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19-12-2017 | Image courtesy ERCcOMICS project - Portrait: © Gergely Szöllősi

The road to frontier research: Erasmus+, Marie Skłodowska-Curie, ERC

This year the European Research Council turned 10. But 2017 also marked two other important milestones: 20 years of Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellowships, which offer career development opportunities to early-career researchers, and 30 years of ERASMUS, that has shaped the new generation of young Europeans, launching students' mobility. What do researchers think about the impact of these European programmes on their professional and personal life? Let's hear from those who have benefitted from all three.

18-12-2017 | © picture

Learning from Diversity

Could migration lead to more respect for ethnic and cultural diversity not only in receiving communities but also in sending countries? By observing the effects of Polish migration to the UK and Germany, as a result of the country’s entry in the EU in 2004, Prof. Magdalena Nowicka explores possible answers to this question.

18-12-2017 | Copyright @MIGPROSP (migrationgovernance.org)

International migration governance: understanding policy drivers for better responses

While migration’s impact is global in scale, the decisions that regulate it tend to be taken at the national and regional level. Indeed migration policy can be a defining issue for national sovereignty, touching on the very definition of borders and citizenship. But what are the drivers behind the way States respond to migration?

14-12-2017 | Cover drawing by Alessandro Tota for ERCcOMICS

Jojo, the epidermal cell

Jojo is an epidermal cell - as was his father and his grand-father before him. While the dream of his life is to become a neuron, he faces the hard and fundamental dogma of biology: once a skin cell, always a skin cell…

16-11-2017 | Portrait: ©EPFL,Hillary Sanctuary - Research picture: ©EPFL,Alain Herzog

Could personalised neuroprosthetics make paralysed patients walk again?

Prof. Gregoire Courtine believes paralysed patients will be able to walk again. This belief has represented the focus of years of work aimed at regenerating the functions of the spinal cord after injury. Thanks to his ERC funding in both 2010 and 2015, Prof. Courtine and his team have been able to develop so-called “personalised neuroprosthetics” that have led immobile rats, and more recently monkeys, to overcome their paralysis.

27-10-2017 | © picture

Looking for one thing: finding another

Did you know that the Persian fairy tale “The Three Princes of Serendip” provided the inspiration for the first noted use of the word “serendipity” in the English language? In this story, the heroes are always making happy and surprising discoveries. In science, this concept of a pleasant surprise covers the mismatch between what the researchers expected to find and what they actually discovered, as introduced in this newsletter’s editorial. It has given us innovations such as the microwave, Teflon, X-rays, penicillin, the World Wide Web and much more. What started off with a fairy tale, ended up as a byword for an influential idea in research policy-making and even headlining a recent ERC-funded project.

19-10-2017 | © Eloisa Bertorelli Reyna/EdibleGardenCityPteLtd. 2017

Food sharing puts sustainability on the menu

EU-funded researchers are carrying out a comprehensive analysis of urban food-sharing schemes, examining how they embrace modern technologies like the internet and smart phones. The worldwide study could help people living in cities make more sustainable use of food resources.

19-10-2017 | © Aaron Micallef, MARCAN project 2017; © Jurgen Spiteri

What’s under the sea?

Ever since observing a map of a marine landslide as a young geology student, Dr Aaron Micallef was hooked on the beauty of the sea floor. Now, he works on understanding the forces that shape the Earth’s landscapes, both above ground and below the sea level. His MARCAN project studies the impacts of groundwater on canyon formation in Malta and New Zealand. This investigation may reveal where we will be getting our drinking water in the future.

11-10-2017 | © Angela Erhard

The baby's brain, as never seen before

For the first time ever, a team of scientists and clinicians led by the EU-funded researcher Mickael Tanter has managed to record the brain activity of a premature new-born baby during resting and during an epileptic seizure. Using a non-invasive ultrasound technology, this world premiere is a real game changer for researchers and the medical profession, offering a massive range of applications in neuroimaging and beyond. It is published today in Science Translational Medicine.