The spirit of Christmas
Mariah Carey remixes, freezing temperatures, expensive Christmas markets, the smell of mulled wine and the aching thought of having to buy presents for friends and family, can only sound the alarm for one special holiday: Christmas, Noël, Weihnachten, Navidad.
What is the Holiday Season all about? If there is one underlying lesson to take note of from Charles Dickens’s classic novel “A Christmas Carol” it is that the spirit of Christmas is far more important than any sort of superficial materialistic object, namely money.
Deep values such as compassion, empathy for the poor, sharing, peace, patience and kindness on Earth should be the real gifts we cherish or give our loved ones, as we prepare to take leave over this festive season and ring in the New Year.
For this Christmas special, the European Research Executive Agency (REA) wishes to highlight these special Christmas values by showcasing them in various Horizon 20202 and Horizon Europe R&I projects.
With any luck, some of the projects themselves may inspire you to re-think how for example, you can make your Christmas this year more thoughtful or ecologically friendly.
Solidarity in times of hardship is a key pillar of Christmas
Homelessness is an endemic problem. That is why the HOME_EU project focused on generating knowledge about the ecology of long term-term homelessness and reversing it. Solidarity in the face of energy poverty this year is equally problematic. To help fight rising gas and electricity poverty, the EU-funded SecureGas project looks to protect the security of its gas infrastructures to make them resilient to both physical and cyber threats, ultimately ensuring the safety and security of Europe’s energy supply.
In standing with Ukraine,the MSCA EU-funded project UNAT project looks at helping the free movement and academic exchange of Ukrainian physicists, chemists and biologists from university and industrial sectors. They hope to carry out new possible cancer therapy approaches based on metal-carbon nanohybrides (NHs) for advanced theranostic applications.
Making sure mouths are fed on Christmas day is synonymous with the festive season. That is why InnovAfrica is looking to improve food nutrition by way of existing agricultural intensification systems using new dynamic approaches in Sub-Saharan Africa. The project hopes to reduce environmental impacts associated to intensive land farming.
Christmas symbolises unity, such as building relationships in shared geographical regions to better tackle sustainability crises. Edu4Climate is a Widening project that will lead capacity-building actions in two widening countries, Cyprus and Greece. It will strengthen their Higher Education European networks and their cooperation on research and innovation activities whilst addressing challenges relating to air pollution.
Gifts and food: making sure they’re sustainable!
Gluttony is a hall mark of the festive season, but it must reconcile with the battle that is global food waste. The REFRESH project shows companies, authorities, retailers, researchers and the public possible ways for minimizing food waste, keeping with the EU’s wastage reduction targets for 2030.
Almost all the food we eat is dependent on healthy soils and the EU-funded PREPSOIL aims to ensure soils in Europe are healthy. They are doing so by implementing the EU Research Mission ‘A Soil Deal for Europe’. PREPSOIL’s main objective is to raise awareness on soil, and this will be achieved through the co-creation and roll out of tools and spaces for interaction, knowledge-sharing and co-learning.
Christmas time can be a celebration of gastronomical excellence in produce. The EU-funded EuroFoodArt, part of the Promotion of agricultual products programme, seeks to enhance the competitiveness and consumption of agricultural products registered under the EU’s certification schemes PDO and PGI. It aims to raise the products’ profiles and increase their market share in France, Belgium and Italy. Similarly, the METROFOOD-PP project aims at providing high-quality services in support of the agri-food sector with specific reference to food quality, safety, traceability and sustainability.
Basic necessities such as clothes are a stable gift under the Christmas tree every season. However, at what cost are these products made? It is no secret that human rights abuses committed by fast fashion giants repeatedly harm the environment with their unsustainable practices. The MSCA EU-funded FReSCH project aims to move the industry towards environmentally sustainable practices, built on justice and fairness.
At REA, we understand that it’s been a tough year for everyone but want to strongly emphasise that there is much to be positive about heading into 2023.
However you may celebrate this December: Happy Holidays, joyeuses fêtes, schöne Feiertage to all from REA. See you in the New Year!
- Publication date
- 14 December 2022
- European Research Executive Agency