Issue 4 | A world-leading independent review.
Global Science and Technology
Dr Jasmine Nahrgang
Dr Jüri Martin
Dr Nathalie Dörfliger
Safeguarding an open internet.
Energy Island on the Eastern Coast of the Baltic Sea
Facing current environmental issues
BALTIC REGION CONFLICTS AND CO-OPERTAION
cover inspired by
Faculty of Biosciences, Fisheries and Economics The Faculty of Biosciences, Fisheries and Economics is seeking to meet the need for competence and education within both private petroleum industry and NGOs. Attractive and creative knowledge supporting a sustainable development in the north. Multidisciplinary scientific community developing relevant knowledge for further growth in the region. Basic knowledge at the core and the natural basis for the applied research carried out at the faculty. Biology of northern ecosystems. Innovation and Economic development in the north. Welfare, sustainability and resource management.
Foreword Global Scientia’s Gillian McNicoll
Space tourism is imminent; many are signing up now to go to Mars on a one way ticket! Science has come a long way and new realms of study and understanding are being reached. Nanotechnology continues to be in the news as research and development goes on and more ideas and areas of study are being dreamt up. Environmental concerns often are at the heart of change nowadays and new technologies must be developed in as sustainable and ecofriendly manner as possible. However, though space is seen as a new frontier we have existing ones that can still be discovered and explored. There are many articles in this edition of Globalscientia that deal with our oceans and marine research. Our oceans cover a large part of our planet and R&D thankfully endures, continuing the long history established centuries ago of our love of the sea. In the past there were many stories of monsters of the deep, unchartered lands and mysterious creatures. Tales inspired authors around the world to write epic adventures and tales of daring-do and swashbuckling lore. These days’ anecdotes and adventures still abound and motivate many to go where no one has gone before. Monitoring and observing our oceans and marine life is a major research field. A Scandinavian highlight in this edition includes research where areas around a moraine, Skjoldryggen, were surveyed which can lead to greater knowledge of marine life, ecosystems as well as helping to improve marine management and conservation. In Italian waters, electronic seagliders, with on-
board hi-tech sensors, have assisted scientists to monitor plankton. Keeping our oceans safe and clean in the waterborne community is another area of development of note in today’s busy waterways. European Technology Platforms ETPs play a part in progress and change in how our oceans and seas are being utilised. Other initiatives are well underway to find solutions to several issues and concerns. Young scientists are being encouraged to get a taste of science. This can create new opportunities, careers and lifelong interests. Around the world there are many different initiatives, such as young researcher summer programmes in Austria and South Africa and the Ukraine and school programmes in Alaska. Mental health promotion along with mental ill-health prevention and treatment has never been more important as there are so many factors that have increased levels of mental illness. Suicide is one of the concerns that is looked at in this Autumn edition and what work is being done in the field. Biological research, supported by Austrian researchers, is another highpoint of this edition. Food security and finding solutions for pests and diseases in crops and woodlands is a theme of the article on UK R&D. Several innovative ways to detect diseases and pests are being established. In the long distant past I had to put a special item in a time capsule at school, it’s a popular thing to do. I often wonder what people would think of the items they find 50 years later. If we put all our ideas and research in a time capsule today, what will those in the future think of what we have achieved? If we; continue to be curious; strive to solve problems; explore our world then surely there will be a lot for us to be proud of.
Contents Global Scientia
Neelie Kroes , Vice-President of the European Commission “Safeguarding an open internet”
Global Scientia’s Gillian McNicoll looks at the latest developments in Graphene
Global Scientia’s Gillian McNicoll looks at the future of Nanotechnology
Professor David Delpy, Chief Executive of the EPSRC – “Building a World Together”
Global Scientia’s Gillian McNicoll discus’s science in the UK
Global Scientia’s Gillian McNicoll takes a look at Young scientists of today
Global Scientia’s Gillian McNicoll discus’s science in Austria
Prof. Berthold Huppertz, Vr.-Ped, Karine Sargsyan and Dr. Tanja Macheiner Era – “Biobanking for you and me”
Dr Hella Lichtenberg and Dr Marlies Dorlöchter - ERA NET NEURON: “Neurodevelopment, boost for new interplays”
Global Scientia’s Gillian McNicoll discus’s Mental health research
Declan O’Brien, Managing Director of IFAH-Europe - Antibiotics for animals: A balanced approach for future efficacy
Dr Jasmine Nahrgang from the University of Tromsø Project leader of POLARISATION and COOPENOR and Dr Stian Røberg, Project Manager of EWMA - “Arctic Challenges: Climate and petroleum resources”
Global Scientia’s Gillian McNicoll takes at look at scientific research in Norway
European Marine Board - Navigating the Future: Marine research can address some of Europe’s greatest challenges.
Dr Cécile Pelaudeix, Head of research Cooperation, Arctic Forum Foundation, Lecturer Sciences Po Lyon looks at - “Science-policy interface in the Arctic: needs and processes.”
Dr Pascale Briand gives us an outline of the “The French National Research Agency”
Dr Nathalie Dörfliger of the BRGM – “Facing current environmental issues: Geosciences ecotechnologies towards a sustainable use of natural resources”
Global Scientia’s Gillian McNicoll takes a look at Water technologies and ETP’s
Global Scientia’s Gillian McNicoll looks at scientific developments in France
Dr Jean-Philippe, Director of the Federal Office of Topography, swisstopo - “175 years of excellence”
Dr Daniele Trucchi coordinator of the ProME³ThE²US² PROJECT – “A Novel Technology to Exceed 50% Efficiency in Solar Concentration Systems.
Global Scientia’s Gillian McNicoll looks at “Italy & Its Role in Global Ocean Monitoring”
Jernej Pikalo, Minister of Education, Science and Sport of the Republic of Slovenia discus’s the priorities within education, research and innovation during an exciting and challenging time.
Dr Zeljko Jovanovic - minister of science, education and sport – “The integration of Croatia into the EU is an opportunity for developing further the National innovation system”
Günther Oettinger – European Commissioner for Energy – “Secure our future: towards a European energy strategy”, “Renewable energy in the EU: to 2020 and beyond” and “Energy Efficiency”
Dr Jüri Martin, Rector of Euroakadeemia – “Energy Island on the Eastern Coast of the Baltic sea”
Global Scientia’s Gillian McNicoll looks at “Italy & Its Role in Global Ocean Monitoring”
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ISSN 2053-258X (Print), 2053-2598 (Online)
Commissioner Kroes Safeguarding an open internet
The internet is now an essential part of our economy and our society. My goal is to get every European digital: with available, affordable, accessible content; with everyone able to develop and share the innovations that make the internet better with each day; and with absolute safeguards for freedom and openness. How to achieve that free and open internet is a complex debate about a complex network. We have spent time consulting, understanding and analysing the impact of various solutions. And we 6
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are now ready to introduce clear new protections for every internet user, safeguarding the full and open internet for every European, on every device, on every network. Our proposal will have a number of elements. First, evidence shows that often operators block or throttle certain services simply to avoid having to compete: so (for example) you suddenly find that services like voice over IP, or instant messaging, are unavailable or degraded. In fact,
our evidence shows that millions of Europeans are signing up to such “limited” internet services without realising it. That’s anti-competitive, untransparent, and bad for consumers. And I know that’s something many of you feel very strongly about. Under our proposals such practices won’t be allowed any more. Every Internet package should give you access to the full range of services the Internet has to offer – Skype, Whatsapp, you name it. Sometimes it is legitimate for operators to manage traffic: to avoid congestion, for example, or to ensure time-critical data gets there when it’s needed. But that needs to be reasonable: transparent, non-discriminatory, proportionate, and with user control. Plus regulators will have the power to ensure and enforce a minimum quality of service, so you get what you’re paying for. Second, we will enhance competition. By ensuring your internet contract is clear and transparent. Facts about your connection—like the actual speed you can expect—should be available for all to see, not buried away in terms and conditions. Third, we will make it easier to switch provider if you don’t like what you’re getting; for example there should definitely be an end to sneaky practices like quietly extending your contract for another year without warning. And fourth, sometimes people may want to buy an Internet package that offers something extra – such as giving them a guaranteed “fast track” TV with guaranteed and enhanced quality. And we will allow operators to offer those new “value added” services. These new protections and choices are a big step forward for consumer rights online and for
competition, across our single market. I find in this debate there are many strongly held positions. For me, ideology may make good rhetoric; but poor policy-making. Especially when considering the rules that could constrain a complex, innovative and evolving system like the Internet. So here are two things I am not going to be doing. First, I am not going to oblige light users to subsidise heavy ones. Differentiating consumers by usage is already more or less standard practice, and a fair one: it means charging more to those who use the Internet more. Because the internet, however open, doesn’t come free of cost: building networks and creating content will always cost something to someone, and it’s unfair if that falls disproportionately on those who just use their phone to check occasional emails. Second, I’m not going to ban innovative new services that give you something extra. In future I can see innovations like Internet access that comes with videoconferencing with guaranteed end-to-end quality, for example. Some people see those deals as an ideological outrage, and would like to ban them. For me, such new ideas are part of what makes the Internet great: a platform that is open, innovative, and offering new choices to the consumer. And if different users want something extra, it’s not my job to prevent them. For me, the Internet works well precisely because it has been relatively free of heavy-handed regulation. We need to step in to prevent anticompetitive behaviour and unfair limitations to services. But in a fast-moving digital market, over-reaching EU intervention is not the right approach. These new proposed protections will ensure you continue to get the most value out of the full, innovative Internet.
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Global Scientia’s Gillian McNicoll
The dynamic Graphene research train continues and is right on track. The GRAPHENE flagship CP-CSA research call opens in November 2013 and closes in February 2014. The Graphene Flagship consortium has broadened its scope by asking for research bids with an open call for a further 20 to 30 groups. Engineering is one of the new focuses in order to reinforce Graphene research. €9 million has been allocated for the CP-CSA; leading up to March 31st 2016. The topics for this expanded open call encompass 12 scientific and technological subjects: A- Materials
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B- Health & environment C- Fundamental science D- High-frequency electronics E- Optoelectronics F- Spintronics G- Sensors H- Flexible electronics I- Energy applications J- Nanocomposites K- Production Graphene Science & Technology also has a funding line dedicated to this roadmap and layering materials. Each S&T topic has €700, 000 allocated to it and disseminated towards two research proposals. However, if a particularly remarkable proposal is received then all the
700K will go to one research project. The current CHIST-ERA project will be instigating a joint call in October 2013. The Human Brain Project Flagship This research call has been developed to supplement the knowledge of members that are not already part of the HBP consortium. Once organisations receive funding through a call for proposals, they will then become full beneficiaries. There is €8.3 million funding available. Expected topics could include the following: • Human and mouse channelomics
and receptomics • Genotype to phenotype mapping of the mouse brain • Recognising, gathering and organizing human neuroscience data • Cognitive architectures • Novel methods for rules-based clustering of medical data • Neural configurations for neuromorphic computing systems • Virtual robotic environments, agents, sensory & motor systems • Theory of multi-scale circuits The call for proposals opens in October 2013 and ends in November 2013. The HBP research project will last 10 years and is being funded by the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Community for research, technological development and demonstration activities 20072013. The HBP project is part of the FET Flagship Programme. The current call includes two new topics to be looked at: Adaptive Machines in Complex Environments and Heterogeneous Distributed Computing. FET Flagship projects There are two projects competitive calls highlighted for research in this category and supported by
the European Commission. The calls will open at the end of 2013 and dedicated to specific topics of interest. £8 million funding for Graphene based energy storage and advanced materials Two research projects have received substantial funding. The UK government seeks to invest money into key technologies such as Graphene storage. The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) has awarded £4.3 million in order to discover new advanced materials to work in industrial environments. The second funding of £3.3 million was received jointly by the University of Manchester and the University of Liverpool to develop Graphene originated hi-tech energy storage solutions. A centre, which will open in 2014, involving interdisciplinary scientists from both universities is being established. This research can provide solutions to reduce financial costs and the impact on the environment. This research has global implications for the industrial marketplace. Professor Philip Withers, from Manchester’s School of Materials said:
“In the Government’s ‘eight great technologies’ report, advanced materials were identified as a key technological strength for the UK…” Graphene Workshop: The European Workshop on Epitaxial Graphene and 2D Materials (EWEG/2D’2014) This important workshop will be held in Croatia in June 2014. Here many topics will be discussed that are current in the field of Graphene research and development. The theme is epitaxial 2D crystals; whether nanosized or extended. This workshop will look at Graphene, boron nitride, dichalcogenides, silicene, and covalent organic or metalorganic networks. New connections amongst the subfields will be looked at as well as discussing any problematic areas or contentious issues. Scientists and young upcoming scientists can come together to talk about the topics and open up dialogue on the work they are researching. This is on research on surface science of structural & physical properties regarding the production of 2D crystals from metallic supports as well as theoretical investigations, together Issue 4 |
with device fabrication. The workshop has several other objectives in mind such as problem solving for and simulation of growth processes, developing structural properties, finding new ways to work with 2D crystalâ€™s properties using metal contacts, idea generation for the application of Graphene and 2D crystals hybrids and heterostructures and discussing cheaper ways of producing and developing 2D crystals on different scales. This workshop follows on from the first workshop EWEGâ€™2013 which was in France in January 2013. This workshop included several talks and poster sessions including; structure, including defects, electronic and optical properties, magnetic 10
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properties and spintronics and growth, production, and device fabrication. Graphene LIVE! 2013 Conference; Berlin An international conference on Graphene is this year being held in Germany and a tradeshow runs alongside. This global focused event is key to exchanges about current Graphene based development around the world. Graphene Live 2013 Berlin provides a valuable and useful place to discuss and develop knowledge on this hi-tech creation. Such topics for discussion and talks for Graphene applications include: Graphene composites, supercapacitors and batteries,
functional inks, logic and memory, touch screens, sensors and bioelectronics as well as other related subjects. This event is a forum for all involved in Graphene development to come together and keep up-todate on any changes and solutions. Investors, enterprises, businesses, and developers have a place to unite and enter into an active and energetic dialogue at various levels. 30 different speakers from a range of companies are expected to speak from 30 countries around the globe. Applications will be presented to delegates on a range of Graphene technologies. This event promotes Graphene development for companies and enterprises, to help increase awareness of products and services and networking.
Global Scientia’s Gillian McNicoll
“Knowledge is the currency of the global economy. If Europe wants to continue to compete in the 21st century, we must support research and innovation that will generate growth and jobs, both now and in the future.” Commissioner for Research Innovation & Science Máire Geoghegan-Quinn. The European Union’s 2020 agenda’s core is about smart, sustainable yet responsible growth. Nanotechnology is the new (relatively speaking) technology that can revolutionise our world radically. Electronics, homes, health, medicines, transport, space, vehicles and manufacturing are just some of the ways Nanotechnology can make our world smarter and cheaper to run. Though it is recognised that there are risks and issues with all new technologies, and safety and security is paramount. Resources and materials can be saved and carbon emissions reduced using Nanotechnology. This all sounds wonderful, but of course there are many challenges ahead and research needs to be on going, at all levels. Meeting the objectives of the 2020 initiative is no easy feat, but with euro millions behind its progress, R&D challenges
can become opportunities. Climate change is no longer ringing out with just distant gong sounds; the message is loud and clear, changes need to be made; our outlook on life can no longer be not worrying about tomorrow. Instead the new mantra should be; think before we act, look before we leap! Yet ingenuity must be given freedom to think and create ideas and pathways unknown. “Vision without execution is hallucination.” Thomas A. Edison. Without vision there can be no change but without putting into action there can be little or no achievements to be realised. Financial & societal growth Leading the way forward in the EU, via pioneering Nanotechnology will be more successful and united when all EU states are given the tools to adapt and learn about the possibilities these technologies can bring. Much has been done to introduce new concepts in schools, universities and research and learning centres. Moreover, international cooperation is vital to moving into the future. Bringing economic benefits is really one major component of Nanotechnology, not only to
save money, but by creating jobs, lowering costs of manufacturing and production. Research and more research The European Commission has not been slow in responding to research funding programmes, not only is this important for the EU as a whole but for individual states. The ERC, European Research Council and collaboration between research institutes, Nano-scientists and academia have also been speedy and precise in working out steps to partnering in advancement and innovation. Horizon 2020 has sailed into the open ocean of inventiveness, and will continue to sail onwards for another 7 years. Intellectual capital is being developed into commercial technology prospects that are set to change the way things work and how we see the world. An example of just one Nano research funding project in the EU is France, who has the Nano 2017 R&D initiative. 3.5 billion research funding has been made available and the initiative was launched by Jean-Marc Ayrault with backing from his ministers of digital economy, higher education, research and Issue 4 |
industry. Nanotechnology in France aims to be competitive in the international marketplace, and one area of note is STMicroelectronics. NANOFORCE This initiative has been created to support Central European Nanotechnology innovation and networking. Both public and private organisations work in collaboration to develop laboratory based work into industrial applications. New materials are being developed in a sustainable and eco-friendly manner. Science industries, finance and publications come together in order 12
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to maximise resources, information and knowledge. Nanosubstances and products will be financed and produced in a responsible and safe way. NANOFORUM in Europe The NANOFOURM biannual event brings together a range of European organisations, research centres and businesses. This is an arena to share knowledge, network, demonstrate ideas, build partnerships and showcase Nano products and materials. There are exhibitions and presentations by many across different fields.
Dublin was the chosen location for the 2013 NANOFORUM in June. Around 1500 participants attended the conference from 50 different countries. The theme was on problem solving using Nanotechnology in the areas of health, the environment and energy. The forum ran during Nanoweek 2013 and was aided by the European Commission Directorate for Nanotechnology. The next Nanoforum will be in Rome in September 2013. Previous Nanoforums ran in European countries such as Budapest & Torino in 2011 and Rome 2012.
Transforming healthcare Electronic devices can become cheaper to build & make and more economical to run and maintain; for example using solar technology and Nanotechnology as a dual inventive approach. Medical and ancillary devices could improve performance, increase detections of medical conditions, and reduce waiting times for treatment. Sensing and testing devices can be teamed up with e-technology to speed up information for medical professionals. Patients can benefit and health improved. Medications can be enhanced and side-effects reduced. MRSA and other infections can be better combatted and addressed. Other benefits include using advanced Nanotechnology materials that help the body to repair itself. An example of a healthcare project is Namdiatream which is working to improve outcomes for those affected by cancer. This venture is made up of 13 academic institutions, 2 multi-national industries and 7 hi-tech SMEs. They are working to develop a Nanotechnology derived toolkit, designed to detect cancers earlier; in addition to discover better ways for finding the most common cancers and imaging of molecular biomarkers. This work is based on super-sensitive “lab-on-a-bead”, “lab-on-a-chip” and “lab-on-awire” nano-devices. The consortium has 22 partners from 8 countries in Europe; Ireland, Spain, Austria, Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, UK and 1 associated country Switzerland.
freshness of the produce they are buying. Water can be filtered using nanoscale membranes to improve quality and safety. Lighting and electronic technologies Energy efficient LED lighting will continue to improve and light up our homes, workplaces and communities. Photovoltaic tiles and panels will continue to transform lighting using solar energy. Nanotubes can be used to enhance and develop high capacity and lowloss cables. Wind power can be improved by utilising Nanotechnology. Our homes can benefit from better insulation from nanomaterials such as thermochromic windows. Again reducing household costs and improving efficiency. IT electronic and other technologies will continue to develop and be researched; nanoparticles, nanowires, graphene, quantum dots, semi-conductor electronic and molecular materials. Nanotechnology the: future “We want to ‘widen’ participation in Horizon 2020 as a way to bridge Europe’s innovation divide”. Máire Geoghegan-Quinn.
EUR 24.6 billion has been given to the science community, 17.9 billion to industry incorporating SME’s, small & medium sized businesses and enterprises. The Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) competition has been given 1 billion euros for a 1 year period for the ‘wonder material’, Graphene research and exploitation. Horizon 2020 has stepped into the ‘innovation crisis’ breach with an 80 million euro funding backing. To fill the gaps in education and employment this funding is needed drastically to improve information and educational shortcomings. Without this, the EU would not be able to compete. Both research and educational objectives must be strived towards as one without the other cannot succeed. Research and development are brought together in Horizon 2020, which has not happened before in previous programmes to this level. Going small to gain big rewards The market for products and technologies made from Nano sized materials is propelling forward, a highly emergent technology that no longer stays quiet in the shadows. The EU is already benefiting in its share in the current 1 Trillion euros market, and can seize its stake in the global market share.
Food and clothing What we wear can be manufactured and produced in more energy efficient and eco-friendly ways. Industry can utilise nanocatalysts to radically transform industrial machinery and processes. Food packaging changes can reduce costs and alert consumers to the Issue 4 |
Building a World Together
Building a World Together If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants. Isaac Newton
Newton recognised that he did not achieve great insight without the endeavours of those who preceded him. Scientific knowledge and theory evolves, and in Newton’s time, it developed at a slower pace than today. Now, the speed of innovation, the pace of change, and the scale of challenges which affect people’s lives across the world, mean that scientific research which embraces partnership working is vital to success. How to address climate change, combat epidemics or provide sustainable energy are global issues. With such a vast array of research going on worldwide it is important to focus our resources wisely. The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) in the UK is responsible for an annual budget of £800 million which is used for training and research across a portfolio of sciences, engineering and mathematics. Our Royal Charter gives us three objectives, which are: firstly, to fund the very best internationally competitive research and training; secondly, to ensure that the outputs of that research and training benefit the UK; thirdly, to inform the public and government about what we’re doing and to provide expert advice.
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Inevitably this means that the projects and individuals we fund will be involved in collaborations between academic institutions in the UK and internationally, as well as with partners in business and third sector organisations. In the UK, EPSRC also works closely with other agencies such as the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) which help business move research forward to application. Collaborations on current EPSRC research grants include the EU, USA, China, India, Japan, Australasia, Canada, and South America, as well as countries as diverse as Gambia and Kuwait. In fact, 25 per cent of publications arising from EPSRC-funded work have international coauthors. An example of collaborative working is our partnership with the engineering academies of
the UK, the US and China to hold a Global Grand Challenges Summit for current and future leaders in engineering as well as designers, economists, policymakers, and many more. The summit addressed key themes of sustainability, health, enriching life, technology and growth, and resilience. Working with the US National Science Foundation, EPSRC has recently issued a call for US-UK research collaborations looking at ‘Clean Water for All’, contributing to the Resilience and Sustainability global grand challenges. Global problems, such as increasing energy demands, benefit from global research expertise. One example of this, funded by the EPSRC, is the UK-China research consortium to investigate a sustainable electric power supply, which builds on a long-standing UK-China energy research collaboration. Whilst the power systems of the UK and China are at different stages of development, maintaining security and increasing renewable energy capacity are important to both countries. UK researchers have expertise in renewable energy sources and their integration with the grid, whilst security analysis and security enhancement techniques are central R&D issues in China.
concepts which lead to new discoveries and developments. Graphene, the thinnest, strongest and most conductive material known to man, was discovered by EPSRC-funded scientists, Sir Andre Geim and his collaborator Professor Sir Konstantin Novoselov. The discovery earned them a joint Nobel Prize for Physics in 2010. One of the major outputs of all research is trained people. EPSRC cultivates the next generation of world-class researchers and research leaders. Currently 9,300 PhD researchers are funded within the current EPSRC portfolio. EPSRC has also invested in 80 Centres for Doctoral Training which focus on the UK’s most important sectors, key technologies, and most competitive future markets, including aerospace, pharmaceuticals, automotive, energy, digital economy and construction. Newton was difficult to work with despite his wellknown quotation. Today’s leading researchers not only need his insights but must be able to work in teams to tackle the large and ambitious research projects that will help us solve some of mankind’s greatest challenges.
