Measuring the Impossible

Measuring the Impossible: A NEST PATHFINDER Initiative (PDF). ‘The progress of scientific discovery goes hand-in-hand with the developments of technologies and instrumentation for measurement and analysis. The practical challenge facing scientists nowadays is often to ‘measure the impossible’.

This initiative is about supporting interdisciplinary research and novel investigative methods that could present prospects for advancing the measurement of multidimensional phenomena which are mediated by human interpretation and/or perception – to be able to advance the frontiers of the science of measurement and to respond to future requirements for measuring properties such as comfort, naturalness, perceived quality, feelings, body language and consciousness.

The emphasis is placed on the capability to measure the impossible, with the difficulty lying in the multifaceted character and multidisciplinarity of the research needs of physical, chemical and biological metrology. The Measuring the Impossible initiative aims to promote the creation of new interdisciplinary partnerships between researchers stemming from a wide range of research fields because the goals can only be achieved by pooling the creative potential of these researchers with their different scientific backgrounds.’

NEST (New and Emerging Science and Technology) is a new activity in the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6). It aims to support unconventional and visionary research with the potential to open new fields for European science and technology, as well as research on potential problems uncovered by science.

NEST is designed to be flexible and interdisciplinary research is encouraged. There are no restrictions on the scientific fields to be addressed except that the research carried out under NEST should cut across or lie outside the thematic priority areas. NEST will not support projects which simply cannot find their home in one of FP6’s thematic priorities.

What is a PATHFINDER initiative? ‘These are larger-scale targeted initiatives within newly emerging fields of science and technology, each involving several complementary projects.
The aim is to help European scientists take the lead in pioneering new fields, and to build up European capability in such fields by providing an “early stage funding”. NEST will focus here on clearly-identified areas with substantial longer-term promise for Europe. In cases where PATHFINDER initiatives prove their potential, this should also prepare the ground for wider support to new fields in future European research programmes.’

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