Neuchatel, Switzerland

University of Neuchatel
Neuchatel, Switzerland

The University of Neuchâtel is a French-speaking university in Neuchâtel, Switzerland. The university has five faculties and more than a dozen institutes, including arts and human science, natural science, law, economics and theology. The Faculty of Arts and Human science is the largest school of those that comprise the University of Neuchâtel with 1,500 students.The university has an annual budget of CHF 120 million and an annual research fund of CHF 40 million. Approximately 4,000 students, including 500 PhD students attend the university, and more than 600 diplomas, licences, doctorates and certificates are awarded each year. The university has more than 1100 employees. Wikipedia.

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Mercier H.,University of Neuchatel
Trends in Cognitive Sciences | Year: 2016

The argumentative theory of reasoning suggests that the main function of reasoning is to exchange arguments with others. This theory explains key properties of reasoning. When reasoners produce arguments, they are biased and lazy, as can be expected if reasoning is a mechanism that aims at convincing others in interactive contexts. By contrast, reasoners are more objective and demanding when they evaluate arguments provided by others. This fundamental asymmetry between production and evaluation explains the effects of reasoning in different contexts: the more debate and conflict between opinions there is, the more argument evaluation prevails over argument production, resulting in better outcomes. Here I review how the argumentative theory of reasoning helps integrate a wide range of empirical findings in reasoning research. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-ITN-ETN | Phase: MSCA-ITN-2015-ETN | Award Amount: 3.67M | Year: 2016

DIAPHORA serves as a European research and training platform for collaborative research on the nature of philosophical problems, their resilience and the sources of persistent divergence of expert opinion about them, and their relation to conflicts in the practical sphere. More specifically, DIAPHORAs 3 principal research objectives are (A) to diagnose what makes philosophical problems so resilient and to clarify to what extent the sustained lack of convergence in philosophy can successfully be explained by the hardness of its problems; (B) to explain why the tendency has not been towards a general agnosticism about candidate solutions, but rather towards divergence, and to identify features of philosophical method that allow for such persistent peer disagreement; and (C) to explore whether the dynamics of philosophical debate, despite the subjects highly theoretical nature, bears important and instructive resemblances to the dynamics of debates about more practical matters and their political and socio-economical antecedents and hence whether philosophical problems and their attempted resolution can illuminate, and be illuminated by, the procedural and methodological difficulties besetting strategies for the adjudication of public affairs, thereby determining what philosophical thought might contribute to society at large. DIAPHORA joins 7 leading European research centres in philosophy, and 5 partner organisations, 3 of which from the non-academic sector, in the fields of international conflict management, mediation and policy-making, as well as the analysis of social conflict and cultural diversity. It undertakes to provide 14 Early Stage Researchers with the knowledge and skills necessary to meet the demands of top-level research within its remit, as well as professional complementary skills training in both the academic and non-academic sectors, with the goal of widening their potential societal contributions and improving their individual career prospects.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-RISE | Phase: MSCA-RISE-2015 | Award Amount: 1.06M | Year: 2016

MAKERS will bring together leaders from business, academia and policy to study issues related to the drivers and dynamics of sustaining the competitiveness of EU manufacturing sectors. The projects innovative research, training and mobility activities will address key concerns related to the historic opportunity for the EU to lead a manufacturing renaissance that not only upgrades existing manufacturing competences but, more importantly, develops new technological capabilities across EU regions to support regional industrial resilience for more distributed and sustainable socio-economic growth and prosperity. MAKERS will create a multi-stakeholder platform to discuss the current understanding of issues related to manufacturing renaissance, including (1) the role of small, medium and large manufacturing firms and local production systems plugged into local-global value chains; (2) what are the drivers and processes for innovation, technological capabilities and technology transfer from research intuitions to firms; (3) trends in reshoring and nearshoring and the potentials for re-industrialisation and shorter value chains; (4) the impact of the socio-economic-environmental sustainability agenda on EU competitiveness; (5) skills requirements and training; and finally (6) how policy can ensure the competitiveness of EU manufacturing sectors for more distributed and sustainable socio-economic growth and prosperity. MAKERS training programme comprises: 1) annual summer schools that will cover the breadth of the issues above and address methodological requirements; 2) work package-specific Business/Academia/Policy (BAP) workshops; 3) dissemination activities within the network in conjunction with mobility, such as presentations at faculty seminar series, and doctoral level guest lectures; 4) dissemination activities at events outside the network, such as presentations at international conferences, policy fora and multi-media engagement.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-ITN-ETN | Phase: MSCA-ITN-2016 | Award Amount: 3.87M | Year: 2017

