05-02-2018

2724TRAPPIST-1: findings show exoplanets made of rock and water

In 2016, a team of researchers led by EU-funded astronomer Michaël Gillon at the University of Liège, Belgium, discovered three temperate Earth-sized planets orbiting TRAPPIST-1, an ultra-cool dwarf star just 40 light years from Earth. A few months later, Gillon surprised the world with the discovery of a whole planetary system made of a total of seven planets around this star. A set of new studies reveals today the nature and composition of the planets, shedding light on their potential habitability.

18-01-2018

2710Bacteria under your feet

Over 500 dominant species identified in the first global atlas of world soil bacteria In cooperation with Universidad Rey Juan Carlos – URJC

An international team of researchers, including ERC grantee Fernando T. Maestre from Universidad Rey Juan Carlos (URJC), pieced together a global atlas of soil bacteria. The study, published today in Science, identifies some five hundred species of dominant bacteria living in soils worldwide. The findings, based on EU-funded research, could open new paths to improve soil fertility and increase agricultural production.

11-01-2018

2693Tiny, but not afraid of the big

If you raise your eyes to the sky, you won't see it but you might sense it passing by. On 12 January just before sunrise in Europe, PicSat, a cube satellite as big as a shoebox and barely as heavy as a brick, will be launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, India. Supported with a grant from the European Research Council, it is the first nanosatellite to embark on one of the greatest space adventures: exploring, from afar, an exoplanet.

05-01-2018

2704Cybersecurity: ERC grantee behind discovery of major hardware bugs

Two newly-discovered security flaws in computer processors, named Meltdown and Spectre, could allow unauthorised users to gain direct access to the heart of computer systems and steal personal data. The vulnerabilities were discovered by an international research team, in which Graz University of Technology’s Institute of Applied Information Processing and Communications (TU Graz, Austria) played a central role. The EU's European Research Council (ERC) has been supporting this research project since 2016, to the tune of two-million euro.

19-12-2017

2671The road to frontier research: Erasmus+, Marie Skłodowska-Curie, ERC

This year the European Research Council turned 10. But 2017 also marked two other important milestones: 20 years of Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellowships, which offer career development opportunities to early-career researchers, and 30 years of ERASMUS, that has shaped the new generation of young Europeans, launching students' mobility. What do researchers think about the impact of these European programmes on their professional and personal life? Let's hear from those who have benefitted from all three.

18-12-2017

2677Learning from Diversity

Could migration lead to more respect for ethnic and cultural diversity not only in receiving communities but also in sending countries? By observing the effects of Polish migration to the UK and Germany, as a result of the country’s entry in the EU in 2004, Prof. Magdalena Nowicka explores possible answers to this question.

18-12-2017

2675International migration governance: understanding policy drivers for better responses

While migration’s impact is global in scale, the decisions that regulate it tend to be taken at the national and regional level. Indeed migration policy can be a defining issue for national sovereignty, touching on the very definition of borders and citizenship. But what are the drivers behind the way States respond to migration?

14-12-2017

2670Jojo, the epidermal cell

Jojo is an epidermal cell - as was his father and his grand-father before him. While the dream of his life is to become a neuron, he faces the hard and fundamental dogma of biology: once a skin cell, always a skin cell…

16-11-2017

2645Could personalised neuroprosthetics make paralysed patients walk again?

Prof. Gregoire Courtine believes paralysed patients will be able to walk again. This belief has represented the focus of years of work aimed at regenerating the functions of the spinal cord after injury. Thanks to his ERC funding in both 2010 and 2015, Prof. Courtine and his team have been able to develop so-called “personalised neuroprosthetics” that have led immobile rats, and more recently monkeys, to overcome their paralysis.