment VCT’s into Counterculture Bars Limited (Counterculture) to operate the multi-purpose bar/kitchen and live venue, ‘Haunt’ in Stoke Newington with Alexander Brooks. ‘Haunt’ opened in November 2015 and is a multi-faceted and vibrant space which serves as a functioning bar and kitchen, and a multi-purpose event space for promoted, co-promoted and externally hired activities. Counterculture had a tough first few months opening too late for Christmas bookings then suffering the hard months of January and February. Following this period (apart from August), the operation steadied and popularity grew in the local community. A decision was made to cut costs by outsourcing the food function. Counterculture’s most recent accounts show a loss in the region of £125,000. The directors of Counterculture Bars Limited are currently in discussions to assess the future of the venue. In addition, the lease has been offered to the market to compare the value with results of ongoing trading although no serious bids have been made to date. In December 2015 an investment by the Ingenious Entertainment VCTs of £750,000 was made into Genius Star Limited to operate a pub which serves as a multi functioning bar and kitchen with a function room for promoted, co-promoted and externally hired activities. ‘The Leyton Star’ opened in June 2016 and is a multi-faceted and vibrant space which capitalises on the premises’ location and experience of the partner, Rob Star. The pub also benefits from a garden area where 9 heated wooded cabanas were fitted to hold over 100 people as well as a further 75 people outside these areas. The total column represents the profit or loss account of the Company for the year. All revenue and capital items in the above statement derive from continuing operations. NON-STATUTORY ANALYSIS BETWEEN THE D, E, F, G AND H SHARE FUNDS (UNAUDITED) STATEMENT OF COMPREHENSIVE INCOME The Total column represents the profit or loss account per Share class for the year. NON-STATUTORY ANALYSIS BETWEEN THE D, E, F, G AND H SHARE FUNDS (UNAUDITED) STATEMENT OF COMPREHENSIVE INCOME The Total column represents the profit or loss account per Share class for the year. The financial statements were approved by the Board of Directors on 26 April 2017. Signed on behalf of the Board of Directors: NON-STATUTORY ANALYSIS BETWEEN THE D, E, F, G AND H SHARE FUNDS (UNAUDITED) BALANCE SHEET NON-STATUTORY ANALYSIS BETWEEN THE D, E, F, G AND H SHARE FUNDS (UNAUDITED) BALANCE SHEET Cash and cash equivalents comprise cash in hand and cash at bank. STATEMENT OF CHANGES IN SHAREHOLDERS’ EQUITY The capital reserve includes realised investment holding losses of £76,000 (31 December 2015: losses of £284,000) and unrealised investment holding losses of £663,000 (31 December 2015: gains of £433,000). The other reserve was created from the cancellation of the share premium on all Shares issued by the Company, which was done in order to create a distributable reserve. The revenue reserve includes all current and prior period retained profits and losses which do not relate to realised and unrealised investment losses. The other reserve, capital reserve and revenue reserve accounts are the distributable reserves of the Company. During the year ended 31 December 2016 the following dividend payments were made: NOTES TO THE FINANCIAL STATEMENTS Ingenious Entertainment VCT 2 plc (public company limited by shares) is a venture capitalist trust company domiciled in the United Kingdom and incorporated in England on 10 October 2007. The address of the registered office is 15 Golden Square, London, W1F 9JG. Company number: 6395025. The financial statements for the Reporting Period have been prepared in compliance with UK Generally Accepted Accounting Practice, including Financial Reporting Standard 102 – ‘The Financial Reporting Standard applicable in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland’ (‘FRS 102’), with the Companies Act 2006 and with the Statement of Recommended Practice entitled “Financial Statements of Investment Trust Companies and Venture Capital Trusts” (‘SORP 2014’) (with the exception of paragraph 82 of SORP 2014 regarding detailed disclosure of financial and operational performance of the Company’s unquoted investments due to their confidential nature). Under FRS102, currently fair value hierarchy is categorised as ‘a’, ‘b’ and ‘c’ rather than ‘1’, ‘2’, ‘3’. However, the Financial Reporting Council published amendments on 8 March 2016 which have been adopted, and early application has been permitted to align disclosures with IFRS 13. The comparative figures are for the year 1 January 2015 to 31 December 2015. The financial statements have been prepared on a going concern basis under the historical cost convention, except for the measurement at fair value for Qualifying and Non-qualifying Investments. The principal accounting policies have remained materially unchanged from those set out in the Company’s 2015 Annual Report and Accounts. FRS 102 sections 11 and 12 have been adopted with regards to the Company’s financial instruments. The financial statements are presented in Sterling (£). Many of the Company’s financial instruments are measured at fair value in the balance sheet and it is usually possible to determine their fair values within a reasonable range of estimates. For the majority of the Company’s financial instruments, such as unlisted securities, fair value is derived from using valuation techniques, as recommended by International Private Equity and Venture Capital Valuation Guidelines (IPEVC). Fair value estimates are made at a specific point in time, based on market conditions and information about the financial instrument. These estimates are subjective in nature and involve uncertainties and matters of significant judgements (e.g. interest rates, volatility, estimated cash flows) and therefore cannot be determined with precision. The Company’s business is investing in financial assets with a view to profiting from their total return in the form of income and capital growth. In accordance with FRS 102 investments by the Company are held at fair value through profit or loss. Unquoted investments, including equity and loan investments, are stated at fair value through profit or loss and are valued in accordance with the IPEVC Guidelines and FRS 102. Investments are initially recognised at cost. The value of investments is subsequently re-measured to current fair value, as estimated by the Directors. Gains or losses arising from the revaluation of investments are taken directly to the Statement of Comprehensive Income. Fair value is determined as follows: The most widely used methodologies are listed below. In assessing which methodology is appropriate, the Directors are predisposed towards those methodologies that draw upon market-based measures of risk and return. Of these the methodology most applicable to the Company’s investments is: Where the investment being valued was made recently, its cost will generally provide a good indication of value. It is generally considered that this would only apply for a limited period; in practice a period up to the start of the first live event or entertainment content which forms the investment is often applied as the long stop date for such a valuation. The Company’s Non-qualifying Investments in interest bearing money market OEICs are valued at fair value which is bid price. Gains and losses arising from changes in the fair value of Qualifying and Non-qualifying Investments are recognised as part of the capital return within the Statement of Comprehensive Income and allocated to the realised or unrealised capital reserve as appropriate. Transaction costs attributable to the acquisition or disposal of investments are charged to capital within the Statement of Comprehensive Income. Interest income is recognised in the Statement of Comprehensive Income under the effective interest method. The interest income in a period equals the carrying amount of the loan at the beginning of a period multiplied by the effective interest rate for that period. The effective interest rate is the rate required to discount the expected future income streams over the life of the loan to its initial carrying amount. The effective interest rate is determined on the basis of the carrying amount of the loan at initial recognition. In accordance with FRS 102, when calculating the effective interest rate, the Company estimates cash flows considering all contractual terms of the loans (e.g. prepayments) and known credit losses that have been incurred, but it does not consider possible future credit losses not yet incurred. The main impact for the Company in that regard is the estimation of any loan note premiums. When calculating the effective interest rate, the Company amortises any related fees, finance charges received, transaction costs and other premiums or discounts over the expected life of the loan. However, the Company uses a shorter period if that is the period to which the fees, finance charges paid or received, transaction costs, premiums or discounts relate. The revenue return on loan notes has been based on the coupon payable by the instrument adjusted to spread any discount or premium on purchase or redemption over its remaining life. In accordance with SORP 2014, in 2016 where a redemption premium is payable, the return has been adjusted so that the amount recognised in revenue is in line with reasonable commercial expectations. Any adjustment is recognised in capital within net gains and losses on investments. In prior years, the revenue return on the redemption premium was not adjusted and redemption premiums were recognised as revenue income. The Company considers the revised allocation, which has not been applied retrospectively in accordance with SORP 2014, to be more appropriate to the Company. The amount of redemption premium recognised in revenue is in line with reasonable commercial expectations of interest chargeable on similar commercial loans. Gains and losses arising from changes in the fair value of the investments are included as a capital item in the statement of comprehensive income for the relevant period. Dividend income is recognised in the Statement of Comprehensive Income once it is declared by the Investee Companies. All expenses are accounted for on an accruals basis. Expenses are charged to the revenue account within the Statement of Comprehensive Income except that: General expenses were paid for by the E Share class until 12 October 2016 and from 13 October 2016 by the H Share class and have been recharged on a quarterly basis to the other Share classes based on the proportional net asset value per Share class as at the last day of the previous quarter. Current tax is recognised for the amount of income tax payable in respect of the taxable profit for the current or past reporting periods using the tax rates and laws that have been enacted or substantively enacted by the reporting date. Deferred tax is recognised in respect of all timing differences at the reporting date, except as otherwise indicated. Timing differences are differences between taxable profits and total comprehensive income as stated in the financial statements that arise from the inclusion of income and expenses in tax assessments in periods different from those in which they are recognised in financial statements. Deferred tax assets are only recognised to the extent that it is probable that they will be recovered against the reversal of deferred tax liabilities or other future taxable profits. Deferred tax is calculated using the tax rates and laws that that have been enacted or substantively enacted by the reporting date that are expected to apply to the reversal of the timing difference. The Company had five Share classes up to 31 December 2016: D Shares, E Shares, F Shares, G Shares and H Shares. Each Share class has a separate pool of income and expenses as well as assets and liabilities attributable to it. All Share classes rank pari passu with each other in terms of voting and other rights. For the purposes of the revenue and capital columns in the Statement of Comprehensive Income, the management fee has been allocated 50% to revenue and 50% to capital, which represents the split of the Company’s long term returns. The Company is not registered for VAT. Fees payable to the Company’s auditor for the audit of the Company’s financial statements are £17,000 plus expenses of 3% of the audit fee (31 December 2015: £16,000) excluding VAT. As the Company is a VCT its capital gains are not taxable. At 31 December 2016 the Company had surplus management expenses of £1,211,000 (31 December 2015: £1,229, 000). A deferred tax asset has not been recognised in respect of these surplus management expenses as the future taxable income of the Company cannot be predicted with reasonable certainty. Due to the Company's status as a VCT, and the intention to continue meeting the conditions required to obtain approval in the foreseeable future, the Company does not recognise deferred tax on any capital gains or losses which arise on the revaluation of investments. There are no dilutive potential D, E, F, G and H Shares, including convertible instruments, options or contingent share agreements in issue for the Company. The basic return per Share is therefore the same as the diluted return per Share. Included in the valuation above is an equal and opposite fair value gain and fair value loss amounting to £211,000 (31 December 2015: £128,000). This represents the accounting treatment of the guaranteed loan note premium. The £211,000 (31 December 2015: £238,000) is included in the Statement of Comprehensive Income under Investment Income (refer to note 2) The Company has interests of 3%, or greater, of the nominal value of the allotted shares in the following Investee Companies incorporated in the United Kingdom as at 31 December 2016: As permitted by FRS 102, the above investments in associated undertakings are held at fair value with changes in fair value recognised in profit or loss. In order to safeguard the capital available for investment in Qualifying Investments and balance this with the need to provide good returns to investors, available funds from the net proceeds are invested in appropriate securities (money market OEICs) until required for Qualifying Investment purposes. Analysis of Realised Gain or Loss on Disposal of Unquoted Investments D Shares, E Shares, F Shares, G Shares and H Shares ranked pari passu with each other in terms of voting and other rights. The entire issued D, E, F, G and H Share capital of the Company has been admitted to the official list maintained by the Financial Conduct Authority and to trading on the London Stock Exchange. In the year ended 31 December 2010, 6,785,624 D Shares were issued and allotted in accordance with the terms of the relevant Prospectus. 6,735,624 D Shares were fully paid at that year end. Share issue costs amounting to £295,000 were set off against the share premium account. As at 31 December 2016, the D Shares were subject to a capital reduction, which required the approval of the court, and the D Shares were cancelled on 18 January 2017. In the year ended 31 December 2011, 2,846,122 E Shares and 1,572,095 F Shares were issued and allotted in accordance with the terms of the relevant Prospectus. Share issue costs amounted to £157,000 and £86,000 respectively of which £125,000 and £69,000 were set off against the share premium account. As at 31 December 2016, the E Shares and F Shares were subject to a capital reduction, which required the approval of the court, and the E Shares and F Shares were cancelled on 18 January 2017. In the year ended 31 December 2012, 3,518,044 G Shares were issued and allotted in accordance with the terms of the relevant Prospectus. Share issue costs amounted to £194,000 of which £155,000 were set off against the share premium account. In the year ended 31 December 2013, 2,660,842 H Shares were issued and allotted in accordance with the terms of the relevant Prospectus. Share issue costs amounted to £81,000 of which £65,000 were set off against the share premium account. 13. Net Asset Value per Share Excluding Distributions to Date The Company’s financial instruments comprise equity and floating rate debt investments in unquoted companies, cash balances and listed money market OEICs. The Company holds financial assets in accordance with its investment policy. Fixed asset investments (see note 7) are valued at fair value. For quoted securities included in current asset Non-qualifying Investments, this is bid price. In respect of unquoted investments, these are fair valued in accordance with the International Private Equity and Venture Capital Valuation Guidelines. The fair value of all other financial assets and liabilities is represented by their carrying value on the Balance Sheet. Level 3 investments include a £95,500 revaluation loss on Just for London Limited, a £50,000 revaluation loss on Counterculture Bars Limited, a £15,000 revaluation loss on Event Spaces Limited during the year, and a £20,750 revaluation loss on Zoo Project Limited and a £665,000 revaluation loss on FM3 2013 Limited during the year. The above table provides an analysis of these investments based on the fair value hierarchy described below which reflects the reliability and significance of the information used to measure their fair value: The Company’s investing activities expose it to various types of risk that are associated with the financial instruments and markets in which it invests. The Company measures risk by assessing the impact that each risk parameter will have on the profitability of the Company, or in the case of liquidity risk, by assessing the impact that any given factor will reduce the likelihood of the Company being able to meet its financial liabilities as they fall due. The most important types of financial risk to which the Company is exposed are: The nature and extent of the financial instruments outstanding at the Balance Sheet date and the risk management policies employed by the Company are discussed below: Market risk embodies the potential for both losses and gains and includes credit risk, interest rate risk and price risk. The Company’s strategy on the management of investment risk is driven by the Company’s investment objective. Investments in unquoted companies, by their nature, involve a higher degree of risk than investments in larger “blue chip” companies. The risk of loss in value is managed through careful selection in accordance with a formalised investment decision process, with each investment proposal evaluated by the Investment Committee as part of the due diligence stage. The risk is also managed through continuous monitoring of the performance of investments and changes in their risk profile. Some of the Company’s financial assets are interest bearing, all of which are at floating rates. As a result, the Company is subject to exposure to interest rate risk due to fluctuations in the prevailing levels of market interest rate. When the Company retains cash balances, the majority of cash is held within interest bearing money market OEICs. At the end of the year all cash had been removed from the money market OEICs (31 December 2015: £1,038,000). Sitting within Non qualifying Investments are two unquoted investments. The benchmark rate which determines the interest payments received on interest bearing cash balances and debt investments in unquoted companies is the bank base rate which was 0.25% as at 31 December 2016 (31 December 2015: 0.5%). The following table illustrates the sensitivity of the impact on profit for the year before taxation and total equity to a change in interest rates of 50 basis points, with effect from the beginning of the year. These changes are considered to be reasonably possible based on observation of current market conditions. The calculations are based on the Company’s Non-qualifying Investments held at each Balance Sheet date. All other variables are held constant. Credit risk is the risk that a counterparty to a financial instrument will fail to discharge an obligation or commitment that it has entered into with the Company. Whilst the Company is exposed to credit risk due to its £987,500 (31 December 2015: £2,488,000) unsecured loan note instruments, this risk is mitigated by the Company requiring that minimum royalty arrangements are in place prior to the investment as set out in the Company’s investment policy. In addition, and in accordance with the Company’s monitoring procedure, the Manager closely monitors progress (including financial expenditure) against the Investee Companies’ agreed business plans. The £987,500 (31 December 2015: £2,488,000) unsecured loan notes are mostly the contractually agreed 70% of initial investments. The Company’s financial instruments include equity and debt investments in unquoted companies, which are not traded in an organised public market and which generally may be illiquid. As a result, the Company may not be able to liquidate quickly some of its investment in these instruments at an amount close to fair value. The Company maintains sufficient reserves of cash and readily realisable marketable securities to meet its liquidity requirements at all times. No numerical disclosures have been provided in respect of liquidity risk as this is not considered to be material. a) The Company has an investment management agreement with Ingenious Capital Management Limited of which Patrick Mckenna is a director. The Manager, as per the investment management agreement, receives a management fee of 0.4375% of the net asset value per Share class, payable quarterly in advance. The Manager bears any expenses of the Company over and above 3.5% of the net asset value at 31 December in the relevant financial year. At 31 December 2016, this reimbursement was £36,000 (31 December 2015 - £nil) and it is included in debtors. In aggregate, the management fee amounted to £68,000 as at 31 December 2016 (31 December 2015: £184,000). The Manager also charges an administration fee of £51,000 (31 December 2015: £71,000) per annum (adjusted for inflation and additional Share classes, if any) and irrecoverable VAT. b) For the first 8 months of the year, there were funds invested in OEICs. These funds were managed by Ingenious Asset Management Limited of which Patrick McKenna was a director. Ingenious Asset Management Limited was a subsidiary of the Ingenious Group, which was controlled by Patrick McKenna. On 29 April 2016 Ingenious Asset Management Limited was sold to Tilney Bestinvest Group Limited; Tilney Bestinvest Group Limited now trades as Tilney Asset Management Limited. There were no fees associated with this transaction. c) Patrick McKenna is a director and shareholder of Ingenious Entertainment VCT 2 plc. The Company and Ingenious Entertainment VCT 2 plc have invested in a new company, Brighton Boundary Limited, to set up a new festival in Brighton, Brighton Boundary. In May 2016 the Company invested £250,000 for a total of 15% of the equity in Brighton Boundary Limited. The investment was made from the H Share class. d) In December 2014, an investment of £1,250,000 was made by the Ingenious Entertainment VCTs into Event Spaces Limited to promote a wide range of events to be hosted from a semi-permanent events structure situated in London. Paul Gregg is a director in Event Spaces Limited and a Director of the Company. As of 9 December 2016 Paul Gregg was appointed as a director in Event Spaces Limited. On the same day, 450 B Ordinary Shares in that company were transferred to him by one of the founder shareholders (not the Company) which he continues to hold. The original commercial contracts to operate the event ‘Art of the Brick’ were entered into between Kuma Entertainment Limited and various third parties; however, these contracts are in the process of being terminated and new contracts (on substantially the same terms) will be entered into between Event Spaces Limited and the same third parties. Paul Gregg is a director and shareholder of Kuma Entertainment Limited. Paul Gregg was appointed as the director of Kuma Entertainment Limited on 1 November 2006. During the year the Company has entered into transactions with the above-mentioned related parties in the normal course of business and on an arm’s length basis as listed in the table below. Ingenious Media Consulting Limited, a company which is a wholly-owned subsidiary in the Ingenious Group, which is controlled by Patrick McKenna, has entered into consultancy agreements with each of the Company’s Investee Companies to provide management services. For the provision of such services, consulting fees totalling £30,000 excluding VAT (31 December 2015: £137,000), have been invoiced to the Investee Companies in the period of which £nil remained outstanding as at 31 December 2016 (31 December 2015: £45,000). a) On 18 January 2017, the High Court sanctioned the cancelling and extinguishing of all of its D Shares. The final repayment of 1 pence per D Share was made to Shareholders on 10 February 2017. b) On 18 January 2017, the High Court sanctioned the cancelling and extinguishing of all of its E Shares. The final repayment of 1 pence per E Share was made to Shareholders on 10 February 2017. c) On 18 January 2017, the High Court sanctioned the cancelling and extinguishing of all of its F Shares. The final repayment 1 pence per F Share was made to Shareholders on 10 February 2017. The capital management objectives of the Company are: The Company has no external debt; consequently all capital is represented by the value of share capital, distributable and other reserves. Total Shareholder equity at 31 December 2016 was £2,606,000 (31 December 2015: £7,508,000). In order to maintain or adjust its capital structure the Company may adjust the amount of dividends paid to the Shareholders, return capital to Shareholders, issue new shares or sell assets. There have been no changes to the capital management objectives of the business from the previous period. The Company is subject to the following externally imposed capital requirements: The level of dividends may be influenced by the need to comply with the VCT legislation which states that no more than 15% of income from shares and securities may be retained


News Article | April 17, 2017
Site: www.newscientist.com

Unpicking the secrets of the brain’s reward system has earned three neuroscientists a reward of their own. Wolfram Schultz, Peter Dayan, and Ray Dolan have today been awarded the €1 million Brain Prize by Denmark’s Lundbeck Foundation. The prize recognises researchers who have made vital contributions to understanding how our brains work. Together, their research has revealed how reward systems in the brain that involve the signalling chemical dopamine influence our behaviour and survival, playing important roles in decision-making, gambling, drug addiction, psychopathic tendencies, and schizophrenia. “This is the biological process that makes us want to buy a bigger car or house, or be promoted at work,” says Wolfram Schultz, at the University of Cambridge. Schultz discovered through experiments on monkeys 30 years ago that when the animals receive a reward, specialised brain cells become more active and make dopamine. Subsequently, he showed that this could be triggered through learned cues, even without a reward. Peter Dayan, at University College London, took Schultz’s work further by showing how we constantly update our goals through a dopamine-driven phenomenon called “reward prediction error”. Dayan showed how our future behaviour is dictated by daily feedback on whether anticipated rewards and pleasures either fail to materialise or are more generous than anticipated. “Nature has endowed us with a fantastic system for optimising our behaviour,” said Dayan at a press briefing in London. Dayan is now working on applying the logic of decision making seen in the dopamine system to artificial intelligence algorithms. “That’s how you get computers to make predictions,” he said. Ray Dolan, of the Max Planck UCL Centre for Computational Psychiatry and Ageing in Berlin, Germany, has further explored the influence of dopamine on decision making. As we age, people lose around 10 per cent of their dopamine-producing neurons, which can deplete a person’s ability to predict future rewards accurately. Dolan has shown that this ability can be restored by giving older people extra supplies of dopamine. After the advances they have made in understanding rewards, the researchers are now exploring how the brain responds to punishment. Dayan says the smart money is on another brain signalling chemical, serotonin. “That may be involved in punishment, but it’s fairly speculative at the moment.”


News Article | May 3, 2017
Site: www.newscientist.com

When a baby’s crying, it can be difficult to know what’s wrong. Detecting brain signals could provide a more reliable way to tell if babies are in pain. “Babies can’t talk, so we need other ways to tell if they’re in pain,” says Rebeccah Slater, at the University of Oxford. “Currently, doctors use facial grimaces and squints, but they could be caused by other factors, such as hunger or the desire for a cuddle,” she says. Now Slater and her team have developed a method that uses an electrode positioned on the midline of the scalp to detect brainwave patterns associated with pain. They did this by analysing EEG readings taken from 18 babies as they had their blood taken as part of routine health screening. The readings showed a distinctive signal half a second after their heels were pricked. The team then tested the accuracy of this signal in tests on more infants, finding that the size of the pain signal correlated with the degree of facial grimacing, the usual method of judging pain by a baby’s facial expressions. The signal worked for premature infants too, and it was reduced in babies that had a painkilling gel applied to their heels before taking blood. Slater’s team is now conducting further experiments to determine if the technique is accurate enough to be used to detect if a baby really is in pain. If it proves reliable, it could assist the team’s research into how best to relieve a baby’s pain during procedures such as eye examinations. “This method has been investigated for the past half-dozen years, and [it’s] really interesting and good that it’s now been validated,” says Lorenzo Fabrizi, at University College London. But Fabrizi says we need to know more about how and why a baby’s brain produces this pain signal. Babies’ brainwaves respond to a brief, acute stimulus, but different brain systems may be involved in ongoing, chronic pain, he says.


News Article | May 2, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Positive social support from adult children is associated with reduced risk of developing dementia, according to a new research published today. Conversely, negative social support is linked with increased risk, according to the 10-year follow-up study carried out by a team of researchers from the University of East Anglia (UEA), University College London (UCL), London Metropolitan University and the University of Nottingham. The study was based on data from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA) and conducted by Dr Mizanur Khondoker at UEA, Professors Andrew Steptoe and Stephen Morris at UCL, Dr Snorri Rafnsson at London Metropolitan and Prof Martin Orrell at Nottingham. The research was part of the Promoting Independence in Dementia (PRIDE) programme and is published today in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease. The researchers analysed a decade of data that followed 10,055 core participants from ELSA who were dementia-free at the start of the study in 2002-2003. Participants were interviewed every two years during 2004-2012 and incidence of dementia was identified from self-reports by participants or information given by nominated informants. Measures of positive and negative experiences of social support were calculated at baseline (2002) using a set of six items within the 'Health and lifestyle of people aged 50 and over' questionnaire of ELSA. The scale ranged from 1-4 with higher values indicating more of positive or negative support. An increase of one point in the positive social support score led to up to a 17 per cent reduction in the instantaneous risk of developing dementia, the findings showed. Positive support was characterised by having a reliable, approachable and understanding relationship with spouses or partners, children and other immediate family. But negative support scores showed stronger effects - an increase of one point in the negative support score led to up to 31 per cent rise in the risk. Negative support was characterised by experiences of critical, unreliable and annoying behaviours from spouses or partners, children and other immediate family. Of the 5,475 men and 4,580 women the study followed, 3.4 per cent were recorded as developing some form of dementia during 2004 - 2012. Dr Mizanur Khondoker, a senior lecturer in medical statistics at UEA's Norwich Medical School, said: "It is well known that having a rich network of close relationships, including being married and having adult children, is related to a reduced risk of cognitive decline and developing dementia. "However, a relationship or social connection that does not work well can be a source of intense interpersonal stress, which may have a negative impact on both physical and mental health of older adults. It is not only the quantity of social connections, but the quality of those connections may be an important factor affecting older people's cognitive health. "This work is a step toward better understanding of the impact of social relationships on dementia risk, but further research is needed to better establish any potential causal mechanisms that may drive these associations." UCL Prof Andrew Steptoe said: "Our findings add to the growing evidence of the relevance of social relationships for cognitive health in older age. Specifically for health and social care practice, the research highlights the value of thinking about social relationship issues in individuals vulnerable to dementia, while pointing toward specific ways of potentially modifying risk. "Our results will add to the impetus underlying local and national efforts to help strengthen the social relationships of older people, many of whom are isolated and lonely." 'Positive and negative experiences of social support and risk of dementia in later life: An investigation using the English Longitudinal Study of Aging' is published on May 2, 2017 in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, 58(1).


News Article | April 24, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Family structure including regular bedtimes, mealtimes and limited screen time appear to be linked to better emotional health in preschoolers, and that might lower the chances of obesity later, a new study suggests. "This study provides more evidence that routines for preschool-aged children are associated with their healthy development and could reduce the likelihood that these children will be obese," said lead author Sarah Anderson of The Ohio State University. The study - the first to look at the connections between early childhood routines and self-regulation and their potential association with weight problems in the pre-teen years - appears in the International Journal of Obesity. Researchers evaluated three household routines when children were 3 years old: regular bedtime, regular mealtime and whether or not parents limited television and video watching to an hour or less daily. Then they compared those to parents' reports of two aspects of children's self-regulation at that same age. Lastly, they investigated how the routines and self-regulation worked together to impact obesity at age 11, defined based on international criteria. (The U.S. criteria for childhood obesity is set lower and would have included more children.) The research included 10,955 children who are part of the Millennium Cohort Study, a long-term study of a diverse population of children born in the United Kingdom from September of 2000 to January of 2002. At age 3, 41 percent of children always had a regular bedtime, 47 percent always had a regular mealtime and 23 percent were limited to an hour or less daily of TV and videos. At age 11, about 6 percent were obese. All three household routines were associated with better emotional self-regulation - a measure based on parents' responses to questions such as how easily the child becomes frustrated or over-excited. Those children with greater emotional dysregulation were more likely to be obese later. "We saw that children who had the most difficulties with emotion regulation at age 3 also were more likely to be obese at age 11," said Anderson, an associate professor in Ohio State's College of Public Health. Anderson and her colleagues also found that the absence of a regular preschool bedtime was an independent predictor of obesity at 11. Obesity risk increased even when children "usually" had a regular bedtime, as opposed to "always." The risk was greatest for those who had the least amount of consistency in their bedtimes. How persistent and independent children were at age 3 - another aspect of self-regulation - was not related to obesity risk, nor were routines associated with these aspects of self-regulation. The new findings build on previous research by Anderson and her colleagues showing an association between earlier preschool bedtimes and decreased odds of obesity later. Previous work published in 2010 showed in a US national sample that obesity prevalence was lowest for children who got enough sleep, had limits on screen time and ate meals with their families. "This research allows us to better understand how young children's routines around sleep, meals, and screen time relate to their regulation of emotion and behavior," Anderson said. "The large, population-based, UK Millennium Cohort Study afforded the opportunity to examine these aspects of children's lives and how they impact future risk for obesity." This research should prompt future work looking at the role of emotional self-regulation in weight gain in children and how bedtime routines can support healthy development, Anderson said. "Sleep is so important and it's important for children in particular. Although there is much that remains unknown about how sleep impacts metabolism, research is increasingly finding connections between obesity and poor sleep," she said. While it's impossible from this work to prove that routines will prevent obesity, "Recommending regular bedtime routines is unlikely to cause harm, and may help children in other ways, such as through emotion regulation," Anderson said. But competing family pressures including parents' work schedules don't always allow for consistency, Anderson pointed out. "As a society, we should consider what we can do to make it easier for parents to interact with their children in ways that support their own and their children's health." The National Institutes of Health and the U.K. Economic and Social Research Council supported the study. Researchers from the University College London and Temple University also worked on the study.


News Article | April 17, 2017
Site: www.newscientist.com

A British engineering firm plans to make satellites that can manufacture their own gigantic antennas in space. They would then be able to monitor radio signals from Earth. The idea, from Magna Parva in Leicester, is to launch satellites with a supply of raw materials that they can combine to produce long, thin structures such as booms or antennas. These components are difficult to deliver into space because they take up a lot of room and can be easily damaged. Being able to make them in space from raw materials would allow satellites to carry larger antennas. Magna Parva wants to use this technique, called pultrusion, to make antennas for satellites in its planned Kleos constellation, a geolocation network that would track radio signals to spot illegal activity. Maritime organisations could use Kleos to help inform investigations into illegal fishing or piracy, says Andy Bowyer, the company’s director. The International Maritime Organization requires all ships of a certain size, and all passenger ships, to use an automatic identification system (AIS). “If we’re getting a phone signal from the middle of the Atlantic from a position that doesn’t have AIS signal attached to it, is it a vessel doing something covert?” he says. Bowyer says the satellite system could also monitor signal jammers, which can be used by thieves to interrupt a stolen vehicle’s on-board GPS tracker, for instance. Tony Flavin at Chronos, a company that specialises in GPS, navigation and time monitoring technologies, is sceptical of this application. “On the ground you can detect GPS jammers because you’re very close to them,” he says. “Doing it from thousands of miles away I’d say is practically impossible.” But Magna Parva claims its antennas would be able to locate a radio signal by analysing the time delay between multiple points of reception. Bowyer says the company aims to be able to pinpoint signals to within 50 metres on the ground and is working on a prototype to validate this, along with the deployment of the antennas, within the year. The task is “very challenging”, says Kenneth Tong, an electrical engineer at University College London, but satellite-based monitoring has benefits. “The coverage is good – you are not blocked by buildings,” he says. As well as allowing for larger antennas, Bowyer hopes that the pultrusion technology will lower the costs of launching a satellite, because there would be fewer large and delicate components to worry about. The system has so far been tested for resilience to vibrations and to see how it performs in a vacuum, and will undergo radiation testing next. Stuart Burgess, an engineer at the University of Bristol, UK, says that the technique could have benefits for other space endeavours. “In a spacecraft there’s a fantastic lack of space,” he says. “If you can just take up raw materials and then manufacture when you’re up in space, there’s potentially a great advantage.”


