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Press Releases from Austrian Science Fund FWF (42 total)

Human rights: Extrajudicial complaint mechanisms particularily suitable

Reconciling corporate interests with human rights is a difficult endeavour. A research project funded by the Austrian Science Fund FWF demonstrates that non-judicial complaint mechanisms may be an adequate avenue for conflict resolution. For a number of years, companies have been facing increased pressure when it comes to human rights violations. Numerous multinational corporations such as Shell Oil, Texaco or Unocal were accused of such violations, resulting in years of

Body language in the classroom

Body language plays a crucial role, particularly in communication between teachers and students. This is the outcome of a project funded by the Austrian Science Fund FWF which focused on the hidden elements of teaching. An encouraging smile, a sceptical frown, a negating shake of the head: body language is very diverse and effective. With the discovery of mirror neurons, brain researchers corroborated its impact by demonstrating how these nerve cells

Art history – In the eye of the beholder

What viewers of a work of art see and feel is informed by their socio-cultural background and by how familiar they are with the image. Art historians have now verified this theory with the help of methods that are usually used in psychology. This project is funded by the Austrian Science Fund FWF. The influence culture has on an individual's experience and behaviour is a long-standing object of research

Targeting chronic pain

With the support of the Austrian Science Fund FWF, the neurophysiologist Ruth Drdla-Schutting is investigating the role astrocytes play in the genesis of chronic pain. With the help of innovative gene technology (DREADDs), scientists are tailoring treatment specifically to these cells that are the most numerous found in the central nervous system. Pain is an important protection system of the human body. But when it becomes chronic, as it frequently

News from Wittgenstein's world of ideas

In a project supported by the Austrian Science Fund FWF, the analysis of hitherto unpublished lecture notes from a student and friend of Wittgenstein's has resulted in an important publication providing new insights into central issues of the philosophers' work. The pieces are slowly coming together to form a picture. – Decades after the death of one of the 20th century's most influential philosophers, scientists are still discovering hitherto unpublished manuscripts

How Companies Work

Markus Reitzig puts theories of organisation to the test. In a research project funded by the Austrian Science Fund FWF the economist compares well-proven and novel organisational approaches and explores issues of authority and self-selection. The last twenty years have seen, alongside companies organised in the traditional manner, the emergence of new forms of organisation which are mainly driven by developments in information technology (IT). Examples include open-source projects such

Polish History from the Standpoint of "Ordinary People"

The historian Katherine Lebow investigates "everyman" autobiographies in Poland between the two World Wars. Her research project is funded by the Austrian Science Fund FWF. With her work, Lebow adds a new perspective to the history of Eastern Europe and documents a chapter in international science history. In the 1920s, Polish sociologists developed autobiography competitions as a way to preserve personal stories and biographical documents of workers, farming folk, young

450 m2 of Protist Diversity: Conservation Area for Newly Discovered Ciliates in …

A pond in Salzburg has been granted nature conservation status due to its unusually diverse population of ciliates. As the results of an Austrian Science Fund FWF research project show, this small water body is home to an excess of 100 different species of ciliates, i.e., single celled organisms that have many hair-like cilia (e.g. Paramecium, the slipper-shaped ciliate). The data, which have been published in the scientific journal Diversity,

"Pirate Broadcaster" on Jupiter – Radio Emissions Conceal Surprise

The discovery of a new radio emission from Jupiter is among the highlights of a three-year Austrian Science Fund FWF project. This project actually investigated the planetary radio-frequency emissions of the Earth and Saturn – and a strange radio emission from the planet Jupiter was discovered. Further results of the project, which has now been completed, included the identification of a new modulation in terrestrial radio emissions, as well as

Dictionary of Globalisation: A Guide to Global Village Culture

A new Dictionary of Globalisation (in German) provides both basic terminology and in-depth background information on the phenomenon of globalisation. As part of a Translational Research project funded by the Austrian Science Fund FWF, global interconnections and interdependent processes have been identified and made available for use by experts and the public – with resounding success: the book already reached seventh place on the most prominent German-language non-fiction bestseller list

