Garbage-collecting aqua drones and jellyfish filters for cleaner oceans

It is estimated that more than 150 million tonnes of plastics have already accumulated in the world's oceans.

A Roomba-like ocean trash collector modelled on a whale shark and a microplastic filter made from jellyfish slime could prevent litter from entering our oceans and help tackle a growing problem that poses threats to wildlife, deters tourists and impacts on coastal economies. The cost of sea litter in the EU has been estimated at up to … Read more

Genetic profiling could improve IVF success

There are three sources of variability in fertility - genetics, the family environment and the individual environment.

by Frieda Klotz Genetic profiling could help determine whether an embryo created through in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) is likely to successfully transfer to the womb, increasing the success rate of the procedure. It’s part of a field of work looking at the role of genetics in fertility. ‘Understanding why some people do not have children, and … Read more

‘Evolution, not revolution’ will guide next EU research funding programme – Jean-Eric Paquet

Jean-Eric Paquet says the the need for science to live up to societal challenges is greater than ever.

The structure of the EU’s next research funding programme is based on the mantra of ‘evolution, not revolution’ and so will not contain any major surprises, according to Jean-Eric Paquet, the EU’s recently appointed director-general for research and innovation, who takes up his new role on 3 April. You previously worked in the team of … Read more

Light pollution is altering plant and animal behaviour

Light pollution can be problematic for animals like the Cory's shearwater.

by Gareth Willmer You could call it fatal attraction. Drawn by artificial lights in our brightening night-time world, animals find their lives in peril. Fledgling birds disorientated by lights can collide with human structures on the ground and then get hit by cars, or become more vulnerable to predation, starvation or dehydration. Or newly hatched … Read more

Confronting cultural history leads to stronger European identity

The 'Fraternal Kiss' mural, by Soviet artist Dmitri Vrubel, emblematic of the Cold War, appeared on the Berlin East Side Gallery, Berlin Wall, 1990.

by Ethan Bilby The act of confronting a troublesome past can be challenging by itself, and the Germans even have a word for it – Vergangenheitsbewältigung. Roughly one-third of current EU Member States spent decades behind the Iron Curtain, and many experienced one-party government for decades, but researchers see confronting uncomfortable history as part of a new … Read more

Open access to scientific publications must become a reality by 2020 – Robert-Jan Smits

Imagine if all the billions we are now putting into these expensive subscription journals could be put into research, says Robert-Jan Smits.

A lot of lip service is being paid to making scientific papers free to access but when it comes to action there is a lot of hypocrisy, according to Robert-Jan Smits, the EU’s outgoing director-general for research, science and innovation. He has recently been appointed the EU’s special envoy on open access, tasked with helping … Read more

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