21 episodes

CORDIScovery is a monthly podcast featuring a panel discussion between guests at the forefront of their scientific fields. From threats to biodiversity to the future of space exploration, if you want to hear how the EU’s cutting-edge research is taking on the key issues challenging us today, then be sure to download and listen to what Europe’s leading scientists have to say. CORDIScovery is produced by CORDIS, whose mission is to share the results of the very best of EU-funded research.

CORDIScovery – unearthing the hottest topics in EU science, research and innovation CORDIScovery

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CORDIScovery is a monthly podcast featuring a panel discussion between guests at the forefront of their scientific fields. From threats to biodiversity to the future of space exploration, if you want to hear how the EU’s cutting-edge research is taking on the key issues challenging us today, then be sure to download and listen to what Europe’s leading scientists have to say. CORDIScovery is produced by CORDIS, whose mission is to share the results of the very best of EU-funded research.

    Citizen science - engagement and empowerment

    Citizen science - engagement and empowerment

    Enthusiasts, people with hobbies, with spare time or concerned about their environment – you and me: all of us are potential collectors of data and information that can add a dimension to research projects. How can participation empower volunteers? And what’s the benefit for scientists? Listen on to find out!

    Xavier Basagaña is associate research professor at the Barcelona Institute for Global Health. Basagaña’s CitieS-Health project was interested in evaluating the health impacts of urban living. The project set out to encourage collaboration between researchers and volunteers, to generate solid, unbiased scientific evidence.

    Professor of Environmental History at the University of Stavanger in Norway, Finn Arne Jørgensen is the coordinator of the EnviroCitizen project. The team wanted to understand the ways in which citizen science projects can be used to cultivate new ways of thinking and acting in all aspects of life, to promote environmental, rather than national, citizenship.

    Kris Vanherle is a transport policy researcher, working at Transport & Mobility Leuven, a spin-off of the University of Leuven, Belgium. Vanherle was the coordinator of WeCount, which wanted to give people the tools they needed to monitor traffic, and to co-design solutions to tackle a variety of road transport challenges.

    • 39 min
    Magic tricks for crows: how animals experience the world

    Magic tricks for crows: how animals experience the world

    Perform a magic trick for a member of the crow family and it will show how startled it is by the unexpected. Crows are known for being the Einsteins of the avian world, but what about the animals that feed us, clothe us, entertain us – what is the nature of their intelligence? Will our growing realisation that animals may be experiencing the world around them in ways that would surprise us, reframe our understanding of animal welfare? Tune in for some ideas.

    Jonathan Birch is an associate professor at the London School of Economics’ Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Science. In 2021, the review he led into the sentience of invertebrates resulted in the amendment of the British government’s Animal Welfare Bill to include octopuses, crabs and lobsters.

    Associate professor at the University of Leuven’s Animal and Human Health Engineering Unit, Tomas Norton leads research on sustainable precision livestock farming and is particularly interested in the interface between animal health, welfare and productivity.

    Nicola Clayton is a fellow of the Royal Society and professor of Comparative Cognition in the Department of Psychology at the University of Cambridge. Nicola is particularly interested in the processes of thinking with and without words, comparing the cognitive capacities of corvids, cephalopods and children.

    • 45 min
    Smart textiles – engineering by design

    Smart textiles – engineering by design

    Wearables have become ‘must have’ fashion – how can we make assistive technology as desirable? The most sophisticated device is useless if it is uncomfortable or unattractive. This episode, we are looking at the interface between design and engineering, and how the next generation of smart textiles could make assistive tech invisible.

    Today’s episode brings together guests from EU-supported projects working on user-focused design, the metallisation and conductivity of fabric and graphene antennas embedded in textiles which could help people with Alzheimer’s.

    Professor of Health Design and Human Factors at Coventry University, Louise Moody brought her background in psychology and user centric approach to design to the Maturolife project.

    Andrew Cobley is a Professor of Electrochemical Deposition and leads the Functional Materials and Chemistry Group at Coventry University. His expertise in the electrochemical metallisation of non-conductive materials was behind the production of Maturolife prototypes.

