How can researchers successfully engage with citizens to improve their scientific outputs? To find out, we talked to ERC grantee, Anna Davies of Trinity College Dublin, the winner of the first ERC Public Engagement Award in the online and social media category. Her project set out to map urban food-sharing practices and discovered early on that they would need the help of citizen scientists.
Beans, peas, lentils and other legumes are key elements in a balanced diet as they are a source of high-quality proteins. ERC grantee Jens Stougaard leads one of the most prominent research groups in legume science whose results may have long-term implications for sustainable agriculture and food security.
Water covers 70 % of our planet, but only 3 % of it is fresh water. Two thirds is in frozen glaciers unavailable for our use. With the world experiencing increased water stress and water shortages, smart solutions are urgently required. Recycling and seawater desalination are becoming a necessary part of the water infrastructure. The ANEMONE project has come up with a water recycling solution that gets around previous hurdles.
Food security is one of the grand challenges of our time, but many factors hinder meeting global targets set in the “Zero Hunger” UN Sustainable Development Goal. Two billion people are thought to be micronutrient deficient, yet in many poor countries, fish could provide a readily available and cheap source of micronutrients and protein. Prof. Christina Hicks is particularly interested in fish micronutrients and small-scale fisheries, a sector that holds potential for feeding people in coastal areas but is often forgotten in world strategies against malnutrition.
Stressed plants typically stop growing. With her ERC grant, Prof. Ana Caño-Delgado has developed and is applying an innovative approach to generate drought-resistant plants that continue growing. This could play an important role in ensuring food security when water is scarce.
Key nutrients can improve vision both in ageing and in healthy eyes, according to EU-funded research. Doctors are now prescribing supplements of these nutrients, while the researchers are investigating other possible health benefits.
EU-funded researchers are carrying out a comprehensive analysis of urban food-sharing schemes, examining how they embrace modern technologies like the internet and smart phones. The worldwide study could help people living in cities make more sustainable use of food resources.