The beauty of science and technology is that things that seemed impossible in living memory are now regularly done. From cochlear implants (look at this video of a 29 years old woman who hears for the first time ) to looking through billions of documents around the world in less than a second for free (Google!) to the eradication of smallpox , a lot of really cool progress is being made all the time. Of course, we get used to these things so quickly that they don't seem all that fantastic anymore, but trust me, if they were all taken away from us, we'd certainly miss them! But for every success story, there are also a areas where progress is slower than we would want. For example, there are millions of paralyzed people who could greatly benefit from a way to repair or replace damaged nerves, but so far a cure remains elusive for most of them. But thankfully, the absence of a complete cure doesn't mean that progress isn't being made. Today's news is an example of this: A team from the University of Cambridge reversed paralysis in dogs after injecting them with cells grown from the lining of their nose (yes, you read that right). It's not quite as simple as it might first sound, and some injuries would be a lot harder to cure than others, but it is very promising. Basically, the dogs had olfactory ensheathing cells from the lining of their nose removed and then grown and expanded for several weeks in the laboratory. The researchers then transplanted the new nerve cells across the damaged region of the spinal cord. Of 34 pet dogs on the proof of concept trial, 23 had the cells transplanted into the injury site - the rest were injected with a neutral fluid. Many of the dogs that received the transplant showed considerable improvement and were able to walk on a treadmill with the support of a harness. None of the control group regained use of its back legs. Prof Geoffrey Raisman, chair of Neural Regeneration at University College London, who discovered olfactory ensheathing cells in 1985 told the BBC: "This is not a cure for spinal cord injury in humans - that could still be a long way off. But this is the most encouraging advance for some years and is a significant step on the road towards it." See also: Favorite Nature Spots of the TreeHugger Team (Part 1 of 2)


News Article | April 17, 2017
Site: www.newscientist.com

The early universe was filthy. That much can be garnered from a new detection of cosmic dust in a galaxy whose light reaches us from when the universe was only 600 million years old. In the past 10 years, astronomers have learned that dust is forged during the aftermath of the supernova deaths of massive, short-lived stars. But many mysteries surround dust’s origin. Astronomers, for example, don’t know how dust can withstand the violent shock waves from supernovae and precisely how long it takes to form. With that in mind, Nicolas Laporte at University College London and his colleagues turned ALMA, the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, towards the early universe. They studied a star-forming galaxy called A2744_YD4, whose light dates back to just 200 million years after the birth of the earliest stars. With a little help from a foreground galaxy cluster called Abell 2744, which acted as a gravitational lens and thus magnified the distant galaxy by a factor of two, Laporte’s team discovered the dust. To boot, there’s so much of it that it could fill the sun 6 million times over. So much dust so early on provides a strict limit on the time it takes to form, which should help astronomers better understand some of the mysteries surrounding the origins of dust. It also hints that the early universe might have looked familiar, with protoplanetary discs or even Earth-like planets circling those early stars, says Darach Watson at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark. That’s because dust is a crucial building block in all molecules – from the molecular hydrogen within stars to the complex molecules inside planets and even you. “You need dust to do anything actually interesting in the universe at all,” says Watson. The findings also suggest that tracing cosmic dust could be a useful probe for studying these early galaxies. Astronomers usually study the universe’s first galaxies by counting their numbers, measuring their luminosities and studying their colours, says co-author Richard Ellis at University College London. That’s much less information than we can get from observations of nearby galaxies, of which we can take crystal-clear pictures and detect spectral lines – spikes or drops in light that appear at specific wavelengths based on the chemical elements they contain. But the detection of early dust is a game changer. It stands as a proxy for the presence of heavier elements, which similarly form from supernova explosions. Ultimately, it may show how quickly those first galaxies evolved. Next, astronomers want to peer back to a time in cosmic history when the emission from dust disappears. That will point towards the first galaxies, which were so pristine that they contained only the hydrogen and helium left over from the big bang. “That’s what we’re looking for,” says Watson. “We’re trying to push back far enough where we see the formation of the first galaxies.”


News Article | April 17, 2017
Site: www.newscientist.com

A major glacier in Alaska has retreated to its lowest point in 900 years as a consequence of global warming. Glaciers around the world are in retreat. But the Columbia glacier is one of the most dramatic and well-documented cases, as well as the largest contributor to sea level rise out of the 50 or so glaciers that descend to the sea in Alaska. Anders Carlson at Oregon State University and his colleagues have put the current ebb in the historical context of the past millennium, during which human contributions to climate change weren’t always so high. In 2004, the team bored down into the mud at the bottom of Prince William Sound, the bay on the southern coast of Alaska that the glacier flows into, and examined the layers of sediment deposited over a period of about 1600 years. The glacier recently receded past a geological fault line, either side of which are rocks of differing magnetic and chemical compositions. So Carlson and his colleagues looked for a corresponding shift in the sediment to find the last time the glacier crossed this fault. The number and thickness of rings in the trunks of trees uncovered in the retreat of the glacier provided a timeline for the initial advance of the ice, and gave information about past climate conditions. By cross-referencing the sediments and tree data, the team found a matching point about 900 years ago. Running climate simulators revealed that summer air temperatures about 1°C  higher than normal between 1910 and 1980 led to the glacier thinning until it became unstable in the 1980s and triggered the rapid retreat over the past three decades. The team attributes that warming to human-caused climate change. “What was surprising was the tight coupling between surface temperature of the glacier and its response,” says Carlson. Linking the behaviour of glaciers that terminate in water with climate is difficult, especially in areas with tectonic activity. But the team’s approach has allowed them to do just that, says Julie Brigham-Grette at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. “Because of the coupling of the tree rings and the sediments, they can make the case that this retreat is a response to temperature, and not the internal dynamics of the glacier,” she says. The result is of wider importance, says Chris Rapley at University College London. “It shows that a small temperature increase of less than 2°C is sufficient to destabilise a glacier,” he says. International efforts to fight climate change are focused on limiting warming to 2°C, but are widely thought not to be sufficient to achieve that limit. “Previous analyses have speculated that the warming acted as a trigger for the mechanical processes of the retreat, and this analysis provides evidence that this is the case,” Rapley says. It’s unlikely that this is an isolated case. Alberto Reyes at the University of Alberta in Canada, one of the study’s authors, says that at some sites around the world, retreating glaciers are exposing trees that are some 7000 years old, indicating that those glaciers are now smaller than they have been in many thousands of years. Read more: El Niño means glaciers in the Andes are melting at record rates


News Article | April 28, 2017
Site: news.yahoo.com

(Reuters Health) - Instead of eating less saturated fat and worrying about so-called bad cholesterol, a group of doctors suggests an alternative approach for preventing heart disease. More important, they say, is to focus on decreasing insulin resistance and inflammation in the body by targeting diet, exercise and reducing stress. "If we target all those three things together (plus) a reduction of smoking then we’ll combat 80 percent of all heart disease," said Dr. Aseem Malhotra of Lister Hospital in Stevenage, UK, who coauthored an editorial in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. Saturated fats are mostly found in animal products like beef, pork, butter, cheese and other dairy. Blaming coronary artery disease on saturated fat that clogs arteries is "just plain wrong," according to Malhotra and his two coauthors, Dr. Rita Redberg of the University of California, San Francisco and Dr. Pascal Meier of University College London, UK. In their editorial, the three experts cite a 2015 review of past research that found no link between a diet full of saturated fats and an increased risk of coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke due to clogged arteries, death from coronary heart disease, or death from any cause. Furthermore, Malhotra told Reuters Health, the traditional advice to reduce levels of "bad" low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol through diet and exercise "is flawed." He and his colleagues point to studies in which people who replaced saturated fat with vegetable oils containing omega-6 fatty acids did lower their LDL and total cholesterol levels but still ended up with a higher rate of death. They also cite the well-known PREDIMED trial, in which people eating a Mediterranean diet with fats from olive oil or nuts were at lower risk of heart problems than people following a low-fat diet. Another trial found better outcomes in people following a Mediterranean diet than in people eating a typical French diet, despite similar LDL levels in both groups. The best way to predict heart disease risk, they write, is to look at patients' ratio of total cholesterol to "good" high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. A high ratio is linked with insulin resistance, which leads to high blood sugar and higher risks for heart disease, type 2 diabetes and obesity. Malhotra said insulin resistance is worsened when low-fat dieting leads people to eat more refined carbohydrates like white bread and white rice, which are not found in Mediterranean diets. He and his colleagues say Mediterranean diets, exercise and reducing stress all help combat inflammation. "I think the best way to reduce risk of heart disease and stay healthy is to concentrate on a heart-healthy Mediterranean style diet, regular physical activity and not smoking," Redberg told Reuters Health by email. Dr. Stephen Kopecky, a cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, agrees with the experts' inflammation theory but isn't ready to remove the emphasis on LDL cholesterol. Kopecky told Reuters Health that LDL levels are still an important measure to watch and treat with medications. Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, dean of the Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy in Boston, also says LDL levels are still important. "I think the message is correct that we need more focus on diet and reducing inflammation," Mozaffarian told Reuters Health. "It doesn’t mean we should throw out an additional tool focusing on LDL cholesterol and treatment." Prevention doesn't involve a choice between lifestyle changes or lowering cholesterol, Mozaffarian added. "It's both," he said.


News Article | May 3, 2017
Site: www.newscientist.com

The road to hell may be paved with good intentions, but at least there’s now a map to get you there. The map is the first to show the whereabouts of almost 100 massive remnants of what were once tectonic plates, but which long ago sank into the bowels of our planet through a process called subduction. “We’re pioneering the first map of the underworld,” says Wim Spakman of Utrecht University in the Netherlands, who unveiled plans to launch the atlas at the annual meeting of the European Geosciences Union in Vienna. “We will make our Atlas of the Underworld public for everyone to use, criticise and supplement with new data once our supporting work is published, which is imminent.” Knowing the positions of huge, ancient slab remnants could prove invaluable for geological research and exploration, says Spakman – and could bring us closer to forecasting earthquakes. So far, 98 slabs strewn throughout Earth’s upper and lower mantles have been mapped. Some are found at depths of 2900 kilometres, and with ages of up to 350 million years. All the slabs originated at or near Earth’s surface. Through collisions with other plates, or other tectonic activity, they all at some point began heading downwards, first through the upper mantle, then through the much more viscous lower mantle, which starts at around 660 kilometres down. Some have reached the outer core at 2900 kilometres. Spakman and his colleagues detected the positions and sizes of the plates through an echolocation technology called seismic tomography. The slabs conduct sound faster than surrounding magma, and so give a telltale seismic signature of their existence. The team combined their measurements with extensive pre-existing research on subducted slabs to corroborate and chart the geological history of each slab found. “We worked our way from the top, where we know and agree on the origins of slabs, to deeper, previously unknown ones,” says Spakman. “We’ve given them all a geographic name to make them easy to recognise.” For example, Spakman and his colleagues Douwe van Hinsbergen and Douwe van der Meer have used their data to explore the history of individual slabs, including one they have called the Aegean plate. This sank 120 million years ago below what is now the Aegean Sea, a key event in the formation of the Tethys Ocean that once separated Africa and Europe. Now, they are moving on to deeper slabs. “We’re looking into the early history of the Pacific Ocean around the ancient land mass of Pangea, and we’ve already found subduction remnants all around the present day Pacific, whose predecessor at the time was the Panthalassa Ocean,” says Spakman. “We can build much tighter connections between how tectonic plates moved around the globe in relation to what was going on in the mantle,” says Spakman. Until now, the main method of doing this has been to analyse ancient subducted rocks brought to the surface again by volcanic plumes. “Now, we can add new information about what once occurred through mapping the geological history of these subduction remnants,” he says. Knowing how subducted slabs might contribute to friction in the mantle could also help our understanding of and ability to forecast earthquakes, as well as how plate tectonics could raise sea level by raising the sea floor. “It could also help us find huge mineral deposits,” says Spakman. Other geologists are enthusiastic about the atlas. “Knowing where all the subducted oceanic crust has gone over the past 300 million years will allow us to play back the movie of plate tectonics in reverse,” says Steve Jacobsen of Northwestern University in Illinois. Jacobsen, who previously discovered evidence for massive water deposits in the deep mantle, says the atlas would also allow calculation of the amounts of water and carbon recycled by the planet over the past few million years. “Such a database would certainly be useful because plate tectonics ultimately controls most of what happens at Earth’s surface, from continent building and weathering rates to volcanism and much more,” says Matthew Dodd at University College London. “So knowing where ancient subduction zones were, how fast and old they were, will help geologists answer a plethora of scientific questions, including the long-term habitability of our planet through time, as well as natural resource exploration.” It might also help us study Earth’s origins, says Lydia Hallis at the University of Glasgow in the UK. “Information relating to the location of past and present subduction zones will help establish whether there are likely to be areas in the deep mantle that are totally unaffected by subduction, and hence maintain Earth’s original mantle composition,” she says. “These areas would provide the best targets for researchers studying Earth’s formation.”


News Article | April 17, 2017
Site: www.newscientist.com

A woman in her 80s has become the first person to be successfully treated with induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. A slither of laboratory-made retinal cells has protected her eyesight, fighting her age-related macular degeneration – a common form of progressive blindness. Such stem cells can be coaxed to form many other types of cell. Unlike other types of stem cell, such as those found in an embryo, induced pluripotent ones can be made from adult non-stem cells – a discovery that earned a Nobel prize in 2012. Now, more than a decade after they were created, these stem cells have helped someone. Masayo Takahashi at the RIKEN Laboratory for Retinal Regeneration in Kobe, Japan, and her team took skin cells from the woman and turned them into iPS cells. They then encouraged these to form retinal pigment epithelial cells, which are important for supporting and nourishing the retina cells that capture light for vision. The researchers made a slither of cells measuring just 1 by 3 millimetres. Before transplanting this into the woman’s eye in 2014, they first removed diseased tissue on her retina that was gradually destroying her sight. They then inserted the small patch of cells they had created, hoping they would become a part of her eye and stop her eyesight from degenerating. Now the results are in. Published today, they show that the treatment hasn’t made the woman’s vision any sharper, but it does seem to have prevented further deterioration – with her vision now stable for more than two years. Since the graft, the woman says her vision is “brighter”. “Takahashi and her team have done incredible work, and deserve all the praise they get for this project,” says Shinya Yamanaka, director of the Center for iPS Cell Research and Application at Kyoto University, who won the Nobel prize for inventing iPS cells and collaborated on this work. “This is a landmark study and opens the door to similar treatments for many diseases,” he says. “This first iPSC-derived retinal graft is an important landmark in the field of retinal regeneration,” says James Bainbridge at University College London, and head of a trial at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London of similar grafts made instead from human embryonic stem cells. One worry about this approach is that turning the stem cells into new tissues could lead to cancer-causing genetic mutations – though the team found no evidence of this in the treated woman. However, a trial of the technique in another person was cancelled in 2015, after tests revealed that the cells intended to be given to the man had developed genetic abnormalities. But although it has taken many years to bring proven stem cell therapies to the clinic, many private centres around the world have been advertising unregulated treatments purporting to use stem cells for some time. A second study published today shows just how badly some unregulated treatments described as stem cell therapies can go wrong. Three case reports of women given such treatments for age-related macular degeneration detail how one woman went blind and the vision of the other two became much worse. All three ended up seeking emergency treatment in 2015, after each paid $5000 to a private clinic to receive injections of their own fatty tissue into their eyes. “Patients and physicians in the US should be made aware that not all ‘stem cell’ clinics are safe, and that ‘stem therapy’ as provided in private clinics in the US is unproven and potentially harmful,” says Thomas Albini at the University of Miami’s Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, Florida, who subsequently treated two of the women. Albini advises people to be suspicious of any procedure involving payment. “Most legitimate research in the US does not require patients to pay for the experimental procedures,” he says, adding that people should check whether a trial has been registered with the US Food and Drug Administration. “Be aware that if it sounds too good to be true, it may indeed not be true.” Read more: Clinic claims it has used stem cells to treat Down’s syndrome


News Article | May 4, 2017
Site: www.newscientist.com

Our body temperature might not ever get much hotter than 37°C. But it turns out that the insides of our cells can reach a scorching 50°C. Our cells effectively burn food in oxygen to produce energy. Unlike a fire, this is a controlled process involving several steps, but it still generates a lot of heat. But because respiration, as this process is known, happens inside tiny structures inside cells called mitochondria, measuring just how hot they get has not been possible. However, in the past year or so, several research teams around the world have developed dyes that fluoresce in different ways as temperatures change. Pierre Rustin of INSERM in France and colleagues have now used a dye developed by a group in Singapore to measure the temperature inside the mitochondria of human kidney and skin cells kept at 38°C. They found that mitochondria operate at temperatures at least 6 to 10°C higher than the rest of the cell. While Rustin’s study is the first to look specifically at the temperature of mitochondria, another group might just have beaten them to the punch. A paper published in February by a team in Japan that describes another temperature-sensitive fluorescent dye briefly mentions that mitochondria in human cancer cells appear to be 6 to 9°C hotter than the rest of the cell. The finding makes sense when you think about it, says biochemist Nick Lane at University College London, author of a book about mitochondria. “Mitochondria are the main sources of heat, and they have to be hotter than the rest of the body,” he says. “I’d never really thought of that before.” If the mitochondria in mammals – and presumably birds – have indeed evolved to operate at higher temperatures than we realised, biologists may have to recheck the many previous experiments that assume they operate at body temperature, Rustin’s team writes. The mitochondria in cold-blooded plants and animals presumably operate at far lower temperatures, but this is something else that now needs to be checked. Because mitochondria power cells, people can suffer from serious diseases or even die young if they inherit faulty mitochondria. This can now prevented by replacing the mitochondria in an embryo with ones from a donor.


News Article | May 4, 2017
Site: www.prweb.com

The International Insolvency Institute is pleased to announce its 2017 Prize in International Insolvency Studies winners: Gold Medal Winner Simin Gao, Tsinghua University, School of Law The U.S. Reorganization Regime in the Chinese Mirror: Legal Transplantation and Obstructed Efficiency Silver Medal Winner Aurelio Gurrea-Martínez, Harvard Law School The Avoidance of Pre-Bankruptcy Transactions: An Economic and Comparative Approach The III Prize is awarded for original legal research, commentary or analysis on topics of international insolvency and restructuring significance and on comparative international analysis of domestic insolvency and restructuring issues and developments. The Prize Competition is open to full and part-time undergraduate and graduate students and to practitioners in practice for nine years or less. Medal-winning entries will be considered for publication in the Norton Journal of Bankruptcy Law and Practice (West) and for inclusion in the Westlaw electronic database. Entries were judged by a distinguished panel of leading international insolvency academics and practitioners. The Jury included Co-Chairs Professor Christoph Paulus (Humboldt University, Berlin), Professor Jay L. Westbrook (University of Texas, Austin), and Hon. Samuel L. Bufford (Pennsylvania State University, University Park) and our distinguished Members, Professor Edward Janger (Brooklyn Law School), Professor Matthias Haentjens (Leiden Law School), Professor Stephan Madaus (Martin-Luther University), Professor Rosalind Mason (Queensland University of Technology), Professor Junichi Matsushita (University of Tokyo), Professor Riz Mokal (University College London), Professor John A.E. Pottow (University of Michigan), Professor Jingxia (Josie) Shi (China University of International Business & Economics), and Professor Ulrik Rammeskow Bang-Pedersen (University of Copenhagen). The Gold Medal winner will be honored at the III's Seventeenth Annual International Insolvency Conference in London, England on June 18-20, 2017. All Medal Winners and Finalists will be invited to attend the Conference and will be provided with complementary Conference registration. Medal Winners will also be nominated to Class VI of the III NextGen Leadership Program which will convene in London on June 18, 2017 during the III's 2017 Conference.


News Article | May 5, 2017
Site: www.bbc.co.uk

The "live" surveillance of British web users' internet communications has been proposed in a draft technical paper prepared by the government. If made law, such access would occur via the Investigatory Powers (IP) Act, which includes provisions for the removal of encryption on content. The paper was allegedly leaked to civil liberties body the Open Rights Group, which received the document on 4 May. The Home Office denied there was anything new in the consultation. Phone companies and internet service providers would be asked to provide "data in near real time" within one working day, according to one clause in the technical capabilities paper. Such access would need to be sanctioned by secretaries of state and a judge appointed by the prime minister. The paper also echoes the IP Act itself, noting that tech companies would be required to remove - or enable the removal - of encryption from communications as they would need to be provided "in an intelligible form" without "electronic protection". Cryptographers often describe such access as a "backdoor" in the security of communications services. The idea is controversial because some argue it could be exploited by hackers, endangering innocent users. Under the terms of the Investigatory Powers Act, telecoms firms would have to carry out the requirements of any notices to these effects in secret, so the public would be unaware that such access had been given. Simultaneous surveillance could occur in bulk, but be limited to one in every 10,000 users of a given service - a maximum of roughly 900 of BT's 9 million British broadband customers, for instance. A consultation about the paper - due to end on 19 May - is allegedly under way at the moment, though this was not publicly announced by the government. It does not have a legal obligation notify the public about draft regulations, which would have to be passed by both Houses of Parliament in order to become law. However, the paper suggests that the regulations have already been seen by the UK's Technical Advisory Board. A BT spokesman confirmed the company had received "a copy of draft regulations, to be made under the Investigatory Powers Act 2016, in relation to technical capability notices" - but did not comment further. "The public has a right to know about government powers that could put their privacy and security at risk," said Jim Killock, executive director of the Open Rights Group, explaining the decision to publish the document. "It seems very clear that the Home Office intends to use these to remove end-to-end encryption - or more accurately to require tech companies to remove it," said Dr Cian Murphy, a legal expert at the University of Bristol who has criticised the scope of the IP act. "I do read the regulations as the Home Office wanting to be able to have near real-time access to web chat and other forms of communication," he told the BBC. Home Secretary Amber Rudd has previously argued that the Investigatory Powers Act is necessary to curb "new opportunities for terrorists" afforded by the internet. In March, Ms Rudd's comments that encrypted messaging services like WhatsApp should not be places "for terrorists to hide" caused much debate. Surveillance of some mobile phone user data in "as near real-time as possible" has already been available to law enforcement authorities for many years, noted Dr Steven Murdoch at University College London. The UK's Internet Service Providers' Association (Ispa), which represents BT, Sky, Virgin Media, TalkTalk and others, said it would be "consulting its members and submitting a response to the draft regulations". Get news from the BBC in your inbox, each weekday morning


Successful clinical trials to create drugs and vaccines for next pandemic disease will rely on building capacity, community engagement, and international collaboration before and during outbreak WASHINGTON - Mobilization of a rapid and robust clinical research program that explores whether investigational therapeutics and vaccines are safe and effective to combat the next infectious disease epidemic will depend on strengthening capacity in low-income countries for response and research, engaging people living in affected communities, and conducting safety trials before an epidemic hits, says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Using key lessons learned from the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, the report outlines how to improve the speed and effectiveness of clinical trial research while an epidemic is occurring, especially in settings where there is limited health care and research infrastructure. The research and development of therapeutics and vaccines is a long, complex, and expensive process and cannot be compressed into the course of a rapidly progressing outbreak. The development of a drug "from bench to bedside" is estimated, on average, to take at least 10 years and cost $2.6 billion, with less than 12 percent likelihood of eventual licensing. Therefore, making progress on the research and development of products - such as therapeutics and vaccines - before an epidemic breaks is the only way to ensure that promising candidates are ready for trials once an outbreak occurs, said the committee that carried out the study and wrote the report. In addition, clinical trials could be more rapidly planned, approved, and implemented during an outbreak if promising products are studied through Phase 1 or Phase 2 safety trials in advance of an outbreak and if emergency response planning includes clinical research considerations and clinical researchers in the discussions from the beginning. The 2014-2015 Ebola epidemic was the longest and most deadly Ebola outbreak since the virus was first discovered in 1976, resulting in 28,616 cases and 11,310 deaths in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. In August 2014, the World Health Organization declared the epidemic a public health emergency of international concern. Researchers discussed how to conduct clinical trials on potential Ebola therapeutics and vaccines in West Africa, and ultimately, several teams conducted formal clinical trials in the Ebola-affected countries during the outbreak. The clinical trial teams overcame immense logistical obstacles encountered while trying to design and implement trials in West Africa in the midst of a rapidly spreading epidemic of a highly dangerous contagious disease. However, none of the therapeutic trials ended with conclusive results on product efficacy, although limited evidence from the trial for the ZMapp treatment did trend toward a possible benefit. Given the resources, time, and effort put into these trials, they were not as successful as they could have been. The results of the vaccine trials were more fruitful. Two Ebola vaccine candidates have data that suggest they may be safe and produce an immune response, and one is most likely protective, but further data are needed. Planning and conducting clinical research during the Ebola epidemic also required confronting a number of ethical issues, such as whether it was ethical to conduct clinical trials at all in the midst of a public health emergency and whether the research activities drew effort away from providing clinical care to the most people possible. There was also disagreement among researchers over how clinical trials should be designed during the Ebola epidemic, particularly whether trials should use randomization and concurrent control groups. Randomized controlled trials are generally the preferred research design, because they allow researchers to directly compare the outcomes of similar groups of people who differ only in the presence or absence of the investigational agent. However, many argued that randomized controlled trials would be unethical during the Ebola epidemic, as this trial design would deprive patients of an agent that could potentially prevent or treat Ebola, given the high mortality rate and lack of known and available treatment options. The committee concluded that randomized controlled trials are both ethical and the fastest and most reliable way to identify the relative benefits and risks of investigational products, and except in rare circumstances, every effort should be made to implement them during epidemics. The issues that influenced choices about trial design during the Ebola epidemic - such as community mistrust, the feasibility of a standard-of-care-only arm, the high and variable mortality rate, limited product availability, and the potential conflicts between research and care - are likely to recur in future epidemics. Nevertheless, the perceived ethical or logistical hurdles that these issues present are not sufficiently compelling to override the benefits of randomized trials. Rather, randomized trials may be the most ethical trial design, because they offer the fastest route to identifying beneficial treatments while minimizing the risks of exposure to potentially harmful investigational agents. To improve the national and international clinical trial response to the next epidemic, the committee focused on three main areas - strengthening capacity, engaging communities, and facilitating international coordination and collaboration - both in the period of time before an outbreak strikes and during the epidemic itself. The committee found major capacity challenges that hindered and slowed the research response to the Ebola epidemic, and recommended developing sustainable health systems and research capabilities, improving capacity to collect and share clinical and epidemiological data, facilitating the mechanisms for rapid ethics reviews and legal agreements before an epidemic occurs, and incorporating research systems into emergency preparedness and response systems for epidemics. Affected communities had considerable fear, mistrust, and misunderstanding of national and international response and research staff. Community members feared going to health care facilities for the treatment of Ebola, rumors spread that Ebola was deliberately brought to the region by foreigners, and initial response efforts did not take into account community traditions and beliefs. For example, mandatory cremation policies countered deeply held religious beliefs. Successful clinical research is dependent on a community's understanding of, engagement in, and sense of involvement and respect in the process of planning and conducting research, the committee found. Community engagement should be prioritized during epidemic responses and be a continuous and evolving effort, starting at the onset of the epidemic. Research and response efforts were also greatly affected by the relationships among international stakeholders and their ability to coordinate and collaborate. For example, there were a few Ebola-specific therapeutic candidates with suggestive efficacy available at the beginning of the outbreak that could have been investigated in clinical trials, but the mechanism to prioritize which should be studied first was limited. The committee recommended the establishment of an international coalition of stakeholders to work between epidemics that would advise and prioritize pathogens to target for research and development, develop generic clinical trial design templates, and identify teams of clinical research experts who could be deployed to assist with research during an outbreak. The committee also highlighted seven critical steps to launching successful clinical trials when the next epidemic first strikes and before it peaks. The steps are to collect and share patient information and establish standards of care, engage communities and establish mutual trust, integrate research efforts into response and facilitate stakeholder coordination, prioritize vaccines and therapies and select trial designs, negotiate contracts, consult with regulators, and perform independent ethics reviews. The study was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, National Institutes of Health, and U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine are private, nonprofit institutions that provide independent, objective analysis and advice to the nation to solve complex problems and inform public policy decisions related to science, technology, and medicine. The National Academies operate under an 1863 congressional charter to the National Academy of Sciences, signed by President Lincoln. For more information, visit http://national-academies. . A roster follows. Copies of Integrating Clinical Research Into Epidemic Response: The Ebola Experience are available from the National Academies Press at http://www. or by calling 1-800-624-6242. Reporters may obtain a copy from the Office of News and Public Information (contacts listed above). Gerald T. Keusch, M.D.* (co-chair) Professor of Medicine and Global Health Boston University Schools of Medicine and Public Health Boston Keith McAdam, M.D. (co-chair) Emeritus Professor of Clinical and Tropical Medicine London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine London Abdel Babiker, Ph.D. Professor of Epidemiology and Medical Statistics Medical Research Council Clinical Trials Unit at University College London London Susan S. Ellenberg, Ph.D. Professor of Biostatistics Perelman School of Medicine University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia Roger J. Lewis, M.D., Ph.D.* Professor and Chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine Harbor-UCLA Medical Center Los Angeles Alex London, Ph.D. Professor of Philosophy, and Director of the Center for Ethics and Policy Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh Michelle M. Mello, Ph.D.* Professor of Law Stanford University School of Medicine and School of Law Stanford, Calif. Olayemi Omotade, M.D. Professor of Pediatrics and Child Health Institute of Child Health University College Hospital University of Ibadan Ibadan, Nigeria Fred Wabwire-Mangen, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health Makerere University School of Public Health Kampala, Uganda


News Article | April 24, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Researchers have discovered that a protein implicated in human longevity may also play a role in restoring hearing after noise exposure. The findings, where were published in the journal Scientific Reports, could one day provide researchers with new tools to prevent hearing loss. The study reveals that a gene called Forkhead Box O3 (Foxo3) appears to play a role in protecting outer hair cells in the inner ear from damage. The outer hair cells act as a biological sound amplifier and are critical to hearing. When exposed to loud noises, these cells undergo stress. In some individuals, these cells are able to recover, but in others the outer hair cells die, permanently impairing hearing. While hearing aids and other treatments can help recovered some range of hearing, there is currently no biological cure for hearing loss. "While more than a hundred genes have been identified as being involved in childhood hearing loss, little is known about the genes that regulate hearing recovery after noise exposure," said Patricia White, Ph.D., a research associate professor in the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) Department of Neuroscience and lead author of the study. "Our study shows that Foxo3 could play an important role in determining which individuals might be more susceptible to noise-induced hearing loss." Approximately one-third of people who reach retirement age have some degree of hearing loss, primarily due to noise exposure over their lifetimes. The problem is even more acute in the military, with upwards of 60 percent of individuals who have been deployed in forward areas experiencing hearing loss, making it the most common disability for combat veterans. Foxo3 is known to play an important role in cell's stress response. For example, in the cardiovascular system, Foxo3 helps heart cells stay healthy by clearing away debris when the cells are damaged. Additionally, people with a genetic mutation that confers higher levels of Foxo3 protein have been shown to live longer. White and her team carried out a series of experiments involving knock-out mice who were genetically engineered to lack the Foxo3 gene. The researchers found that, compared to normal mice, these animals were unable to recover hearing after being exposed to loud noises. The team also observed that during the experiment the Foxo3 knock-out mice lost most of their outer hair cells. In the normal mice, outer hair cell loss was not significant. "Discovering that Foxo3 was important for the survival of outer hair cells is a significant advance," says senior author Patricia White. "We are also excited about the results because Foxo3 is a transcription factor, which regulates the expression of many target genes. We are currently investigating what its targets might be in the inner ear, and how they could act to protect the ear from damage." Additional co-authors of the study include Felicia Gilels, Stephen Paquette, and Holly Beaulac with URMC and Anwen Bullen with University College London. The research was supported with funding from the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council of the United Kingdom.


