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Research group to crowdsource compounds to test efficacy against COVID-19

A research consortium funded by the European Commission has opened a “ drug box ” where companies and research institutes can send molecular structures from their compound libraries for screening against the 3D crystal structure of SARS-CoV-19, the virus that causes COVID-19 infections. Exscalate4CoV, the second largest consortium backed by the commission in its emergency call for COVID-19 rese...

COVID-19 and Horizon: What is to be done?

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the European Commission has announced hundreds of millions of euros in emergency research funding under Horizon 2020 to help find vaccines, cures and better coping strategies. But is it enough? Is it coordinated with other governments’ funding? What else should be done?

Science in overdrive: Researchers are inspired and exhausted by scale of COVID-19 challenge

Scientists of all backgrounds are joining the breakneck race to track the coronavirus pandemic as it barrels throughout the world. The speed of events has invigorated many, but is also driving some to the point of exhaustion. “There’s a huge creative energy coming from all fields for tackling the disease,” said Bernhard Schölkopf, director of the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in ...

EIB gives Covestro €225 million loan for circular economy R&D

Covestro has agreed a loan with the European Investment Bank (EIB) for €225 million. The loan will provide medium term funding to strengthen Covestro’s research and development (R&D) work in the areas of sustainability and circular economy within the European Union. Discussions with EIB started end 2019 to identify R&D projects which would be compatible with the financing requirements of the EIB. These require that funding is applied to projects which meet high standards of technical, ecologi...

NTNU 3D printing team improves personal protection equipment for hospitals

NTNU in Gjøvik has developed a better design for face shields, which are part of the personal protection equipment used by medical professionals. Major production of the new shields – up to 250 per day – is starting on the university’s 3D printers this week. The project started a few days ago. NTNU laboratory manager Tor Erik Nicolaisen and student Bjørn-Magnus Kristiansen came across a Facebook group for people interested in 3D printing. Recipes were posted on how to produce face shields. Th...

EPFL software to enable secure data-sharing for hospitals

The MedCo system aims to facilitate medical research on pathologies — such as cancer and infectious diseases — by enabling secure computations on decentralized data. The unique software has recently been deployed at three Swiss hospitals. MedCo was first released in 2019 as the first operational system to protect sensitive patient data so that it can be used collectively for medical research. The culmination of nearly a decade of internal research, the system was developed in the Laboratory f...

Polytechnique Montréal researchers rally to help in fight against COVID-19

Several members of the Polytechnique community have launched initiatives in recent days in an effort to help halt the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and COVID-19. Here are some examples: Jean-Romain Roy, Polytechnique electrical engineering student, put the final touches on the prototype ventilator that his team will be submitting in a few hours to the Code Life Ventilator Challenge. (Photo: Je...

JRC develops new control material for more accurate COVID-19 testing

The European Commission’s science service has developed a new control material to help laboratories avoid false negative results in COVID-19 tests. The Joint Research Centre (JRC) is ready to dispatch 3,000 vials of the control to testing labs across the EU. One vial is enough to check up to 20,000 tests. The control material, a synthetic version of a part of the virus that does not mutate and ...

Viewpoint: It’s time to coordinate the global COVID-19 research effort

Helga Nowotny. Photo: Central European University / Daniel Vegel. Over the past month, as the COVID-19 crisis deepens, we have seen many promises for billions of euros in new research grants and programmes from governments and foundations around the world. Clearly, the role of science in finding a vaccine, a cure, a strategy for coping, is recognised by all and trust in science has suddenly bee...

COVID-19 is cutting air pollution, but it will not slow climate change

Average nitrogen dioxide concentrations dropped after the Italian government placed the country under lockdown. Image: European Space Agency After Europe ground to a coronavirus-enforced halt, images captured by one of the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Copernicus satellites showed huge reductions in nitrogen dioxide concentrations over Paris, Madrid and Rome from 14 – 25 March, compared to the ...

BSC uses bioinformatics, AI and supercomputer in the fight against the coronavirus

Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC) collaborates in the fight against the coronavirus from different areas: the application of bioinformatics for the research on the virus and its possible treatments, the use of artificial intelligence and natural language processing to analyse the data about the spread and impact of the pandemic and the use of the MareNostrum 4 supercomputer to enable the fight against the coronavirus. Bioinformatics to search for treatments From the bioinformatics side, t...

International borders hinder R&D cooperation, University of Eastern Finland study says

Cross-border regions have great potential for cooperation, yet very few border regions are integrated, a new study from the University of Eastern Finland shows. Conducted by Dr Francesco Cappellano and Professor Teemu Makkonen at the University of Eastern Finland’s Karelian Institute, the study sheds light on the fact that although there is plenty of talk about promoting integration in cross-border regions, the reality is very different. In the border region of Cascadia that connects Seattle ...

COVID-19 crisis forces EU to prepare Plan B (and Plan C) for seven-year budget

EU commission president during a video conference with EU leaders on response to the coronavirus outbreak. Photo: European Commission As governments across Europe desperately firefight COVID-19, minds in Brussels are turning to contingency plans for the multi annual financial framework (MFF), the next seven-year EU budget that is due to run from the start of next year. Ursula von der Leyen, Eur...

Karolinska professor receives ERC Advanced Grant for Parkinson’s disease study

The ERC Advanced Grant is one of Europe’s most prestigious programmes for research financing. The grant has now been awarded to Ernest Arenas to tailor dopamine-producing brain cells for patients with Parkinson’s disease. Roughly 22,000 people have Parkinson’s disease in Sweden, making it the second most common neurological disease after Alzheimer’s. Parkinson’s disease mainly attacks the brain’s dopamine-producing cells. By mapping these cells at a molecular level using single-cell RNA seque...

Commission budgets extra research funds for Green Deal, university networks

The European Commission updated its 2020 spending plans to pump some extra money into climate-related research and a networking programme for European universities. It also announced €450 million in new basic science grants by the European Research Council. In a revised “work programme” for its Horizon 2020 research funding, the commission allocated €350 million for small companies with ideas t...
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