The digital economy in both India and the UK is being supported by the India-UK Advanced Technology Centre in Next Generation Networks, Systems and Services. This five-year project involves leading research universities, industry collaboration and government departments. EPSRC funds research not just into ‘real world problems’ but also into fundamental developments in the core disciplines of the physical sciences, maths, engineering and ICT. Sixty per cent of funding is awarded to projects which maintain a flow of new ideas and
Author: Professor David Delpy
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Pests, Potatoes and Food Security
Global Scientia’s Gillian McNicoll
PESTS, POTATOES AND FOOD SECURITY
Reducing huger and increasing food security is paramount and of global concern. Around 870 million people in the world are habitually undernourished and go hungry (State of Food Insecurity in the World 2012 (SOFI). In developed countries the statistics show a much lower percentage of the total figure, 16 million people, when compared with developing countries. In recent years, Africa appeared to fair worse and instead of numbers of hungry reducing, figures increased from around 175 million to 239 million (Apart from a brief period of reduction). Developed countries also increased from 13 million over the period of 2004-2006 to 2010-2012 to 16 million. Whereas in Asia and Pacific regions statistics reduced from 739 million to 563 million and in Latin America and the Caribbean from 65 million to 49 million. It should be noted of course that there are many reasons for figures to vary such as population increasing/decreasing, war/conflict, economic or political / social changes. Q-Detect Devices; Pests and Pathogens Watch Out! Trees and pests have now got a new champion on their side in the shape of a portable DNA disease sniffer! 4 million euros was put 16
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into place for a research project to identify methods to detect pests and diseases. The Genie II portable DNA unit was one such device, this is being developed by Q-Detect to help combat a disease caused by the Chalara fraxinea fungus. Once the mobile device has finished being developed, testing in a portable way can mean it is much quicker and easier to diagnose diseases. This nasty fungus has attacked ash trees in woodlands at over 330 locations around the UK. Before this invention, it would take several days to get the results of tests of specimens of infected bark. I dream of Genie The amazing Genie II portable DNA device was designed after 3 years of research into easier methods of detecting disease, created from dreams and doodles on paper into reality. Because of the problems of crop and tree pests, improved ways of detecting and treating diseases and infestations would make it much quicker, simpler and less costly for farmers and those working in agriculture or forestry. All types of organisms, such as nematodes, pests, bacteria can wreak havoc on woodlands and crops. The Q-Detect research project has 15 organisations and coordinated by UK researchers and other partners from China, Peru, Italy, Netherlands,
Slovenia, Austria Switzerland and Sweden. The work was full of complexities and issues to solve. Detection tools needed to be found that not only make it faster to detect diseases, but are reliable and flexible. Many pests and pathogens are quarantined from UK shores and more than one device or approach is needed. The DNA detector was based around the sense of smell. This method could then act like a human nose and detect the smell, as were, of contamination. What is being sensed is the compounds of plants, as certain changes happen when they become infected. It is actually the DNA of the fungus that is detected or ‘sniffed’. Magic carpet methods to roll out to combat disease and pestilence Other methods looked at by Q-Detect included laser based spectroscopes and remote imaging. Using hi-tech infrared imaging, diseases can show up just by how they look under the imager, when compared to uncontaminated crops or flora. Acoustic detection was another means for detection studied by researchers, where sounds of insect activity can be detected. Electronic ‘smart’ traps were another innovative idea, which included automated CCTV to beam
back images of pests caught in the traps. Many techniques and approaches are on their way to being developed and others such as the mobile DNA detector unit are nearly finished. One of the other aims of the research was to assist inspectors to put the new guidelines for their use into practise. More research will continue including research and development of a laser spectroscopy. “Our research aims to understand exactly how biofumigation works and how the potential of this technique can be exploited most effectively under field conditions” Professor Sue Hartley, Director of YESI. The humble potato (and onion) research project that supports food security Bio-fumigation is the theme of the YESI (York Environmental Sustainability Institute) research project. The project’s £3.12 million is funded mostly by The Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), but £0.76m has been allocated by the Scottish Executive. Due to the issues that can result from the use of pesticides, scientists are always looking for alternative ways to deal with them.
“Potato is the world’s third most important food crop after wheat and rice, with millions of people worldwide depending on it for food, feed and income” Dr Celia Caulcott, BBSRC Director of Innovation and Skills. One alternative being looked into is bio-fumigation. What needs to be established is if it is a viable and sustainable method that can be used to treat pests. The two crops being tested are potatoes and onions, though this method is expected to be able to be adapted to other crops. Soil-borne pests and pathogens found in these sample crops will be treated with this technique. What needs to be established is more about this method, how it works, how it can be best developed & implemented and what are the pros and cons. In order to find out bio-fumigation needs to be tested in real field based situations. There are 4 projects to be carried out under this umbrella.
of York, the University of Leeds and the James Hutton Institute (JHI) from Scotland. Researchers are Professor Sue Hartley and Dr Kelly Redeker from the University of York, Professor Peter Urwin at the University of Leeds and Dr Stuart McFarlane and Dr Roy Neilson at the JHI. A number of partners area also part of the initiative; G&D Matthews, Agrii, Biotechnical Solutions Ltd, Hay Farming Ltd, RJ and AE Godfrey, Barworth Agriculture Ltd, Tozer Seeds Ltd, AHDB-Potato Council and Horticultural Development Company (HDC) and Richard Austin Agriculture Ltd. One of the Millennium Development goals (MDG’s) was to half the share of hungry people in the developing world by 2015. Therefore any projects that work to improve agriculture practises are vital especially in our current financial times. However, much is being done and the research into finding sustainable and viable methods to reduce pests and pathogens from affecting crops and plants are vital.
Food security has never been more important and this initiative is part of the HAPI Horticulture and Potato Initiative awards. There are several scientists involved in the project including those from the University Issue 4 |
Focus on Young Scientist Projects
Global Scientia’s Gillian McNicoll
FOCUS ON YOUNG SCIENTIST PROJECTS
Alaskan young people inspired by Earth sciences summer school Summer holidays can be long and young people and their families are often at a loss to keep them amused. However, this past summer, Alaskan school students got to take part in an exciting week of science; taught by scientist Alessio Gusmeroli from IARC’s (the Interrnational Artic Research Centre) and their enthusiastic camp counsellor Skye Sturm. Eagerness abounded on both sides as not only did the students get stuck in but Gusmeroli who specialises in glaciology and geophysics has now been encouraged to continue to teach other young people about the topic of climate change.
Nonetheless, the process can be a bit difficult when first attempt don’t meet with the response expected! This happened on occasion and Alessio had to change and adjust to the situation in order to get the message across in an interesting and understandable way. Science won over the young people in the end. “If we want to communicate climate change and educate the next generation, let’s work to make Sea Ice Woman, Ecosystem Knight, Glacier Dude, and Tornado Monster” Alessio Gusmeroli.
Scientists of the future
On one occasion he used a video about permafrost which inspired the students to search out more on the topic. Interactive ways are here to stay and variety is the spice of life.
Interactive lessons and activities packed the week as students learned about a variety of different topics. Working with young people can be a great task as you need to think in different ways not just to attract them or for them to have fun but the whole process gets the old grey cells working! Sometimes we can get into ways of working that seem fine but when teaching its necessary to think of diverse ways to explain complex concepts.
The small group of ten school children of Ilisaġvik College in Barrow learned a host of topics: adaptation, changing climate and habitat, strategies of animals and plants, paleoclimatology, the thawing permafrost, melting glaciers and compared the Arctic and Antarctic. Once interest has been peaked, students could then go on to develop a lifelong interest. Games were used and activities inside the school and outside to
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create real experiments and active learning. The event was sponsored by several organisations and groups; the Alaska Climate Science Center, Exxon Mobil and Conoco Phillips. FLiACT: Flies help young scientists to unlock brain puzzles 12 Young research fellows are on their way to finding out answers to brain neural circuits such as; do brain neural circuits have genetic coding? Or neuronal computation and discovering ways they could affect behaviour. The brain is still a mystery despite so many advances, this project aims to unravel puzzles through young scientist discussing and researching this topic area. Talented researchers are putting their wits against each other to come up with solutions in this breakthrough programme. Brain cells are coming under close scrutiny. Educating young scientists can improve skillsets and competence, leading to enriched future research possibilities. The focus subject matter for this research project is the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster Drosophila. The training initiative is working with 9 European countries, 3 SME’s and 8 academic partners.
There are 7 work packages in this four year FP7 €3 million project: • WP1 Molecular and genetic basis of behaviour • WP2 Structure and function of neural circuits • WP3 Comparative analysis • WP 4 Toolkit and behavioural screen • WP5 Training • WP6 Management • WP7 Dissemination & Training IIASA’s summer program for young scientists The International Institute for
Applied Systems Analysis runs a 3 month summer programme in Austria and this year it ran from June-Aug 2013. The YSSP (Young Scientists Summer Program) seeks to give valuable opportunities for international participants who have a passion for global, environmental, social and economic change. This yearly summer initiative has opportunities to develop new skills and knowledge whilst receiving quality teaching from skilled scientists. This project also allows for networking and bilateral learning from participants and tutors/ lecturers. The summer students are able to broaden their understanding
of their particular field of interest. The programmes are: Advanced Systems Analysis, Ecosystems Services & Management, The Energy Program, Evolution and Ecology, Mitigation of Air Pollution & Greenhouse Gases (MAG), Risk, Policy and Vulnerability, Transitions to New Technologies and the World Population Program. The annual programme also gives young scientists a chance to showcase their own research. Practical work is an integral part of the initiative which has been
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Focus on Young Scientist Projects
running since the late 70â€™s. Young scientists from around 80 countries have attended the event over the years. Those who want to attend must apply using a research proposal within the 9 research programme themes of the institute. This year, 2013, 51 people attended the summer programme from 20 different countries. Young emerging scientists worked on their research projects some of which included; California energy and climate policy choices -case study and food production and climate impact. The Southern African YSSP Unlike the annual YSSP programme in Austria, the Southern African young scientist summer programme will hold its first event this year in November (its summer at that time in that region!) Again the summer initiative runs for 3 months and the participants are from South Africa
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and other IIASA countries. The summer programme is being run by the South African Department of Science and Technology, the South African National Research Foundation and the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein, South Africa, and of course the IIASA. The Nanotwinning project; Ukraine and Europe. This twinning project focuses on collaboration and motivation of scientists and others in the Ukraine and Europe, it incorporates several different events. Here science, business and education come together to enhance understanding and scientific team working. Other activities include opportunities for sharing and development of working with state-of-the-arttechnologies, networking and relationship building. Young scientists are to be encouraged
and supported in nanotechnology research. A summer school was held in 2012 where 45 young researchers attended from the Ukraine, Russia, Italy, Poland, France, Greece, Estonia and Belarus; another is being held in Sept 2013 in Bukovel, Ukraine. At its heart is the aim to advance Nanotechnologies within the Institute of Physics (IOP) of the National Academy of Science of Ukraine (NASU). It is expected that robust business and academia ties will be created and strengthened. Partner countries such as Italy, Estonia, France and Greece are involved from Pierre and Marie Curie University (UPMC), the University of Torino (UNITO) and the University of Tartu (IPUT). The Nanotwinning project is innovative and Nano technologies can be researched and enhanced.
Global Scientia’s Gillian McNicoll
AUSTRIAN BIOLOGICAL RESEARCH
“The European Union is an excellent place to perform research. While we account for just 7% of the world’s population, we’re responsible for 24% of research expenditure, 32% of high-impact publications and 32% of patent applications” Máire Geoghegan-Quinn Commissioner for research, innovation and science.” There have been many challenges sent our way in Europe and globally yet there never has been a better time for collaboration and multi-nation development. Research abounds in a healthy environment. Borders should no long have their instinctual tribal power to divide but instead possess a steadfast openness to change. Austria has grasped this with energetic candidness and robustly moves daily into new realms of scientific advancement and growth. Economically cognitively and socially, research can change how we think and see the world and none more so than biological research. This inner science has a strength to it that perhaps comes from our own innate human connection with biological and chemical processes. Here are details of some the research work that Austria is carrying out in
different areas. IST Austria The Institute of Science and Technology Austria IST Austria is relatively new on the scene and aims to become a centre of excellence for natural and mathematical sciences. At IST joint working between different sciences is encouraged to stimulate openness and idea generation. The top 3 sciences that have a prime focus at this time at the Austrian institute are mathematics, computer sciences and physical sciences, all of which are not limited to certain criteria. This is all about creating the right environment for innovation and developing unhindered concepts. A prominent group of 6 study areas has emerged with 28 research groupings; Evolutionary Biology, Mathematics, Physics, Cell Biology, Neurosciences and Computer Sciences. Some examples of work undertaken by forward-thinking IST Austria research groups Some recent research from one of the many research groups, the Bollenbach Group which deals with research into Biological Physics and Systems Biology include: “Interstitial
dendritic cell guidance by haptotactic chemokine gradients” Weber etal (2013) and another study on “Transcription factor kinetics and the emerging asymmetry in the early mammalian embryo”Kicheva etal (2012). Examples of work from another research group the Csicsvari Group, deals with Systems Neuroscience and are carrying out work into the hippocampus. IMRESFUN - Molecular Mechanisms of Fungal Pathogen Host Interactions This initiative will be running from Oct 2013 until Sept 2017 and has received funding from FP7- People totalling €3,591,515. Along with Austria there are several EU partners working together on this initiative including the UK, Spain, Czech Republic, Germany and Sweden. This initiative deals with the subject of the Candida species which is a group of top fungal pathogens that can affect humans. Much has been learned over the years to help counteract fungal pathogens yet there is still a lot to learn and be developed. The focus will be on finding out as much as possible how infected organs and immune cells react to the Candida species: to discover Issue 4 |
Austrian Bilogical Research
how host-defense mechanisms work to eradicate pathogens and to find the forces at work behind genetic networks that interrelate with host-pathogens. It is also crucial to find ways to improve how Candida species are identified, diagnosed and treated. At ImResFun, training will be made available for those needing more knowledge and understanding of Candida. Training in medical immunology will also be provided. Parkinsonâ€™s disease This work also starts in Oct 2013 and ends in September 2013. This work is called Reach a-synucleindependent neurodegeneration: clinical development of therapeutic AFFITOPE vaccines for Parkinsonâ€™s disease and multisystem atrophy. Research and development in all areas is important and this project seeks to work to improve therapeutic vaccines that target (aSyn)-driven neurodegenerative diseases. At this moment in time there is no causal therapy available to treat 2 synucleopathies of system atrophy and Parkinsonâ€™s disease. Nearly 8 million euros has been put towards researching this topic and it is part of the FP7 - Health area of funding.
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BBMRI (Biobanking and Biomolecular Resources Research Infrastructure This project is funded by the European Commission; initially there was a preparatory phase which finished in early 2011. Since then BBMRI has continued to develop and has 54 partners and a further 225 organisations linked with it from 30 countries. The majority of the organisations are biobanks. This initiative is being put into place via ERIC (European Research Infrastructure Consortium) BBMRI provides a place for researchers to find samples and data from patients in Europe. It is expected that the well organised centres will be established throughout the majority of the EU states. The headquarters is in Gratz, Austria, as Austria is the central coordinator. BBMRI is developing Expert Centres in response to global concerns for greater access for industry. Solutions need to be
found that work within set standards that all can adhere to and follow. Looking out from our own regions and states there can be answers that others have already found that can be shared and new combined scientific solutions. The biobanks can provide top quality samples for biotech and diagnostic and pharma industries. Data sharing doesn’t have to be complex, but it does need to be standardised and quality driven to move forward. IMBA brain research breakthrough Important research into the human brain has developed complex human brain tissue into a three-dimensional culture system. Pluripotent stem cells can now be developed into cerebral organoids. A research team at the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology (IMBA) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (OeAW) with Dr. Jürgen Knoblich as the lead, are responsible for the new development of the test tube ‘mini brains’ that have many separate brain regions. The right
growth environment was created for the cells to grow. A human neuronal disorder was studied to its beginnings and now much has been learned not only from the result but the process. This important work has opened the way for treating brain disorders. “In addition to the potential for new insights into the development of human brain disorders, mini brains will also be of great interest to the pharmaceutical and chemical industry” Dr. Madeline A. Lancaster. This research can assist with improving the testing of treatments and drug therapies. Other human based 3D models for other areas can be developed as animal models are believed as having many drawbacks. There can be side effects and other problems from treatments and this kind of research can be highly beneficial. It is anticipated that research such as this is crucial not only for Europe but internationally as well. Issue 4 |
BIOBANKING FOR YOU AND ME Special biological resources for our future.
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Biobanking is a research trend with ancient roots in Austria because already 1813 a royal decree was established to collect pathological preparations. Now, the largest biobank of Europe, the Biobank Graz, is in Austria and it collects various biological specimens to provide the global medical research. This publicly-owned non-profit organization contributes the healthcare for all under protection of the individual rights.
Under Prof. Berthold Huppertz, the director, and Vr.-Ped.1 Karine Sargsyan, the leader, the Biobank Graz became an institutional
research infrastructure of the Medical University of Graz in 2007. Today, with over 5 millions specimens, this biobank is not only the largest biobank in Europe but also an ISO-certificated institution which aimed to support research on the cause of diseases and the development of improvements in disease diagnosis and treatment with a benefit for public healthcare. The collected specimens are from residues of routine diagnostic, e.g. residual blood from routine blood or from tissue biopsy, from patients in the state hospital of Styria. These specimens contain cryopreserved tissue samples and bodily fluids like serum or urine, which are archived in cold storage (-80 to -196°C) as well as paraffin-embedded samples which are storage at room temperature . Furthermore, the
Biobank Graz storages DNA (-20°C) and RNA (-80°C) samples. However, in which case are biobank specimens a benefit for medical research? Among others, genetic association studies need a lot of specimens to get significant results and the creation of large cohorts of rare diseases within months is not able without biobanks. Biobank Graz pursues a twofold collection strategy: First, it is collecting routine pathological samples from populations in Austria´s Styria region at the natural rate of occurrence of a range of illnesses; second, it is following a diseasespecific collection strategy. Prof. Huppertz explained thebenefits of biobanking in following simple words:” It is unusual for people who give samples to biobank to benefit Issue 4 |
from that directly- it is like a blood donation, which does not help the donator but can save another life.” So the biobank specimens could be used for the development of new diagnostic methods or therapeutic treatments. Furthermore, the field of biobanking contains some ethical and legal challenges in relation to protection of personal rights and data management . For this reason, Biobank Graz developed an informed consent and a corresponding information folder. Both were approved by the local Ethics committee and all data of participants undergo a pseudonymisation. Moreover, every project which wants one or more biobank specimens has to meet following criteria: First, they have to possess a positive vote of the local Ethics Committee; second, the project needs also a positive vote of the Approval Committee of the Medical University of Graz, which reviews every project for plausibility . How can a biobank manage millions of biological specimens? Therefore and for standardization of asservation of biological samples and related data automated systems are necessary. For this reason, Biobank Graz improved their infrastructure among others by a semiautomatic storage for paraffin-embedded samples (Fig.1) as well as with a pipetting robot with sample cooling system and a link to data base for data transfer (Fig.2). This optimization of Biobank Graz infrastructure was relevant supported by Austrian Federal Government of Science and Research (Konjunkturpaket II) as well as by the Local Government of Styria (Zukunftsfonds Steiermark). Only by this way it is possible to harmonize the quality of biological specimens over the time and within a biobank network. In relation to this aim the project called “Biobanking and Biomolecular Resourses Research Infrastructure” (BBMRI) was launched . 26
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A further important aspect for the future of Biobank Graz will be the national and international activities. In this way, the cultivation of global cooperation plays a crucial role because harmonizing within such a biobank network enables a further optimization of biobanking sample use. Among others Biobank Graz enhances the development of biobanking in South-EastEurope. That is realized by transfer of biobanking know-how and experience from the Biobank Graz leadership to new coming biobanks with workshops and local visits. And which indicators can success demonstrate of a biobank? The function of a biobank is not only to collect biological samples but rather to bring out their samples for supporting of medical research. For this reason, the number of project requests per year as well as the scientific outcome e.g. in relation to the number of scientific publications with biobank resources can be applicable indicators. In corresponding to these indicators the Biobank Graz works very successfully because the number of project requests increased from 110 (2010) to 239 (2012) and the scientific outcome increases also ongoing. All in all, the Biobank Graz stands for high quality biological specimens for medical research, which leads to a benefit for the public society through commercial use of these research results. That can contain a new screening method, a novel diagnostic method in cancer research as well as a new therapeutically strategy . References  Macheiner T, Huppertz B, Sargsyan K. Sustainable use of biological resources on the example of the Biobank Graz. Der Pathologe 2013, DOI 10.1007/s00292-013-17527  Hansson MG, Dillner J, Bartram CR, Carlson JA, Helgesson G. Should donors be allowed to give broad consent to future biobank
research? Lancet Oncol 2006, 7:26669  http://www.meduni-graz.at/ images/content/file/forschung/ biobank/BBMRI_nationaler%20 Impact.pdf  Zatlukoul K, Hainaut P. Human tissue biobanks as instruments for drug discovery and development: impact on personalized medicine. Biomark Med. 2010;4(6):895-903.
Prof. Berthold Huppertz, Vr.-Ped. Karine Sargsyan, Dr. Tanja Macheiner Biobank Graz of Medical University Graz; Austria Stiftingtalstr. 3.1, 8010 Graz +43 316 385 72716 + 43 316 385 72731 email@example.com Issue 4 |
Neurodevelopment, boost for new interplays.
Figure legend: Speaker and ERA-NET NEURON members at the symposium in Rekyjavik, Iceland, May 2013
By Hella Lichtenberg and Marlies Dorlรถchter. MD is the coordinator of ERA-NET NEURON at PT-DLR on behalf of the German Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF)
One of the key-elements of the ERA-NET NEURON is the support of excellent research in the area of disease-related neuroscience. ERA-NETs are projects funded by the European Commission in various research fields that offer new types of co-operation between European ministries and funding agencies. By co-operation and co-ordination on a national or regional level between
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funding bodies, a European Research Area is created in which cross border research is funded, allowing research groups to jointly work on specific problems, exchange ideas, and benefit from interdisciplinary expertise. Twenty-one funding organisations from 16 EU Member States, Associated Countries, and Canada participate in ERA-NET NEURON for disease-related neuroscience.
Within the multitude of activities of the EUROPEAN MONTH OF THE BRAIN in May 2013, the ERA-NET NEURON organised a symposium on ‘NEURODEVELOPMENT AND RELATED DISORDERS’ on May 16th, 2013 in Reykjavik, Iceland. The symposium was hosted by RANNIS, the Icelandic Centre for Research and well attended by over 150 visitors. The topic is hot because the dogma of brain diseases as – though complex - traits of certain life times is currently under debate. Instead, many researchers now think (and experiment) on the influence and variations of brain development during the lifespan. Like any tissue, the development of the brain and its functions occurs as a result of coordinated influences that include heritable variations in genomic sequence. A neurodevelopmental disorder can thus be described as a disorder that alters development of the brain, interfering with growth and function over time. Or, as Etienne Hirsch, the organiser of the ERANET NEURON symposium put it “The topic of this symposium represents one of the most important and challenging aspects of sciences. Indeed, the development of our brain influences our entire life and thus, if this process is impaired, the consequences may last for years and may be associated with a lot of suffering.” The first part of the symposium was a ‘General overview of nervous system development’ by Amparo Acker-Palmer and a talk by Klaus-Armin Nave on ‘Myelin and Glial cells in nervous system development’. They focused on how the billions of neurons (transmitting nerve impulses) and glial cells (‘mother’s little helpers’, not conducting nerve impulses) orchestrate the brain development to set up complex behaviors such as cognition, learning, hearing, vision, dreams, consciousness.
Dr. Amparo Acker-Palmer
Acker-Palmer leads the Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience Research at Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany, that centres around the molecular basis of synaptic plasticity and development of the nervous system. Synapses are specialized, mushroom cap like projections at neuronal cells and crucial for information transmission. Acker-Palmer deciphered a special molecule, Ephrin B, as essential component in the modulation of synapse formation and of a certain pathway that controls neuronal migration. Some severe brain diseases like epilepsy, ataxia, schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease are among other features – characterized by a lack of migration. Recent scientific curiosity directs towards the Blood Brain Barrier (BBB), that is a most highly regulated interface between the peripheral blood circulation and the central nervous system that prevents the passage to the brain of most (harmful) molecules while allowing entry to other (useful) molecules. Several BBB dysfunctions are known and new treatments could possibly benefit from its modification in the early developmental stage.
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Dr. Klaus Nave
Nave heads the Department of Neurogenetics at the Max-Planck-Institute of Experimental Medicine in Göttingen, Germany. In his talk he explained that myelinating glia (those that form a thick insulator around conducting nerve fibers thereby promoting high-speed electrical signaling) are only found in higher vertebrates, building the ‘white’ impression of the so called white brain matter. White matter abnormalities in neuro-psychiatric diseases are observed e.g. in multiple sclerosis. A major goal of his research is to better understand the molecular mechanisms by which nerve cells instruct associated glial cells to wrap axons (signal conducting projections) and to support nerve fiber integrity. Long-term integrity, and thus function and survival require myelin maintenance by other metabolically active specialized glial cells. Nave hypothesises that “Such neuro-protective function may have been the primary role of axon-associated glial cells in nervous system evolution. Perturbations of this glial support of axonal energy metabolisms are a likely cause of reduced connectivity in the brain and the loss of higher brain functions.” In the second part of the symposium, a special emphasis was put on the diseases characterised by abnormal development of the brain, such as autism, mental retardation, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), language disorders, learning disorders, motor disorders, and others.
Dr. Wendy S. Roberts
In her contribution ‘Focus on Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders’ Wendy Roberts, 30
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head of the Department of Paediatrics at the University of Toronto, Canada explained that the term autism has rather been exchanged for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), because the latter better reflects the heterogeneous ‘spectrum’ involving impairments in three domains of function: social communication, language, and preference for repetitive, solitary and stereotyped behavior. Roberts says that only approximately 20% of ASD can currently be explained by known genes. The average age of the children is ~4.5 years when a clinical diagnosis is made, but the optimal age of intervention should be much earlier. Families experience a ‘Diagnostic Odyssey’ and can go years without a focused management plan. Other complications are the many medical co-morbidities like e.g. seizures (convulsions), gastrointestinal and sleep problems. She is confident that a better understanding of the causes of autism will benefit medical management and improve health and mental health outcomes for all neurodevelopmental disorders.