Invasive non-native species are among the greatest drivers of biodiversity loss on the planet and cost the British economy £1.7bn each year. "Our study found that environmental change, new biotechnology and even political instability are all likely to result in new invasions that we should all be worried about" said Dr. David Aldridge of Cambridge University, who hosted the meeting of 17 scientists from across four continents. Globalization of the Arctic, emergence of invasive microbial pathogens, advances in genomic modification technology, and changing agricultural practices were judged to be among the 14 most significant issues potentially affecting how invasive species are studied and managed over the next two decades. "We have identified some potential game-changers" said Prof. Anthony Ricciardi from McGill University, who led the study. Until now, the Arctic has been among the least accessible regions on the planet, escaping extensive alien species invasions like those that have affected temperate and tropical areas of the world. However, the rapid loss of sea ice is opening the region to shipping, oil and mineral extraction, fishing, tourism, and shoreline development—all of which facilitate introductions of alien species. The loss of sea ice is also creating a major new corridor for international shipping between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, which will affect invasion risks throughout the Northern Hemisphere. "The gold rush has begun for major expansion of human activities in the Arctic, with the potential for large-scale alien species transfers" says Dr. Greg Ruiz (Smithsonian Environmental Research Center). Disease-causing bacteria, water molds, fungi and viruses are being given increasing opportunities to spread into regions where they never previously existed and where they may attack new hosts. They can also undergo rapid genetic changes that cause previously innocuous forms to become virulent. Invasive microbes have devastated populations of animal and plants that have had no evolutionary exposure and thus no immunity to them. Recent examples include: the chytrid fungus "Bsal" that is killing salamanders in Europe; the white-nose fungus that is destroying bat colonies in North America; and sea star wasting disease along the Pacific coast of North America, considered to be among the worst wildlife die-offs ever recorded. The proliferation of microbial pathogens is a burgeoning threat to biodiversity, agriculture, forestry and fisheries. Advances in genomic modification tools hold both promise and challenges for managing invasive species. Very recently, genetically modified versions of an invasive mosquito were released in the Florida Keys in a controversial attempt to interfere with the mosquito's reproductive life cycle, thereby preventing it from vectoring the spread of invasive Zika, Dengue and Chikungunya viruses to humans. "The push to use genetically modified agents to control invasive species will continue to grow", says Prof. Hugh MacIsaac (University of Windsor), "and with it will come public opposition and the view that we are opening Pandora's Box". The team also identified changing agricultural practices as a potential source of invasion threats. Virtually unregulated new agricultural crops and practices open the door to potentially disastrous unintended consequences. An Asian cricket species reared for "cricket flour"—all the rage in the USA - has already established in the wild. Worse, as a disease ravages this species, farmers have imported other kinds of crickets that might well invade in nature. But possibly the biggest threat of all is the growing use by agribusiness of soil bacteria and fungi to increase crop production. "The cultivation and distribution of 'growth enhancing' microbes could cause some crop plants or plant species residing near agricultural fields to become invasive pests" says Prof. Daniel Simberloff (University of Tennessee). An additional challenge is public perception of invasion science. Scientific evidence on invasive species impacts is under attack, with much of the opposition value-based rather than science-based. This form of science denialism involves a rejection of peer-reviewed evidence along with an attempt to re-frame, downplay or even deny the role of invasive alien species in global environmental change. "Denialism in science is not new, but its growth in the context of invasive species is especially worrying for people trying to conserve unique native biodiversity" says Prof. Tim Blackburn (University College London). "Manufacturing doubt about the negative impacts of invasive species can delay mitigating action to the point where it is too late." More information: Anthony Ricciardi et al, Invasion Science: A Horizon Scan of Emerging Challenges and Opportunities, Trends in Ecology & Evolution (2017). DOI: 10.1016/j.tree.2017.03.007


Presented in vivid Ultra HD 4K, The Hunt for Dark Matter takes viewers on an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look inside the 16-mile-long Large Hadron Collider tunnel, the world's largest and most powerful particle accelerator housed underground at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) on the French/Swiss border.  Here, several teams are collaborating to upgrade the world's largest particle physics experiments.  One of the most far-reaching components of this program is the CMS High-Granularity Calorimeter (HGC).  In layman's terms, the HGC is essentially the highest resolution slow-motion camera ever built. This colossally sensitive system is comprised of more than 22,000 sensors capable of capturing an image every 25 nanoseconds.  With that power, the HGC will collect 10 TB of data per second, the equivalent of a 1,000-word essay being written by every human on the planet every second, all in the search for clues about the most basic building blocks of our Universe, including the elusive dark matter particles. "The first evidence of dark matter was discovered in 1938, and for the first time, we now have the technology capable of actually detecting it directly and of producing it with accelerators and inferring its presence by means of a multitude of ingenious techniques," said Joseph Incandela, Ph.D., Professor of Physics at the University of California at Santa Barbara, who was also part of the team that discovered the Higgs Boson elementary particle in 2012.  "The data we glean from this project could help us to take the next big step forward in understanding the formation of our Universe, how it evolved, how we got here, and possibly where we're headed." The film by Daniel H. Birman Productions, the team behind the CuriosityStream Original Conscious Capitalism, also features insightful interviews with world-renowned physicists, engineers, astronomers and astrophysicists including David Barney, Ph.D., physicist and project manager at CERN, and Richard Ellis, Ph.D., professor of astrophysics at University College London. "In addition to the fascinating science behind The Hunt for Dark Matter, there's also a powerful story of humanity within this film," Birman said.  "CERN and the work performed there are international pursuits, with thousands of scientists and engineers from countries all over the world, working side-by-side in one common effort: the quest for discovery.  This film beautifully highlights the global reach of science and its power to unify us as a planet, regardless of the political or cultural differences and boundaries that might separate us." The Hunt for Dark Matter is available to watch now by starting a free trial at www.CuriosityStream.com. CuriosityStream is the world's first ad-free, on-demand streaming service for documentary and nonfiction programming.  Over 1,500 shows from the world's best filmmakers are available to watch on most streaming devices, including Xbox One, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, iOS and Android, starting at just $2.99 per month.  Focused on offering enriching and enlightening content covering science, history, technology and nature, CuriosityStream was founded by Discovery Communications founder and media visionary John Hendricks. For more information, visit www.curiositystream.com. To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/curiositystream-original-film-dives-deep-into-the-hunt-for-dark-matter-explores-the-ultimate-cosmic-mystery-300451369.html


News Article | May 7, 2017
Site: www.futurity.org

Efforts to control invasive species face a list of significant issues over the next two decades, say ecologists. “Environmental, biotechnological, and sociopolitical trends are transforming risks of invasion worldwide. We have identified some potential game-changers,” says McGill University professor Anthony Ricciardi, who led the study in Trends in Ecology and Evolution. Here are five of the major risks the group identified: Until now, the Arctic has been among the least accessible regions on the planet, escaping extensive and devastating alien species invasions like those that have struck temperate and tropical areas of the world. But the rapid loss of sea ice is opening the region to shipping, oil, and mineral extraction, fishing, tourism, and shoreline development—all of which facilitate introductions of alien species. The loss of sea ice is also creating a major new corridor for international shipping between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, which will affect invasion risks throughout the Northern Hemisphere. “The gold rush has begun for major expansion of human activities in the Arctic, with the potential to cause large-scale alien species transfers” says Greg Ruiz of the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center. Disease-causing bacteria, water molds, fungi ,and viruses are being given increasing opportunities to spread into regions where they never previously existed and where they may attack new hosts. They can also undergo rapid genetic changes that cause previously innocuous forms to become virulent. Invasive microbes have devastated populations of animal and plants that have had no evolutionary exposure and thus no immunity to them. Recent examples include: the chytrid fungus “Bsal” that is killing salamanders in Europe; the white-nose fungus that is destroying bat colonies in North America; and sea star wasting disease along the Pacific coast of North America, considered to be the cause of perhaps the worst wildlife die-off ever recorded. The proliferation of microbial pathogens is a growing threat to biodiversity, agriculture, forestry, and fisheries. Advances in genomic modification tools hold both promise and challenges for managing invasive species. Very recently, genetically modified versions of an invasive mosquito were released in the Florida Keys in a controversial attempt to interfere with the mosquito’s reproductive life cycle, thereby preventing it from transmitting the invasive Zika, Dengue, and Chikungunya viruses to humans. “The push to use genetically modified agents to control invasive species will continue to grow,” says University of Windsor professor Hugh MacIsaac, “and with it will come public opposition and the view that we are opening Pandora’s Box.” The team also identified changing agricultural practices as a potential source of invasion threats. Virtually unregulated new agricultural crops and practices open the door to potentially disastrous unintended consequences. An Asian cricket species reared for “cricket flour”—all the rage in the United States—has already established in the wild. Worse, as a disease ravages this species, farmers have imported other kinds of crickets that might well invade in nature. But possibly the biggest threat of all is the growing use by agribusiness of soil bacteria and fungi to increase crop production. “The cultivation and distribution of ‘growth enhancing’ microbes could cause some crop plants or plant species residing near agricultural fields to become invasive pests” says University of Tennessee professor Daniel Simberloff. An additional challenge is public perception of invasion science. Scientific evidence on invasive species impacts is under attack, with much of the opposition value-based rather than science-based. This form of science denialism involves a rejection of peer-reviewed evidence along with an attempt to re-frame, downplay, or even deny the role of invasive alien species in global environmental change. “Denialism in science is not new, but its growth in the context of invasive species is especially worrying for people trying to conserve native biodiversity” says professor Tim Blackburn of University College London. “Manufacturing doubt about the negative impacts of invasive species can delay mitigating action to the point where it is too late.”


We are all becoming increasingly familiar with the impacts of invasive species. Knotweed from Japan can destroy building foundations, zebra mussels from eastern Europe can clog-up drinking water pipes, and an Asian fungus is causing ash tree die-back in our forests. Now an international team of scientists has identified how our rapidly changing world will bring new types of invaders, often from very unexpected places. Invasive non-native species are among the greatest drivers of biodiversity loss on the planet and cost the British economy £1.7bn each year. "Our study found that environmental change, new biotechnology and even political instability are all likely to result in new invasions that we should all be worried about" said Dr. David Aldridge of Cambridge University, who hosted the meeting of 17 scientists from across four continents. Globalization of the Arctic, emergence of invasive microbial pathogens, advances in genomic modification technology, and changing agricultural practices were judged to be among the 14 most significant issues potentially affecting how invasive species are studied and managed over the next two decades. "We have identified some potential game-changers" said Prof. Anthony Ricciardi from McGill University, who led the study. Until now, the Arctic has been among the least accessible regions on the planet, escaping extensive alien species invasions like those that have affected temperate and tropical areas of the world. However, the rapid loss of sea ice is opening the region to shipping, oil and mineral extraction, fishing, tourism, and shoreline development -- all of which facilitate introductions of alien species. The loss of sea ice is also creating a major new corridor for international shipping between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, which will affect invasion risks throughout the Northern Hemisphere. "The gold rush has begun for major expansion of human activities in the Arctic, with the potential for large-scale alien species transfers" says Dr. Greg Ruiz (Smithsonian Environmental Research Center). Disease-causing bacteria, water molds, fungi and viruses are being given increasing opportunities to spread into regions where they never previously existed and where they may attack new hosts. They can also undergo rapid genetic changes that cause previously innocuous forms to become virulent. Invasive microbes have devastated populations of animal and plants that have had no evolutionary exposure and thus no immunity to them. Recent examples include: the chytrid fungus "Bsal" that is killing salamanders in Europe; the white-nose fungus that is destroying bat colonies in North America; and sea star wasting disease along the Pacific coast of North America, considered to be among the worst wildlife die-offs ever recorded. The proliferation of microbial pathogens is a burgeoning threat to biodiversity, agriculture, forestry and fisheries. Advances in genomic modification tools hold both promise and challenges for managing invasive species. Very recently, genetically modified versions of an invasive mosquito were released in the Florida Keys in a controversial attempt to interfere with the mosquito's reproductive life cycle, thereby preventing it from vectoring the spread of invasive Zika, Dengue and Chikungunya viruses to humans. "The push to use genetically modified agents to control invasive species will continue to grow", says Prof. Hugh MacIsaac (University of Windsor), "and with it will come public opposition and the view that we are opening Pandora's Box". The team also identified changing agricultural practices as a potential source of invasion threats. Virtually unregulated new agricultural crops and practices open the door to potentially disastrous unintended consequences. An Asian cricket species reared for "cricket flour" -- all the rage in the USA - has already established in the wild. Worse, as a disease ravages this species, farmers have imported other kinds of crickets that might well invade in nature. But possibly the biggest threat of all is the growing use by agribusiness of soil bacteria and fungi to increase crop production. "The cultivation and distribution of 'growth enhancing' microbes could cause some crop plants or plant species residing near agricultural fields to become invasive pests" says Prof. Daniel Simberloff (University of Tennessee). An additional challenge is public perception of invasion science. Scientific evidence on invasive species impacts is under attack, with much of the opposition value-based rather than science-based. This form of science denialism involves a rejection of peer-reviewed evidence along with an attempt to re-frame, downplay or even deny the role of invasive alien species in global environmental change. "Denialism in science is not new, but its growth in the context of invasive species is especially worrying for people trying to conserve unique native biodiversity" says Prof. Tim Blackburn (University College London). "Manufacturing doubt about the negative impacts of invasive species can delay mitigating action to the point where it is too late." The horizon scan was conducted at Cambridge University's David Attenborough Building and is published in the journal Trends in Ecology and Evolution (TREE).


News Article | April 26, 2017
Site: www.newscientist.com

An extraordinary chapter has just been added to the story of the First Americans. Finds at a site in California suggest that the New World might have first been reached at least 130,000 years ago – more than 100,000 years earlier than conventionally thought. If the evidence stacks up, the earliest people to reach the Americas may have been Neanderthals or Denisovans rather than modern humans. Researchers may have to come to terms with the fact that they have barely scratched the surface of the North American archaeological record. “We often hear statements in the media that a new study changes everything we knew,” says Chris Stringer at the Natural History Museum in London. “If this result stands up to scrutiny, it does indeed change everything we thought we knew about the earliest human occupation of the Americas.” The evidence comes from a coastal site in San Diego County, California. In the early 1990s, routine highway excavations exposed fossil bones belonging to a mastodon, an extinct relative of the elephant. Researchers moved in to examine the site, and they soon decided that this was no ordinary mastodon fossil. Many of the bones and teeth were fragmented, some with “spiral” fractures that may be produced when humans break open fresh bone. Alongside the broken bones and teeth, the researchers found stone cobbles that had evidence of impact marks on their surfaces. Two were particularly large – about 15 centimetres in diameter – and each was surrounded by small bone and teeth fragments. Taken together, the evidence points to one scenario, says team member Steven Holen at the Center for American Paleolithic Research in South Dakota. A group of early humans stumbled upon a fresh mastodon carcass and then removed bones and broke them open using stones as simple hammers – with the two larger cobbles serving as makeshift anvils. “The distribution of fractured pieces of bone right around the anvils is fairly conclusive evidence,” he says. The mastodon bones would have been a good source of nutritious bone marrow. Alternatively, the early humans might have broken the bones to use as raw material – bone can be worked and sharpened to create tools. None of this would be particularly controversial except for one final detail. Holen’s colleague – James Paces at the United States Geological Survey in Colorado – has used uranium-thorium isotope dating to age the mastodon fossils. The results suggest the remains are 131,000 years old, give or take 10,000 years. The current consensus view is that humans first reached the Americas much more recently, perhaps just 15,000 years ago. “We believe we have a robust and defensible age for early humans being in America more than 100,000 years earlier than people had imagined,” says Paces. Exactly who those people were is impossible to say as there were no human fossils at the Californian site. “But there are a range of possibilities,” says team member Richard Fullagar at the University of Wollongong in Australia. “They could have been Neanderthals or Denisovans.” Both of these groups were probably present in Siberia more than 130,000 years ago. Holen says sea levels were low and a land bridge existed between Siberia and North America just before 130,000 years ago. Either group could in theory have wandered across. Alternatively, it might have been modern humans – Homo sapiens – that made it to the New World 130,000 years ago, says Fullagar. Recent archaeological evidence suggests our species was in China 120,000 years ago, which is far earlier than once thought. Perhaps modern humans were in East Asia even earlier than the Chinese fossils suggest, and moved into the Americas from there. However, given that genetic studies strongly suggest that indigenous populations in North America trace their routes to much later episodes of colonisation, it would seem likely that whoever arrived there 130,000 years ago didn’t survive very long. “The claims are extraordinary and the potential implications staggering,” says Jon Erlandson at the University of Oregon. Dennis Jenkins, also at the University of Oregon, simply describes the work as “mind-boggling”. But both researchers – and many others – express extreme caution about the conclusions. “Broken bones and stones alone do not make a credible archaeological site in my view,” says Erlandson. He singles out the supposed stone hammers and anvils as a particular weak point in the analysis. By 130,000 years ago, hominins elsewhere in the world were making elaborate stone tools. Nothing this complicated was found near the mastodon. “I would expect to find more sophisticated tools and behaviour,” says María Martinón-Torres at University College London, who works on the early archaeological record of China. Simple stone tools of a similar age have been found in only one place: Homo floresiensis, the “hobbit”, left a record of relatively simple stone tools on the Indonesian island of Flores. But even these tools show a level of complexity not seen at the mastodon site, says Adam Brumm at Griffith University in Queensland, Australia, who works on the Flores archaeological record. “If these are indeed humanly modified artefacts they make the typical hobbit tool look like an iPhone,” he says. Brumm’s general reaction to the new study is scepticism. “Most archaeologists will simply never believe it – the dates are too old, the ‘tools’ too untool-like and the implications too mind-boggling.” Fullagar isn’t disheartened by such scepticism, though. “I’ve spent about four years looking at these artefacts and the team has been looking at the evidence for about 24 years,” he says. “It’s understandable that it might be difficult to get your head around the nature of this evidence in a couple of days.” And the reaction to the new evidence isn’t universally sceptical. Gerrit van den Bergh was already aware of the research because he works at the University of Wollongong alongside Fullagar. “I think the team has very strong arguments and good evidence,” he says. Stringer is also prepared to be open-minded. “The paper has come through thorough peer review,” he says. “[But] many of us will want to see supporting evidence of this ancient occupation from other sites before we abandon the conventional model.”


News Article | April 28, 2017
Site: news.yahoo.com

Early humans may have lived on the North American continent 130,000 years ago, more than 100,000 years earlier than scientists previously believed, according to a new study. The research examined ancient mastodon bones that bore "conclusive" signs of being handled by intelligent beings, the researchers said. When a new freeway was being constructed near San Diego in the early 1990s, one of the excavators hit what seemed like an ancient pile of animal bones. Palaeontologists called to the site confirmed that the bones belonged to a long-extinct Pleistocene mastodon, a significant discovery on its own. But more than 20 years later, the site, called Cerutti (after one of its discoverers Richard Cerutti of San Diego Natural History Museum), may be rewriting the understanding of human presence in the New World. The arrangement of the bones at Cerutti suggests the early appearance of humans at the site, the researchers said. [In Photos: 130,000-Year-Old Evidence of Humans in California] "The bones were positioned in quite an unusual way," said Thomas Deméré, a paleontologist at the San Diego Natural History Museum and lead author of the new study. "For example, one tusk was positioned vertically. Femur heads were found side by side in very distinct clusters, and the bones were fractured in a spiral way, which led us to believe that humans must have been processing those mastodon limb bones." The layer of finely grained sand silt holding the bones was completely intact, but within it, the researchers found several large cobbles with signs of wear. This indicates that the cobbles must have been used as hammers and anvils to process the bones, the researchers said. The geological conditions of the site led the researchers to think it must be more than 15,000 years old, thus preceding when Homo sapiens were thought to have lived in North America. Attempts to establish the age of the site using radiocarbon dating failed, because there was no collagen preserved in the bones, the scientists said. But in 2012, James Paces, a uranium-dating expert at the U.S. Geological Survey, received the bones. The results he obtained surprised the researchers. "I used a method called uranium series disequilibrium dating, which uses radioactive decay of naturally occurring uranium, and the initial results suggested that those [bones] might have been 110 [thousand] and 120 thousand years old," Paces told reporters Tuesday (April 25) in a media briefing. Skeptical about the results, Paces and his colleagues continued analyzing the bones. The researchers performed more than 100 analyses of bones, tooth enamel and ivory found at the site. The results kept pointing to the same age, the researchers said. [The 25 Most Mysterious Archaeological Finds on Earth] "We came up with a result of the estimated age of about 130,000 plus [or] minus 9,000 years, which represents the average of multiple analyses of cross sections of three separate specimens," Paces said. During the press briefing, the researchers dismissed suggestions that heavy machinery used during the freeway construction could have broken the bones. The only way such patterns could have been produced was if the bones were broken when fresh, the researchers said. To confirm this hypothesis, the team dug up an elephant corpse and set out to smash its bones using tools similar to those found at the site. "We produced exactly the same fracture patterns that we see on these mastodon limb bones," said Steven Holen, an archaeologist at the Center for American Paleolithic Research. Deméré added that while the large limb bones were distinctively damaged, more fragile pieces of the mastodon skeleton, such as ribs and vertebrae found at the site, were completely intact. Humans in Africa were already making tools from the bones of large animals 1.5 million years ago, Holen said. The knowledge of such technology would therefore be known to the pre-historic American settlers and would explain why they only focused on the large useful bones. "These bones were not broken by carnivore chewing. They were not broken by other animals trampling on these bones," he said. "When we eliminate all of the other natural processes and reproduce the results experimentally, we have very strong evidence." The researchers, however, said they expect the scientific community to be skeptical of the findings. Most scientists think that humans made it to the American West Coast only 15,000 years ago, which is 115,000 years later than what the new study concludes. [Gallery: See Images of Our Closest Human Ancestor] "The team's conclusions are paradigm-shifting, and I'm sure they will come under a lot of scrutiny in the coming days and months. And so they should, as archaeology moves forward by discovery, interpretation and testing of the evidence," Matt Pope, principal research associate in palaeolithic archaeology and a senior geoarchaeologist at theInstitute of Archaeology of University College London, told Live Science in an email. "What's for certain is archaeologists will now be looking at earlier deposits in North America with closer interest," Pope said. "A claim like this can never rest easily on a single site, but the team [has] presented evidence which can't be ignored. They have opened up the possibility of a new, astonishing[ly] early and continental-scale episode of hominin [human species] dispersal." Holen said that finding human remains from the period at the Cerutti site but also anywhere else in the U.S. is unlikely. Very few human remains have been discovered in the U.S. of  human cultures only 13,000 years old and population densities of the early arrivals were extremely low, he added. The researchers said they can only speculate who these early Americans were, where they came from, and whether the population survived and later mixed with newer arrivals or became completely extinct. The new findings were published online today (April 26) in the journal Nature. Top 10 Mysteries of the First Humans


News Article | May 4, 2017
Site: www.theengineer.co.uk

The UK faces major challenges in dealing with nuclear waste, which means an abundance of opportunity in the industry Last month, a £6.1bn deal to clean up the UK’s redundant fleet of Magnox nuclear reactors was pulled after the government mishandled how the work was awarded. Dr Paul Dorfman, University College London’s nuclear power expert, believed it was “inevitable” the deal would fail. He claimed the challenges of decommissioning nuclear plant and dealing with their waste have long been underestimated. This has proven to be an expensive mistake. Taxpayers must now pay almost £100m in compensation to companies who bid for Magnox work in the UK but failed to get it. The main problem, according to Dr Dorfman, is nuclear power plants were built in a rush in the 1950s with little thought given to how they might be decommissioned. Each Magnox reactor is unique so taking each one apart has its own very specific challenges. Dealing with these challenges requires a range of engineering and project management skills, many of which are transferable from other industries. Opportunities for engineers in the sectors are many and varied, and most recruiters have their own training schemes to develop the next generation of talent. With the government waking up to the scale of the problem, there has never been a better time for engineers to embark on careers in nuclear waste management and decommissioning. Graduate schemes are one route into the industry. “The Office for Nuclear Regulation [ONR] is sponsoring me through a graduate scheme called nucleargraduates,” said Samuel Harvy, a nuclear graduate with ONR. “This scheme will give me a great depth of experience of the nuclear industry by providing the opportunity to complete three secondments at different organisations over a period of two years. Alongside these secondments, there are numerous training and development opportunities, including training zones, professional courses and STEM engagement.” Graduate schemes can help provide an overview of the industry. But there are also other routes, including short courses. Birmingham University currently offers a Nuclear Decommission and Waste Management MSc/PG Diploma. This can be gained through one-year full-time study, or a two-year part-time course. Slated for decommissioning Given the rapid nature in which its nuclear power plants were built, the UK has a varied portfolio of facilities to decommission. The ONR currently oversees the licensing of 17 nuclear sites that are slated for decommissioning and clean-up. These include Bradwell, Berkeley, Dungeness A, Trawsfynydd, Hunterston A, Hinkley Point A, Oldbury, Chapelcross and Sizewell A. But by far the most complex is Sellafield perched on the Cumbrian coast. Currently, Sellafield has one of the large stockpiles of untreated waste in the UK, including 140 tonnes of civil plutonium. That’s more than 14,000 times the amount needed to make a nuclear weapon. Material at Sellafield is expected to remain radioactive for 100,000 years. In 2002 work began to make the site safe. This involved engineers using an automated dismantling machine alongside a remote-controlled manipulator arm and crane to take the site apart. Engineers must now manage what is left from early nuclear research at the site. There are no blueprints making it even tougher for those involved. But from this challenge, UK engineers have become world leaders in decommissioning, developing skills that they can export throughout the world. In Cumbria, Sellafield is one of the region’s main recruiters, with more than 500 engineering apprentices currently on its books along with hundreds of graduates and more than 10,000 employees in total. New recruits have a diverse range of skills, ranging from project management to chemical engineering and robotics. Beccy Pleasant, head of skills and talent for the NDA, said: “The first issue is that we’ve got an ageing workforce. People have been in the industry a while and those people are starting to think about retirement now, so we need to replace those skills. “The other issue we’ve got is that STEM subjects, more recently, haven’t been very popular with school students so we haven’t got the same pipeline pumped full of people with the basic-level science, technology, engineering and maths skills to be the future workforce.” Keiran Doyle, a nuclear worker apprentice at Sellafield, said the reason he chose an apprenticeship was because he wanted transferable life skills and to earn while he learned. “My role is to make sure all equipment and materials are prepped and ready to allow the plant to run smoothly,” he said. “Some of the activities I am involved in include bringing the waste containers over onto plant, introducing them into the cell, making sure that the glass and sugar are ready… I would definitely encourage people to pursue a career in engineering. There are a wide number of routes to take so whatever you are into there will be a role that fits.” Complex challenges In January, it was announced that funding of £3m will be offered by the UK Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) and Innovate UK to develop and demonstrate technologies that could help resolve some of the complex challenges associated with dismantling facilities at the Sellafield site. The Integrated Innovation for Nuclear Decommissioning competition will focus on robots and remotely operated equipment. Two of Sellafield’s major facilities for reprocessing used nuclear fuel are set to close by 2020, when the site will move to full-scale decommissioning and waste management. Technical innovation manager Chris Hope, who is on secondment to the NDA’s Technology Team from Sellafield, said: “The Thorp and Magnox reprocessing facilities are unique, contain hazardous environments and we know they will present major decommissioning challenges in the years ahead so we are aiming to encourage early solutions.” It’s not just Sellafield where there are plenty of opportunities. The British nuclear decommissioning industry is currently worth more than £1.7bn of business per year for UK companies, with around 21 per cent spent with small and medium enterprises (SMEs). And many of the skills can also be transferred abroad. So far, nuclear power stations have been built in 31 countries, but only six have either started building or completed construction of geological disposal facilities. Regardless of the future of nuclear power, the need to manage radioactive waste will continue for many decades. Getting the skills to deal with it now could provide an innovative, rewarding and exciting career for engineers able to deal with the challenge.


