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The European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT) will allocate €400m to its six Innovation Communities in 2018. The investment, which comes as part of Horizon 2020, will be put towards uniting education, research, and business in order to boost innovation and help turn ideas into successful products and services. Over 2,000 business ideas, start-ups, and scale-ups, as well as more than 6,000 jobs, have to date been supported by the six Innovation Communities of the EIT: InnoEnergy, EIT Digital, Climate-KIC, EIT Health, EIT RawMaterials, and EIT Food. In 2016 alone, EIT-supported start-ups attracted upwards of €150m in external investment; this figure is expected to reach €600m by 2020. More than 1,200 people have so far graduated from EIT educational programmes; if the current pace continues, this number will exceed 5,000 by 2020. Peter Olesen, chair of the EIT Governing Board, said: “This investment in our Innovation Communities reflects the confidence shown in the EIT through the recent midterm evaluation. The EIT Community is delivering solutions to societal challenges and is now clearly showing its results and impact. There has never been a better time to be part of the EIT community.” Martin Kern, interim director of the EIT, added: “The EIT’s investment in our Innovation Communities is one key aspect of providing tailor-made support to European innovators. This is not only an investment into the education of the entrepreneurs of tomorrow but also helps Europe to take the lead in solving major societal challenges. “The EIT model has demonstrated that it works; this funding will strengthen our Innovation Communities in their efforts to bring systemic change to society and positively transform the world in which we live.” In 2018, the EIT community is expected to provide support to more than 750 start-ups and witness over 990 students graduate from its master’s and PhD programmes. Its start-ups will attract close to €150m in external funding and launch more than 300 products and services onto the market. The post EIT announces €400m investment for 2018 appeared first on Horizon 2020 Projects.
The European Commission has today launched a €2m prize aimed at improving the mobility of older people. The Horizon Prize in Social Innovation will be awarded to innovative mobility solutions that enable older citizens to fully participate in social activities, maintain their autonomy, and age healthily. The winner will receive €1m, while four runners-up will each receive a prize of €250,000. Innovation Commissioner Carlos Moedas, who launched the contest at the ‘Opening up to an era of social innovation’ conference in Lisbon, Portugal, said: “In 2060, almost a third of the population of the European Union will be over 65. This share is nearly twice as big as it is today. “We have no choice but to innovate now in order to address the increasing needs of older citizens, especially the need for improved mobility. Designing and operating mobility solutions will provide new opportunities for innovators and social entrepreneurs.” The European Commission is seeking replicable and scalable solutions that promote bottom-up creativity by bringing together innovators and organisations from civil society and the private and public sectors. The winning projects will be expected to combine technological, social and behavioural features, and they will have to be implemented for at least five months during the period of the contest. Applications are open until 28 February 2019. Submissions are welcome from any legal entities established in the EU or in countries associated to Horizon 2020. The prize will be awarded in 2019. The post Commission launches ageing prize appeared first on Horizon 2020 Projects.
A new method which assesses how effective different combinations of antibiotics are against bacteria is to be tested at several universities throughout Europe, including the Karolinska Institutet. Christian Giske, a researcher from Karolinska’s Department of Laboratory Medicine, is academic lead for the study funded by the EU, of which will last for at least two years. Antibiotic resistance has achieved status as a major global problem. In Europe, more patients are developing sepsis, caused by intestinal bacteria, which is difficult to treat. Giske said: “In Sweden … we come across bacteria that are very difficult to treat. We try to overcome this by using combination treatment; in other words, we give more than one antibiotic at the same time. “The problem is that two preparations can sometimes affect each other negatively and cause side effects.” Now Giske is to collaborate with researchers at universities in a number of countries in the EU, in order to test a new and rapid analysis method for demonstrating which antibiotic combinations are effective. The analysis method, and associated test equipment to be trialled have been produced by Symcel. Alongside the researchers, both have received a combined total of €3.6m from Horizon 2020. As well as the Karolinska Institutet, universities in Denmark, Italy and Spain will also be taking part. If the method proves to be effective, it will benefit the large number of patients in Europe who are affected by resistant bacteria every year. If the analysis method proves to work and is robust, the intention is that the practice can be used in major hospitals within Europe, as well as other locations throughout the world. The post Testing for combination antibiotics wins EU funding appeared first on Horizon 2020 Projects.