OVERCOMING RESISTANCE – NEW OPTIONS FOR THE TREATMENT OF OVARIAN CANCER

Research on the development of a new therapeutic agent for the treatment of particularly aggressive ovarian cancer has produced some very promising initial findings. In laboratory tests, scientists have succeeded in reducing the resistance of the tumour cells to a natural resistance mechanism with the help of a monoclonal antibody. The results of this project, which was funded by the Austrian Science Fund FWF, have just been published. The project

WELCOME TO EUROPE'S CITIES? SYMPOSIUM SHEDS LIGHT ON THE INTEGRATION OF JEWISH I …

To what extent did Jewish immigrants at the start of the 20th century find a new home in European cities? Were they integrated or excluded? These key questions will be at the heart of a symposium in Vienna from 10 to 13 December. The event is bringing together more than 30 renowned migration researchers from the U.S., Israel and Europe to examine and compare Jewish immigrant integration throughout Europe. Rather

A New "Space Age": Globalisation Is Shaping Urban Development

"Space" is defined and shaped by social forces. A project at the Vienna University of Technology is presently investigating how current changes in these forces are impacting on urban development. This project, backed by the Austrian Science Fund FWF, is focusing primarily on the consequences of globalisation. Artists, architects and scientists are due to meet this weekend at an interdisciplinary symposium to discuss the initial results in Vienna, Austria. Space has

Under Observation - Restless Atoms Cause Materials to Age

Atoms have the habit of jumping through solids - a practice that physicists have recently been able to follow for the first time using a brand new method. This scientific advance was made possible thanks to the utilisation of cutting-edge X-ray sources, known as electron synchrotrons. The detailed findings of the project, backed by the Austrian Science Fund FWF, were recently published in the prestigious journal NATURE MATERIALS. The work

Paradigm Shift in Cancer Research? Focusing on Tumour Stem Cells and Their Forma …

A research project is currently in progress that focuses on tumour stem cells and their division. Until recently, no one had any idea of the existence of these types of cells, even though they can play a crucial role in the formation of tumours. A project backed by the Austrian Science Fund FWF is now investigating the critical role of an individual protein, whose absence can be of vital importance

Ouch! Abrupt Opioid Withdrawal Increases Pain Sensitivity

The abrupt withdrawal of morphine-like analgesics – opioids – can increase sensitivity to pain. Experiments have now shown that this effect is caused by a memory-like process, the long-term potentiation of synaptic strength in the spinal cord. The study, which was supported by the Austrian Science Fund FWF, also found ways of avoiding this increase in pain sensitivity. These pioneering results have now been published in the prestigious journal SCIENCE. Opioids

Intelligent DJ Emerges from Fundamental Research

A project supported by the Austrian Science Fund FWF has made the leap from research bench to shop shelf and is breathing musical intelligence into a digital audio system. This achievement has been made possible by a computer algorithm that is the first to enable the automatic creation of customised playlists directly in a hi-fi. The algorithm identifies specific musical characteristics such as rhythm and compares stored audio files for

Life Expectancy on the Rise - Even for Quantum States

For the first time, scientists have succeeded in measuring and controlling the lifetime of quantum states with potential use in optoelectronic chips. This achievement is highly significant for the ongoing development of this cutting-edge technology. The breakthrough involved measuring the intersubband relaxation time of charge states in silicon-germanium SiGe structures on a picosecond scale. Experiments have also shown that it is possible to control and extend these times. As a

“At Your Majesty’s Service!” – Management tools at the Imperial Court

Historians are now able to reveal detailed information that shows the Imperial Court in Vienna “managed” its sizeable staff of up to 3,000 with the efficiency of a modern-day company. They are currently researching “instruction manuals” that provided the court staff with precise details of the manner in which specific tasks were to be completed and by whom. By examining these volumes as part of an Austrian Science Fund (FWF)

Stable Thanks to Dynamics - DNA Component Resists UV Radiation

Complex computer simulations have, for the first time, allowed scientists to examine in detail the processes that help to ensure the stability of DNA when exposed to UV light. The findings, achieved primarily in relation to DNA component 9H-adenine, have been published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS). Moreover, in recognition of the high quality of the work, they have also been posted in the publication's newly

Carrying out Work & Research with an Intellectual Disability

A research project currently being carried out by the Austrian Science Fund FWF is examining how intellectually disabled people experience the process of entering and contributing to the working world. In contrast to the few comparable studies - which tend to adopt the perspective of professionals - this project focuses on the actual experiences of the individuals affected. As part of the project, people with intellectual disabilities are also involved

