Harnessing the potential of Archaea - Training Europe's next visionaries for an innovative and sustainable future

Lead Research Organisation: UNIVERSITY OF EXETER
Department Name: Biosciences


Archaea form one of the three domains of life, next to bacteria and eukaryotes. Archaea have unique cellular characteristics that allow them to thrive in extreme environments, for example at high pressures, salt concentrations or temperatures. Although their biochemical and metabolic properties show great potential for a wide range of biotechnological applications, our lack of knowledge about the structure and function of the archaeal cell surface and its role in formation of communities, such as biofilms, is currently hampering the large-scale industrial use of these organisms. Indeed, several prominent questions remain unanswered due to the small scientific community working in the field, and the lack of methods and technologies enabling research under extreme conditions.

ARCTECH proposes the first training initiative on archaea, aiming to foster the next generation of European visionaries in 'fundamental archaeal research and their application in biotechnology'. The 11 Doctoral Candidates (DCs) will address key knowledge gaps and develop methods and technologies for archaeal research, which are needed to unleash the industrial potential that archaea hold. The scientific outcomes of ARCTECH will be applicable to several biotech areas, such as Green Energy production, Sustainable Biomaterials, Biocorrosion, Enzyme production and Drug Delivery.

This project will directly impact the European Higher Education Sector as the first research training initiative embarking into the unchartered world of archaea. The DCs will be trained by world experts from European academic and industrial institutions, benefiting from strong interdisciplinary exposure (e.g. microbiology, bioimaging, biogas production). These entrepreneurial, innovative, and resilient DCs will be of great value both to the academic and non-academic sectors, bringing unique capacity to inspire/spawn new fields of innovation in European industries.


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