University of Cordoba, Spain
Cordoba, Spain
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Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: ISIB-01-2014 | Award Amount: 2.99M | Year: 2015

The objective of the project is to provide a conceptual basis, evidence, tools and improved incentive and policy options to support the smart provision of public goods by the EU agriculture and forestry ecosystems, in the light of trade-offs and conflicts brought about by prospective intensification scenarios, using a transdisciplinary approach. PROVIDE will consider a wide range of public goods, including the scope for intensification to produce negative externalities, in relation with a wide set of legislations. It will address the issue in a multi-scale framework working both at the EU level and at case study level in thirteen Countries of the EU. The practical results of the project will be: a renewed (un-packed) conceptualization of the notion of public goods; an operational framework to support the smart provision of public goods; a toolbox putting together an inventory/mapping of options, operational means for valuation and evaluation, and a selection of evaluated policy/sector mechanisms; a consolidated and long-lasting community of knowledge and practice. The project will achieve the above results through a mapping and inventory of public goods and the mechanisms producing such goods, allowing to identify hotspots for mechanisms and policy development. Around these hotspots, the project will then value different public goods and explore value transferability across several regions and ecosystems. Next, to meet a smart production of public goods, consistent with the current needs of productivity, bioeconomy strategy and rural development, innovative policy tools and mechanisms will be comparatively assessed and evaluated. The outcomes of these activities will feed information into the framework and toolbox. All these processes will be co-developed with stakeholders, so that the framework and toolbox will be a co-constructed product allowing incremental development also beyond the lifetime of the project, maximizing PROVIDEs impact.

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.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: CSA | Phase: MSCA-NIGHT-2016 | Award Amount: 368.01K | Year: 2016

Open Researchers is the fifth experience of Andalusia in the European Researchers Night. The project is designed to increase the awareness of research as a solution to the numerous challenges faced by citizens all around the world and mainly in Europe. The idea of the project, The future is today: understandable ground-breaking science for a better living, has been conceived in a time of change, a moment where becomes clearer that we must join efforts to find sustainable, equal, innovative and creative solutions to give answer to the societal challenges. To this end, according to the RRI, it is essential to promote young peoples interest in Science and Research by opening it to general public through its main protagonists, researchers. The projects major strength is the numerous activities taking place on main streets, museums, theatres, and historical buildings of the eight Andalusian cities, the high mobilization of researchers and the involvement of Municipalities, which will have a high social impact in the region. Given the projects dimensions in a wide region with 8.3 million people, it will be developed with a high and effective presence in terms of human and technical resources, and with the collaboration of the main local institutions, NGOs, private companies, teachers and civil associations. The communication campaign aims at reach every third citizen of Andalusia, and with activities in city-centre venues around 65.000 attendees each year are expected. Fundacin Descubre will coordinate this project, based in its experience through the last 7 years working with relevant projects in Spain and fundamentally in its consortium experience in the four editions of this project in Andalusia. The consortium is composed by nine Andalusian universities, the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), Andalusian Foundation Progress and Health, and the Royal Botanical Garden of Crdoba, all dedicated to higher education, research and Science popularization.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: SFS-01b-2014 | Award Amount: 9.31M | Year: 2015

Helminth and ectoparasitic infections of ruminants and poultry have a huge impact on the biological efficiency of these vital food sources. Indiscriminate antiparasitic use has led to drug resistance across the globe. The main alternative to the dwindling supply of antiparasitics is vaccines. Here, in the PARAGONE project, findings from previous EU and other-funded projects on parasite vaccine development will be exploited to take a number of promising prototypes towards commercialisation. Partners from the Europe, China, Uruguay, SMEs and pharma, will directly move forward prototypes against the ruminant helminths Fasciola hepatica, Cooperia spp., Ostertagia ostertagi, Teladorsagia circumcincta and Haemonchus contortus and, the ectoparasitic mites, Psoroptes ovis (ruminants) and Dermanyssus gallinae (poultry). They will utilise novel adjuvants or delivery systems to maximise efficacy of some of the prototypes. Moreover, immunology studies will focus on pathogens that have previously proved problematic, often because they release immunosuppressive molecules that must be overcome for vaccines to work or because recombinant vaccines have failed to elicit protection observed with native prototypes. State-of-the-art technologies will be used to interrogate host/parasite interactions to define key signatures of protection that can be used to inform delivery systems that will enhance immunity, while other studies will define polymorphism in current vaccine candidates to ensure derived prototypes will be fit-for-purpose across geographic scales. Fundamental, is engagement of the scientists with pharma and other stakeholders (farmers, veterinarians, regulators) via many dissemination activities that will be used to obtain feedback on how the vaccines can be best deployed in the field. The output will be at least two prototypes to the point of uptake by pharma, government or philanthropic agencies, and a clear pathway to commercialisation for all prototypes studied.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-ITN-EID | Phase: MSCA-ITN-2015-EID | Award Amount: 1.28M | Year: 2015