News Article | April 21, 2017
Site: www.prnewswire.com

The Global Translational Regenerative Medicine market is expected to grow significantly over the forecast period. The Global Translational Regenerative Medicine market was valued at $5.8bn in 2016. Visiongain forecasts this market to increase to $14.5bn in 2021. The market is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 19.9% in the first half of the forecast period and 17.7% from 2016 to 2027. How this report will benefit you Read on to discover how you can exploit the future business opportunities emerging in this sector. In this brand new report you find 316-page report you will receive 107 tables and 66 figures - all unavailable elsewhere. The 316-page report provides clear detailed insight into the Global Translational Regenerative Medicine market. Discover the key drivers and challenges affecting the market. By ordering and reading our brand new report today you stay better informed and ready to act. • Forecasts from 2017-2027 of the leading products in the Global Translational Regenerative Medicine market: - Osteocel Plus - Trinity ELITE - TEMCELL /Prochymal - Apligraf - Dermagraft - Epifix - ReCell - Neovasculgen - Glybera (alipogene tiparvovec) - IMLYGIC (talimogene laherparepvec) • SWOT and Porter's Five Force analysis of the translational regenerative medicine market Visiongain's study is intended for anyone requiring commercial analyses for the Translational Regenerative Medicine Market and leading companies. You find data, trends and predictions. To request a report overview of this report please email Sara Peerun at sara.peerun@visiongain.com or call Tel: +44-(0)-20-7336-6100 List of Organisations Mentioned in the Report Arthritis Research UK Associazione Infermieristica per lo Studio delle Lesioni Cutanee (AISLeC) [China] Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) British Heart Foundation [UK] California Institute of Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) Cambridge Stem Cell Biology Institute [UK] Case Western Reserve University Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER) [US] CHA General Hospital [Korea] Cryocenter Saint Petersburg Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) European Group for Blood and Marrow Transplantation (EBMT) European Medicines Agency Food and Drugs Agency (FDA) [US] Haute Autorité de santé [France] Heriot-Watt University Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) Institute of Biomedical Research and Innovation Hospital [Japan] International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) Karolinska Institute [Sweden] Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Mayo Clinic [US] Medical Research Council [UK] MiMedx Ministry of Food and Drug Safety, MFDS) [Korea] Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) [Japan] Ministry of Science and Technology [China] Moorfields Eye Hospital National Tissue Engineering Center (NTEC) [China] New York Blood Center Riken Center for Developmental Biology RUSH University Medical Center [US] Russian Ministry of Healthcare and Social Development Scottish Centre for Regenerative Medicine St. Jude's Children Research Hospital State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) [China] SUNY Upstate Medical University The Genetico Center [Russia] The StemGen Organisation Therapeutics Goods Administration (TGA) [Australia] UH San Diego Sanford Stem Cell Clinical Center UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona [Spain] University College London University of Edinburgh MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine [UK] University of Massachusetts (UMass) Memorial Hospital University of Modena Centre for Regenerative Medicine [Italy] University of Wisconsin US National Institute of Health Wake Forest Institute Wellcome Trust World Health Organization To see a report overview please email Sara Peerun on sara.peerun@visiongain.com


News Article | April 21, 2017
Site: www.prnewswire.co.uk

The Global Translational Regenerative Medicine market is expected to grow significantly over the forecast period. The Global Translational Regenerative Medicine market was valued at $5.8bn in 2016. Visiongain forecasts this market to increase to $14.5bn in 2021. The market is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 19.9% in the first half of the forecast period and 17.7% from 2016 to 2027. How this report will benefit you Read on to discover how you can exploit the future business opportunities emerging in this sector. In this brand new report you find 316-page report you will receive 107 tables and 66 figures - all unavailable elsewhere. The 316-page report provides clear detailed insight into the Global Translational Regenerative Medicine market. Discover the key drivers and challenges affecting the market. By ordering and reading our brand new report today you stay better informed and ready to act. • Forecasts from 2017-2027 of the leading products in the Global Translational Regenerative Medicine market: - Osteocel Plus - Trinity ELITE - TEMCELL /Prochymal - Apligraf - Dermagraft - Epifix - ReCell - Neovasculgen - Glybera (alipogene tiparvovec) - IMLYGIC (talimogene laherparepvec) • SWOT and Porter's Five Force analysis of the translational regenerative medicine market Visiongain's study is intended for anyone requiring commercial analyses for the Translational Regenerative Medicine Market and leading companies. You find data, trends and predictions. To request a report overview of this report please email Sara Peerun at sara.peerun@visiongain.com or call Tel: +44-(0)-20-7336-6100 List of Organisations Mentioned in the Report Arthritis Research UK Associazione Infermieristica per lo Studio delle Lesioni Cutanee (AISLeC) [China] Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) British Heart Foundation [UK] California Institute of Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) Cambridge Stem Cell Biology Institute [UK] Case Western Reserve University Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER) [US] CHA General Hospital [Korea] Cryocenter Saint Petersburg Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) European Group for Blood and Marrow Transplantation (EBMT) European Medicines Agency Food and Drugs Agency (FDA) [US] Haute Autorité de santé [France] Heriot-Watt University Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) Institute of Biomedical Research and Innovation Hospital [Japan] International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) Karolinska Institute [Sweden] Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Mayo Clinic [US] Medical Research Council [UK] MiMedx Ministry of Food and Drug Safety, MFDS) [Korea] Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) [Japan] Ministry of Science and Technology [China] Moorfields Eye Hospital National Tissue Engineering Center (NTEC) [China] New York Blood Center Riken Center for Developmental Biology RUSH University Medical Center [US] Russian Ministry of Healthcare and Social Development Scottish Centre for Regenerative Medicine St. Jude's Children Research Hospital State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) [China] SUNY Upstate Medical University The Genetico Center [Russia] The StemGen Organisation Therapeutics Goods Administration (TGA) [Australia] UH San Diego Sanford Stem Cell Clinical Center UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona [Spain] University College London University of Edinburgh MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine [UK] University of Massachusetts (UMass) Memorial Hospital University of Modena Centre for Regenerative Medicine [Italy] University of Wisconsin US National Institute of Health Wake Forest Institute Wellcome Trust World Health Organization To see a report overview please email Sara Peerun on sara.peerun@visiongain.com


News Article | March 23, 2017
Site: www.techtimes.com

The supposed link between cardiovascular diseases and alcohol consumption has been a hot topic of debate. Multiple studies have been conducted on the subject and researchers are divided over whether drinking in moderation is healthy or not. According to a new study, consumption of alcohol in moderation can reduce the risk of some heart conditions. "Moderate drinking is thought to be associated with a lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease compared with abstinence or heavy drinking," shared the researchers. Researchers from University College London and University of Cambridge conducted a study to test their theory. The primary goal of the study was to examine if a link existed between alcohol consumption and 12 cardiovascular diseases. To test the hypothesis, the researchers analyzed the electronic health records of 1.93 million people in the UK who were above 30. The For the purpose of the study, the data resource dubbed ClinicAl research using Linked Bespoke studies and Electronic health Records (CALIBER) was used. At the beginning of the study, all the participants were free from any cardiovascular disease. Those who did not drink were segregated from those drank occasionally and former drinkers. This separation was done to get more clarity on the subject. After extensive research, the researchers discovered that moderate drinking is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular conditions. They also deduced that moderate drinkers were less likely to show up at a doctor, or a medical practitioner, for heart failure, angina, aneurysm, ischaemic stroke, and other heart-related issues. However, the researchers caution people not to misconstrue the results and start drinking alcohol. The team asserts that there are other more effective ways to ensure a healthy heart, such as regular physical activity and diet control. The researchers also sensibly pointed out that the risk of developing any heart disease is reduced by moderate alcohol consumption, not entirely eliminated. The study has been criticized by some in the scientific community, especially the procedure which was undertaken to arrive at the findings. The experts underlined shortcomings such as the fact that non-drinkers were grouped with former drinkers. This may possibly lead to skewed findings as the latter may have kicked the habit post health concerns. Despite the criticism, researchers believe that this research has set the stage for sophisticated studies, which will attempt to "harness the flood of big data" into reliable and balanced findings. This would aid the betterment of public health in the near future. This study has been published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ). © 2017 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.


News Article | May 8, 2017
Site: motherboard.vice.com

Work under capitalism is a brutal psychological gauntlet—low pay, long hours, and little to no safety net. But bosses usually expect you to take some solace in the fact that you're not doing their (supposedly more difficult) job, even if they make more money. Some part of you might think that's bullshit, but hey, what do you know? Well, according to new work from researchers from the University of Manchester, University College London, and the University of Essex, it probably is bullshit. According to their study, published on Friday in the Journals of Gerontology, people lower on the corporate ladder are, on average, more stressed than people higher up. Worse, according to the study, the elevated stress continues into retirement for average working people. "Workers in lower status jobs tend to have more stressful working conditions—they have lower pay, poorer pension arrangements, less control over their work, and report more unsupportive colleagues and managers," Tarani Chandola, a professor of medical sociology at the University of Manchester and one of the paper's authors, wrote me in an email. Read More: The Future of Robot Labor Is the Future of Capitalism The researchers tracked levels of cortisol in British public sector throughout their workdays. Cortisol is a stress hormone that is elevated when people encounter stressful situations, but by the end of the day cortisol levels normally dip down. However, the researchers found that cortisol levels in people lower down the corporate ladder didn't dip as far as people higher up—they were more stressed. "I am pretty confident in saying that the physiological stress levels (as measured by cortisol) of bosses are lower than their employees—in other words, the bosses are not as stressed as the employees they manage," Chandola wrote me. "This is shown not just by my study, but loads of other studies that show exactly the same results. Stress levels increase (not decrease) as we go from the top of the occupational ladder to the bottom." To many people toiling on the lower rungs of the workplace, this was probably already intuitively obvious—but good luck getting anybody to take you seriously. Now, the science is there to back up the claim. The question now is: What the hell do we do about it? For Chandola, the solution isn't clear, but the impetus is obvious. "High levels of cortisol are associated with a whole range of health problems, so it is in the best interests of both employers and workers to reduce levels of stress in the workplace," he wrote. Thankfully, though, we're living in a time where people are seemingly open to new and previously unthinkable solutions. For example, the Canadian province of Ontario is about to launch a pilot study on the effects of a basic income for everybody, regardless of employment status. The idea of a basic income is being driven primarily by concerns over the effects of widespread job automation, which would itself reduce the social need for labour. But there's no guarantee that any of this will make workers less stressed, or less exploited, at least not without action on the part of workers. It's up to us to make things better, because your stress-free boss isn't going to do it. Get six of our favorite Motherboard stories every day by signing up for our newsletter .


News Article | May 3, 2017
Site: www.nature.com

Palaeobotanist Kseniia Ashastina took this picture of her supervisor, Frank Kienast, collecting samples of ancient plants from a permafrost exposure in northeast Siberia, in June 2014. Ashastina, who is a PhD student at the Senckenberg Research Station of Quaternary Palaeontology in Weimar, Germany, says it was a welcome 20 °C at the time; this region of the world endures temperatures below freezing for 7 months a year. Over hundreds of thousands of years, the water in the soil has frozen and thawed over and over, carving deep cuts into the ground and creating steep, icy formations like the one pictured. It's a remote area: Ashastina and Kienast were the only people there, and there was no phone signal. It doesn't look it, but it's noisy, says Ashastina. “There are tons of mosquitoes there trying to bite you. There is cracking ice and creaking trees. It's dangerous. You'd need to be crazy to enjoy it, but in a good way.” The permafrost under the exposed surface makes this area perfect for Ashastina's research, because it's too cold for her samples to be digested by bacteria. The same goes for the bones of the mammals that once roamed this area, around 20,000 years ago, when a green, energy-rich land bridge joined Asia and North America. Femurs, skulls, fibulas and tibias are churned up every summer as the ice melts along the formation, and the cut retreats further into the forest. Shortly after this photo was taken, as Ashastina and Kienast camped near the formation, two locals — drunk and carrying guns — emerged from the forest and demanded to know what the scientists were doing. Every summer, the pair had made money by pulling the tusks of long-dead woolly mammoths out of the mud and selling the ivory — and they were convinced that these newcomers wanted a piece of the action. But the locals were shocked sober, Ashastina says, when they looked inside her sample bags to find that the strangers before them were ignoring the ivory in favour of the mud. This kind of story is exactly what we hoped we'd find when we announced the Naturejobs Scientist at Work photo competition at the start of March. Scientists spend their time finding connections and building a research story. But they themselves often have fascinating, scary, guns-and-ivory tales to tell, and those stories are frequently best told with an image. When meteorologist Timo Palo, who also features in this article, started working in the Arctic in 2006, he realized that bringing his message back home could be achieved more easily with a camera. “It's often too hard for scientists to put their work into simple words,” he says. “Photography can help there.” Here we present five of the best images from the competition, which ran throughout March and attracted about 170 entries, from New Zealand to Norway, Canada to Qatar. Winners were chosen by a panel of Nature designers and journalists, who judged the images purely on their aesthetic impact. We did not ask for additional context, and we accepted only one image per person. Submissions could be made either through social media or by e-mail. “Science and art have quite a few things overlapping,” says Timo Kohler, whose picture also appears here. “Even as a non-expert, if you look at life under a microscope, for example, there's absolute beauty in it. You're looking at a completely different world that you've never seen before. There's art there.” In 2010, when Timo Palo's temporary home — the Chinese research and cargo vessel Xue Long (which translates as Snow Dragon) — gave up searching the Arctic Ocean for a stable berth and paused to allow scientists on to an ice floe instead, he climbed to the top deck to take this photograph using a fisheye lens. Palo, a meteorologist at the University of Tartu in Estonia, has watched this part of the world change dramatically. Temperatures in the Arctic are rising about twice as fast as the average temperature in the rest of the world, he says. “Sea ice is sinking. As a scientist, you can't have any conclusions before you analyse the data. But visually you can see it. And when you capture something that moves people, it can have a lot more impact than words can have.” Normally, Palo says, he uses a wide-angle lens to convey the scale of the Arctic. “There's this vast territory of snow and ice, and tiny human beings in the middle of it. You feel small there,” he wrote to me after our interview. But he realized that a fisheye lens would help him to impart a different message. “We know the Arctic Ocean is on the top of a globe. It's like a roof on our planet.” The distortion, he thinks, helps the viewer to visualize this roof — and the cracks that run across its surface. Volker Diekamp, a marine-geology technician at Marum — an ocean and sea-floor research institute at the University of Bremen in Germany — spends his working hours inspecting sediment from the bottom of the ocean. He's used to photographing scenes like this one, which was taken off the coast of the Canary Islands in winter 1997. It shows scientists and sailors struggling to pull ocean-analysis equipment aboard the German research vessel Meteor. He's travelled on board the same ship, as both technician and resident photographer, on trips to the oceans around South America, Africa and India (his first voyage was in 1991). When on land, he's equally busy taking pictures of academic colleagues. “Here at the university, scientists at work are my main topic,” he says. In July — “Summer, but it's still cold,” he says — he flies to Greenland to join the Merian, another German research vessel. In 1997, the water was mercifully warm. Just before this shot was taken, Diekamp says, he “felt the movement of the ship” and knew immediately that his colleagues were about to get very wet. What about him and his camera? “Almost not at all,” he says. “I was in a safe place. I could care about the picture, not the water. It's a once-in-a-lifetime shot.” When he took this photograph, biochemist Timo Kohler had just returned from a group skiing retreat organized by Florian Hollfelder, who runs a laboratory at the University of Cambridge, UK. Hollfelder likes to encourage his students to travel together, Kohler says. Since joining the lab, Kohler has been to Crete, India and Austria, and more trips are planned. “There's a lot of social bonding going on,” he says. “You make friends. The image shows one of Kohler's fellow PhD students inspecting a microfluidic chip. To take it, Kohler reversed the magnifying glass that's normally used to see the fine detail in these chips. “It's an artistic effect. In science, I'm not allowed to do it; in photography, I can point the light where I want,” he says. Mehmet Davrandi, a microbiologist at University College London, says the image above is the result of an error. He uses blood agar to grow and observe oral bacteria, so that he can better understand dental plaque. On this occasion, he spread the germs the wrong way. When he came to hold the plate up to the light, to check the bacterial colonies, he saw what looked like a tree. Davrandi is from Cyprus. “We have a lot of almond trees in the gardens,” he says. “So everyone from Cyprus loves almonds.” But he feels that the image has a deeper meaning: “It's surprising how rare things happen, and those rare events turn out to be very big things. It really represents how accidental life can be.” Davrandi wasn't worried that his experiment had gone wrong: he had more agar plates to work with. The next day, he brought in his camera and took the above picture. “Technically, we're not allowed to have that sort of thing in the lab, but I'm pretty sure nobody's going to complain.”


Packer A.M.,University College London | Roska B.,Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research | Hauser M.,University College London
Nature Neuroscience | Year: 2013

Optogenetic approaches promise to revolutionize neuroscience by using light to manipulate neural activity in genetically or functionally defined neurons with millisecond precision. Harnessing the full potential of optogenetic tools, however, requires light to be targeted to the right neurons at the right time. Here we discuss some barriers and potential solutions to this problem. We review methods for targeting the expression of light-activatable molecules to specific cell types, under genetic, viral or activity-dependent control. Next we explore new ways to target light to individual neurons to allow their precise activation and inactivation. These techniques provide a precision in the temporal and spatial activation of neurons that was not achievable in previous experiments. In combination with simultaneous recording and imaging techniques, these strategies will allow us to mimic the natural activity patterns of neurons in vivo, enabling previously impossible 'dream experiments'. © 2013 Nature America, Inc. All rights reserved.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-ITN-ETN | Phase: MSCA-ITN-2015-ETN | Award Amount: 3.90M | Year: 2015

Development of fuel injection equipment (FIE) able to reduce pollutant emissions from liquid-fueled transportation and power generation systems is a top industrial priority in order to meet the forthcoming EU 2020 emission legislations. However, design of new FIE is currently constrained by the incomplete physical understanding of complex micro-scale processes, such as in-nozzle cavitation, primary and secondary atomization. Unfortunately, todays computing power does not allow for an all-scale analysis of these processes. The proposed program aims to develop a large eddy simulation (LES) CFD model that will account for the influence of unresolved sub-grid-scale (SGS) processes to engineering scales at affordable computing time scales. The bridging parameter between SGS and macro-scales flow processes is the surface area generation/destruction occurring during fuel atomisation; relevant SGS closure models will be developed through tailored experiments and DNS and will be implemented into the LES model predicting the macroscopic spray development as function of the in-nozzle flow and surrounding air conditions. Validation of the new simulation tool, currently missing from todays state-of-the-art models, will be performed against new benchmark experimental data to be obtained as part of the programme, in addition to those provided by the industrial partners. This will demonstrate the applicability of the model as an engineering design tool suitable for IC engines, gas turbines, fuel burners and even rocket engine fuel injectors. The proposed research and training programme will be undertaken by 15ESRs funded by the EU and one ESR funded independently from an Australian partner; ESRs will be recruited/seconded by universities, research institutes and multinational fuel injection and combustion systems manufacturers that will represent in the best possible way the international, interdisciplinary and intersectoral requirements of the Marie Curie Action guidelines.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: PHC-31-2014 | Award Amount: 3.00M | Year: 2015

Health inequities have been increasing in Europe, particularly in a context of an ageing society and economic crisis. In countries with different levels of infrastructures and health system preparedness, inequities create significant policy challenges. The main goal of this project is to advance knowledge of policies that have the highest potential to enhance health and health equity across European regions with particular focus on metropolitan areas. To achieve this goal, the project will develop tools based on a population health index to evaluate the health and wellbeing of European population. This index will be informed by evidence on the relationship between multiple determinants (e.g. demographic, social, economic, environmental, lifestyle, and health care) and health outcomes in the past 15 years. It will be constructed using a multicriteria model structure, following a socio-technical approach: integrating the technical elements of a multicriteria value model and the social elements of interdisciplinary and participatory processes. The index will be applied to evaluate the populations health in 273 NUTS 2 European regions and 9 selected pilot metropolitan areas (covering populations of 28 EU countries). The space-time analysis and comparison of the population health index will be enabled by a user-friendly web-based Geographic Information System. The population health index will be used to foresee and discuss the impact of multilevel policies and combinations of policies in population health and health equity across European regions, thus providing a basis for policy dialogue. Multicriteria resource allocation models, conflict analyses, analysis of policies feasibility, and scenario analyses will then assist in providing evidence on which policies have the highest potential to improve health and reduce health inequities at different geographical levels, and in suggesting alternative policy options for health policy development and regulation.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-ITN-ETN | Phase: MSCA-ITN-2015-ETN | Award Amount: 3.90M | Year: 2015

The Phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) pathway is at the core of multiple fundamental biological processes controlling metabolism, protein synthesis, cell growth, survival, and migration. This inevitably leads to the involvement of the PI3K signalling pathway in a number of different diseases, ranging from inflammation and diabetes to cancer, with PI3K pathway alterations present in almost 80% of human cancers. Therefore, PI3Ks have emerged as important targets for drug discovery and, during 2014, the first PI3K inhibitor was approved by FDA in the US for the treatment of a lymphocytic leukaemia. Nonetheless, our understanding of PI3K-mediated signalling is still poor and only a fraction of the potential therapeutic applications have been addressed so far, leaving a large amount of translational work unexplored. Europe features a set of top quality research institutions and pharmaceutical companies focused on PI3K studies but their activities have been so far scattered. This proposal fills this gap by providing a multidisciplinary network (biochemistry, mouse studies, disease models, drug development, software development) and an unprecedented training opportunity from the bench to the bedside (from pre-clinical discoveries to clinical trials), through cutting edge molecular biology, drug discovery and clinical trial organization. The proposal is aimed at training young investigators in deep understanding of the different PI3K isoforms in distinct tissues and to translate this knowledge into a new generation of PI3K inhibitors, treatment modalities and into identify new uses for existing PI3K inhibitors.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: CSA | Phase: SC5-13a-2014 | Award Amount: 2.09M | Year: 2015

The exploitation of minerals in Europe is an indispensable activity to ensure that the present and future needs of the European society can be met. This means that sufficient access is required to explore and exploit minerals. At the same time the mineral needs of our society must be met without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Accordingly exploitable mineral deposits (known deposits, abandoned mines and historical mining sites) need to be assessed against other land uses, taking into account criteria such as habitats, other environmental concerns, priorities for settlements, etc. Access to mineral deposits, on the other hand, also meets public interests such as raw materials security (compared with many international access options). The deliberation between these diverse land uses requires adequate consideration of the exclusiveness, reversibility, and consequences on the surrounding. The overall objective of MINATURA 2020 is to develop a concept and methodology (i.e. a harmonised European regulatory/guidance/policy framework) for the definition and subsequent protection of mineral deposits of public importance in order to ensure their best use in the future. Providing a policy planning framework that comprises the sustainability principle for mining is the key driving force behind MINATURA.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: SGA-CSA | Phase: INNOVATION | Award Amount: 2.34M | Year: 2015

A national service in support of recipients of the H2020 sme instrument and for the enhancement of innovation management in SMEs Innovation is a vital ingredient of growth and an important element of the future success of the UK. With some 95% of R&D and innovation conducted outside of the UK and many major and lead market shaping companies being of non-UK origin, access to knowledge, markets, skills and partners is increasingly taking place on a global basis. To ensure UK business stays competitive it is important that it is able to effectively access and exploit the growing global investment in research and innovation. Through EEN ENIW activities we will help businesses build collaborations and partnerships and access the finance, knowledge, skills, networks and customers to more rapidly move a concept through to commercialisation.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-ITN-ETN | Phase: MSCA-ITN-2015-ETN | Award Amount: 3.87M | Year: 2016

Cancer is a major social problem, and it is the main cause of death between the ages 45-65 years. In the treatment of cancer, radio therapy (RT) plays an essential role. RT with hadrons (protons and light ions), due to their unique physical and radiobiological properties, offers several advantages over photons for specific cancer types. In particular, they penetrate the patient with minimal diffusion, they deposit maximum energy at the end of their range, and they can be shaped as narrow focused and scanned pencil beams of variable penetration depth. Although significant progress has been made in the use of particle beams for cancer treatment, an extensive research and development program is still needed to maximize the healthcare benefits from these therapies. The Optimization of Medical Accelerators (OMA) is the aim of the here-proposed European Training Network, in line with the requirements of the ECs Medical Exposure Directive. OMA joins universities, research centers and clinical facilities with industry partners to address the challenges in treatment facility design and optimization, numerical simulations for the development of advanced treatment schemes, and in beam imaging and treatment monitoring. The proposed R&D program ranges from life sciences (oncology, cell and micro biology and medical imaging.), physics and accelerator sciences, mathematics and IT, to engineering. It is hence ideally suited for an innovative training of early stage researchers. By closely linking all above research areas, OMA will provide an interdisciplinary education to its Fellows. This will equip them with solid knowledge also in research areas adjacent to their core research field, as well as with business competences and hence give them a perfect basis for a career in research.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: FETOPEN-1-2014 | Award Amount: 3.57M | Year: 2015

CHROMAVISION aims to develop a pioneering chromosome imaging and manipulation platform that will fuel the next decades of structural chromosome research. Chromosomal abnormalities are characteristic of many disorders such as cancer, impaired fertility due to maternal aging, and neurological disorders such as fragile X syndrome. If humanity is to fully understand the wide range of diseases that are associated to errors in cell division, we must be able to further zoom in on healthy and diseased chromosomes in all their complexity. The CHROMAVISION platform will allow molecular biologists to automatically isolate individual chromosomes from small tissue or cell samples and have these delivered to a super-resolution microscope. Chromosome isolation and delivery is achieved by an opto-fluidic chip that is able to trap, visualise and lyse individual cells and separate metaphase chromosomes from cell lysate. Single chromosomes can be hand-selected and brought into focus of the Super-Resolution Correlative Tweezers Fluorescence Microscope (CTFM-SR3D) that is developed in CHROMAVISION. This instrument will for the first time enable 3D, super-resolution, real-time metaphase chromosome observation and manipulation studies under near-physiological conditions. The technique will push the boundaries of what is currently possible in microfluidics and super-resolution microscopy and combine these into a single powerful approach for chromosome studies. Furthermore, the platform will be applied in CHROMAVISION to address key challenges in clinical and fundamental chromosome research, potentially resulting in breakthrough discoveries. Better imaging and understanding of the chromosomal mechanisms will contribute to our knowledge of the etiology of human diseases and aid drug discovery. The platform will also have large clinical value, allowing identification and monitoring of e.g. cancer heterogeneity.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: DRS-07-2014 | Award Amount: 4.32M | Year: 2015

Large scale crises are affecting critical infrastructures with a growing frequency. This is a result of both basic exposure and dependencies between infrastructures. Because of prohibitive costs, the paradigm of protection against extreme events is expanding and now also encompasses the paradigm of resilience. In addition to strengthening and securing systems; system design objectives are now being set, and response planning is being carried out, to facilitate a fast recovery of infrastructure following a large scale incident. With an interconnected European society, countries and infrastructures are increasingly reliant upon their neighbours, both under normal operating conditions and in the event of an incident. Despite this, there is no common European methodology for measuring resilience or for implementing resilience concepts, and different countries and sectors employ their own techniques. There is also no shared, well-developed system-of-systems approach, which would be able to test the effects of dependencies and interdependencies between individual critical infrastructures and sectors. This increases the risk as a result of reliance on critical infrastructures, as well as affects the ability for sharing resources for incident planning due to no common terminology or means of expressing risk. The overall objective of IMPROVER is to improve European critical infrastructure resilience to crises and disasters through the implementation of combinations of societal, organisational and technological resilience concepts to real life examples of pan-European significance, including cross-border examples. This implementation will be enabled through the development of a methodology based on risk evaluation techniques and informed by a review of the positive impact of different resilience concepts on critical infrastructures. The methodology will be cross sectoral and will provide much needed input to standardisation of security of infrastructure.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: IA | Phase: NMP-21-2014 | Award Amount: 9.18M | Year: 2015

Currently there is a lack of methodologies for the conservation of modern and contemporary artworks, many of which will not be accessible in very short time due to extremely fast degradation processes. The challenge of NANORESTART (NANOmaterials for the REStoration of works of ART) will be to address this issue within a new framework with respect to the state of the art of conservation science. NANORESTART is devoted to the development of nanomaterials to ensure long term protection and security of modern/contemporary cultural heritage, taking into account environmental and human risks, feasibility and materials costs. The market for conservation of this heritage is estimated at some 5 billion per year, and could increase by a significant factor in the next years due to the wider use of nanomaterials. The new tools and materials developed will represent a breakthrough in cultural heritage and conservation science and will focus on: (i) tools for controlled cleaning, such as highly-retentive gels for the confinement of enzymes and nanostructured fluids based on green surfactants; (ii) the strengthening and protection of surfaces by using nanocontainers, nanoparticles and supramolecular systems/assemblies; (iii) nanostructured substrates and sensors for enhanced molecules detection; (iv) evaluation of the environmental impact and the development of security measures for long lasting conservation of cultural heritage. Within the project the industrial scalability of the developed materials will be demonstrated. NANORESTART gathers centres of excellence in the field of synthesis and characterization of nanomaterials, world leading chemical Industries and SMEs operating in R&D, and International and European centres for conservation, education and museums. Such centres will assess the new materials on modern/contemporary artefacts in urgent need of conservation, and disseminate the knowledge and the new nanomaterials among conservators on a worldwide perspective.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ICT-2011.1.1 | Award Amount: 5.16M | Year: 2013

This Trilogy 2 project is a 3-year Small or medium-scale focused research project (STREP) targeting Challenge 1 of the 7th Framework\nProgramme: Pervasive and Trusted Network and Service Infrastructures.\nThe project scope lies entirely within Objective 1.1, Future Networks\nand in particular in bullet c) Novel Internet architectures, management and operation frameworks.\nThe aim of the project is to develop a new Internet architecture based on the concept of the liquid network. A liquid system should ideally allow resources including bandwidth, storage and processing to be used by any application, whether they are contributed by network operators, data centre operators or end systems. Resources form a shared pool and applications can scale up and down in multiple dimensions (storage, processing, bandwidth and energy usage) as needed, in a continuous effort to enhance the users experience as measured in terms of key metrics such as delay and battery life.\nThe main objective of Trilogy 2 is to unlock the value inherent in joining up the pools of liquidity in the Internet. The project will develop more mature liquidity mechanisms addressing the underlying reasons why today liquidity fails to join up across providers, layers and resources. Trilogy 2 will deliver mechanisms for creating liquidity across different types of resources, including cross layer liquidity, cross provider liquidity and cross resource liquidity. In addition, in order to allow the different stakeholders to be willing to create such liquid pools of resources, Trilogy 2 will also provide the means to control the created liquidity though the means of incentives, information exchange and enforcement tools. Finally, Trilogy 2 will use the novel liquidity mechanisms to enable a set of compelling use cases targeting mobile devices and ISPs network infrastructure.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ICT-2013.5.5 | Award Amount: 2.79M | Year: 2014

The objective of CAP4Access is to develop and pilot-test methods and tools for collectively gathering and sharing spatial information for improving accessibility. The aim is to exploit the power of online maps and mobile devices for fostering awareness of barriers for individuals with limited mobility and for removing such barriers. CAP4Access helps integrating disabled communities into society (social sustainability), saving public resources e.g. by helping municipalities to focus expenditures (economic sustainability) and also saving natural resources e.g. by facilitating public transport use (ecological sustainability). The project will develop tools and methods for (a) tagging, describing and discussing locations and routes within the built environment according to their accessibility; (b) visualising the data in ways which are intuitive and highly attractive; (c) route planning and navigation; (d) creating awareness and preparing effective measures at local level for eliminating barriers. Data sources will include citizen humans as sensors, sensors in smartphones, and Public Sector Information, e.g. data held by local administrations and of relevance to accessibility (e.g. road surface and width, traffic volumes and speed, elevation, road works). Target groups include people requiring enhanced accessibility; grassroots initiatives supporting people with disabilities; policy-makers, planners and service providers with responsibility for the built environment; and the general public. Rather than setting up a new platform, the tools to be developed will be pilot-tested on established platforms including Wheelmap, WheelchairRouting, and the OSM. This will guarantee that the projects achievements will be fully utilised and maintained beyond the project (3 years). The CAP4Access team consists of an outstanding group of project managers and social researchers, technical researchers, social innovators, and cities, with well-established links to the target groups.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: PHC-15-2015 | Award Amount: 6.83M | Year: 2016

CLINICAL PROBLEM AND UNMET NEED There are 11,827 patients with severe structural airway disease in Europe. Even with the current standard of care, when hospitalised this group of patients has a 22% risk of dying. Patients are currently subjected to repeated surgical interventions (stent insertion) which have a high failure rate. Other therapeutic strategies under development include synthetic tracheal scaffolds seeded with patients own stem cells. Preliminary data show that these scaffolds are poorly integrated and are susceptible to infection. TETRA PROJECT Our SME-led project will address the limitations of standard clinical care and competitor products under development and will: - Build on our successful compassionate use experience using autologous stem cell seeded scaffold-tracheal transplants in 48 patients - Follow on from our Phase I 4 patient INSPIRE clinical trial which will improve on the clinical prototype used in compassionate use cases - Conduct a 48 patient Phase II pivotal clinical trial to provide robust, quality data with validated GMP manufacturing processes to support an accelerated route to market for commercial exploitation in this orphan indication - Prepare a dossier for MAA submission BENEFITS Our product, an ATMP, aims to eliminate the need for repeated surgical interventions of high risk and limited efficacy, reduce deaths and improve the quality of life for surviving patients. If treating 20% of the patients with severe structural airway disease, we estimate that in Europe our technology will improve the quality and length of patient lives and result in savings of 517 million per year. We plan to further develop our platform technology to generate other complex tissues/organs such as bowel and liver replacements for clinical applications which will impact the lives of tens of thousands of patient in the EU with bowel and liver diseases.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-ITN-ETN | Phase: MSCA-ITN-2014-ETN | Award Amount: 3.91M | Year: 2015

BIOPOL is an interdisciplinary European training network at the interface of cell biology, physics and engineering. BIOPOL aims specifically at the understanding of fundamental mechanochemical principles guiding cellular behaviour and function and their relevance to human disease. A new supra-disciplinary research field is emerging bringing together the fields of molecular cell biology, physics and engineering aiming at an in depth understanding of fundamental cellular mechanochemical principles. BIOPOL combines exactly this required expertise in one joint training program for young researchers. BIOPOL has assembled a unique multidisciplinary consortium bringing together top scientists from the fields of molecular/developmental cell biology, membrane physics, engineering as well as specialists from the private sector. The scientific objectives focus on understanding of fundamental mechanisms of cellular mechanosensing in health and disease, the role of external forces in cell division and mechanochemical regulation of cell polarity including tissue formation. Finally, part of BIOPOLs research program is the further development of cutting edge technologies like advanced atomic force microscopy, novel photonic tools like optical stretcher or innovative organ on a chip technology, exploiting physical cellular properties. BIOPOLs collaborative cutting edge research program is integral part of its training program provided to early stage researcher and is further translated into seven state of the art experimental training stations representing the consortiums expertise. In addition, BIOPOL has developed a 3 years modular curriculum including workshops, summerschools, Business plan competitions and conferences with a specific agenda of transferable skill training elements highly relevant for scientific communication, translational research and in particular entrepreneurship.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: EINFRA-9-2015 | Award Amount: 8.22M | Year: 2016

