Case studies

Case studies are summaries of some of the successful R&D projects that have been funded through one of our programmes in recent years. Read about the societal, environmental and commercial impact of these international collaborations.

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ADVANTEX

(EURIPIDES)

Smart wearables to protect fire-fighters

Researchers in the ADVANTEX project developed market-ready smart clothing for fire-fighters, including protective jackets, gloves and boots. These high-tech wearables feature tiny embedded sensors and electronics serving various functions, including real-time monitoring of dangerous gases, temperature and humidity, as well as the wearers’ physiological responses. Critical readings are shown on an LED display located on the glove, and can be transmitted via Bluetooth either to mobile devices or a dedicated control unit. There is also an advanced localisation system for tracking fire-fighters’ movements: a critical function in hazardous environments. Satellite-based location technologies are combined with accurate inertial systems, so that seamless tracking is possible even indoors, where satellite signals can drop out.

The complete package of protective clothing is being sold as the SmartPro® fire-fighting suit. The market for fire-fighting garments with smart electronics is currently around 52 million euro per year, and there are also potential military applications to be explored

  • Movea-InvenSense (France – technology innovator)
  • Analytical Pixels Technology (France – technology innovator and leading role)
  • CEA-Leti (Czech Republic – technology innovator)
  • Vochoc (Czech Republic – technology innovator)
  • Applycon (Czech Republic – technology innovator)
  • Holik International (Czech Republic – technology innovator)

LAMA

(EURIPIDES)

Developing a more precise atomic clock

A team of Swiss and French researchers have developed an atomic clock that is ten times more accurate than any currently being produced.

Atomic clocks have been in existence since the 1950s. To increase their accuracy, diode lasers are used, but suffer from certain performance drawbacks. The LAMA consortium developed a more efficient and reliable diode laser with a low sensitivity to feedback. Atomic clocks incorporating this diode laser lose just one second every six million years. The breakthrough will benefit navigation applications where precise clocks are vital for synchronised communications. Examples include the European satellite navigation system, and internet and mapping apps on mobile phones.

Project funded by: European Space Agency, Bpifrance, Innosuisse

  • Oscilloquartz (Switzerland – SME)
  • University of Neuchâtel (Switzerland – university)
  • III-V Lab (France – research organisation and lead partner)
  • Thales Electron Devices (France – large company)

FINESSENCE

(Eurostars)

Picking the right customer

A Croatian-Slovenian Eurostars consortium developed a service that helps companies make smart decisions about who to do business with. Tough economic times forced many Croatian firms into bankruptcy when their clients defaulted on payments. Yet, many of them could still be trading if they had better access to available data about the reliability and solvency of clients and their directors. The FINESSENCE team developed a web-page enabling subscribers to easily access and interpret this information.

The highly intuitive FINIFO website (fininfo.hr) was an instant hit. The project’s initial sales model envisaged 100 paying subscribers, but that number quickly rose to more than 1,000. As FINESSENCE rolled out improvements to the website, including a major expansion to include companies in neighbouring countries such as Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro, the lead project partner quadrupled its revenues and expanded from two to 16 employees, including sales, marketing and IT staff.

Project funded by Croatian Agency for SMEs, Innovation and Investments HAMAG-BICRO (Croatia), and Slovenian Ministry of Economic Development and Technology (Slovenia)

  • Faculty of Economics, Univerza v Ljubljani (Slovenia – university)
  • 3sigmaSvetovalna Druzba ( Slovenia – SME)
  • BSS Poslovni Sustavi (Croatia – SME)
  • B2 Izobrazevanje In Informacijske Storitve (Slovenia – SME)
  • EL Koncept (Croatia – SME and leading role)

SAMBA

(Network Projects)

Zeroing in on Alzheimer’s at last

Hungarian research organisations teamed up with Israeli computer scientists to identify and test molecules that could target enzymes believed to cause Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia: brain diseases affecting 5-8% of the world’s over-60s. They used advanced computer modelling and algorithms to design combinations of peptides (compounds of amino acids) that could simultaneously target two enzymes: BACE-1 and Acetylcholinesterase. The SAMBA consortium’s choice of partners (including the prize-winning chemist Amiram Goldblum) and nimble approach to the problem gave them an edge over major pharmaceuticals involved in the race for breakthrough treatments.

Since its completion, the Eureka project has placed all partners in a strong position to serve the growing market for Alzheimer’s drugs, estimated to be worth 4.5 million euro by 2022 on the back of ageing populations. Some combinations of these patented proteins could also be sold or outsourced for use in other drugs.

