A €5m Horizon 2020 project aims to make microalgae extraction and cultivation more cost-effective and enable the ease in which food, nutraceuticals and cosmetics can be enriched. Microalgae, a rich source of omega-3, protein and beta-carotene has gained popularity with manufacturers as a sustainable source of food and fuel. The Valuable Products from Algae Using New Cultivation and Extraction Techniques (VALUEMAG) project was initiated on 26 April in Athens, Greece. According to the Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development (ENEA), the global market for products containing microalgae has an annual value of €6.4bn. European sales account for 5% of the total microalgae market. Antonia Molino, manager of the project’s activities for ENEA, said: “This technology immobilises the algal cells on a thin layer to optimise the use of water and nutrients. “The result is a very low consumption of these resources, the capture of CO2 from different production processes, and, above all, easy extraction of the high-value biological molecules – which are mostly antioxidants – like omega-3 and carotenoids.” VALUEMAG is comprised of 11 research centres from nine countries (Italy, Greece, Spain, the Netherlands, the UK, Austria, France, Slovakia and Cyprus). The project hopes to reduce costs of microalgae production in order to allow the technology to become a competitive, durable alternative in the current market; current cultivation methods for microalgae are expensive, at around €6 per kilogramme. VALUEMAG aims to significantly reduce the costs to €0.30 per kilogramme, using new technologies including magnetic cultivation procedures. The ENEA has been given a financial contribution of more than 760,000 to help fund testing and research. The project also supports job creation in local EU communities as ten technicians will be required for every 100,000m2 of algae. The post Microalgae extraction made more effective appeared first on Horizon 2020 Projects.
Hungarian-based venture capital firm OXO Group has signed a European Investment Fund (EIF) commitment to create a technology fund focusing on start-ups in Europe. With the expected launch towards the end of 2017, and a target fund size of €50m, the fund will invest in innovative, early stage technology companies. OXO CEE (Central and Eastern Europe) Angel Fund is supported by the ‘InnovFin – EU Finance for Innovators’ initiative under the Horizon 2020 programme and the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI). Founded in 2014 by Péter Oszkó, OXO Group operates in start-up acceleration, seed, and venture capital funding in the CEE region, offering both seed funding up to €150,000 and ‘Series A’ funding from €200,000 to a maximum of €5m per project, with its industry focus on early stage technology companies in both B2B (business-to-business) as well as B2C (business-to-consumer) software/hardware developments. To date, it has accepted 40 companies into its accelerator programme and provided funding to 20 projects. OXO Labs, the accelerator member of OXO Group, will also actively contribute to the selection process and management of the fund’s portfolio. Investments in the portfolio include AeroGlass, Commsignia, Liber8Tech, Indivizio, and SpringTab. The post Technology fund to support start-ups appeared first on Horizon 2020 Projects.
European Commission budget chief Günther Oettinger has said that research should be the only EU programme spared spending cuts in the post-2020 budget period By the middle of next year, the commission will publish a proposal for the EU’s trillion euro budget plans for the next financing period that begins in 2021. “There is no guarantee that any programme will avoid cuts,” Oettinger said. “But if I had one option, it would be to avoid cuts to [research].” Oettinger’s public support for maintaining R&D spending in Framework Programme 9 (FP9) when it succeeds Horizon 2020, the current research programme, in 2021, is a boost to researchers following Brexit. The departure of the UK, the EU’s number two net contributor after Germany, in March 2019 will create a financing gap of around 16% of the EU’s overall budget, or €10bn annually. A campaign is already underway by EU research commissioner Carlos Moedas to protect, and hopefully increase, the current Horizon 2020 research budget of €77bn. The commission’s director general for research and innovation, Robert-Jan Smits, has previously identified Oettinger as a key ally for research. “With Commissioner Oettinger in charge, I cannot imagine we will see a decrease in our budget,” Smits said. “I’m convinced there will be an increase. Oettinger talks constantly about innovation and he comes from a region in Germany, Baden-Württemberg, that spends 5% of [its] GDP on research.” The post Oettinger to protect research from cuts appeared first on Horizon 2020 Projects.