    Elif Ozden Yenigun is a Senior Lecturer in Textiles at the Royal College of Art. Her research concentrates on molecular materials design and innovative approaches to textile manufacturing, which she explored in her GFSMART project.

    • 30 min
    Cutting Waste

    Cutting Waste

    Recycling targets across the EU have been increased, the aim is now 55 % by weight from 2025, and 65 % for packaging waste. The target climbs every 5 years after that. Can we reach that goal? Repurposing, repairing, recycling – our three guests are doing their bit to get there.

    Tim Gent is the managing director of https://recresco.com/ (Recresco), the British glass recycling company behind the OMR project. The company is using X-ray fluorescence, shape recognition and machine learning to make recycling more efficient. Tim’s interest is in how to make the circular economy more of a reality.

    The commercial managing director of the Spanish company, Plastic Repair Systems, https://www.plasticrepair.eu/en/prs-appoints-alfredo-neila-co-chief-executive-officer/ (Alfredo Neila) worked on the PRS project, which repairs industrial plastic objects, such as crates and pallets, making repair more financially viable than throwing them away.

    Pablo Martínez is one of the brains behind http://www.smartmushroom.eu/project/ (Smartmushroom) which has come up with a new way of treating the waste produced by the mushroom growing sector, transforming it from environmentally challenging by-product to valuable resource.

    • 38 min
    Bio-inspired Innovation

    Bio-inspired Innovation

    100 000 starlings move in unison against an autumn sky – not one collides; fireflies light up a wood in Borneo flashing in perfect synchronicity; bacteria communicate around a plant’s roots once the population reaches a certain number while, up in the air, the wings of an eastern amberwing dragonfly have 3 000 sensory neurons, including flow sensors to prevent a stall.

    What can we learn from these marvels?

    Currently at the Technical University of Darmstadt, Nico Bruns leads the Sustainable Functional Polymers Research Group. The team is using bio-inspired approaches to design, engineer and develop materials, and nano-systems, with unprecedented new functions. Nico is particularly interested in the properties of the polymer composites making up plant cuticles, which he explored during the Horizon 2020 project, PlaMatSu.

    Massimo Trotta is based at the Italian National Research Council, in Bari. He is interested in the environmental applications of photosynthetic organisms. Massimo coordinated the EU’s HyPhOE project.

    Lucia Beccai is a senior researcher at the Italian Institute of Technology in Genoa, and head of the Soft Bio Robotics Perception Lab. She is interested in tactile sensing and versatile grasping for soft robotics and is particularly focused on what we can learn from elephant trunks, which was the basis of her EU-funded PROBOSCIS project.

    • 33 min
    Fighting the spread of Tuberculosis

    Fighting the spread of Tuberculosis

    Tuberculosis (TB) is preventable and curable, and yet 9 900 000 people fell ill with the disease in 2020 and 1.5 million died. This episode is looking at what the EU is doing to curb the spread and improve our understanding of the nature of the illness.

    This episode of CORDIScovery hears from three researchers who have all been at the forefront of controlling the spread of the disease. New, cheap and non-invasive tests; drilling down into the pathogen’s genome to get a clearer understanding of how it spreads; work done at a molecular level to establish how the bacteria switch from latent to active infection – all vital if we are to get a handle on controlling and preventing outbreaks.

    Hossam Haick is dean at the Israel Institute of Technology, the Technion. His work developing A-Patch, a skin patch test that is effective, cheap and can transmit infection data to healthcare workers remotely, was supported by both the EU and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

    Teresa Cortes is based at the Institute of Biomedicine of Valencia, part of the Spanish National Research Council. She is interested in understanding how the bacteria that cause TB in humans infect, survive, cause disease and develop antibiotic resistance. Teresa was involved in the MtbTransReg project.

    Iñaki Comas, who explains the findings of his project TB-ACCELERATE, is also a researcher at the Institute of Biomedicine of Valencia. He is working on unravelling the intricacy of TB’s genomics to understand the evolution and epidemiology of infectious diseases. His lab is particularly focused on TB, but also works on other diseases, like COVID-19.

    • 38 min

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