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Nanotechnology — the science of making and manipulating the very small — has the potential to transform our lives. With the help of ERC funding, Dr Davide Iannuzzi is building microscopic moving parts on to the ends of optical fibres, leading to better instruments for observing and measuring at the nanoscale.
The genetic heredity a person is born with isn't as impossible to change as one might think. In a study published in Cell Metabolism on 7 March 2012 Juleen Zierath, an ERC Advanced grantee 2008, and her team of researchers from the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden showed that when healthy but inactive men and women are made to exercise it actually alters chemical marks on their DNA - in a matter of minutes.
During the economic crisis, these challenges have been made more arduous, as pressures to improve the short-term economic situation tend to put resource sustainability and the environment further down the political agenda.
The Sun provides a steady source of power that could make solar energy a sustainable alternative to conventional sources of energy, provided that technological advances can actually reduce energy production costs. Prof. Michael Grätzel modified the composition of dye-sensitized solar cells to significantly increase their efficiency, including for indoor use. His result laid the ground for paradigm shifts that could revolutionise solar cells technology.Portrait: © Alain Herzog / EPFL image: The Swiss Tech Convention Center in Lausanne, Switzerland, featuring a glass façade made of dye sensitized solar cells to provide electric power to the building, © Alain Herzog / EPFL
Toxic spills can be devastating to humans, animals and to the ecosystem The ERC-funded project CHOBOTIX has successfully created the first prototypes of chemical robots that could serve for "Intelligent Cleaning". These tiny robots could have applications in various fields, from seeking out a source of contamination and neutralise it in toxic waters to treating patients in a more efficient way by delivering them the exact amount of drug without dosing the whole body of patients.
The peoples of the Balkans' region have long shared an "entangled" and tumultuous history. A visit to the Western Balkans shows how deep the scars of the bloodsheds of the 1990s have been in this part of the world. The scale of violence has exceeded our common understanding with human rights' abuses, massacres, torture, rapes and ethnic cleansing from all sides. With such context in mind, one would have thought that Balkan history could have been studied from a "relational" or "transnational" perspective, to which it seems historically predisposed. But this has rarely been the case.
How deep are the roots of our culture formation? How was the Occidental culture influenced by the Greek Philosophy? What role did the Arabs play in transmitting it during Medieval times? These are some of the questions that Dr. Cristina D'Ancona, from the University of Pisa, intends to answer in her interdisciplinary ERC Advanced project. One of the main outcomes of this project will be the production of an unprecedented tool for analysing Graeco-Arabic texts.
ERC project's team gets back to Libya after Gaddafi's fall. Satellite imagery has uncovered new evidence of a lost civilisation of the Sahara in Libya’s south-western desert wastes that will help re-write the history of the country.