The HUGS concept ( HUmins as Green and Sustainable precursors of eco-friendly materials and biofuels) discloses an integrated multidisciplinary EID proposal with involvement of high-tech SMEs two research centers and 3 world class universities in the area of biorefinery. All partners have been chosen by their complementary expertise and their extensive experience in supervising PhD programs and coordinating international scientific projects. The proposed methodology and approach focuses on side-stream valorization of FDCA/PEF polyester production process developed by Avantium. HUGS aims to provide breakthrough knowledge combined with an excelling training program on humin by-products by implementing work packages which will respectively focus on side streams to building blocks; building blocks to composites; safety and toxicity aspects; training and dissemination activities and management, communication and public engagement. 5 PhD are envisaged to be recruited to reach these ambitious goals with regards to multidisciplinary training and beyond stateof-the-art research. Each PhD will be seconded at the company as well as between the collaborating universities aiming to develop a number of essential leadership, entrepreneurial, communication and scientific skills in program fellows. All partners will organize week-long dedicated training courses in their field of expertise (homo- & heterogeneous catalysis, physico-chemical polymer analyses, toxicity and safety, IPR, techno-economic evaluation) over the total duration of the project. The proposed research is novel and highly original which will justify scientific publications in top-ranked journals together with a unique training program. PEF is unique in being the first technical superior and 100% biobased plastic to come to the market. The HUGS project as being closely linked to PEF commercialization which it will guarantee maximal exploitation of the results, communication and public engagement.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-ITN-ETN | Phase: MSCA-ITN-2016 | Award Amount: 4.04M | Year: 2016

Primary liver cancer, which consists predominantly of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), is the fifth most common cancer worldwide and the third most common cause of cancer mortality. A successful surgical resection of HCC requires complete removal of the tumour while sparing as much healthy tissue as possible. Due to technical and clinical difficulties relatively low percentage of patients are eligible for resection. There is an urgent need to increase the patient eligibility and improve the survival prognosis after liver interventions. HiPerNav will train early stage researchers (biomedical engineers and medical doctors) to become international leading in key areas of expertise through a novel coordinated plan of individual research projects addressing specific bottlenecks in soft tissue navigation for improved treatment of liver cancer. The multi-disciplinary dialogue and work between clinicians and biomedical engineers is crucial to address these bottlenecks. By providing researchers with knowledge and training within specific topics from minimally invasive treatment, biomedical engineering, research methodologies, innovation and entrepreneurship, the link between academic research and industry will be strengthened. This allows for easy transfer of promising results from the research projects to commercially exploitable solutions. The global image guided surgery devices market is promising; it was valued at USD 2.76 billion in 2013 and is projected to expand 6.4% from 2014 to 2022 to reach USD 4.80 billion in 2022. The market for soft-tissue navigation is still in its infancy, mainly due to challenges in achieved accuracy for targeting deformable and moving organs. By providing multi-disciplinary training, the researchers in this consortium of international leading research institutions, universities and industry will initiate true translational research from academic theoretical ideas to the clinical testing of prototype, developed solutions and tools.

Colmenares J.C.,Polish Academy of Sciences | Luque R.,University of Cordoba, Spain
Chemical Society Reviews | Year: 2014

Heterogeneous photocatalysis has become a comprehensively studied area of research during the past three decades due to its practical interest in applications including water-air depollution, cancer therapy, sterilization, artificial photosynthesis (CO2 photoreduction), anti-fogging surfaces, heat transfer and heat dissipation, anticorrosion, lithography, photochromism, solar chemicals production and many others. The utilization of solar irradiation to supply energy or to initiate chemical reactions is already an established idea. Excited electron-hole pairs are generated upon light irradiation of a wide-band gap semiconductor which can be applied to solar cells to generate electricity or in chemical processes to create/degrade specific compounds. While the field of heterogeneous photocatalysis for pollutant abatement and mineralisation of contaminants has been extensively investigated, a new research avenue related to the selective valorisation of residues has recently emerged as a promising alternative to utilise solar light for the production of valuable chemicals and fuels. This tutorial review will focus on the potential and applications of solid photonanocatalysts for the selective transformation of biomass-derived substrates. This journal is © The Royal Society of Chemistry.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-IF-GF | Phase: MSCA-IF-2014-GF | Award Amount: 235.67K | Year: 2016