Professor Gregoire Courtine of l’Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland, believes paralysed patients will be able to walk again. His team of researchers has developed so-called ‘personalised neuroprosthetics’ that have led immobile rats, and more recently monkeys, to overcome paralysis. 50,000 people worldwide lose the ability to move their legs due to spinal cord traumas, and Courtine is aware of what his team’s results could mean for such patients. His research is based on the idea that the spinal cord contains the neuronal network to allow walking, despite being controlled by the brain. When its ties to the brain are severed, the cord alone should be able to generate movement. In order to stimulate the spinal cord to move, Courtine and his team developed implants to deliver drugs and electrical stimuli to the injured areas, allowing involuntary movement. Therefore, work continued on a prosthetic that could safely support the animal, allowing it to practice moving intentionally. Thanks to the apparatus, after relatively short periods of time, the animals that tested this method could walk again, even without the implants. Courtine said: “This came as a surprise, even to our team. It showed an example of the incredible plasticity of the nervous system, and encouraged us to keep on.” The extent of this discovery for the treatment of human paralysis is still unknown – but there is no doubt that it bodes well for future patients. Funded by the ERC, a flagship component of Horizon 2020, Courtine employs a multi-disciplinary team of young researchers, from physiotherapists to neuroscientists, neurosurgeons and engineers. His forward-thinking, highly qualified team is now at the cusp of a great medical breakthrough. The post Neuroprosthetics could make paralysed patients walk again appeared first on Horizon 2020 Projects.
Companies and academics from across Europe are coming together in a new EU project to tackle non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). The €34m initiative is aimed at developing new diagnostic tests to assess patients with NAFLD and detect those most at risk of developing severe inflammation and liver scarring. NAFLD, which is associated with obesity and Type 2 diabetes, occurs when fat builds up in the liver cells, leading to inflammation, scarring of the liver, and ultimately cirrhosis. It affects 20-30% of the global population, but fewer than one in ten will come to harm as a result of the condition. Identifying who will be most severely affected and progress to liver cirrhosis or cancer means that appropriate care can be provided earlier. However, this can currently only be done via liver biopsy in a specialist hospital. ‘Liver Investigation: Testing Marker Utility in Steatohepatitis’ (LITMUS) will therefore seek to develop, validate and quantify better biomarkers for testing NAFLD. To this end, the project brings together clinicians and scientists from academic centres across Europe and companies from the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA). It is funded by the European Innovative Medicines Initiative 2 (IMI) Joint Undertaking and co-ordinated by Newcastle University, UK, in close collaboration with pharmaceutical company Pfizer Ltd. “Lack of easy and accurate diagnostic tests means that many patients go undiagnosed until late in the disease process,” explains Newcastle’s Professor Quentin Anstee, the co-ordinator of the LITMUS consortium. “It has also held back efforts to develop new medical treatments for NAFLD. “Availability of better diagnostic tests will help us to target care at an early stage of disease to the people who are going to be most severely affected. It will also help us to develop more effective medical treatments for NAFLD and to run the clinical trials that the regulatory agencies need so that they can license these medicines to be prescribed by doctors.” The 47 partner-strong consortium also includes the Integrated BioBank of Luxembourg, which will be responsible for collecting and storing the biological samples used in the study. LITMUS will run until the end of October 2022. The post EU project takes on liver disease appeared first on Horizon 2020 Projects.