A Molecular Identity Crisis - A "Ribozyme Without RNA"

Not all enzymes that are assumed to require an RNA component in order to function do actually contain RNA. This surprising discovery was made during a project supported by the Austrian Science Fund FWF that focussed on the enzyme RNase P. Contrary to accepted scientific theory, the project team from Vienna has long believed that certain forms of RNase P do not contain any RNA. They have now succeeded in

EXTREME COMPETITIVE SPORTS - A FITNESS TEST FOR DNA

Unusually high levels of physical exertion do cause oxidative stress, but this does not result in any long-term damage to DNA. This is just one of the many outcomes revealed by an extraordinary research project funded by the Austrian Science Fund FWF that are now published. As part of this project, 42 male athletes took part both in a triathlon and an extensive biomedical study, which examined numerous physiological values

FRANCE: THE CREATION OF NEW FAMILY BIOGRAPHIES

For the first time, the question of whether France is experiencing an ever more diverse range of family models is to be investigated on the basis of complete life histories. These will reveal how family structures develop throughout the course of a lifetime and the various different family constellations which emerge in the process. The project - now under way as part of an Erwin Schrödinger Fellowship from the

SALAD & SALMONELLA - FOOD POISONING AS A SIDE DISH

Salmonella can also infect plant cells and successfully evade all the defence mechanisms of plants. As a result, cleaning the surfaces of raw fruits and vegetables, e.g. by washing, is not sufficient to protect against food poisoning. This surprising discovery, made during a project supported by the Austrian Science Fund FWF, has been published today. The results of the project are based on a model plant, which also represents the

(OLD) ALBANIAN - LIVING LEGACY OF A DEAD LANGUAGE?

According to the central hypothesis of a project undertaken by the Austrian Science Fund FWF, Old Albanian had a significant influence on the development of many Balkan languages. Intensive research now aims to confirm this theory. This little-known language is being researched using all available texts before a comparison with other Balkan languages is carried out. The outcome of this work will include the compilation of a lexicon providing an

SPERM "ON THE ROCKS" - USING SEMEN CRYOPRESERVATION TO PROTECT AMPHIBIAN SPECIES …

A current research project funded by the Austrian Science Fund FWF is working to optimise the cryopreservation of amphibian sperm. The project aims to protect endangered amphibian species, which can be successfully reproduced using frozen sperm. The African Clawed Frog and the Mexican Axolotl are being used as amphibian models. Throughout the world, almost 2,000 amphibian species are classed as endangered. Efforts to save these species in their natural

FUNGUS AGAINST FUNGUS - FUNGICIDE FROM PENICILLIUM

A fungus protein that attacks pathogenic fungi is the focal point of a project recently launched by the Austrian Science Fund FWF. As well as examining the structure of the protein, the project will also closely analyse the physiological changes that it causes in the cells of pathogenic fungi. Combined with findings from an earlier project, the new data could form the basis for the development of an effective treatment

Global or National? An International Comparison of Call Centres

In spite of globalisation, working conditions in call centres around the world are still governed by national regulations. That was the result of a major study supported by the Austrian Science Fund FWF, which looked at 2,400 call centres in 17 countries. As a follow-up to this study, the FWF is now funding further international analyses and case studies that will compare conditions in Austrian call centres with those in

Science Gone Wrong: Welteislehre

What we classify as science is determined by the times we live in. That has been shown by a project of the Austrian Science Fund FWF on the phenomenon of Welteislehre (the Cosmic Ice Theory). At the start of the 20th century, a broad swathe of the general public believed in this now discredited theory of what the universe is made of and how it was created. The findings of

Immigrant Children – an Unknown in Europe

A new internationally standardised research tool now makes it possible for the first time to assess the situation of the second generation – the children born of immigrant parentage in the country of migration – in Europe. The tool is currently being used in 8 countries, 15 cities and with more than 10,000 respondents throughout Europe. Thanks to financing from the Austrian Science Fund FWF, Austria is also playing a

