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CommBeBiz

PROteINSECT

Minerva is the co-ordinator of the H2020 Bioeconomy project CommBeBiz, responsible for managing and chairing the project, leading on survey and data analysis, media communications and delivery of the CommBeBiz Blueprint.

CommBeBiz provides a bridge from bioeconomy research to business, and for social or scientific innovation, targeting five specialist segments: Food, Agriculture, Marine, Forestry, and Biotechnology.

Working with EU FP7 and H2020 project partners at all stages of their ideas and research development, CommBeBiz enables more effective and speedier transfer of knowledge to the marketplace, to policy-players and for the public good.

A range of support actions is available to all EU funded bioeconomy projects depending on the needs and preferences of individual project partners. These include opportunities to network with specialist segments to develop new ideas and to publicise projects. Training and capacity development in Research & Business Communication through webinars and face-to-face sessions with experts are also offered, as are Meet/Match events with industry representatives, entrepreneurs and policy makers. 

The annual CommBeBiz bursaries provide funding for individual researchers, representing their bioeconomy projects, to attend one of the CommBeBiz Academies (Paris, Prague and Vienna dates confirmed in 2017 & 2018). Researchers join the web platform to receive alerts on opportunities and deadlines.

 

www.commbebiz.eu 

Minerva led the development of the Pro-Insect platform across Europe, with the aim of driving legislation and regulation change to include the use of protein from insects in animal feed and ultimately for human consumption.  Minerva had responsibility for both policy and media communications for the project and led on the development of the White Paper on Insect Protein, launched at a Reception in the European Parliament.

Food security is a global challenge. As overall demand for food, particularly meat, increases there is an urgent need to increase supply of protein from sustainable sources.

Currently more than 80% of the protein requirements for livestock rearing in the European Union are imported from non-EU countries, initiating the European Parliament’s action to urgently explore ways to replace imported protein crops with alternative European sources, and to build a pro-insect platform in Europe. 

One potential source to alleviate this current protein deficit is fly larvae. As a natural component of the diets of fish, chicken and pigs, fly larvae provide a rich source of highly digestible protein.

The PROteINSECT, EU FP7 project, focused on key areas to evaluate insects as a novel source of protein for animal feed, and to ensure that methodologies remain sustainable and economically viable.  These areas included the development and optimisation of both large- and small-scale fly larvae production methods; safety and quality criteria, and the evaluation of processing methodologies of crude and refined insect protein extracts in fish, chicken and pig feeding trials. In addition, the design of insect-based animal feed production systems utilising the results of a life cycle analysis was determined. 

www.proteinsect.eu

Medit-Ageing

CommNet

Minerva is responsible for leading all communication and dissemination activity for the EC-funded Medit-Ageing project – a 5-year scientific research study investigating mental health and well-being in the ageing population.

As age increases, so does the incidence of mental health problems such as later-life depression, sleep disturbances and dementia. These conditions are often chronic and put huge pressure on patients’ quality of life, on their caregivers, and society as a whole. Finding an effective way to tackle the issues, Medit-Ageing has the potential to deliver real, long-lasting health benefits for all.

The project – which has consortium partners in France, UK, Belgium, Germany, Spain and Switzerland – will investigate the effectiveness of a variety of interventions on healthy ageing, with a key focus on mental health and well-being including Alzheimer’s disease and its mechanisms.  Researchers will conduct clinical trials involving patients with existing subjective cognitive decline, expert meditators and participants from the general public over the age of 65.

www.silversantestudy.eu

 Minerva led on the design and delivery of 12 communications training events in universities and science museums across Europe.  120 individual researchers took part in these events, all rating the courses either excellent or very good. The key objective of the course was to develop transferable communications skills and to build confidence and competence in their use.

As a support network for EU-funded Bioeconomy projects, CommNet was created to facilitate the communication of EU Bioeconomy research to the general public and key target groups including media, young people, industry and policy makers.

