Scientific Watch N°8 - From 07/31/2015 to 08/14/2015

Please find every other two weeks a small Scientific Watch regarding cultural and scientific activities in France. [2015-N°08 from 07/31/2015 to 08/14/2015]

From 07/31/2015 to 08/14/2015

Editors :

Julie METTA, Scientific Officer - Hong Kong

Justin MONIER, Scientific Officer - Hong Kong

Isabelle SAVES, Attachée for Scientific & Academic Affairs - Hong Kong

Contact :




1- Energy & Environment

1.1- French government supports renewable energy in livestock sector

Ségolène Royal, Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy decided in July 2015 to strengthen support for renewable energy development - in livestock sector - by focusing in two mains actions:

-  Anaerobic digestion: re-evaluation from 10 to 20% of the energy sales rate for small and medium biogas production sites

-  Photovoltaic solar energy: 10% re-evaluation of the purchase price for small and medium-sized installations

Website enerzine, article published on the 10th of August 2015 Source

1.2- New markets for French manufacturers in renewable energy

Wednesday, August 5th, 2015, ADEME (Environment and Energy Management Agency) has launched a new call for floating wind turbine projects. Located near islands of Groix, Leucate pond, Common Gruissan and the lighthouse Faraman, these four identified areas are the result of a successful consultation.

With more than 10,000 direct or indirect jobs expected to be created by offshore wind sector, professionals hope that the development of offshore wind sector will contribute to the economic dynamism of theses three regions: Brittany, Languedoc-Roussillon and PACA region.

Website enerzine, article published on the 10th of August 2015 Source

1.3- How to optimize electricity storage in supercapacitors

Researchers from the Centre for Interuniversity Research and Engineering of Materials (CNRS / Université Paul Sabatier a member of the electrochemical energy storage network) in collaboration with the University of Cambridge (UK), studied transportation of an electrolyte (ions) within a nanoporous carbon electrode. They showed that when electrodes are polarized, charge storage occurred differently depending on the polarity of electrodes, it becomes possible to reveal structure and environment of the ions contained in pores of nanometric dimensions. These results explain part of the mechanism for the ion’s adsorption in porous carbons. Substantial gains could provide direct application from these results and could be used in supercapacitors

Website CNRS, article published on the 08th of August 2015 Source

1.4- Where to plant grapevines in thirty years?

Inra (French national institute for agronomic researches) in Montpellier has developed a model to assess the capacity of a region to produce quality grapes in the future, taking into account the climate change. Applied to Syrah, the model concludes that to obtain high-quality crops in Montpellier in 30 years, it will be necessary to plant them in areas where the nights are temperate and where it will be possible to irrigate.

Article published on the INRA website on the 5th of August 2015 Source


2- Health & Society

2.1- Zika virus can be spread across France due to the Tiger mosquito.

Aedes mosquitoes (Aedes albopictus mosquito which is better known as the tiger mosquito) can spread dengue, chikungunya and zika virus. All theses diseases usually cause fever, muscle aches and rashes or even neurological complications.

Last June twenty departments in France, mostly located in the south-east and south-west of France, have raised the risk of zika epidemic contamination to « real ».

Article published on the "20 minutes" website on the 10th of August 2015 Source

2.2- Hornet-eating plant could save France’s honey bees

“Hornets from hell” arrived in France in a shipment of pottery from China in 2004 have caused havoc – but beekeepers have found unusual solution. Asian hornets that prey on bees have caused French honey production to plummet, but scientists may now have found the answer: a carnivorous plant able to devour these vicious insects. The head of the botanical gardens in Nantes, in western France, recently discovered that the North American Sarracenia plant is able to attract and kill the hornets.

Article published on the Telegraph website on the 10th of August 2015 source

2.3- Glutamate, a new player in addiction

French scientists in collaboration with a Canadian research unit have just identified in the mouse, and then confirmed in humans, a new factor that regulates drug addiction. Glutamate, a neurotransmitter, contributes to regulating dopamine release in the nucleus accumbens, one of the cerebral structures of the reward system. More precisely, it is its subtle balance with another neurotransmitter – acetylcholine – that prevents up-regulation of the system and entry into addiction. This discovery opens up new therapeutic perspectives in drug addiction treatment.