Project funded by ISERD, Israel European R&D Directorate, and the Hungarian National Research, Development and Innovation Office  

  • Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Israel – university)
  • National Korányi Institute of Tuberculosis and Pulmonology (Hungary – university)
  • TargetEx (Hungary – SME and leading role)
  • Pepticom (Israel – SME)

PIP-4-CD

(Network Projects)

Blueprint for new Crohn’s treatment

Hungarian and Israeli biotech companies joined forces to tackle Crohn’s, one of several inflammatory bowel diseases affecting 6.8 million people worldwide. Front-line drugs and medical advice have traditionally focused on treating the symptoms only. Building on new knowledge about the role of anti-tumour necrosis factors (TNFa) (substances secreted by the immune system which interfere with healthy cells) in the cause of Crohn’s disease, the PIP-4-CD Eureka project focused on boosting TNF’s potency, but also its targeting, to reduce associated side-effects.

Their work concentrated on new ways to “imprint” the active agents (protein-imprinted polymers) to bind specifically to TNFa, knocking it out before it can further damage intestines. Partners developed bioassays and preclinical protocols for testing the anti-inflammatory potential of several candidate drugs. They also developed nutraceuticals (dietary supplements with medical benefits), which are being sold on respective national markets. Turnover is growing. Plans are underway to further develop the bioassays and products for international expansion.

Project funded by National Research, Development and Innovation Office (Hungary) and Israel Innovation Authority ISERD (Israel)

  • Semorex Technologies Ltd ( Israel – SME)
  • Greenformatix Nonprofit Ltd (Hungary – SME)
  • Pharmacoidea Ltd (Hungary – SME and leading role)

SWIRSENSE

(Network Projects)

Laser-like focus on metabolic markers

A Lithuanian-Swiss partnership developed a system to advance research into diabetes and other metabolic disorders. Molecules have unique light-absorption qualities which act like a fingerprint for identifying markers of disease. By shining a laser onto a substance, such as blood or a person’s skin, the reflected light can help measure specific metabolite concentrations. Researchers in the SWIRSENSE project developed a new tuneable laser technology for remote-sensing critical components of blood such as glucose, lactates, urea and serum albumin, without having to take blood samples from patients.

Current technologies that do similar work cost upwards of 70,000 euro. The new system uses a short-wavelength infrared spectral range (the little-used but potentially valuable region between 1.7 and 2.5 micrometres) and is expected to cost as little as 5,000 euro. From 1980 to 2014, the number of people suffering from diabetes quadrupled to 422 million, indicating huge market potential for the SWIRSENSE system.

Project funded by MITA, Lithuanian Agency for Science, Innovation and Technology, and Research and Innovation Switzerland

  • Swiss Center for Electronics and Microtechnology (Switzerland – research organisation)
  • Brolis Semiconductors (Lithuania – SME and leading role)

XAMFLOW

(Eurostars)

Easier micro-CT scanning for diverse markets

The Eurostars XAMFLOW project developed clever software to make high-tech scanning more efficient and less labour-intensive. Micro-computed tomography or micro-CT is essentially x-ray imaging in 3D, based on the same technology used in hospital CT scans, but on a small scale, with massively increased resolution. Once limited to the medical field, the method is now used in many sectors; whenever someone wants to assess the internal microstructure of a material, from synthetic or animal matter to fossils, food and much more.

Micro-CT is a complex and time-consuming process, involving many manual steps and requiring the scanning of multiple samples. The advanced software platform developed by XAMFLOW helps users to streamline micro-CT processes, saving time and money. The system is highly flexible and can be modified to support different domains and customer needs. New work on the platform includes the use of artificial intelligence to identify different tissues and structures inside humans and animals.

Project funded by Swiss Commission of Technology and Innovation KTI, and VINNOVA, Swedish innovation agency

  • School for Technology and Health STH, KTH Royal Institute Of Technology (Sweden – academic institute)
  • Lucid Concepts (Switzerland – technology innovator and leading role)
  • Institute for Networked Solutions INS, HSR University of Applied Sciences Rapperswil (Switzerland – academic institute)
  • Imacomp Consulting AB (Sweden – technology innovator)
  • Capenta AB (Sweden – technology innovator)
  • Scanco Medical AG (Switzerland – technology innovator)

RDT REAG

(Eurostars)

Rapid diagnosis for tick-borne disease

The world’s first rapid test for tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) has been developed by a collaboration between a Finnish SME and university and a Swedish research organisation. Quick treatment of TBE saves lives, but processing test results currently takes days. ReaScan® is a small low-cost diagnosis that can test immediately after infection and give results in 20 minutes. It needs one drop of blood to detect antibodies combatting the pathogen soon after exposure, and it’s accurate even for diseases known to produce false positives. The project also developed two tests for laboratories that can process batches of samples simultaneously.

ReaScan® has no competing devices and project participants have conducted trials to highlight its reliability. Reagena Oy has seen an annual turnover increase of over 20% with 10% of the company’s turnover coming from this product alone. Eureka accelerated the development of these diagnosis products, which are now on sale around Europe.

Funded by Business Finland and Vinnova

  • University of Helsinki (Finland – university)
  • Reagena Oy (Finland – SME)
  • Karoliniska Institutet (Sweden – research organisation)