The European Commission asked for the development of an integrated computer toolkit for an ex ante assessment for effective and efficient agricultural and environmental policies for the EU-25 in a changing Europe and world. Thirty research institutes from thirteen European countries are involved in this project ‘Seamless’. The project is coordinated by Wageningen University. The project, with a total budget of 15 million Euro, plans to deliver a first prototype within 18 months and in four years time the system should be fully operational. A kick-off meeting for Seamless is held this week in Lund, Sweden.
More than ever before, adequate agricultural and environmental policies at EU, national and regional scale are needed that can facilitate agriculture’s contribution to sustainable development. Ex-ante assessment of new policies (i.e., assessment before their introduction) is essential to ensure their effectiveness and efficiency. This is even more evident when taking into account that roughly 40% of the total EU budget is used for the Common Agricultural Policy, and 40% of the European land surface is used for agriculture.
Rural areas in Europe will face major developments as a result of the continuous enlargement of the EU, changes in farm support payments (resulting in lower prices for e.g. milk and sugar beet) and liberalization of world trade as a consequence of negotiations in the World Trade Organization. Such changes interact with changes in the physical and natural environment (e.g. climate change, loss of biodiversity). Next to these European and global developments, society demands a green and clean landscape, and farming communities in rural areas are faced with continuous technological innovation. There is a growing awareness that agriculture’s contribution to sustainable development and a multifunctional land use is at stake.
Bouke de Vos | alfa
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Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.
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Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.
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Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.
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