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13-11-2015 | © www.istockphoto.com

Interview with Artur Avila, Fields Medal Awardee and Brazilian ERC starting grant awardee

Artur Avila is a franco-brazilian leading mathematician and an ERC grantee since 2010. At the age of 16, he won the International Mathematical Olympic gold medal and before finishing high school, he received a scholarship for the Instituto Nacional de Matemática Pura e Aplicada (IMPA) of Rio de Janeiro. He is now senior researcher both at the National Center for Scientific Research - CNRS and IMPA. In this interview, Prof. Avila tells us about his international career and the research he conducts both in Brazil and France. 

09-11-2015 | © picture

Understanding the potential of Africa's digital revolution

In just a couple of years, Africa has gone from possessing a total bandwidth availability comparable to that of Norway to having almost one hundred million internet users and seven hundred million mobile users. Could this growth in access to information and communication technologies (ICT) represent an opportunity for economic development? Many have described this moment of transition as "Africa's century", ERC grantee and Oxford scholar Prof Mark Graham, a leading authority on the topic of technology and development, aims to understand this "digital revolution".

04-11-2015 | © picture

The brain: a tuneable 'hardware'

A crucial discovery of how the brain functions has been made by EU-funded researchers.  ERC Advanced Grant holder Prof. Oscar Marin and his team have shown that brain's 'hardware' - using the computing metaphor - is in fact tuneable and can adapt to internal and external influences. The findings could help develop new therapies for neurological disorders such as epilepsy, which affects around 50 million people globally.

27-10-2015 | Image: © NASA, ESA, the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA), J. Blakeslee (NRC Herzberg Astrophysics Program, Dominion Astrophysical Observatory), and H. Ford (JHU) www.spacetelescope.org

Setting eyes on the dark side of the universe - updated

More than 95% of our universe comes in the mysterious form of dark matter and dark energy that we can neither explain nor directly detect. Dr Catherine Heymans leads a team of researchers who were the first to “map” dark matter on the largest of scales. She now uses her research to confront Einstein’s theory of general relativity in an attempt to explain the nature of dark energy.

27-10-2015 | Image: © Deuss et al. Regional Variation of Inner Core Anisotropy from Seismic Normal Mode Observations. Science (2010) vol. 328 (5981) pp. 1018-1020

The secrets of the Earth’s deep interior

The inner core of our planet was discovered more than 65 years ago and since then Earth scientists have been investigating to understand more about its precise structure and geodynamic properties. Many fundamental questions still remain unanswered. Supported by the ERC, Dr Arwen Deuss has achieved some impressive results in this field.

26-10-2015 | Image: Oxia Planum ©Oxia Planum. Courtesy C. Quantin-Nataf

Mars landing site picked by an ERC grantee from University of Lyon

The European Mars mission in 2018 will land on the site identified by Prof Cathy Quantin-Nataf, grantee of the European Research Council (ERC), and her team at Université Lyon 1 and Observatoire de Lyon. Their choice of site, named Oxia Planum, was confirmed by the European Space Agency (ESA) on 21 October as the prime landing site for the robotic mission.

16-09-2015 | © picture

Foreseeing the cities of the future?

To confront the current challenge of managing a city of 20 million, the Egyptian government has revealed plans earlier this year (2015) to build a new capital city, 45 kilometres east of Cairo. The ambitious project tackles growth over the next 50 years and has been set to adapt to future challenges, including population density and land constraints. Like Cairo, many other metropolises are currently under pressure. At the University College London, ERC grantee Prof. Michael Batty, a distinguished theorist and modeller of urban change, works to develop a new 'Science of Cities'.

14-09-2015 | © National Oceanography Centre, UK

Back from the depths of Whittard Submarine Canyon

A team of 28 scientists and engineers led by ERC grantee Dr Veerle Huvenne has just returned from a successful 5-week expedition on board the RRS James Cook. They used tailored marine equipment to provide some of the first detailed acoustic maps of the fauna inhabiting the vertical cliffs of the Whittard Submarine Canyon. In this interview, Dr Huvenne shares her impressions on an extraordinary scientific journey.

10-09-2015 | © Theo Wilson

From blue ocean to icy clouds

We know that clouds in the Earth’s atmosphere are made of liquid water droplets, ice particles or a mixture of both. Still, our basic understanding on the nature of these ice particles, how they form and their role in climate continue to be poor. The results of Dr Benjamin Murray's ERC research, published today in Nature, add a new piece to the atmospheric puzzle.

19-08-2015 | © Sunil Amrith

‘Frontier’ research: politics and environment in South Asia

“The next war will be fought over water, not politics,” predicted United Nations Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali in 1991. But environmental changes and pressures also have impacts that – though just as important – may be slower and more difficult to spot.