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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  • Mechanical fluctuations track how bacteria respond to antibiotics
    A new piezoelectric sensor can identify the most appropriate antibiotic for an infection in less than an hour, according to physicists in the US. While conventional antimicrobial tests can take days, the device detects changes in bacteria motion upon initial exposure to antibiotics. Faster antibiotic selection could improve treatment outcomes and help tackle antimicrobial resistance.

    Antimicrobial susceptibility testing (AST) is used to identify the most appropriate antibiotic for a bacterial infection. Current tests are constrained by bacterial growth rates, as they examine the effect of antibiotics on the growth of bacteria colonies cultivated from patient samples. However, the two to three days this takes to produce results can cause problems.

    To accelerate AST, researchers from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Boulder, Colorado are developing a biophysical method that can measure changes in mechanical fluctuations of bacteria.

    Their sensor is based on thin quartz crystal disc, with an electrode on each surface. One of the electrodes is used to deliver an electrical signal that is close to the disc's resonance frequency, while the other measures the piezoelectric voltage created by the resulting crystal vibrations. The technique involves coating the disk in bacteria. Fluctuations in the mechanical properties of the organisms affect the frequency of the output signal, which in turn can be used to detect changes in the bacteria population when exposed to the antibiotics.

    Physics World / Scientific Reports    September 28, 2017