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)

CLOUD ATLAS 

(Eurostars)

AI hits target for radiotherapy 

Through deep learning techniques and AI, the Cloud Atlas project consortium (comprising of German and UK SMEs and a Dutch research organisation) developed a high-quality auto-contouring solution for cancer tumours and surrounding organs. 

Precise contouring is essential to ensuring that radiotherapy treatment is targeting cancerous tumours accurately and that damage to adjacent tissue is minimised. However, it is a time-consuming process; every patient requires an individual approach.  

By taking advantage of the latest innovations in machine learning, the consortium reduced the time required to refine and complete contouring for patients. This in turn frees up time for clinicians to plan a treatment programme and maximise its effectiveness. Other benefits include improved healthcare, reduced costs for contouring of tumours and greater overall consistency of the contouring process. 

Project funded by: Netherlands Enterprise Agency, BMBF (Germany), Innovate UK 

  • Maastro Clinic (The Netherlands – research organisation)
  • Sohard Software (Germany – SME and lead partner)
  • Mirada Medical (UK – SME)

HEAT-TO-POWER

(Eurostars)

Burning your garbage now powers your computer

A project collaboration between a Swedish large company and a Dutch SME and research organisation helped Swedish SME Climeon optimise and improve its energy recovery technology. It can now reliably generate electricity from waste or geothermal heat at temperatures as low as 60-80°C.  


Waste heat and geothermal energy are considered one of the greatest untapped energy sources. Climeon was able to profitably convert 90°C heat into electricity, but wanted to push the boundaries further and utilise 70°C heat. 


Thanks to the Eurostars Heat-To-Power project, Climeon’s patent-protected Heat Power System can now be connected to almost any low-temperature heat source to produce significant amounts of clean electricity. More and more industries (especially those with energy-intensive production plants like steel and cement) are interested in the potential cost-savings and environmental benefits of reusing low-temperature waste heat.  

Project funded by: Vinnova (Sweden), RVO (The Netherlands)

  • Climeon (Sweden – SME and lead partner )
  • IF Technology (The Netherlands – SME)
  • Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands (the Netherlands – research organisation )
  • Alfa Laval Corporate (Sweden – large company)

SeDI

(Eurostars)

Dutch-German alliance tackles cancer

An IT company in Germany teamed with a Dutch clinic to develop a new semantic web software for doctors and researchers to use in the fight against cancer.  


Radiotherapy treatment for cancer has improved over the years. However, it is still traumatic for patients because of the way it damages good tissue while targeting malignant tumours. The SeDI software uses a semantic web approach to carry out better image searches. Semantic web techniques teach computer systems to retrieve data in a more sophisticated way than a straightforward word search. The availability of this enhanced information helps clinicians to make more accurate decisions for cancer patients because of the accurate imaging they can access. 

Project funded by: Netherlands Enterprise Agency, BMBF (Germany)

  • Maastro Clinic (The Netherlands)
  • Sohard Software (Germany – SME and lead partner)

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)

Blockchain PISC

(Network Projects)

Integrating blockchain technology

The Blockchain PISC project involved close collaboration between Swiss and Canadian SMEs. They coordinated their research efforts, exchanged development experiences and opened access to their respective products and services in new global markets. The new technologies developed have since seen commercial success. 


Ensuring that privacy, identity, security and compliance (PISC) issues in new digital currencies (such as Bitcoin) are fully compatible with global financial systems is key to the integration and expansion of these new forms of financial asset. This Eureka project developed an intelligent software that can analyse big data on blockchain markets to ensure the correct identification of customers and end-users. At the same time, it enables the private nature of transactions to be preserved. 

Project funded by: CNRC-NRC (Canada), SERI (Switzerland) 

  • SBEX (Switzerland – SME)
  • Bitaccess (Canada – SME and lead partner)

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)