Category Archives: innovation

EU support innovative medical research with €75 million loan to Evotec

The development of innovative treatments is a process which requires sustained investment. This is where the Investment Plan can play a role. I am glad that, with today’s agreement, the Plan is supporting research which aims to tackle serious illnesses and diseases.” Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness said. The Investment Plan for Europe continues to support innovative projects in the health sector.

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is providing €75 million to Evotec to invest in research and development of treatments for serious illnesses. The loan is guaranteed by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the central element of the Investment Plan for Europe, the so-called Juncker Plan. Evotec will use this long-term financing boost to finance drug discovery and the development of new treatments for serious illnesses and diseases. The type of financing is also novel: it is the first large equity-type investment under EFSI in any industry anywhere in Europe. It also EFSI’s first contingent investment, meaning the bank shares the risk of Evotec’s research & development (R&D) success. This agreement with Evotec comes days after agreements were finalised with MagForce to develop new treatments for brain cancer as well as Apeiron which also develops cancer treatment, particularly a rare type affecting children. Also today the European Investment Fund signed a deal with ACT Ventures to provide €20 million in financing to small tech businesses in Ireland.

Advertisements

European Capital of Innovation: ten innovative cities shortlisted for 2017

“Every new edition of the European Capital of Innovation showcases more inspiring and innovative ideas from across Europe. The tough competition this year proved how vibrant our local innovation ecosystems are. The journey so far has been very exciting, and the best is yet to come. I am looking forward to announcing the winners in November and further cooperating with them.” Said Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation.

Ten cities – Aarhus, Berlin, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Nice, Paris, Tallinn, Tampere, Tel Aviv and Toulouse – are shortlisted as candidates for the European Capital of Innovation contest. The finalists have been selected from 32 eligible applications by an independent panel of experts for using innovative ideas to improve the quality of urban life and for getting citizens more involved in their communities.

The winner of the contest will be announced at the Lisbon Web Summit on 7 November and will receive €1 million to further support the city’s innovative activities, while two runner-up cities will receive €100,000 respectively. Previous winners of the contest include Barcelona in 2014 and Amsterdam in 2016.

ERC: €2 billion investment in top European researchers

 

“This is the starting whistle for the next round of this champions’ league of European research within the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. I hope this new series of competitions for excellence in science will identify and reward potential breakthroughs, and will be an investment for the future of Europe.” Stated Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation.

The European Research Council (ERC) announces its 2018 grant competitions with a total budget of around €1.86 billon, most of which earmarked for early- to mid-career researchers. In addition, the ERC is reintroducing Synergy Grants, the funding scheme for groups of two to four scientists who jointly address ambitious research problems.

The Work Programme, established by the ERC Scientific Council, was pre-announced on 19 July, and adopted today by the European Commission.

The President of the ERC, Professor Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, said: “The reintroduction of Synergy Grants in the 2018 Work Programme has been much anticipated. These grants can trigger unconventional collaborations, allow for the emergence of new fields of study and help put scientists working in Europe at the global forefront. By providing €250 million of funding for the Synergy Grant call, the ERC Scientific Council intends to make possible substantial advances at the frontiers of knowledge which would be impossible for researchers working alone.”

The Work Programme includes all the well-known and established ERC funding schemes: Starting, Consolidator and Advanced Grants, as well as Proof of Concept Grants for ERC grantees who wish to explore the innovation potential of their research results.

What is new is the Synergy Grants scheme. Building on the experience of the 2012 and 2013 pilot competitions, the ERC Scientific Council decided to reintroduce Synergy Grants for groups of two to four excellent principal investigators. The grants may be awarded for up to €10 million for 6 years. The ultimate goal of the scheme is to give support to close collaborative interactions that will enable transformative research, cross-fertilizing disciplines and capable of yielding ground-breaking scientific results.

Some 900 new grantees are expected to benefit from ERC funding next year across all schemes. They will employ an estimated 6,000 post-docs, PhD students and other members as part of their research teams. The Work Programme foresees that the ERC will continue to qualitatively analyse the scientific output of its funded projects with a particular focus on any potential breakthroughs and discoveries.

Fujitsu Introduces “LiveTalk” at CEBIT

 

Fujitsu LiveTalk is a software that, for situations in which multiple people share information, such as meetings or classroom settings, recognizes a speaker’s speech, immediately converts it into text, and displays it on multiple PC screens.