The overall objective of READ is to implement a Virtual Research Environment where archivists, humanities scholars, computer scientists and volunteers are collaborating with the ultimate goal of boosting research, innovation, development and usage of cutting edge technology for the automated recognition, transcription, indexing and enrichment of handwritten archival documents. This Virtual Research Environment will not be built from the ground up, but will benefit from research, tools, data and resources generated in multiple national and EU funded research and development projects and provide a basis for sustaining the network and the technology in the future. This ICT based e-infrastructure will address the Societal Challenge mentioned in Europe in a Changing World namely the transmission of European cultural heritage and the uses of the past as one of the core requirements of a reflective society. Based on research and innovation enabled by the READ Virtual Research Environment we will be able to explore and access hundreds of kilometres of archival documents via full-text search and therefore be able to open up one of the last hidden treasures of Europes rich cultural hertitage.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: PHC-22-2015 | Award Amount: 5.74M | Year: 2016

Major depressive disorder, dementia, anxiety disorders, and substance abuse affect a substantial part of the European older population. Over 70% of Europeans reside in cities, and this percentage will increase in the next decades. Urbanization and ageing have enormous implications for public mental health. Cities pose major challenges for older citizens, but also offer opportunities for the design of policies, clinical and public health interventions that promote mental health. The overall aim of the MINDMAP project is to identify the opportunities offered by the urban environment for the promotion of mental wellbeing and cognitive function of older individuals in Europe. The project will advance understanding by bringing together longitudinal studies across cities in Europe, the US and Canada to unravel the causal pathways and multi-level interactions between the urban environment and the social, behavioural, psychosocial and biological determinants of mental health and cognitive function in older adults. Specifically, the project will (a) assess the impact of the urban environment on the mental wellbeing and disorders associated with ageing, and estimate the extent to which exposure to specific urban environmental factors and policies explain differences in ageing-related mental and cognitive disorders both within as well as between European cities, (b) assess the causal pathways and interactions between the urban environment and the individual determinants of mental health and cognitive ageing in older adults, (c) use agent-based modelling to simulate the effect of urban environmental, prevention and care policies on the trajectories of mental health and cognitive ageing across cities in Europe. Knowledge will significantly contribute to future-proof preventive strategies in urban settings favouring the mental dimension of healthy ageing, the reduction of the negative impact of mental disorders on co-morbidities, and maintaining cognitive ability in old age.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: COMPET-03-2015 | Award Amount: 1.01M | Year: 2016

The project Thin film light-trapping enhanced quantum dot photovoltaic cells: an enabling technology for high power-to-weight ratio space solar arrays (TFQD) aims at developing a new generation of high-efficiency thin-film photovoltaic devices for future solar arrays, by exploiting cross-cutting Key Enabling Technologies as: advanced manufacturing, advanced materials, photonics. The core device is a thin-film III-V solar cell embedding quantum dots and photonic nanogratings to boost the efficiency beyond the thermodynamic limit of conventional single-junction devices. Combining the thin-film approach with the nanostructuring of semiconductor layers allows for a drastic improvement of power-to-weight ratio and mechanical flexibility with respect to currently available space solar cells. The incorporation of quantum dots provides improved radiation and temperature hardness. The TFQD device targets efficiency higher than 30% (AM0), at least an eightfold increase of power-to-weight ratio vs. triple junction III-V solar cells and very low bending radius, allowing for the development of rollable or inflatable solar arrays. Demonstration up to TRL4 will be carried out through on ground testing under representative in orbit conditions over a set of 44 prototypes. The consortium includes four academic partners having a strong position in modelling, epi-layer structuring and development and manufacturing of thin-film III-V solar cells, a SME able to quickly implement the new technology in their thin-film solar cell production line, and a company that is a European leader in satellite systems as early adopter of the developed devices to boost innovation in space solar panels. On account of wafer reuse and simplicity of the epitaxial structures, the TFQD solar cells are less expensive than the current state-of-the-art multi-junction solar cells, thus also important impact potential on terrestrial applications, as first in concentrating photovoltaic systems, is foreseen.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: LCE-16-2014 | Award Amount: 3.40M | Year: 2015

Securing abundant, affordable, and clean energy remains a critical scientific challenge. Fortuitously, large shale formations occur within Europe. As the conventional gas production in Europe peaked in 2004, European shale gas could become a practical necessity for the next 50 years. However, the exploitation of shale gas remains challenging. Further, its environmental footprint is at present poorly quantified. Great care is needed to assess and pursue this energy resource in the safest possible way for the long-term future of Europe whilst protecting the European diverse natural environment. With this in mind, ShaleXenvironmenT assembled a multi-disciplinary academic team, with strong industrial connections. A comprehensive approach is proposed towards ensuring that the future development of shale gas in Europe will safeguard the public with the best environmental data suitable for governmental appraisal, and ultimately for encouraging industrial best practice. The primary objective is to assess the environmental footprint of shale gas exploitation in Europe in terms of water usage and contamination, induced seismicity, and fugitive emissions. Using synergistically experiments and modeling activities, ShaleXenvironmenT will achieve its objective via a fundamental understanding of rock-fluid interactions, fluid transport, and fracture initiation and propagation, via technological innovations obtained in collaboration with industry, and via improvements on characterization tools. ShaleXenvironmenT will maintain a transparent discussion with all stakeholders, including the public, and will suggest ideas for approaches on managing shale gas exploitation, impacts and risks in Europe, and eventually worldwide. The proposed research will bring economical benefits for consultancy companies, service industry, and oil and gas conglomerates. The realization of shale gas potential in Europe is expected to contribute clean energy for, e.g., the renaissance of the manufacturing industry.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: CSA | Phase: ISSI-1-2015 | Award Amount: 3.44M | Year: 2016

Ensuring the availability of and access to sufficient safe and nutritious food is a key priority that impacts all EU citizens and Horizon 2020 has therefore identified food security as one of the major challenges to be addressed. BGCI, an international network organisation will work with botanic gardens, experienced informal science centres with research expertise in food and food plants, alongside other key organisations to implement the BigPicnic project. This project builds, through the co-creation approach and public debate, public understanding of food security issues and enables adults and young people across Europe and in Africa to debate and articulate their views on Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) in this field to their peers, scientists and policy makers. The project involves the delivery of low-cost, co-created outreach exhibitions on food security, using the metaphor of a picnic basket; the exhibition will include information, activities and participatory events that engage a broad range of target audiences (adults, schoolchildren and families). Building on audience engagement and data captured from these initial, locally held, exhibitions, the project will run science cafs in publicly accessible and informal engagement areas as well as in botanic gardens, again capturing public views on RRI and food security. The final phase of the project will consolidate the findings of the public engagement to produce two key publications, a report articulating public opinion and recommendations for RRI on food security and a co-creation toolkit that will build capacity for engagement in further science institutions across the EU. A number of case studies on RRI will be provided to support the EU RRI toolkit currently under construction. It is expected that the project evaluation will show organisational learning and change amongst partner institutions. Partners will go on to disseminate training and promotion of RRI for future public engagement.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-ITN-ETN | Phase: MSCA-ITN-2016 | Award Amount: 3.83M | Year: 2016

The European chemical industry faces some very serious challenges if it is to retain its competitive position in the global economy. The new industries setting up in Asia and the Near East are based on novel process-intensification concepts, leaving Europe desperately searching for a competitive edge. The transition from batch to continuous micro- and milliflow processing is essential to ensure a future for the European fine-chemicals and pharmaceuticals industries. However, despite the huge interest shown by both academia and industrial R&D, many challenges remain, such as the problems of reaction activation, channel clogging due to solids formation and the scaling up of these technologies to match the required throughput. COSMIC, the European Training Network for Continuous Sonication and Microwave Reactors, takes on these challenges by developing material- and energy-efficient continuous chemical processes for the synthesis of organic molecules and nanoparticles. The intersectoral and interdisciplinary COSMIC training network consists of leading universities and industry participants and trains 15 ESRs in the areas of flow technology, millifluidics and external energy fields (ultrasound and microwaves). These energy fields can be applied in structured, continuous milli-reactors for producing high-value-added chemicals with excellent yield efficiencies in terms of throughput, waste minimization and product quality that simply cannot be achieved with traditional batch-type chemical reactors. The chemical processes that are at the heart of COSMICs game-changing research are catalytic reactions and solids-forming reactions. COSMICs success, which is based on integrating chemistry, physics and process technology, will re-establish European leadership in this crucial field and provide it with highly trained young experts ready for dynamic careers in the European chemical industry.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: SGA-RIA | Phase: FETFLAGSHIP | Award Amount: 89.00M | Year: 2016

Understanding the human brain is one of the greatest scientific challenges of our time. Such an understanding can provide profound insights into our humanity, leading to fundamentally new computing technologies, and transforming the diagnosis and treatment of brain disorders. Modern ICT brings this prospect within reach. The HBP Flagship Initiative (HBP) thus proposes a unique strategy that uses ICT to integrate neuroscience data from around the world, to develop a unified multi-level understanding of the brain and diseases, and ultimately to emulate its computational capabilities. The goal is to catalyze a global collaborative effort. During the HBPs first Specific Grant Agreement (SGA1), the HBP Core Project will outline the basis for building and operating a tightly integrated Research Infrastructure, providing HBP researchers and the scientific Community with unique resources and capabilities. Partnering Projects will enable independent research groups to expand the capabilities of the HBP Platforms, in order to use them to address otherwise intractable problems in neuroscience, computing and medicine in the future. In addition, collaborations with other national, European and international initiatives will create synergies, maximizing returns on research investment. SGA1 covers the detailed steps that will be taken to move the HBP closer to achieving its ambitious Flagship Objectives.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-ITN-ETN | Phase: MSCA-ITN-2016 | Award Amount: 3.93M | Year: 2017

We propose a European Training Network that will provide a total of 540 ESR-months of training in Monte Carlo event generator physics and techniques, and related applications in experimental particle physics. Monte Carlo event generators are central to high energy particle physics. They are used by almost all experimental collaborations to plan their experiments and analyze their data, and by theorists to simulate the complex final states of the fundamental interactions that may signal new physics. We will build on the success of our current MCnetITN, by creating a European Training Network incorporating all the authors of current general purpose event generators, with the main purposes of: (a) training a large section of our user base, using annual schools on the physics and techniques of event generators and short-term studentships of Early Stage Researchers as a conduit for transfer of knowledge to the wider community; (b) training the next generation of event generator authors through dedicated PhD studentships; (c) providing broader training in transferable skills through our research, through dedicated training in entrepreneurship and employability and through secondments to non-academic partners. We will achieve these training objectives both through dedicated activities and through our research activities: (d) developing the next generation of higher precision event generators and supporting them for use throughout the LHC era and beyond; (e) playing a central role in the analysis of LHC data and the discovery of new physics there; and (f) extracting the maximum potential from existing data to constrain the modeling of the higher-energy data from the LHC and future experiments.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: SC1-PM-18-2016 | Award Amount: 5.42M | Year: 2016

Hearing Loss (HL) is one of the most prevalent chronic diseases and the 5th cause of disability. HL increases the risk of cognitive decline, mental illness, and depression, and leads to social isolation, unemployment/early retirement, loss of income and work discrimination. The pre-eminent management strategy for HL is the provision of Hearing Aids (HAs), although their use is often problematic, costly and with poor overall benefits. The holistic management of HL requires appropriate public health policies for HL prevention, early diagnosis, long-term treatment and rehabilitation; detection and prevention of cognitive decline; protection from noise; and socioeconomic inclusion of HL patients. However, currently the evidential basis for forming such policies is limited. Holistic HL management policies require the analysis of heterogeneous data, including HA usage, noise (TTS) episodes, audiological, physiological, cognitive, clinical and medication, personal, behavioural, life style, occupational and environmental data. EVOTION has access to big datasets of such data from five different organisations and will support their continuous update by real time data produced by sensors and HAs used by HL patients. To utilise these data in forming holistic HL management policies, EVOTION aims to develop an integrated platform supporting: (a) the analysis of the above datasets to enable the identification of causal and other effects amongst them, (b) policy decision making focusing on the selection of effective interventions related to the holistic management of HL, based on the outcomes of (a) and the formulation of related public health policies, and (c) the specification and monitoring of such policies in a sustainable manner. To achieve this aim, EVOTION also brings together public health policy organisations, experts and authorities supporting the formation of the targeted policies and the validation of the EVOTION support for it.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-ITN-ETN | Phase: MSCA-ITN-2015-ETN | Award Amount: 3.61M | Year: 2016

Speech is a hugely efficient means of communication: a reduced capacity in listening or speaking creates a significant barrier to social inclusion at all points through the lifespan, in education, work and at home. Hearing aids and speech synthesis can help address this reduced capacity but their use imposes greater listener effort. The fundamental objective of the ETN Enriched communication across the lifespan (ENRICH) is to modify or augment speech with additional information to make it easier to process. Enrichment aims to reduce the listening burden by minimising cognitive load, while maintaining or improving intelligibility. ENRICH will investigate the relationship between cognitive effort and different forms of natural and synthetic speech. Non-intrusive metrics for listening effort will be developed and used to design modification techniques which result in low-burden speech. The value of various enrichment approaches will be evaluated with individuals and cohorts with typically sub-optimal communication ability, e.g., children, hearing-impaired adults, non-native listeners and individuals engaged in simultaneous tasks. The ENRICH consortium consists of 8 beneficiaries and 7 partners from academia, industry and clinical practice in 9 countries, who collectively provide diverse infrastructure for investigating spoken communication and for applying innovations to end-user populations. ENRICH will address the unmet need for multi-skilled practitioners and engineers in this rapidly growing sector currently facing a serious workforce shortage. Through a comprehensive training programme driven by the needs of industry and clinical practice, it will equip fellows with not just the necessary cross-disciplinary knowledge and research techniques, but also with experience of entrepreneurship and technology transfer so they can translate research findings into meaningful products and services that will facilitate spoken language communication in the coming decades.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: HEALTH.2013.2.2.1-4 | Award Amount: 15.74M | Year: 2013

Epilepsy is a devastating condition affecting over 50 million people worldwide. This multidisciplinary project is focused on the process leading to epilepsy, epileptogenesis, in adults. Our main hypothesis is that there are combinations of various causes, acting in parallel and/or in succession, that lead to epileptogenesis and development of seizures. Our central premise and vision is that a combinatorial approach is necessary to identify appropriate biomarkers and develop effective antiepileptogenic therapeutics. The project will focus on identifying novel biomarkers and their combinations for epileptogenesis after potentially epileptogenic brain insults in clinically relevant animal models, such as traumatic brain injury (TBI) and status epilepticus (SE); explore multiple basic mechanisms of epileptogenesis and their mutual interactions related to cell degeneration, circuit reorganization, inflammatory processes, free radical formation, altered neurogenesis, BBB dysfunction, genetic and epigenetic alterations; and translating these findings towards the clinic by validating biomarkers identified from animal models in human post TBI brain tissue and blood samples, post-mortem brain tissue in individuals that died soon after SE, and human brain and blood samples from chronic epilepsy cases. The project will identify novel combinatorial biomarkers and novel disease-modifying combinatorial treatment strategies for epileptogenesis, create an Epilepsy Preclinical Biobank, and validate translational potential of results from animal models in human tissue. To adequately address the proposed goals, the project will develop technological breakthroughs, such as completely novel chemogenetic approaches, novel MRI techniques, novel multimodal organic recording devices for simultaneous recordings of EEG / cellular unit activity and biochemical measurements, novel bioluminescence for in vivo promoter activity analysis, and novel systems biology approaches.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ENV.2013.6.1-3 | Award Amount: 11.79M | Year: 2013

With the target of limiting global warming to 2C increasingly difficult to achieve, policymakers, businesses and other decision-makers need to plan to adapt to changes in climate under higher levels of global warming. This requires coherent information on the future climate conditions, and the consequences of different adaptation actions. International negotiations on limiting global warming also require clear information on the consequences of different levels of climate change. While a vast array of projections, scenarios and estimates of future climate change and its impacts already exists, much is conflicting, unclear, of unknown levels of certainty and difficult to use to inform decisions. HELIX addresses this by providing a clear, coherent, internally-consistent view of a manageable number of future worlds under higher levels of global warming reached under a range of circumstances, supported by advice on which aspects are more certain and which less certain. This will be delivered through groundbreaking scientific research across a range of physical, natural and social science disciplines, in close engagement with experienced users of climate change information in order to ensure appropriate focus, clarity and utility. Since international climate policy often frames climate change in terms of levels of global warming relative to pre-industrial state, our research will focus on addressing the questions What do 4C and 6C worlds look like compared to 2C? and What are the consequences of different adaptation choices? Our core product will a set of eight coherent global scenarios of the natural and human world at these levels of warming achieved at different rates and with different pathways of adaptation by society. A second product will provide more detailed information in three focus regions; Europe, Sub-Saharan Africa in the Northern Hemisphere and the South Asia. This will all be supported by a comprehensive analysis of confidence and uncertainty.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: ICT-29-2016 | Award Amount: 5.11M | Year: 2017

X-ray mammography is the mainstay of breast cancer screening programs. It is estimated that between 20 - 50% of abnormal screening mammograms will prove to be negative. The paradigm in diagnosis is to establish whether a lesion is benign or malignant. All the imaging techniques conventionally used today diagnostic x-ray, ultrasonography and magnetic resonance imaging have many limitations, leading to multiple and/or repeat imaging and often unnecessary biopsy. This leads to physical, psychological and economic burdens felt at individual, familial and societal levels. With an aging population, high incidence of breast cancer and tightening health-care budgets, there is an urgent requirement for a non-invasive method for in-depth assessment of the screening-detected lesion. In PAMMOTH we will showcase such an imager, combining photoacoustic and ultrasound imaging. With the use of quantitative image reconstruction of multi-wavelength photoacoustic data, information is gained of the vascular and oxygen status of the lesion relating to tumor physiology and function. From the ultrasound part, we derive ultrasound reflection from the lesion in a manner superior to conventional breast ultrasonography, relating to anatomic features and extent of a tumor. This information will enable the radiologist to come to a diagnosis accurately and rapidly without the use of contrast agents, without pain and discomfort to the patient, while being cost-effective and not requiring complex infrastructure. Four excellent academic groups, three dynamic SMEs, and a hospital come together with support from key stakeholders in an Advisory group, to push beyond the state-of-the-art in science and technology to achieve the PAMMOTH imager. For the SMEs, in addition to tremendous improvements in individual product lines, the new integrated diagnostic imaging instrument opens up completely new market opportunities. We expect PAMMOTH to have a strong economic and clinical impact.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: PHC-02-2015 | Award Amount: 5.50M | Year: 2016

EuroPOND will develop a data-driven statistical and computational modeling framework for neurological disease progression. This will enable major advances in differential and personalized diagnosis, prognosis, monitoring, and treatment and care decisions, positioning Europe as world leaders in one of the biggest societal challenges of 21st century healthcare. The inherent complexity of neurological disease, the overlap of symptoms and pathologies, and the high comorbidity rate suggests a systems medicine approach, which matches the specific challenge of this call. We take a uniquely holistic approach that, in the spirit of systems medicine, integrates a variety of clinical and biomedical research data including risk factors, biomarkers, and interactions. Our consortium has a multidisciplinary balance of essential expertise in mathematical/statistical/computational modelling; clinical, biomedical and epidemiological expertise; and access to a diverse range of datasets for sporadic and well-phenotyped disease types. The project will devise and implement, as open-source software tools, advanced statistical and computational techniques for reconstructing long-term temporal evolution of disease markers from cross-sectional or short-term longitudinal data. We will apply the techniques to generate new and uniquely detailed pictures of a range of important diseases. This will support the development of new evidence-based treatments in Europe through deeper disease understanding, better patient stratification for clinical trials, and improved accuracy of diagnosis and prognosis. For example, Alzheimers disease alone costs European citizens around 200B every year in care and loss of productivity. No disease modifying treatments are yet available. Clinical trials repeatedly fail because disease heterogeneity prevents bulk response. Our models enable fine stratification into phenotypes enabling more focussed analysis to identify subgroups that respond to putative treatments.


IMMUNOSABR is geared towards opening up a new paradigm in treating metastatic cancer by obtaining clinical proof of concept for a novel bi-modal curative treatment strategy. High precision stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR) is combined with immunotherapy to form a powerful synergistic anti-tumour strategy. The approach relies on the direct cytotoxic effect of SABR, the abscopal effect of radiation observed at distance from the irradiated metastatic site(s), and the effect of the tumour-specific immunocytokine L19-IL2 (watch our animation explaining the concept at https://youtu.be/6wDE6RkrikA). Palliative treatment is the current standard of care for patients with metastatic non small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), unless there is an actionable mutation. By using the concept of limited metastatic disease (10 sites, WHO 0-1: oligo\) we aim to develop a therapy with curative intent. IMMUNOSABR will gather evidence for the clinical efficacy of our bi-modal treatment strategy in a multicentre randomised phase II study (clinicaltrials.gov no. NCT02735850) in patients with limited metastatic NSCLC. IMMUNOSABR is complemented by two strong biomarker work packages which focus on developing an ambitious personalised biomarker strategy, to identify patients who can benefit from the novel treatment strategy. This includes promising non-invasive imaging techniques and state-of-the-art immunological monitoring approaches on tumour tissue and blood. IMMUNOSABR will spur further development of L19-IL2 as a commercial drug and translate the bi-modal treatment strategy towards clinical implementation.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: SC1-PM-01-2016 | Award Amount: 15.04M | Year: 2017

The complex interactions between genetic and non-genetic factors produce heterogeneities in patients as reflected in the diversity of pathophysiology, clinical manifestations, response to therapies, disease development and progression. Yet, the full potential of personalized medicine entails biomarker-guided delivery of efficient therapies in stratified patient populations. MultipleMS will therefore develop, validate, and exploit methods for patient stratification in Multiple Sclerosis, a chronic inflammatory disease and a leading causes of non-traumatic disability in young adults, with an estimated cost of 37 000 per patient per year over a duration of 30 years. Here we benefit from several large clinical cohorts with multiple data types, including genetic and lifestyle information. This in combination with publically available multi-omics maps enables us to identify biomarkers of the clinical course and the response to existing therapies in a real-world setting, and to gain in-depth knowledge of distinct pathogenic pathways setting the stage for development of new interventions. To create strategic global synergies, MultipleMS includes 21 partners and covers not only the necessary clinical, biological, and computational expertise, but also includes six industry partners ensuring dissemination and exploitation of the methods and clinical decision support system. Moreover, the pharmaceutical industry partners provide expertise to ensure optimal selection and validation of clinically relevant biomarkers and new targets. Our conceptual personalized approach can readily be adapted to other immune-mediated diseases with a complex gene-lifestyle background and broad clinical spectrum with heterogeneity in treatment response. MultipleMS therefore goes significantly beyond current state-of-the-art thereby broadly affecting European policies, healthcare systems, innovation in translating big data and basic research into evidence-based personalized clinical applications.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-RISE | Phase: MSCA-RISE-2016 | Award Amount: 279.00K | Year: 2017

We propose to establish an interdisciplinary, intersectoral and international research and innovation network in Crisis Translation, called INTERACT. Crisis Translation is understood here as the translation of written information from one linguistic and cultural system to another in the context of a crisis scenario, with a view to enabling affected communities and responders to be prepared for crises, improve resilience and reduce the loss of lives. Due to the transboundary nature of modern day crises, crisis communication must be multilingual and multilingual crisis communication is enabled through translation. Multilingual information access through translation addresses work programme aims such as social fairness and democratic access to essential information for all. The primary focus of INTERACT is on health-related crisis content. The main objectives of the project are 1) to make meaningful and effective contributions to knowledge, policies, expertise, training and technology that enable accurate and timely translation-enabled crisis communication, with a particular focus on health-related content; 2) to improve outcomes for crisis-affected and at-risk communities by contributing to translation-enabled communication to, with and from those communities; 3) to enhance human skills, competences and cross-sectoral collaboration across academic, humanitarian, and industrial sectors involved in crisis translation. This will be achieved by focusing on five main topics: crisis communication policy, comprehension in limited proficiency communities, crisis machine translation, citizen translator education, and ethics and through collaboration across academic, SME, NGO, and Multinational partners. The contribution of INTERACT will be a much broader, better informed, innovative, much more impactful perspective on the challenges of crisis communication and the role of translation.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-RISE | Phase: MSCA-RISE-2016 | Award Amount: 828.00K | Year: 2017

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a degenerative joint disease, typified by a loss of quality of cartilage and changes in bone at the interface of a joint, resulting in pain, stiffness and reduced mobility. BAMOS project particularly addresses the challenges in OA treatment by providing novel cost effective osteochondral scaffold technology for early intervention of OA to delay or avoid the joint replacement operations. This project has the potential to relieve pain in patients with OA improving their quality of life by keeping people active. It fits with the scope of EU Societal Changellenges to encourage the provision of improved clinical care for patients in the field of healthcare, especially for elderly patients. In the course of developing this new treatment for mid- to late stage OA, BAMOS aims to establish and embed a new collaboration between six internationally leading research organisations (four universities, one healthcare provider and one manufacturer with expertise in additive manufacturing). The partners propose an integrated programme of research activities and the development of a collaborative graduate training scheme. The dissemination of research will result in at least 15 high profile joint research publications, and the consortium will organise two international scientific conferences (one in the EU, one in China) and 3 workshops. BAMOS will develop new materials and manufacturing technologies for the fabrication of custom-tailored osteochondral scaffolds. Novel biopolymeric composites, processed by additive manufacturing, will be characterized and tested as well as coatings on titanium scaffolds. Also, thermal welding technique will be used to join the cartilage component with the bone component to form an osteochondral unit. The new technologies will undergo full pre-clinical evaluation in order that the scaffolds are able to enter clinical trial after the project.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: PHC-21-2015 | Award Amount: 4.47M | Year: 2015

The first and core objective of City4Age is to enable Ambient Assisted Cities or Age-friendly Cities, where the urban communities of elderly people living in Smart Cities are provided with a range of ICT tools and services that - in a completely unobtrusive manner - will improve the early detection of risks related to cognitive impairments and frailty while they are at home or in the move within the city. The second objective is to provide a range of associated tools and services which - with the appropriate interventions - will mitigate the detected risks. The final objective of C4A is to define a model which will provide sustainability and extensibility to the offered services and tools by addressing the unmet needs of the elderly population in terms of (i) detecting risks related to other health type problems, (ii) stimulating and providing incentives to remain active, involved and engaged, (iii) creating an ecosystem for multi-sided market by matching needs and their fulfillments, (iv) contributing to the design and operation of the ultimate Age-friendly City, where the city itself provides support for detecting risks and providing interventions to those affected by mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and frailty. To achieve these objectives City4Age builds on: - behavioural, sociological and clinical research on frailty and MCI in the elderly population; - state of art ICT technology (i) for sensing personal data and exposing them as linked open data, (ii) for designing the algorithms and the APIs to extract relevant behaviour changes and correlated risks, and (iii) for designing interventions to counter the risks, - stakeholder engagement in order to be driven by relevant user needs to ensure end-user acceptance.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CPCSA | Phase: ICT-2013.9.9 | Award Amount: 72.73M | Year: 2013

Understanding the human brain is one of the greatest challenges facing 21st century science. If we can rise to the challenge, we can gain profound insights into what makes us human, develop new treatments for brain diseases and build revolutionary new computing technologies. Today, for the first time, modern ICT has brought these goals within sight. The goal of the Human Brain Project, part of the FET Flagship Programme, is to translate this vision into reality, using ICT as a catalyst for a global collaborative effort to understand the human brain and its diseases and ultimately to emulate its computational capabilities. The Human Brain Project will last ten years and will consist of a ramp-up phase (from month 1 to month 36) and subsequent operational phases.\nThis Grant Agreement covers the ramp-up phase. During this phase the strategic goals of the project will be to design, develop and deploy the first versions of six ICT platforms dedicated to Neuroinformatics, Brain Simulation, High Performance Computing, Medical Informatics, Neuromorphic Computing and Neurorobotics, and create a user community of research groups from within and outside the HBP, set up a European Institute for Theoretical Neuroscience, complete a set of pilot projects providing a first demonstration of the scientific value of the platforms and the Institute, develop the scientific and technological capabilities required by future versions of the platforms, implement a policy of Responsible Innovation, and a programme of transdisciplinary education, and develop a framework for collaboration that links the partners under strong scientific leadership and professional project management, providing a coherent European approach and ensuring effective alignment of regional, national and European research and programmes. The project work plan is organized in the form of thirteen subprojects, each dedicated to a specific area of activity.\nA significant part of the budget will be used for competitive calls to complement the collective skills of the Consortium with additional expertise.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: HEALTH.2013.2.2.1-4 | Award Amount: 16.45M | Year: 2013

DESIRE will focus on epileptogenic developmental disorders EDD, i.e. early onset epilepsies whose origin is closely related to developmental brain processes. A major cause of EDD are malformations of cortical development (MCD), either macroscopic or subtle. EDD are often manifested as epileptic encephalopathies (EE), i.e. conditions in which epileptic activity itself may contribute to severe cognitive and behavioral impairments. EDD are the most frequent drug-resistant pediatric epilepsies carrying a lifelong perspective of disability and reduced quality of life. Although EDD collectively represent a major medical and socio-economic burden, their molecular diagnosis, pathogenic mechanisms (PM) and rationale treatment are poorly understood. Specific objectives of DESIRE are to advance the state of the art with respect to: (1) the genetic and epigenetic causes and PM of EDD, particularly epileptogenic MCD, to elucidate molecular networks and disrupted protein complexes and search for common bases for these apparently heterogeneous disorders. (2) the diagnostic tools (biomarkers) and protocols through the study of a unique and well-characterized cohort of children to provide standardized diagnosis for patient stratification and research across Europe. (3) treatment of EDD using randomized, multidisciplinary clinical protocols and testing preclinical strategies in experimental models to also address novel preventative strategies. The workplan spans from clinical observation, to whole exome studies, cellular and animal models and basic research, identification of biomarkers and improvement of diagnostic methods, and back to the clinical trials and assessment of innovative, targeted treatment strategies. The consortium partners have an outstanding track record in genetics, basic neurophysiology, neuropathology and clinical research. Specialized expertise will be made available by the SMEs involved to develop novel diagnostic tools for tailored treatment approaches.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA-SA | Phase: SiS.2013.2.2.1-1 | Award Amount: 2.90M | Year: 2014

The overall aim of the EC call is building up a scientifically literate society, which enables its citizens to participate in the research and innovation process as part of Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI). This calls for democratic citizenship education, in which two educational approaches, often presented independently in schools, are integrated, viz. Inquiry-Based Science Education (IBSE) and Socio-Scientific Issues-Based Learning (SSI). We call this integrated approach Socio-Scientific Inquiry-Based Learning (SSIBL). The aim of the project is to collect and share existing best practices across Europe and develop learning tools, materials and in/pre-service training courses for science teachers based on the SSIBL approach. This educational methodology promotes democratic citizenship through the integration of social issues and related scientific knowledge. Our aim is to empower and facilitate science teachers and teacher educators, by in-service and pre-service professional development courses, based on reshaped best practices available among the partners. These shared selected best practices will be reflected on from an RRI perspective and improved by an international community of learners who incorporate RRI in their teaching and learning processes. The project will establish a multidisciplinary team and facilitate networking activities among teachers, teacher educators and educational researchers of 18 institutions in 11 countries. In addition, the project will build on recently developed IBSE insights and foster implementation of IBSE in educational practice.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-IRSES | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2013-IRSES | Award Amount: 928.20K | Year: 2014