CommNet became a well-respected authority in EU projects communication and dissemination and organised a number of successful meetings and workshops. Its work was delivered through a variety of means, from media training, audio-visual production and the creation of educational material, through to supporting communication of research to the business world.

The CommNet network was managed by the EU CommFABnet project, whose consortia consisted of a number of reputed organisations operating at European level, with extensive experience in media, training, education and business communication. 

The CommBeBiz project succeeded CommNet in 2013.

www.commnet.eu

I.Family

Early Nutrition

Minerva’s main tasks within the I.Family project were to provide leadership, support and delivery in dissemination and internal and external communications and to oversee the engagement of all partners and researchers. Responsible for branding and messaging, Minerva also created the project’s website and other materials.

The EC Funded FP7, five-year I.Family Study has been investigating the determinants of food choice, lifestyle and health in European children, adolescents and their parents. It has helped to identify the reasons why young people in Europe eat the way they do and how this influences lifelong health.

Many factors affect this. Family time and influence are challenged by modern independent lifestyles and processed foods, drinks and snacks are readily available. Marketing and peer pressures, accompanied by screen-based distractions that replace outdoor play and a built environment that reduces opportunities for physical activity, all play their part, under-pinned by learnt taste preferences and genetic predispositions.

The I.Family project built on the IDEFICS study, where data was collected from over 10,000 children under 10 years of age as they moved into adolescence. Taking research on dietary behaviour to the next level, I.Family has now provided an insight into the most important influences on Europe’s young people, their lifestyle behaviours and their eating habits as they move into adolescence. The results will make a significant contribution to understanding the interplay of these complex factors and reducing adverse health results.  

www.ifamilystudy.eu

Minerva was sub-contracted by the EarlyNutrition project to support their outreach and media communications activities as the project entered its final year. We co-ordinated filming in London of experts and of ‘vox pops’ contributions to be used in the project’s promotional and educational videos, supported development of the content and timing of the social media programme, created infographics for multiple audiences, and managed the international press relations including an online press conference for The Power of Programming conference held in Munich in Autumn 2016.

Worldwide, EarlyNutrition was the largest project investigating programming effects for health in later life. Researchers from 35 institutions in 12 European countries, the United States and Australia joined forces to study how early nutrition programming and lifestyle factors impact the rates of obesity and related disorders.

It aimed to foster the scientific basis for this programming effect and to fill the gap between scientific advances and their practical implementation into recommendations for everyday life. Evidence, particularly from the previous EU funded Early Nutrition Programming Project, EARNEST, confirmed that nutritional imbalances have a long lasting programming effect on later health and risk of disease.

www.project-earlynutrition.eu

ARGENT

Diogenes

As a partner in the four-year ARGENT project, Minerva has provided training activities for Early Stage Researchers (ESRs), to deliver impact through stakeholder engagement, media communications and public outreach.

The FP7 European Multi-ITN (Marie Curie Actions Initial Training Network) project ‘Advanced Radiotherapy, Generated by Exploiting Nanoprocesses and Technologies (ITN ARGENT)’, started in March 2014.

Cancer is the second most common form of death after cardiovascular disease, and is a major European health concern. The main objective of this intersectional and multidisciplinary ITN is to create a new generation of researches and experts able to create the platform on which next-generation cancer therapy will be built. 

The consortium aims to train a cohort of 13 PhDs (Early Stage Researchers) to subsequently act as leaders and ambassadors in the field. The ITN ARGENT strategy relies on improving our understanding of the processes and mechanisms.

www.itn-argent.eu

Minerva worked with the Co-ordinating team based in Maastricht and the whole consortium to develop the strategic communications plan, provide media training to all members and support the delivery of the project’s targeted activities.

Diogenes (Diet, Obesity and Genes), was a pan-European project, funded under the EU FP6, targeting the obesity problem from a dietary perspective: seeking new insights and new routes to prevention. 

