ERC Stories

  • Turning the tables: researching gambling research

    March 2015
    Turning the tables: researching gambling research
     March 2015

    We normally think of anthropologists studying ‘exotic’ cultures – ancient tribes that live in faraway places. But how about cultures that are closer to home? Professor Rebecca Cassidy has devoted herself to anthropological studies of European cultures of gambling. In the ‘Gambling in Europe’ (GAMSOC) project – funded by the ERC – Prof. Cassidy and her team have taken this a step further, and conducted an anthropological study of the gambling research community itself.

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  • Exploring the potential of new orbits for future space services

    February 2015
    Exploring the potential of new orbits for future space services
     February 2015

    Space exploration may one day reveal clues to the origin of the universe and life on Earth. In the meantime, scientific advances in the field have supported “space services” for everyday life such as weather forecasts and satellite navigation on our phones. With his ERC grant, space engineer Prof. Colin McInnes explored the mathematics of new families of orbits around the Earth for spacecraft, from micro-satellites to large solar sails. The objective was to map these orbits and to uncover potential applications for new space technologies in fields as diverse as space science, Earth observation and telecommunications.
    Credit: Charlotte Bewick - Swarm of ‘smart dust’ micro-sensors in Earth orbit for space physics applications.

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  • From Tenerife to Trinidad: corals and climate change in the abyss

    November 2014
    From Tenerife to Trinidad: corals and climate change in the abyss
     November 2014

    In June 1770, the explorer James Cook ran aground on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and became the first European to experience the world's largest coral reef, today a paradise for scientists and holidaymakers alike. Last year, the James Cook research vessel set out to encounter unique and unexplored corals, this time in the deep ocean. Led by ERC grantee Dr Laura Robinson (University of Bristol, UK), the team on board crossed the equatorial Atlantic to take samples of deep-sea corals, reaching depths of thousands of meters. On the expedition, Dr Robinson collected samples that are shedding light on past climate changes and she will share her findings at TEDx Brussels.
    ©Illustrations: TROPICS Cruise

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  • Opening a gateway to industrial solutions

    November 2014
    Opening a gateway to industrial solutions
     November 2014

    At Trinity College Dublin Professor Jonathan Coleman and his team are creating a ‘gateway technology’ in material science that, if successful, will open the door to a host of industrial applications. Their research focuses on producing two-dimensional monolayers of a variety of materials by exfoliation. Prof. Coleman's TEDx talk will introduce the audience to this technology and demonstrate how to make the 'wonder material' graphene in a kitchen blender.
    ©Grantee picture: Courtesy J Coleman

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  • Evaluating employment in Europe

    November 2014
    Evaluating employment in Europe
     November 2014

    As Europe continues to confront the consequences of the 2008 financial crisis it becomes ever-more important to fathom not only how Europe can return to productive levels of employment, but why it is failing to do so. Professor Pissarides’s ERC research examines both what kind of jobs Europeans do and future trends in employment. He will present his research to the public at TEDx Brussels event on 1 December.
    Portrait © Christopher Pissarides
    Illustration ©2014 iStockphoto

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  • How to become invisible: the science behind the fiction

    November 2014
    How to become invisible: the science behind the fiction
     November 2014

    The idea of invisibility sounds like something out of science fiction: but could new research turn it from fiction into science? The ambition behind Professor Leonhardt’s ERC- funded research is to trace the connections between abstract theoretical concepts, drawn from geometry and relativity, and their practical implications in fields from materials to photonics. He will be presenting this research to the public at the TEDx Brussels event on 1 December.

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  • The aftermath of a tsunami

    November 2014
    The aftermath of a tsunami
     November 2014

    A research background in earthquake engineering seems at first sight like an unusual fit with studying tsunamis. But on her return from Sri Lanka in the wake of the 2004 tsunami, Professor Tiziana Rossetto discovered that very little research had been done into the effects of tsunamis on coastal infrastructure and she wanted to find out more. She will be presenting this research to the public at the TEDx Brussels event on 1 December.
    © images: EEFIT - Tiziana Rossetto, HR Wallingford

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  • Tactile Displays of the Future to feel information

    October 2014
    Tactile Displays of the Future to feel information
     October 2014

    We are more and more accustomed to interacting physically with technology - using touchscreens for example. We now routinely “thumb-flick” through information on our phones or tablets rather than pressing keys. For Professor Sriram Subramanian and his team this kind of technology needs to be pushed beyond a flat interaction with the screen beneath our fingers - instead we should be able to feel what we are currently touching. Only by doing so can we fully interact with the information we are accessing.
    Matt Sutton, © University of Bristol

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  • Major breakthrough could help detoxify pollutants

    October 2014
    Major breakthrough could help detoxify pollutants
     October 2014

    Scientists at the University of Manchester (UK) hope a major breakthrough could lead to more effective methods for detoxifying dangerous pollutants like PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) and dioxins. The result is a culmination of 15 years of research and has been published in Nature on 19 October. It details how certain organisms manage to lower the toxicity of pollutants.
    Written in cooperation with University of Manchester (UK)
    Illustration ©David Leys, University of Manchester and Nature
    Portrait ©David Leys, University of Manchester

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  • Stem cells use first aid kits to repair damage

    September 2014
    Stem cells use first aid kits to repair damage
     September 2014

    Neural stem cells – master cells that can develop into any type of nerve cell – are able to generate mini “first aid kits” and transfer them to immune cells. This is the result of a study published today in Molecular Cell, and led by ERC grantee Prof. Stefano Pluchino, based at the University of Cambridge (UK).
    Written in cooperation with the University of Cambridge

    Image ©Design and artwork CongJian Zhao, Courtesy S. Pluchino

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