Dr. Karen B. Avraham
Karen B. Avraham, head of the Department of Human Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry at Tel Aviv University, Isreal talked about ‘Developmental disorders of sensory systems: the example of deafness’. Deafness may have been overlooked as developmental disease but a severe to profoundly deaf child is born every 1,000 births, with hearing loss in 4% of people below age 45 and reaching 50% by age 80. She explained that while this sensory defect is quite common, it is genetically heterogeneous with many genetic forms of deafness, and each in themselves is rare. It is thus not surprising that many rare forms of deafness are represented by 61 genes. Because hearing loss can manifest in complex forms studies are directed to a better understanding of the genetic regulation of the development and function of the ear including large scale genetics. It is thus important to identify genes associated with deafness in order to detect genetic mutations in patients for genetic counseling and rehabilitation, and to discover new mechanisms for deafness that may help
Dr. Yehezkel Ben-Ari
The thought-provoking concept that some disease of the elderly may even start early during life was by Yehezkel Ben-Ari, honorary head of the ‘Institut de Neurobiologie de la Méditerranée’ in Marseille, France in his presentation on ‘Neurodegenerative disorders of aging are neurodevelopmental disorders’. This is reasoned by the fact that ionic currents, which are responsible for the electrical signaling in nerve impulse transmission, follow developmental sequences and are very different in immature and adult neurons. His research focuses on a particular molecule, GABA (a chemical substance and so called neurotransmitter) which is the main inhibitory neurotransmitter in adult brain. However, it excites immature neurons and its actions are thought to exert an important role in developmental processes. Because spatial and temporal organisation are crucial for the correct cortical networks formation, it is not surprising that alterations of these – normally highly fine-tuned - sequences play a central role in developmental malformations, notably migration disorders and associated neurological complications.
Dr. Ragnhildur T. Karadottir
The symposium was concluded by a special lay audience presentation: “The bright side of the brain: the role of white matter in brain function and dysfunction” by Ragnhildur Thora Karadottir. She explained that the human brain is equally segregated into grey and white matter. The white matter actively affects how the brain learns and functions and provides a data superhighway that
links ~100 billion neurons situated in the grey matter - the brain’s computational area. Thus, the grey matter is primarily associated with processing and cognition while the white matter modulates the distribution of electrical signals (action potentials), and is essential to coordinate fast communication between different brain regions indispensable for us to be able to think, move, sense our environment, and see. The cells in the brain communicate between each other utilising electrical signals that are converted into chemical signals at specific cell junctions. Karadottir, researching at the Cambridge Centre for Brain Repair and Cambridge Stem Cell Initiative, UK, detailed that in the last decades neuroscience research has focused on understanding these signals between neurons. In disease, where either the neurons die, or the supporting cells or the white matter are damaged leading to mental and/ or physical disability. Different to the grey matter the white matter has the capability of repair. Conclusions: As Etienne Hirsch summarized it: “Altogether, this symposium emphasised the role of developmental alteration during the whole lifespan. It stresses also the need for understanding the role of genes in brain development, how genetically predisposed events may be altered by environment and what determines brain normal functioning and dysfunction.” We are witnessing a paradigm shift: when 15 years ago a genotype was thought to be a more or less invariable determinant of a phenotype, the question is now how the environment impacts on the genotype. It is for instance known that maternal stress poses enduring effects on gene expression in the child. Current research will thus increasingly focus - besides ongoing gene identification - on the epigenetic (chemical modifications on the DNA sequence) characteristics of a particular phenotype. Such efforts are directed towards a personalised medicine including, but not limited to, the search for preventive interventions that also comprise measures for family stress and consideration of economic implications of ineffective or insufficient interventions. During the ‘after work’ reception lively discussions took place. It was highly appreciated that this symposium brought scientists from very different areas together with ministry and funding agency representatives and the general audience. As Amparo Acker-Palmer said: “This is a new concept of interaction, with efficient contact and important exchange”. Issue 4 |
Mental Health Research Suicide
Global Scientia’s Gillian McNicoll
MENTAL HEALTH RESEARCH SUICIDE
“The burden resulting from mental disorders is indeed great and often under estimated: in terms of human suffering for patients and their families, quality of life, life opportunities and lost human capital, as well as in terms of economic costs” Tonio Borg, EU Commissioner for Health & Consumer Policy.
Yet without research, research centres, initiatives and other such programs where would we be today. Therefore, the EU moves forward, learning, gaining knowledge and understanding from a variety of means, both large and small.
Mental health research is a subject matter that encompasses a wide spectrum of themes ranging from ways to decrease mental ill-health to protecting good mental health. In fact defining mental health in itself is open to much dialogue, research and theory. One subject that almost always is brought up, across the board, is that as nations, states, regions, cities, and as individuals, it is highly important to develop ways to support and help those affected by mental ill-health.
Mental ill-health can only benefit from a united open and participative approach in advancing change and effective preventative measures in the EU and beyond. Every state and nation has something to contribute, not least from people themselves who have mental ill-health and are or could become affected by suicide. In the past it was such a taboo. Thankfully, as time has moved on, doors and revolving doorways leading somewhere positive continue to open up, largely because of qualitative & quantitative research of all shapes and sizes. Listening to people, finding out what are the diverse causes, problems, challenges as well as the diverse ways to prevent ill-health and to support people are essential. Suicide prevention in the EU Here we seek to give some idea of the types of work that has been carried out on this important issue.
Statistics show that in Europe suicide rates are a significant risk of death. Around 60, 000 suicide deaths were reported in 2010. Globally suicide deaths are 16 people per 100,000, males have higher rates of suicide or suicidal attempts. Statistics alone are not really enough to give even an overview of this subject matter; it is emotive, challenging and complex. 32
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European Union unison can reap dividends
EU member states have a wide range of projects that have been operating and others that continue to function. These are just a small sample, as much is being done across Europe. Spain In Spain it has been reported that suicide rates for every 100,000 people are 11.5 males and 3.3 females, which is lower than the average rate for the EU27. In late 2006 a Mental Health Strategy for the National Health System was brought into force, since this time, several health plans were started in different regions incorporating promotion and suicide prevention. A suicide prevention pilot initiative was instigated in Barcelona, which helped to improve the detection of those at risk of suicide. An integrated approach has been applied across Spain in GP practises to improve management and detection in over 600 health centres. Other activities include helping to reduce the stigma of mental ill-health both in the workplace, schools, and the wider community at large. The Media was also targeted for better working practices and a Mental Health Communication group has been established. This initiative’s findings
continue to positively support change both in Spain and to other EU states. Portugal In Lisbon Portugal, the demonstration Project WHY worked in the area of youth mental health. Schools in the region were chosen to take part to improve information and training in mental health promotion and increase identification for those at risk of
suicide or depression. This worked in line with the objectives of the Alliance Against Depression, Portuguese - EAAD. Educator champions were chosen from every school and this supported the information collection of how the project was proceeding. They also helped with discovering what training resources were working or to suggest ideas. Several key issues were revealed from this project that helped change how suicide and mental health promotion
were treated within the schools and improve participation and collaboration between schools and health professionals. This has helped develop new initiatives and training programs. Combating Rail suicides RESTRAIL (REduction of Suicides and Trespasses on Railway property) was begun to help combat suicides. This was designed to provide an analysis for the rail industry,
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Mental Health Research Suicide
about what is happening as well as recommendations for preventive measures. €4 million has been allocated to this. This European Commission chosen 3 year project is being carried out through a planned process; • WP1: Qualitative analysis of suicide and trespass on railways properties • WP2: Assessment of measures targeted to reduce railway suicides • WP3: Assessment of prevention measures targeted to reduce railway trespasses • WP4: Mitigation of Consequences by Improving Procedures and Decision Making • WP5: Field pilot tests and evaluation • WP6 Dissemination and exploitation of the results • WP7: Administrative and Financial Management Although reducing safety issues are of paramount concern for the rail industry, this innovative project can have a positive social and health aspect. OSPI - Optimizing Suicide Prevention Programme This is a project to enhance suicide
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prevention programmes in the EU, which stemmed from the European Commission’s Seventh Framework Programme. This is a vehicle to make available evidence based suicide prevention models for EU member states. Additionally, instruments, tools and resources are being developed and circulated to support efficient delivery of suicide intervention and prevention programmes. Model countries have been chosen that represent different health systems and cultural and social characteristics; Ireland, Germany, Hungary, and Portugal. Suicide & the media Research has been carried out into the negative and positive effects that media reporting can have on suicide risk. Several recommendations, drawn up by WHO and other national government organisations were distributed to the media in order to report more ‘considerately’ on suicide and to reduce such situations arising for example copycat suicides. There is of course the public right to know but if this leads to the risk of suicide, is this responsible behaviour on behalf of those reporting. What can affect the subsequent
media reporting is the differing views on interpretation, views on mental health, and codes of ethics in operation. OSPI-Europe, has surveyed media recommendations in different countries in the United Nations. According to “Media recommendations on reporting suicidal behaviour and suggestions for optimisation” Maloney et al (2013) out of a total of 74 of the 193 UN states, 38% had suicide prevention initiatives available nationally. 25% of these had press code ethics on reporting on suicide and 38% had some form of recommendations for the media. 75% of the recommendations sought for the media to not use simplified reporting or sensationalised reporting on attempts of suicide or deaths by suicide. 50% endorsed giving out information on mental health help organisations on their article or news report. Funding for this was provided by the European Commission within the Seventh Framework. The media has an important role to play and further strengthening of suicide recommendations and codes of ethics as well as cooperation between states can only improve what has already been achieved.
THE BASQUE COUNTRY IS GOING FOR NEUROSCIENCE, MATERIALS AND POLYMERS.
DEPARTAMENTO DE EDUCACIÓN UNIVERSIDADES E INVESTIGACIÓN HEZKUNTZA, UNIBERTSITATE ETA IKERKETA SAILA
Antibiotics for animals: A balanced approach for future efficacy
It is hard to imagine living in the pre-antibiotic era when even a minor injury such as a cut could lead to a serious infection which could not be controlled. Imagine infectious diseases such as typhoid and diphtheria which would spread rapidly through populations living in often overcrowded and unsanitary conditions, wiping out entire families in a short space of time. Today, thanks to better sanitary conditions, improved nutrition, clean water supply and the development of disease prevention and control tools, we can now expect to live longer in many parts of the world. Vaccines play an important role in preventing disease but the development of antibiotics has been fundamental in increasing life expectancy and improving our quality of life. Although antibiotics are now a common treatment for various illnesses, the discovery and application of antibiotics in medicine only occurred in the last 70 years beginning with penicillin as discovered in 1929 by Sir Alexander Fleming and then developed into a bacterial treatment in 1939 by Ernst Chain and Howard Florey. This first antibiotic came into clinical usage in 1946 making a huge impact on public health, transforming modern medicine and paving the way for the development of many more antibiotics. In a similar fashion antibiotics have had an important role to play in the health of our animals. Farmers can raise livestock more successfully thanks to animal medicines which control infectious diseases and our pets now live much longer than they would have several decades ago. The human and animal immune systems regularly By Declan Oâ€™Brien Managing Director of IFAH-Europe
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fight off harmful bacteria and some infections are self-limiting, but antibiotic treatment is often required in cases of prolonged or severe illness. For our pets: antibiotics help control a range of common and often painful bacterial infections in dogs and cats, such as ear, skin, respiratory and bladder infections, some of which can present a threat to people. Similarly, some livestock diseases can only be treated with antibiotics. The udder infection known as Mastitis is a very painful disease for dairy cows and antibiotics play a key role in the farmerâ€™s disease management plan. In fact, thanks to antibiotics made available in the 1970s dairy farms have managed to dramatically reduce this disease in their animals, ensuring their health and welfare as well as a safe and nutritious milk supply. As the world population continues to grow, keeping farm animals healthy to secure a sustainable supply of nutritious animal protein is becoming increasingly important. Farmers do their best to prevent disease occurring in their herds and flocks by providing appropriate nutrition, ensuring the animals are physically comfortable, following good husbandry and hygiene practices, and administering the necessary vaccinations to prevent disease. However, because bacteria and other microbes are found everywhere in the environment it is virtually impossible to prevent animals coming into contact with organisms that can cause disease. It is vital therefore that veterinarians have immediate access to the necessary medicines. Contrary to some beliefs, antibiotics are normally used in a responsible manner in animals in Europe. It is not in the farmerâ€™s economic interest to administer more antibiotics than are necessary due to the costs involved but also due to the loss of revenue from the withdrawal periods for the sale of produce such as milk, as milk from treated animals has to be discarded during the withdrawal period.
Nevertheless, there are people who will argue that the use of antibiotics is too high in agriculture. But letâ€™s take a look at the facts. The capacity of bacteria to select for resistance to antibiotics generally exists within their genetic makeup and has been there for thousands of years. The emergence of strains of bacteria that are resistant to many commonly available antibiotics is undoubtedly an important health issue and the more that these medicines are used, generally the more likely resistance will develop, both in human and veterinary medicine. However, arguments based on claims that giving antibiotics to animals is affecting our ability to treat human diseases are without scientific proof as it is yet to be understood how much of the resistance problem is due to resistant strains found in animals and transferred to humans or vice versa. A number of risk assessments carried out in relation to Campylobacter consistently show little evidence that antibiotic use in food animals gives rise to resistance that subsequently prejudices antibiotic use in treatment of human disease. In a study carried out recently on the transfer of resistance in E. coli, data reviewed from a Danish report for two classes of antibiotics (cephalosporins and fluoroquinolones) suggests that resistance is very low in animals and stable. Indeed consumption by animals of these classes of antibiotic is low and falling. On the other hand, resistance in man is reported as much higher while at the same time the consumption of these antibiotics in human medicinal use is also increasing. It is clear that resistance in humans is driven by human use (see figure on next page). Placing aside the reasons behind bacterial resistance to certain antibiotics, what is being done to combat this occurrence and ensure that antibiotics remain effective for generations to come? In terms of veterinary medicines, several measures set-up by regulators, the animal health industry and its partners ensure that antibiotics Issue 4 |
are safe to use, that they are used responsibly and that food from animals is safe to eat. Like all medicines, antibiotics need to be used responsibly for the right length of time and in the right way. It is vital that antibiotics are used with care and discrimination to help maintain their effectiveness so that generations to come can reap their benefits. Any overuse of antibiotics would be irresponsible. Farmers, veterinarians, the feed industry, diagnostics manufacturers and pharmacists along with the animal health industry and various other parties have all subscribed to the Responsible Use of these medicines under the European Platform for the Responsible Use of Medicines in Animals (EPRUMA – www.epruma. eu). Working under the watchword “As little as possible, as much as necessary”, EPRUMA has developed framework documents on how to best use veterinary medicines and vaccines and actively promotes the concept of Responsible Use. Using antibiotics responsibly is one thing; ensuring we develop new ones in the future is equally important. In the 2010 assessment of the EU legislative framework for veterinary medicines carried out by consultants on behalf of the European Commission various issues regarding the availability of veterinary medicines were highlighted. The current costs of product maintenance and insufficient data protection along with everincreasing demands for data on environmental impacts and on pharmacovigilance are creating 38
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a significant barrier for companies manufacturing animal health products. Also, with the average spend on defensive R&D in Europe being 35% of the total R&D budget – compared to 16% in the US - due to product reviews at national level and demands in the regulatory environment, a significant proportion of R&D budget is being diverted away from innovation. It is clear that major changes are needed to improve innovation and encourage the development of new diagnostics, vaccines and pharmaceuticals. The current revision of the Veterinary Medicines Directive offers legislators the opportunity to truly implement the single EU market by ensuring that if a medicine is licensed in one country, it should be available in all countries. With 75% of emerging infectious diseases originating from animals and with a 20% reduction in food production from animals due to disease it is clear that improved access to animal health products along with the development of new diagnostics, vaccines and pharmaceuticals will play an increasingly important role globally. Maintaining the ability to ensure animal health can be done through pan-European access to all veterinary medicines, the responsible use of those medicines and continuous investment in innovation so that new antibiotics and other solutions can be identified and brought to market. Antibiotics play a hugely important role in maintaining human and animal health worldwide. They are an essential part of any veterinarian’s
toolkit. However, veterinarians, farmers and pet owners must appreciate that effective disease control does not rely on one class of medicine alone. It requires a balanced approach involving careful attention to good hygiene, nutrition and the use of other preventive measures such as vaccination. A balanced and responsible approach will help ensure that antibiotics remain effective for generations to come.
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ARCTIC CHALLENGES Climate and petroleum resources.
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Figure 1: Polar cod (Boreogadus saida) under the arctic sea ice. Photo: Peter Leopold.
The general interest in the Arctic has increased considerably during the last two decades following the discoveries of some of the largest remaining oil and gas reserves on the planet. Also, shipping and tourism in the Arctic increases every year as the Arctic summer sea ice gradually retreats, with September 2012 having the record minimum sea ice extent since satellite measurements commenced in the 1970s. This is paralleled by the concern of direct and indirect consequences of climate change in Polar Regions, where effects are believed to be most severe. Arctic ecosystems are therefore under a dual pressure; on one side from impacts of the ongoing global warming and on the other side from its doppelgänger - the expansion of industrial activities in a still considered pristine and remote environment. In the Barents Sea, the limits of exploration are still safeguarding the Northern part of the Arctic, but for how long? At the Faculty of Biosciences, Fisheries and Economics at the University of Tromsø (UiT), as well as within the Tromsø based Fram Centre (www.framsenteret.no) and ARCTOS (www.arctosresearch. net), there is an emphasis on
actively working towards a better and more comprehensive understanding of this remote environment. Predicting effects of climate change and increased pollution, as well as designing solutions and technologies to safeguard this region while keeping the realistic prospective of exploration and exploitation of this region, are core elements of our research. Importantly, it is not within one single field of science or one institute that such an ambitious goal may be reached. Rather, in order to achieve this, we need everyone from ecologists, oceanographers, ecotoxicologists to modellers. Ultimately, we need basic understanding of our ecosystems with solutions and technologies built on that knowledge to meet our common responsibility to safeguard this unique and remote environment. Finally, but not the least, we need to prepare future generations. Three projects funded by the Norwegian Research Council (NRC) and led from the Faculty of Bioscience, Fisheries and Economics at the UiT are currently striving to reach these goals, working in partnership with a wide range of national and international partner
institutions from universities, R&D companies and the industry: 1. POLARISATION Basic research, the fundaments for long-lasting solutions. Fundamental research is key for providing the necessary knowledge to develop technologies hand in hand with the industry. As such, fundamental research should not be neglected and seen as a “deadend” curiosity driven research. POLARISATION (Polar cod, lipid metabolism and disruption by polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons; http://site.uit.no/polarisation) is such a project aiming at answering basic questions in the prospective of providing a basis for industry driven solutions and technologies. The 4-years project (2012-2015), co-financed by the NRC and UiT through the FRIPRO programme, deals with understanding both the basic biology of a true Arctic fish species and its sensitivity to petroleum related pollution. Although polar cod (Boreogadus saida, Figure 1) is rarely considered for human consumption, it is considered THE key fish species in Arctic ecosystems, both due to its abundance at a pan-Arctic scale and Issue 4 |
its central role in the food chain. It is therefore not only crucial to understand potential man made impacts on this species, it may also become an actor as a bioindicator species in environmental management. However, at present, current status of knowledge and few scientific studies on this important species are not sufficient to allow this to become a reality. The project has been making great progress concerning its ecology and biological characteristics, both of which are important factors to evaluate its response to pollution and climate impacts. Through the project we have gathered a unique dataset on the life cycle of polar cod in different climatic domains, which provide an unprecedented insight into its sensitivity to climate impacts. Preliminary results also suggests that the particular physiology of this species together with the environmental characteristics of the 42
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Arctic may significantly influence the uptake and effects of oil related compounds through routes and pathways until now considered negligible for other fish species. With world leading experts in environmental toxicology and physiology we are investigating how petroleum compounds enter the organisms and lead to longterm effects on energy metabolism and reproduction. For instance, in collaboration with the cell biology group at the University of the Basque Country (Spain), we aim at understanding the molecular mechanisms disrupting lipid homeostasis, the processes involved in storage and use of lipids. This is a crucial aspect for polar cod, which experiences long winters where food availability is scarce and where high amounts of energy are invested for reproduction. Any effects leading to the reduction in population fitness in this species,
even at a local scale, could have severe consequences for the ecosystem. POLARISATION goes even further to reach its goals, by implementing in vitro methods in collaboration with the University of Bergen and sequencing the polar cod transcriptome with the Norwegian Institute for Water Research. For a full list of national and international partners, see site. uit.no/polarisation/. POLARISATION is not there to provide the knowledge that will help design applied solutions to the industry. Rather, POLARISATION will help understand the importance of this species in the ecosystem and its sensitivity towards pollution from the petroleum industry. Thereby, the project will provide insights that ultimately may allow the use of polar cod as a bioindicator for the Arctic and provide data for risk models both for climate impacts and the petro maritime industry.
2. COOPENOR Set the baselines while we still can. Life is full of routines, both for humans and for all living organisms around us. These routines may follow different temporal schedules, e.g. the diel migrations of marine zooplankton or the annual biological cycles linked to reproduction and winter survival. These routines are intimately linked with predictable changes in the environment such as light, temperature or access to food, and may be regarded as key adaptations of any given organism towards its changing, yet predictable habitat. Changes in such routines, small or big, enable us to see when things are out of place. In environmental monitoring, the knowledge of a speciesâ€™ routines, usually referred to as baselines, is therefore critical in order to monitor how anthropogenic influences are
potentially affecting organisms. The Arctic is often considered as a pristine environment, with little human activities. This however, is likely to change in the near future, and it is thus of paramount importance to establish relevant and useful baselines while it is still possible. COOPENOR (Combined effects of Petroleum and the Environment on bivalves from the Norwegian-Russian Arctic, http:// site.uit.no/coopenor) has as its
primary goal to provide relevant and useful baseline data on two common species of marine bivalves â€“ the blue mussel and Icelandic scallop. Bivalves are used as bioindicators worldwide, due to their sessile life style and capacity to bioaccumulate large amounts of pollutants, which inform about pollutant levels and effects in local areas. Along the Arctic shelf seas, however their biology and routines are less well known and relevant baselines are
Figure 2: Schematic representation of the goals and challenges of COOPENOR. Current knowledge (see Nahrgang et al., 2013) of selected seasonal baseline levels in blue mussels from the Barents Sea are summarized as white area (top left), while grey areas represent the yet unknown. A low sampling frequency increases the probability of missing important variations in the baselines. Continuous recording of environmental factors including temperature, light and salinity will help the interpretation of biological data. For instance, in February-March (lower left), salinity levels showed increased daily fluctuations due to increasing temperature and snow melt. The biological response during this period of time is still being analysed. The biology of Arctic bivalves is investigated across the Barents Sea, White Sea and Greenland Sea (top right) and at a microscale (Lower left): subtidal and intertidal mussels experience marked differences in environmental factors (e.g. temperature, light and food availability).
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generally lacking. Baseline levels are not trivial and they have to be redefined for each new region. For most living organisms, the environment plays the conductor’s role by defining both the tone and rhythm – the individual orchestra members, in our case bivalves, are choosing their instruments and playing their melody according to the conductor’s (environment) instruction. One of the questions we pose in COOPENOR, is how different environmental factors affect the mussels, both at a local scale and across the Arctic (Figure 2). Defining the biological and environmental boundaries and trade-offs by these indicator species be of paramount importance in order for them to be used in monitoring programmes. The project (2013-2015) is cofinanced by the NRC and the Russian Federation for Basic Research, and is thus a bilateral collaborative effort with a Russian co-lead, Dr Igor Bakhmet from the Institute of Biology, Karelian Research Centre (Russian Academy of Science). We carry out field and experimental studies in the Barents Sea and the White Sea in parallel to compare the same species in two very different environments. In addition, following the recent establishment of blue mussels on Svalbard (Greenland Sea), the project will expand its activities to also involve the northernmost population of blue mussels on the planet. By this beyond collaborative effort we secure a common understanding of the environment and we combine and share the best methods available.
Figure 3: Students of the course BIO 2008 Introduction to ecotoxicology at UiT sampling blue mussel tissue within the COOPENOR project. 44
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Education is one of the keysforsuccess in this project. Bachelor and master students through courses given both at the University of Tromsø, the University Centre In Svalbard and the Petrozavodsk University, are actively participating in the field and experimental studies each year.
The integration of real research into courses has been a big hit. Students are motivated as they see that their work is being used for research (Figure 3). It is a great tool to recruit future doctoral students who get the chance to go the book theories. 3. EWMA From University knowledge to industrial applications and education. The Environmental Waste Management (EWMA, http:// site.uit.no/ewma/) project is a multidisciplinary competence group that focuses on improved and sustainable industrial waste management in cold environments. EWMA was initiatedin 2010 and focuses both on questions introduced by the industry itself as well as basic research. As much of the scientific work of EWMA is on industrial introduced research questions, produced knowledge is directly transferable to the industry. EWMA also educates PhDs, postdocs and gives university courses from introductory to PhD level. Candidates are highly relevant both for the industry and/or Together with EWMA, both POLARISATION and COOPENOR are important steppingstones on our path towards a comprehensive and predictive understanding of the Arctic marine systems and the precautions needed to retain its natural and pristine state. Neither of these projects will provide the final answer, but they will fill important gaps in knowledge concerning key species and processes. The knowledge from all these projects is important both for the petroleum industry and governmental authorities for decision-making and for predicting effects and consequences of petroleum activity in the high north.
governmental authorities as well as academic careers. EWMA is composed of seven different work packages, focusing on a wide array of scientific themes ranging from environmental science, capping and electrochemical remediation techniques, deposition of drill cuttings, waste treatment and bioremediation, and guidelines for development of best practices for industrial waste management in Arctic and sub-Arctic regions. Through its broad perspective and involvement of a high number of key research institutions, EWMA strives towards its main objective; to build a new knowledge platform on how to handle waste from petromaritime industries in a sustainable manner in the high north region and in cold environments. Furthermore, the environmental research group, focusing mainly on ecotoxicology, constitutes a major component in the recently established Petroleum Centre at UiT. Through the involvement of this centre and through a stepwise building-up of a course portfolio covering all relevant aspects of environmental impact and monitoring topics, EWMA plays an important link between
research and industries as well as a necessary competence-network for an environmentally sustainable development of oil and gas industries in the high north. EWMA was originally established with the main motivation of building up a strong competence cluster within fields of sciences relevant for industrial waste management in cold climates, rather than building upon an existing platform of expertise. As such, EWMA was not initiated primarily on a specific set of hypothesis or concrete deliverables. Hence, a major part of the deliverables from EWMA is to create a platform from which new basic and applied research projects such as POLARISATION and COOPENOR may be initiated. Also the Barents Sea drilling research initiative (BARCUT, see http://site. uit.no/ewma/) is a direct result of EWMA. BARCUT is a newly initiated 5-year project funded by ENI Norway AS, that aims to identify the environmental impact of drill cuttings released to the sea.
