EU reveals more big research bets

EU reveals more big research bets

Draft plans released by the European Commission promise funds for several research areas.

Artificial photosynthesis, cloud computing, blockchain and ways to turn windows into solar power plants are just some of the projects set for funding by the EU.

Amongst the initiatives in the draft for 2018-2020, it says that a reward will be given to researchers who can replicate the natural phenomenon photosynthesis, involving a bionic leaf.

In addition, the EU will start putting money into an EU-wide cloud computing network. A first-of-its-kind effort to create an international system for sharing research data from any laboratory or scientific discipline.

Money will also go to testing new applications of blockchain, the technology at the heart of the digital currencies such as Bitcoin, which creates a digital ledger of transactions, agreements and contracts distributed across hundreds of computers across the world.

All these proposals feature in the draft Horizon 2020 research plans for 2018-2020, which the commission is publishing online for comment, with final versions expected later this month.

Committees of the member states and researchers have developed the work programmes over the past year with the help of the commission’s research department.