Studies and Options Briefs

 
158 results
 
What if we were to build skyscrapers from wood?04-2017
Reference
Summary

Can new technologies contribute to a revival of wood as a source for biomass and construction material, and play a leading role in the fight against climate change? Wood has been part of human civilisation for many thousands of years, playing a key role as fuel or construction material, as well as a material for the manufacture of furniture, machinery, means of transport and everyday objects.

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At a glance : What if we were to build skyscrapers from wood?
Technological innovation strategies in substance use disorders03-2017
Reference
Author

Giovanni Esposito, European Brain Council (EBC): Chapter 6 (drawing up of the questionnaire, gathering of responses, analyse of the results and writing the report).

Summary

Drug disorders are complex social and health problems that affect millions of people in the EU. In the last two decades, we have witnessed an extraordinary growth in computer and mobile technologies available to the general public. Researchers in the field of drug addiction have started to exploit the growth of the internet and new technologies, and an increasing number of interventions designed to promote changes in substance use disorders are now available. The study includes an extensive critical literature review on the potential of new technologies for drug addiction management. A survey among European experts in the field of addiction was also carried out. New technologies have the potential to provide parallel/alternative instruments of information, prevention and treatment for substance use disorders. They have the capacity to reach populations that have not traditionally been in treatment. Despite encouraging progress, new technologies need to be evaluated with caution. Across research studies, there are methodological difficulties, such as a lack of common definitions, selection biases and inappropriate research designs, which require further investigation. To date, new technologies have the potential to affect, and perhaps deeply transform, existing models of health care delivery in the field of addiction.

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Study : Technological innovation strategies in substance use disorders
Language equality in the digital age - Towards a Human Language Project03-2017
Reference
Author

Rafael RIVERA PASTOR, Iclaves S.L. Carlota TARÍN QUIRÓS, Iclaves S.L. Juan Pablo VILLAR GARCÍA, Iclaves S.L. Prof. Toni BADIA CARDÚS, PhD, Universitat Pompeu Fabra Prof. Maite MELERO NOGUÉS, PhD, Universitat Pompeu Fabra

Summary

The EU is a unique endeavour involving more than 500 million citizens sharing about 80 different languages. While multilingualism is one of the biggest assets of Europe, it is also one of the most substantial challenges for the creation of a truly integrated EU. In the digital era, the invisible separating power of language barriers is a major challenge hindering European citizens and businesses from drawing upon the possibilities of a truly integrated Europe. Language barriers particularly affect the less educated and older population, as well as speakers of smaller languages, thus creating a noticeable language divide. It has a profound effect on cross-border public services, fostering a common European identity, workers mobility and cross-border e-commerce and trade.

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Study : Language equality in the digital age - Towards a Human Language Project
Annex : Language equality in the digital age - Towards a Human Language Project (Briefing)
What if intensification of farming could enhance biodiversity?03-2017
Reference
Summary

Could introducing more precision agriculture in Europe allow us to obtain food resilience, while ensuring sustainability and jobs, and taking into account the EU’s wide agricultural diversity? Precision agriculture (PA), or precision farming, involves using technology to improve the ratio between agricultural output (usually food) and agricultural input (land, energy, water, fertilisers, pesticides, etc.). PA consists of using sensors to identify crop or livestock needs precisely (in space or time), and then intervening in a targeted way to maximise the productivity of each plant and animal, whilst minimising any waste of resources.

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At a glance : What if intensification of farming could enhance biodiversity?
How blockchain technology could change our lives02-2017
Reference
Summary

Blockchain technology is of increasing interest to citizens, businesses and legislators across the European Union. This report is aimed at providing a point of entry for those curious about blockchain technology, so as to stimulate interest and provoke discussion around its potential impact. A general introduction is followed by a closer look at eight areas in which blockchain has been described as having a substantial potential impact. For each of these, an explanation is given of how the technology could be developed in that particular area, the possible impacts this development might have, and what potential policy issues are to be anticipated.

