Publish Date: 15.02.2021

Category: News from the University

The EUTOPIA alliance of European universities will hold an online scientific exhibition of research posters from February 15th to May 15th 2021, on EUTOPIA’s website. 

One of the core tenets of the alliance is its focus on research on a European level, with actions centered on Bachelor research mobility grants (EURSS, EURMP) as well as doctoral and post-doctoral research schemes (PhD Co-tutelle, Post-doctoral Science and Innovation Fellowships). The alliance launched also in January 26 its challenge-led educational model to the development of its research and innovation (R&I) activities through the EUTOPIA TRAIN initiative, to tackle two main challenges: (1) to integrate pan-EUTOPIA research and innovation communities and (2) to open up EUTOPIA research communities and structures to society, business, students and policy-makers.

The EUTOPIA Science Fair intends to showcase the quality and diversity of the on-going research in the six universities.

All posters will be available in English on the EUTOPIA website, divided in five research areas :

  • The World of Matter : Physics
  • The World of Life : Chemistry, Genetics and Medicine
  • Environment and Climate Change
  • The Digital World and AI applications
  • Opinions and Society

The online exhibition will be inaugurated on the 15th of February 11:30 CET, by all the vice-presidents for research of the EUTOPIA universities, in a Zoom call broadcasted live on the Eutopia European University YouTube channel. The inauguration will be followed on the 25th of February by a live roundtable centered on Scientific Communication.

Most posters are completed by abstracts and a short video. The Science Fair will not entirely end after the 15th of May however, as an interactive PDF catalogue will be published, gathering all the material in a comprehensive manner, as well as paper posters exhibitions in EUTOPIA campuses when the COVID-19 pandemic will allow it.

Samples of the exhibition’s content:  

University of Gothenburg
Cultivation of Seaweeds in Industrial Process Waters – Evaluation of Growth and Nitrogen Content

Kristoffer Stedt (1), João Pedro Trigo (2), Henrik Pavia (1), Göran Nylund (1), Bita Forghani Targhi (2) & Ingrid Undeland (2)

(1) Department of Marine Sciences, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.
(2) Department of Biology and Biological Engineering – Food and Nutrition Science, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden

Elevate nutrient concentrations can increase both growth and protein content of different seaweeds. Nutrient-rich industrial process waters are untapped sources for seaweed cultivation. Cultivation of seaweeds in integration with fish farms have received much attention lately, but industrial process waters from other food industries have rarely been studied. Some focus has been on simulating process waters, without much attention on cultivation of seaweeds in real process waters, due to concerns that the complex characteristics of the waters will affect seaweeds negatively. Here we show that the seaweed species U. fenestrata, U. intestinalis and C. linum are suitable species for cultivation in a wide range of industrial process waters, while S. latissima is not. Growth rates of U. fenestrata, U. intestinalis and C. linum were similar or higher than the controls across the different process waters. All three species showed increased nitrogen content when cultivated in process waters compared to seawater. This study indicates the potential for cultivating seaweeds with industrial process waters to generate additional protein-rich biomass. The study shows that industrial process waters, otherwise costly disposed of, can be used as a valuable input for seaweed growth

University of Ljubljana

ORANGE

Open source machine learning and data visualization for novice and expert. Interactive data analysis workflows with a large toolbox.

Blaz Zupan, University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Computer and Information Science.

https://youtu.be/6cod8wm1xgA

University of Pompeu Fabra

TRANSGANG. Transnational Gangs as Agents of Mediation: Experiences of Conflict Resolution in Street Youth Organizations in Southern Europe, North Africa and the Americas,

C. Feixa et al., University of Pompeu Fabra

TRANSGANG’s precept is the study of transnational gangs as mediation agents. It aims to respond to the persistence of street youth groups (the so-called ‘gangs’) being seen as ‘problematic’. The central focus of the project is mediation, understood as the set of techniques and procedures for resolving conflicts within the group, between groups, or between the groups and the social environment. Most research studies and policies that deal with gangs are based on the idea that the solution is the suppression of the group. Our perspective is different: studies carried out for more than a century show that gangs do not disappear, but rather transform to continue responding to unmet needs. Therefore, we understand that the way forward means involving gang members themselves in the search for alternatives to violence, based on a harm reduction policy and the promotion of mediation experiences. Young people who have belonged or belong to street youth groups are currently collaborating with the project. Their life stories are examples of resistance and resilience, two types of experiences that we are studying: how to survive in conditions of social exclusion and how to react to adversity with the help of the group.

