Transparent electronic books and human-looking robots: the new field of ‘organic electronics’

Organic electronics are flexible and already being used to make curved screens but future applications could include biosensors and bendable solar panels. Image credit - Maurizio Pesce/Wikimedia, licenced under CC BY 2.0

Electronics made from carbon rather than silicon could lead to a new generation of medical devices, sensors and perhaps even robots, according to Professor Andreas Hirsch, chair of organic chemistry at Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nürnberg in Germany. Materials such as graphene could soon be appearing in electronic devices and could lead to entirely new forms of ‘chemical’ … Read more

Forest darkness helps stave off effects of nitrogen pollution – but this is set to change

The life that grows underfoot accounts for 80% of the biodiversity in a temperate forest. Image credit - under CC0

Europe’s forests are sitting on a pollution timebomb which could rewrite their ecology when it explodes, say researchers. Delicate forest floor plants such as wood sorrel or violet, and the balance among the tree species that tower above them, are all threatened by decades of accumulated nitrogen pollution. A study has found that the darkness … Read more

We ultimately should be able to make a pan-coronavirus vaccine, says theoretical epidemiologist

Prof. Sunetra Gupta spoke of her hopes for a pan-coronavirus vaccine at the European Research and Innovation Days conference. Image credit - European Commission

by Annette Ekin The world’s pressing need is a vaccine to fight the current threat of Covid-19, but ultimately we may be able to develop a pan-coronavirus vaccine, Sunetra Gupta, a professor of theoretical epidemiology at the University of Oxford, UK, said at the European Commission’s annual research event. Prof. Gupta was speaking on a digital … Read more

‘Turning science into business is about recognising opportunity’

Europe publishes more AI research papers than the US or China but turning research into a business remains a challenge. Image credit - ITU Pictures, licensed under CC BY 2.0

Scientists need to work more closely with entrepreneurs and financiers to ensure groundbreaking research in Europe can be turned into successful business opportunities, according to the recently appointed Chair of the European Innovation Council’s pilot advisory board. Professor Mark Ferguson, director general of the Science Foundation Ireland and chief scientific adviser to the Irish government, … Read more

Wing tip device for cleaner aviation wins 2019 EU young scientist prize

Magnus Quaade Oddershede says his wing tip design could reduce the climate impact of aviation. Image credit - EUCYS/ European Commission

by Annette Ekin An alternative aeroplane wing tip dubbed ‘new raked’ that would make flying more fuel efficient has been awarded one of four €7,000 first prizes at this year’s European Union Contest for Young Scientists (EUCYS). The Danish student behind the design, Magnus Quaade Oddershede, 19, said his model came out of a two-week … Read more