ERC grants for commercialising technology
Sixteen researchers from Dutch universities and academic hospitals are to receive EU money which they may use to translate their scientific insights into commercial applications.
This was announced by the European Research Council (ERC). The grants for a proof of concept amount to a total of EUR 25 million for 166 laureates. They will receive EUR 150,000 each. Two of the 16 Dutch winners are from TU Delft.
The money will help them see if they can bring their ideas to the market, for example with a patent or a prototype. The EU hopes this will encourage research to lead to innovation and economic growth.
Dr Arjen Jakobi (Bionano science at the Faculty of Applied Sciences) received the ERC Proof of Concept grant for the further development of electron microscopy at low temperatures (cryo-EM). The funding will allow him to determine the structure of large biological molecules such as proteins and antibodies. Proteins are the cogs in the machinery of a cell. They only function if they have exactly the right shape, but that shape has not been directly perceptible. With cryogenic electron microscopy, however, it can be done. Up to now, however, it has required a relatively large amount of protein. The chip that Jakobi will develop should change this. It requires a million times less protein for exposure. The development of the cryogenic chip is the first step in finding out whether this method has commercial potential.
Prof. Jantien Stoter leads the 3D Geoinformation Group at the Faculty of Architecture. She received a large ERC start-up grant of EUR 1.5 million in 2016 to develop 3D models of the living environment for urban applications over a period of five years. Her ERC research team has developed a method to automatically reconstruct detailed 3D models of buildings from a large area. These are available as open data for the whole of the Netherlands (3dbag.nl). The current grant explores the possibility of keeping these 3D models available as open data in the future, in collaboration with the spin-off 3DGI that develops and offers additional services and options. (HOP, BB / Delta, JW)