Radical Research Results on the Oxidation of Vitamin E

Recent research results have challenged conventional understanding of the oxidation of the \"radical scavenger\", vitamin E. Cutting-edge analysis methods have revealed that the intermediates commonly believed to be involved in the process do not occur. This surprising finding has been systematically documented and published as part of a project supported by the Austrian Science Fund FWF. The new findings are also extremely important for a follow-up project that is focusing

Genetic Engineering – Influence of EU Population Growing

National movements campaigning against genetic engineering are helping to democratise the EU. That was the result of a recently completed Austrian Science Fund FWF project led by an independent researcher. According to the study\'s results, the almost simultaneous mobilisation of national populations reinforces public protest at a European level. The project therefore provides an optimistic outlook for the growing influence of the general population on EU decision-making processes. The controversy surrounding

Liver Tumours – Good & Evil is Decided by Two Signalling Pathways

The linking of two signalling pathways in the cells of liver tumours has a clear influence on their malignancy. Activation of the platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) messenger molecule is decisive for this linking. This results related to the development of liver cancer was generated during a current project by the Austrian Science Fund FWF and has been published in the Journal Oncogene. When the signalling pathways in liver tumour cells

Gene Analysis & Biostatistics – 3 Is Better Than 2 But Not Than 4

Three-stage procedures offer an optimal relationship between costs and benefits in analysing genetic influences in diseases and therapies, a fact that has major practical importance for the ever growing number of gene analyses. This finding from a current project by the Austrian Science Fund FWF was presented at the 5th International Conference on Multiple Comparison Procedures (MCP2007) in Vienna, which recently drew to a close. The conference, held at the

Nanoscience in Austria leads the way

Nickel-rhodium nanowires exhibit surprisingly high reactivity towards oxygen. As a result, they offer future development potential for new types of chemical catalysts. These findings were the result of research by an Austrian and Swedish research group who succeeded in growing one-dimensional nickel stripes on a rhodium substrate in a controlled manner. The team is part of the national research network \"Nanoscience on Surfaces\", which has been supported by the FWF

Language Research in Practice – Women in the "Waiting Room"

It is more difficult for doctors to diagnose complex sources of pain in women than in men and the reasons for this are rooted in language use. This finding, which is of major importance for both doctors and patients, is revealed by a now completed project by the FWF Austrian Science Fund. The results of this research into how the two genders typically describe pain are to be presented at

International Conference Will Highlight Societal and Economic Impact of Basic Re …

International Conference Will Highlight Societal and Economic Impact of Basic Research An international conference dealing with the impact of basic research will take place on 10 - 11 May 2007 at the Alte Aula, Vienna, Austria. The conference organised by the Austrian Science Fund in cooperation with the European Science Foundation will explore how and when basic research, society and the economy interact. International Experts will examine methods for

New Study Reveals that the Nation State Remains Strong

Vienna, 12th March 2007 - Even in times of globalization, the nation state remains the most important social unit. This was the conclusion drawn by a recent project carried out by the Austrian Science Fund FWF, refuting previous claims that the state is in decline. The project clearly shows that a country’s citizens have more in common with one another than people from culturally related regions spanning several countries –

Strong Feelings – Latest Findings on Pain Sensitivity

The recent discovery of the amplification of even low levels of pain has prompted the organisation of an upcoming symposium in Vienna on "Risk Assessment in Pain Therapy". This international expert meeting will aim to optimise pain therapy by taking account of this previously unknown phenomenon. As a result the findings of an Austrian Science Fund FWF project, which were recently published in SCIENCE, may soon be benefiting patients who

How Red Apples Mark a Cognitive Leap Forward

Children aged about four suddenly become capable of recognising that an object can be described differently depending on how it is viewed. This apparently simple skill requires cognitive changes that are not far enough advanced until then. A project carried out by the Department of Psychology at the University of Salzburg with support from the Austrian Science Fund FWF reached this finding. The research could also contribute to an improved

No Man Is An Island – SCIENCE Features Simron Singh, Social Scientist & Suppor …

The current issue of SCIENCE features an article on Simron Singh, a human ecologist and anthropologist, and his work on the Nicobar Islands both before and after the massive tsunami hit Southern Asia in December 2004. In the wake of the disaster, Singh was asked by tribal elders to help them rebuild their society. He helped in many ways and the Austrian Science Fund FWF supported some of his activities.