To research Youth Street Groups, we developed a transnational methodology based on a comparative study in 12 cities in 3 different regions: southern Europe (Barcelona, Madrid, Marseille and Milano), the Maghreb (Casablanca, Djendel, Alger and Tunis) and the Americas (Medellín, San Salvador, Santiago de Cuba and Chicago). Ethnographic work will be carried out in each city, involving interviews, focus groups, participant observation and life stories with members, former members and stakeholders. This project is important for society for three main reasons. First, it responds to a problem that causes social alarm based on a biased view of reality. Second, the transnational dimension of gangs requires developing innovative methodologies for studying them. Third, learning about and sharing successful mediation experiences in different places can be used to rethink public policies aimed at addressing the phenomenon. Therefore, we consider that TRANSGANG will provide a new look at social problems that are difficult to tackle, empowering the young participants, making the protagonists of the problem part of the solution by incorporating them from the beginning as agents of the research.

University of Warwick

Combatting antibiotic resistance with a 1000-year-old remedy

Anti-biofilm activity of 1,000-year-old-remedy requires the combination of multiple ingredients.

Jessica Furner-Pardoe, Blessing O Anonye,, Ricky Cain1,#, John Moat1, Catherine A. Ortori2, Christina Lee2, David A. Barrett 2, Christophe Corre1 and Freya Harrison1 

1University of Warwick, UK. 2 University of Nottingham, UK. Present address: University of Central Lancashire, UK.. #Present address: Evotec (U.K.) Ltd., Oxfordshire, UK.

Combatting the rise in antibiotic resistance is one of the major challenges in modern science. Studying historical medical remedies could help reveal new antibiotics. Historical medical manuscripts prescribe complex preparations of several ingredients to treat infections, and it is suspected their efficacy may rely on creating a cocktail of natural products. A reconstructed 1000-year-old remedy, containing onion, garlic, wine, and bile salts, was previously shown to kill methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in a mouse chronic wound model, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa in an ex vivo chronic lung infection model. Recently, we have shown this activity extends to biofilms of various ESKAPE pathogens, including MRSA and Acinetobacter baumannii. Traditionally, natural product research has focussed on isolating active compounds using planktonic cultures, however, here we present data that by doing so we may overlook efficacious mixtures. The potent activity against planktonic cultures could be achieved with garlic alone, and chemical analysis has identified the compound responsible to be allicin. However, the garlic alone has no activity against biofilms of the same bacteria. In fact, all four ingredients were necessary to get full potent antibiofilm activity. This highlights the importance of interactions within plant mixtures. By incorporating biofilm studies earlier in the search of active compounds, we may highlight potent interactions and generate promising mixtures for the treatment of infections.

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EUTOPIA is an alliance of six leading, like-minded, European universities creating a connected and inclusive community, to address local and global challenges, ultimately contributing to a new model for higher education in Europe EUTOPIA brings together the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Belgium), CY Cergy Paris Université (France), Göteborgs Universitet (Sweden), Univerza v Ljubljani (Slovenia), Universitat Pompeu Fabra (Spain) and the University of Warwick (United Kingdom). In June 2019, EUTOPIA was chosen as one of the 17 first winning projects throughout Europe in the new European Universities Initiative competitive call to build a European Education and Research Area.

Through collaborative research, greater student and teacher mobility and shared innovations, among others, EUTOPIA seeks to address local and global challenges, ultimately contributing to creating a new model for higher education in Europe.