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609 Projects, page 1 of 122
  • Funder: EC Project Code: 299048
    Partners: WU
  • Open Access mandate for Publications
    Funder: EC Project Code: 665275
    Overall Budget: 148,387 EURFunder Contribution: 148,387 EUR
    Partners: WU

    An estimated 50% of the tropical timber that enters the European market is illegally harvested. To implement new European legislation intended to eliminate this illegal trade, independent tools will be needed to verify the legal status of timber. We therefore propose to develop a fast, accurate and cost-effective commercial forensic tool, 'Timtrace', for tracing the claimed origin of tropical timber. Timtrace uses (1) ring-width measurements that can be matched with reference measurements or climate data, (2) stable isotopes in the wood that can be matched with regional reference data, and (3) DNA analyses that allow distinguishing timber obtained from different areas. The application of multiple methods greatly expands the number of tropical timbers whose origin can be traced. Our forensic approach is competitive, as unlike current commercial alternatives, it does not require access to the timber in the country of harvest. Potential customers of Timtrace include the customs and inspection authorities, the timber-processing industry and organisations that certify sustainable forest management. Several of these stakeholders have already shown interest in a commercially available and cost-effective forensic tool for timber tracing. Timtrace builds on the results and expertise obtained during the ERC-funded TROFOCLIM project in which we assembled databases with many thousands measurements of tree-rings and stable isotopes for 20 tropical timber varieties from three continents. Results of the TROFOCLIM project will be directly applied for tracing tropical timbers and will also serve as reference data. We will use the ERC Proof of Concept Grant to (1) develop a fast, accurate and cost-effective tool for forensic tracing of tropical timber and (2) evaluate its commercial feasibility. By the end of the PoC project we aim to have a Minimum Viable Product which will satisfy the demands of the first customers.

  • Open Access mandate for Publications and Research data
    Funder: EC Project Code: 897284
    Overall Budget: 187,572 EURFunder Contribution: 187,572 EUR
    Partners: WU

    Nowadays, CH4 and CO2 emissions represent approximately 90% of the total greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory worldwide, and their share is expected to increase due to their industrial and organic-based nature as well as the increasing world population. The European Union, due to the urgent need to maintain global average temperatures 2ºC below pre-industrial levels, has developed clear targets in the Horizon H2020 climate actions based on building a low-carbon, climate resilient future as well as greening the economy. This situation requires intensive research on novel, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly bio-technological strategies for GHGs treatment focused on creating a climate-neutral scenario and a green economy. In this context, the ENHANCEMENT project fulfill these requirements with the simultaneous bioconversion of both CH4 and CO2 into the most expensive compound produced by microorganisms – ectoine (14,000 $ kg-1) – using halophilic ectoine producers from the genus Halomonas. This is the first and only technology that can abate both GHGs simultaneously, resulting only in water, cells, and resting metabolites with a high market value. However, the market uptake of this biotechnology requires: 1) unravelling the metabolic pathways that allow the members of the Hallomonas genus to transform CH4 and CO2 simultaneously into ectoine, and 2) testing the biotechnological potential of this new platform capable of creating value out of GHG mitigation through its implementation under discontinuous and continuous operation in high mass transfer bioreactors. In this context, the ENHANCEMENT project represents a multi- and inter-disciplinary investigation focused on achieving the Horizon H2020 goals through developing a sustainable GHG bioeconomy. Moreover, it will also strengthen the applicant’s curriculum and provide her with the soft skills required to take the next step of her scientific career towards becoming an R3 – Experienced Researcher.

  • Open Access mandate for Publications and Research data
    Funder: EC Project Code: 844423
    Overall Budget: 175,572 EURFunder Contribution: 175,572 EUR
    Partners: WU

    Food safety remains a main concern for consumers, society, health agencies and food industry. Despite the efforts made during the last years, the number of outbreaks and food borne diseases is still high. Recent outbreaks within the European Union (e.g. L. monocytogenes in frozen vegetables) show that efforts are needed to coordinate scientific advances into decision making in order to implement new measures to increase consumer protection. Quantitative Microbial Risk Analysis (QMRA) can be applied to support food safety management. QMRA is based on a mathematical description of the microbial response during the farm-to-fork chain of the product. Its application requires an accurate characterization of uncertainty and variability, inherent to any biological process. Because of these, QMRA must follow a probabilistic approach, considering the variance of the response variables. Consequently, decisions must be made with an acceptable level of risk given the knowledge gaps. A deeper knowledge of both uncertainty and variability is a top priority in the EU, since it would allow a better application of QMRA, leading to a better safety standards for policy makers and industry. FANTASTICAL aims to develop novel approaches and tools for QMRA that can be implemented by all the stakeholders, i.e. agencies related to consumer protection (EFSA, ECDC) and industry. It will link a database of microbial responses with robust statistical functions for variance analysis and stochastic simulation in a user friendly software. This project will reach out to the potential users and provide them with hands-on, open access tools to better understand microbial variability and uncertainty, resulting in more realistic QMRA. Thus, it will lead to an improvement in consumer protection and safer products. It will also complement Dr Garre’s curriculum and provide him with soft skills required to take the next step of his scientific career towards becoming an R3 – Experienced Researcher.

  • Open Access mandate for Publications
    Funder: EC Project Code: 656632
    Overall Budget: 165,599 EURFunder Contribution: 165,599 EUR
    Partners: WU

    Agricultural soils are the dominant source of nitrous oxide (N2O), a potent greenhouse gas as well as a major cause of ozone layer depletion. Recent findings show that combinations of plants with complementary root traits can increase nitrogen (N) uptake leading to lower N2O emissions. Based on the microbiology behind soil N2O emissions and on plant-trait based ecology, this project aims to build on this finding and develop a novel N2O mitigation strategy. We aim to reveal how plants and plant interactions via their traits and trait combinations can be used to reduce N2O emissions in a context of climate change related disturbances (drought and intense rainfall). Starting with microcosm incubations using monocultures of different plant species, we will quantify the relative importance of specific plant traits as means to regulate N2O emissions. An ensemble of inter- and multi-disciplinary techniques will be applied to analyse the ecological and agronomical plant characteristics of potential relevance as well as the plant-specific microbiological communities of importance for the N-cycle. Subsequently, greenhouse mesocosm experiments will be used to expand the acquired knowledge to cover interactions between plants and stresses induced by climate change factors. A meta-analysis of published and unpublished datasets will allow further elucidation of specific and interactive mechanisms, differentiated by environmental and management factors and to include studies over longer time frames. Finally, the generated results will be used to calibrate and validate a process-based model in order to extrapolate our findings to regional levels. Deliverables will be peer-reviewed papers, new experimental data on a new N2O mitigation strategy, improved model tools to simulate mitigation and reports to policy makers and stake holders on a N2O mitigation strategy that concurrently maintains / increases agricultural production. Overall, ECONOMY will guide future N2O mitigation policy.