Dr Jasmine Nahrgang. University of Tromsø, Faculty of Biosciences, Fisheries and Economics. Project leader of POLARISATION and COOPENOR.
Dr Stian Røberg University of Tromsø, Faculty of Biosciences, Fisheries and Economics. Project Manager of EWMA
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Norway: ocean research and mapping
Global Scientia’s Gillian McNicoll
NORWAY: OCEAN RESEARCH AND MAPPING
“The Norwegian Government is calling for a proactive and prioritised focus on knowledge building in the marine sector in the years ahead.” Lisbeth Berg-Hansen, Minister for Fisheries and Coastal Affairs Norway A call for action has been made to advance marine and oceanographic research and development in Norway. Historically Norway has been active in research not only around the nation’s own shores and regions but in the Polar Regions as well. Not only is climate change being researched but aquaculture, biodiversity and environmental impacts, amongst many research topics of note. There are several research institutes and organisations involved in change as well as many significant initiatives and events. Here we discuss a few which are but ‘the tip of the iceberg’! Norway: ocean research and mapping There are 18 thematic research groups that make up the work of the Norwegian Institute of Marine Research, which has 18 thematic research groups. A number of projects are under way or just started. There are many regions that research is carried out, often 46
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in conjunction with other countries and institutions: The Barents Sea, the Norwegian Sea, the North Sea, the Coastal Zone and Aquaculture. MAREANO This programme exists in Norway in order to map depths and topography, habitats, biotopes, pollution, sediments composition and biodiversity around Norway’s offshore and coastal regions. The Institute of Marine Research, the Geological Survey of Norway and the Norwegian Mapping Authority have come together to form a working committee to oversee this important work. Funding has been received by the Norwegian Ministry of Fisheries & Coastal Affairs, the Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Trade & Industry as well as the Ministry of Petroleum & Energy. “Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore”. Andre Gide Helping to chart unknown regions and marine life To find out more about a particular marine environment or ecosystem it is imperative to carry out measurements, observations or surveys. This can help with
establishing future management regimes and research programmes. Recently, since June 2013, a MAREANO survey commenced with a starting point at Kristiansund, Norway. The project is a biological, chemical and geology survey and is the first of its kind, the RV “Johan Hjort” is the vessel being used for this research. Without detailed surveying little can be known about sea beds, this survey is looking to produce valuable information, samples and data on Skjoldryggen (a moraine close to the edge of the continental shelf) and it is hoped they will also look at Storegga. Video recordings taken of the seabed areas have been used as part of the process. The Norwegian led marine survey is studying species diversity, sediment composition, pollutants and is also identifying habitats. The type of video equipment used is via a HD Campod Rig. Hi-tech grabbers, corers and a beam trawl are collecting bottom samples; an epi-benthic sled is being used to collect bottom samples. This area is defined as valuable as it is packed with plankton and has many coral reefs. However, as this area has not been surveyed yet, the locations of these are not accurate. This has been part of the problem, as
without accurate recordings and information, management of the North Sea cannot be carried out correctly. Current results of the survey Four physical samplings have taken place so far, and 18 sites surveyed. There has been a high proportion of sandy clay discovered, and some sections containing stone and gravel. In terms of marine life, Phakellia ventilabrum, (chalice sponges) and Axinella infundibuliformis (funnel shaped sponges) have been discovered. Other species found in some depressions on the edge of the continental shelf have been seapens and burrowing megafauna. Isidella lofotensis, a type of bamboo coral was revealed on a soft bottom area, which is more usually found in the Norwegian fjords. On sloped areas, Greenland halibut were found to be in existence in fairly large numbers. It was seen from observations of the video footage that fishing in this area is common, as marks from the trawling nets were observed on the sea floor. Sea For Society Working to promote science subjects of all kinds is crucial to
engage young people and future generations in areas such as maritime studies and oceanography. This programme has been operating since 2012 and runs until 2015; it is funded by DG Research & innovation. Norway is part of this project. Knowledge and information sharing is encouraged as well as partnership working. In terms of Public Engagement in Research (PER) this is all about the idea of promoting a ‘Blue Society’. Without innovation and development, keen interest in the sciences can wane, but with researchers, youth and organisations being involved in change this diverse topic area can be addressed. Young people can benefit as well as all the stakeholders involved. Learning is happening at all levels and is having a positive mutual effect. Oceans are being discussed in a stimulating way that opens up informal dialogue and is an open environment to learn about the challenges as well as the benefits. 20 partners are joining together from 10 participating nations; encompassing, research institutes, CSO’s, business networks, funders, museums, aquaria and higher education facilities. Norway connections, future
projects & events Forthcoming marine and oceanographic projects by Norway are numerous. The following is an example. The Arctic Frontiers 2014: ‘Humans in the Arctic’. A call for search proposals is going out during January 2014. The research has 2 primary themes of interest: 1 Health, Environment and Society, and 2 Offshore Maritime Challenges. Research funding has been made available in order to advance knowledge and understanding of how the Artic is being affected by the people that interact with it. There have been many changes already observed in terms of for example, climate change. There needs to be a thorough research into the positive and negative effects. Such topics to be studied could include: fishing, oil, tourism, permafrost, ice melting issues and mining. The human impact on the Artic can have financial as well as environmental, social & culture and health impacts. In response to these changes, hale and hearty responses and actions must be put into place. This can be achieved by refining such aspects as technology, infrastructure, education and Issue 4 |
Norway: ocean research and mapping
communication tools. There are 4 parts for research proposals to choose to respond to: Health, society and environment - Live, work and stay healthy in the Arctic & Health & Environment in the Arctic Offshore Maritime Challenges Shipping & Offshore in the Arctic & Arctic Offshore Search and Rescue (SAR) The Nordic Marine Science Conference 2013 In October 2013 a crucial conference will be held in Oslo with the theme of “Marine ecosystems in a changing environment”. Climate change is one of the key areas of discussion and other top priority subjects such 48
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as aquaculture, ocean acidification, genetics and the Oslofjord. Talks and presentations will be carried out by scientists from different fields of study from speakers from Nordic marine societies. Norwegian Polar Institute Another energetic participant in marine research and observation is the Norwegian Polar Institute who carries out mapping and monitoring in the Antarctic and Artic oceans. Additionally they have a significant role to play in today’s environmental mission to improve our oceans, to advise agencies and authorities in Norway in all things relating to the Polar Regions. The institute is renowned globally. Climate change is affecting every area of the environment and much
has been done for many years in these regions. The institute is well placed for looking into how pollutants are impacting the region and keeping up-to-date with what is happening in terms of Polar biodiversity. Norway works in partnership with Russia and joins forces with other nations from around the world. Some of the work carried out includes collecting information and data on polar bears in the area of Svalbard and measuring the levels of sea ice in the Artic Sea. The Norwegian Polar Institute also has their own RV, “Lance” that carries out expeditions. The Centre for Ice, Climate and Ecosystems (ICE) is an important division established to monitor the ecosystems and climate in the Polar zones.
Global Science and Technology
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Navigating the Future
Navigating the Future Marine research can address some of Europe’s greatest challenges.
European policy makers have some big issues to contend with: climate change, food and energy security, human health, and a loss of economic momentum resulting from the financial crisis. In its latest position paper, Navigating the Future IV, the European Marine Board scans the horizon to anticipate emerging societal challenges and corresponding marine research priorities for the decade ahead. Our oceans are the dominant feature of the surface of our planet and the systems which control our natural environment. They cover 70% of Earth’s surface, provide 95% by volume of its biosphere, support more than 50% of global primary production and harbour an enormous diversity of life. Seas and oceans also provide important societal goods and services, including food from fisheries and aquaculture; energy from wind, wave and tide; new drugs through marine biotechnology; valuable raw materials from the ocean floor; and much more. According to the EC Communication on Blue Growth , the EU blue economy already delivers a gross added value of €500 billion per year and supports 5.4 million jobs. But the vastly underexplored marine environment is under increasing pressure from human activities and pollution, and from climate change. 50
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Collaborative and cross-disciplinary research is at the core of our societal response to both the challenges and opportunities presented by the seas and oceans and to deliver the knowledge and tools to support a sustainable ocean stewardship. Providing independent advice and strategic direction for future marine research investment is a central goal of the European Marine Board. European Marine Board The European Marine Board is a partnership of 35 member organizations from 20 European countries with a collective mission to develop common positions on research priorities and strategies for European marine science, and to enhance collaboration between stakeholders involved in supporting, delivering and using marine science and technology. Since it was established in 1995, the Marine Board has acted as facilitator to bridge the gap between science and policy by transferring knowledge from the scientific community to decision makers and promoting Europe’s leadership in marine research and technology. The Marine Board mission is pursued through a range of strategic activities and projects ranging from the organisation of conferences, workshops, networking events and thematic working groups
which produce policy oriented position papers on themes of strategic importance for Europe. Navigating the Future Series Every few years, the Marine Board takes stock of the marine science and policy landscape in Europe, identifying trends and challenges and providing advice on how the limited research budgets and resources available to marine science should be best applied to yield maximum return in terms of knowledge and benefits for society. This high-level perspective is delivered via the Board’s Navigating the Future series. Since 2001 when the first Navigating the Future position paper was published, the series has been widely recognized, both by scientists and science policymakers, as providing critical periodic foresight and recommendations on emerging marine science topics and needs, and associated societal challenges and opportunities. Previous Navigating the Future reports are available for download on http://www.marineboard.eu/ publications. Navigating the Future IV In its latest position paper, Navigating the Future IV, the European Marine Board demonstrates the key role of marine science in addressing societal challenges and supporting blue growth. The core chapters of Navigating the Future IV address issues such as safe and sustainable use of marine space, sustainable fishing and aquaculture, linking oceans and human health and developing blue energy opportunities. The paper outlines the tools and technologies that will be needed to realize future challenges and opportunities including the next generation of ocean observation infrastructure. It advocates that applied, problem-oriented research must be complimented by an improved knowledge of the natural system upon which the maritime economy depends. Understanding the principles governing
marine ecosystem functioning and resilience and how marine environments are changing in response to natural and human pressures, will be paramount for achieving a long-term sustainable management of the seas and oceans. Hence, to the paper also highlights the key priorities for fundamental research focused on improving our understanding of marine ecosystems and the goods and services that they provide which are of benefit to society. Navigating the Future IV provides a blueprint for the next phase of seas and oceans research in Europe. It also examines the training and skills that will be required by tomorrow’s marine experts, and the importance of creating better interactions between marine scientists, policy makers and the general public. The document can be viewed as a compendium of marine science policy briefings, with each of its thirteen thematic chapters designed so that it can be read independently. Another key feature of this extensive paper is that it brings together inputs from a huge number of scientists, science networks and stakeholders so that the final product represents the collective voice of a large marine community from throughout Europe. Navigating the Future IV Launch The Navigating the Future IV paper was presented to Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, EU Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science and Maria da Graça Carvalho, Member of the European Parliament and Rapporteur for the EU Horizon 2020 Programme at a special launch event in Brussels on Thursday 20 June 2013. According to Máire Geoghegan-Quinn “The launch of Navigating the Future IV is particularly timely as we prepare for the first Horizon 2020 programme (the next European funding programme for research and innovation). “Navigating the Future IV will be a valuable source of ideas and common priorities in the area of marine sciences, providing a vision for science and technology in Europe.” Issue 4 |
Navigating the Future
EUROPEAN MARINE BOARD Navigating the Future IV
EurOCEAN 2014 The event on 20 June also launched EurOCEAN 2014, a major conference focusing on marine science grand challenges to be held in Rome on 7-9 October 2014. At the launch event, on behalf of the three Italian Marine Board member organizations, CNR, CoNISMa and OGS, coWandelaarkaai 7 I 8400 Ostend I Belgium organizers of the conference, Prof. Enrico Brugnoli, Tel.: +32(0)59 European 34 01 63 I Fax: +32.(0)59 01 65 for the National Marine Board34 delegate Research Council in Italy (CNR) highlighted that E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org EurOCEAN is widely appreciated as one of the www.marineboard.eu 52
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most important events in marine and maritime research for both scientists and policy makers. In looking forward to the EurOCEAN 2014 conference, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, noted that “EurOCEAN is considered as a top science conference in Europe which delivers concrete messages to science and policy. These are instrumental in strengthening the knowledge base for Europe and developing common priorities in the area of marine sciences”.
Future IV Position Paper 20
The Arctic Forum Foundation Initiative
Arctic Forum Foundation Initiative Science-policy interface in the Arctic: needs and processes. eu-arctic-forum.org
The science contribution to the evaluation of halieutic resources and the impacts of climate change in the Arctic will be decisive for political decision-makers. ÂŠ All rights reserved
Author: CĂŠcile Pelaudeix, PhD, Head of research Cooperation, Arctic Forum Foundation, Lecturer Sciences Po Lyon In the Arctic region, the dramatic impacts of climate change have created an urgent need to increase our understanding of the changes taking place in order to inform decision-making. This article briefly outlines the concept of a sciencepolicy interface and analyzes the rationale for a science-policy interface for the Arctic region before developing the Arctic Forum Foundation initiative on account of the specific needs for the Arctic region. The concept of a science-policy interface has become a key tool in the context of international 54
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governance of sustainable development, to tackle issues such as land use, water management or food security issues to name a few. Aiming at enabling efficient governance, science-policy interface consists in a process of connecting the arenas of science and policy-making. 1.Science-policy interface A science-policy interface informs policy makers about scientific outcomes to contribute to adapted and efficient decision-making. There are various degrees of implication of science in the process, and various possible functions of science, from communication of information to a strategic function. At the very least, the interface consists in the communication of scientific results to relevant decision-makers in order to incorporate
Arctic Forum Foundation co-organizes seminar on Arctic oil and gas in the European Parliament with the North Norway Office and Statoil, 2012.
knowledge in decision-making. This function should not be underestimated: the process of transmission requires inter alia the awareness of the needs, from one side - science, to the extent that scientists are sensitive to policy needs, or the other - policy, to the extent for example that policy-makers are willing to tackle long-term issues. Here the notion of time in the thinking of a problem is prominent: scientists and policymakers do not have the same scale of time in perspective. Many environmental issues are of long-term nature, whereas policy makers do not necessarily think in 20-50 or 100 years time when their action is bound to the duration of their political mandate. The transmission process also requires a willingness to reduce interferences – or even overcome obstacles - of distinct languages and rhetoric, cultures, and to agree on the function of science in the process. Explaining, the fundamental aim of science according to Popper might be complemented by a predicting role. Indeed, a more developed science-policy interface (SPI) goes beyond the understanding of scientific results and involves the phase of problem solving, which then entails a joint construction of knowledge. In that perspective, tailoring science to policy needs, might be an option, yet it should not lead to subordinate all scientific research to policy needs. SPI can involve science in the strategic designing of scenario to assess the implication of a policy decision. Such science-policy interface scenario can be developed into participatory scenario to involve relevant stakeholders in the process, such as civil society, NGO’s… This option has been developed to a large extent by the European Environment Agency. 2. Rationale for a science-policy interface for the Arctic region The Arctic region is dramatically affected by
climate change. Average Arctic temperatures have increased at almost twice the global average rate in the past 100 years (IPCC 2007). In 2005, the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA), a joint project between the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC) and the Arctic Council concluded on the likeliness of an impact on every aspect of human life in the region and the lives of many living outside the region. Consequences of climate change in the Arctic include a reduction in sea ice extent, increase in coastal erosion, increase in precipitation, river runoff, change in weather conditions and extreme events, thawing of coastal and sub-sea permafrost, loss of biodiversity, northward expansion of boreal forest in some areas, new migratory patterns of marine species… Traditional activities of indigenous people, which represent about 400 000 people, are significantly affected. The Arctic region is also impacted by chemicals and transboundary pollution, like Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) that have become widely distributed in the Arctic and which are toxic for both humans and wildlife (see the EU Arctic Footprint Assessment Report, 2010). Furthermore the reduction in sea ice extent is opening up new navigation routes through the Arctic Ocean and possibilities of offshore extraction of oil and gas. Extending from Europe to Asia, the Northern Sea Route could shorten the time taken by cargo vessels to travel between the Pacific and the Atlantic by about one third. The 2008 U.S. Geological survey allocated roughly a quarter of world’s undiscovered oil and gas to the region above the Polar circle: 13% of the world’s undiscovered conventional oil resources and 30% of its undiscovered conventional natural gas resources. The scarcity of some resources (oil, rare earth) coupled with an increase in some prices and an increase in global energy demand, by over one third in the period to 2035 (International Energy Agency 2012), impact the geopolitics of Issue 4 |
The Arctic Forum Foundation Initiative
Telecommunication instruments, Tineteqilaaq, Greenland. Telecommunications in the Arctic need to be adapted to community needs, research and new challenges of shipping and aviation. © Niels Dutrievoz
resources. The development of shipping activities and extractive industries will also amplify the impacts on the Arctic environment. On account of this situation, policy makers need the input of science, as stated by former Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Jonas Støre in 2011: “As politicians we must use this knowledge as a basis for taking bold political action”. SPI is particularly important in the Arctic region, because of the vulnerability of the environment, and because of the fast pace of change. The Arctic sea ice September minimum extent reached a new record low in 2012 of 3.41 million square kilometers, 44 percent below the 19812010 average, and 16 percent below the previous record in 2007 (NSIDC 2013). Russia started trading with Japan using the Northern sea route in November 2012: this was the first time a tanker was carrying liquid natural gas through this maritime route. One year later, on 8 August 2013, the first Chinese cargo ship started its first transit through the Northern Sea Route to reach Europe. Another factor supporting the need for a SPI lies in the complexifying network of actors 56
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involved in the region and having an impact on the policy process: national and transnational corporations in the mining and hydro-carbon sector, international organizations, supranational organizations, as well as non-Arctic states such as China, Japan, the Republic of Korea and India, regional governments such as the Nunavut government, or the self-government of Greenland. In the sole EU, which has been developing an Arctic policy since 2008, the sphere of actors involving in the EU Arctic policy process is extending gradually: NGO’s, corporations, agencies… The processes of policy initiatives, developments and negotiations and impacts on them are getting more complex and multilayered in the EU of today due to both internal factors but also due to external pressures and expectations. The possibility for non-state actors to exercise real influence over a number of issues in the Arctic region is facilitated by the current mosaic of governance arrangements which include eight Arctic states and sub-national units of government, indigenous peoples organizations, and a wide regulation framework made of international law conventions, domestic law
of the arctic states, in addition to regulation, cooperation agreements and research programs implemented by actors like the EU that impact the Arctic region development. Therefore SPI can contribute to informed decisions by public policy makers regarding drafting and implementation of regulation and developing research programs to face the numerous issues arising in the region: labor migration, urbanization, health issues, education needs, environment protection, secure commercial shipping, industrial fishing, oil spill prevention, tour operators activities… 3. The AFF initiative: a science-policy interface for the Arctic in the EU EU Arctic policy and research programs The EU Arctic policy emphasizes the need for a better cooperation in the Arctic. This statement is supported by various legal competences that the EU has, thus giving the EU possibilities to influence the development of the region. Three out of the eight member states to the Arctic Council are Member States of the EU: Finland, Sweden and Denmark. Via European Economic Area (EEA) agreement, Iceland and Norway are obligated to implement much of the EU legislation; Greenland and Faroe Islands have strong links to the EU: although Greenland withdrew from the EU in 1985, it is part of the Overseas Country Territories and also benefits from other comprehensive partnership with EU. The EU policies impacting the Arctic are related to many sectors: energy, trade, transport, shipping, fisheries, environment, climate change, tourism,
indigenous peoples, forest, regional policy, and research, including in technology. On 31st January 2013, the Foreign Affairs Council of the European Union gave its full support to the joint Communication on developing a EU policy for the Arctic adopted in June 2012 by the European Commission and the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. Research is a field where EU has invested more than 200 millions euros for projects related to the Arctic, which were among the key priorities of the Sixth and Seventh Framework Programme, DAMOCLES, ice2sea, ACCESS…but also the Galileo programme: the satellite system for global navigation and positioning is currently being deployed and will provide early services as of 2014. Galileo will contribute to safety, navigation and positioning in Arctic waters. The EU is furthermore planning to increase its financial contribution to Arctic research within the new framework program Horizon 2020. The Science Policy Forum Drawing on its experience in advising policy decision-making in the EU, and on its multi-arena connections, the Arctic Forum Foundation (AFF, eu-arctic-forum.org) created a Science Policy Forum to foster connections between scientific institutions and the EU policy-making process for a realistic, long-term policy formulation. The need for a science-policy interface formed the conclusion of a seminar jointly organized with the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC), the International Arctic Social Science Association
Climate change is putting a great pressure on Arctic indigenous communities, increasingly important actors of Arctic governance. © All rights reserved Issue 4 |
The Arctic Forum Foundation Initiative
Peter Bay Kirkegaard, Chief Consultant Danish Industries and Steffen Weber, Secretary General of the Arctic Forum Foundation at the Conference on Raw Materials in the Arctic – and Foreign Policy Challenges in the Danish Parliament, Copenhagen May 2012
(IASSA), the University of the Arctic: “The Arctic science and education community needs to develop better avenues for communicating science to policy and decision makers. A sciencepolicy-interface for the Arctic would better enable the EU to base the development and implementation of its Arctic Policy on solid, high quality science that truly reflects a holistic approach” (§ 5). The Science Policy Forum also provides expertise for research projects and designing Arctic programs of research for scientific institutions. Conversely, scientific institutions need to ensure the relevance and visibility of their work, and to make sure that their output is taken into account by policymakers when it comes to setting up research priorities, drafting and negotiating programs and budget lines, and developing the research framework conditions. Furthermore, scientific institutions aware of the growing importance of the Arctic region are also willing to develop Arctic-focused research. The Science Policy Forum provides research input and strategic advice to help build specific Arctic research programs. Stakeholders of the Science Policy Forum More and more research projects financed by the EU are striving to reinforce their interface with policy-making. This indeed should be a concern for Arctic related research projects. In particular, the business sector (shipping, oil and gas industries, observation and surveillance agencies, subsea technology companies…) is a key stakeholder in the Arctic. Companies concerned by sustainable development, and monitoring of activities in the Arctic ocean sometimes finance their own research projects. The business sector 58
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(oil and gas, raw materials, shipping industry, space agencies…) is regularly involved in seminars of the Arctic Forum Foundation. In conducting activities related to the Science Policy Forum, all the polar research umbrella organizations have been gathered: the International Arctic Science Committee IASC, the International Arctic Social Science Association (IASSA) and the University of the Arctic (UArctic), as well as the major scientific institutes such as the Norwegian Polar Institute, the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, the German Marine Research Consortium (KDM), and the European Polar Board. In the course of our activities, we have also engaged officials from the European Institutions, DG Research, DG Move, DG Mare, DG Regio, DG Energy, DG Environment, as well as from several agencies and international science organizations. Natural and social sciences A specific feature of the science-policy interface set up by the AFF lies in the importance it gives to social science and governance in particular. Indeed input from researchers with expertise in the social/political sciences provides a base for long-term holistic policy formulation, not only for environmental issues but more generally when it comes to social issues and governance framework. This point was raised in the “Conclusions of the Participants of the Policy-Science-Interface Seminar: The role of the EU in Arctic Research” (§2): “political, economical, social and legal issues are central to the changes taking place in the Arctic, which implies the equal importance of both the social and natural sciences in understanding
these changes.â€? The policy cycle As a process, the science-policy interface implemented by the Arctic Forum Foundation relies on a method of interaction with the EU policy-making process that defines steps according to the policy cycle: Monitoring consists in the scanning of political processes, regulations, programs, and developments in the Arctic, the EU, and at the state level in capitals across Europe in order to keep the organization concerned ahead of the issues. The phase of Analysis identifies the challenges and opportunities, analyzes the interests, strategies and tools of policy actors and prioritizes issues in order to better define the objectives of the organization. The Strategy phase assists the organization in communicating its message by translating it into political language; it conceives a plan of action. The science-policy interface of the AFF pays a great attention to the role of language in the interface process: the translation between different mindsets is paramount. It does not only imply an adaptation of science concepts and lexicon to the policy-making culture, but an understanding of the logic of action in the policy field. Implementation resides in strengthening the outreach capabilities of the organization via private briefings with policy makers and specifically-tailored think-tank events, in addition to designing public seminars and study tours. The Communication phase allows the expanding of the organization support base. 4. Outlook Science-policy interface, as a key tool in developing efficient public policies, is emerging as a key element of Arctic governance where tremendous changes, occurring at a fast pace, require thoughtful and informed decision-making for a sustainable development of the region. This observation, supporting the Science Policy Forum initiative of the Arctic Forum Foundation, looks more obvious when science is more and more specializing, transdisciplinary approaches needed, and when interconnected issues in the Arctic blur the frontiers between local, regional and global impacts.
