Maastricht Economic and social Research and  training centre on Innovation and Technology

Breaking silos, nudging communities: The SITE4Society adventure
UNU-MERIT's Site4Society (S4S) aims to foster home-grown social innovation. It starts from the premise that knowledge need not be cold or aloof, but can in fact serve various social challenges. In the case of S4S, we address the clear lack of networks between academics from different disciplines and between social scientists and the rest of the world ? on the SDGs in particular. So the main aim is to break open silos and start unconventional conversations through interactive workshops.

For our second S4S event held last week we hosted speakers from across the local innovation system, including Brightlands (an institution supported by the Limburg government to nurture start-ups), (getting to be a start-up), DSM corporate sustainability division (a Dutch multinational present in 50 countries), GoodGood (a social enterprise), LOCOtuinen (a cooperative), Bandito Espresso (a social enterprise) and Maastricht University (an academic institution!). Find out more about this initiative by clicking the link below.

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  • Lithium-ion batteries that don't explode a step closer
    Exploding lithium-ion batteries may soon be a thing of the past with the development of a safer, lighter version that matches the power level needed to run everyday devices.

    The main problem with existing lithium-ion batteries is the conducting liquid — through which ions are exchanged between positive and negative electrodes — is flammable. So, if the battery overheats or shorts out, there's a risk the liquid can ignite.

    Now a team of researchers from the University of Maryland and the US Army Research Laboratory have found a way around this, by developing a battery that contains a water-based salt solution instead of a flammable liquid. They're not the first to try this approach, but until now, these water-solution-based lithium-ion batteries have only had limited power.

    They say their new lithium-ion battery that has succeeded in generating four volts — the amount generated by existing lithium-ion batteries used in everyday household products — but without the safety risks. They achieved this by using an extremely salty water-based solution, and developing a special coating that protects the battery's electrodes from direct interaction with the water-based solution.

    The special coating on the surface of the electrode also repels water molecules and is self-healing, which means even if the battery is damaged, a violent reaction between the electrodes and the solution is much less likely.

    ABC News / Joule    September 07, 2017