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In-Depth Analysis : How blockchain technology could change our lives
What if animal farming were not so bad for the environment?02-2017
Reference
Summary

What options exist, especially in terms of new technologies, for reducing the carbon footprint of the livestock industry, how effective might they be, and what could be done to encourage their implementation? The livestock industry is responsible for around 14.5 % of global greenhouse gas emissions. The magnitude of this percentage is due to the emission of large amounts of methane and nitrous oxide, which both result in greater global warming than carbon dioxide per gram of gas released. The main cause of livestock methane emissions is the digestive process in ruminants, such as cattle and sheep. In these animals, food is fermented, generating methane which is burped out. Nitrous oxide is generated through the application of fertilisers for animal feed production. This is also the case with crops grown for human consumption, but, as most of the energy stored in crops is lost when they are fed to animals, emissions due to fertilisers are much greater per calorie of animal produce than of plant produce. Both gases are produced by the storage of manure and its application as a fertiliser. In addition, carbon dioxide is emitted through burning fossil fuels for purposes such as fertiliser production, operation of farm machinery and transport of goods.

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At a glance : What if animal farming were not so bad for the environment?
What if computers were trillions of times faster?01-2017
Reference
Summary

Could the theory of quantum mechanics one day revolutionise commonplace technical devices such as sensors, communication devices and computers? Quantum mechanics is a scientific theory that has revolutionised our understanding of the Universe. In the world of classical physics, a system is always in one particular state (e.g. at rest or in motion) while in the quantum world, a system can be in a superposition of two or more states. Performing a measurement on such a superposition causes it to collapse into a single state. Furthermore, in contrast to the classical world, where a system can be measured without changing it, in the quantum world a measurement can have an impact on the state of the system.

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At a glance : What if computers were trillions of times faster?
Precision Agriculture and the Future of Farming in Europe12-2016
Reference
Summary

This study resulted in the identification of four main future opportunities and concerns regarding precision agriculture (PA), or precision farming, in the EU, on which the European Parliament could take anticipatory action now: 1.  PA can actively contribute to food security and safety; 2.  PA supports sustainable farming; 3.  PA will trigger societal changes along with its uptake; 4.  PA requires new skills to be learned. The wide diversity of agriculture throughout the EU, regarding particularly farm size, types of farming, farming practices, output and employment, presents a challenge for European policy-makers. European policy measures therefore should differentiate between Member States, taking into account that the opportunities and concerns vary highly from one country to another.

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Study : Precision Agriculture and the Future of Farming in Europe
Annex : Annex 1
Annex 1: Annex 2
Human health implications of organic food and organic agriculture 12-2016
Reference
Summary

This study reviews existing scientific evidence regarding the impact of organic food on human health from an EU perspective, with a focus on public health. The development of environmentally sustainable and healthy food systems is an international priority. The study examines how organic food and organic agriculture can contribute to this in relation to public health. Human and animal studies directly addressing the health effects of organic food are reviewed. Furthermore, evidence linking principles and rules of organic production to human health effects is discussed.

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Study : Human health implications of organic food and organic agriculture
What if electric cars became an affordable and convenient way to travel?12-2016
Reference
Summary

Are electric cars on the verge of becoming the norm, should we encourage this transition, and what would be the consequences for the environment, the automobile industry and our electricity grid? Over the past century, cars have become an integral part of our society. They generally offer greater flexibility than alternative modes of transport, and they are affordable to a large proportion of people. Ever since cars were first mass-produced, they have almost exclusively been powered by ICEs (internal combustion engines), which burn fossil fuels, such as petrol and diesel, to provide the energy required to turn the cars’ wheels and perform auxiliary tasks. However, in recent years concerns about climate change and dependence on oil have led to a great deal of effort and attention being invested in developing alternative ways of providing this energy.

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At a glance : What if electric cars became an affordable and convenient way to travel?
 
 
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