Research in the spotlight

Research in the spotlight is a video podcast for scientists and passionate science people having as protagonists the principal investigators (PI) of the  Collaborative Research Projects  funded in 2018 & 2019 calls under the Romanian Research Programme -  EEA & Norway Grants

This video podcast is designed by the Executive Agency for Higher Education, Research, Development, and Innovation Funding (UEFISCDI), as Programme Operator of the Research Programme funded under the EEA & Norway Grants.

The first series was launched in December 2021 and included 11 episodes. The discussions within the PI's of the EEA Grants were focused on the main challenge that the projects addresses, if research is able to find solutions, in the next decades, for different problems that the current society is facing and how the partnership between researchers from different countries is working for an green, competitive and inclusive Europe.

The 3rd series of the video podcast is launched. Nine PI’s and their teams open the labs to the public, presenting the collaborative research projects funded under EEA & Norway Grants that they are currently implementing.
Stay tuned for 9 stories addressing disruptive topics and discover the solutions proposed by researchers for the problems our society is facing nowadays:
  • a comparative interdisciplinary research on Russia’s geopolitics in the Black Sea and the Arctic with focus on war in Ukraine;
  • the discovery of novel therapeutic targets which may serve as lead compounds for the next generation of drugs for schizophrenia;
  • the development of an alternative biotechnology for wastewater treatment based on the use of mixed microalgae-bacteria consortium;
  • the efficient, stable, reproducible development of perovskite solar cells (PSC) and photovoltaic modules fabricated with affordable large area and environmentally friendly technologies, reducing to minimum the pollutants during fabrication process;
  • the optimization of the climatic conditions in glasshouses, minimize the energy usage and demonstrate the potential for heightening the overall productivity of greenhouses by storing the excess heat from the summer season for winter usage;
  • the development of a new type of nano-carriers for a targeted therapy in breast cancer, using the pH gradient between normal tissue and cancer tissue;
  • the improvement of specific optical properties of advanced oxide materials (AOM) coatings on glass to make possible the use of this AOM in thermochromic smart windows and allow for large-scale implementation on architectural buildings;
  • the develop of efficient strategies for glioblastoma radiosensitization by identifying highly efficient radiation-drug combinations inhibiting DNA repair and exploring how such treatment combinations work in cells irradiated with high-LET (protons and carbon-ions) versus conventional low-LET (X-rays) radiotherapy.

In order to enhance the energy efficiency of buildings, it is crucial to minimize heat loss through windows. To address this challenge, the research team of the TEESM collaborative research project is spearheading the development of ThermoChromic Smart Windows.
Regulating solar and heat transmission is possible when applying the right chemical coating over the glass. Advanced Oxide Materials transform ordinary glass windows into cutting-edge devices capable of both Solar Modulation and Luminous Transmittance. This type of coating is self-triggered. It needs no power supply or electrical wiring.

To gain insights into how this technology will significantly reduce the carbon footprint of the building sector, let's delve into the expertise of Dr. Mihăilescu and his research team in the 9th episode of the series.

Glioblastoma describes the most aggressive and, sadly, the most common type of brain cancer. Currently, there is no cure for it. As this form of tumor contains many different types of cancerous cells, no treatment can effectively target them all.

Meet the DORADIOS collaborative research project team who is working on developing new ways of radio-sensitization. Highly efficient radiation is aimed at inhibiting DNA repair in cancer cells. The novelty of this new radiotherapy consists of irradiation with protons and carbon ions, compared to conventional X-rays. Revealing molecular mechanisms might help identify biomarker signatures. This may support the development of personalized treatment of glioma patients.
Find out in the 8th episode how Romanian and Norwegian researchers are pioneering the field of radiobiology.

Signs of climate change are already visible in sensitive ecosystems.

The research team of ClimaLand collaborative project wants to understand what to expect in the near future. By comparing large amounts of data, they will quantify landform dynamics from various periods. This will help predict the imminent changes in the Carpathian Mountains and Danube Delta. These areas are hotspots for both GEO and BIO-diversity. The goal of this project is to minimize the risk associated with climate change.
Possible solutions and efficient management are the expected outcome.
Stay tuned and watch the 7th episode to understand how climate change will affect Romania’s ecosystems

One nanometer is a million times smaller than a millimeter. This is the scale witch the team of researchers coordinated by Prof. Dimofte is working on to develop new mechanisms for breast cancer treatment.

Using the pH gradient between healthy tissue and cancer tissue, nano-carriers will target sick cells. The plan is to deliver specific breast cancer antibodies inside tumors. This approach can give hope even to metastatic breast cancer patients.

Find out how this study is developing and when we can expect this cure to be released on the market, in the 6th episode of this series.

Solar energy is what drives the future. This is what scientists are hoping for and what private investors are rooting for. To make this eco dream happen, it's crucial to develop more and more #sustainable and efficient technology.

Dr. Ioana Pintilie and the research team she coordinates are working round the clock to designing new solar cells and photovoltaic modules. The focus is to reduce production costs, while keeping the product environmental-friendly.

In order to develop cost-effective technology with a low carbon footprint, it's crucial to reduce to a minimum the pollutants during the fabrication process.

Stay tuned to find out, in the 5th episode of this series, how new solar cells - like perovskite - are conceived.

Green houses can be up to 15 times more productive than field conditions.Careful monitoring and proper maintenance techniques allow for off-season year-round production.

It takes a lot of energy to keep a stable environment inside the greenhouses.The researchers team of Clima Green project, funded under Norway Grants, test the use of heat pumps to enhance food production.Their research is aimed at developing the proper technology to store the summer heat and use it in the cold season. This cost-effective technology will help farmers to spread production year-round.

Find out why the future of food production is inside greenhouses in the 4th episode of this series.

The most expensive bill a municipality has to pay is the electricity it consumes to clean its sewage. Large quantities of electricity are used to oxygenate the water and sustain the microorganisms that clean it. Eliminating the bacteria from the water is another costly process. Romanian researcher Olga Tiron and the team she coordinates in the Collaborative Research Project funded under Norway Grants developed a system that helps oxygenate the water using algae.

The novelty of this project is the patented procedure of granulating the microalgae and bacteria together. These granules then settle to the bottom of the containers. The resulting water is clean and safe to be released into the environment.
Watching the 3rd episode you will understand more about this cost-effective technology that will soon be used to clean our waste waters.

How would a drug for Schizophrenia work? To tackle this delicate matter, a team of Romanian and Norwegian researchers put together a multidisciplinary scientific approach. The answer may be found at the intersection of pharmacology, genetics, and protein and metabolism research.
This research aims at discovering novel molecular targets in order to develop the next generation of drugs for Schizophrenia.

Watch the second episode of this series of the video podcast to meet the team of scientists who plan to break misconceptions on molecular level.

Russia will always be our neighbor; thus, its geopolitics will constantly be of interest to us, an Eastern European country. This is the reason behind Professor Ungureanu`s initiative on researching Russia’s geopolitics in the Black Sea and the Arctic Ocean.
Grasping the dynamic of the international interest within these areas is an on-going process. The main priority of this project is to train the next generation of researchers.
This is a unique opportunity for any young PhD student or post-doc specialist to develop the proper research skills concerning Russia`s geopolitics. As a strategy for the future, their expertise will cover the needs, not only for research and academia, but also on state level.

Continue watching the first episode of this series of the video podcast to discover what building the future of cooperation and diplomacy entails.

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Podcast: Research in the spotlight

Research in the spotlight este un podcast pentru cei pasionați de știință având ca protagoniști directorii Proiectelor Colaborative d...
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