The DEANN project is a network formation initiative that involves six research institutions and universities from four EU countries and equivalently, six research entities from four Latin American countries. The overall goal is to strengthen research partnership among the participants by developing a shared scientific knowhow in the field of Next Generation Sequencing data analysis. More specifically, the objectives are: (I) To reinforce the collaboration among partner organizations, both between EU and American partners and within EU partners, with the aim of developing long-term research partnerships. (II) To nurse the scientific excellence of the project participants in the field of NGS data analysis, with the aim of improving their position and competitiveness at the international level. (III) To elevate the critical mass and innovation skills of the consortium to act at the forefront of innovative proposals around the usage of NGS-based technologies addressing biomedical and biotechnology problems. (IV) To increase the competence of the project partners in applied genomics research with the aim of reaching translational opportunities in established and emerging economies. (V) To improve education, innovation and international orientation of PhD candidates and post-docs. The DEANN initiative achieves these objectives by creating a network of carefully chosen bioinformatics research labs and putting them to work together in an exchange, training and transference program that specifically serves the goals of the project. The consortium members collectively represent a diversity of expertise domains (Biomedicine, biotechnology and bioinformatics), strategic regional positioning, strong international presence, comprehensive training capability and long term projection.The DEANN exchange program counts with WPs in translational topics of Next Generation Sequencing and includes movement of management and training modules on scientific and transnational skills.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-TP | Phase: NMP.2012.4.0-1 | Award Amount: 5.46M | Year: 2013

In Light.Touch.Matters, product designers and material researchers will collaborate to jointly develop a fully new generation of smart materials that combine touch sensitivity with luminosity, based on latest developments in polymeric piezo materials and flexible OLEDs. Manufactured on plastic substrates, these novel light touch materials will be thin, flexible and formable, allowing seamless integration into products. They promise to greatly expand design freedom and unlock totally new modes of product-user interaction, enabling us to take the next step in product design: using touch sensitivity and luminosity to produce simple, affordable and intuitive user interfaces so that eventually the product becomes the user interface. Light.Touch.Matters focuses on products for care and well-being applications that can help consumers feel better, monitor or improve their health and increase comfort, such as rehabilitation aids, wearable alarms, and diet coaches, though we expect strong spin-off to other sectors. Light.Touch.Matters will use a proprietary design-driven research methodology based a comprehensive body of industrial product design knowledge that has been built up over the past decades. It consists of iterated cycles of materials-inspired and design-driven materials research with direct and prolonged design-researcher interaction, leading to a convergence of the conceptual designs and feasible materials in 4-6 interaction showcases. Analysis of results will include end user value, commercial value and environmental impact (LCA/critical materials). The design-driven research on integrated piezo plastics and OLEDs can directly contribute to innovation and competitiveness in a large number of related sectors, many of which are strategic to the EU: not only design, (health)care and consumer goods, but also the chemical, automotive and printing industries, as well as mechanical-, electrical-, packaging- and systems engineering.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-IRSES | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2013-IRSES | Award Amount: 831.10K | Year: 2014

The overall aim of the proposed staff exchange programme is to establish a long lasting collaboration between Moroccan, South African and European research teams involved in clinical epidemiological and public health research. This effort should ultimately lead to improved mother and child health and better control of sexual transmitted diseases. The proposal is therefore structured in seven work packages: 1. Management and coordination 2. Maternal & newborn health research 3. STI research 4. HPV research 5. Antibiotic resistance 6. Public Health and Social Health Protection 7. Clinical, epidemiological and public health research This project will brings partners together from Europe, Morocco and South Africa that have common research interests but that work in very different settings. Several partners have already been collaborating with each other but mainly on an ad hoc basis and not as a network: 1. The International Health Research Centre of Barcelona (CRESIB), Spain 2. The Institute of Tropical Medicine (ITM), Antwerp, Belgium 3. University Mohamed V Soussi Rabat, Morocco 4. University Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah of Fez, Morocco 5. University of Marrakech, Morocco 6. The Ministry of Health of Morocco - National Institute of Health Administration (INAS) 7. University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), South Africa 8. University of Southampton, United Kingdom 9. The Bordeaux School of Public Health (ISPED), University Bordeaux Segalen, France For European researchers and professionals, the interaction with Moroccan and South African national health systems and research groups can contribute to a better understanding of common health challenges, including health related topics with human mobility and migrations between both continents and access to care for migrant groups in Europe. This collaboration involving several high profile groups (Europe, Morocco, South Africa) strengthens a global perspective on key maternal, newborn and reproductive health topics.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: INFRAIA-1-2014-2015 | Award Amount: 10.23M | Year: 2015

The Europlanet 2020 Research Infrastructure (EPN2020-RI) will address key scientific and technological challenges facing modern planetary science by providing open access to state-of-the-art research data, models and facilities across the European Research Area. Its Transnational Access activities will provide access to world-leading laboratory facilities that simulate conditions found on planetary bodies as well as specific analogue field sites for Mars, Europa and Titan. Its Virtual Access activities will make available the diverse datasets and visualisation tools needed for comparing and understanding planetary environments in the Solar System and beyond. By providing the underpinning facilities that European planetary scientists need to conduct their research, EPN2020-RI will create cooperation and effective synergies between its different components: space exploration, ground-based observations, laboratory and field experiments, numerical modelling, and technology. EPN2020-RI builds on the foundations of successful FP6 and FP7 Europlanet programmes that established the Europlanet brand and built structures that will be used in the Networking Activities of EPN2020-RI to coordinate the European planetary science communitys research. It will disseminate its results to a wide range of stakeholders including industry, policy makers and, crucially, both the wider public and the next generation of researchers and opinion formers, now in education. As an Advanced Infrastructure we place particular emphasis on widening the participation of previously under-represented research communities and stakeholders. We will include new countries and Inclusiveness Member States, via workshops, team meetings, and personnel exchanges, to broaden/widen/expand and improve the scientific and innovation impact of the infrastructure. EPN2020-RI will therefore build a truly pan-European community that shares common goals, facilities, personnel, data and IP across national boundaries


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: IA | Phase: ICT-14-2014 | Award Amount: 8.26M | Year: 2015

Virtualisation and software networks are a major disruptive technology for communications networks, enabling services to be deployed as software functions running directly in the network on commodity hardware. However, deploying the more complex user-facing applications and services envisioned for 5G networks presents significant technological challenges for development and deployment. SONATA addresses both issues. For service development, SONATA provides service patterns and description techniques for composed services. A customised SDK is developed to boost the efficiency of developers of network functions and composed services, by integrating catalogue access, editing, debugging, and monitoring analysis tools with service packaging for shipment to an operator. For deployment, SONATA provides a novel service platform to manage service execution. The platform complements the SDK with functionality to validate service packages. Moreover, it improves on existing platforms by providing a flexible and extensible orchestration framework based on a plugin architecture. Thanks to SONATAs platform service developers can provide custom algorithms to steer the orchestration of their services: for continuous placement, scaling, life-cycle management and contextualization of services. These algorithms are overseen by executives in the service platform, ensuring trust and resolving any conflict between services. By combining rapid development and deployment in an open and flexible manner, SONATA is realising an extended DevOps model for network stakeholders. SONATA validates its approach through novel use-case-driven pilot implementations and disseminates its results widely by releasing its key SDK and platform components as open source software, through scientific publications and standards contributions, which, together, will have a major impact on incumbent stakeholders including network operators and manufacturers and will open the market to third-party developers.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: HEALTH.2013.4.2-1 | Award Amount: 7.19M | Year: 2013

Chronic pain is estimated to affect 15-20% of children with varying disabilities. Due to the paucity of clinical information and appropriate medicinal products, in clinical practice paediatric patients are often under-treated causing profound impact on their QoL. To date, opioids, non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), antidepressants and anticonvulsants are used to treat pain, but only few of these include a paediatric authorisation. In addition, the few available paediatric drugs have a very different authorisation profile across Europe and, when not approved in paediatrics, they are used off-label to cover the high therapeutic need, thus exposing children to unnecessary risks of dosing errors and increasing ADRs. The GAPP Project is focused on the development of gabapentin for the treatment of paediatric chronic pain, a condition where gabapentin, as demonstrated in adults, is expected to bring great benefit to children. To this end, a large international scientific Consortium is set up, with experienced professionals in the field of pain that will work together with a Pharmaceutical Company committed to apply for a PUMA using the project results. Within GAPP, age-appropriate formulation will be developed and two randomised, comparator-controlled clinical trials and a bridging study will be conducted in compliance to a submitted Paediatric Investigation Plan (PIP, Summary Report Day 90 - EMEA-001310-PIP01-12) in order to investigate appropriate dosages, efficacy and safety of gabapentin in the paediatric population. Further to this, in order to ensure the safety of gabapentin in very young children, a non clinical study will be conducted to evaluate the neurotoxic potentil of the drug. At the end of the project, gabapentin can be proposed for treatment of chronic pain in children both as monotherapy and as adjuvant therapy.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-SICA | Phase: NMP.2012.2.2-6 | Award Amount: 5.15M | Year: 2013

The project brings together a consortium of EU and ASEAN researchers with the aim of developing a solar powered photocatalytic waste-water treatment system capable of mineralising the recalcitrant organic matter that is not removed by current biological methods. With an emphasis on generating novel materials and new understandings of photocatalytic materials and processes, the interdisciplinary team aims to develop cost effective prototype photocatalytic reactors capable of deployment in remote areas and of treating contaminated water from small scale industrial producers at rates of up to 500 m3 of a day.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: INFRAIA-1-2014-2015 | Award Amount: 13.00M | Year: 2015

Particle physics is at the forefront of the ERA, attracting a global community of more than 10,000 scientists. With the upgrade of the LHC and the preparation of new experiments, the community will have to overcome unprecedented challenges in order to answer fundamental questions concerning the Higgs boson, neutrinos, and physics beyond the Standard Model. Major developments in detector technology are required to ensure the success of these endeavours. The AIDA-2020 project brings together the leading European infrastructures in detector development and a number of academic institutes, thus assembling the necessary expertise for the ambitious programme of work. In total, 19 countries and CERN are involved in this programme, which follows closely the priorities of the European Strategy for Particle Physics. AIDA-2020 aims to advance detector technologies beyond current limits by offering well-equipped test beam and irradiation facilities for testing detector systems under its Transnational Access programme. Common software tools, micro-electronics and data acquisition systems are also provided. This shared high-quality infrastructure will ensure optimal use and coherent development, thus increasing knowledge exchange between European groups and maximising scientific progress. The project also exploits the innovation potential of detector research by engaging with European industry for large-scale production of detector systems and by developing applications outside of particle physics, e.g. for medical imaging. AIDA-2020 will lead to enhanced coordination within the European detector community, leveraging EU and national resources. The project will explore novel detector technologies and will provide the ERA with world-class infrastructure for detector development, benefiting thousands of researchers participating in future particle physics projects, and contributing to maintaining Europes leadership of the field.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: EURO-1-2014 | Award Amount: 2.50M | Year: 2015

In response to the European debt crisis and associated deep recession, a number of important steps have recently been taken towards redesigning the institutional architecture of EMU, based on the roadmap outlined in the Van Rompuy Report (2012). But these institutional innovations in particular the fiscal compact, the ESM, the SSM and the SRM retain relatively weak theoretical foundations. In particular, there is a noticeable gap between policy-oriented analyses of the precise EU challenges, and the major developments in dynamic macroeconomic theory of the past three decades. ADEMU brings together eight research groups from leading European institutions with the aim of closing this gap. It studies the overall monetary and fiscal structure of the EU and the euro area, and the mechanisms of fiscal policy coordination among member states, with specific focus on: i) ensuring the long-term sustainability of EMU, addressing issues such as debt overhang, fiscal consolidation, public debt management, risk-sharing within the union, and crisis management mechanisms; ii) building resilience to economic shocks, with special emphasis on the coordination of fiscal policies, fiscal multipliers and labor market risks; and iii) managing interdependence in the euro area, analyzing both fiscal and financial spillovers and the effects of macroeconomic imbalances on financial and money markets, and, to confront these issues, new forms of banking regulation and monetary policy. ADEMU is at the frontier of dynamic macroeconomic research, and the project will generate new knowledge that will be used to provide a rigorous assessment of the current institutional framework, and detailed proposals for improving it. It will also be a focal point in debates among academics, policymakers and other stakeholders regarding the implementation of new policies. The scope of the project will include a full consideration of political economy and legal dimensions to alternative institutional reforms


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: EINFRA-1-2014 | Award Amount: 19.05M | Year: 2015

EUDAT2020 brings together a unique consortium of e-infrastructure providers, research infrastructure operators, and researchers from a wide range of scientific disciplines under several of the ESFRI themes, working together to address the new data challenge. In most research communities, there is a growing awareness that the rising tide of data will require new approaches to data management and that data preservation, access and sharing should be supported in a much better way. Data, and a fortiori Big Data, is a cross-cutting issue touching all research infrastructures. EUDAT2020s vision is to enable European researchers and practitioners from any research discipline to preserve, find, access, and process data in a trusted environment, as part of a Collaborative Data Infrastructure (CDI) conceived as a network of collaborating, cooperating centres, combining the richness of numerous community-specific data repositories with the permanence and persistence of some of Europes largest scientific data centres. EUDAT2020 builds on the foundations laid by the first EUDAT project, strengthening the links between the CDI and expanding its functionalities and remit. Covering both access and deposit, from informal data sharing to long-term archiving, and addressing identification, discoverability and computability of both long-tail and big data, EUDAT2020s services will address the full lifecycle of research data. One of the main ambitions of EUDAT2020 is to bridge the gap between research infrastructures and e-Infrastructures through an active engagement strategy, using the communities that are in the consortium as EUDAT beacons and integrating others through innovative partnerships. During its three-year funded life, EUDAT2020 will evolve the CDI into a healthy and vibrant data-infrastructure for Europe, and position EUDAT as a sustainable infrastructure within which the future, changing requirements of a wide range of research communities are addressed.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: CSA | Phase: INFRASUPP-7-2014 | Award Amount: 496.58K | Year: 2015

We live in the age of the data deluge, where digital technology enables us to store petabytes of data and to make that available for sharing as open data. Sharing data has the potential to revolutionise the way that researchers work. It avoids costly duplication in the collecting of data and enables research collaborations across the world which otherwise would not be possible. The purpose of this bid is to take the LERU Roadmap for Research Data produced by the League of European Research Universities (LERU) and to develop this in order to build a coordinated e-infrastructure across Europe and beyond. LEARN will deliver a model research Research Data Management (RDM) policy, a Toolkit to support implementation, and an Executive Briefing in five core languages so as to ensure wide outreach. LEARN will hold a series of Workshops within four European countries and one international country. The workshops will serve to advocate the Recommendations on RDM and open data made by the LERU Roadmap, and gain feedback from Workshop attendees for a new Toolkit of best practice. Furthermore, guidance to implement the Roadmap will be provided following identification of Best Practices supported by case studies identified through the workshops. By producing an exemplar RDM policy, which could then be tailored by any university or research institution to meet their needs, LEARN aims to address the challenges of the Work Programme concerning the fragmentation of e-infrastructures and the need to maximize on global research data. Specifically, LEARN will address Stakeholder initiatives; Policy coordination; Take-up of digital infrastructures; and Support cooperation with developing countries. LEARN thus delivers support actions to quicken the take-up of RDM and the move to open data in the emerging world of Science 2.0.


Grant
Agency: GTR | Branch: EPSRC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 169.32K | Year: 2015

Advances in fit for use manufacturing of biopharmaceutical drug delivery and pharmaceutical systems are now required to fit Quality by Design (QbD) models. These current regulations require excellence to be built into the preparation of emerging products (both material and process) thereby leading to product robustness and quality. In addition, industrial needs (economical and reproducible quality enhancement) are driving manufacturing towards continuous processes over batch type processes which also rely on QbD (for integrity and quality). EHDA technology is a robust process that has been utilised in various formats (e.g. electrospinning, electrospraying, bubbling and even 3D printing) and is favourable due to applicability with the development of stable nanomedicines and biopharmaceuticals, the emergence of this technology is clearly evident in the UK and on the global scale. Attempts in scaling up (for suitable pharmaceutical scale) and in tandem with continuous processes (including controlled manufacturing) have been very limited. There also, now, remains a huge void in the adaptation of sensible QbD (multi-variate) for the current methods developed and also those required by industry. While lab scale research continues with the ongoing development of such processes (e.g. nanomedicines, smart and controlled delivery), the transition to industry or the clinic will have to meet these regulations (and scales) for there to be a real impact, which is now, also, an important aspect of grass root research in the UK. The EHDA network brings together specialists from academia and industry to advance this technology through several means. Firstly, initiating developments towards a real-viable scale for Pharmaceutical production. Secondly, to incorporate developments in lean manufacturing and legislation (e.g. continuous manufacturing, online diagnostics, QbD and adaptable scale). Thirdly, to marry optimised lean technologies with novel and emerging macromolecular therapies and actives. The network has a wide range of activities and initiatives which will lead to significant developments (and collaborations) in an area of increasing global interest (EHDA processes) - but currently only on a viable lab scale to date. This network will be the first of its kind and will serve as the central and pioneering hub in this remit.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: MG-5.3-2014 | Award Amount: 3.98M | Year: 2015

CREATE addresses the task Tackling Urban Road Congestion, taking a long-term view of how this can be achieved, especially in cities experiencing rapid growth in car ownership and use. It deals with most of the issues set out in the recent Urban Mobility Package. Objectives: Rigorously and systematically develop practical definitions of urban road congestion and of network performance, and identify factors influencing conditions in different cities. Work with Western European (WE) cities that have succeeded in decoupling traffic growth from economic growth, to analyse quantitatively the objective factors which have contributed to this, and the qualitative factors which have enabled a policy evolution from supporting traffic growth to encouraging sustainable mobility. Develop concrete guidance and provide capacity building for cities in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), and the EuroMed region, enabling them to move rapidly to develop a feasible, effective and deliverable Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP). Anticipating future pressures on city transport systems (congestion and overcrowding), to investigate how new transport technologies might increase transport efficiency, and how non-transport technologies and changes in business and social practices could reduce pressures on transport systems. These objectives will be achieved by: Analysing congestion and network performance data provided by INRIX and WE cities. Using detailed household travel data from repeat surveys in WE cities since the 1970s/1980s and complementary data on network, economic and demographic conditions; and documents setting out historical policy development. Preparing detailed guidance and training for our CEE cities, which will then be delivered to a much larger set of cities. Working with leading technology providers, businesses and futurists, to explore what options there might be to provide high quality mobility in cities facing increasing population and employment.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: ICT-12-2016 | Award Amount: 4.99M | Year: 2016

Todays Internet is becoming increasingly centralised, slowing innovation and challenging its potential to revolutionise society and the economy in a pluralistic manner. DECODE will develop practical alternatives through the creation, evaluation and demonstration of a distributed and open architecture for managing online identity, personal and other data, and collective governance in a citizen-friendly and privacy-aware fashion. Strong digital rights that makes it possible for data subjects to determine access rights to their information through flexible entitlements and open standard-based agreements regarding data governance (on the model of Creative Commons licenses) will be woven into the technological architecture. DECODE will increase digital sovereignty of European citizens by enabling them to produce, access and control their data and exchange contextualised information in real-time, and in a confidential, and scalable manner. DECODE will develop a modular privacy-aware IoT hub with a free and open source operating system backed by a state of the art blockchain infrastructure supporting smart-contracts and privacy protections. The architecture will be demonstrated through four pilots in Barcelona and Amsterdam, in the field of digital democracy, citizen sensing, and collaborative economy. The pilots will be run with the active involvement of social entrepreneurs, hackers, and makers. Innovators will be able to build solutions on top of the platform through hackathons and open challenges, while ensuring their security, resilience and privacy preserving qualities. This aims to create a decentralised innovation ecosystem that will attract a critical mass able to shift the current centralised data-driven economy towards a decentralised, sustainable and commons-based economy. DECODE puts agency and data control in the hands of citizens, to improve citizens well-being and society for the collective benefit of all.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: BG-01-2015 | Award Amount: 9.21M | Year: 2016

ATLAS creates a dynamic new partnership between multinational industries, SMEs, governments and academia to assess the Atlantics deep-sea ecosystems and Marine Genetic Resources to create the integrated and adaptive planning products needed for sustainable Blue Growth. ATLAS will gather diverse new information on sensitive Atlantic ecosystems (incl. VMEs and EBSAs) to produce a step-change in our understanding of their connectivity, functioning and responses to future changes in human use and ocean climate. This is possible because ATLAS takes innovative approaches to its work and interweaves its objectives by placing business, policy and socioeconomic development at the forefront with science. ATLAS not only uses trans-Atlantic oceanographic arrays to understand and predict future change in living marine resources, but enhances their capacity with new sensors to make measurements directly relevant to ecosystem function. The ATLAS team has the track record needed to meet the projects ambitions and has already developed a programme of 25 deep-sea cruises, with more pending final decision. These cruises will study a network of 12 Case Studies spanning the Atlantic including sponge, cold-water coral, seamount and mid-ocean ridge ecosystems. The team has an unprecedented track record in policy development at national, European and international levels. An annual ATLAS Science-Policy Panel in Brussels will take the latest results and Blue Growth opportunities identified from the project directly to policy makers. Finally, ATLAS has a strong trans-Atlantic partnership in Canada and the USA where both government and academic partners will interact closely with ATLAS through shared cruises, staff secondments, scientific collaboration and work to inform Atlantic policy development. ATLAS has been created and designed with our N American partners to foster trans-Atlantic collaboration and the wider objectives of the Galway Statement on Atlantic Ocean Cooperation.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: FETOPEN-01-2016-2017 | Award Amount: 2.89M | Year: 2017

This H2020-FETOPEN-2016-2017 proposal initiates a major international effort to direct polymorphism in pharmaceutical compounds through crystallizing in high magnetic fields. The ability to direct polymorphism would have a transformative effect on almost all pharmaceutical compounds, and hence on society. It is proposed that MagnaPharm will drive forward innovation in pharmaceuticals by exploiting our new discovery that the polymorph and properties of carbamazepine, indomethacin and coronene can be controlled through the application of magnetic fields. We will apply our method to a range of pharmaceutical compounds, as guided by our project partner AstraZeneca, one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. We will initially target 12 of the most high-profile, high-worth generic drugs with the aim of controllably synthesizing the desired polymorph of each (the lowest-energy polymorph and/or most processable form with desired properties). We aim for this goal via an international multidisciplinary approach centred around our discovery, underpinned by the development of a profound theoretical understanding of the effects of magnetic fields on organic crystal growth, that will direct the synthetic effort, all drawing on results from cutting edge spectroscopic and crystallographic characterisations. With the 12 representative generic drug molecules targeted in the initial stages of MagnaPharm responsible for 18 billion of sales per year worldwide, and the development of many new pharmaceuticals being hampered by solid form issues, control over the production of the most pharmaceutically desired crystal is a truly paradigm-shifting prospect.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | 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


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: EUJ-03-2016 | Award Amount: 2.06M | Year: 2016

Information access on the Internet is exploding. Usage is shifting to multimedia applications, social networking and IoE. Cellular networks are moving to the next generation. Networking technology is shifting towards virtualization, with SDN and NFV likely to change the infrastructure landscape. The cloud concept is transforming the Internet to a network of data centers, with a communication model consisting of computer-to-cloud-to-computer interactions. Security concerns are leading to an encryption of all traffic, wreaking havoc with established network mechanisms. In this scenario with dramatic growth and evolution, where abstractions and interfaces become fundamental, ICN is just the perfect solution. ICN2020 will build on the wealth of studies performed on ICN with six main aims: a) design and develop a set of innovative applications such as video delivery, interactive videos and social networks to exploit ICN; b) augment ICN with IoT features and cloud/CDN/virtualization services; c) accordingly enhance existing ICN solutions/architectures; d) build local and global test-bed(s) to experiment the applications, services and ICN enhancements; e) contribute to common APIs and standards, by continuing the work that project partners are already doing; and f) Industry POCs of products and services exploiting ICN. The ICN2020 consortium includes leading experts in ICN and contributors to ICN testbeds in EU, Japan and USA, thus making the goal of federating them a credible one. Partners are also coordinators of running projects on 5G and Cloud topics, allowing fruitful cooperation with fellow projects of the EU-JP1, EU-JP2 calls and increasing the overall expected impact of the EU-Japan cooperation. In a time when 5G networks are being designed, with foreseen unprecedented flexibility due to the virtualization and slice concepts, the development of compelling demonstrations of ICN for real-world use-cases will encourage critical industry investment of resources.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: SEC-2013.2.1-2;SEC-2013.4.1-2 | Award Amount: 4.72M | Year: 2014

FORTRESS will identify and understand cascading effects by using evidence-based information from a range of previous crisis situations, as well as an in-depth analysis of systems and their mutual interconnectivity and (inter-)dependency. FORTRESS will seek to intervene in current crisis response practices by bridging the gap between the over-reliance on unstructured information collection on one side and a lack of attention to structural, communication and management elements of cross-border and cascading crisis situations on the other. It will use state of the art information collection and modelling tools to assist stakeholders in evaluating what information is significant, relevant and of greater priority so that they can adjust their actions accordingly. It will do so by using evidence-based information from historical crisis case studies (WPs 2 and 3), as well as comprehensive analysis of the different relationships between systems (WP 4), and systems and sensitivity information from current crisis management contexts and practices in four system simulations (WP 5). This will enable FORTRESS to build a collaborative and accesible, modelling platform for cascading and cross-border effects in a range of crisis situations (WP 6). This will feed into the development of the FORTRESS Incident Evolution Tool (FIET) in WP7; a user-friendly tool with cross-border capabilities that can be used in a cascading crisis. FIET can be used as a foresight tool to assist decision-makers in understanding the potential effects of their decisions in training environments. FIET is also a decision support tool that is user-friendly enough to be employed during a crisis to assist real-time decision making. FIET will be subject to rigorous testing in the field to evaluate its effectiveness, and the project will ensure its user-friendliness by undertaking extensive training with decision-makers to optimise the look and feel of the system (WP 8).


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: HEALTH.2012.2.3.2-2 | Award Amount: 7.80M | Year: 2013

Persons with HIV on combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) are at increased risk of the premature development of age-associated non-communicable comorbidities (AANCC), including cardiovascular, chronic kidney, liver and pulmonary disease, diabetes mellitus, osteoporosis, non-AIDS associated malignancies, and neurocognitive impairment. It has therefore been hypothesised that such individuals, despite effective cART, may be prone to accelerated ageing. The underlying pathogenesis is likely to be multifactorial and include sustained immune activation, both systemically and within the central nervous system. By building on an established infrastructure for conducting longitudinal HIV cohort studies in Amsterdam and London, we will provide a detailed, prospective evaluation of AANCC among HIV-infected patients suppressed on cART and appropriately chosen and comparable non-infected controls. In this way, we will provide a robust estimate of the effect of treated HIV infection on the prevalence, incidence and age of onset of AANCC, thus clearly establishing a link between HIV and AANCC. Through the Human Immune System (HIS) mouse model, experimental studies will permit us to differentiate the effects of HIV and cART on metabolic outcomes when applied under controlled conditions, thereby further elucidating the causative nature of the link between HIV and AANCC. To further clarify potential pathogenic mechanisms underlying this causative link, including the possible induction of an inflammation-associated accelerated ageing phenotype, biomarkers which reflect each of these mechanisms will be investigated in biomaterial obtained from HIS mice and humans, and subsequently validated in patients with HIV on cART. The successful execution of the experimental and clinical research outlined in this proposal will be ensured through a strong interdisciplinary collaboration between clinical, basic and translational scientists bridging the fields of HIV, AANCC and ageing.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ICT-2011.5.2 | Award Amount: 5.17M | Year: 2013

Breast cancer is frequent and life threatening, but curable if detected early. Early detection and comprehensive characterisation of findings require optimized imaging and image understanding to maximise detection of significant disease while preventing overdiagnosis. Personalised predictive modeling of breast cancer allows treatment stratification, preventing unnecessary and unsuccessful treatments. VPH-PRISM addresses these key topics with integrated multidisciplinary, multi-scale ICT modeling of breast tissue microstructure in the context of environmental, genetic, and clinical factors.Key challenges include establishment of combined biomarkers from the automated analysis and spatial correlation of digital pathology and advanced breast imaging. Tissue characterisation includes the peritumoral stroma, a key in tumour progression and therapy response. Comprehensive clinical breast cancer phenotypes are extracted from prospectively collected multidisciplinary data. Interactions of environmental and genetic factors with specific breast tissue patterns are analysed in three large ongoing population-based imaging cohorts. A standard breast model enables efficient, combined statistical modeling of sparsely sampled and heterogeneous, large-scale data across disciplines, scales, structures, time and patients.Using the developed tools and models, and the data collected, we will: improve estimates of tumour spread to aid surgery and assess chemo- and radiotherapeutic response optimise multi-modal imaging methods through biophysical forward modeling of image formation for more efficient phenotyping and imaging biomarkers predict personal risks for cancer progression and select optimal treatment strategiesVPH-PRISM will provide a proof of concept for multidisciplinary model based discovery of environment-tissue interactions, quantitative drug efficacy assessment, surgery planning, and treatment outcome prediction at early and advanced stages of breast cancer.