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The French National Research Agency
The French National Research Agency Selecting and funding the best projects for science. www.agence-nationale-recherche.fr
ANRâ€™s tasks is also to promote innovation and technology transfer by forming long-term partnerships between the public and private sectors. The agency offers a large range of funding instruments to meet those priorities: ANR funds are available in all scientific fields, for both basic and applied research and for public research organisations and universities as well as private companies. ANR provides instruments specifically targeting young researchers, transnational collaborations but also more specific tools such as the industrial chairs. Project-based research funding, an asset for the French research system Project-based research funding is predominant in all the countries that produce new knowledge, where it is known to stimulate research performing organisations and strengthen their synergies. The project mode has thus added real value to the French research and innovation system, by targeting and focusing resources on the best projects, and directing the research to scientific, technological and major societal issues. It supplements the recurrent funding awarded to public research in the country, accounting for 3.5% of overall spending in this area. Pascale Briand, Director General ANR is a project-based research funding agency. It was created in 2005 to give impetus to the French research and innovation sector. The agency places great importance on fostering creativity and openness, stimulating new ideas and partnerships, and targeting research efforts and societal priorities determined at the highest level of State and through consultation with the other research players. It encourages interdisciplinary work and dialogue between scientific areas, and fosters European and international collaborations. One of the 60
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ANR organises the funding of the best research projects via competitive calls for proposals, on the basis of an ISO 9001 accredited selection process. Some 14,500 peer reviews are performed each year by French and foreign scientists, securing fair treatment and competitive selection to meet international standards. In 2012, 67 evaluation panels were organised, gathering 1,826 French and foreign scientists. Of the 3,000 scientists who met in various ANR committees, some 20% came from the private sector. The agency also makes sure to remain attentive to the scientific community: it prioritises the quality of service delivered to the scientists, speed of response, and constant adaptation to the new challenges.
ANR staff, consisting of 243 collaborators, finances, monitors and assists the projects. The agency currently manages an active portfolio of 5,500 projects or about 23,000 grant agreements underway. It also organises numerous symposia and seminars that contribute to strengthening dialogue between the different stakeholders and open up French research. In 2012, the threshold of 10,000 research projects financed since ANR’s creation was crossed. The agency constantly adapts to meet the needs of the research community In 2012, a French summit of higher education and research (the “Assises de la Recherche”) was put in place, in a major national debate to find innovative and effective proposals to improve the French system. In that context, researchers voiced their concerns and expectations, including those related to project funding and the ANR: limiting the number of calls for proposals, simplifying the procedures for the submission of proposals and reducing investigator’s administrative workload. At the same time, there was a strong demand for an increase of allocations for recurrent funding. A two-step process was proposed, where short pre-proposals would be submitted in a first stage, with a view to avoiding time wasting in a context of budget cuts and lower success rates. Following the “assises”, the French Ministry for Higher Education and Research took decisions which the agency has rapidly implemented. ANR has therefore dedicated lot of time and efforts in the process of simplifying and adapting its procedures to the needs of the research community. The agency has reorganised all of its operations to provide better service to the scientific community: simplifying but not altering its processes, consolidating dialogue with its counterparts and creating the methods for
implementing future actions. A new Action Plan to benefit today’s major cognitive and societal challenges Those methods are presented in a unique Action Plan 2014, based on the national programming work carried out by the 5 French thematic research Alliances and the CNRS. This plan is a turning point in the functioning of the agency, and is completely in line with France’s strategic research agenda. The new methods aim to be clearer in the description of the range of funding instruments and are intended to benefit today’s major cognitive and societal challenges. A large part of the plan is organised around 9 major societal challenges identified in the FranceEurope 2020 strategic research agenda: • Efficient resource management and adaptation to climate change • Clean, secure and efficient energy • Stimulating industrial renewal • Health and well-being • Food security and demographic challenges • Sustainable mobility and urban systems • The information and communication society • Innovative, inclusive and adaptive societies • Freedom and security of Europe, its citizens and its residents Another challenge (“All-knowledge challenge”) completes disciplinary coverage for project funding. It aims to support blue sky research without any direct link with fields covered by the societal challenges. ANR favours a creative environment by giving researchers total freedom to defining research themes, thereby paving the way for opening new paths in research and thus pushing back the frontiers of knowledge. The selection procedure will proceed in two stages, thus allowing for the reduction of the Issue 4 |
The French National Research Agency
administrative workload of the researchers. Consequently, 2014 will be a “transition” year for the ANR. A new multiannual framework programme will be defined from 2015. As a main operator of the “Investments for the future” ANR selects, funds and monitors large-scale projects that will shape France’s research, innovation and education landscape Drawing on ANR know-how and expertise, the French Government have entrusted ANR, , since 2010, with the management of the research and higher education component of the “Investments for the future programme” – an initiative that covers 22 billion euros – with responsibility for project selection, funding and monitoring. The Investments for the future programme aims at reinforcing the knowledge triangle in France, as part of a long-term and dynamic drive to transform higher education, research and innovation. Centres of excellence are created to contribute to reinforcing the links between education and training, research and innovation, and enhance the transfer of knowledge to the private players. The French government has recently reaffirmed the role and importance of this initiative in structuring the French research landscape. ANR has successfully played its role in the first stage: launching of the calls for proposals, followingup applications, organising peer reviews and 62
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negotiating contract with the project holders. The selection is now finished, and overall more than 400 projects were contracted and have already started. More than 1 billion € have been disbursed already. With its growing role as main operator for research and higher education in this programme, ANR is now in charge of the next step of the initiative: the follow-up of projects, including accompanying the project leaders, supporting them in their development, and ensuring the review and the provision of monitoring indicators and providing analyses for the 10 years to come. Contributing to the construction of the European Research Area is a priority With its new strategic agenda for research – France Europe 2020 – France articulates its research strategy with the European agenda: it will optimise the connection with the European programmes and particularly with Horizon 2020, through an increased coherence between French and European programmes and a better involvement of French research at European level. ANR’s 2014 Action Plan is completely aligned with the ERA: the main challenges the agency works on are part of the European strategic agenda. Since the agency’s creation, its programming activities have been interlinked with the content of the 7th Framework Programme in order, whenever possible, to maintain optimal complementarity. In the new Action Plan, ANR’s
funding should largely facilitate access to Europe by better articulating the calls for proposals with the European programmes. For example, the young researchers awarded by ANR will be prepared to candidate to the European Research Council starting grants. Moreover, ANR develops a strong institutional cooperation at the European level, especially with the European Commission in implementing the 7th framework programme and in the discussions on Horizon 2020. helping to build the European Research Area is clearly one of the agency’s priorities: since 2006, 70% of the ANR transnational funded projects have been European projects – the three main cofunders being Germany, Spain and the UK. ANR makes sure to take advantage of the European instruments, in taking part in several multilateral calls for proposals in such initiatives as the ERANETs, the JPIs or articles 185. It participates in the networks of research organisations throughout Europe allowing for a better coordination of national programmes. The aim is too pool national resources and launch together multipartner calls for proposals and therefore reinforce the synergies at the European level. ANR is currently a member of some twenty ERA-NETs and coordinates three of them in the fields of ICT, nanomedicine and infectious diseases. It will soon coordinate a fourth one related to the European Commission’s Flagship initiatives in future and emerging technologies. The French agency also plays an active role in the joint programming efforts to tackle the major societal challenges at the European level, through active participation in the joint programming initiatives (JPIs). Coordinating efforts with other major research funding players to tackle the major societal and global issues ANR largely takes into consideration the internationalisation of research in its global strategy. One of the goals of ANR’s international policy is to join forces and provide concerted answers to global and social problems, which cannot be dealt with by one single country. Global issues need global answers, and through joint efforts the funding bodies can pool resources and share the costs of research. ANR is involved in several large-scale multilateral collaborations. It is a founding member of the Bonn group that aims to build an Open Research Area for the social sciences. Together with the DFG in Germany, the NWO in the Netherlands and the ESRC in the UK, 3 joint calls for proposals have been launched since 2010, thus reinforcing
the ERA the field of social sciences. The network has expanded its outreach beyond Europe, by putting in place joint funding opportunities with India, the US and China. ANR is also a member of the G8-HORCs (Heads of research councils) initiative and took part in the pilot initiative for the implementation of three joint calls for proposals tackling interdisciplinary and global issues. Overall, the ANR has co-funded 14 multilateral projects with a total budget amounting to €4.3 M. G8 members are now in the process of assessing the programme and will likely offer other funding opportunities in the future. The third G8 call was a joint effort with the Belmont Forum on the topics of freshwater security and coastal vulnerability. ANR co-chairs the Belmont Forum – the main group of funding agencies for world research on environmental change. They have identified priority collaborative research actions and allow for the strengthening of international collaborations in key areas of environmental change. The joint call with the G8 was the first in a multi-annual programming of funding opportunities. Research in the field of environment, climate change or health demands great openness with respect to Europe and internationally. The 6 joint programming initiatives (JPIs) in which ANR is involved are all related to environment and health. In 2014, the agency will be at the forefront of global research funding in those fields, via its participation in a number of transnational calls for proposals issued with European and international partners. For instance, it will take part in the JPI FACCE - Belmont Forum joint funding opportunity on food security, in the JPI FACCE’s call on smart agriculture as well as in the JPI Climate’s action related to societal transformation in the face of climate change. ANR will take part in the third call of the Joint programming initiative on neurodegenerative diseases (JPND), a vital European tool in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease. Lastly, among its upcoming activities, ANR will organise this autumn the 40th CIESM congress, the Mediterranean science commission dealing with marine and environment transnational research. This 40th edition will be a platform to highlight ANR’s policy towards the Mediterranean, notably environment-related research which the agency is tackling alongside partners from all shores in the basin. www.agence-nationale-recherche.fr/en Issue 4 |
Facing current environmental issues
FACING CURRENT ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES
Geosciences ecotechnologies towards a sustainable use of natural resources
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Environmental issues today are local and global, considering contaminated lands such as brownfields, local industrial and diffuse pollution on groundwater, quantitative pressure from landuse and consumption pressures on groundwater resources and impacts on drinking water quality and ecosystems relying on it, global climate changes on water resources. Natural resources (soil, water, mineral resources namely) are under pressure due to population growth and economic development. Around the world countries are facing environmental challenges, that require numerous solutions for a sustainable development of our world: policies on green economy, policies for protection of environment (soil, water, air, energy), increasing of scientific knowledge on environmental issues and development of ecotechnologies, among others.
socio-economy i.e.) and achieving progress on understanding complex phenomenon of environment linked to underground as well on their conceptualization and their numerical modeling at various scales. We address fundamental and applied problems in environmental geosciences issues in the framework of Research & Development projects funded by EU, National research agency (ANR), ADEME, Water Agencies, Private companies, of International collaboration projects and of projects to support public policies for the Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable development and Energy principally. Various projects concerning three major items: (i) contaminated land reclamation, (ii) recycling from mineral wastes to urban mines and (iii) contaminated groundwater are described to highlight our research and collaborations in the field of environment and ecotechnologies.
Earth sciences play an important role to contribute to provide sustainable solutions to face those up raised issues with rehabilitation of brownfields, recycling of wastes of urban mines and groundwater management. Ecotechnologies defined as all technologies whose use is less fatal for the environment than usual technologies for the same needs, pursue the goal of producing goods and services to measure, prevent, limit or correct negative impacts on the environment and as well problems related to noise, and wastes. Ecotechnologies in the field of geosciences represent a stake in sustainable development. Scientists at the Water, Environment and Ecotechnologies of the BRGM, the French Geological Survey, work collaboratively on projects to bring solutions to society questions regarding environmental impacts of human activities on geosphere as well on groundwater management, developing innovative ecotechnologies and pluridisciplinary approaches (process engineering, geochemistry, biogeochemistry, hydrogeology,
Contaminated land reclamation. Current used monitor methods of bio depollution of contaminated sites by hydrocarbons requires drilling, soil and groundwater samples for laboratory analyses, are complex, costly and timeconsuming. The BIOPHY ANR
project was developed to optimize monitoring performance through non-destructive methods, with a consortium of public (CNRS LPC Laboratory and Geosciences Montpellier) and private (Serpol consulting, Total group) partners, coordinated by BRGM. To monitor the effectiveness of the biodepollution (injection of O2 to increase bacterial activity) over time, BIOPHY project proposes two complementary methods that have been successfully tested in the laboratory (Figure 1) and full-scale testing on site. A geophysical method based on a well-known phenomenon: the electrical properties of underground are modified by the presence of hydrocarbons and as well by development of the bacterial activity. This allows revealing the degree of pollution/depollution and levels of bacterial activity at each measuring point. The second method complementary to the first one involves analyzing of the CO2 released by bacteria as the hydrocarbons are degraded. After pumping CO2 to the surface in a sampling chamber, isotopic analysis of the samples produces a measure of bacterial activity (by measuring the increase or decrease in carbon C12 volumes compared to carbon
Figure 1: BIOPHY experimental device placed in air-conditioned cupboard: two columns with their feed bottles, pumps and probes for physicochemical measurements.
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Facing current environmental issues
Figure 2: Bioreactors for metals recover of mineral wastes C13, which reveal bacterial activity). Specific tools for continuous automatic on-site monitoring were developed as well. Recycling from mineral wastes to urban mines The BRGM is contributing to several European projects on the issue of the eco valorization of mining wastes ranging from fundamental to applied research. It is involved in the coordination of 2 tasks under the ProMine project (2009-2013, 7th FWP), to which 27 European partners are contributing under the leadership of Finland’s geological survey (GTK). One of these tasks concerns the development of materials of interest, especially from mining waste. The BRGM also took part in the REWARD demonstration project (2009- 2012) coordinated by the Dutch SME Promikron BV, where the aim is to detect and separate the fractions of metallic (and possibly plastic) materials contained in waste electrical and electronic goods (WEEE). The BRGM contribution to ProMine is based on its long-standing knowhow on minerals recovery and more specifically on its biotechnological competence, through namely involvement in European projects (BioMinE project 6th FWP i.e). Large quantities of mine wastes are scattered across much of Europe, 66
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in some cases with harmful effects on the environment, but they could be used as a source of strategic metals. Innovative technologies that would at once resolve the environmental issues and recover the metals contained in the waste may be developed. The metals of particular interest initially include copper, cobalt, gold, nickel, zinc and silver. Efforts on improvements of biotechnological processes already applied in the past at industrial scale, including to primary mineral resources were conducted. Scientists worked on the understanding of the role of microorganisms, in terms of population dynamics in particular, but also on the implementation of more efficient bioreactor operating conditions (Figure 2). The REWARD (Recovery of Electronic Waste through Advanced Recycling and Demonstration) WEEE European Eco Innovation project had a more immediate aim as it focused on one category of electrical and electronic goods: small household appliances. The aim of this project was to recover iron and non-ferrous metals, which obviously include copper but also rare earth elements and precious metals like gold, silver and platinum. One of the challenges is to integrate high-tech automation techniques to detect families of high-quality compounds and metals to facilitate subsequent recycling,
since current separation techniques are too costly and not very efficient. Scientists of the BRGM worked on the characterization of samples and on the efficiency of sorting operations in terms of obtained metal concentration. The building and public works sector generates several tens Mt of wastes a year in France, whose flows and stocks are poorly known as well as in terms of material quality. Recycling of those is still very marginal. BRGM is involved in several projects that should enable it to propose decision making support to stake holders and to business owners in the field of building and demolition in order to reduce environmental impacts and at the same time as providing solutions for developing recycling sector. The ASURET ANR project (Systemic analysis of the use of renewable resources from the technosphere) aimed to a) study the spatial and temporal scales that must be considered in recycling and in the recovery of secondary resources from building materials, and b) define the economic, technical and societal conditions for their optimization. The project is based on an analysis of the flows of materials mobilized in two areas (the city of Orléans and the General Council of Bouches-duRhône in France) (Figure 3) and on a participative process implicating those involved in the planning and
construction sectors of these areas. The objectives were to develop a method for mapping the flows, to define incentive indicators for material recycling to be included in the tenders and planning of large projects, to prepare proposals for setting up observatories that will collect and use the resulting data, to calculate the environmental performance of the different material streams, etc. Decisionsupport elements based on an analysis of the flows and the physical and monetary stocks generated by the use and development of primary and secondary raw materials are one of the result of this project whose final workshop held in May 2013.
to be optimized before industrial implementation - by selecting materials with optimum affinity for nitrate anions - but it is already showing considerable promise for other applications. Considering emergent pollutants in water such as pharmaceutical products, the
same principle could be used in the future to trapp pollutants on layered double hydroxides. These projects are just part of our research efforts to explore, understand and propose solutions to preserve environment.
Contaminated groundwater: double layered hydroxides to trap nitrates The degradation of groundwater used for water supply has multiple causes. A predominant factor is diffuse pollution linked to agriculture activities, resulting namely in nitrate concentrations that may exceed the human health standard (50 mg/liter). Protection measures are taken in order to reduce inputs, but however physic chemical or biological treatment are necessary as the impact of reduction may take long time in some aquifers. The TRAINIT project carried out with the Earth Sciences Institute of Orléans University and Suez Environment, opened promising new perspectives to reduce significantly the pollution load. By investigating and subsequently developing a new treatment process involving synthetic materials like double-layer hydroxides, the project has demonstrated the capacity of these compounds to substantially reduce nitrate concentrations in water, from 48 mg/liter to 8.3 mg/ liter after treatment in water samples from an abstraction borewell. The process relies on the ability of double-layer hydroxides to trap nitrate anions in their structure through anion exchanges (Figure 4). This “capturing” process still needs
Figure 3 : Scheme of the modeling of the development of stock and of waste production
Figure 4 : HDL structure Author: Nathalie Dörfliger BRGM, Water, Environment and Ecotechnologies Division, Scientific and technical center 3 avenue Claude Guillemin, BP 36009, 45060 Orléans Cedex 02 Phone : +33 2 38 64 48 71 email@example.com
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Water Technologies and ETP’s
Global Scientia’s Gillian McNicoll
WATER TECHNOLOGIES AND ETP’S
European Technology Platforms ETP 2020 “…creating European Technology Platforms (ETPs) bringing together technological know-how, industry, regulators and financial institutions to develop a strategic agenda for leading technologies” European Council Since 2003 European Technology Platforms came into operation to strengthen European research & innovation. This builds on work begun by the Europe 2020 for the Innovation Union and Horizon 2020. ETPs are about a greater integration & external advice for research and innovation whilst increasing societal engagement within the EU. Building on previous initiatives and learning from assessments From past initiatives and assessment of ETP schemes since 2003, many different crucial realisations have been made. In order to create a more R&D focused Europe it is not enough to just launch initiatives, there must be strategies in place to advise stakeholders and for society to be engaged along the way, in order for them to be most successful and worthwhile. One area is for smarter private and 68
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public investment strategies that are geared to combat societal challenges that take advantage of the EU global markets. Individual EU states have taken on-board these strategies and developed their own national arenas that are similar to ETPs. These initiatives have had a knock-on effect that has enabled research to be more innovative and meant greater participation at an EU level. The vision has catapulted action and positive reactions. ETP’s in focus There are approx. 40 ETPs including Water supply and sanitation Technology Platform (WssTP), Waterborne, Zero Emissions Platform (ZEP), European Biofuels Technology Platform (EBTP), Advisory Council for Aviation Research and Innovation in Europe (ACARE), European Technology Platform for Global Animal Health (ETPGAH) and European Technology Platform for High Performance Computing (ETP4HPC). There are also 2 Cross ETP initiatives (1) Nanofutures and (2) Industrial Safety “For how long clean/safe water will be available and at what price?” Technology research must ensure the safe provision of water
to the urban environment along with the efficient management of wastewater, ensuring both of them the public health”. Dr Ángeles Rodríguez-Peña, President of Cost Water supply and sanitation Technology Platform (WssTP) WssTp began operating in 2004 for the water sector in the EU states. Many pilot programmes were started via the coordination committee and task forces. There are 85 different stakeholders from different fields, academia, research, manufacturing and public utility companies. AFRE, the Spanish Association of Irrigation Manufactures, is one example. AFRE works in alliance with a large number, around 100, manufacturers and organisations within the water technology sector. Examples of these include members from the media, engineering companies, public institutions and technology centres. All the companies have businesses in operation in Spanish territories. WssTP and AFRE work to improve R&D and to support development of sustainable management of the water cycle. As technology advances, this must be carried out in a way that is greener and
more cost effective. Water must be protected and not wasted. The Spanish Water and Irrigation Technology Platform was instigated and many different associations, research centres and companies are part of this; AFRE Association for Water Treatment Technology (ATTA),TRAGSA (a public company) The Spanish Association of Water Treatment and Control Companies (AQUA ESPAÑA), Spanish Association of Water Supply and Treatment (AEAS), the Association of Electronic, IT and Telecom Companies (AETIC), the Spanish Association of Engineering, Consulting and Technology Services Companies.
Waterborne The oceans cover over 70% of the Earth’s surface. The Waterborne community is an active and valuable source of services and maritime products which contribute to economies and society as a whole. Around 40% of Europe’s trade is transported by sea, and this figure is set to increase. Sustainability is always a challenge and this ETP continually seeks to develop its infrastructure, understanding and innovation capabilities including Waterborne technologies serving its part in the manufacturing chain. R&D is a main component of change and partnership with marine sciences, and working
with all stakeholders involved. Working towards Europe 2020 objectives of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth the following are a priority. Transport systems & structures are being built to support evolving food, minerals and energy divisions. Whilst achieving this it is crucial to work on technologies and ideas that also reduce their impact to our environment and ecosystems e.g. low carbon & low emissions. Ships and vessels will become ‘greener’ and more energy efficient, current figures estimate that there are around 3% of Co2 emissions. E-maritime solutions and renewable energies such as wind, wave, tidal, mining go a long way to understanding our oceans better.
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Developments in France
Global Scientiaâ€™s Gillian McNicoll
DEVELOPMENTS IN FRANCE
Since 2005 the ANR has been providing funding for research projects across different fields. Keeping funding available is vital during these current times in order that France maintains its Nationâ€™s research capabilities and continues to forge ahead into new territories of research. European and international competition is high and nurturing and encouraging creativeness is priority. The French Government is well aware of the challenges and the opportunities opened up to them. French Scientists and young researchers are actively developing new ideas and research projects across the state and beyond. There are several areas that Franceâ€™s research funding prioritises; research that focuses on economical and societal changes, work that works in partnership with others across diverse arenas of research, projects that increase European and international teamwork, as well as strengthening ties between the private and public sectors. In response to the European Strategic Agenda, several instruments to support science research and development have been created. From 2005 until 2012 the ANR funded 10,000 projects; 70
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in 2012 alone â‚Ź 555.5 million were dedicated to research. There are 8 scientific departments, of which 6 primacy topics devoted to general science: environment & biological resources; engineering, processes & security; health & biology; information & communication sciences & technologies; sustainable energy; social sciences & humanities. The last two science departments are non-thematic private/public collaborations: exploratory & emerging research and partnerships & competitiveness. The Blanc Project: non-thematic instrument This is a multi-disciplinary research project covering a range of the sciences; physics, chemistry, mathematics, ICT, geo sciences, engineering, biology, agronomy, ecology, health, the environment and social sciences. Here is a stage to bring all the science actors involved in innovative research, to encourage ideas and development. There has been a wide array of research projects funded within this sphere. For example; 17 on subatomic physics and related theories, astrophysics, astronomy and planetology; 32 projects on molecular, organic, coordination chemistry, catalysis and biological
chemistry; 33 on engineering sciences, materials, processes, energy and 18 on nanosciences. The Engineering and Ageing of Living Tissue Centre Photoprotection to reduce the use of pesticides This project is one of the recent research projects started in 2012. A centre was opened, the IVTV (Engineering and Ageing of Living Tissue) centre, here they are developing a range of high powered state-of-the-art tools. These bring together biological, imaging and biomechanical methods for analysing tissues during the ageing process. This research is valuable in the field of medicine and transplantation, speeding up response and diagnosis times, developing new treatments, medicines and tools. The EcoPhyto Plan This plan was brought together by ANR with those from different sectors in France, such as the government, professionals, community and industry. This was in response to the issues relating to the use of pesticides and other products used to protect plants. Whilst reducing the risks of the use
of pesticides it was also recognised that improving the quality of food produced was paramount. A goal has been called for that the use of pesticides will be reduced by the middle of 2018. Agriculture and the community at large can benefit With this at the forefront of the agenda for change, each year 41 million euros is being dedicated to the EcoPhyto Plan and 114 measures are being introduced within nine topic areas. The plan has been organised in steps and the first of these is through education and communication, to inform on the best measures and procedures to use plant protection products. Farmers and those involved in agriculture across the board will also learn better ways of dealing with diseases and pests. Not only can they profit from learning about the negative aspects that can arise from using such products, but discover new ways of treating and controlling pests and diseases. Gardeners and others can also benefit. By carrying out this type of valuable research, the use of utilising chemicals for agriculture can be minimised. As part of this, a reference indicator has been Issue 4 |
Developments in France
developed to help with monitoring how well the EcoPhyto plan is proceeding. Using this indicator as a tool, the number of dosage units (NODU) can be used to discover the â€˜intensityâ€™ of pesticides. A pilot group of farms are working on this at present called FERME (FARM) which encompasses those from different areas of agriculture. Here different products and practises are being tested out and the results can be used to measure progress. In addition, another group of 41 farms EXPE, is discovering other ways to treat pests and diseases other than chemicals. Another part of the EcoPhyte plan is assisting agriculture schools to teach students about different methods, other than chemicals, or reducing their usage when treating crops. Seven research programmes EcophytoPIC is a new website platform devoted to research, education and communication for those in the agricultural research field. Some areas of research are priorities as part of the call for 72
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proposals for research funding. There are 7 programs that have had calls for proposals. 1 Research into ecophysiology, processes, emerging pathogens and reducing the damage by pests. This group is for research projects that discover more information about dealing with pests. For example, how plants react to pests, soil sensitivity, climate, the monitoring of pests and ecological methods for managing crops. 2 This section is on researching genomics, seeds and seedlings. These research projects will look into the different varieties of seeds and seedlings and how effective they are in combating pests and diseases. The aim is to find resistant varieties that mean minimising the use of plant protection products. Sustainability is also important, quality as well as discovering more about the biology of the varieties being researched. 3 Researchers are being called to provide proposals that study crop systems. This is studying the most
efficient and effective crop systems that work best to combat pests and diseases. Discovering what systems work best in crop production and pest and disease management, yet at the same time reducing the environmental impact whilst being financially more sustainable. 4 This set of research projects and proposals will be geared towards how pesticides impact on the health and environment. 5 This aspect is research into problems and challenges relating to socio-economic issues and public policy. 6 In this division there is a call for projects looking into the protection of crops. To reduce the impact of chemicals by researching the active ingredients in pest control products. 7 In this last area researchers will study equipment, technology and materials used that can affect conditions, looking at such issues as pollution, spray drift from chemicals, safety, efficiency, harm, energy use and ecological impacts.
