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17-06-2019 | Research illustration ©iStockphoto.com/ClubhouseArts | Portrait ©Melanie Verlinden/Reinhart Ceulemans

Biomass crops are energy efficient and climate friendly

EU-funded researchers planted, harvested, processed and analysed the life cycle of woody crops to establish how efficient and environmentally friendly they are as a source of fuel for electricity and heat.

12-06-2019 | © picture

ERC research lends an ear to the voices heard by schizophrenia patients

The ERC-funded ONOFF project is building upon previous efforts to better understand auditory hallucinations (AH) in patients with schizophrenia. Its results could lead to new cognitive and pharmacological treatments.

29-05-2019 | © picture

Can we grow an artificial retina?

Diseases affecting the retina cause one quarter of worldwide blindness. To date, there are no treatments to restore lost retinal cells and visual function, making it urgent to find new therapeutic approaches. Can stem cells be the solution? Prof. Majlinda Lako aims at growing artificial replicas of the human retina using stem cells.

15-05-2019 | © Hubert Plovier & Patrice Cani, WELBIO

Akkermansia, a friendly bacterium who cares

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.

08-05-2019 | © picture

Civil society under growing state control?

ELECTION SERIES #8

State regulation of civil society has grown consistently over the past decade, raising concerns over the eroding role of the latter in shaping democratic decision-making. The ERC-funded STATORG project has investigated this issue across several long-lived democracies, considering country-specific regulations and how these affect civil society organisations.

08-05-2019 | © picture

Is political participation contagious?

ELECTION SERIES #7

Why are some people more likely to vote or stand for election than others? Researchers based in Sweden are doing some deep data diving to find out how our social surroundings and our genes influence political participation.

08-05-2019 | © picture

The Great Recession and political conflict in Europe

ELECTION SERIES #4

The EU-funded POLCON project aims to understand the impact that the Great Recession has had on the development of political conflict in Europe.

08-05-2019 | © picture

Politics, the art of the possible – but who chooses party politics and who chooses protest, and why?

ELECTION SERIES #5

One would not be mistaken to assume that traditional party politics has become side‑lined by the rise of an angrier, more direct form of protest politics, supercharged by years of austerity following the financial crash of 2008-2009. One ERC-funded project, POLPART, has been dedicated to understanding how and why people become engaged in politics and what this means for ongoing efforts to strengthen and preserve our democracies for the future.

30-04-2019 | © iStockphoto.com

Gender talk in the corridors of Brussels

ELECTION SERIES #2

Because the European Parliament represents such a diverse group of people, with different cultural and political backgrounds, it is the perfect ground to understand how gender equality operates in the halls of power. ERC grantee Johanna Kantola and her team have shadowed many members of Parliament and their teams, to study gender practices and policies inside Europe’s legislative machine.

23-04-2019 | © picture

Breezing through the information overload

ELECTION SERIES #1

There is now more information circulating than at any other time in history. Every day mind-boggling amounts of data are produced, reaching over 2.5 quintillion bytes. With the European elections just around the corner, we take a look at an ERC funded project on how politicians stay knowledgeable amidst this information overload. The research by grantee Prof. Stefaan Walgrave from the University of Antwerp compares how different politicians process information and then act on it in three western, post-industrialist parliamentary democracies - Israel, Belgium and Canada. An original study, which unveils some optimistic findings just as voters prepare to head to the polls.