 An innovative multi-disciplinary, multi-centre research project, Diogenes was set up to advance understanding of how obesity can be prevented and treated from a dietary perspective. It integrated studies of dietary, genetic, physiological, psychological and behavioural factors.

The five-year programme, which began in 2005, involved a consortium of 29 partners across Europe. It was made up of world-class centres in diet and health studies, epidemiology, dietary genomics and food technology. It also included representatives from major food industrials and small and medium-sized enterprises. 

Based on the new knowledge generated, the project demonstrated prototypes of innovative products or advice regimes which helped susceptible individuals to avoid weight gain and re-gain, and link with implementers to facilitate commercialisation in the market place.

www.diogenes-eu.org

ELENA

Earnest

 Delivering the communications, outreach and dissemination of ELENA, Minerva is playing a key role in the work of this Marie Curie ITN EC funded project Led by Director, Rhonda Smith, Minerva will deliver three training courses on complementary, personal and professional skills, and assist in the dissemination of the project’s findings.

ELENA, Low energy ELEctron driven chemistry for the advantage of emerging NAno-fabrication methods, is a Horizon 2020, Sklodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network. 

It pulls together diverse resources from commercial partners, research institutes and universities to study the fundamental processes underpinning two innovative, next generation nanoscopic fabrication techniques, Focused Electron, Beam Induced Deposition (FEBID) and Extreme Ultra Violet Lithography (EUVL).

The network seeks to train through research a new generation of Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) with a fundamental understanding of the physics and chemistry underpinning FEBID and EUVL and in commercial and entrepreneurial skills necessary to bring such research from the laboratory to the commercial arena. The overall aim is to translate the knowledge gained in this collaborative project to technological advantage with the ultimate goal of making these methods commercially competitive within the nanotechnology industry.

www.elena-eu.org

 Responsible for the development and delivery of media communications, Minerva played a key role in the successful dissemination of the findings of EARNEST, the Early Nutrition Programming Project.  Significant international media coverage was secured including in New Scientist, The Economist and the New York Times.

EARNEST, an FP6-funded Early Nutrition Programming project, researched the concept that differences in nutritional experience at critical periods in early life, both pre- and post-natally, can programme a person’s development, metabolism and health for the future.  This has been well-established in animal studies and there is a large amount of data from retrospective observational studies in people that suggests a similar effect is seen in humans.

The implications of early nutrition programming are huge: differences in risk factors for cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity; in immune function and allergy risk; in bone health; and in cognitive, neuro-motor and behavioural outcomes, have all been seen in children. The potential for improving the health of future generations is enormous.

The project also addressed other areas where not enough is known about early nutrition programming to enable sensible policies to be formulated. It gave an insight into when the critical periods are, how the effects are mediated and whether or not they can be reversed.

www.project-earlynutrition.eu 

PIMMS
Minerva’s role within PIMMS was to coordinate, from the final Annexe stage, the Outreach & Dissemination Committees and provide training for Early Stage Researchers (ESRs), to allow them to communicate the significance of their research.

A four-year EU FP7 project, PIMMS (Proton Ionization Molecular Mass Spectrometry), was to address the need for research into relevant areas of mass spectrometry, including EU food, health, the environment, and security.

A relatively new broad-based and rapidly growing analytical technique, proton transfer reaction mass spectrometry (PTR-MS), combines excellent chemical specification with ultra-high detection sensitivity in real-time, but is only partially exploited owing to the lack of a focused research programme in terms of its scientific fundamentals and applications. 
In particular, the demand for PTR-MS was outstripping the supply of highly qualified chemists who could not only use the technology, but who also had a broad background in analytical chemistry, and were capable of leading multidisciplinary research/commercial activities. There was an urgent need within Europe for the harmonised training of ESRs in analytical chemistry within many sectors and across many disparate scientific disciplines and applications.

Started in 2012, PIMMS provided training across various research disciplines in an inter-sectoral network combining private, governmental, health and academic sectors to address a number of topical analytical issues.