The smallest laboratory able to simulate complex quantum phenomena lies in a chip, reports the Italian news agency AGI. The system uses photons, i.e. light, to process data. This research project is a first step towards the computer processors of the future, the kind that will have revolutionary capacity and speed of calculations. The chip has been developed thanks to the collaboration of different Italian research institutions and is funded by Fabio Sciarrino's ERC Starting Grant (3D-QUEST project). Related studies have recently been published in Nature Communications and Nature Photonics.
ERC in the Press
Polish agency PAP gathers comments of some Polish ERC grantees presented in the video ‘ERC: when the dreams come true’.
The agency quotes ERC grantees Maciej Konacki and Justyna Olko explaining why ERC grants are worth applying for.
Only few Polish researchers participate in ERC competitions. The agency reports that the ERC has taken different initiatives, such as this video clip, to encourage them to apply further for ERC grants.
The BBC features the i2MOVE project that was awarded a € 7 million ERC Synergy grant to develop a microchip that could regulate appetite (see ERC press release). Animal trials of this electronic implant are about to begin.
The chip will be implanted in the abdomen and attached to the vagus (pneumogastric) nerve. It will then electrically stimulate the nerve to modulate signals associated with hormone release during eating and better regulate appetite.
The vagus nerve also regulates many other functions in the body: controlling the way we breathe, our heart rate or the secretion of acid in the digestive system. There are hopes that this project could also help to treat other diseases linked to neural or brain disturbances. Scientists expect human trials to begin within three years.
The Irish Times reports on a promising research project led by ERC Advanced grantee Prof. Luke O'Neill.
With his international team, he has discovered a way to halt damage and risk of death caused by blood poisoning.
Already tested in mice, the method could be used in humans given it is based on a drug prescribed for epilepsy.
The results of his research could be extended to conditions such as Type 2 diabetes.
ERC President Helga Nowotny made an appearance on the Austrian talkshow Inside Brüssel, where she commented on the current EU budget negotiations for the research budget, and the role of research and innovation in development aid.
In a roundtable with EU Commissioner Andris Piebalgs, United Nations Assistant Secretary-General Thomas Stelzer, and several journalists, Prof. Nowotny stressed the importance of investment in education, research and innovation. She mentions that investing in those areas is not only important for third countries, but also for the EU Member States that are hit hardest by the economic crisis.
ERC President gave an update on the on-going EU budget negotiations, stating that the current budget plans for research and innovation were not as severe as she feared it would be.
Prof. Nowotny concluded that it is necessary to raise awareness on the enormous potential of science. By gaining the people's understanding and involving them in a constant dialogue, she hopes to fulfil what she calls a “duty” to give citizens a complete picture of the promising perspectives offered by science.