Article published on the CNRS website on the 5th of August 2015. Source

2.4- Bacteria that prevent type 1 diabetes

Our body has ten times more microbes than human cells. This set of bacteria is called microbiota. In some instances, bacteria known as pathogens can cause infectious diseases. However, these micro-organisms can also protect us from certain diseases. Researchers from Inserm (the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research), Paris Descartes University and the CNRS, in collaboration with teams from China and Sweden, have recently shown that microbiota can protect from the development of type 1 diabetes in mice.

Article published on the CNRS website on the 5th of August 2015. Source

2.5- Missing piece surfaces in the puzzle of autism

A study carried out by the Laboratoire Neurobiologie des Interactions Cellulaires et Neurophysiopathologie (CNRS/Aix-Marseille Université), in collaboration with clinicians from Marseilles Public Hospitals and scientists from San Diego (US), has revealed a new gene that plays a crucial role during early development in humans and whose under-expression may induce certain autistic traits.

Article published on the CNRS website on the 4th of August 2015. Source

2.6- In the battle of free speech now it is France v Google

The so-called “right to be forgotten”, now compressed to RTBF, is climbing back up the news agenda. It all stems, you will recall, from a landmark decision by the European court of justice mandating that European citizens had a right to demand that links to online material about them that was deemed to be misleading or inaccurate should not appear in Google search results.

Article published on the Guardian website on the 09th of August 2015. Source

2.7- IThe iron found in red meat plays a crucial role in colon cancer risk

Epidemiological data suggest that 15% of colon cancer cases can be attributed to the excessive consumption of red and processed meat. To better understand and thus prevent this cancer type, INRA (French national institute for agronomic researches) researchers collaborated with scientists from the National Veterinary School of Toulouse and the University of Reading in England to explore the mechanisms underlying this relationship. They discovered that the heme iron found in red meat is the main factor enhancing colon cancer risk. Furthermore, they found that heme’s carcinogenetic effects originate in its interactions with dietary lipids, which lead to the formation of highly toxic compounds that kill off the colon’s epithelial cells.

Article published on the Inra website on the 010th of August 2015. Source


3- Research and Education

3.1- “Surprising Philae’s first results from Churi prove

Organic molecules never previously observed in comets, a relatively varied structure on the surface but a fairly homogeneous interior, organic compounds forming agglomerates rather than being dispersed in the ice: these are just some of first results provided by Philae on the surface of comet Churi. This work, carried out as part of ESA’s Rosetta mission, involved researchers from the “CNRS, Aix-Marseille Université, Université Joseph Fourier, Université Nice Sophia Antipolis, UPEC, UPMC, Université Paris-Sud, Université Toulouse III – Paul Sabatier and UVSQ, with support from CNES”. They are published on July 31, 2015 as part of a set of eight articles in the journal Science. These in situ findings, which contain a wealth of completely new information, reveal several differences in comparison with previous observations of comets and current models.

Article published on the CNRS website on the 30th of July 2015 : - Source

3.2- “Scientific mission “Hermiona” is back

Hermione is a ship cruising in the footsteps of La Fayette (18 April to 10 August 2015). As part of this journey, 32 students from the Regional School of Maritime Education and Aquaculture (FRANCE) have boarded on the vessel and initiated under the supervision of Ifremer an educational and scientific partnership entitled “Hermiona”.During 4 months, these students have implemented a plankton-sampling mission for Ifremer, while enjoying an unforgettable journey on the Hermione frigate.

Thanks to this mission, the Laboratory Environment Resources Western Brittany Ifremer in Concarneau will be able to complement its existing documentation on the biodiversity of the North Atlantic microalgae and link it with the surprising coastal observations in recent months.

Article published on the IFREMER website on the 09th of August 2015 : - Source


4- Technology & Transport

4.1- Development of the project SPID about detection and neutralisation of civilian drones

The SPID project (anti-Drones Integrated Protection System) launched in December 2014 selected by the French National Research Agency(ANR) as a project to develop technology relating to the protection of sensitive areas from aerial drones.

Article published on Aerobuzz website on the 02nd of August, 2015 : - Source

publié le 14/08/2015

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