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24-06-2019 | © istockphotos.com 2 mins read

Life in the deep – microbes of the abyss

The deep seafloor covers around 70% of our planet’s surface and is home to a diverse community of microorganisms, mostly bacteria. These single-cell life forms inhabit some of the most extreme places in the world, with freezing waters, permanent darkness, high pressure and little food. ERC grantee Antje Boetius studies these microbes in the abyss and their important role for the Earth’s nutrient cycles.

13-10-2018 | © picture 3 mins read

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.

09-07-2018 | Image: at the crossroads in Sary Tash,Kyrgyzstan ©Martin Saxer, 2013 2 mins read

Asian highlands: remote, yet thoroughly connected to the outside world

In the highlands of Asia, an area spanning the mountain regions between the Pamirs and the eastern Himalayas, livelihoods are shaped as much by remoteness as by connectivity. With ERC funding, Dr Martin Saxer intends to shed new light on these areas at the edge of nation-states yet in the centre of geopolitical concerns.

18-12-2017 | © picture 2 mins read

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.

28-04-2017 | ©Illustration: MPI-MMG - Steven Vertovec 3 mins read

Old and new diversities recreating urban spaces

Global migration flows show a profound diversification of migrants’ groups in recent years. Their patterns of nationality, ethnicity, language, age, gender and legal status are growing ever more complex and migrants with ‘new diversity’ traits live in cities alongside people from previous immigration waves. Prof. Steven Vertovec’s comparative study helps understand how old and new waves of migrants meet, mix, interact and get integrated into a given society.

03-04-2017 | © picture

Promises and pitfalls of digital gaming

Thorsten Quandt is the Professor of Online Communication at the University of Münster, Germany. He is currently the Managing Director of the Department of Communication in Münster. From 2009-2012, he was the Chair of Online Communication and Interactive Media at the University of Hohenheim. He has a particular interest in digital games, interactive media and online journalism. His research project funded by the ERC shed light on the social foundations of online gaming.

Originally published in March 2017 as part of the multimedia campaign "ERC - 10 years – 10 portraits."

01-03-2016 | Illustration ©www.istockphotos.com Portrait © Prof. Ian T. Baldwin in the field 3 mins read

Listening to jet-lagged plants

Prof. Ian Thomas Baldwin received an ERC Advanced Grant to study the internal circadian clock of plants. In particular, he wants to understand the ecological consequences of plants fallings ‘out of synch’. In this interview, Prof. Baldwin shares some of his research findings and explains why he has chosen to make his study results openly available.

19-08-2015 | © picture 2 mins read

Ancient manuscripts in Ethiopia: preserving an historical and cultural heritage

Ethiopia has the most ancient tradition of written culture in sub-Saharan Africa. Until today old monasteries and churches, scattered all over the country, hold thousands of precious manuscripts. Yet, for most part, these cultural treasures are stored in precarious conditions. Prof. Denis Nosnitsin intends to preserve and study this rich heritage that soon could be lost forever.

14-08-2013 | The skeletons of the siliceous sponges, here of Euplectella aspergillum, ©picture and illustration: W.E.G Müller 3 mins read

Sponge enzymes: nature’s little bio-builders

Sponges seem an unlikely source for innovation, yet they may hold the key to new nanotechnologies, innovative optical devices and new ways of regrowing human bone and preventing bone disease. Difficult to believe? Not for Werner E.G. Müller. In the BIOSILICA project, he and his team are developing ways to adapt the complex processes that natural glassy sponges use to build their wondrous biosilica structures for use in biodegradable implants that would facilitate bone healing after surgery or fractures.

30-08-2012 | ©M.J Ventas Sierra & D. Wendland 3 mins read

Reverse engineering in late Gothic vaulted ceilings

The ‘Gothic’ architectural style, which flourished during the high- and late-medieval periods, from the 12th to 16th centuries AD, gave Europe some of its greatest cathedrals, minsters and churches as well as an architectural treasure house of palaces, town halls and guild buildings among others. Importantly, the soaring open spaces conceived and constructed by the architects of the period were only made possible by the innovative ways of designing and constructing ambitious vaulted ceilings. How did those medieval builders go about designing these huge complex monuments? And in an era without computers and design software, how did they set down their visions and transmit them in usable form to the master builders and masons who created them?