Horizon 2020, which intends to invest €77bn in research and innovation projects between 2014 and 2020, is one of the largest R&D funding programmes in the world. The scheme accounts for 8% of the EU budget. H2020 aims to create €400bn of socio-economic benefits by 2030, however it is being pressured to show that there is an immediate impact. Since 2014, the scheme has given more than 15,000 grants, including €45m in research projects to address the Zika virus outbreak, and €5m to develop a heart valve. Currently, around €27bn has been invested. Pascal Lamy, president emeritus of the Jacques Delors Institute, conducted an interim evaluation this year of H2020 and concluded that the programme was providing value, as well as calling its research council a “beacon of scientific excellence”. However, the Financial Times suggest that funding is a problem for the programme as H2020 would like to fund more projects than it currently does. European Parliament supporting the increase of allocation to €129bn after 2020, however it is expected that budgets may come under pressure after Brexit. Lamy said: “Europe’s innovation deficit does not stem from a lack of ideas or a lack of start-ups. Our problem is the lack of scale-up. “We have to invest in and promote innovative ideas that can be rapidly scaled up.” He also called for H2020 to support projects which aim to build the first quantum computer, or raise the cancer cure rate to three in every four. He added that these goals would establish a connection between the public and scientists. Meanwhile, William Amos, a professor of zoology at Cambridge University, UK, expressed concern in that funds are being directed towards exciting projects at the expense of blue-sky research. The scheme’s priorities for 2018-2020 were updated last month in order to focus on supporting market-creating innovation. The post The spotlight on Horizon 2020 appeared first on Horizon 2020 Projects.
Israel-based Australian battery-technology company UltraCharge has signed a Joint Collaboration Agreement with Dotz Nano to integrate graphene quantum dots (GQDs) in anode technology for lithium-ion batteries. The agreement will see the two companies enter into a three-month pilot co-operation programme to develop longer lasting, faster charging and more dependable technology utilising GQDs. Dotz Nano’s CEO Dr Moti Gross said: “Dotz Nano GQDs have added value for a variety of applications and with this agreement we are continuing to expand our reach into the energy storage market. “It’s good to work with another ASX listed company, with whom we have good co-operation and who are also innovators in their field.” The collaboration agreement is expected to find synergies in several business areas with Dotz Nano now becoming involved in the LIB anode market, and UltraCharge obtaining exposure to the LIB cathode market. It is also expected that Dotz Nano will supply its optimised GQD products to UltraCharge, cultivating the latter’s anode product offering. GQDs quantum dots are semiconductor nanoparticles or nanocrystals, usually in the range of 2-10 nanometres (10-50 atoms) in size. Their small size and high surface-to-volume ratio affects their optical and electronic properties and makes them superior in application compared to larger particles made of the same materials. Crucially for UltrCharge, GDQs enable superior benefits to finished products and applications UltraCharge will be manufacturing in future i.e. lithium batteries. The post UltraCharge seeks graphene-enabled lithium enhancements appeared first on Horizon 2020 Projects.
Sweden-based biotech company Symcel has secured just over €3.5m in Horizon 2020 funding to support the evaluation of improved combination testing of antibiotics against drug-resistant bacteria in sepsis patients. The project will last for 28 months with a consortium of academic and clinical key opinion leaders from Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden; Hospital Universitario Ramón y Cajal, Madrid, Spain; Careggi University Hospital, Florence, Italy; Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark; and IHE, Lund, Sweden. Jesper Ericsson, CEO of Symcel, said: “The spread of multi-resistant bacteria is one the most severe risks globally to human health. The world is on the cusp of a post-antibiotic era where[in] the healthcare community faces certain harmful bacteria that are resistant to all known drugs. “Consequently, little can be done to treat the critically ill patients concerned. There is a large unmet need for a technology like calScreener™ that measures the metabolism of bacteria. The only way to really be sure an antibiotic is effective in killing bacteria. The prospective clinical validation is a great opportunity for Symcel.” A recent WHO report titled ‘Antibacterial agents in clinical development – an analysis of the antibacterial clinical development pipeline, including tuberculosis’ confirms a severe lack of new antibiotics under development to combat the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance. Dr Suzanne Hill, director of the Department of Essential Medicines at WHO, said: “Pharmaceutical companies and researchers must urgently focus on new antibiotics against certain types of severe infections that can kill patients in a matter of days because we have no line of defence.” SymCel was founded in 2004 by Dr Dan Hallén and Professor Ingemar Wadsö (Kemicentrum, Lund University) and now provides a novel cell-based assay tool for real-time cellular bioenergetics measurements. Symcel´s screening technology will be validated as a new surrogate method to correctly and rapidly determine which antibiotics really work against multi-resistant bacteria. The post Symcel secures H2020 Phase II grant appeared first on Horizon 2020 Projects.
