A new early warning against bioterrorist attacks

Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum is partner in the EU-project DINAMICS

DINAMICS is an EU-funded research project which objective is to enhance the safety of water supplies through the use of nanotechnology. The DINAMICS project partners are planning to develop a special biosensor to precisely analyze water quality and detect hazardous substances. Partly based on nanotechnology, the new system aims to prevent bioterrorist attacks on drinking water supplies in the future – by setting up an early warning system to identify infectious agents such as bacteria and viruses. DINAMICS envisages a portable measuring device to reliably monitor drinking water supplies at special events. For example, it could be used at major sporting events to ensure participants security. Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum (SEZ) is one of the partners involved in the project.

The project was approved by the EU thanks to the support from the Steinbeis-Europa- Zentrum during the application submission and contract negotiations with the European Commission. DINAMICS intents to make an important contribution to the safety technology of the future. To fulfil the project, partners will receive around € 4.5 million of EU-subvention between 2007 and 2011.

As well as integrating a variety of cuttingedge technologies such as nanotechnology, microsystem technology, signal processing, and micro- and molecular biology DINAMICS focuses primarily on developing cost-efficient solutions so that new equipment can be used in a broad spectrum of applications.

DINAMICS is developing an automatic warning system to identify dangerous infectious agents quickly. Early prototypes, based on a DNA-microchip used in combination with microfluidic processes and signal processing techniques controlled by special software have already been produced. The project partners are confident that their findings will have a significant impact on the monitoring of drinking water. They could also find their way into the pharmaceutical industry, food and beverage manufacturing, and the medical diagnosis of infectious diseases.

In total, the DINAMICS project involves 12 partners from 8 countries: Germany, the UK, Italy, the Netherlands, Austria, Slovakia, Turkey and Hungary. The innovative partners range from SMEs to universities and research institutions. The project is being coordinated by Lambda (Labor fur molekularbiologische DNA-Analysen GmbH), a medium-sized biotech company from the Austrian town of Freistadt. The SEZs role in the project is to manage knowledge transfer, administration and finances.

To set the ball rolling, four in-house training sessions on nanotechnology, microfluidics/ simulation and system architecture were organized with support from SEZ consultants. They also coordinated a series of meetings between project partners throughout Europe.

As well as managing intellectual property rights, the SEZ is also responsible for overseeing dissemination activities, such as partner attendance at conferences and involvement in scientific publications. In February 2010, the SEZ organized and moderated a workshop in Istanbul on the analysis of relevant research results. Working closely with selected partners, technological road maps focusing on cell lysis and optical detection technologies were produced. Further, a database was set up to store pertinent project data and capture technology observations. The SEZ also writes official annual reports for the consortium, which detail finances and activities for presentation to the European Commission.

European projects sometimes involve more than 20 partners from a variety of countries and organisational backgrounds. Key to the success of every project is the professionalism of project management. Companies have to plan project steps precisely and invest in the management of highly complex project structures. Especially in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), this part of the project alone can seem almost insurmountable. This is where SEZ offers support in managing administrative and financial aspects of projects, as well as managing issues related to innovation.


Prof. Dr. Norbert Höptner
Dr. Jonathan Loeffler
Dr. Sabine Müller

Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum (Karlsruhe)

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