NEX-LABS target territories, characterized by water scarcity and irregular rainfall and population distribution, reflect that agriculture is the largest water user (70-90%), while future global warming forecasts (≈2°C) lead to a decrease in summer rainfall (-10/-30%), threatening water availability (-2/-15%) and agricultural productivity (-12/-40%). The latent conflict between energy efficiency (≈60%) and water production is also increasing the energy footprint/m3 of water used to produce food. The projected Water/Energy/Food (WEF) deficits require a NEXUS approach, which means integrated management and governance of these natural resources. In this context, the NEX-LABS project aims to support the implementation of clean technologies for a sustainable and resilient growth of agri-food sector production based on a more efficient use of energy (renewable/solar solutions) and water (wastewater treatment, water harvesting or reuse solutions) in the MPC region thanks to the contribution of ICT, such as blockchain technology, Internet or things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and Big Data.
Through the development of an integrated platform and approach, the project will help stakeholders become aware of what has already been developed and applied, avoiding duplication and using existing consolidated knowledge to create new value.
In addition, PHEMAC will strongly encourage successful and sustainable public-private partnerships to counter the phenomenon of inefficient resource use and bridge the gap between the countries involved to drive economic and social reforms.
These ambitious objectives will be achieved through a combination of different actions, such as the development of an online platform and the active involvement of stakeholders through a series of events and targeted policy actions.
TUNTWIN aims to enhance research and innovation capabilities and stimulate scientific excellence in the field of spectroscopic techniques, mainly for advanced mass spectrometric methods for inorganic and organic compounds of key application for the Tunisian economy in the environmental, food and health sectors.
It will strengthen the research and knowledge transfer capacity of the "Institut National de Recherche et d'Analyse Physico-Chimique", (INRAP). The project will develop capacity building of permanent scientists, training of early stage researchers (ESR), expand cooperation between academia, industry and stakeholders in Tunisia with a sustainable overall framework for research, international networking, mobility and integration into the European Research Area.
Strengthening the expertise of INRAP researchers and technicians, including a new generation of young scientists, will be developed through cooperation with EU partners of established scientific excellence in the topics and proven experience in economic impact and awareness raising and integration into national policies.
The research team of the Separation Techniques Group (GTS) of the UAB together with Leitat Technological Center are developing the AsFree project to demonstrate an innovative and economical system for the filtration of effluents (acidic water or domestic water) contaminated with arsenic by means of a filter cartridge. The project is expected to produce a filter cartridge capable of treating up to 0.5 m3/h with operating costs of between 0.001 and 0.33 €/m3.
The research carried out jointly by both centers so far has demonstrated a great improvement in adsorption capacity compared to other existing commercial products, with up to a 600% increase in efficiency.
Exploration activities are the initial step in the commodity value chain. The industry faces an increasing number of challenges, such as the need for deeper exploration, the need for exploration under cover, the need to increase cost and resource efficiency, and the need for exploration in more challenging environments. At the same time, the industry needs access to entrepreneurial and highly skilled exploration professionals and must promote a better understanding and acceptance of the exploration industry within society at large.
To meet these challenges and ensure sustainable, efficient and successful exploration for the future, Europe needs new exploration technologies, innovative research and advances in education. This is where the RAWMINA project will facilitate this through bridges and synergies of industry knowledge, research and education.
The exponential increase in plastic production/use translates into a parallel increase in environmental plastic waste that continuously degrades into micro- and nanoplastics (MNPL). Information on the effects of MNPLs on human health is still preliminary and, moreover, limitations of current methodologies prevent an accurate assessment of human exposure/risk.
In this context, PLASTICHEAL aims to provide new methodologies and sound scientific evidence to regulators by combining the use of state-of-the-art research and validated test methods to establish the knowledge base for a proper risk assessment of MNPLs.
Pharmaceutical drugs, characterized by their environmental persistence (e.g., cytostatic drugs [CDs]) were detected in water bodies (drinking water, groundwater, surface water, and effluent wastewater) at concentrations up to μg/L. Actual methods for the removal and degradation of CDs have been developed, including electrochemical, photochemical, and biological methods. However, these methods are costly and sometimes inefficient for complete removal of CDs from treated water. Including the exploitation of previous results from EU funded projects, the objective of the RECOPHARMA project is to design, develop, validate and demonstrate a novel process by sequential integration of the potentials offered by Molecularly Imprinted Polymers (MIP), Reagent-free Thermosorption (RTS), Nanocomposites Functional Materials, advanced oxidation processes, for an efficient treatment aiming at the recovery of target recalcitrant CDs and the degradation of corresponding transformation products or metabolites, working in a continuous operation mode. The suggested approach offers a versatile, fast, highly efficient and low-cost wastewater treatment.
RECOPHARMA brings together academic research centers and the private sector, with the long-term objective of designing and developing advanced water treatment technologies in the interest of society and integrating them for demonstration following a circular economy approach. Through the programmed secondments, the personnel involved will perform the R&D required to demonstrate the technical and economic feasibility of the developed process, including the technical training of specialists as a fundamental activity for the success of the project. The secondments will also enhance the exchange of knowledge, best practices, expertise, innovations, experience, mutual cooperation and working culture between different organizations, regions and countries through the partners' well-established reputation as transfer centers.
The European Chronic Disease Alliance has defined cancer as one of the leading non-communicable diseases, accounting for 13% of deaths worldwide, resulting in 8.2 million deaths annually. In the NEOSETAC project, breast cancer will be the focus of the study, as it is the most common cancer in women. It comprises 10.4% of all cancer incidences among women, causing 411 093 deaths per year worldwide. In Europe, there are more than twice the number of new cases of breast cancer per year than new cases of cancer anywhere else. The complexity of breast cancer makes it a major challenge for successful treatment. The NEOSETAC project will demonstrate the anti-cancer therapeutic potential of a novel selenium-based therapy for the treatment of breast cancer. The clinical application of selenium (Se) compounds for cancer treatment is so far limited in chemoprevention as a dietary supplement. In this proposal, we aim to improve the therapeutic window, pharmacokinetic properties and drug delivery via nanoparticles (NPs). By loading Se into biodegradable NPs, drug release is controlled within the narrow therapeutic window of Se. At the same time, uptake and activation of Se compounds at the desired location (tumor lesions and metastases) is achieved. We also propose to functionalize NPs by ligands targeting cancer cells/cancer stem cells to further improve therapeutic efficacy and prevent cancer recurrence after chemotherapy. These advantages will lead to enhanced anticancer activity and reduced systemic toxicity. In addition, NP targeting will improve the pharmacokinetic properties and increase the relatively short half-life (~18 hours) of Se.