Aflatoxins (AF), the most toxic and carcinogenic compounds among the mycotoxins, are mainly produced by the fungi Aspergillus flavus and A. parasiticus. Because these fungi are common soil residents of almond and pistachio orchards, these nuts are one of the main sources of human exposure to AF. The consumption of almond and pistachio has increased in recent years in the European Union (EU) due to their positive effects on the consumers health. Spain has the largest area (587.000 ha) under almond cultivation after USA and its pistachio growing-area is exponentially expanding. Contaminated batches of Spanish nuts by AFs have been frequently detected. Application of atoxigenic strains of A. flavus has successfully reduced crop AF-contamination in the USA and Africa. This biological control strategy uses endemic atoxigenic A. flavus strains, considered best adapted, to displace the AF-producing fungi. Unfortunately, EU farmers do not have the benefit of this type of biological control technology since there are not registered atoxigenic strains in this area. The aim of current project is to: i) improve substrate and application methods of atoxigenic A. flavus; ii) select new biological control agents for their patent and future registration in EU and USA; and iii) construct mechanistic models of risk for AF-contamination. The expected results will have a positive impact improving food safety and the environment and securing economic benefits to EU farmers and agri-food industries. In addition, this project supports capacity building, provides the foundation to the fellow in pursuing his independent scientific career and strengthens collaboration with research groups from EU and USA, three small-medium enterprises (SEMs), and a spin-off company.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-ITN-ETN | Phase: MSCA-ITN-2014-ETN | Award Amount: 2.25M | Year: 2015

The use of visible light energy to induce chemical transformations constitutes an interesting and green activation mode of organic molecules. However, implementation of this energy source in organic synthetic methodologies and in the industrial production of fine chemicals has been challenging. The Photo4Future Innovative Training Network establishes a training network with five beneficiaries from academia and five beneficiaries from industry to tackle the challenges associated with photochemistry in a coherent and comprehensive fashion. In total 13 Early Stage Researchers will be recruited within the Photo4Future network. The network will provide them with opportunities to undertake research with the aim to overcome the current limitations towards the applicability and scalability of photochemical transformations. This will be achieved through a rational design of novel photocatalytic methodologies, improved catalytic systems and innovative photoreactors. Furthermore, the ESRs will be trained in the Photo4Future graduate school, covering training in scientific, personal and complementary skills. All the ESRs will perform two secondments, of which at least one is carried out with an industrial partner. Consequently, the ESRs will have improved career prospects and a higher employability. Due to the high degree of industrial participation, the Photo4Future network will provide an innovation-friendly environment where scientific results can grow and become products or services that will benefit European economies.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-IF-EF-RI | Phase: MSCA-IF-2014-EF | Award Amount: 158.12K | Year: 2016

Obesity is a global health problem whose prevalence is increasing substantially due to lifestyle changes. This complex medical condition is frequently linked to serious metabolic complications and deregulation of hormonal axes, which lead to perturbed homeostasis in conditions of overweight. Different studies have suggested that obesity is often associated to hypogonadism, a reproductive disorder that might also promote metabolic alterations, thus setting a vicious circle in the generation/perpetuation of obesity co-morbidities. While the targets and molecular mechanisms underlying this phenomenon are still unknown, emerging evidence from experimental models of metabolic stress linked to hypogonadism strongly suggests the potential role of perturbations of hypothalamic Kiss1/NKB neurons. Likewise, the recently identified involvement of epigenetics in the control of Kiss1 expression at puberty, a crucial stage in sexual development that is metabolically gated, suggests also the contribution of these regulatory mechanisms to this phenomenon. In this context, this project aims to elucidate the pathophysiological relevance of epigenetic regulatory mechanisms in obesity-induced hypogonadism and their influence in the generation/ maintenance of the metabolic complications of overweight. To this end, we will characterize the time-course of alterations of key hormonal and epigenetic factors in preclinical models of obesity and will evaluate the contribution of epigenetic modifications in deregulation of hypothalamic Kiss1/NKB neurons in conditions of overweight. In addition, we will analyse the potential role of gonadal steroids in this phenomenon. This project will help to identify the molecular targets and epigenetic mechanisms responsible for the metabolic perturbations linked to obesity-induced hypogonadism, and will aid to define better tools for the treatment of these complications.

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