The European Innovation Council (EIC) should support breakthrough innovation for the benefit of all, the independent High-Level Group of Innovators has said. The group – which comprises successful innovators, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists from across the EU – has also recommended that all relevant EU funding schemes are brought into a single, fit-for-purpose ‘one-stop shop’ for innovation financing. This would involve major reforms to introduce excellence, flexibility and agility (for example to combine grant financing with venture capital investments). Carlos Moedas, commissioner for research and innovation, said: “This first set of key recommendations is a substantial contribution to the current debate on a future European Innovation Council. They come at a critical time in the preparations for the next EU programme and provide very clear views on what is needed for Europe to lead on breakthrough innovation.” Dr Hermann Hauser KBE, co-founder of Amadeus Capital Partners and chair of the group, added: “It is my great pleasure to present our first set of recommendations on how to make Europe the global leader for breakthrough market-creating innovation. To that end, Europe must set up a European Innovation Council as a key pillar of the next EU framework programme, to focus on excellence even where there is high risk, to empower innovators, to provide them with simple yet powerful tailor-made financial support from start-up to scale-up, and reinforce the EU innovation ecosystems.” The High-Level Group of Innovators, which launched at the beginning of the year, is now preparing a full set of recommendations for its next meeting in January. These will feed into the preparation of the commission’s proposals for the ninth research and innovation framework programme, to be presented by mid-2018. The creation of a European Innovation Council forms part of the commission’s Start-up and Scale-up strategy. The post Experts urge reforms for EIC appeared first on Horizon 2020 Projects.
Research by the University of Leicester, UK, into alternatives to conventional batteries has been boosted by funding from the European Union Horizon 2020 Framework Programme. Professor Karl Ryder and Professor Andy Abbott from the Materials Centre in the Department of Chemistry have won EU funding for a blue-skies project aimed at developing a new and revolutionary type battery based on aluminium and sulphur. The project SAlBAGE (Sulphur-Aluminium Batter with Advanced Polymeric Gel Electrolytes) is a consortium of EU universities and a battery testing company. The total value is €3m of which €545,000 will go to Leicester. The project aims to deliver a new type of battery based on more abundant, cheaper and safer aluminium (rather than lithium). The project is funded under the EU (Horizon 2020) Future Emerging Technologies scheme which is the most competitive of the EU funding mechanisms. This award is the first of its type for the University of Leicester. In the SAlBAGE Project, a new secondary Aluminium Sulfur Battery will be developed. An aluminium negative electrode will be combined with a sulfur positive electrode including the unprecedented use of redox mediators, to facilitate sulfur reaction kinetics and boost performance. The new battery is expected to have a high energy density (1000Wh/kg) and low price compared with the current Li-ion technology. Ryder, from the university’s Department of Chemistry, said: “We have been working towards this for a while now with projects in metal ion chemistry in new and novel types of ionic liquid electrolytes.  The Leicester group is well known in the academic community as well as in the materials finishing industry, as a source of expertise for ionic liquids. That is our role here.” Abbott, also from the Department of Chemistry, added: “Our recent involvement with other European projects in battery chemistry and recycling, PolyZion and CoLaBATS, has increased our profile in energy research and we are members of the Energy Research Accelerator.” The post Research into revolutionary battery technology appeared first on Horizon 2020 Projects.

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