The Vienna-Bratislava region is home to a broad spectrum of universities and research facilities. In order to improve exchange between institutions, various cross-border cooperations have been founded and financially supported in recent years. Unlike traditional research funding, which is solely directed towards outcomes, the focus of these projects was placed on establishing long-term networks that will serve as a foundation for future collaboration.

Did you know that metal can be turned into foam? Because of its lightness and insulating properties, aluminum foam is very popular in the automobile industry and in architecture. Innovative materials such as this are being optimized and can be found in many modern products. Information on various components, their related research and processing was compiled in a material efficiency wiki for  the project INNOVMAT. An expert data base spans an extensive network of professionals working on different materials and techniques.

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Another project collecting innovative ideas is SmartNet: This data base allows you to browse through ingenious inventions such as bioplastic made from banana peel and zero-energy mobile phones. At the same time, businesses, educational institutions, and skilled workers are receiving support through targeted networking to promote greater material efficiency. For this purpose, pilot projects are being initiated and coached.

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However, modern production sites and the operation of facilities and vehicles are a common source of contaminants to which people are involuntarily and sometimes unknowingly exposed. Contaminants do not only enter organisms directly (for example by inhaling), but can also be assimilated indirectly by ingestion. Within the UM-MUKI project framework, surveys were conducted on the environmental pollution levels that humans are exposed to in the course of their lives. For this purpose, the project compared contaminant levels in newborn babies and their mothers. The findings were issued in a brochure containing practical tips on how to keep contaminant exposure to a minimum.

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Advancing technology makes our life easier, but it also makes us lazy. Physical inactivity and an imbalanced diet are some of the consequences, with lifestyle diseases such as diabetes are on the rise.  8–10 percent of people living in large cities in the European Union currently suffer from high blood sugar levels. Other than a poorer quality of life, diabetics also have a higher risk of a damaged genetic makeup, which can lead to serious diseases, including even cancer. But there are ways to prevent this. In the project DIAPLANT the universities of Vienna and Bratislava proved that green vegetables and plant oil can have a positive influence on the regeneration of genetic material, thus preventing further diseases. Details of the study and practical every day tips can be found in the article or on the internet.

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The Cross Border Archives (CrArc) Project has also taken interest in our “heritage”, but from a historical perspective, not a medical one. Want to know more about your ancestors? Large amounts of information can be found in handwritten civil registries that were often managed by parishes and contain births, weddings, and fatalities. Additional historical documents concerning land ownership, commercial activities or dispute resolutions can be found in different archives on a state, regional or community level.

The ICARUS association, the Austrian State Archives, the association ‘Netzwerk Geschichte’ of the Lower Austrian archives, and the Interior Ministry of the Slovak Republic have made selected collections available in an online database. Many of the documents that are now available to researchers and the general public have until now either only been accessible on site or, due to their condition, not at all.

The oldest document is a type of sales deed from a Lower Austrian archive and dates back to the year 1246. It deals with the payment of ‘Gülten’, a medieval form of mortgage on property: “Konrad von Bergau pays Gülten to Konrad von Himberg-Ebersdorf and names Ulrich von Haßbach as a bailsman.” Similarly, the Slovak economic records contain entries on taxes, inventories, guild statutes, payment records and contracts from the years 1364–1538. The youngest documents date back to the twentieth century.

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