Global Science and Technology
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175 years of excellence.
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As Director of Swisstopo since 2006, I’m in a sense standing at the helm of a vessel that has been underway since 1838. During this time it has not only seen a lot, but it has also successfully steered into many a new port . As the center of competence for the Swiss Confederation responsible for geographical reference data, swisstopo provide measurements and maps of Switzerland, ascertains and documents changes in the landscape (geological, geodesic and topographical). Thanks to their quality and accuracy they are highly regarded in Switzerland and worldwide. I’m proud to hold this office.
Jean-Philippe Amstein Director of the Federal Office of Topography swisstopo
Pioneer effort in turbulent times. Turbulent times prevailed in September 1838 when the engineer Guillaume-Henri Dufour took over the Office of the QuartermasterGeneral. He had been named Chief of the General Staff already the previous year. At that time Switzerland was not yet organized as a federal state. The cantons formed a loose legislative assembly which met from time to time and had commissioned trigonometric surveys already a few years after the Helvetic Republic was founded in 1798. These surveys should serve as the premise for a map of the entire country and make the represented geographic space ‘tangible’. The significance of maps for security and military command had already been recognized during the Napoleonic era. However, financial means as well as clear leadership were missing. The newly named QuartermasterGeneral Guillaume-Henri Dufour was also in charge of producing the Swiss map – a project which would occupy him for the next 32 years.
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GPS observations at the Muttsee hut (canton Glarus). Nation-wide, high-precision GPS surveys can be carried out thanks to the new national surveying network LV95, the permanently operated reference stations of the Automated GPS Network (AGNES) and the positioning service swipos operated by swisstopo.
Under his supervision, the first nationwide network of triangles, the survey network, was developed. First of all, the length of one side had to be known. This ‘baseline’ was surveyed in the ‘Grosses Moos’ between Walperswil and Sugiez. It was 13 kilometers long, and by using angle measurements was then transposed to the side Chasseral – Rötifluh measuring 38 kilometers. Just before the observations were finished in the fall 1834, they ran out of funds. Two senior staff members then contributed an advance of eight Louisdor from their personal funds. As the story goes, some of the employees even had to pawn their watches to pay their way home! All the surveyors troubles and efforts were finally crowned with success: Dufour founded the ‘Federal Topographic Bureau’ which went into production at the beginning of 1838. Between 1845 and 1865, the Topographic Map of Switzerland at the scale of 1:100,000 was published. This so-called Dufour 76
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Map was the first official work of maps representing all of Switzerland. It was honored by numerous international awards and established the worldwide reputation of the Federal Office of Topography. Switzerland has increased in size Switzerland’s national boundary is 1958.73 kilometers long and is shared with five neighboring countries. Even though we are in the midst of globalization, each nation must know the exact course of its sovereign boundary. The national boundary is at the same time a cantonal, district, municipal and a private property boundary. Therefore, the identification for each type of boundary must be identical in the cadastral survey. Boundaries that are clearly defined by coordinates provide legal security and guarantee the right of property – both for the state as well as for private citizens. The height of the ‘Repère Pierre du Niton’ in the port of Geneva,
which serves as the ‘mother of all height references in Switzerland’, was redefined to 373.6 meters above sea level. This value is still used as the reference for all heights in Switzerland. Already Dufour had adopted this boulder as the reference height for his maps, however, with a height of 376.86 meters. With the introduction of a new height reference, Switzerland was practically degraded by 3.26 meters – which had consequences for many proud peaks who lost their 3000-meter status. That mountains not only shrink but can actually grow is illustrated by the Mönch: in 1935 its height was determined to be 4099 meters. In 1993 new observations were carried out using state-of-the-art aerial: the result was 4107 meters, which not only provoked heated discussions in Grindelwald among the mountain guides but also triggered international news coverage. swisstopo employees climbed to the summit of the Mönch in August 1997 and confirmed the height of the
peak using GPS technology. The prerequisite for working with coordinates is a geodetic reference frame into which the coordinates can be adjusted. The reference frame that has been used in Switzerland for the past 100 years is called LV03 and is based on control points surveyed during that time. Today, however, coordinates are determined with satellite-assisted survey methods such as GPS (Global Positioning System). Comparing the results from this method to those from the national survey (LV) from 1903, differences up to two meters can occur. Therefore, swisstopo decided to modernize Switzerlandâ€™s more than a century old reference frame. The new geodetic reference frame, called LV95, was observed between 1989 and 1995 using satellite-assisted survey methods.
It provides a fundamental networkthat guarantees the accuracy of position and height for all of Switzerland to the centimeter. In fact, the accuracy of the LV95 network is approx. 100 times greater than that of the LV03 network, a precision that even allows the detection of tectonic movements. Based on these new coordinates, the area of Switzerland has increased by 0.3 square kilometers. The alpine region is changing. With the aid of digital landscape and height models, various applications and situations can be visualized to create impressive and easily comprehensible images. In planning infrastructures for the tourist industry such as lifts or buildings, architects and planners can use these models to see how the objects can be
incorporated in the landscape. The objects can be viewed from all sides to obtain a better idea of what the finished product will look like. This also applies to structures used in energy production such as wind turbines or dams. This kind of spatial representation is important not only for specialists, but also for the layman, since not everyone who uses geodata for making decisions is an engineer. Also politicians, administrators, business people, and thousands of nature lovers and recreational sports enthusiasts benefit from these applications. Particularly the graphic 3-D height models from swisstopo are popular for calculating profiles or slope inclinations. Representing the topography on a map has always
A 3-D visualization of the alpine foothills around GruyĂ¨res (canton Fribourg) using geodata from the Topographic Landscape Model swissTLM3D
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been a true challenge. Because of its mountainous landscape, Switzerland has of course been fertile ground for developing innovative solutions for years. During the 1990s, the digital height model DHM25 was derived from the height information in the topographic maps 1:25,000. The most recent generation height model, swissALTI3D, was developedin the year 2000 and is available for all of Switzerland since 2013. Aerial laser scanning was used to develop this newest model. For comparison: whereas the mesh size for the DHM25 is a full 25 meters, the one for swissALTI3D is only 2 meters. Since 2010, the Topographic Landscape Model TLM is being developed in view of the long-term and extensive modernization of the national survey. It represents the landscape with all its natural and artificial objects, in three dimensions
and at a very high resolution. This data is the foundation for various digital applications, and at the same time the basis for the newest generation of national topographic maps. The data is derived to a large part automatically, assuring that they are captured only once but can be used repeatedly and efficiently. The future has already commenced. Today we are talking about 4-D models which include the dimension ‘time’ Swisstopo provide the landscape memory of Switzerland. With a viewer “Journey through time” almost 175 years of cartographic history of the country are available! Heading towards the digital age. Approximately 80% of all decisions made by the public have to do with geoinformation. It constitutes the basis for planning, enactments
and decisions of all kinds – in the administration just as in politics, the economy and science and in the private sector. The products and services from swisstopo provide indispensable information for making decisions and allow a glimpse into the future: ‘swisstopo – knowing where’ stands for swisstopo’s legal mandate and its visions, for the next 25 years and beyond. On July 1, 2008, the new Geoinformation Act (GeoIG) came into force. For the first time in its history and as one of the first countries in Europe, Switzerland has a modern legal basis with future prospects. The aim is to make the most recent geodata available for broad application by administrative authorities, the economy, society and science – sustainably, quickly and easily accessible, at an adequate quality
Swiss Map Mobile for iPhone and iPad brings Swiss national maps to your smart phone or tablet – ranging from precise, detailed and highly accurate swisstopo topographic maps. Example of the geological map on the digital elevation model.
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Geology for everyone: The Geological Path Gastlosen (FR), along which children are introduced to the secrets of Earth history, copyrights Beatrice Devènes
and affordable prices Geodata from the federal administration are publicly accessible and can be used by anyone as long as there are no conflicting public or private interests. The Geoinformation Act is the legal basis for all activities at swisstopo. The Swiss federal geodata portal www.geo.admin.ch was launched in 2010. It provides public access to a wealth of geoinformation from the most important walks of life. For the first time the federal administration used the so-called ‘cloud computing’ technology for realizing this project. The application and data are no longer stored in a local or in-house server but literally in a cloud in the Internet. swisstopo had a pioneering role in the application of this breakthrough technology, clearing the path for other federal offices in using this modern method. Geodata can be used on smart phones and tablets with the mobile versions of ‘Swiss Map Mobile’ and
‘mobile.map.geo.admin.ch’. The geoportal is popular: more than 20,000 hits are registered daily for the map viewer alone. It can be used to view, print and download geodata for further applications. Besides data for leisure activities and hiking maps, information such as contaminated waste sites, hazard maps and cadastral maps are in great demand when dealing with real estate and property ownership. Swisstopo is on the move. In the year of its anniversary in 2013, approx. 350 employees are pursuing their various tasks at swisstopo. Today, as then, they account for swisstopo’s most important asset. With their professional expertise and personal commitment, they warrant the high quality of the products and services also in the future. For 175 years now, swisstopo has been the landscape memory of Switzerland, documenting its topographic development and carrying out surveys for various applications.
Then as well as today, swisstopo produce maps and geodata for both military and administrative purposes. In the course of time, the assignments didn’t decrease but increased instead. Unchanged is the vital issue of safety – but also important is the groundwork for spatial planning and development, nature conservation and environmental protection, sports and leisure activities, resources and energy supply. The population density is rising: more and more people live in our country. They all have needs and expectations. The excellence of the products and services provided by swisstopo since 1838 will help us to find good solutions and meet those challenges affecting all of us. Federal Office of Topography swisstopo Seftigenstrasse 264, 3084 Wabern Switzerland Tel +41 31 963 21 11 www.swisstopo.ch
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ProME³ThE²US² PROJECT A Novel Technology to Exceed 50% Efficiency in Solar Concentration Systems. www.prometheus-energy.eu
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Scenario Energy conversion from concentrated solar systems is presently performed by semiconducting cells in Concentrating Photovoltaics (CPVs) and by a thermodynamic heat transfer to high operating temperature engines in Concentrating Solar Plants (CSPs). In both cases, the economics of the solar plant are still not competitive with electricity generated from conventional fuels, since the cost of solar electricity is typically twice or higher. One strategy to increase cost effectiveness and make concentrated solar electricity more competitive is to develop technologies characterized by a higher conversion efficiency. It corresponds to development of multi-junction cells on the CPV side (above 40%) and to operations at higher temperatures combined to advanced thermodynamic cycles on the CSP side (over 40% at a converter-level). The resulting system efficiency is in the 25-30% range. A parallel approach is reducing the installed plant cost by developing simpler, lower cost alternatives to plant components such as cheaper reflector materials and optimized tracker mechanics. One aspect of CSP that remains
untouched is the heat-to-electricity converter. This conversion relies on proven heat engine technologies that have been developed for many decades for conventional power plants, such as Rankine (steam) and Brayton (gas) turbine cycles. In addition, a separate hightemperature receiver and a heat transport system for introducing the heat from the receiver into the thermodynamic cycle are required. Thus, the thermo-mechanical conversion approach leads to technologically complicated systems that add a significant contribution to the cost, complexity, operational and maintenance requirements of the solar power plant. Therefore CSP is not a scaling technology and makes Cogeneration The advantage of concentrated solar systems is the cogeneration, namely collection of the waste heat as an additional energy product, can increase the effective conversion efficiency and generate an additional revenue stream that improves the plant economics. Cogeneration can provide a range of thermal applications, such absorption cooling and airconditioning, thermal desalination, and process heat or steam for
industry. Cogeneration in CPV can reach temperatures around 100 °C, which provide access to attractive thermal applications but accepting a moderate decrease of cell performance. Conversely, cogeneration in CSP technologically is difficult in the more common Rankine cycle plants since collecting waste heat at useful temperatures requires raising the condenser pressure leading to a significant decline in cycle efficiency, while this effect is less significant in Brayton cycle based plants. But the most limiting aspect is that cogeneration is suitable for distributed generation where the plant is small enough to be close to the end-user, while CSPs tend to be large and remote. CSP access to cogeneration is therefore very limited today. The Project ProME³ThE²US² project Production Method of Electrical Energy by Enhanced Thermal Electron Emission by the Use of Superior Semiconductors- aims at developing, validating and implementing a novel solid-state conversion mechanism able to transform concentrated solar radiation into electric energy, at very high efficiency (potentially exceeding 50%) and characterized Issue 4 |
Conversion module under concentrated solar irradiation. It was developed by the CNR group with the contribution of Tel Aviv University group during the recent EU project E2PHEST2US - GA 241270. The conversion module operated according different physical mechanisms, but some technological elements may be common with the one to be developed within Pro3ME2ThEUS2.
by a direct solar energy conversion. The primary conversion is obtained by an enhanced electron emission, derived by thermionic coupled to photo-emission, from advanced semiconductor structures. The system may be also cogenerative to possibly supply the needs of future end-users. ProME³ThE²US² (Grant Agreement n. 308975) is an European collaborative project within the Energy FP7 framework of Future Emerging Technologies (FET). FET projects represent an incubator and pathfinder for new ideas and themes for long-term research, whose mission is to promote high risk research, offset by potential breakthrough with very high technological impact. FET is a tool that will be strengthened during the next Horizon 2020 European Framework for research & development. The project consortium is coordinated by the Italian National Research Council (CNR) and is composed by the Tel Aviv University and Technion Institute of Technology (Israel), the Fraunhofer Institute (Germany), whose activity will be managed mainly by the Institute for Solar Energy. Three high-tech SMEs were involved for their excellence in specific technology sectors: Ionvac Process Srl (Italy), Exergy Ltd and Solaris Photonics Ltd (United Kingdom). The consortium was assembled to be highly multinational with the aim to provide excellence in the energy and materials science fields. The consortium approach is multidisciplinary since its expertise ranges from materials science to chemistry, from electronic and electrical to mechanical engineering. Tel Aviv University has a long experience in electro-optical simulation, surface science, and mechanical and thermal design applied to solar energy; CNR group involved is specialized in scientific activities concerning materials science, electronic engineering and surface
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treatments; Technion’s expertise is in materialsscience under a chemical point of view; Fraunhofer Institute’s background is focused on semiconductors engineering for solar energy technology; Exergy Ltd has a solid know-how in design and analysis of industrial engineering systems; Solaris Photonics’ expertise lies in innovations on alkaline photovoltaic technology and carbon-based devices; Ionvac Process Srl is highly experienced in developing deposition systems and vacuum technology. The consortium is well-balanced from the basic to the applied science and technology, with two Universities (Tel Aviv University and Technion), an applied science research centre (CNR) and a research centre devoted to technological transfer to industry (Fraunhofer Institute). The three high-tech SMEs share their experience to solve specific technological issues which can be exploited to conquer future high-tech markets. Moreover, Abengoa Research S.L. (Spain) a company with a clear mission aimed at experimenting novel pre-competitive technologies for solar market controlled by a leader industry (Abengoa) - expressed a formal request for joining the consortium which is presently under consideration by the European Commission. Project details The objective of ProME³ThE²US² project is the development of a third approach alternative to the described CPV and CSP technologies. The principle was first proposed by a research group of the Stanford University [Nature Materials 9, 762 (2010) and Nature Communications 4, 1576 (2013)]. They named the
device PETE (Photon-Enhanced Thermionic Emission), consisting of an innovative solid-state converter, whose application is in high-flux concentrating solar systems. ProME³ThE²US² aims at developing advanced semiconductors and related structures to maximize the electrical efficiency of the converter by a stage able to employ the solar infrared (IR) radiation to provide a temperature increase, a semiconductor cathode properly deposited on it, and a work-function-matched anode, separated from the cathode by an inter-electrode spacing. The energy conversion exploits the high radiation flux by combining an efficient thermionic emission to an enhanced photo-electron emission from a cathode structure, obtained by tailoring the physical properties of advanced semiconductors able to work at temperatures as high as 800 °C. The high operating temperatures are also connected to the possibility to exploit the residual thermal energy into electric energy by thermo-mechanical conversion. The concept novelty bases on the use of both bandgap and over-bandgap energy to generate electrical current; on the additional use of sub-bandgap IR radiation, with a spectral energy not able to excite photo-emitters, for augmenting the thermionic emission from cathode, on engineered semiconductors, able to emit electrons at lower temperatures than standard refractory metals; on the experimentation of a heterostructured cathode for emission enhancement by an internal field; on the recovery of exhaust heat from the anode by thermal conversion. It is estimated that the proposed technology could achieve 40% efficiency at the converter level, and possibly even above 50% with the
addition of a bottoming converter that captures waste heat to produce additional electricity [G. Segev, A. Kribus, Y. Rosenwaks, Solar Energy Materials & Solar Cells 107, 125 (2012) and 113, 114 (2013)]. Contacts CNR-IMIP, DiaC2 Lab (Diamond & Carbon Compounds Lab) – Rome – Italy, www.imip.cnr.it Project Coordinator: Daniele M. Trucchi, PhD – daniele.trucchi@imip. cnr.it Tel Aviv University – Mechanical & Electronic School of Engineering – Tel Aviv – Israel, http://english.tau. ac.il/ Prof. Abraham Kribus - kribus@ tauex.tau.ac.il Technion Institute of Technology – Haifa – Israel, http://www1.technion. ac.il/en Prof. Alon Hoffman - choffman@ tx.technion.ac.il Fraunhofer Institute – Freiburg – Germany, www.ise.fraunhofer.de Dr. Peter Fuss-Kailuweit - firstname.lastname@example.org Ionvac Process Srl – Rome – Italy, www.ionvacprocess.com Mr. Aniello Vitulano – info@ ionvacprocessrl.191.it Exergy Ltd – Coventry – U.K., http:// exergy.uk.com/ Dr. Fernando Centeno email@example.com Solaris Photonics Ltd – London – U.K., http://solaris-photonics.com/ Arnaldo Galbiati, PhD - admin@ solaris-photonics.com Author:
Dr Daniele Maria Trucchi
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Italy & Its Role in Global Ocean Monitoring
Global Scientia’s Gillian McNicoll
ITALY & ITS ROLE IN GLOBAL OCEAN MONITORING
Around the world our oceans cover approximately 70% of the Earth’s surface but much has yet to be explored and discovered. The oceans have a major part to play in terms of weather, climate, marine ecosystems, environment and transportation for example. The task of monitoring the oceans therefore is enormous yet essential for greater knowledge and understanding. If we can find out more we can better protect, conserve and manage the oceans and marine life. More informed decisions can be made from regular and up-to-date data. Different monitoring measures have been put into place globally such as, drifters, floats, buoys, floating ships sea gliders and satellites. “The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution” Bertrand Russell The diversity and complexities of the ocean provide vast and thrilling opportunities for discovery and investigation. The challenges are there - their solutions to be found. The chemical, physical and biological elements of the oceans and coasts are constantly combing to create multifaceted processes 84
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and interactions. Historically, the important role of measuring and observing was carried out primarily by oceanographic ships, floats and moorings. However, now spatiotemporal resolutions systems can reinforce and improve our understanding. Sea gliders and understanding the bigger picture Sea gliders for example are small observation platforms that are a relatively inexpensive yet efficient tools that can monitor areas that larger scale networking systems often miss out on. These innovative sea gliders are not equipped with any self-driving system, instead they are programmed on a certain route and as they move their buoyancy changes. Underwater gliders are hi-tech devices that can travel under the oceans along programmed networks whilst passing on their collected data by satellite. With these new systems we can learn about the marine environment and ecosystems in ways that weren’t possible before. Research opportunities abound.
Various types of sensors are placed on the gliders to maximise efficiency. For example, gliders can have acoustic current meters, hydrophones, bioluminescence, attenuation, spectrophotometers, scatterometers and fluorometers sensors. Since 2006 the gliders have been collecting data allowing scientists from Italy Europe and overseas to analyse, adapt and study oceans. Italian sea gliders assist research into plankton Italy has grasped ocean monitoring and observation head on and is part of a global initiative to increase the knowledge and understanding of our waters. OGS (Oceanografia e di Geofisica Sperimentale) were unique in Italy being the originator of sea gliders in Italy. They are a public organisation, supported by the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research. In 2009, this Trieste based institute participated in the global initiative, TARA-OCEANS, which looked at the effects of climate change on invisible organisms in the ocean. They have a maximum depth of 1000m and move between this and the surface in a saw-tooth motion. They can move long distances at
a speed of 30km per day over a 4 month period at any one time. The beauty of the data is that it is available in real time. Plankton was researched to discover more about its movements and evolution. The research looked into how the climate, temperature, salinity, acidity, chemicals and the environment can impact on plankton. Experts from a range of sciences; oceanography, biology, biochemistry, bioformatics, biophysics, genetics, genomics and quantitative imagery converged to carry out this research. A certain area was chosen, a vortex measuring around 40km diameter in the Mediterranean. ARGO-Italy As well as gliders there are surface drifters, profiling floats and shipof-opportunity measurements that can be used for monitoring. In Italy there is ARGO-Italy which operates in seas around Italian shores, the Mediterranean Sea and Baltic seas. This organisation is part of an international ocean observing system. The work concentrates on measuring temperature, currents, salinity and additional water mass properties.
Being part of a bigger picture is always a good thing; this can lead to information and knowledge sharing, improved coordination and implementation. There is Euro-Argo, the GDP (Global Drifter Program to measure near-surface temperature and currents), Argo, EGO (gliding vehicles to measure water properties) and SOOP (Ship-Of-Opportunity Program to temperature profiles) part of GEOSS (Global Earth Observation System of Systems). Over the last year a number of projects have been instigated including the following. In June 2013, 6 surface drifters, drogued at 15-m minimal depth, were sent out in the Malta Channel. The SVP designed drifters were the work of partners in Sicily and Malta and are to be used to gather valuable information on temperature and surface currents. The Adriatic Sea was the location of a glider deployment, The OGS Seaglider “Amerigo”, over a short period of days, the seaglider measured salinity, temperature, turbidity, dissolved oxygen and chlorophyll fluorescence. Approximately 100 yo-yo profiles were achieved from the 15th until the 22nd of May 2013, up to a
maximum depth of 1000 metres and data was sent via the Iridium satellite system. Again in the Adriatic Sea a profiling float began its journey in March 2013 from the ship R/V OGS Explora. This device is used to gather data on salinity and temperature which again is transmitted by satellite. Urania- Italy’s star oceanographic ship To date, the The Italian Research Council’s oceanographic vessel Urania has been involved in over 300 different campaigns and projects. Since 1992 Urania’s 60m length ship has been sailing the Mediterranean seas in search of new scientific discoveries. The research ship is fully equipped with instruments and tools for diverse research scientists to carry out the work at hand. Some of the features and equipment employed are; a multi-beam echo sounder to assist with reconstructing the morphology of the seabed, dualfrequency Doppler current meter to define three-dimensional structures of the ocean currents and a sidescan sonar. Urania is also equipped with corers, corer samplers, grabbers and equipment for collecting samples and for measuring; the ship is fully adapted for a range of Issue 4 |
and summer of 2011, along with the Meteor and Poseidon,
Marine search in Italy has advanced considerably with Urania and much has been learned from her time at sea. Mediterranean Sea System research Recently the Urania was involved in explorations consisting of 3 oceanographic cruises. In the spring 86
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Urania covered the cruise between April; and May 2011. Research findings have recently been disseminated. Each cruise has similar objectives but there were slightly different were different emphases. Some of the Uraniaâ€™s aims were the advancement of the calibration of oceanographic sensors and to contribute to the long term
monitoring of the straits and find out more about the conditions in the region. Whilst the focus continues to look deeper into our oceans, much can be learned not only from Italy forging into new areas of oceanographic research but collaborating with others to contribute the bigger picture.
