The European Commission today announces the creation of an annual funders’ forum to join European forces in the funding of life sciences. Life sciences comprise research which deals with all forms of organisms, like plants, animals and human beings. With about €30 billion invested annually in Europe, industry and public funding bodies like the national research councils or international research organisations put major funds into research and technological development in the areas of biotechnology, genomics, pharmaceuticals, agriculture and food processing. But, a coordination of these activities is still lacking at a European level to ensure the creation of a European Research Area for the life sciences. Today in Brussels for the first time, policy makers, directors of national and international research councils, scientists of leading European academic institutes, representatives of the European Parliament and industry and enterprise organisations are gathered at a meeting organised by the Directorate-General for Research of the European Commission to explore opportunities for European synergies to contribute to the creation of a European Research Area in the life sciences.
Europe’s total investment in life sciences research amounts to about €30 billion per year, which is roughly on equal terms with the United States. But, with 25 national research policies and a joint EU one, research funding in the EU is spent in a much more fragmented manner than in the US. Also, EU budgeted research funds account for only 5 % of the total expenditure on research and technological development in Europe. Most of the research funding is provided by the Member States, industry and international research, and it is therefore important to bring all these funding organisations together to have a coordinated life sciences funding approach.
Basic research in life sciences
Wappelhorst Michael H. | alfa
Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity
22.09.2017 | DFG-Forschungszentrum für Regenerative Therapien TU Dresden
The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet
22.09.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
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