Amongst some trendsetting innovations straight from the Fujitsu Labs in Japan, the Fujitsu LiveTalk solution was one of the highlights experienced at the Fujitsu booth at CEBIT 2017.

This software from Fujitsu has been developing simultaneous interpretation into 19 languages and makes communication in foreign languages blindingly easy. It is a communication tool that translates speaker’s speech into text via speech recognition and displays the content on a PC, tablet, or smartphone screen in real time. The spoken text is smoothly and reliably translated into any language available.

Focusing on the issue of communication with people with hearing disabilities, and based on the technologies of Fujitsu, which has been advancing initiatives in universal design, Fujitsu Social Science Laboratory developed and commercialized LiveTalk, a participatory communications tool for people with hearing disabilities that creates a smoother and more natural communications environment.

We interviewed Mr Michael Erhard head of communication of Fujitsu Central Europe.

  • What are the features of Live Talk?

“LiveTalk was originally designed for people with hearing disabilities in Japan. It was developed in a second step for simultaneously translations in many languages and at the moment support 19 languages as for example English, Chinese , Korean, French, Spanish, Arabic, Russian. It is a learning system and it is quick to catch up with the other languages due to its autodidactic skills based supported by artificial intelligence.”

  • When it will be available in the market?

“It is the first time we presented this system in Europe. At the moment is available in the Japanese market and we plan to be present in the other markets”.

  • What are the ideal customers for this product?

“In the first step some 100 organisations in Japan use this system in order to communicate with disabled people, in particular with people with hearing disabilities, for example hospitals, government offices, businesses and educational institutions. These institutions have to communicate with people with hearing disabilities and they had to use the sign language so only few people were able to communicate. Live talk solved this problem. In particular, the system allows for keyboard input as well as speech input, so that hearing-impaired people can participate fully, alongside speakers of other languages.

Even without a human transcriber or other assistance, which until now has been required when hearing-impaired and hearing people work or learn in the same environment. Another possible application is for example in multinational organisations where the system is able to translate simultaneously in different languages even if multiple participants speak at the same time. ”

  • How easy is it to use?

 “It is very easy to use, because it can be used directly in the system and no additional hardware is necessary. It support every device with a microphone like PC, tablet, or smartphone. The spoken text is smoothly and reliably translated into any language available. “

  • What about the problem related to pronunciation?

“As I explained this system is a learning system with artificial intelligence in the background. The speech is converted into text and displayed on PC screens in real time with speech recognition using handheld and headset mics. If there are any mistakes in the conversion of speech into text, the system allows for keyboard input as well as speech input on the PC. When I tried the system the first time it was poor not so perfect, then I tried a second and a third time and the system got better. Basically a learning system it means the recognition of the voice will be better and better with practice.  ”

Extract of the interview:

 

La tendance high-tech de 2016 sera la réalité virtuelle #technologie #belgique #vr

realite-virtuelle

Une centaine d’entrepreneurs belges et étrangers se sont donnés rendez-vous ce jeudi au 9e VR Meetup belge.

Les VR Meetup sont des rassemblement de développeurs, designers et entrepreneurs passionnés de réalité virtuelle où s’échangent technologies, applications ou inspiration. La Belgique y participe depuis longtemps déjà; son VR Meetup est aujourd’hui le 5ème plus grand en Europe.

La popularité croissante de la VR attire les investissements des entrepreneurs. Selon le bureau international d’études de marché TrendForce, la valeur totale du marché de la réalité virtuelle (hardware et software) atteindra 6,7 milliards $ en 2016 et dépassera les 70 milliards $ en 2020.

La VR permet aujourd’hui de discuter avec des amis grâce à un casque VR (Beloola, http://www.beloola.com/), de voir un film de haute qualité en totale immersion (Immersia, http://www.immersiafilms.com) ou encore assister à une formation ou de s’immerger dans des concepts encore inexistants (HakoBio, de l’entreprise bruxelloise OUAT!, http://www.ouat.eu/live-science). Grâce à cet essor, la VR fera bientôt partie de nos vies.

Bruxelles accueillera le premier VR Hackathon européen du 15 au 17 janvier prochain. Lors de ce grand rassemblement, les participants ont 36 heures pour développer une application de réalité virtuelle la plus aboutie possible dans diverses catégories. Le VR Hackathon est une initiative du MIC et des clusters bruxellois software.brussels et screen.brussels.

Information et inscription: http://vrhackathon.com/brussels.html