Researchers based in Galway, Ireland, are working with a substance they believe may help in the fight against antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The substance kills off any bacteria while leaving healthy tissue alone and as such the bugs have no opportunity to develop a resistance to the substance due to the way it works. The National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG) spin-out company Westway Health was formed in 2012 to develop and commercialise new antimicrobial substances, and the Horizon 2020 programme has invested €2.5m to bring the product to market. The company’s CEO, Dr Ruairi Friel, says the funding should be enough support to get the product fully developed, tested for safety and efficacy and on the brink of full commercialisation in around three years. The research team, which should consist of 11 scientists by the end of this year, has come up with new ways to wipe out bacteria without the risk of resistance. “We have come up with two different systems that are highly effective at killing all bacteria, but that are highly unlikely to cause bacteria to develop resistance,” says Friel. He describes the treatment as “bio-inspired” and based on the idea of using two substances that react with one another to produce an “antimicrobial bullet”, reactive oxygen that kills the bacteria while leaving healthy tissue alone. “This is a huge problem in the dairy industry and in animal health. The US and EU dairy industries lose an estimated €3bn a year treating it,” adds Friel. “We have something in development that is not an antibiotic, effectively works on all bacteria and because it works on a natural system this will be the world’s first non-withdraw treatment for mastitis,” he says. Assuming the treatment is tolerated and works well on bovines, even bigger opportunities open up in human health, says Friel. The post NUIG researchers progress in fight against antibiotic resistance appeared first on Horizon 2020 Projects.
A new study has compared children’s capacity to imitate behaviour with the same capacity of the bonobos primate. The study found that bonobos did not copy actions as children do, highlighting the unique nature of human imitation. The study, by researchers at the University of Birmingham and Durham University in the UK, appears in the journal Child Development. Professor Zanna Clay, lead author of the study, said: “Our results show striking species differences in imitation. “The young children were very willing to copy actions even though they served no obvious function, while the bonobos were not. Children’s tendency to imitate in this way likely represents a critical piece of the puzzle as to why human cultures differ so profoundly from those of great apes.” In the study, researchers compared the imitative behaviour of 77 typically developing 3-5-year-olds with that of 46 untrained bonobos living in naturalistic forest enclosures in Lola ya Bonobo Sanctuary in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Children were recruited from the Birmingham Science Museum, which resulted in an ethnically diverse sample from low- and middle-income families. Imitation was defined as authentically copying body movements from others. The researchers showed children and bonobos a small wooden box with a reward inside. Before opening the box, an experimenter performed some nonsensical actions over the box, such as waving a hand or tracing an imaginary line over it. Each participant was then given a box without any instructions. Most of the children spontaneously imitated the actions; in contrast, none of the bonobos made any attempt to copy any of the actions. Claudio Tennie, co-author of the study, added: “The fact that the bonobos failed to imitate demonstrates that even enhanced social orientation may not be enough to trigger human-like cultural learning behaviours. “Although some animals show some limited abilities to copy, copying actions that have no apparent purpose appears to be uniquely human.” The study was funded under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions programme and the European Research Council (ERC). The post Study compares child-bonobo behaviours appeared first on Horizon 2020 Projects.
Sernova’s Cell Pouch™ for treatment of haemophilia A has received confirmation of its next stage of funding worth €5.6m to the HemAcure Consortium. The clinical stage regenerative medicine company announced significant scientific progress achieved in the development of a ‘first in world’ personalised regenerative medicine therapy for the treatment of haemophilia A patients. The therapy is to treat severe haemophilia A, a serious genetic bleeding disorder caused by missing or defective clotting factor VIII in the blood stream. This therapy consists of Sernova’s implanted Cell Pouch device transplanted with therapeutic cells, corrected to produce factor VIII at a level sufficient to significantly reduce the side effects of the disease and improve patient quality of life. Dr Philip Toleikis, Sernova president and CEO, said:  “The international HemAcure consortium team members are pleased with the groundbreaking scientific advances achieved at this point and are on track for this regenerative medicine solution to advance into human clinical evaluation. “Sernova’s Cell Pouch platform technologies are achieving important world-first milestones in both diabetes and now haemophilia, two significant clinical indications which are being disrupted by its regenerative medicine approach aimed at significantly improving patient quality of life.” Dr Joris Braspenning, HemAcure programme co-ordinator, added: “We are thrilled with the approval by the EU of the next stage of funding for the HemAcure programme based on our quality interim report. This is a strong validation of the consortium’s dedication and teamwork and the importance of this regenerative medicine approach.” Sernova has developed its innovative Cell Pouch technologies for the placement and long-term survival and function of immune-protected therapeutic cells. It has proven to be safe and efficacious in multiple small and large animal preclinical models and has demonstrated safety alone and with therapeutic cells in a clinical trial in humans for another therapeutic indication. The post Haemophilia therapy project makes progress appeared first on Horizon 2020 Projects.
