Viral infections affect millions of people every year and cause tremendous human suffering and costs to society. For approximately 70% of all WHO listed viruses, no treatment is available and the antiviral drugs that do exist typically must be applied very early after infection to be effective. The VIROFIGHT consortium proposes a radically new approach to fight viral infections, to help reduce the scale and sheer impact of viral infections, to address the problem of a lack of broadly applicable antiviral treatments, and to create means for combating emerging pathogens. Instead of targeting virus-specific proteins or enzymes by small molecules as current antivirals do, we will construct synthetic nano-shells that can specifically recognize and engulf entire viruses to efficiently neutralize the pathogen by occlusion. To achieve this technological target, our interdisciplinary project integrates supramolecular chemistry, molecular nanoengineering, and virology with the mission to develop and test prototypes of engulfing nano-shells that have the principal capacity to neutralize any given virus. We will fabricate biocompatible nano-shells through DNA origami and protein design and attach modularly virus-specific molecules to them in a multivalent fashion, to exploit avidity effects for strong virus binding. The virus binders will be identified through rapid in vitro selection processes designed to be applicable to any target virus. Neutralization assays will be used to test our concept on a variety of viruses. VIROFIGHT has the potential to attain revolutionary properties: shell prototypes can be developed and produced in the course of weeks after discovery of a viral pathogen, and the drug concept can be used and adapted for a wide variety of viral pathogens, without having detailed knowledge about the virus. The VIROFIGHT concept aimed at eradicating multiple viruses thus has great potential for decreasing the burden for patients and saving costs to society.
Building a sustainable and climate neutral future for aviation is an inevitable requirement for a society with increasing mobility needs. If we are to stabilise the global temperature below the 1.5°C threshold set by the Paris Agreement, rapid action is to be taken. MINIMAL will contribute to a radical transformation in air transport by providing disruptive ultra-efficient and low-emission technologies that will, in combination with the aviation ecosystem, sustainably reduce the climate impact of aviation. The MINIMAL project will, through an unprecedented effort between European engine OEMs, world leading atmospheric physics scientists, and lead researchers in combustion and propulsion, attack the major sources of non-CO2 and CO2 emissions in aeroengines. This will be accomplished with the introduction of climate optimised new propulsion systems based on composite cycle engine technology, that provides unparalleled flexibility with respect to operations, and that has the potential to eliminate the large sources of effective radiative forcing by 2035: 80% reduction from contrails, 52% reduction from net-NOx, and 36% fuel burn reduction resulting in 36% to 100% CO2 reduction, depending on the fuel used. Results will allow assessing the interdependencies between non-CO2 and CO2 effects already during the early stages of aero-thermal-mechanical design and converge into engine options that have minimum climate impact. The findings are supported by numerical (TRL 2) and experimental (TRL 3) proof of concept of Low-NOx opposed-piston constant volume combustion technology with pre-micromixing of hydrogen. In MINIMAL we understand the urgency and aim for maximum impact. Aggressive, but realistic roadmaps will be outlined together with regular exchanges in major industry research centres to develop these technologies into products and bring them to in 2035-2040.
The project aims at moving technological frontiers for low-emission combustion of hydrogen to fuel modern gas turbines at high firing temperatures and pressures, beyond the latest state-of-the-art. This will be achieved whilst maintaining high engine performance, efficiency, fuel and load flexibility, without diluents. At the same time, all emission targets set by the Clean Hydrogen JU Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRIA) will be met. The idea is based on a proprietary combustion technology, designated constant pressure sequential combustion (CPSC) already deployed into the GT36 H-class engine (760 MW in combined cycle). The CPSC concept, based on a unique longitudinally staged combustion system, yields the best fuel flexibility and has the greatest potential to achieve the project target of demonstrating stable and clean combustor operation with concentrations of hydrogen admixed with natural gas, up to 100%, at firing temperatures typical of modern H-Class engines. The new, improved combustor design will be fully retrofittable to existing gas turbines, thereby providing opportunities for refurbishing existing assets. The primary objective is to demonstrate the CPSC technology in engine relevant environment (TRL6) in three steps (70, 90 and 100 vol% H2). In this pursuit, a subset of specific performance data (KPIs) will be met within the project timeline and with the planned resources and allocated budget. The project uses state-of-the-art computational tools, analytical modelling, and diagnostic techniques to investigate static and dynamic flame stabilisation. Testing is performed at world-class laboratories in test campaigns at reduced scale and in full size (at atmospheric and pressurised conditions). In preparation for commercialisation, the project will also develop a roadmap towards deployment of the developed system into operation and demonstration into a power plant environment quantifying the valuable contributions to the EU Green Deal.
