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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.
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.
Effective treatment for obesity remains a challenge and the only intervention proven to maintain weight loss is bariatric surgery. Intrigued by the beneficial effect that this procedure has on the composition of gut microbiota, Dr Fredrik Bäckhed explores the possibility of mimicking these changes to develop a treatment for obesity that won’t require going under the knife.
The abundant presence of a certain bacteria in our intestine, Akkermansia muciniphila, to give it its full name, is an excellent sign according to metabolism and nutrition specialist prof. Patrice Cani. With his team, they discovered the role of these bacteria in reducing cardiometabolic risk factors - like insulin resistance or hypertension – that are leading causes in the development of cardiovascular diseases and type-2 diabetes.
Every day thousands of people across Europe are working together to keep EU citizens safe from challenges to do with health, the environment, crime, terrorism, migration and the economy.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), more than 1.9 billion adults were overweight in 2016. Of these, over 650 million were obese and therefore at a higher risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, musculoskeletal disorders and some forms of cancers. In one of the largest studies of its kind, researchers have looked into the reasons why some people are more likely to gain weight while others manage to stay thin.
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.
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.
Teaching is certainly one of the most important professions in our society, yet its status and attractiveness have been systematically diminishing in the last decades. At the Université catholique de Louvain, Prof. Xavier Dumay is using his ERC Starting Grant to investigate the cultural and institutional transformations that have led to this "teaching profession crisis".
Peer pressure plays an important role in spreading new trends and habits. But what impact does social influence have in the diffusion of disruptive innovations that challenge prevailing transport technologies and mobility practices? Funded by the ERC, a team led by Dr Charlie Wilson is looking into this matter.