The European Investment Fund (EIF) and ProCredit Group are providing an additional €450m to innovative small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), bringing a total of €820m to companies in 11 countries. The financing is available through ProCredit banks and targets companies that use new technologies for new products in one of the 11 countries where the facility is available – Germany, Albania, Serbia, FYROM, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Greece, Romania, Moldova, Ukraine and Georgia. To date, agreements with ProCredit have already supported more than 1,000 innovative SMEs and many more will be financed in the coming years. These agreements were signed under the European Commission’s InnovFin initiative, backed by the EU’s research and innovation programme Horizon 2020. EIF chief executive Pier Luigi Gilibert said: “We are delighted that InnovFin SME guarantee agreements with the ProCredit banks are yielding such positive results. “ProCredit’s well-established distribution network, combined with its SME lending expertise, ensures that EC-backed loans can be rapidly deployed across the 11 territories. These transactions will help companies to access this EU-backed finance in order to drive forward an innovation agenda across Europe.” European Commission Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness Jyrki Katainen said: “The commission recognises that small businesses help drive jobs and growth in Europe. “Facilitating access to the finance they need to innovate, expand and create jobs is one of the most effective ways by which the EU supports SMEs across Europe. “I wish those set to benefit from this financing every success as they take their next steps.” The post Project provides additional funding for SMEs appeared first on Horizon 2020 Projects.
Materials circularity on artificial pitches is changing grass roots level sports, as Advanced Sports Installations Europe discusses. Advanced Sports Installations Europe (ASIE) is developing a zero-waste method of artificial pitch renewal.1,2 This method is called the ARENA concept and it makes the reuse of all used materials of artificial grass pitches possible, reducing CO2 emissions by 80%, compared to present methods of fields renewal, and also saving costs of up to 50% for field owners. ASIE has now completed the first field tests of the new concept and has renewed several football fields in Europe. Artificial grass sports fields are a growing trend in Europe, where there are about 25,000 full-sized football fields and almost 1,000 new fields built yearly. But the lifetime of an artificial grass field is an average of ten years, depending on usage and maintenance quality. This also means that around 2,500 fields need to be removed and rebuilt. Until now there has not been a perfect solution on how to remove, clean, reuse or recycle old materials. More than 90% of the materials are sent to landfill, making more than seven million tonnes of waste in what are actually reusable materials. Fields and the renewal process ASIE has developed a full solution to remove used artificial grass, clean the materials and reuse both, thereby removing the need for landfill. The technology is called the ARENA concept and is developed with the support of Horizon 2020 funding for innovations and SMEs. The best example of the development result is that of Mönchengladbach, Germany, where ASIE completed the first field job with ARENA concept machines. Our customer ordered the removal of two full-sized football fields which were used by local citizens and football clubs for daily training and competitions. ASIE began by rolling up the turf using the Crab removal system. This took less than a day and all 28 rolls from a single field with infill were stored on the car park adjacent to the pitch. On the second and third days, all the rolls were processed with ArenaMaster to reclaim the infill mixture from the grass. As the grass was still in good condition, our customer POLYTAN sold it to Africa to be installed as a football pitch there, as the four-metre wide rolls makes a good level of reinstallation possible. Infill from of the pitch was still in good condition and the customer wished to reuse it on the same pitch but with new grass. To raise the quality of the used infill, ASIE utilised the new ‘Wizard’ device. Wizard is for cleaning and separating infill material and can take out all the dust and debris in the infill mixture, which is then separated into sand and rubber crumbs. These cleaned materials were loaded into bags and again kept next to the field, ready for reinstallation. In this way the customer saved a lot of the costs of transportation, which would have taken the used materials to landfill as well as new materials to the field. It also provides a big environmental saving – about 10,000km of truck transportation was saved and 150 tonnes of sand was not mined, plus around 80 tonnes of new rubber was not produced. The owners of the two German pitches were impressed with the speed of the work, as well as the quality and cleanliness of the recycled materials. As a result, our co-operation with the customer, who gave us strong feedback, will continue, and we are pleased with the progress of our Arena concept. The ARENA concept for artificial grass is actually much broader than described above. It covers activities from the evaluation and maintenance of pitches that are in use, to cleaning and recycling all materials, including the used artificial turf. In general we can separate the ARENA concept into three main parts: Evaluating pitches and planning ASIE is developing a machine called GreenEye, which can automatically measure infill thickness on the field. Based on the measuring result, we can then evaluate the infill amount on the fields and the calculated quantity of material needed to add during the following maintenance. All this data will then be uploaded to our database where we can analyse the results and plan upcoming jobs. Actions on pitches Here we have developed three different machines which are designed to work together. All these machines have working prototypes and will be running on the field already – when the pitch owner has decided to renew the artificial grass, the first step is always to roll the used artificial turf up. We do this with a machine called the Crab and it can be done in less than a day. The rolls of turf with the infill inside are in four-metre-long rolls and stored next to the