Human balance is achieved and maintained by a complex set of sensorimotor systems that include sensory input from vision, proprioception and the vestibular system (motion, equilibrium, spatial orientation); integration of the sensory input; and motor output to the muscles of the eye and body. Failure at the level of the sensory inputs or at the integration of the sensory information by the central nervous system may lead to a variety of age spanning diseases which affect balance. This complexity leads to undiagnosed or under-treated patients with balance disorders for long periods and results in large socio-economic costs.The EMBalance project aims to extend existing but generic and currently uncoupled balance modelling activities leading to a multi-scale and patient-specific balance Hypermodel, which will be incorporated to a Decision Support System, towards the early diagnosis, prediction and the efficient treatment planning of balance disorders. Various data will feed the intelligent system increasing the dimensionality and personalization of the system. Human Computer Interaction techniques will be utilized in order to develop the required interfaces in a user-intuitive and efficient way, while interoperable web-services will enhance the accessibility and acceptance of the system. The vision extends to the experimental and clinical validation of the project outcomes with existing and newly acquired data (by conducting small scale clinical trials), and includes showcases in balance disorders diagnosis, prediction, treatment and follow-up in normal and micro-gravity environments.The final outcome will be a powerful web-based platform provided to primary and secondary care physicians across specialties, levels of training and geographical boundaries, targeting wider clinical acceptance as well as the increased confidence in the developed DSS towards the early diagnostic evaluation, behaviour prediction and effective management planning of balance problems.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA | Phase: ICT-2013.3.2 | Award Amount: 4.65M | Year: 2013

The aim of SSL-erate is to accelerate the uptake of high-quality SSL technology in Europe by means of open innovation with and by bringing validated information to all relevant stakeholders. A coordinated European effort is required to address the European societal challenges (in particular health & quality of life in an ageing society, energy consumption and resource efficiency), to resolve the specific challenges of the Lighting industry as noted in the results of the Green Paper Lighting the Future consultation (notably: poor SSL quality, lack of information and awareness among citizens) and to enable lighting solutions with a societal and environmental sustainability perspective, leading to a future in which Europe evolves to the global leadership in SSL systems and solutions. The lighting industry is highly fragmented. As a consequence of this the innovation speed and success rate have been too low and the benefits that we all expect from better lighting solutions, do not sufficiently materialize. To overcome this fragmentation, a collaborative way-of-working, using open-innovation and smart specialization principles, will be taken as the guiding approach. The active involvement of various stakeholders will be realized through workshops, but also through the creation of a web-based SSL-erate Innovation platform, which is planned to continue beyond the duration of this project. Relevant (lighting and non-lighting) companies, but also other stakeholders (like e.g. public authorities, property owners, research institutes, (lead) users/citizens, entrepreneurs, architects, installers) will become active contributors to this accelerated innovation process by applying validated insights on green business development and lighting effects on health & well-being in SSL business experiments.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: SSH.2012.2.2-1 | Award Amount: 8.20M | Year: 2013

The central hypothesis of this project is that socio-economic, socio-demographic, ethnic and cultural diversity can positively affect social cohesion, economic performance and social mobility of individuals and groups. A better social cohesion, higher economic performance and increased chances for social mobility will make European cities more liveable and more competitive. In this period of long-term economic downturn (or sometimes even crisis) and increasing competition from countries elsewhere in the world (e.g. China, India), it is important to find out how and under which circumstances Europeans urban diversity can be turned into social and economic advantages. Many current urban policies lack a positive view on urban diversity, because they generally focus on the negative aspects of diversity, such as intolerance, racism, discrimination and insecurity. New policies, instruments and governance arrangements are needed, and sometimes they already exist. We have to find out how they have become successful and how they can be implemented elsewhere. When we acknowledge the hyper-diversity of our urban societies, we also have to acknowledge that these societies cannot flourish from standard or general approaches aiming at, for example, economic growth or better housing or more liveable neighbourhoods. Increasingly, more diverse, more tailored arrangements are needed, arrangements that have an eye for hyper-diverse cities and communities. As a result of the project, new and innovative policy instruments and governance arrangements will be suggested that (a) recognise urban diversity as a positive aspect; (b) increase interaction and communication between the diversity of groups in urban society; and (c) increase participation to satisfy the needs of the communities. The project thus aims at finding out how urban diversity influences three core issues: social cohesion, economic performance and social mobility and how governance arrangements help to strengthen this.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA-SA | Phase: ENERGY.2013.9.2.1 | Award Amount: 2.22M | Year: 2014

As todays energy policy decisions are not only very complex, but also fundamentally political decisions, the necessity to build them on sound, unbiased and up-to-date information/knowledge makes energy policy analysis and advice from a broad array of non-commercial actors key to effective policy formulation. Taking this into account, it is the aim of this project to establish a multidisciplinary and independent energy think tank consisting of experts from the energy sector, top researchers, engineers, leading trade, economic, environmental, and legal experts who are experienced in delivering high quality policy advice and impact assessments. The think tank will provide policy makers at the European level with objective and unbiased policy advice as well as insights on policy options, including an assessment of their potential impact. Moreover, the think tank will bring to the attention of political decision-makers new trends in technology as well as the objectives and activities of important stakeholders that shape energy policy-making in Europe. In order to assess policy options concerning the four dimensions of sustainability (environmental, economic, social, institutional), the project will use an integrated assessment framework, backed by high-quality data resources available to the project consortium. To complement this, the project will establish innovative methods of stakeholder engagement and trend identification through the establishment of an Energy Observatory. Moreover, with transparency being of significant value, INSIGHT_E will make its models, assumptions, and scenarios available through a Scenario Information System. Implementing a flexible and at the same time profound information tool will bring about significant improvements to the policy making process and hence secure a climate-friendly energy policy.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-ITN | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2013-ITN | Award Amount: 4.09M | Year: 2014

Improving Childrens Auditory REhabilitation (iCARE) Communication through language is vital to develop and maintain everything around us. By 15 years of age, about 5 out of 1000 children suffer from a moderate, severe or profound hearing impairment that can potentially affect communication, learning, psychosocial development and academic achievement if not appropriately handled. The EU promotes the active inclusion and full participation of disabled people in society. However, full active inclusion in an oral society can only be achieved through cooperation and involvement across disciplines (language, psychology, audiology, engineering, special education,). It is therefore of fundamental importance to approach the inclusion of children with hearing impairment in an interdisciplinary manner, and to train future experts to adopt such principles in their research and practice. The objectives of improving Childrens Auditory REhabilitation (iCARE) are twofold: 1) to provide training create a new generation of researchers capable of exploiting the synergies between different disciplines to optimize spoken communication in children with hearing impairment, and 2) to combine research across disciplines to develop novel methods, training skills and procedures for improving auditory rehabilitation. iCARE is an international and interdisciplinary consortium from academia, industry and socio-economic agencies. The proposed training consortium is unique because the partners are specialized in a variety of disciplines, both technical and non-technical, all of utmost importance to the core issue: optimizing inclusion of children with hearing impairment in an oral society through evidence-based research. The consortium will provide comprehensive training of fellows to become communication experts, and enable the development of novel methods, tools and evaluation material that will suit the evolving needs of children with hearing impairment in a holistic manner.


Grant
Agency: GTR | Branch: EPSRC | Program: | Phase: Training Grant | Award Amount: 5.00M | Year: 2014

Quantum technologies promise a transformation of measurement, communication and computation by using ideas originating from quantum physics. The UK was the birthplace of many of the seminal ideas and techniques; the technologies are now ready to translate from the laboratory into industrial applications. Since international companies are already moving in this area, there is a critical need across the UK for highly-skilled researchers who will be the future leaders in quantum technology. Our proposal is driven by the need to train this new generation of leaders. They will need to be equipped to function in a complex research and engineering landscape where quantum physics meets cryptography, complexity and information theory, devices, materials, software and hardware engineering. We propose to train a cohort of leaders to meet these challenges within the highly interdisciplinary research environment provided by UCL, its commercial and governmental laboratory partners. In their first year the students will obtain a background in devices, information and computational sciences through three concentrated modules organized around current research issues. They will complete a team project and a longer individual research project, preparing them for their choice of main research doctoral topic at the end of the year. Cross-cohort training in communication skills, technology transfer, enterprise, teamwork and career planning will continue throughout the four years. Peer to peer learning will be continually facilitated not only by organized cross-cohort activities, but also by the day to day social interaction among the members of the cohort thanks to their co-location at UCL.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: HEALTH.2013.1.2-1 | Award Amount: 7.83M | Year: 2014

Background: Hyperinsulinaemic hypoglycaemia (HH) is a potentially lethal disease caused by over functioning beta cells derived from the pancreatic islets of Langerhans. Lethal HH and brain damage is a problem especially in infants with congenital HH. Current therapeutic approaches are associated with severe side effects/morbidity (diabetes, exocrine pancreas insufficiency etc.) considered acceptable in relation to the lethal outcome of HH although massively reducing quality of life and also life expectancy. Aims and objectives: In order to significantly improve therapy of this awful disorder, we propose to develop a simultaneous imaging/therapy platform allowing diagnostic imaging as well as image guided surgical, photodynamic or radiopeptide therapy to selectively resect/destroy diseased beta cells. This platform will enable delivery of patient-individual tailored therapy, increasing cure rate while significantly reducing or even avoiding side effects. The platform will integrate information from pre-clinical imaging for optimal therapy planning with intra-operative imaging for image guided surgery. By implementation of extended field optical coherence tomography, information on a histopathological level will allow increased precision of therapy. Highly innovative photodynamic therapy will enable selective (endoscopic) destruction of diseased beta cells without resection of pancreatic tissue. Outcome: Our highly-innovative integrated imaging/therapy (theranostic) platform will allow diagnosis and monitoring of disease, support and guide therapeutic intervention, predict outcome of intervention and individual prognosis. This technology will massively improve therapy, especially in infants, by improving cure rates while significantly reducing morbidity for improved quality of life and increased life expectancy. We will contribute to the goals of the International Rare Diseases Research Consortium (IRDiRC): 200 new therapies.


Grant
Agency: GTR | Branch: EPSRC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 1.30M | Year: 2016

One of the major current scientific and technological challenges concerns the conversion of carbon dioxide to fuels and useful products in effective and economically viable manner. This proposal responds to the major challenge of developing low energy routes to convert carbon dioxide to fuels and useful chemicals. The project has the following four main strands: (i) The use of electricity generated by renewable technologies to reduce CO2 electrocatalytically, where we will develop new approaches involving the use of ionic liquid solvents to activate the CO2 (ii) The use of hydrogen in the catalytic reduction of CO2, where we will apply computational procedures to predict new materials for this key catalytic process and subsequently test them experimentally (iii) The development of new materials for use in the efficient solar generation of hydrogen which will provide the reductant for the catalytic CO2 reduction (iv) A detailed life cycle analysis which will assess the extent to which the new technology achieves the overall objective of developing low carbon fuels. Our approach aims, therefore, to exploit renewably generated energy directly via the electrocatalytic route or indirectly via the solar generated hydrogen in CO2 utilisation for the formation of fuels and/or chemicals. The different components of the approach will be fully integrated to achieve coherent, new low energy technologies for this key process, while the rigorous life-cycle analysis will ensure that it satisfies the need for a low energy technology.


Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the worlds most important age-related blinding disorder. The current proposal utilises epidemiological data describing clinical phenotype, molecular genetics, lifestyle, nutrition, and in-depth retinal imaging derived from existing longitudinal European epidemiological cohorts and biobanks to provide three major insights needed for long-lasting prevention and therapy for AMD: (a) the development of robust algorithms utilising genetic and non-genetic risk factors to identify personalised risks of developing advanced wet and dry AMD; (b) the identification of novel biomarkers for further stratification of disease risks. New insights from (a)\(b) will be used to elaborate preventive medical recommendations for highrisk subgroups of AMD patients; and (c) the identification of molecular drivers/biological pathways relevant for onset and progression of advanced AMD that will be used to identify and validate new therapeutic targets. Key deliverables are: 1. Determination of AMD frequency in Europe, and assessment of AMD risk for phenotypical, genetic, environmental, and biochemical risk factors and their interaction. (WP1-3) 2. Development of a web-based prediction model for personalised risk assessment of AMD based on integration of risk profiles derived from retinal imaging, molecular genetics, assessment of lifestyle, and biochemical testing. (WP4) 3. Modelling and functional characterisation of pathophysiological pathways identified from integrated analysis of current knowledge and the above risk profiles. (WP5) 4. Experimental testing and interpretation of pathophysiological consequences of risks at the molecular level. (WP6) 5. An extension and refinement of the prediction model (WP4) based on work in WP5 and WP6 to generate clinical guidelines for the medical management of high-risk subgroups of patients with AMD. (WP7) 6. Promotion and dissemination of newly gained knowledge towards AMD prevention and therapy development


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: CSA | Phase: MG-9.3-2014 | Award Amount: 1.67M | Year: 2014

BENEFIT takes an innovative approach by analysing funding schemes within an inter-related system. Funding schemes are successful (or not) depending on the Business Model that generates them. The performance of the Business Model is affected by the implementation context and the transport mode. It is matched successfully (or not) by a financing scheme. Relations between actors are described by a governance model (contracting arrangements). These are key elements in Transport Infrastructure Provision, Operation and Maintenance. Success is a measure of the appropriate matching of elements. Within BENEFIT funding and financing schemes are analysed in this respect. Describing these key elements through their characteristics and attributes and clustering each of them is the basis of, first, developing a generic framework. This allows for the transferability of findings with respect to lessons learned, limitations and the impact of the financial and economic crisis. Identifying best matches in their inter-relations and where to intervene, leads to move from a generic framework to a powerful decision policy tool, which can assess funding schemes for investments in modern infrastructure with smart pricing and funding in view of 2050 challenges and needs. The BENEFIT partnership takes stock of over twenty years of EC funded, national and international research. It receives direct input (evidence study cases) from the OMEGA Centre and COST Action TU1001. It is set-up to share and exchange knowledge and debate. Its high level international advisory group and its consultation group demonstrate its ability to reach out to all stakeholders to share its innovative approach. Namely: 1)Transport infrastructure business models and their project rating by which further value propositions may be included to lead to funding schemes with enhanced creditworthiness enabling viable financing 2)Transferability 3)Open-access case study database serving both practitioners and researchers


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ICT-2011.5.2 | Award Amount: 18.10M | Year: 2013

The DementiA Research Enabled by IT project responds to the European Parliaments 2011 resolution for a European Initiative on Alzheimers disease and other dementias, and the EU Year of the Brain 2014 Initiative. It delivers the first patient-specific predictive models for early differential diagnosis of dementias and their evolution. Its mechanistic/phenomenological models of the ageing brain account simultaneously for the patient-specific multiscale biochemical, metabolic and biomechanical brain substrate, as well as for genetic, clinical, demographic and lifestyle determinants. It investigates the effect of metabolic syndrome, diabetes, diets, exercise, and pulmonary conditions on the ageing brain, as environmental factors influencing onset and evolution of dementias.\n\nAn integrated clinical decision support platform will be validated/ tested by access to a dozen databases of international cross-sectional and longitudinal studies, including exclusive access to a population study that has tracked brain ageing in more than 10,000 individuals for over 20 years (Rotterdam Study).\n\nEnabling more objective, earlier, predictive and individualised diagnosis and prognosis of dementias will support health systems worldwide to cope with the burden of 36M patients that, due to ageing societies, will increase to 115M by 2050. Worldwide costs are estimated to 450B annually. In 2012, the WHO declared dementia a global health priority.\n\nOur consortium assembles highly recognised engineering, physical, biomedical and clinical scientists, and industrial partners experienced in exploiting VPH technologies in healthcare. Co-operation with infrastructure projects like VPH-Share, related international Physiome efforts, and other dementia research consortia is assured, allowing European researchers from different disciplines to contribute to share resources, methods and generate new knowledge.


Grant
Agency: GTR | Branch: EPSRC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 5.75M | Year: 2013

We propose an End Use Energy Demand (EUED) Centre focused on Energy Epidemiology to be located at the multidisciplinary UCL Energy Institute (UCL-Energy), which undertakes research on energy demand and energy systems. Energy Epidemiology uses data and modelling to study energy use in the real world, with the aim of understanding the interactions of policy, technology, infrastructure, people and culture. The Centre for Energy Epidemiology (CEE) will: undertake primary data collection; advise on data collection; provide secure and ethical curation of a wealth of administrative, commercial and research data; link, develop and use innovative research methods; and support a structured research programme on energy demand intended to achieve a major reduction in UK carbon emissions. CEE will provide key research and policy insights at city, regional, national and international levels. It will support UK academics, policymakers and industry to research energy demand, by providing a cost-effective, secure and ethical bureau service for energy and related data. It will work closely with the new cross-government Energy Efficiency Deployment Office (EEDO) of DECC, the Energy Saving Trust, UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) and the new Open Data Institute (ODI) to marshal and maximise the value of existing and very large future sources of energy-related data (big data), ensuring the greatest impact for evidence-based energy demand research. The Centre will initiate and be a key player in an international network of energy epidemiologists, sharing research methods and undertaking cross-cultural comparisons of policies and technologies to reduce energy demand and to help the UK to meet its carbon targets. UCL-Energy: - has a clear focus on energy demand and its interaction with energy supply systems - this has been the core focus of UCL-Energy since its launch, with full UCL support, 35 months ago. - is multi- and interdisciplinary with lawyers, economists, social scientists, engineers, physicists, psychologists, architects, mathematicians and policy analysts co-located in open plan offices facilitating collaborative work. It has successfully worked with researchers from anthropology, English literature and history on energy demand problems. - makes an impact by supporting policy makers and industry to both set and achieve UK carbon targets. Examples of such support include the Green Deal, CCC budgets, smart meter rollout, and the development of products for reducing energy demand. UCL-Energy is the only university centre that has officially advised DECCs new EEDO, whose focus is squarely on EUED. - undertakes research of the highest quality; its staff were recognised as world leading by two successive EPSRC Platform Grant reviews. Roughly half its staff were submitted in the Built Environment UoA (30), for which UCL received the highest percentage (35%) of internationally leading staff (4*) in the UK. It holds the grant for the only Centre for Doctoral Training in energy demand. - is not sector-specific; it covers all energy uses and applies methods across sectors e.g. transport and buildings. - is managed as a coherent centre - this is facilitated by placing all staff under a single budget centre with a clear management structure. UCL-Energy is advised and guided by a prestigious International Advisory Board with CEOs and directors from leading companies around the world. - has leveraged a wide range of funding. From an initial UCL investment of £680k, it has so far raised £10m of external funding, including £2m from industry. - has strong leadership - its Director, Professor Tadj Oreszczyn has established a new academic department at UCL in less than 3 years, advises government at senior level, is on the boards of key organisations and has written several strategic papers on the future direction of energy demand research. - has critical mass and sustainability: UCL-Energy has 80 staff and PhD students


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-CSA-Infra | Phase: INFRA-2012-1.1.24. | Award Amount: 23.40M | Year: 2013

Research accelerators are facing important challenges that must be addressed in the years to come: existing infrastructures are stretched to all performance frontiers, new world-class facilities on the ESFRI roadmap are starting or nearing completion, and strategic decisions are needed for future accelerators and major upgrades in Europe. While current projects concentrate on their specific objectives, EuCARD-2 brings a global view to accelerator research, coordinating a consortium of 40 accelerator laboratories, technology institutes, universities and industry to jointly address common challenges. By promoting complementary expertise, cross-disciplinary fertilisation and a wider sharing of knowledge and technologies throughout academia and with industry, EuCARD-2 significantly enhances multidisciplinary R&D for European accelerators. This new project will actively contribute to the development of a European Research Area in accelerator science by effectively implementing a distributed accelerator laboratory in Europe. Transnational access will be granted to state-of-the-art test facilities, and joint R&D effort will build upon and exceed that of the ongoing EuCARD project. Researchers will concentrate on a few well-focused themes with very ambitious deliverables: 20 T accelerator magnets, innovative materials for collimation of extreme beams, new high-gradient high-efficiency accelerating systems, and emerging acceleration technologies based on lasers and plasmas. EuCARD-2 will include six networks on strategic topics to reinforce synergies between communities active at all frontiers, extending the scope towards innovation and societal applications. The networks concentrate on extreme beam performance, novel accelerator concepts with outstanding potential, energy efficiency and accelerator applications in the fields of medicine, industry, environment and energy. One network will oversee the whole project to proactively catalyze links to industry and the innovation potential.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: ERC-AG | Phase: ERC-AG-SH1 | Award Amount: 2.25M | Year: 2014

The aim of this research programme is to significantly enhance our knowledge of consumer and labour supply behaviour using frontier microeconometric analysis. The objective is to improve our understanding of how individuals make choices, how they react to changes in the economic environment and how they respond to policy reforms. There are two key aspects to the proposed research. The first is to extend the analysis of consumer behaviour and revealed preference to allow for preference heterogeneity, many goods and taste change. A central part of this work will concern the imposition of shape restrictions that derive from revealed preference and integrability restrictions in the nonparametric analysis of consumer behaviour. This work will focus on the microeconometric analysis of consumer surveys and the nonparametric estimation of consumer demand at the household level. The second is a parallel set of studies that will examine the life-cycle behaviour of consumption and labour supply choices in a dynamic environment with uncertainty. This work will use panel data to investigate non-separabilities between consumption and labour supply. It will explore the role of family labour supply as a mechanism to insure families against adverse economic shocks. It will involve bringing models of family earnings dynamics together with consumption decisions. The focus will be on the importance of non-separabilities, dynamics and heterogeneity in understanding the behavioural responses of consumption and family labour supply behaviour to policy reforms and other changes in the economic environment. Through a sequence of interrelated studies in these two broad areas, the research programme aims to radically move forward methodological approaches in empirical economics to modelling key aspects of household consumption and labour supply behaviour.


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: MSCA-ITN-ETN | Phase: MSCA-ITN-2014-ETN | Award Amount: 3.56M | Year: 2015

The aim is to create an innovative European PhD training network in bone pain. Millions in Europe and beyond suffer from bone pain, a debilitating complication of many musculoskeletal disorders such as arthritis and bone metastasis. However, being a truly multidisciplinary subject spanning neuroscience, bone biology, and even cancer research, it demands a multidisciplinary approach. Despite a huge negative impact on the quality of life of the patients and on society as a whole, no specific treatment is available. To address this societal challenge and the strong innovation potential, we want to form the first European platform to promote frontline research, innovation and education within bone pain. The network encompasses 5 academic and 2 industrial beneficiaries and 1 industrial partner all committed to creating an outstanding wide-ranging yet integrated training program for early stages researchers to elucidate the mechanisms of bone pain and develop new medicines. We will use in vivo models of arthritic pain, cancer-induced bone pain and fracture pain to investigate the pathophysiology and novel treatment strategies. In vivo electrophysiology will be used for studying the physiology and pharmacology of pain transmission and its modulation. Transgenic mouse models will be used to tease out the specific neuronal receptor subtypes involved. Sophisticated behaviour tests will evaluate response to novel treatments. We will create a biobank of human cancer-infiltrated bone to identify specific patterns of neuronal receptor expression and to validate therapeutic targets in humans. In an extensive training effort covering both specific research skills and transferable skills, the students will obtain an interdisciplinary, state-of-the-art and innovative training from the participants, several of which have experience from international networks. The students will benefit from secondments with industrial partners and with some of the foremost pain researchers in Europe


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: FETPROACT-1-2014 | Award Amount: 4.21M | Year: 2015

We propose visionary research to develop modeling, computational, and ICT tools needed to predict and influence disease spread and other contagion phenomena in complex social systems. To achieve non-incremental advances we will combine large scale, realistic, data-driven models with participatory data-collection and advanced methods for Big Data analysis. In particular we will go beyond the one-dimensional focus of current approaches tackling one aspect of the problem at a time. We will interconnect contagion progression (e.g. epidemics) with social adaptation, the economic impact and other systemic aspects that will finally allow a complete analysis of the inherent systemic risk. We will develop models dealing with multiple time and length scales simultaneously, leading to the definition of new, layered computational approaches. Towards policy impact and social response we will work to close the loop between models, data, behavior and perception and develop new concepts for the explanation, visualization and interaction with data and models both on individual and on collective level. We will cast the fundamental advances into an integrated system building on widely accepted open ICT technologies that will be used and useful beyond the project. As a tangible ICT outcome directed at facilitating the uptake and impact of the project, we will implement Interactive Social Exploratories defined as interactive environments which act as a front-end to a set of parameterizable and adjustable models, data analysis techniques, visualization methods and data collection frameworks. In summary, we aim to (1) produce fundamental theoretical, methodological and technological advances (2) mold them into a broadly usable ICT platform that will be a catalyst for producing, delivering, and embedding scientific evidence into the policy and societal processes and (3) evaluate the system empirically with policy makers and citizens focusing on the concrete problem of epidemic spreading.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-ITN-ETN | Phase: MSCA-ITN-2014-ETN | Award Amount: 3.87M | Year: 2015

This European Training Network aims to produce the next generation of early stage researchers who will enable Europe to take a leading role in the development of future devices, systems and networks supporting the 5G high-speed wireless internet. To do this, researchers must be able to work in interdisciplinary teams, integrate their activities, share expertise, and promote a vision of a converged wireless and optical devices and networks that efficiently supports the services and applications being demanded. A large number of technologies and devices will need to converge, co-exist and interoperate, and most importantly, cooperate, if this vision is to be efficiently and cost-effectively realised. A key area within this next generation jigsaw is the integration of optical fibre networks and radio networks at mm-wave frequencies, to provide high-bandwidth front/backhaul services and enable scalable and manageable networks without a highly complex interface structure and multiple overlaid protocols. FIWIN5G aims to provide doctoral students with the exposure to the range of skills, necessary to address these challenging demands. Deep technical knowledge but also key transferable skills common in entrepreneurship, management, financing as well as communication, and societal outreach. While becoming expects in one particular sub-domain, they must understand the broad context of their work, whether it is systems/network engineers understanding the devices and technologies that make up the networks or device engineers understanding the networks in which their devices will function. We draw together a range of world-leading partners, selected for their complimentary and excellence to offer a vital opportunity to advance industrys understanding and uptake of the key technologies in this area. To provide excellent training and diverse experience of research environments, all project involve a significant period of secondment and collaboration with an industry partner.


Grant
Agency: GTR | Branch: EPSRC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 4.56M | Year: 2016

Today we use many objects not normally associated with computers or the internet. These include gas meters and lights in our homes, healthcare devices, water distribution systems and cars. Increasingly, such objects are digitally connected and some are transitioning from cellular network connections (M2M) to using the internet: e.g. smart meters and cars - ultimately self-driving cars may revolutionise transport. This trend is driven by numerous forces. The connection of objects and use of their data can cut costs (e.g. allowing remote control of processes) creates new business opportunities (e.g. tailored consumer offerings), and can lead to new services (e.g. keeping older people safe in their homes). This vision of interconnected physical objects is commonly referred to as the Internet of Things. The examples above not only illustrate the vast potential of such technology for economic and societal benefit, they also hint that such a vision comes with serious challenges and threats. For example, information from a smart meter can be used to infer when people are at home, and an autonomous car must make quick decisions of moral dimensions when faced with a child running across on a busy road. This means the Internet of Things needs to evolve in a trustworthy manner that individuals can understand and be comfortable with. It also suggests that the Internet of Things needs to be resilient against active attacks from organised crime, terror organisations or state-sponsored aggressors. Therefore, this project creates a Hub for research, development, and translation for the Internet of Things, focussing on privacy, ethics, trust, reliability, acceptability, and security/safety: PETRAS, (also suggesting rock-solid foundations) for the Internet of Things. The Hub will be designed and run as a social and technological platform. It will bring together UK academic institutions that are recognised international research leaders in this area, with users and partners from various industrial sectors, government agencies, and NGOs such as charities, to get a thorough understanding of these issues in terms of the potentially conflicting interests of private individuals, companies, and political institutions; and to become a world-leading centre for research, development, and innovation in this problem space. Central to the Hub approach is the flexibility during the research programme to create projects that explore issues through impactful co-design with technical and social science experts and stakeholders, and to engage more widely with centres of excellence in the UK and overseas. Research themes will cut across all projects: Privacy and Trust; Safety and Security; Adoption and Acceptability; Standards, Governance, and Policy; and Harnessing Economic Value. Properly understanding the interaction of these themes is vital, and a great social, moral, and economic responsibility of the Hub in influencing tomorrows Internet of Things. For example, a secure system that does not adequately respect privacy, or where there is the mere hint of such inadequacy, is unlikely to prove acceptable. Demonstrators, like wearable sensors in health care, will be used to explore and evaluate these research themes and their tension. New solutions are expected to come out of the majority of projects and demonstrators, many solutions will be generalisable to problems in other sectors, and all projects will produce valuable insights. A robust governance and management structure will ensure good management of the research portfolio, excellent user engagement and focussed coordination of impact from deliverables. The Hub will further draw on the expertise, networks, and on-going projects of its members to create a cross-disciplinary language for sharing problems and solutions across research domains, industrial sectors, and government departments. This common language will enhance the outreach, development, and training activities of the Hub.


Grant
Agency: GTR | Branch: NERC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 148.26K | Year: 2016

As a first stage in the analysis of storm surge risks to UK port infrastructure and supply chain operation, this project aims to improve the resilience of the port of Immingham and its critical biomass/coal transport link to power stations. The project includes the following three activities: WF1: To refine and operationalize an innovative artificial neural network (ANN) extreme sea-level prediction model (NE/M008150/1) for application at Immingham (with potential application for other UK ports, especially within estuaries). WF2: To translate predicted surge height and duration to risks to infrastructure (equipment, facilities) and operations (i.e. impacts on biomass/coal flows) through stakeholder engagement. WF3: Incorporate railway infrastructure and freight train movements to UCLs MARS model (used in NE/M008150/1) to predict the cascading impacts on the power sector.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA-SA | Phase: SiS.2013.1.1.1-1 | Award Amount: 7.76M | Year: 2014

This project will develop and use a Training and Dissemination Toolkit on Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI). It will be addressed and designed by all the stakeholders of the Research and Innovation (RI) chain of value, including Researchers, Civil Society, Industry and Education but will specially focus on Policy Makers in order to impact significantly in the future governance of RI. The Consortium that will carry out the project is a 26 multi-stakeholder group of institutions with experience in different key components of RRI. The project envisages the creation of 19 RRI Hubs covering 30 countries of the European Research Area. The Consortium and the RRI Hubs will carry out a process of development of the toolkit that will be collaborative and inclusive, this way fostering methods and channels of dialogue in order to increase creativity and shared ownership of the process. Ultimately, the process will lead to a Community of Practice in RRI which will assure the use, evolution and enrichment of the toolkit. The RRI Toolkit will be an innovative and creative set of tools comprising practical digital resources and actions aimed at raising awareness, training, disseminating and implementing RRI. The RRI Hubs will be responsible for training on the use of the toolkit throughout Europe, of advocating policy makers at a national and regional level and of disseminating the concept of RRI to a wide audience. Bridging the gap between Science and Society has been a challenge for decades. Today, there is evidence that we need to involve wider society in decisions about the form and direction of research and innovation to contribute to a smart, inclusive and sustainable growth of our societies. RRI TOOLS will help transform Research and Innovation in Europe into a process targeted at the grand challenges of our time (science for society) where deliberation and reflection are coupled with action (science with society).


