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Spain is one of the world's leading nations in biotechnology research, but it lags behind in technology transfer and the creation of new companies. The Spanish government is hoping to bring about a radical change in these statistics. To do so, it is focusing on the Israeli biotech sector, a world leader in creating start-ups, as the inspiration for designing an entrepreneurial and business model based on innovation. Not a bad strategy, but it should not remain unchallenged. Let's have a look.

The dawn of a new era for oil in North America: from insecurity in energy supply to insecurity in market access

Industries March 31st, 2014, Benjamin Israel & David Layzell / Research Coordinator, Energy Systems Analysis, ISEEE, University of Calgary & Professor and Director, CESAR Initiative, University of Calgary

The resurgence of global oil prices in the early 2000's has created the conditions for the rapid deployment of a number of new energy technologies. In the last few years radical changes affected supply, competition, demand and social license. North America is now entering a new era in which economic, environmental and energy policy will not be defined by insecurity in energy supply, but by insecurity in market access.

It's understood, the twenty-first century will be the century of robots. And there is a lot of talk concerning a subfamily of these machines: drones. While these remotely piloted aircrafts were first developed in a military context, there seems to be no end to their civilian uses. This development goes hand in hand with a radical change in business models, marked in particular by a sharp drop in prices and an increasing variety of uses. So what are the current prospects?

Since its humble beginnings in 2002, the London technology scene has become a vibrant centre of innovation and entrepreneurship. With its legacy of international industry and diverse population, London is not only an international economic capital, it is also a jumping point to the rest of Europe, Africa and Asia. As a relatively newcomer to the industry, the London tech scene is still eager to prove itself. Its close-knit community attracts start-ups from all over the world, and as recent news indicates, thousands of entrepreneurs, many from the US, are launching their businesses in the British capital.

After missing the first and second industrial revolution, Africa looks set to adopt the third. By combining low-cost services, live information and simple innovations, by making these features available to farms of all sizes, the mobile Internet can allow African agriculture to move up a gear in order to meet its immense needs.

The MEMS revolution

Industries December 9th, 2013, Benedetto Vigna / Executive Vice President, General Manager, Analog, MEMS & Sensors Group, STMicroelectronics

MEMS are to the world of smartphones and tablets what transistors were to consumer electronics in the 1960s. They're everywhere! A series of technological breakthroughs and industrial gambles paved the way to a flourishing market. An insight into this revolution by one its key players, STMicro's Benedetto Vigna.

Blind-alley logics for electricity in Europe

Industries December 3rd, 2013, Pierre Audigier / General Mining Engineer

The objective of the EU is to instate and implement a unified energy market by 2015. But opening markets and connecting grids may sound contradictory with unilateral decisions such as Germany's accelerated energy transition. Thus we see that there are two logics in Brussels, and with the increasing fraction and importance of renewables, they are now diverging more and more. It's time for the EU to look for technical as well as political solutions.

Subsea nuclear power stations: a new future for nuclear energy?

Industries November 15th, 2013, Bernard Planchais / Chief Operating Officer, Executive Vice President, DCNS

Small modular reactors are seen as presenting a possible route to future nuclear power production, especially in developing countries. Some manufacturers even started to design subsea power stations. In terms of advantages, costs and risk management, it's a completely new equation.

Advances in neuroscience have shed a new light on our understanding of classic issues about learning. How does it work? Is it different for adults and children? During a recent lecture, Stanislas Dehaene, a neuroscience researcher, gave an overview of recent discoveries in this field. A revolution in the making.

Tablet sales showed their first sequential decline ever in the second quarter of this year, according to research firm IDC. Apple sold fewer iPads than expected in its most recent quarter. Barnes & Noble’s Nook e-reader sales fell 20% in the fiscal first quarter ended August 20, two months after the company announced it will no longer make color versions of Nook, only black and white ones. And analysts are worrying about whether smartphone profit margins can hold up as buyer fatigue sets in.