The ENIGMA network will train a new generation of young researchers in the development of innovative sensors, field survey techniques and inverse modelling approaches. This will enhance our ability to understand and monitor dynamic subsurface processes that are key to the protection and sustainable use of water resources. ENIGMA focuses mainly on critical zone observation, but the anticipated technological developments and scientific findings will also contribute to monitor and model the environmental footprint of an increasing range of subsurface activities, including large-scale water abstraction and storage, enhanced geothermal systems and subsurface waste and carbon storage. While many subsurface structure imaging methods are now mature and broadly used in research and practice, our ability to resolve and monitor subsurface fluxes and processes, including solute transport, heat transfer and biochemical reactions, is much more limited. The shift from classical structure characterization to dynamic process imaging, driven by ENIGMA, will require the development of multi-scale hydrogeophysical methods with adequate sensitivity, spatial and temporal resolution, and novel inverse modelling concepts. For this, ENIGMA will gather (i) world-leading academic teams and emerging companies that develop innovative sensors and hydrogeophysical inversion methods, (ii) experts in subsurface process upscaling and modelling, and (iii) highly instrumented field infrastructures for in-situ experimentation and validation. ENIGMA will thus create a creative and entrepreneurial environment for trainees to develop integrated approaches to water management with interdisciplinary field-sensing methods and novel modelling techniques. ENIGMA will foster EU and international cooperation in the water area by creating new links between hydrogeological observatories, academic research groups, innovative industries and water managers for high-level scientific and professional training.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: EUB-1-2015 | Award Amount: 2.29M | Year: 2016

SecureCloud addresses the confidentiality, integrity and availability of applications executed in the cloud. Data at rest or in transit on the network is already nowadays protected by encryption. The main problem that we face is how to ensure the confidentiality of data while being processed. Our approach is based on upcoming hardware extensions of commodity CPUs like Intels Secure Guard Extensions (SGX). By the help of these hardware extensions, we reduce the trusted computing base dramatically by excluding from it the millions of lines of source code of the cloud stack, operating systems and hypervisor. This permits us to ensure the confidentiality of computations even if the computers are under a different administrative control (like a cloud provider) or there is no physical security of the computers. Moreover, we ensure the confidentiality even if attackers would take control of the cloud stack, the hypervisor or the operating systems. As long as the hardware extensions of the CPU can be trusted, we can ensure the confidentiality of the computations. SecureCloud focuses on ensuring the confidential and dependable processing of Big Data. To keep the trusted computing base small, we use the concept of microservices: only the application logic that processes data (e.g., operators) is protected while all functionality that, e.g., shuffles and stores encrypted data is outside the trusted computing base. By monitoring the microservices, we can restart services that run on compromised hosts. We will evaluate and demonstrate our approach in the context of smart grids. In this use case context, we need to run across a physically distributed computing infrastructure with no or little physical security and partly untrusted administrators. We need to process large volumes of data and this big data processing would benefit by partial offloading into the cloud. In SecureCloud, we will show how to do this in a secure fashion even if clouds are untrusted.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: IA | Phase: DS-01-2014 | Award Amount: 3.30M | Year: 2015

Cloud infrastructures, despite all their advantages and importance to the competitiveness of modern economies, raise fundamental questions related to the privacy, integrity, and security of offsite data storage and processing tasks. These questions are currently not answered satisfactorily by existing technologies. Furthermore, recent developments in the wake of the expansive and sometimes unauthorized government access to private and sensitive data raise major privacy and security concerns about data located in the cloud, especially when data is physically located, processed, or must transit outside the legal jurisdiction of its rightful owner. This is exacerbated by providers of cloud services that frequently move and process data without notice in ways that are detrimental to the users and their privacy. SafeCloud will re-architect cloud infrastructures to ensure that data transmission, storage, and processing can be (1) partitioned in multiple administrative domains that are unlikely to collude, so that sensitive data can be protected by design; (2) entangled with inter-dependencies that make it impossible for any of the domains to tamper with its integrity. These two principles (partitioning and entanglement) are thus applied holistically across the entire data management stack, from communication to storage and processing. Users will control the choice of non-colluding domains for partitioning and the tradeoffs between entanglement and performance, and thus will have full control over what happens to their data. This will make users less reluctant to manage their personal data online due to privacy concerns and will generate positive business cases for privacy-sensitive online applications such as the distributed cloud infrastructure and medical record storage platform that we address.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: CSA | Phase: H2020-TWINN-2015 | Award Amount: 867.21K | Year: 2016

