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20-12-2018 | © Magdalen College Oxford Old Library © Marsilio Editori in Venezia © Marina Goldring

On the trail of the first printed books, the beginning of the knowledge economy

Until the middle of the 15th century, books were copied by hand. After the printing of the Gutenberg Bible, in Mainz, printed books started to circulate in Europe marking the start of a new era. But what do we know about the first modern books? What were they about? Who wrote them, bought them, read them? Prof. Cristina Dondi is chasing these answers, following the breadcrumbs left by these incredible volumes.

05-12-2018 | istockphoto

When scientific curiosity sparks innovation

Matchmaking science ready for release on the market with investors in start-ups is the aim of Y Science 2018, the official side event to the world-renowned Slush. Techy events like these may seem almost science fictional at moments and it can be easy to forget that many of the ideas being pitched on stage began with really basic science.

29-11-2018 | Pictures and portrait: © Saarland University, HCI Lab

Tech-filled tattoos to interact with the surrounding world

The increasing development of wearable technology sparks the need for new, innovative ways to interact with our shiny gadgets. Deviating from the conventional approach based on touch-sensitive devices, Prof. Jürgen Steimle aims at producing body-worn user interfaces that can be applied directly on the skin. Highly personalised, biocompatible and ultrathin, these devices will seamlessly blend with the human skin to create a technological extension of our body.

26-11-2018 | © picture

Eyeing up food supplements for healthy vision

Key nutrients can improve vision both in ageing and in healthy eyes, according to EU-funded research. Doctors are now prescribing supplements of these nutrients, while the researchers are investigating other possible health benefits.

26-11-2018 | © Stefan Bouzarovski

Putting energy poverty on the map

A project funded by the ERC developed an innovative and comprehensive framework to study energy poverty in Europe. It also produced evidence applicable beyond academia, laying ground for the EU’s Energy Poverty Observatory set up in 2018.

05-11-2018 | © iStockphoto.com

Think globally, invest locally

Cities and regions around the world are increasingly inter-connected. One clear factor for this connectivity is foreign investment: the flow of capital, skills and knowledge that can – under the right circumstances - "bless" an area, improving its economic and social standing. ERC grantee Riccardo Crescenzi studies where these flows are concentrated, how different actors choose where to invest and what are their impacts on both the home and host economies.

23-10-2018 | © picture

AI all around us

Agnieszka Wykowska is a senior researcher of the Social Cognition in Human-Robot Interaction at the Italian Institute of Technology (Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia) in Genova, Italy. In 2016 she has been awarded an ERC Starting Grant for her project “Intentional Stance for Social Attunement” whose goal is to investigate if humans are ready to engage in social interactions with humanoid robots. Dr Wykowska will present her findings at the ERC's conference Frontier Research and Artificial Intelligence.  

17-10-2018 | Energy concept

Tenfold improvement in liquid batteries mean electric car refuelling could take minutes

One of the biggest drawbacks of electric vehicles – that they require hours and hours to charge – could be obliterated by a new type of liquid battery that is roughly ten times more energy-dense than existing models, according to Professor Lee Cronin, the Regius Chair of Chemistry at the University of Glasgow, UK.

13-10-2018 | © picture

Centre stage: the vital social role of applied theatre

Applied theatre tells a story not for the purposes of entertainment but for social, economic, political or therapeutic reasons. Prof. Matthias Warstat, funded by the ERC, wants to know more about the growth and impact of this form of theatre across the world.

05-10-2018 | © University of Portsmouth

Challenging Einstein’s theory about gravity in deep space

ERC grantee Dr Kazuya Koyama, originally from Japan, tests gravity, specifically whether Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity can be applied beyond our solar system. At present general relativity works in our galaxy but is less convincing at the far borders of our universe which is rapidly expanding and needs weird energy to explain this. Dr Koyama is hoping that observations in deep space will show that the theory can be modified to work on a larger scale so that this strange 'dark energy' is not needed – removing one of cosmology's biggest mysteries.

On the occasion of the signing of a new agreement with the Japanese Science and Technology Agency to encourage top Japanese researchers to temporarily join ERC-funded teams in Europe, the ERC interviewed Dr Kazuya Koyama about his international career and how he believes this helps strengthen scientific partnerships between researchers in Europe and Japan.