Did you know that in Denmark, thirty plants consuming a yearly 3.5 million tons of waste cover 5% of domestic electricity demand and 20% of heat? The production of energy through waste recovery and recycling is booming. But so diverse are the technologies that a closer look is needed to assess the potential of the celebrated urban mine.

Thanks to scientific breakthroughs, more than 16,000 desalination plants are producing water in 150 countries, including in China, India, Australia, Chile and the U.S. The industry is booming.

Betting on all-electric vehicles: the whys and wherefores

Industries June 5th, 2013, Béatrice Foucher / Vice President of the Electric Vehicle Program, Renault

There is a future in electric cars, but which one? Several technologies are competing and the major manufacturers have opted for very different strategies. Renault distinguishes itself from others by going all-electric. Beatrice Foucher, Director of their Electric Vehicle program, explains that choice and shares the insights of a carmaker on a changing landscape.

Revenge of the brick

Industries May 15th, 2013, François Amzulesco / Chief Technical Officer, Terreal

Fifteen years ago, with the advent of the “new economy”, brick and mortar businesses embodied the ancient world. But the energy transition has just turned the tables: the construction sector is going through a phase of unprecedented innovation. And the industry of brick and tile is at the heart of this revolution – a revolution which focuses on the energy performance of buildings but also on the life cycle of materials.

Of trains and climate

Industries May 2nd, 2013, Jean-Louis Jourdan, Alexandre Kaddouri, Joëlle Tournebize / Sustainable Development Direction, SNCF

In the field of rail transport, climate change raises very concrete challenges. The infrastructure is already under heavy stress and suffers from waves of heat that distort the rails and from floods that can disrupt traffic. Passenger comfort raises additional problems. How can we adapt to these changes? How can we anticipate them? Major rail companies have been thinking about these problems for several years and are beginning to design new strategies of action on the short, medium and long term.

China's leaders called in November for average personal incomes in the nation to double by 2020, giving domestic consumption a stronger role the normally export-reliant economy and challenging often-avoided local brands to catch up with foreign rivals.

Mineral Resources: should we fear a shortage?

Industries February 12th, 2013, Patrice Christmann / Deputy director of BRGM's corporate strategy directorate, in charge of BRGM's mineral resources strategy

Our great-grandparents barely used a dozen different metals. Today, household objects contain virtually the entire periodic table. Mineral raw materials are vital to the functioning of a modern economy, in particular where deploying new technologies is concerned. The prices for some metals have experienced meteoric rises in recent years, and competition is fierce for access to resources. As a matter of fact, what do we know about these resources exactly?

Rare Earth Metals: it’s the value chain that is at stake, not just the supply chain

Industries February 12th, 2013, Patrice Christmann / Deputy director of BRGM's corporate strategy directorate, in charge of BRGM's mineral resources strategy

Among critical mineral resources, rare earth metals occupy a special place because they are part of the core of many future technologies: electric cars, smartphones, wind turbines. Resources are now concentrated in the hands of a few players. Can this situation be reversed? What are the risks entailed for industrial sectors downstream of production?

Shale Gas: Any Alternatives to Hydraulic Fracturing?

Industries January 14th, 2013, Gilles Pijaudier-Cabot / Professor, University of Pau, director, Institute for the sustainable engineering of fossil ressources

In the United States and in Europe, hydraulic fracturing is one of the most controverted aspects of the shale gas debate. The dialogue of the deaf around the impacts on the environment generates many overstatements from both camps. The arguments put forward by the two sides deserve attention, but one would be wrong to stay stuck there: research is already in motion and new techniques are emerging.

Chemicals, IT and Other Disruptive Innovations: What’s Up in Fire Safety?

Industries October 31st, 2012, Philippe Mangon / Technical Director, Siemens Building Technologies

How does one manage fire hazards in a hospital, an airport or on a plane? If detection technologies are evolving, the key today lies in consolidating and processing information, with Danger Management Systems which also monitor security breach risks and transit management. By specializing in the design of system architectures, major industrial players have evolved into becoming service providers. Fire protection, thus, increasingly appears as one of the most technical elements of a wider business line: security.

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