Global Science and Technology
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Slovenian Ministry Development of Human Resources
In the last decade, the Slovenian education system has undergone a thorough renewal, which was well-prepared and led to progress in numerous fields. Developmental changes have also been connected with the inclusion of Slovenia in the common European and global sphere. Knowledge is the key to the welfare of individuals, as well as society, thus the basic objective of the Slovenian education system is to comprehensively achieve high-quality knowledge and education. Despite the adverse economic situation, the education system has remained stable and of high 88
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quality, since only part of the system, which will improve it and adjust it to new circumstances and conditions in society, is being supplemented and changed. Education, science and development are the fields that contribute to overcoming the crisis. The adverse conditions encourage us to undertake the development of our potential all the more actively. Thus our mission is to develop human resources as a key and rare potential of Slovenia. It is in this sense that I see the mission and priorities of the ministry that I am currently heading.
Where are we? The public financing of our education system is stable. In primary and secondary education, the share per pupil or secondary school student is comparable with OECD countries, while in tertiary education, the share per higher education student is slightly below the OECD average. The state allocates slightly less than half of all funds for formal education to primary education, a quarter to tertiary education, a fifth to secondary education and a tenth to preschool education. Regarding the latter, greater inclusion of children in the preschool education programme was recognised as a priority area several years ago, as the basis of quality further learning and education extends into early childhood. We have achieved great progress, as over 90 per cent of all fourand five-year-olds are now included in preschool education. Primary education ensures internationally comparable high-quality education, which provides all children with equal opportunities for the fundamental development of their potential. A well-developed network of schools facilitates access to a primary school as close to a childâ€™s home as possible. In this regard, we have continued the successful practice of organisation, which in addition to central schools, facilitates the operation of branch schools, and thus, indirectly, a more consistent population and better national development. Slovenia is among the countries with a fairly low number of dropouts and early school leavers. According to the Eurostat data, the dropout rate is less than five per cent. The state has devoted a great deal of attention to those young people who drop out of school for various reasons, and has taken successful preventative measures against this during the education or training process. These precise measures have proven to
be the most effective at preventing early school leaving. According to data from international studies, the achievements of our pupils are slightly above average, but not at the top in any field, which means there are still opportunities for progress. Comparative studies of success in mathematics and science indicate that, in the future, preserving the high level of achievements should be ensured, and special attention should be paid to improving literacy, where weaknesses have occurred. In the field of secondary education with grammar, professional and vocational educational programmes, we provide students with a selection of high-quality educational programmes. The interest of the young in vocational education in Slovenia has been declining; therefore, we encourage activities to attract young people to vocational education programmes and training, and link the young with the labour market. The activities include educational programmes designed in a competitive and modular manner, establishing inter-company education centres, and recognising informally obtained knowledge and skills. The activities to enhance the reputation of vocational and professional education are aimed at improving the level of information and work with the expert public, which is crucial to vocational orientation. In secondary professional and vocational education, programmes are derived from vocational and key competences which are necessary for an individual to successfully and responsibly, efficiently and ethically operate in multi-layered, unpredictable and changeable circumstances in his or her professional, personal and public life. They are designed in a broad and modular manner, and include 20 per cent of open curriculum which is determined by schools in cooperation with employers. This has made the programmes more relevant to the needs of Issue 4 |
the economy and technology. The integration of general, expert and practical knowledge and vocational and key competences has been emphasised, which leads to comprehensive competence in a certain vocation, participation in society and further education. In renewing grammar school programmes, special attention was dedicated to art, and music and fine arts education, in which the curriculum was changed to stimulate the development of individual talents. In comparison with other European countries, inclusion in higher education is above average. The problem is that 35 per cent share of students enrol in higher education institutions but do not graduate. Thus, by 2020, we wish to reduce the share of unsuccessful students by two thirds with a programme to encourage successful studies among students and education institutions. Where to? The answer is obvious: towards the efficient development of human resources, who will adequately respond to the needs of the labour market, be suitably qualified to work in wider public administration, be able to manage public affairs responsibly, transfer their knowledge to younger generations, and be innovative in achieving development breakthroughs. We are pursuing the idea of each individualâ€™s development until he or she reaches the peak of their abilities. This is a duty of the state, which must provide a high-quality system for all, and, at the same time, allow for adjustments to needs of each individual within the system. At this very moment, Slovenia is implementing measures to encourage efficiency and success in higher education, and award quality and excellence. Improving quality in higher education is a key priority of the National Reform Programme. Since 2010, the Slovenian Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education has been responsible for the development and functioning of the quality assurance system in Slovenian higher education. Systemic solutions which are in preparation will provide the foundation for further progress in the work of the Agency, and we also wish to enhance quality by encouraging the internationalisation of Slovenian higher education. We would like to accelerate the latter within the next two years, primarily by including foreign experts in the teaching and research process, and thereby attract more foreign students to our higher education system and 90
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provide for greater student mobility. The same applies to science, which can not be limited to any single country. Science has been internationalised, which includes the mobility of personnel, and we must make the effort to attract foreign scientists. I should also highlight the young researchersâ€™ programme, which has been running in Slovenia since 1985, and is recognised at home and abroad as one of the best instruments for developing highly qualified personnel. Thus we will use various instruments, including the first tender to encourage researchers at the beginning of their careers, the subject of which is the co-financing of the research activities of post-doctoral researchers employed by research organisations, whose work forms a bridge between research organisations, universities and the economy, to attempt to keep as many young science PhDs in Slovenia as possible, since they certainly are a part of the best our society has to offer. In a global society, it is quite acceptable for young intellectuals to acquire knowledge and experience abroad. However, it is important to provide them with conditions that allow them to return home equipped with new understanding and findings. Therefore, the Ministry is well aware of the importance of investing in research and scientific work, as the input together with successful connections with the economy has longterm multiplier effects. Much has been done to establish various partnerships, primarily for cooperation between higher education institutions, research institutes and companies. Specialised development institutes (business incubators), technology transfer offices, science parks, centres of excellence and competence centres have been established. It transpires that, chiefly in competence centres which merge companies and research institutes in the form of a consortium, industry, entrepreneurship and cutting-edge science can cooperate with excellence and an objective, and produce actual results in the development of new, competitive products, services and processes. Problems actually arise in the absorption capacity of the Slovenian economy, which has been somewhat curtailed in this adverse situation. We will have to further strengthen cooperation between the scientific sphere and the economy; therefore one of the basic principles of the new perspective will be so-called smart specialisation, the purpose of which is to better connect science and the economy, and enhance the absorption capacity of the economy to incorporate new knowledge. Cooperation between the academic sphere and
independent research institutes will also have to be strengthened. In addition to the aforementioned, we have not forgotten about ensuring conditions for equal opportunities, safe and high-quality education, mobility in general, higher, vocational and professional education and training, and the development of undergraduate and postgraduate studies. We wish to enable our pupils and students to develop all their potential and talents with various measures prepared by experts. In this respect, we cannot and must not pay attention solely to the current needs of the
labour market. Our ambitions and objectives are more long term. Starting now, we have to observe the processes of education, research, and innovation in the spirit of the society in which we want to live in twenty or thirty years. Knowledge and know-how are about far more than the needs of the market at a given moment. Not all sciences, disciplines and fields are marketoriented, but we still need them for our further existence and the development of our society, for the nationâ€™s independence and confidence, and to reflect on what is happening in society and the world around us.
Dr Jernej Pikalo Minister of Education, Science and Sport of the Republic of Slovenia
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The integration of Croatia into the EU is an opportunity for developing further the National innovation system The development and implementation of the innovation policy has a key role for scientific and economic progress of Croatia. In the light of Croatian integration into the EU, the main aim of the National innovation strategy is to encourage further investment into the scientific and economic development of Croatia. To enhance economic and scientific competitiveness, Croatia needs to fully address new challenges in order to be able to create new jobs, to meet climate and demographic changes and to reach social equality, inclusion and fairness. To reach its full potential, Croatia needs to overcome resistance towards progress and establish stronger links between the scientific and the economic system, building in this regard an optimal legal and administrative framework. In order to accomplish these goals Croatia needs to focus on research of those areas which are of mutual interest for the scientific and the economic system. For instance, it has to focus on enabling better knowledge and technology transfer and develop smart specialization strategies. With easier access to EU funds, especially for development of small and medium enterprises, it should also be easier to develop more competitive innovationbased scientific and economic systems. Better management of national innovation system and development of a regulatory framework In the next period it is necessary to evaluate and revise the current state of development of the innovation system. This evaluation is necessary in order to overcome current obstacles and develop 92
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an enhanced innovation system harmonized with new standards and guidelines. Having in mind the set strategic goals with clear, transparent and measurable results, the Croatian Government aims to adopt a structured strategic approach towards the innovation system. Government should have the key role in straightening of innovation system by creating more favorable regulatory conditions for private and public sector for them to generate further benefit in their innovation activities. Enhancement of innovation potential of economy In creating new innovation policies, emphasis will be on the innovation process itself. Having in mind that the links between science and economy is currently weak, emphasis will also be put on financing through different EU funds, development of start-ups, financing non-technological innovations, fostering the development of service research and development in areas where there are capacities and needs, and financing initial costs of protection of intellectual property. Enhancement of cooperation and knowledge transfer between science and economy Science plays an important role in developing and strengthening knowledge-based economy. The ability to transform scientific results into successful commercial products is of key importance for the future economic development. In order to accomplish some of the set goals, the Croatian Government established the Croatian Business-Innovation Agency (BICRO) the aim of which is to directly promote science â€“ industry linkages. BICRO is trying to achieve this through different programs, including the technology infrastructure program, a program for development of technology-based companies, the program for co-financing of the initial phases of innovative science-entrepreneurship
projects etc. Also, BICRO is trying to establish a biotechnology infrastructure with an incubator and a central laboratory (BIOCentre in Zagreb) which is being financed through the preaccession EU funds. BICRO is one of the key organizations in the national innovation system whose primary role is development and implementation of government support programs aimed at strengthening technology development as a driver of sustainable economic growth. Except for the BICRO, the Ministry of Science, Education and Sports launched the program for co-financing of technology transfer and associated activities – the „Science and Innovation Investment Fund“, which is also supported through the pre-accession EU funds. In 2007 the Ministry of Science, Education and Sports on behalf of the Croatian government established the Unity through Knowledge Fund (UKF). Due to the use of systematic and transparent selection methodology, UKF supported high-quality scientific-research groups. Newly acquired knowledge and skills, as well as networking with excellent world scientificresearch institutions, enabled scientific groups a far more competitive approach and herewith a favorable capacity for attracting European and other international financial sources, especially within the EU Seventh Framework Program for research and technological development (FP7). Another important aspect of UKF programs was significant transfer of knowledge and technology into the Croatian scientific-research and economic sectors that has been made possible due to cooperation with leading international scientific institutions. The transferred knowledge and technology are of vital importance for the further development of Croatian innovative potential, and with it, of a more competitive economy. The Fund will continue supporting excellent collaborative research with Croatian scientists living abroad and leading international scientific institutions, fostering professional advancement of young researchers (at doctoral and postdoctoral level), industry and academia
collaboration, as well as improving conditions in private and public R&D sector to raise absorption capacity for EU funds, especially structural and Horizon 2020. On initiative of the Ministry of Economy, Labor and Entrepreneurship of the Republic of Croatia, in 2007 the South East European Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning – SEECEL was established with a purpose to structure cooperation amongst the countries of South Eastern Europe on lifelong entrepreneurial learning. The SEECEL mission is to promote positive attitudes towards entrepreneurship focusing on skills and knowledge that young people will acquire. At higher education level, the primary purpose of entrepreneurship education should be to develop entrepreneurial capacities and mindsets. Western Balkan Research and Development for Innovation Strategy Hoping to foster synergies among similar interventions and build on a growing collaboration, governments from the seven economies in the Western Balkans are developing — with the assistance of the European Commission, the Regional Cooperation Council and the World Bank — a regional strategy for research and innovation. In line with the countries’ European integration processes and the goals of the European Union’s growth strategy “Europe 2020,” the overarching objective is to increase the impact of research and innovation on economic growth and employment opportunities. The Strategy will identify priorities, recommend policy and institutional reforms and be accompanied by an action plan detailing initiatives to be implemented at the supranational level. It is expected to be presented in 2013 and serve as a framework for a collective effort to promote the Western Balkans’ most urgent priority: increasing innovation, growth and prosperity.
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G端nther Oettinger Secure our future: towards a European energy strategy Renewable energy in the EU: to 2020 and beyond Energy Efficiency
Secure our future: towards a European energy strategy Energy is the lifeblood of our society. Our way of life is inconceivable without reliable and affordable supplies of energy: electricity, heat and fuel. Never before has the world needed so much energy: we use almost twice as much as in 1980. If this trend continues, it will be difficult to avoid a 94
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major energy crisis, with electricity cuts, petrol or gas shortages. We cannot afford to wait The energy challenges are among the greatest tests which Europe has to face: We have to act to prevent global warning. At the same time, we need affordable energy prices as our economic competitiveness depends very much on competitive energy prices and a reliable energy
supply. Growing EU dependence on imports from third countries is also a matter of great concern, in particular for oil (85 %) and gas (65 %). All these challenges must be addressed and require strong action. A new strategy for the next decade National policies are not sufficient anymore to allow a strong economic recovery and maintain our welfare. Any decision taken by one Member State has an impact on the others. Fragmented markets undermine the security of supply and limit the benefits of a fair competition while our investments for the future will only be profitable and efficient within a continental market. We must promote a common energy policy serving our joint policy objectives: competitiveness, sustainability and security of supply. An example of the need to think internationally is gas supply. Many Member States are reliant on gas imported from Russia. We all agreed that diversifying our gas supply will benefit citizens and businesses across the EU and we are looking to bring new, additional gas from the Caspian region to the EU. In the past few years, the EU Commission has held continuous talks with governments and companies alike to convince them to deliver gas from this region to Europe. And in June, this European effort will finally bare fruits. In Azerbaijan, the final decision will be taken on how much gas will be delivered to Europe and which pipeline project will be chosen for the first ever direct supply of Azeri gas to the EU. In very general terms, I see 5 pillars for action to the benefit of all Member States and citizens. Focus on energy savings First, there is a vast amount of untapped potential to save energy, which would save money for individuals and businesses alike. Faced with commitments to reduce drastically our emissions and achieve the objective to increase energy efficiency by 20% by 2020, action on energy demand has the most potential with immediate impact for saving energy, reducing
waste and maintaining our competitiveness. To this end, the EU has adopted a new energy efficiency directive which obliges Member States to implement binding measures such as an obligation scheme for energy companies to cut down energy consumption at customer level and an obligation for Member States to renovate annually 3 per cent of the central governmentâ€™s building. It also encourages energy audits for SMEs and an obligation for large companies to assess their energy saving possibilities. A strongly integrated European Energy Single Market We should no longer tolerate barriers which impede energy flow within the EU. National borders can threaten the benefits of the Single Market, the competitiveness of our industry and the supply of basic needs to all our citizens. Fair competition, quality of service and free access must be guaranteed. The full and proper application of EU legislation is a must. But the existence of the adequate infrastructure is a condition sine qua non. It is time energy is given comparable pan-European infrastructure, as other sectors of public interest such as telecommunication and transport have enjoyed for a long time: by 2015, no Member State should be isolated from the European internal market in energy supply. This means that we have to concentrate our efforts on concrete projects necessary to achieve our goals: solidarity, an inter-connected market, new power capacities, an â€œintelligent gridâ€? and large scale production of renewable available to all at competitive prices. A single European Energy Market will also increase the competitiveness of renewables, allowing excess energy generated in the sunny South to power homes in Northern Europe during times of light wind or vice-versa on blustery days in the North for cloudier days in the South. Citizens first These efforts should always focus on the impact on citizens. Consumers should benefit from wider choice and take advantage of new opportunities. Issue 4 |
Energy policies have to be more consumerfriendly and this will require further transparency and information: I would like all tools, like the Consumer Check List, to be improved and applied more widely. This also implies that all consumers enjoy their right to basic energy needs at all times, including in a supply crisis. EU energy policy also aims to achieve more transparency, access to better and more information, better functioning of the retail market, development of adequate infrastructure and safety nets for vulnerable consumers. This is in addition to constant efforts for more safety and security in energy production and processing. Today, the EU represents a decisive added-value for all citizens by ensuring that the highest standards are applied in all Member States for nuclear safety and security, offshore oil and gas extraction or the development of new energy technologies. We must keep on track and continue to be vigilant. Towards a technological shift In energy technology, we must consolidate and extend Europe’s lead. I would like to develop a European reference framework in which Member States and regions can maximise their efforts to accelerate market uptake of technologies. Europe has some of the world’s best renewable energy companies and research institutions: we need to keep this leadership. Beyond the implementation of the Strategic Energy Technology Plan, we have already launched a few large scale projects with strong European added-value: - Smart grids to link the whole electricity grid system to individual households and give better access to renewable sources of energy, - The ‘smart cities’ innovation partnership to
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promote throughout Europe integrated energy systems at local level and facilitate energy savings. Strengthening the EU leadership in the world The EU should be a favoured partner in international negotiations. The present situation, where external partners can “divide and rule”, is untenable. The EU has the world’s largest regional energy market – 500 million people. It accounts for one fifth of the world’s energy use. We import on average around 3 million tonnes of oil equivalent every day. The EU is also the world’s biggest economic trading block. We must exploit our geopolitical weight in the world and enjoy the benefits of the Single Market. Every time that the EU has spoken with one voice, for instance in the nuclear international cooperation, it led to results. The integration of energy markets with our neighbours is a must which contributes to both our and their security. But our international relations must go further and should aim at establishing strategic partnerships with key partners. A common European policy is a strong leverage to strengthen our position in difficult negotiations and secure our international leadership. Time for action: This year we will discuss our energy and climate goals for 2030. We will decide whether we choose three targets as we did for 2020 - CO2 reduction, increase of renewables and energy efficiency - or just one or two, and whehter they should be binding or not. We must decide it this year to allow Member States to prepare and to give certainty to investors in industry. As Jean Monnet said: “Where there is no vision, people perish”. Our generation must take the opportunity to make of this strategic vision a reality.
Renewable energy in the EU: to 2020 and beyond In 2009 the Member States of the European Union set themselves the goal of having 20% of their energy come from renewable sources by 2020. More than three years on, we are still committed to achieving this goal. Our latest Report on Renewables shows that while progress has been made until 2010, there are reasons for concern about future progress: the transposition of the 2009 Renewable Energy Directive has been slower than wished, also due to the current economic crisis in Europe. Since the indicative trajectory to meet the final target grows steeper over time, in reality more efforts by most of the Member Statesâ€™ are needed in the forthcoming years. Current policies alone will be insufficient to trigger the required renewable energy deployment in a majority of Member States. Hence, additional efforts will be needed for Member States to stay on track in the forthcoming years. In addition to investing in renewable generation, we must invest in grids to have a functioning market. Firstly, we need smart grids capable
of handling multiple variable inputs, balancing power and delivering consistent supply to consumers. Secondly, we need support schemes for renewables that do not create harmful distortions between states. All countries within the EU will be building their renewables capacity and we must ensure that state support in one country does not make it harder and less competitive to build renewables elsewhere. Furthermore, renewables must one day be able to compete openly against other energy sources. As a nascent technology it is right that they receive public support but we cannot create a system that is overly reliant on public funds as this is unsustainable. National support schemes must also find equilibrium and settle. Key to our success is creating an environment that provides certainty for investors. Most of the funding for transforming our energy system will come from private sources and governments must show signs that investors will see good returns if they chose European energy projects. For the time beyond 2020, without a suitable framework renewable energy growth will slump. This why we have to set a framework for 2030. Issue 4 |
In March this year, we have published a Green Paper which will be discussed with stakeholders and Member States before coming forward with a concrete proposal. One of the key questions is whether we should have a binding target for renewable energy as we have for 2020 or opt for a technology neutral target for CO2 only. You may ask ‘why renewables?’ The answer to this is simple. In spite of our current economic situation all our studies, including the EU 2050 Energy Roadmap, show that the most cost effective way to decarbonise the energy sector to meet our commitments to help stop climate
Energy Efficiency Energy challenges are among the greatest Europe has to face in the coming decade. We know that our economic competitiveness fully depends on a reliable energy supply: a safe, secure, sustainable and affordable energy supply is crucial to the EU’s economic and strategic interests as a global player. The growing EU dependence on imports from third countries therefore represents a matter of great concern, in particular for oil (85 %) and gas (65 %) and explains why Energy Efficiency is to be found at the heart of the EU’s Energy Strategy 2020. In order to achieve the needed increase in energy efficiency, a comprehensive mix of energy efficiency policies and supporting measures have been implemented throughout Europe. These target many sectors such as buildings, household appliances and industrial equipment, transport etc. However, already in 2011 the Commission estimates suggested that despite the progress made over the last years, we are set to achieve 98
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change show that a diverse mix of low carbon energy sources across the EU will deliver the cheapest electricity for consumers. This will require large investment in energy infrastructure across Europe and our analysis shows that starting earlier, rather than later will be the most cost effective approach. Indeed, large scale infrastructure investment will pay dividends to European economy by creating jobs in building and operating our new systems which will, in turn, boost the economy. That is why it is important to remember that ‘green growth’ doesn’t mean growth of green technologies, but is growth of the whole economy stimulated by green projects.
only about half of our 2020 objective – that means we would only cut our estimated energy consumption by about 9% to 10% instead of our target of 20%. That is why new measures targeted to save energy or to make energy use more efficient were necessary. The new Energy Efficiency Directive adopted in October 2012 introduces a whole range of measures targeting Member States, the industry and the citizens. Firstly, it obliges each Member State to set a national indicative energy efficiency target for 2020. The Commission will report in 2014 whether these targets and the national measures put in place will put the EU on track for its 20% energy efficiency target, which is explicitly defined for the first time in a legal act (i.e. in 2020 the Union’s energy consumption has to be no more than 1474 Mtoe of primary energy or 1078 Mtoe of final energy). Still, because of the inefficiencies in the way we
use fuels, reaching of the 20% target is a win-win possibility for Europe’s industry and citizens and can be done along with an increased economic growth and prosperity. Secondly, to ensure this target is reached, each Member State will have to put in place a number of concrete policy measures. It has to make a long-term strategy for mobilising investments in the renovation of the national building stock and renovate 3% of its central government buildings every year. It shall also ensure that a certain amount of energy savings is achieved within the 2014-2020 obligation period either by obliging energy distributors or retailers to work with final customers to reduce their energy use or by establishing alternative policy mechanisms such as financing schemes or voluntary agreements. Thirdly, the directive targets the consumers. Energy Efficiency also represents the area where consumers can most directly influence and benefit from the long term sustainable energy system. Our energy policies therefore aim to be consumer-tailored with an emphasis on further transparency and information. Consumers should feel empowered in order to optimize their energy consumption and enjoy their right to basic energy needs at all times, including in a supply crisis. Our main challenge is to make these technologies accessible and cost-effective to the general public. For instance, consumers will have a smart meter, accurately reflecting their individual energy consumption and providing information on the time of their energy use. The Directive also covers heating and cooling, the rationalisation of the grids and their demand response, and energy services. Buildings are responsible for almost 40% of the energy consumption and about 36% of all greenhouse gas emissions in the EU. The revised Energy Performance of Buildings Directive requires Member States to ensure that by 2021 all new buildings are ‘nearly zero-energy’ buildings. But given the fact that around 75% of existing
buildings today will still be around by 2050, it is especially the energy efficient renovation of Europe’s building stock that will be crucial if we want to meet our ambitious climate and energy policy goals. Moreover, increasing the building renovation rate would also strongly contribute to job growth and competitiveness in the construction sector. However, we all know that this is easier said than done. Barriers continue to exist and there is a need for a large amount of financing. Nevertheless, I am optimistic that we can achieve our goals. Firstly, because of the existing comprehensive policy framework in support of energy efficiency. Secondly, because of the Commission proposal of an increased financial support for energy efficiency during the next longterm EU budget, the so called MultiAnnual Financial Framework. And thirdly because of the existence of European projects that show that Europe’s business sector is at the forefront of driving energy efficiency improvements through innovation and cooperation. With our conventional energy resources becoming scarcer, we should use the current momentum to gradually shift to a resource efficient, low carbon society. Our initiatives for the development of new and renewable energy sources and for reaching a high level of energy efficiency therefore serve this objective. Europe has currently some of the world’s best renewable energy companies and research institutions and we undertake numerous research activities to find new, more efficient ways of producing and using energy. The main challenge today is to accelerate the market uptake of technologies. We need to demonstrate that sustainable energy technologies which contribute to ensuring the security of our energy supply are viable, cost-effective and good for the environment and our economy. I therefore call upon all stakeholders, businesses, citizens and policy makers alike, to join their efforts in supporting the European Union in achieving our medium and long term goals for the benefits of all of us.