pitch, and the field is now ready for the installation of new turf. Next to the field we use a machine called the ArenaMaster for the reclamation of infill from the artificial grass. For this the rolls will be pulled through the ArenaMaster and the infill will be beaten and brushed out. After this process, the grass will again be rolled and the infill mixture progressing to the next process – the Wizard. This device separates rubber crumbs from sand and removes the debris and dust. After this operation, the sand and rubber crumbs are also ready for reinstallation. Depending on each job, the Wizard process may not be necessary. When the infill materials are in good enough conditions, we can reinstall them without it. Recycling used grass ASIE’s first option is always to reinstall used turf, but eventually it will be so worn that it will no longer be possible to make an acceptable level of pitch with it. In this case, the used grass will be crushed and a compound produced and ASIE plans to establish a mobile recycling plant by the summer of 2018. Developments To support all these activities, collecting data from pitches and helping with planning, ASIE is developing a database called ‘Cloud’. This is a modern tool for planning daily working processes as well as handling materials and dealing with customers. The database is built up by following Industry 4.0 principles. We collect as much digital information from processes as is reasonable, analyse them, and then use the data for planning the next renewal processes, educating our staff and developing the machines of the ARENA concept. The ARENA concept is a new way of thinking about the renewal of artificial grass fields and materials handling. To bring these ideas to other people and to showcase the new possibilities, ASIE attended a first-time demo event in Tallinn, Estonia, called ARENA 2017 in February. The event was public and all visitors were welcomed. To reach key persons we gave many personal invitations to the event. The main invited visitors were ASIE’s present customers and potential new ones. We also invited our partners and artificial grass and other materials suppliers. A third main group of persons were from football associations in the different countries of Europe. Of course, many local visitors from local municipalities and football clubs were also in attendance. ASIE lined up all its machinery, including ARENA concept prototypes – Crab, ArenaMaster and Wizard. The best way to understand the machines is to show them working, so we ran all the machines as we explained their principal functions to visitors. These direct contacts were good for both sides – visitors understood our capabilities and we learnt what the important aspects for field owners and players are. The demo event in 2017 was so successful that ASIE decided to repeat it next year. You are welcome to ARENA 2018, from 18-23 of February 2018, where we will have an even wider range of machines to show ( References 1  2   Meelis Koik Advanced Sports Installations Europe AS +372 5330 9003 The post Change the pitch appeared first on Horizon 2020 Projects.
The first patient in an international trial of a new liver dialysis system has been recruited at the Royal Free Hospital in London, UK. The device, called DIALIVE, was invented by scientists and doctors at University College London (UCL) and Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust. The principles behind DIALIVE are based on recent advances in the understanding of the mechanisms underlying liver failure, a condition that affects some 200,000-300,000 people every year across Europe. The patient group treated in this trial has a greater than 25% chance of death within a 28-day period if they do not undergo a liver transplant. 24 patients will be included in the first phase, which is aimed at establishing DIALIVE’s safety and performance. The trails are being conducted at seven centres across Europe, including London, Birmingham, Nottingham, and Edinburgh in the UK; Rostock in Germany; Paris, France; and Madrid, Spain. A second trial that plans to enrol more than 100 patients across Europe is already being designed. That study is scheduled to begin in 2018 and will include patients at another 18 widely distributed European referral hospitals for liver diseases that are part of the European Foundation for the Study of Chronic Liver Failure (EF-Clif) consortium of hospitals. Professor Rajiv Jalan, the co-ordinator of the ALIVER project and an inventor of DIALIVE at UCL, said: “Many patients with liver failure are relatively well until the time they present to the hospital. “Within a matter of 28-days, about 25% of these patients will die with multi organ failure. Given the huge regeneration potential of the liver, many can recover. “DIALIVE removes toxins that accumulates in liver failure to prevent inflammation. It has the potential to allow the liver to regenerate.” Jalan added: “The Horizon 2020 EU grant and the collaboration with the leaders in the field will allow us to further develop DIALIVE for benefit of liver failure patients”. The post Patient to receive trial liver dialysis appeared first on Horizon 2020 Projects.
The EU’s research ministers are meeting in Tallinn, Estonia, between 24-25 July to discuss how to increase the impact of research and innovation, and to clarify the EU research funding landscape. The meeting is to be chaired by Minister of Education and Research Mailis Reps. According to Reps the future of Europe’s competitiveness depends on research and innovation. She said: “We need to convince a wider audience at the EU and national levels that everyone benefits from supporting ambitious investments in research and innovation.” Today (24 July) the ministers are receiving a presentation of Estonia’s e-government solutions, including e-residency, cybersecurity, and mobile positioning issues. Later, the executive director of the Nobel Foundation, Lars Heikensten, will present a keynote speech on the impact of research. Tomorrow they will discuss how to strengthen the impact and relevance of research in the EU. In the afternoon discussions will focus on the simplification of EU funding for research and innovation, and how to make them more accessible. One of the main topics of the Estonian presidency of the Council of the EU is also the interim evaluation of the Horizon 2020 programme for research and innovation. The post EU ministers discuss research impact appeared first on Horizon 2020 Projects.