The main objective of EBSIS is to strengthen the research output at the Faculty of Computer Science at Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iasi (UAIC), Romania. EBSIS will initiate strong and close research ties with the Institute of Informatics, University of Neuchatel (UNINE), Switzerland and with the Faculty of Informatics, Technical University of Dresden (TUD), Germany. The targeted field of research is event-based systems, an important and timely topic under the Big Data umbrella. The collaboration will stimulate the scientific activity of the partners and increase the research profile of the initiating institution through the integration of the supported activities. The two internationally-leading research partners can provide a high level of expertise in event-based systems, which is currently lacking at the initiating institution. The excellent background of the internationally-leading research institutions in that field, which is clearly demonstrated by the numerous publications, participation in other European projects, and organization of various manifestations (conferences, workshops) on event-based systems, makes them perfect project partners. The initiating institution can provide its expertise in information security, a research area connected to the target field of event-based systems. Short-term staff exchanges, summer schools organization, scientific seminars, and other activities detailed in the project proposal will facilitate the research exchange between partners. Besides increasing the research awareness of the initiating institution, the Twinning activities will also strengthen the inter-academic relations between the partners, and will help the initiating institution to get involved in future research projects.

Therrien B.,University of Neuchatel
Topics in Current Chemistry | Year: 2012

Until recently, organometallic derivatives were generally viewed as moisture-and air-sensitive compounds, and consequently very challenging to synthesise and very demanding in terms of laboratory requirements (Schlenk techniques, dried solvent, glove box). However, an increasing number of stable, water-soluble organometallic compounds are now available, and organometallic chemistry in aqueous phase is a flourishing area of research. As such, coordination-driven self-assemblies using organometallic building blocks are compatible with water, thus opening new perspectives in bio-organometallic chemistry. This chapter gives a short history of coordination-driven self-assembly, with a special attention to organometallic metalla-cycles, especially those composed of half-sandwich complexes. These metalla-assemblies have been used as sensors, as anticancer agents, as well as drug carriers. © 2011 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

Skin photosensitivity remains one of the main limitations in photodynamic therapy. In this Concept article a strategy to overcome this limitation is described, in which the photosensitizer is hidden inside the hydrophobic cavity of a water-soluble organometallic cage. The metallacage not only protects the photosensitizer from light, it also facilitates its delivery to cancer cells. What's new under the sun? Hiding, protecting and shielding a photosensitiser in the cavity of a water-soluble arene-ruthenium metallacage (see figure) can provide a solution to eliminate skin photosensitivity, an important limitation to photodynamic treatments. Copyright © 2013 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: ERC-POC | Phase: ERC-PoC-2016 | Award Amount: 150.00K | Year: 2016

The invention of optical frequency combs revolutionized numerous fields in metrology and was honoured by the 2005 Nobel Prize in Physics. Frequency combs have many new emerging applications in optical telecommunications, broadband high-precision spectroscopy and sensing, etc. Monitoring of environmentally relevant gases and pollutants, medical sensing of biomarkers in human breath, or remote sensing of gases relevant for resources exploitation or farming are important areas, in which frequency comb systems might find large applications in the future. However, so far, frequency comb systems are mainly used in basic research, despite their large potential for commercial applications. New technology solutions are required to enlarge the application range of this technology and make it accessible for real-world systems. An important highlight in my ERC StG Mega-XUV project was the first demonstration of a stabilized optical frequency comb from a SESAM-modelocked femtosecond thin disk laser. In this context, we invented a new method for stabilization of optical frequency combs. Our new invention is to use opto-optical modulation of a semiconductor saturable absorber that is placed inside the femtosecond laser cavity. It has several technical advantages compared to the standard method, therefore we submitted a patent application for it. The Written Opinion of the International Searching Authority confirmed its novelty, inventive step and industrial applicability in August 2015. We expect that our IP will enable European industry to continue to be leading this field, because it has several advantages compared to other CEO stabilization technologies, in particular with respect to modulation speed, low nonlinearity and dispersion, and extremely high damage thresholds. With this PoC proposal, we target both the realization of technical demonstrators to bring our invention closer to the market as well as the development of an optimum commercialization strategy.

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