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)

FEMSCOPY

(Eurostars)

Shining a light on neural pathways

A Lithuanian and German consortium have developed an advanced laser- and microscope-based system for studying neural circuits. One powerful technique used to study neural pathways involves stimulating nerve cells with one laser and recording the image of the activity being studied with another. To avoid so-called electromagnetic “cross talk”, the lasers must operate on different light wavelengths. But doing this with conventional equipment requires two very expensive, ultra-short pulse lasers, which many labs cannot afford. Under the Eurostars project, FEMSCOPY, the teams created a new high-speed, two-photon microscopy tool with independently tunable wavelength outputs. With it, they can now easily generate pulses that won’t interfere with the output reading.

A prototype of the new system, which is less bulky than conventional equipment, has already been used on mice in research into multiple sclerosis. It is likely to make studying and developing treatments for dementia, depression, Parkinson’s and other brain diseases cheaper and easier.

Project funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research BMBF (Germany), and the Lithuanian Agency for Science, Innovation and Technology (MITA)

  • Light Conversion (Lithuania – SME and leading role)
  • Lavision Biotec Gmbh (Germany – SME)
  • University Medical Centre of the Johannes Gutenberg University (Germany – university)
  • Leibniz Institute Of Photonic Technology (Germany – research organisation)

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)

HELI-FLR

(Eurostars)

Advanced all weather helicopter radar

German and Israeli partners have developed a novel high-frequency radar system for helicopters that works day or night and cuts through prevailing weather to provide an accurate reading of the surroundings. The system, designed and tested at lower altitudes during the HELI-FLR project, uses interferometric 3D-topograpy to map the near-field area and warn pilots of obstacles like antenna, cables/ wires, buildings and uneven landing surfaces.

Interferometry is a technique that measures interference or how waves (light, radio or sound) change when bouncing off materials or objects like hilltops. The wave displacement is analysed, calibrated and displayed through an easy-to-interpret interface, including a technically advanced “final approach mode” with colour-coded altitude visualisation tools. Pilots working for a helicopter-based rescue organisation provided feedback on tricky flying conditions during their trials of the new radar system. With some final developments to extend the system’s range, it could prove to be a life-changing addition to low-flying aircraft safety.

Project funded by Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung BMBF (Germany) and Israel Europe R&D Directorate ISERD Israel

  • RST Radar Systemtechnik Gmbh (Germany – SME and leading role)
  • DRF Stiftung Luftrettung Gemeinnützige Ag (Germany – end-user)
  • Elbit Systems Ltd (Israel – SME))

HYLIFT-FLEX

(Eurostars)

A clean lift for a heavy vehicles

Danish and German engineers have developed hybrid engines combining hydrogen fuel-cell battery technology and large diesel engines in vehicles like forklifts and tractors. Hybrids offer the benefits of both silent and zero-emission electric power and the proven reliability of combustion engines, making them ideal for indoor and outdoor use.

Outcomes from the Eurostars HYLIFT-FLEX project fed into new product development by the German partner, which builds drive technologies for airport ground-support equipment, including hybrid diesel-electric tractors. The global market for forklift trucks in general is predicted to reach around 48.5 billion euro by 2021.The Danish partner used its involvement to develop advanced hydrogen fuelling stations, marketed as H2Station®. Projects like this also help the EU achieve its ambitious “low-carbon economy” goals to cut emissions from transport to more than 60% below 1990 levels by 2050.

Project funded by Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation (DASTI) and Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF)

  • H2 Logic A/s, now NEL Hydrogen Fuelling (Denmark – SME and leading role)
  • Mulag Fahrzeugwerk Heinz Wössner Gmbh (Germany – SME)

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)