Flightpath 2050 very ambitiously targets 75% CO2 and 90% NOx emissions reductions, relative to year 2000. It is highly unlikely that these targets will be met with carbon containing fuels, despite large research efforts on advanced, and in many cases disruptive, airframe and propulsion technologies, even when coupled with improved asset and life cycle management procedures. Liquid hydrogen (LH2) has long been seen as a technically feasible fuel for a fully sustainable aviation future yet its use is still subject to widespread scepticism. ENABLEH2 will mature critical technologies for LH2 based propulsion to achieve zero mission-level CO2 and ultra-low NOx emissions, with long term safety and sustainability. ENABLEH2 will tackle key challenges i.e. safety, infrastructure development, economic sustainability, community acceptance, and explore key opportunities through improved combustor design and fuel system heat management, to further minimize NOx emissions, improve energy efficiency and reduce the required volumes of LH2. The project will include experimental and analytical work for two key enabling technologies: H2 micromix combustion and fuel system heat management. These technologies will be evaluated and analysed for competing aircraft scenarios; an advanced tube and wing, and a blended wing body / hybrid wing body aircraft, both featuring distributed turbo-electric propulsion systems and boundary layer ingestion. The study will include mission energy efficiency and life cycle CO2 and economic studies of the technologies under various fuel price and emissions taxation scenarios. ENABLEH2 will deliver a comprehensive safety audit characterising and mitigating hazards in order to support integration and acceptance of LH2. Solutions will be proposed for any socioeconomic hurdles to further development of the technologies. A roadmap to develop the key enabling technologies and the integrated aircraft and propulsion systems to TRL 6 by 2030-2035 will be provided.
Cancer is rapidly becoming the most frequent cause of death in EU. Though enormously expensive (several billions EUR/year), currently available anti-cancer therapies are major causes of chronic diseases. Adoptive immunotherapy with T cells genetically modified with a tumour-reactive chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) is an innovative therapeutic concept, promising to eradicate cancer without causing secondary chronic diseases. This approach is already at an advanced stage of development in the US, but struggles in the EU, due to a number of constrains that will be specifically tackled by this Project. The ultimate goal of EURE-CART is to bring EU at the forefront CAR T-cell immunotherapy. In this Project, we will extend the applicability of CAR T-cell immunotherapy to incurable tumours that have never been tackled with this approach. The EURE-CART Consortium is composed of 6 academic centres, 2 SMEs and 1 large enterprise from 6 EU countries, clearly representing excellences in their respective fields. EURE-CART will bring together clinical experts in oncology, and pioneers and leaders in the field of cell and gene therapy for starting the conduction of a first-in-man Phase I/II clinical trial. To be successful, EURE-CART proposes the early involvement of National regulatory authorities for accelerating the approval of CAR T-cell immunotherapy, as well as the centralisation of its production by the AGC Biologics (formerly Molmed SpA), which is uniquely endowed in the EU with the knowhow and experience necessary to meet this ambitious objective, as demonstrated by its unparalleled track record. The main expected impact of EURE-CART is the establishment of CAR T-cell therapy as the ultimate personalised therapy, capable of defeating chronic diseases, and to create secure new jobs in the EU through the instalment of an unprecedented alliance between academia, industry and regulatory bodies.