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17-06-2019 | Research illustration ©iStockphoto.com/ClubhouseArts | Portrait ©Melanie Verlinden/Reinhart Ceulemans 3 mins read

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.

15-05-2019 | © Hubert Plovier & Patrice Cani, WELBIO 2 mins read

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.

23-04-2019 | © picture 3 mins read

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.

05-09-2018 | © picture 2 mins read

Investigating the uncertain future of teaching profession

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".

08-05-2018 | Portrait: © Rob Stevens, KU Leuven, Belgium - Illustration Figure: © Paul Beck, KU Leuven, Belgium - Caption: Starquakes (measured with the NASA satellite Kepler) allowed to discover the spin rate of the cores of red giant stars. 4 mins read

Asteroseismology shakes up theory of stellar evolution

First published on 13-07-2016 Updated on 08-05-2018

What is the lifespan of a sun-like star? Well, it may not be quite what we thought. The outcomes of EU-funded asteroseismology research conducted by Professor Conny Aerts and her team show that the cores of red giants don’t spin nearly as fast as expected – and this, in turn, means that our understanding of the future of our sun was flawed.

05-02-2018 | ©NASA/JPL-Caltech 2 mins read

TRAPPIST-1: findings show exoplanets made of rock and water

In 2016, a team of researchers led by EU-funded astronomer Michaël Gillon at the University of Liège, Belgium, discovered three temperate Earth-sized planets orbiting TRAPPIST-1, an ultra-cool dwarf star just 40 light years from Earth. A few months later, Gillon surprised the world with the discovery of a whole planetary system made of a total of seven planets around this star. A set of new studies reveals today the nature and composition of the planets, shedding light on their potential habitability.

16-06-2017 | Portrait: © Ilse Derluyn llustration: © Julie Schiltz 3 mins read

What kind of support is needed for unaccompanied refugee minors?

Almost 30 million children across the world are currently forcibly displaced and many of them, the unaccompanied refugee minors, are travelling without the protection and support of parents or caregivers. What do we know about the impact of their often harsh experiences on their psychological wellbeing? Dr llse Derluyn aims to gather evidence that will support the development of policies and clinical and social interventions for these unaccompanied children who face multiple traumas, also in a view to facilitate their integration in the host countries. 

28-04-2017 | © picture 4 mins read

Bringing equal opportunities to immigrant children

Some school systems in Europe are highly segregated, the Belgian one especially. Poorer standards of education are seen in schools where pupils are predominantly of immigrant background. Researchers are compiling new datasets and information about school composition and teaching cohesion to ensure segregation does not have to mean a difference in education standards.

21-03-2017 | eso1706 1 min read

First images taken by EU-funded EUROPA telescope

Michaël Gillon, astronomer and ERC grantee from the University of Liege, stunned the world with his recent discovery of seven potentially inhabitable planets orbiting Trappist-1 star, some 40 light years from Earth. 

18-07-2016 | Image: ULB — CRCN Portrait: © F.R.S.-FNRS — Jean-Michel BYL 2 mins read

Consciousness: is this what separates us from machines?

While computers can calculate or recognise faces, they are not aware of themselves (yet?). Consciousness is in the essence of human beings; its nature, however, appears to lack a reliable explanation. Prof. Axel Cleeremans is developing a new theory, the Radical Plasticity Thesis, maintaining that consciousness is a long-lasting property of our brain rather than just a static feature. In order to test it, he is taking a multidisciplinary approach including psychological studies and advanced brain imaging.