Inspired by the country’s cloudy weather, an Irish researcher has developed a new way to increase the efficiency of solar panels – even in the event of overcast skies. With a grant from the European Research Council (ERC), the disruptive technology has increased the viability of effective solar energy collection in northern Europe. The potential of this innovation could be huge given Europe’s growing demand for cost-effective and sustainable energy solutions.
The need to find a more sustainable and balanced relationship between the planet and its inhabitants is being felt urgently throughout the world. Mass protests and climate movements make it clear that sustainability is among the top of many people’s priorities. This calls for radically new approaches also in science and scholarship. Incremental research won’t do the trick this time.
Although human wellbeing has been a topic of discussion for centuries, assessments of the subject have often focused on narrow demographic groups and missed the bigger picture. With European Research Council (ERC) support, a leading demographer aims to change the way we think about happiness and wellbeing by seeing the future of humanity through the prism of global sustainable development.
Water covers 70 % of our planet, but only 3 % of it is fresh water. Two thirds is in frozen glaciers unavailable for our use. With the world experiencing increased water stress and water shortages, smart solutions are urgently required. Recycling and seawater desalination are becoming a necessary part of the water infrastructure. The ANEMONE project has come up with a water recycling solution that gets around previous hurdles.
There is a common belief that concentrating poor people in the same area and isolating them from wealthier neighbourhoods actually aggravates their situation. To investigate this assumption, the DEPRIVEDHOODS project used new approaches.
Quantifying the carbon storage potential of terrestrial ecosystems will have to take account of the relative contributions of photosynthesis and respiration to the global carbon cycle. The SOLCA project developed an ambitious approach to tackle this challenge.
Being unable to accurately gage the nutritional needs of crops can result in over-fertilisation; polluting soil, air and water. LiveSEN has developed a real-time, portable biosensor that measures nitrogen levels and, with Big Data-driven recommendations, benefits farmers.
A European bioengineer has pushed the boundaries of cell manipulation by pioneering a new, droplet-based method of study. His innovation, allowing for the highly detailed observation of cells, has resulted in the launch of a spin-off company as well as further research into cell cultures. Fuelled by a European Research Council (ERC) grant, the technology promises to open doors to new applications in pharmaceuticals, diagnostics and medical research.