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: SGA-RIA | Phase: FETFLAGSHIP | Award Amount: 89.00M | Year: 2016

This project is the second in the series of EC-financed parts of the Graphene Flagship. The Graphene Flagship is a 10 year research and innovation endeavour with a total project cost of 1,000,000,000 euros, funded jointly by the European Commission and member states and associated countries. The first part of the Flagship was a 30-month Collaborative Project, Coordination and Support Action (CP-CSA) under the 7th framework program (2013-2016), while this and the following parts are implemented as Core Projects under the Horizon 2020 framework. The mission of the Graphene Flagship is to take graphene and related layered materials from a state of raw potential to a point where they can revolutionise multiple industries. This will bring a new dimension to future technology a faster, thinner, stronger, flexible, and broadband revolution. Our program will put Europe firmly at the heart of the process, with a manifold return on the EU investment, both in terms of technological innovation and economic growth. To realise this vision, we have brought together a larger European consortium with about 150 partners in 23 countries. The partners represent academia, research institutes and industries, which work closely together in 15 technical work packages and five supporting work packages covering the entire value chain from materials to components and systems. As time progresses, the centre of gravity of the Flagship moves towards applications, which is reflected in the increasing importance of the higher - system - levels of the value chain. In this first core project the main focus is on components and initial system level tasks. The first core project is divided into 4 divisions, which in turn comprise 3 to 5 work packages on related topics. A fifth, external division acts as a link to the parts of the Flagship that are funded by the member states and associated countries, or by other funding sources. This creates a collaborative framework for the entire Flagship.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ICT-2011.5.2 | Award Amount: 16.43M | Year: 2013

MD-Paedigree is a clinically-led VPH project that addresses both the first and the second actions of part B of Objective ICT-2011.5.2:\n1. it enhances existing disease models stemming from former EC-funded research (Health-e-Child and Sim-e-Child) and from industry and academia, by developing robust and reusable multi-scale models for more predictive, individualised, effective and safer healthcare in several disease areas;\n2. it builds on the eHealth platform already developed for Health-e-Child and Sim-e-Child to establish a worldwide advanced paediatric digital repository.\nIntegrating the point of care through state-of-the-art and fast response interfaces, MD-Paedigree services a broad range of off-the-shelf models and simulations to support physicians and clinical researchers in their daily work. MD-Paedigree vertically integrates data, information and knowledge of incoming patients, in participating hospitals from across Europe and the USA, and provides innovative tools to define new workflows of models towards personalised predictive medicine. Conceived of as a part of the VPH Infostructure described in the ARGOS, MD-Paedigree encompasses a set of services for storage, sharing, similarity search, outcome analysis, risk stratification, and personalised decision support in paediatrics within its innovative model-driven data and workflow-based digital repository. As a specific implementation of the VPH-Share project, MD-Paedigree fully interoperates with it. It has the ambition to be the dominant tool within its purview. MD-Paedigree integrates methodological approaches from the targeted specialties and consequently analyzes biomedical data derived from a multiplicity of heterogeneous sources (from clinical, genetic and metagenomic analysis, to MRI and US image analytics, to haemodynamics, to real-time processing of musculoskeletal parameters and fibres biomechanical data, and others), as well as specialised biomechanical and imaging VPH simulation models.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: EINFRA-2-2014 | Award Amount: 13.13M | Year: 2015

OpenAIRE2020 represents a pivotal phase in the long-term effort to implement and strengthen the impact of the Open Access (OA) policies of the European Commission (EC), building on the achievements of the OpenAIRE projects. OpenAIRE2020 will expand and leverage its focus from (1) the agents and resources of scholarly communication to workflows and processes, (2) from publications to data, software, and other research outputs, and the links between them, and (3) strengthen the relationship of European OA infrastructures with other regions of the world, in particular Latin America and the U.S. Through these efforts OpenAIRE2020 will truly support and accelerate Open Science and Scholarship, of which Open Access is of fundamental importance. OpenAIRE2020 continues and extends OpenAIREs scholarly communication infrastructure to manage and monitor the outcomes of EC-funded research. It combines its substantial networking capacities and technical capabilities to deliver a robust infrastructure offering support for the Open Access policies in Horizon 2020, via a range of pan-European outreach activities and a suite of services for key stakeholders. It provides researcher support and services for the Open Data Pilot and investigates its legal ramifications. The project offers to national funders the ability to implement OpenAIRE services to monitor research output, whilst new impact measures for research are investigated. OpenAIRE2020 engages with innovative publishing and data initiatives via studies and pilots. By liaising with global infrastructures, it ensures international interoperability of repositories and their valuable OA contents. To ensure sustainability and long-term health for the overall OpenAIRE infrastructure, the proposed OpenAIRE2020 project will establish itself as a legal entity, which will manage the production-level responsibilities securing 24/7 reliability and continuity to all relevant user groups, data providers and other stakeholders.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: CSA | Phase: SC5-14-2014 | Award Amount: 2.99M | Year: 2015

In the last two decades the world has experienced several crises. In light of these trends and to more effectively move towards sustainable development, several organisations and international actors have developed the concept of green economy as action-oriented approaches. Priority interventions are aimed at triggering technology adoption, and stimulate behavioural change. In fact, eco-innovation can be considered an enabler for a green economy to the same extent that the green economy can be understood as an enabler of sustainable development. Green.eu is designed to address these challenges, ranging the conceptualization of eco-innovation and the green economy, to the harmonization of the approaches needed to coherently assess performance, identify gaps (successes and failures) for the effective adoption of technologies that can create win-win results. In particular, the project is designed so as to improve (1) harmonization of definitions, (2) collection of relevant information on the performance of past and current efforts, and (3) coordination among stakeholders. Green.eu sees the main challenges in an improved understanding (and scientific assessment) of the concepts of green economy and eco-innovation, on the adaptation of policy agendas, the documentation of best practices and guidelines for knowledge transfer and transferability. The inter- and transdisciplinary green.eu network (including knowledge brokers, programme owners and global industry networks) is research based and aims to accelerate the transition towards a green economy significantly, with a European focus on co-development of knowledge. It aims to exploit win-win-opportunities and to improve the take up of R&D results. It includes the following work packages: Networking and co-ordination; Harmonization of concepts of green economy and eco-innovation; Eco-innovation policy agendas; Best practices, knowledge transfer, transferability; Integration and operationalization of lessons learned.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: ICT-18-2016 | Award Amount: 3.94M | Year: 2016

Issues of data subjects privacy and data security represent a crucial challenge in the biomedical sector more than in other industries. The current IT landscape in this field shows a myriad of isolated, locally hosted patient data repositories, managed by clinical centres and other organisations, which are subject to frequent and massive data breaches. Patients are disenfranchised in this process, and are not able to have a clear understanding of who uses their personal information and for what purposes. This makes it the ideal field to build and test new models of privacy and data protection, and the technologies that encode them. MyHealthMyData (MHMD) aims at changing the existing scenario by introducing a distributed, peer-to-peer architecture, based on Blockchain and Personal Data Accounts. This approach will determine new mechanisms of trust and of direct, value-based relationships between people, hospitals, research centres and businesses, in what will be the first open biomedical information network centred on the connection between organisations and the individual. The system will develop a comprehensive methodology to guide the implementation of data and identity protection systems, specifically defining approaches and tools to profile and classify sensitive data based on their informational and economic value, to assess the most suitable and robust de-identification and encryption technologies needed to secure different types of information, to allow advanced analytics, and to evaluate the overall reliability of a generic multi modular architecture. MHMD will also analyse users behavioural patterns alongside ethical and cultural orientations, to identify hidden dynamics in the interactions between humans and complex information services, to improve the design of data-driven platforms and to foster the development of a true information marketplace, in which individuals will be able to exercise full control on their personal data and leverage their value.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | 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.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: FETOPEN-01-2016-2017 | Award Amount: 5.73M | Year: 2017

We envision a radical redesign of Earth observation platforms for sustained operation at significantly lower altitudes than the current state of the art, using a combination of new aerodynamic materials, aerodynamic control and air-breathing electric propulsion for drag-compensation, for a variety of observation methods with the aim of creating a new platform paradigm. This vision requires foundational research in spacecraft aerodynamic characterization, in material aerodynamics and atomic oxygen resistance, in electric propulsion, and control methods. These activities are by their nature multidisciplinary covering atmospheric science, surface chemistry and material characterization, control engineering, spacecraft design, payload engineering, etc.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: SGA-CSA | Phase: WIDESPREAD-1-2014 | Award Amount: 499.85K | Year: 2015

This proposal aims to develop the necessary endeavours to elaborate a robust and feasible Business Plan that will be the basis for the creation of a new Centre of Excellence in Portugal The Discoveries Centre for Regenerative and Precision Medicine. It is an initiative of the Portuguese Foundation for Science & Technology, scientifically coordinated by the University of Minho and involving a national partnership formed by the 6 top-ranked Portuguese universities. The new Centre will result from a teaming process with the University College London, an institution of research and innovation excellence from the UK. The experience and expertise of all these entities future founding members of the new Centre will be used to design the necessary strategies and approaches to build the final business plan. The Discoveries Centre to be created will perform world-leading research, by anchoring research activities of the best research groups in Portugal, promoting excellence, advanced training, translational research outputs and commercialisation strategies. In the long-run, these are expected to generate an important economic impact, as well as a positive social effect by contributing to the increase of the quality of life of an ageing European population affected by neurodegenerative, cardiovascular and musculoskeletal diseases. Therefore, it is anticipated that The Discoveries Centre will be able to foster a knowledge-based economy aligned with national and regional strategic priority areas and European societal challenges, thus reinforcing Portugals scientific capabilities and social and economic development. It will also contribute to a global recognition of the national scientific production, having a structuring effect in the Portuguese science, generating high value-added products, attracting top-level international scientists, as well as enhancing the capacity to retain the best Portuguese researchers.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: NMP.2013.1.4-2 | Award Amount: 11.56M | Year: 2013

The NanoMag project is to improve and redefine existing analyzing methods and in some cases, to develop new analyzing methods for magnetic nanostructures. Using improved manufacturing technologies we will synthesize magnetic nanoparticles with specific properties that will be analyzed with a multitude of characterization techniques (focusing on both structural as well as magnetic properties) and bring the experimental results together to obtain a self-consistent picture which describes how structural and magnetic properties are interrelated. This extensive survey will be used to define standard measurements and techniques which are necessary for defining a magnetic nanostructure and quality control. NanoMag brings together Europes and internationally leading experts in; manufacturing of magnetic single-core nanoparticles and magnetic multi-core particles, analyzing and characterization of magnetic nanostructures and national metrology institutes. In the consortium we have gathered partners within research institutes, universities and metrology institutes, all carrying out front end research and developing applications in the field of magnetic nanoparticles.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: PHC-09-2015 | Award Amount: 28.14M | Year: 2016

Many HIV vaccine concepts and several efficacy trials have been conducted in the prophylactic and therapeutic fields with limited success. There is an urgent need to develop better vaccines and tools predictive of immunogenicity and of correlates of protection at early stage of vaccine development to mitigate the risks of failure. To address these complex and challenging scientific issues, the European HIV Vaccine Alliance (EHVA) program will develop a Multidisciplinary Vaccine Platform (MVP) in the fields of prophylactic and therapeutic HIV vaccines. The Specific Objectives of the MVP are to build up: 1.Discovery Platform with the goal of generating novel vaccine candidates inducing potent neutralizing and non-neutralizing antibody responses and T-cell responses, 2. Immune Profiling Platform with the goal of ranking novel and existing (benchmark) vaccine candidates on the basis of the immune profile, 3. Data Management/Integration/Down-Selection Platform, with the goal of providing statistical tools for the analysis and interpretation of complex data and algorithms for the efficient selection of vaccines, and 4. Clinical Trials Platform with the goal of accelerating the clinical development of novel vaccines and the early prediction of vaccine failure. EHVA project has developed a global and innovative strategy which includes: a) the multidisciplinary expertise involving immunologists, virologists, structural biology experts, statisticians and computational scientists and clinicians; b) the most innovative technologies to profile immune response and virus reservoir; c) the access to large cohort studies bringing together top European clinical scientists/centres in the fields of prophylactic and therapeutic vaccines, d) the access to a panel of experimental HIV vaccines under clinical development that will be used as benchmark, and e) the liaison to a number of African leading scientists/programs which will foster the testing of future EHVA vaccines through EDCTP


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: HEALTH.2013.2.4.1-1 | Award Amount: 7.56M | Year: 2013

Ewing Sarcomas (ES) are fatal, rare bone cancers particularly affecting young people. About 60% of patients achieve long term survival with current treatment but there has been no improvement in this proportion for 25 years. Treatment is unsuccessful because chemotherapy fails to prevent the development of, or to effectively treat established, metastases. In addition, of the 600 new cases of ES occurring in the EU each year, less than half will receive treatment appropriate to deliver the most favourable outcome. The EUROEWING Consortium (EEC) is a coalition of clinical study groups bringing together the most active clinicians and scientists in Europe dedicated to improving survival from ES. This initiative can achieve this through an integrated programme of investigator-driven, inclusive clinical trials that are rigorously designed, conducted, analysed and reported, and underpinned by complementary embedded translational research. These include i) a first line randomised study in patients of all ages with ES which defines standards of care to prevent development of metastases and serves as a backbone for implementation of new agents, and ii) a randomised study of current second line chemotherapy in patients of all ages with ES which will serve as a platform for testing of new agents. Companion studies in association with these trials will be performed investigating tumour biology, underlying causes of differential response and toxicity, and other biomarkers. The programme will be supported by new initiatives for the involvement of patients in research planning and operation. Through collaborative working, the EEC will provide ES patients with greater access to clinical trials, allow efficient acquisition of knowledge and deliver clinically meaningful results within the lifetime of the grant, thereby contributing to improved survival from ES.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: CSA | Phase: MG-8.6-2016 | Award Amount: 599.94K | Year: 2016

The concept of this project is to organise two competitions for transport research awards to be announced at the TRA conference in 2018 - A Young researchers competition with the goal of stimulating the interest among young researchers/students in the field of sustainable surface transport. - A competition for senior researchers in the field of innovative surface transport concepts based on results only from EU-funded projects.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: IA | Phase: ICT-22-2016 | Award Amount: 5.55M | Year: 2017

The overarching aim of the iRead project is to develop a software infrastructure of personalised, adaptive technologies and a diverse set of applications for supporting learning and teaching of reading skills. The specific goals of the project proposed are to: 1. Develop a scalable, cloud-based software infrastructure of open, interoperable components, including real-time user modelling and domain knowledge components, to support learning of reading skills by children with different abilities and linguistic backgrounds 2. Develop domain models for English, Greek, German and Spanish learners, and to contextualise those models with respect to skills and difficulties of (i) typically developing readers, (ii) English and Greek readers with dyslexia and (ii) learners of English as a Foreign language. The domain models will utilise and generalise the domain model implemented in a previous FP7 project iLearnRW 3. Develop applications for supporting learning (literacy games, interactive e-books, Reader app) that utilise the infrastructure to yield different types of personalised learning services and experiences 4. Develop and evaluate personalised content classification metrics that enable reading for use by electronic publishers and libraries 5. Enable orchestrated use of the learning applications (games, e-books, Reader app) based on learning analytics, and a personalised experience through adaptive support 6. Implement a number of large-scale evaluation pilots across European countries and providers in order to evaluate the pedagogical effectiveness of the iRead ecosystem.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: INT-10-2015 | Award Amount: 2.49M | Year: 2016

Southeast Europe has seen a century of continuous transformation and transition the disappearance and emergence of states, political and legal systems, ideologies, institutions, and social classes. This has been accompanied by a stability of social practices resistant to change. Shaken by radically changing ideological and legal structures, citizens rely on customary and informal social networks of kin, symbolic kin, and friends for meeting economic needs, and on clan- or kin-related structures rather than the rule of law for security and protection. We trace the persistence of informal practices to: 1) the external origin of major transformations, including the transitions to and from socialism; 2) the incomplete character of change, which has tended to be replaced by equally radical but diametrically opposed projects; 3) the development of a buffer culture based on informal practices, directed to enabling people to survive under unstable conditions; and 4) the widening gap between formal institutions and informal social practices. The distance between proclaimed goals and existing practices represents the key challenge to the European integration of Balkan societies. The integration process could end with superficial change, behind which the real social life of corruption, clientelism, tension, inequality, and exclusion will continue to unfold. We propose to explicate the key formal and informal rules of the game, and to identify and decipher the unwritten rules which underpin tactical maneuvering between formal and informal institutions, in various spheres and at various levels of social life. These would then be compared to the demands and recommendations laid out in the key EU documents outlining expectations from Southeast European states. The goal is to contribute to the formulation of policy recommendations which would aim not to eradicate informal practices, but to close the gap between formal and informal institutions in Balkan societies.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: PHC-14-2015 | Award Amount: 7.10M | Year: 2016

Short Bowel Syndrome (SBS) is a condition that occurs when part or the entire small intestine is missing or has been removed during surgery. This condition renders the bowel incapable of fulfilling its nutritional function (intestinal failure). There is no cure for SBS. Parenteral (intravenous) nutrition (PN) and bowel transplantation are currently the preferred options for nutrition in children and adults who have lost their bowel. PN offers a low survival rate, compromised quality of life, and the economic cost for each patient is estimated to be 55,000 euro/year. Small intestinal transplant is also an option with one-year and 4-year survival rates of 90% and 60% respectively. However, because of the shortage of organs, high mortality, the severe side effects of immunosuppression and low quality of life, this is still a sub-optimal solution. The objective of this programme is to deliver a functional bowel reconstruction to patients with SBS through an autologous tissue engineering strategy, overcoming the shortage of organs, and avoiding the need for immunosuppression. It will be achieved by identifying the best autologous cell source; providing the ideal scaffold; engineering functional intestine for transplantation and engaging with patients, scientists and public. The work is designed to lead directly to a clinical trial for the application of the optimal protocol for tissue-engineered intestine. The consortium is uniquely positioned to complete this ambitious effort as we have an internationally pre-eminent, multi-disciplinary team, which possesses a combination of expertise from basic molecular biology, engineering, and surgery, combining knowledge from universities, hospitals and industry. Importantly we are one of the few groups in the world with experience, infrastructure, and track record to translate regenerative medicine solutions to patients, including true clinical translation of tissue engineered organs.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: SC5-06-2016-2017 | Award Amount: 6.35M | Year: 2016

The Paris Agreement substantially increased the need for countries and regions to understand the full economic, social and environmental implications of the deep decarbonisation to which the global community is now committed. The EU has long had decarbonisation ambitions, but there remains considerable uncertainty as to precisely how these ambitions will be achieved, or what the impacts of such achievement will be on the EU economy and society more generally. INNOPATHS will resolve this uncertainty to the extent possible, will characterise and provide a quantification of the uncertainty which remains, and will describe in great detail a number of possible low-carbon pathways for the EU, together with the economic, social and environmental impacts to which they are likely to lead. These pathways will be co-designed with the aid of 23 stakeholders from different sectors who have already provided letters of support to INNOPATHS. INNOPATHS will suggest through this analysis how the benefits of these pathways, such as new industries, jobs and competitiveness, may be maximized, and how any negative impacts, such as those on low-income households, or on carbon-intensive sectors, may be mitigated. INNOPATHS will communicate its insights through the normal scientific channels, and make substantial contributions to the scientific literature, but will go well beyond this in terms of interactions with stakeholders, building on the co-design processes in the project to reach out to stakeholder networks of businesses, NGOs, local and national policy makers. INNOPATHS will create four innovative online tools to explain its pathways, technological transitions and policies, to different constituencies. Through these tools and other dissemination and communication mechanisms, INNOPATHS will have a substantial impact on the climate and energy policy debates up to and beyond 2020, increasing the probability that decisions in this area will be taken in an informed and cost-effective way


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: PHC-04-2015 | Award Amount: 5.95M | Year: 2016

The overarching aim of INHERIT is to define effective inter-sectoral policies and interventions that promote health and well being across the social gradient by tackling key environmental stressors and related inequalities in the areas of living, consuming and moving. INHERIT will bring together relevant stakeholders from different sectors, including the private sector. It will support inter-sectoral cooperation between environment, climate and health by: a) Analysing existing scientific knowledge on key environmental stressors to health and approaches to address these; b) Identifying existing promising inter-sector policies and interventions that enable conditions for more healthy and environmentally sustainable behaviours, in three main areas: living, consuming and moving; c) Developing a Common Analytical Framework using impact assessment tools and quantitative and qualitative indicators to assess the social, environmental and health benefits and the economic value in promising inter-sectoral interventions; d) Developing targets and future visions while considering overall economic and politics contexts and global trends (i.e. participatory back-casting, stakeholder and citizen consultations and household surveys); e) Implementing, testing and evaluating pilot interventions in different European contexts; f) Enhancing the leadership skills of public health professionals in inter-sectoral work to address key environmental stressors to health and promote healthy and environmentally sustainable lifestyles; g) Translating evaluation findings into models of good practice for effective inter-sectoral work and evidence based tools for policy development to contribute to the global and European environment, health and sustainable development policy agenda. The novelty of INHERIT lies in its support for health, environment and climate sectors to jointly pursue the inter-related goals of improving health and well-being of the population while preserving the environment.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: PHC-14-2015 | Award Amount: 7.47M | Year: 2016

Severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) is a devastating rare disorder of immune system development. Affected infants are born without functional immune systems and die within the first year of life unless effective treatment is given. Treatment options are limited to allogeneic haematopoietic stem cell transplantation and autologous stem cell gene therapy. Over the last 15 years, gene therapy for two forms of SCID (SCID-X1 and ADA SCID) has shown significant safety and efficacy in correcting the immunodeficiency and allowing children to live normal lives. Proof of concept of gene therapy for 3 other SCID forms has also been shown by members of the proposed SCIDNET consortium and is ready for translation into clinical trials. We are therefore in a position whereby, over the next 4 years, we can offer gene therapy as a curative option for over 80% of all forms of SCID in Europe. Importantly for 1 of these conditions (ADA SCID) we will undertake clinical trials that will lead to marketing authorisation of the gene therapy product as a licensed medicine. In addition, we will investigate the future technologies that will improve the safety and efficacy of gene therapy for SCID. Our proposal addresses an unmet clinical need in SCID, which is classified as a rare disease according to EU criteria (EC regulation No. 141/2000). The proposal also addresses the need to develop an innovative treatment such as gene therapy from early clinical trials though to a licensed medicinal product through involvement with regulatory agencies and is in keeping with the ambitions of the IRDiRC. The lead ADA SCID programme has Orphan Drug Designation and clinical trial design is assisted by engagement with the European medicines Agency. The ADA SCID trial will act as a paradigm for the development of the technologies and processes that will allow gene therapy for not only SCID, but also other bone marrow disorders, to become authorised genetic medicines in the future.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: HEALTH.2013.1.3-2 | Award Amount: 7.95M | Year: 2013

TRANSLINK is a project devoted to assessing the mid-to long-term risk factors and improve the outcome of animal (bovine/porcine)-derived Bioprosthetic Heart Valve (BHV) implants. 300,000 patients/year benefit from BHV, a major healthcare problem (second most frequent cardiac surgery). BHV clinical outcome suffers from late dysfunctions restricting their application to older recipients. Based on a retrospective (already computerised) and prospective cohort of approximately 3,000 BHV recipients and control patients from 3 large EU cardiac surgery groups, TRANSLINK aims primarily to establish the possible role of recipients immune response (IR) against BHV as a major cause to mid- to-long term clinical dysfunction. Precise molecular analysis of preimplantation BVH sugar moieties will be performed. Possible indirect side-effects on BHV endocarditis and host vessels inflammation are secondary end points. Serial and trans-sectional blood samples will be dispatched to a battery of highly specialised partner groups for testing anti-Gal, -Neu5Gc and -hyaluronic acid antibodies (Ig) using both validated and newly designed screening tools, glycan array patterns, and macrophages/NK responses. Data will be crossed with clinical outcome scores. Project design aims at delivering comprehensive recommendations in the time-frame of the grant. Fundamental basic science progress in the field of carbohydrate antigens is also expected. Furthermore, prevention (BHV from engineered animal source lacking major antigens) and treatment (bioabsorbants of deleterious Ig) oriented remedies as well as prospective biomarkers of longterm BHV deterioration will be set up by three first-class SMEs. TRANSLINK may strongly impact the treatment of heart valve diseases by improving morbid-mortality in patients with heart valves diseases and increasing the indication of BHV to younger patients.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: LCE-11-2015 | Award Amount: 5.99M | Year: 2016

WASTE2FUELS aims to develop next generation biofuel technologies capable of converting agrofood waste (AFW) streams into high quality biobutanol. Butanol is one of the most promising biofuels due to its superior fuel properties compared to current main biofuels, bioethanol and biodiesel. In addition to its ability to reduce carbon emissions, its higher energy content (almost 30% more than ethanol), its ability to blend with both gasoline and diesel, its lower risk of separation and corrosion, its resistance to water absorption, allowing it to be transported in pipes and carriers used by gasoline, it offers a very exciting advantage for adoption as engines require almost no modifications to use it. The main WASTE2FUELS innovations include: Development of novel pretreatment methods for converting AFW to an appropriate feedstock for biobutanol production thus dramatically enlarging current available biomass for biofuels production Genetically modified microorganisms for enhancing conversion efficiencies of the biobutanol fermentation process Coupled recovery and biofilm reactor systems for enhancing conversion efficiencies of Acetone-Butanol-Ethanol fermentation Development of new routes for biobutanol production via ethanol catalytic conversion Biobutanol engine tests and ecotoxicological assessment of the produced biobutanol Valorisation of the process by-products Development of an integrated model to optimise the waste-to-biofuel conversion and facilitate the industrial scale-up Process fingerprint analysis by environmental and techno-economic assessment Biomass supply chain study and design of a waste management strategy for rural development By valorising 50% of the unavoidable and undervalorised AFW as feedstock for biobutanol production, WASTE2FUELS could divert up to 45 M tonnes of food waste from EU landfills, preventing 18 M tonnes of GHG and saving almost 0.5 billion litres of fossil fuels.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: PHC-16-2015 | Award Amount: 5.99M | Year: 2016

Chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) are artificial surface receptors that can be introduced into somatic cells by genetic engineering and that act as recognition molecules like antibodies or T-cell receptors. In this respect, CARs are increasingly used for cellular therapy to redirect T-cells specifically towards killing of cancer cells. Recent success stories of cancer therapy with CAR modified T-cells have raised enormous scientific and public expectations to cure severely ill patients. However, there are still many obstacles to overcome for translation into clinics because the technology for GMP-compliant manufacture of genetically modified cellular products is extremely complex and expensive. Moreover, CAR therapy needs to be improved with respect to off-target activity, safety and potency. Consequently, the envisaged project is overall aiming at a particular technological breakthrough in cellular cancer therapy by delivering a comprehensive CARAT platform explicitly tailored for automated, easy-to-handle and cost-efficient manufacture of CAR-modified ATMP. Specifically, we aim: (a) to implement unique next-generation cell processing tools like the CliniMACS Prodigy (b) to develop advanced enabling technologies to obtain more effective and safer cellular products by improved gene delivery and innovative CARs design (c) to assemble tools and technologies towards an integrated CARAT process for automated GMP-compliant manufacture of gene-modified T-cells (d) to demonstrate proof-of-concept and regulatory compliance (e) to disseminate broadly applicable, simplified CAR T-cell technologies In summary, our vision is to overcome current hurdles for translation of cellular therapies and to elevate them to the next level of standard-of-care thus serving patients with so far incurable solid tumours and hematologic malignancies. Thereby, we will empower Europe to become a global leader in the development and commercialisation of CAR T-cell tools and technologies.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: EO-2-2015 | Award Amount: 2.99M | Year: 2016

With the start of the SENTINEL era, an unprecedented amount of Earth Observation (EO) data will become available. Currently there is no consistent but extendible and adaptable framework to integrate observations from different sensors in order to obtain the best possible estimate of the land surface state. MULTIPY proposes a solution to this challenge. The project will develop an efficient and fully traceable platform that uses state-of-the-art physical radiative transfer models, within advanced data assimilation (DA) concepts, to consistently acquire, interpret and produce a continuous stream of high spatial and temporal resolution estimates of land surface parameters, fully characterized. These inferences on the state of the land surface will be the result from the coherent joint interpretation of the observations from the different Sentinels, as well as other 3rd party missions (e.g. ProbaV, Landsat, MODIS). The framework allows users to exchange components as plug-ins according to their needs. The proposal is based on the EO-LDAS concepts developed within several ESA-funded projects, which have shown the feasibility of producing estimates of the land surface parameters by combining different sets of observations through the use of radiative transfer models. We will provide a fully generic flexible data retrieval platform for Copernicus services that provides integrated and consistent data products in an easily accessible virtual machine with advanced visualisation tools. Users will be engaged throughout the process and trained. Moreover, user demonstrator projects include applications to crop monitoring & modelling, forestry, biodiversity and nature management. Another user demonstrator project involves providing satellite operators with an opportunity to cross-calibrate their data to the science-grade Sentinel standards.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: HEALTH.2013.2.1.1-1 | Award Amount: 16.16M | Year: 2013

Recently intense research identified around 4,000 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with human age related diseases such as metabolic disorders. Despite their highly significant association to pathology, the functional role of these genetic variants is, in most cases, yet to be elucidated. The evolutionary distance of most animal models from humans represents a major limitation for the functional validation of these SNPs. To overcome these difficulties, HUMAN will generate mouse models carrying human hepatocytes or pancreatic cells from either primary cells (hepatocytes) or induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). This innovative approach offers the unique possibility of studying function of genetic risk variants associated with metabolic diseases in an integrated living system (the mouse body), but within human-derived organs, i.e. liver and pancreas. iPSCs used to generate hepatocytes and cells will derive from extreme phenotypes, i.e. patients affected by severe metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes (T2D) or subjects selected for exceptional healthy longevity (subjects over 105 years and offspring of nonagenarian sibships) all fully clinically and metabolically characterised and genotyped; they will be selected according to the best combination of risk and protective alleles. We will test the effect of different nutritional regimes (e.g. high fat diet, caloric restriction), to disentangle the complex molecular mechanisms and circuitry across organs (e.g. hypothalamus-liver axis) which lead to pathology. HUMAN associates a core of outstanding basic research institutions to leading European biotech SMEs, and has the capability to produce at least 500 humanised mice. HUMAN will generate iPSCs biobanks and comprehensively manage all associated information. HUMAN is uniquely situated to drive innovation towards a better knowledge of the genetic basis of human metabolic diseases, thereby contributing to healthier aging of European citizens.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: SPA.2013.1.1-03 | Award Amount: 7.00M | Year: 2013

Policy makers are increasingly relying on Earth Observation (EO) data to make decisions on mitigating and adapting to climate change. These decisions need to be evidence-based and this requires complete confidence in EO-derived products. Although EO data is plentiful, it is rare to have reliable, traceable and understandable quality information. The situation is often further confused because various versions of the same product exist from data providers using different retrieval algorithms. Users need an internationally acceptable Quality Assurance (QA) framework that establishes, and provides understandable traceable quality information for the data products used in Climate Services. This will ensure that long-term data sets are historically linked and, in the future, automatically harmonised in an efficient and interoperable manner. The Quality Assurance for ECVs (QA4ECV) project will address these issues by developing a robust generic system for the QA of satellite and in-situ algorithms and data records that can be applied to all ECVs in a prototype for future sustainable services in the frame of the GMES/Copernicus Climate Change Service. Multi-use tools and SI/community reference standards will be developed. The QA4ECV project will generate quality-assured multi-decadal Climate Data Records for 3 atmospheric ECV precursors (NO2, HCHO, and CO) and 3 land ECVs (albedo, LAI, and FAPAR), with full uncertainty metrics for every pixel ready for model ingestion. The generic QA framework will be applied to these ECVs. QA4ECV will engage with all stakeholders, including other ECV projects, governance bodies and end-users, developers of Climate Services and relevant projects. The QA4ECV project will show how trustable assessments of satellite data quality and reliable means of interoperability can facilitate users in judging the fitness-for-purpose of the ECV Climate Data Record. QA4ECV will be a major step forward in providing quality assured long-term Climate Data Records that are relevant for policy and climate change assessments.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: HEALTH.2013.2.2.1-5 | Award Amount: 8.54M | Year: 2014

Neuropathic pain has a high incidence in Europe and often affects the patients emotional balance and quality of life. Recent meta-analyses have shown that conventional analgesic drugs are not sufficiently effective in these patients and are limited by serious side effects. The search for new analgesics is extremely difficult despite identification of several new potential targets and enormous investment by the pharmaceutical industry. Important reasons for this failure are the poor predictive validity of currently available animal models of chronic pain, that do not simulate multidimensional clinical pain, and the high inter-individual variability of neuropathic pain manifestations and treatment responses. We will overcome these obstacles by an interdisciplinary collaboration between basic science groups, clinicians and leading private companies. This consortium will validate new animal models to evaluate the electrophysiological, behavioural, emotional and cognitive manifestations of neuropathic pain and the effectiveness of novel compounds. The use of these models in combination with other behavioural paradigms and new conditional knockout mouse lines for specific components of the endogenous opioid and cannabinoid system will permit the identification of novel druggable targets and biomarkers for neuropathic pain. Novel analgesic compounds acting on these endogenous systems developed by the private companies of the consortium will be tested in these new paradigms. Clinical studies will identify novel biomarkers for neuropathic pain using powerful genetics approaches and investigate treatment effectiveness with a translational focus based on cross validation of the findings in animals and humans.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: HEALTH.2013.2.2.1-2 | Award Amount: 7.78M | Year: 2013

Our proposal is based on the idea that real-time functional neuroimaging can be used to train patients to regulate their own brain activity via neurofeedback training and thus modulate the brain networks of mental disorder, restore function, improve symptoms and promote resilience. We have brought together the core groups that have been instrumental in the development of methods for real-time functional imaging and fMRI (functional magnetic resonance)-based neurofeedback and have led the initial clinical applications in neuropsychiatric disorders. Our proposal has three main components, the development and refinement of methods for the real-time analysis and feedback of fMRI data and combination with other imaging modalities (WP2), the adaptation of fMRI mapping techniques to localise disease-relevant networks and development of protocols for their self-regulation through neurofeedback (WP3) and the assessment of feasibility and clinical effects in several mental disorders that are characterised by dysfunctional brain systems for motivation, emotion regulation and social communication and by important therapeutic gaps (autism spectrum disorders, alcohol addiction, post-traumatic stress disorder, childhood anxiety disorders, binge-eating disorder) (WP4). We will also explore the potential transfer of (laboratory-based) imaging feedback training into everyday settings through ambulatory and assistive technologies such as electroencephalography (EEG) and gaming (WP5). We will engage with potential users of these technologies (healthcare professionals and providers, medical instrument and software manufacturers, patient and carer associations) through several workshops, liaise with regulatory authorities and disseminate findings to the academic and user communities in WP6.

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