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Energy Island on the Eastern Coast of the Baltic Sea
ENERGY ISLAND ON THE EASTERN COAST OF THE BALTIC SEA J端ri Martin
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From the point of view of provision with natural gas, Finland and the Baltic countries are located on a remote energy island and disconnected from the rest of Europe. Their sole natural gas supplier is a Russian monopoly Gazprom, who supplies natural gas to various countries on the basis of bilateral supply agreements concluded at different times and different prices. Gazprom’s pricing policy is driven by not only on the basis of economic calculations, but also by political sympathies and the interests of Russian Federation. This current supply practice that ignores the rules of a market economy threatens the energetic independence of Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. The decrepitude and technical condition of some of the Russian main gas pipelines used to supply the Baltic countries with gas is hazardous to the energy security. In several cases Gazprom has unilaterally suspended or limited gas supplies to those countries by referring to so-called technical reasons. Long-term suspensions of natural gas supplies, especially during the winter, would result in a huge economic loss and would require the establishment of a national state of emergency along with the implementation of measures of unforeseen scope in order to save the lives and health of the more vulnerable part of the population. The introduction of liquefied natural gas (LNG) would be viable alternative to Russian natural gas, allowing the establishment of a market driven alternative to the natural gas supplied by Gazprom and connect the current energy island on the eastern shore of the Baltic Sea to the global natural gas market. To ensure energy security, several measures have been implemented in the small countries on the eastern shore of the Baltic Sea in recent
years. Significant preliminary work has been concluded to identify suitable locations for a LNG terminal. Several options have been considered and it has been found out that in the interests of energy independence it is expedient and sufficient to use the EU support financing for establishing a regional LNG import terminal in the region of the Gulf of Finland. A LNG terminal is a technically complicated enterprise and is classified to belong to the highest class of hazardousness. On a high level, the terminal may be described as a port with a pier for LNG tankers, reception tanks at atmospheric pressure for gas that has been cooled down to the liquefying temperature, equipment for the re-gasification of liquefied natural gas, a compression station of highpressure gas and a power station for the electricity supply of the entire LNG terminal facility. The connection of currently existing local high-pressure gas networks into a common system is not complicated. The existing main pipelines of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have already been connected with one another. The possibility of establishing a submarine high-pressure natural gas pipeline from Paldiski in Estonia to Ingå in Finland (so-called Balticconnector), that would connect Finland also with the current highpressure gas network of the Baltic countries, has also been studied. In Estonia, a main gas pipeline should be built from Kiili to Paldiski. The large underground natural gas storage facility in Inčukalns, Latvia, can be used to store strategically important natural gas resources. The decision on the location of the the regional, so-called Finngulf LNG terminal is currently under consideration. The governments of Finland and Estonia have decided, without any dispute between each other, to leave the ultimate decision on terminal’s location to the
European Commission. The decision is to be expected to be made already this year. The topic of a LNG terminal has been discussed on several occasions by Estonian press. The programs and statements for assessment of the environmental impacts of LNG terminals have passed public discussion and received approval. Nevertheless, neither specialists nor the public have expressed their opinions about the Finngulf LNG terminal. It is probably the scale of the project and the uniqueness and technical complexity of the terminal that have inhibited the interest of the press as well as the public in this national problem that actually concerns the welfare of all of us. Gazprom’s ownership of the national gas company AS Eesti Gaas is probably the reason why the most competent technical center has factually distanced itself from the public discussion on LNG topic. Thorough preliminary work has been performed to select the suitable location. Finland has selected Ingå as their preferred location, Estonia has avoided its explicit position about the location of the terminal. The preselected route of the Balticconnector gas pipeline probably favors the establishment of the terminal in Paldiski, which is located just opposite Ingå on the other side of the Gulf of Finland. The following document aims to provide a more thorough overview of the advantages and disadvantages of both regional LNG terminal locations that will probably be among the two finalists in the selection. The overview is based on the statements for the assessment of environmental impacts of the LNG terminal plans in Ingå and in Paldiski. Both technical data in individual matters as well as the information serving as a basis for the assessments originate mostly from the reports for assessment of environmental impacts which are either currently being processed or Issue 4 |
Energy Island on the Eastern Coast of the Baltic Sea
have already been approved by now. Selection criteria for the location of LNG terminals Guaranteed gas supplies For strategic considerations, in the interests of the management of major accidents, etc. risks, Estonian LNG terminal should be located away from other large energy enterprises in Estonia, i.e. the regions of Narva-Sillamäe and/ or Tallinn should be excluded. The strategically most suitable location in Estonia is Paldiski. Terminal locations in Ingå, Finland and Paldiski, Estonia along with the Balticconnector gas pipeline are strategically equal. The capacity of a regional LNG terminal must secure an uninterrupted gas supply for Finland and the Baltic countries, regardless of the time, day of the week and season, the so-called 24/7/365. To ensure the required capacity, the 102
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terminal should have been planned for the reception of large quantities of gas, thus for LNG tankers (Q-Flex). The existence of a full-capacity regional LNG terminal would significantly contribute to the involvement of the Russian gas supplier(s) in the open natural gas market. Even if Gazprom could and would offer competitive supply terms to LNG in the new market situation, a regional LNG terminal would be an indispensable guarantee for ensuring gas supplies during accidents or technical maintenance works of the current rather old (30 and more years) pipelines. Conformity of location with applicable plans In Finland an applicable Joddböle regional plan has been established on the selected preferred location in Ingå. The plan contains no reference to the admissibility of an enterprise similar to a LNG terminal. According to the regional comprehensive plan
the construction of LNG terminal is not allowed as it conflicts with the restrictions imposed on a hazardous enterprise. Planning a LNG terminal in Ingå requires the amendment of the regional comprehensive plan by a local government authority. There are no plan-related hindrances to the construction of a regional LNG terminal in Paldiski; the location of the object is approved in the thematic plan, which is a part of the applicable comprehensive plan of the City of Paldiski. The selection of location of the LNG terminal in Paldiski has been contested in court by the Estonian Fund for Nature and the Estonian Ornithological Society, who claim that a LNG terminal in Paldiski would damage the Natura bird protection area on Pakri islands and in the coastal waters. The plaintiffs have not filed any evidence to substantiate their opinion and suspicions. The same organizations submitted similar suspicions in respect of the deep water port in Saaremaa years ago. After two years of court
proceedings, the court declared the suspicions unfounded. The practice has confirmed the incorrectness of the statements of the extreme nature lovers. There is no proof that the construction and use of a deep water port in Saaremaa had damaged the fulfillment of the protection objectives of Natura in the neighborhood of the port. Maritime safety LNG tankers that arrive from the Baltic Sea at the western part of the Gulf of Finland must have as safe access to the port as possible throughout the year. 75% of the winds blowing in winter in the Gulf of Finland are southwestern winds that pile the ridged ice up in the ports of Finland on the northern shore of the Gulf. Large LNG tankers are expected to be of A1 ice class and with double bottoms, but they may need icebreaker assistance in piled up ridged ice. The port of Ingå is not ice-free on average for approx. 100 days a year. The Pakrineeme port in Paldiski is practically ice-free, but nevertheless drift ice may pile up there even for up to a week.
port of Pakrineeme in Paldiski. It is especially important to avoid any cross traffic with regular passenger ship lines or cargo shipping lines, which precludes for example the establishment of a regional LNG terminal in the port of Muuga, which was once offered as one of the possible locations. To the west of the port of Ingå there is the cargo port of Inkoo Shipping OY (in 2012 approx. 7 cargo vessels a week), to the east of the port there is a small fishing port and a boat harbor. The recreational craft line in the Helsinki-Hanko direction, which is one of the busiest traffic lanes in Finland and where thousands of recreational crafts sail at weekends, crosses the ship channel of the port of Ingå. From this maritime safety aspect the port of Pakrineeme in Paldiski has obvious advantages as the location of a LNG terminal compared to Ingå. The pier of the LNG terminal in Paldiski has been planned on the northeastern coast of the Pakri peninsula, approx. 800 m from the beach where the natural depth of the sea is 18 m. No vessel traffic takes place in the port region, in the zone near the shore to the north of
the Pakri peninsula. The planned location of the Ingå LNG terminal and the pier is the current port area in Joddböle on the southern shore of the Fjusö peninsula. Although the Fjusö peninsula has been deemed as a suitable location of the terminal in the LNG plan, it is namely the same location that the Finnish experts have deemed as insufficient in respect of the size of the area for a full-size LNG terminal and unsuitable in respect of the navigational terms. The ship channel in Ingå is up 7.8 to 12.5 m deep, but narrow, the width decreases to up to 170 meters. The ship channel is 34 km long and runs mostly between skerries. LNG tankers require in the ship channel a meeting prohibition of ships whose length is more than 100 m. From the point of view of ensuring safe vessel traffic, the planned LNG tanker location at the end of the shipping line is not permitted. The current ship channel in Ingå is suitable for small tankers LNG Carrier (LNGC). The use of mediumsized and large Q-Flex Carrier type tankers requires large-scale
To ensure the safety of LNG tankers, the required distances in respect of other ships, except recreational craft, are bigger than usual. The minimum required distance from a LNG tanker is established on the basis of local conditions. In practice, LNG tanker’s safety area extends to up to 1,000 metres in respect of vessel traffic of the same direction or other vessel traffic. In connection with the navigation of LNG tankers, special requirements are established for the equipment of supervision and management of vessel traffic in the region of the tanker traffic. From the point of view of maritime safety it is highly recommended that the approach route of tankers to a LNG terminal would not cross heavy traffic shipping lanes, which has been fulfilled in the Issue 4 |
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dredging operations: both dredging as well as extending the ship channel, a turning circle with the diameter of 582 m and guaranteed depth of 14 m must be dredged for ships. Q-Flex Carrier tankers have large dimensions (length of up to 280 m, width of up to 45 m and draught of up to 12.5 m) and their maneuvering capacity is limited. A narrow ship channel does not allow assisting tugs to perform their duties. According to experts, the current - mostly having an uneven rock bottom - ship channel, is dangerous for LNG tankers and unsuitable for safe marine navigation. The winds in the western part of the Gulf of Finland blow mostly from a southwestern and western direction. Such a wind direction is crosswise to the Ing책 ship channel. This aggravates significantly the safe vessel traffic in the ship channel, making it probably impossible with the stronger winds. The pier of the LNG terminal in Paldiski is hidden 104
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against southwestern winds by the Pakri peninsula. In Paldiski, safe navigation is hindered by strong northern and northeastern winds. An important prerequisite for safe navigation is that a LNG tanker must berth next to a pier with her bow towards the exit from the port in order for her to leave for open sea as fast as possible in the case of an emergency. Leaving for open sea in the port of Ing책 is complicated and takes time, while from the port of Pakrineeme in Paldiski a tanker can leave for the open sea quickly in the case of an emergency.
waves there are probably individual periods that last for some days each year, when a tanker has to wait for favorable mooring conditions in the anchoring area. In the port of Ing책 as well as in the port of Paldiski a LNG tanker must be assisted by tugs. It is obligatory to use a pilot when approaching the port, berthing as well as departing the port. Hazards of major accidents and their prevention
The ship channel as a whole in the port of Ing책 is an area of higher sailing hazard and will remain as such even after extending and dredging the ship channel and building a turning circle for ships.
According to the Seveso II Directive and its Finnish and Estonian national implementing legislation, a LNG terminal as an enterprise is classified to the highest hazard division in connection with which the most important part of the selection of its location is the prevention and avoidance of major accidents.
Berthing next to a LNG pier as well as departing the port is considerably easier in the port of Pakrineeme in Paldiski, although with the northern wind and accompanying high
As from 1959, more than 80,000 trade voyages have been made with LNG cargo. No such accidents have happened so far where any significant quantity of LNG has
spilled into the sea. It can be stated that from the point of view of maritime safety the consequences of collisions of LNG tankers with other ships or of their running aground are quite similar. Nevertheless, such damages to a tanker where LNG flows into the sea and evaporates are never precluded. Neither is precluded accidental ignition of LNG flowing into the sea. Fire may also break out in the LNG tank facility, but modern technical solutions I use are so trustworthy that the investigation committee of the United States Congress did not consider tanks without pressure for liquefied gas in LNG terminals to be a source of any significant risk. Ice in winter may cause small damage to a tanker, but the flowing of the contents of LNG tanks or fuel tanks into the sea from a hole caused by ice is not considered realistic. A large leakage of LNG is possible in the case of an accident with the terminal equipment or gas pipelines. Although terminals are designed so that in the case of an accident the inflammable liquefied gas flowing out accumulates in the collector basin between the bordered areas that restrict its dissemination, the hazard of extensive fire in the case of such accidents is huge. Natural gas evaporates and as a result of mixing with air an explosive gas mixture forms in the gas cloud. According to the modeling results the dangerous thermal radiation of a burning gas cloud can extend up to 250 meters from the burning collector basin of the LNG. The area of dissemination of a burning gas cloud depends on the weather conditions and according to the modeling data, may in the worst case extend up to several hundred meters. Despite the technical progress that has taken place and the positive experience obtained over the decades it must still not be forgotten that major accidents of fatal consequences have
happened with LNG in the first years of commencement of use thereof. Therefore, a less hazardous alternative must be preferred already when selecting a location for a LNG terminal. In Ing책, the two nearest residential buildings are located approx. 160 m away from the planned terminal area, the nearest summer houses are approx. 500 m away and the residential district is approx. 1,500 m away. There is also a public highway in the hazard zone of the terminal. The planned location of a LNG terminal in Ing책 is located partially in the protection zone of an enterprise of the highest hazard division, the Fortum power station, as defined in the Seveso II Directive. While discharging LNG tankers, other operations in the same port and in the vicinity are usually forbidden; in this terminal the discharge of a large LNG tanker would last for approx. 14 hours. The annual number of planned visits of large tankers is 21. The terminal of Pakrineeme in Paldiski is not located in the hazard zone of any hazardous enterprise and has been planned within a practically unpopulated area. The
nearest residential buildings are located approx. 1,800 m away from the territory of the planned LNG terminal; no public roads nor enterprises with permanent staff are located in the hazard zone of the terminal. No other goods except LNG are handled in the port of Pakrineeme in Paldiski, thus there are no risks and no need for imposing any loading restrictions on operations of other ships in the same port. Construction work and cost The construction at Ing책 will involve large-scale soil work, dredging operations in the rock soil must be done using blasting. According to the ex-ante assessment made about the volumes of the blasting and dredging operations required for dredging the turning circle, extending and dredging the ship canal and establishing the turning circle for ships, the volume of the dredging operations and soil work is approx. 6.4 million m3 and the cost is approx. 418 million euros. There is no need for large-scale dredging operations in the port of Pakrineeme in Paldiski. The jetty and Issue 4 |
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the pier will be established on pile foundations. The seaside part of the pier where a LNG tanker will moor is naturally 18.5 m deep, thus there is no need for dredging the seabed next to the pier during both the construction as well as any further operation of the port. Design and construction schedule According to assessments, the construction of a full-size LNG terminal in the port of Ing책 will take four years. In addition to that, the time to be spent on procedures required to amend the plan must also be taken into account. The time to be spent on the construction of a LNG terminal in Paldiski has been assessed as approx. two years. The duration of the pending court proceedings with the environmentalists is not known. The achievement of a fast positive solution will hopefully be facilitated by a judicial decision in a similar case to the court action held for the establishment of a deep water port in Saaremaa. Environmental protection The environmental impact of the Balticconnector gas pipeline, which crosses the Gulf of Finland in a
north-south direction, has not been assessed yet, Estonia has proposed that Finnish gas company Gasum should also take into account a LNG terminal when assessing the environmental impact. Unfortunately it must be acknowledged that in practice in recent years we have repeatedly seen incompetent and overdramatized assessments made by Estonian environmental officials and activists about the presumed environmental impact of submarine gas pipelines. This has cast doubt on the competence of decisions of our environmental officials in this field and may be one of the reasons why the public has distanced itself from the discussion of the LNG and natural gas topic.
other ships in the ship channel there is no fear of an accumulated impact disturbing birds in connection with the LNG tankers that will enter the traffic flow. The impact of large-scale blasting and dredging operations in the Natura site in extending the ship channel and building a turning circle in the port of Ing책 in the Natura site has not yet been assessed properly.
The impact of building a LNG terminal extends to the Natura sites both in Finland as well as in Estonia.
The assessments of environmental impacts reveal that the impact during the construction of a regional LNG terminal will be temporary or short-term and relatively insignificant. According to the legislation of Finland as well as Estonia, the government of the state has the right, in the case of exceptional national interest (probably also in order to ensure energy security), to allow construction works and economic activities (incl. vessel traffic) in the Natura sites.
The shipping lane to the port of Ing책 runs through the Natura nature and bird areas or its impact on them is direct but insignificant. The number of large ships (approx. 360 ships a year) will increase by approx. 21 LNG tankers. Due to the meeting prohibition of LNG tankers and
It is certain that while operating a LNG terminal utmost attention must be paid to the prevention of the hazard of major accidents. If there are no deviations from the fulfillment of safety requirements, the operation of a terminal will be safe.
Protection of natural values of the Natura sites
Academician J체ri Martin, PhD., DSc., Rector of Euroacademy, 4 Mustamae Rd., Tallinn 10621, Estonia Ph. +372 6115 804, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org 106
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Membership. Member of Estonian Academy of Sciences; Member of Academia Ecologica Universalis; Polar Research Committee, Estonian Academy of Sciences; Estonian Polar Fund; Commission on Environment and Environmental Assembly (Tallinn City Council); Network of Academics and Professionals (NAP); Internationa Association for Lichenology (IAL); Estonian European Movement; Estonian Euroinfo Society; Group of Development and Application of Structural Semiotics; Member of the World Peace Council; International Socrates Committee; Estonian Polar Club; The Club of Rectors of Europe, Member of the Academic Board and Vice-president (Oxford);, European Commission, European Green Capital Award, Jury Member (Brussels, 2008 - 2010); The Baltic Sea Sustainable Development Network; European Distance and e-Learning Network (EDEN); Associated Member: KeyToNature (the EU Project);
Estonian Club of Rome; Estonian Green Cross; Former Member of the Estonian Parliament. Visiting Scientist. Western Washington State College (Bellingham,Washington, USA), Gonzaga University (Spokane, Washington, USA), Arizona University (Tempe, Arizona, USA), University of California Riverside (Riverside, California, USA), Oak-Ridge National Laboratories (Oak- Ridge, Tennessee, USA), University of Ohio (Wooster, Ohio, USA), Bowling Green State University (Bowling Green, Ohio, USA), University of Vermont, Michigan Technological University (Houghton, Michigan, USA), North Carolina State University (Raleigh, North-Carolina, USA), US EPA Environmental Research Laboratory (Corvallis, Oregon, USA), Oregon State University (Corvallis, Oregon, USA), Great Smoky Mountains National Park (Catlinburg, Tennessee, USA);
Fachhochshule Lausitz (Senftenberg, Germany); European Academy of Natural Sciences (Hannover, Germany); Institute of Plant and Animal Ecology, RAS (Ekaterinburg, Russian Federation); Institute of Northern Problems, (Syktyvkar, Komi Republik, Russian Federation). Awards. K. E. Baer’ Medal, Estonian Academy of Sciences, (1986); UNESCO “Man and the Biosphere” Medal (1987); Estonian Award on Nature Protection (1990); H. Ford European Award on Nature Conservation (1998), International Socrates Award (2005), United Europe Award (2006); Honorable Professor, International University, Vienna (2008); Queen Victoria Commemorative Medal (2009); Honorable Member of the Mountiners Club „Firn“ (2010); G. Leibniz medal (2011); Honorary Scientist of Europe (2011).
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Estonia, ICT, Education and Artificial Realties
Global Scientia’s Gillian McNicoll
ESTONIA, ICT, EDUCATION AND ARTIFICIAL REALTIES
“New information and communication technologies have the potential to trigger the next Industrial Revolution… Estonia is an example where a combination of responsible free enterprise, E-governance, international partnerships and eco-friendly policies can put you in the fast lane of development” Toomas Hendrik Ilves President of Estonia In recent years Estonia has been stepping up its research capabilities and enterprises. Not only is Estonia a force to be reckoned with within Europe, but the nation is well-known internationally. Many International students now attend its universities, including the Tallin University. Here they are dedicating more and more time to research and initiatives, with collaboration with other countries and research centres. The three different research focus areas at Tallin University are Biosciences and Environment, Culture and Society (including Education) and Natural Sciences & Technology. Healthcare research is being enriched and broadened across the fields of study with an emphasis on promoting health and rehabilitation. To keep in line with the Estonia’s own ICT polices and the European digital agenda the 108
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Tallin Uni’s Centre of Excellence have highlighted 9 subjects for research. Estonia has set its sights on international renown and recognition. Estonia has its ears wide open to the current voices calling for innovation and development and its eyes firmly looking to the future. There are many recent and ongoing research projects including the following: Learning Layers Scaling up Technologies for Informal Learning in SME Clusters, E-learning systems with distributed architecture, their interoperability and models of application a research project funded by the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research from 2008-2013; PSST: Personal and Shared Strategies for Teachers in Web 2.0, which is being funded by Erasmus from 2011-2014 and the Intelleo: Intelligent Learning in Extended Organisation, funded by FP7 ICT programme from 20092012. PSST: Personal and Shared Strategies for Teachers in Web 2.0, funded by Erasmus Research into digital literacy is going on around the world and Estonia has been involved in this particular programme since
2011. Here 2.0 tools for E-learning are being developed for higher education teacher training purposes. Three international summer schools are integral to this project. The summer schools are a vehicle for the sharing of the participant’s current 2.0 systems and for an international discussion panel to review. In addition the schools are recorded and findings compiled to share with a wider field outwith the workshops. It is anticipated that the results will enable planning of the implementation of energetic and interactive 2.0 e-learning in educational facilities and schools. IntelLEO Vision Intelligent Learning in Extended Organisation This research was about creating useful one click informal learning environments. Supportive technologies that can support learning were within the remit of Intelligent Learning Extended Organisations (IntelLEO). IntelLEO looked at how the learning environment can be upgraded and developed in the best way possible. Services were to collaborate together in order to manage knowledge building activities within a welcoming and coordinated approach. Whether a company,
business or organisation the end result should show that the users are supported to maximum effect. IntelLEO was not to be a single entity but instead a community working towards the same goals and objectives to enhance learning capabilities and were to be made up of two or more different groups from research industry education or business. State-of-the-art technology was at the heart of this initiative. An Implementation Framework was created in order to assist with creating the best partnership working format to aim for and for learning methods to be put into practice. Additionally an Ontology Framework was created to provide models for learners, context and collaboration. “Digital competence has become a core skill that everyone should be learning at school…This is not a hypothetical challenge that we expect to be facing sometime in the future. The challenge is before us right now”. Androulla Vassiliou, Member of the European Commission for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth Augmented reality to create new & exciting educational environments
Many new words and phrases are banded about these days that have been created from recent technological advances. The stuff of dreams has become reality. Childhood imaging’s are now before us, real and in vivid Technicolor. Augmented reality is not so new but it is still new enough to cause a stir and lift an eyebrow or two. Without a bit of inquisitiveness and a few surprises or two around the corner to keep us on our toes life would be boring! Partnerships for change The “Augmented Reality Global Environment LARGE” is a European Commission funded project, and has been running from Nov 2011 and ends in October 2013. Researchers from several countries including Talinn University of Technology (TUT) in Estonia have been studying augmented reality to enhance learning. The Magic Solutions Company from Bulgaria has been the coordinator and a consortium of 6 from European countries. The 4 other partners are an NGO, the Institute for Training of Personnel in International Organizations (ITPIO) Bulgaria: the Empolese Valdelsa Development Agency (ASEV) from Italy, Vilnius Gediminas Technical
University (VGTU) from Lithuania and the School Inspectorate of Bucharest (ISMB) a local public authority- from Romania. This kind of technology almost seems to create a new type of sense; other than our standard meat and potato variety. Students can learn in more quirky and ingenious ways, far and away from the blackboards and chalk of long ago or overhead projectors. (Both of which had valuable impacts on my learning and of many others). This research not only can benefit up-and-coming young students or those in higher education, but can bring innovation to the rest of Europe and has prized global implications. Estonia: Stoking the flames of the digital agenda Much has been said about innovation in Europe and creating the right environment for learning, especially to feed the ‘digital agenda’s’ hungry appetite. However many questions surround the - how, where, which and when that can be achieved. Challenges abound, problems around every corner, financial dark clouds hovering. Let’s stop awhile, take stock and move forward, not of course forgetting the issues at hand, but instead remain Issue 4 |
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positive and buoyant. With this in mind all nations should have access to the best available teaching and learning methods. In this digital age, the state-ofthe-art technological light has shone out illuminating us and can’t and shouldn’t be quenched. To encourage this, the methods of learning must move in step with technological advances, creating attention-grabbing, fascinating and striking resources and tools. Estonian researchers are aware of this and take part in this study to enhance ICT in Europe. This dynamic research project can find the methods and means that can impact our future in AR technologies and similar areas. What has been discovered is that although augmented realities are already used in many other areas and fields, such as the entertainment industry it has been underutilised in 110
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educational situations. Augmented reality technology is still shrouded with awe; it’s like a magic trick before you discover how it worked; how did they do that?! Perhaps its very own aura of illusion has held it back from spreading further than it has; it seems so ‘out there’ and futuristic. There are many reasons for its current lack of availability; one area being cost another being its intricacies. The AR prototype: Platform Prototype -Deliverable 4 of WP 4 System Design The AR brings to life video graphics, pictures and audio. Much has been done during the study to create an AR prototype. Researchers have studied participants from various locations in the partner countries. This research has also included workshops and research in schools, universities, VET, adult teachers and trainers. They worked on the
methodology for the software to use and created the LARGE platform and it has been tested out. This platform works as a foundation for the system and the integrated content management tool CTM. This AR simulation prototype system can be adapted for use in educational and training facilities and has been tested in the stakeholder countries. Seminars and training events are expected to be held in the consortium states. What is assured is that Estonia is a Baltic state with a mission; to achieve great things around the globe. The internet and ICT technologies have created a platform meaning our world is a smaller place. Now KABAM! The magic of technology is no longer shrouded in mystery and open to all who hold a decisive wand of innovation.
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