STW funds university research

Two TU Delft research programmes received a total of 6.2 million euros in funding from the STW Technology Foundation and industry-based business community.

The UPON (Understanding Processes Using Operando Nanoscopy) and EUROS (Excellence in Uncertainty Reduction of Offshore wind Systems) research programmes received 2.8 and 3.4 million euros respectively from the STW Technology Foundation and industry based business community. STW received a total of 41 submissions and awarded grants to six of them.

UPON is centred on the idea of the importance of electron microscopy (EM) as a tool in “the process of optimizing materials properties through characterization of the nanostructure of materials” according to project member Dr. Frans Tichelaar, National Centre for High Resolution Electron Microscopy. The ability to manipulate the nanostructure of a material and observe the resulting change in performance can lead to improvement at various process stages for optimising a material’s properties, potentially revolutionising both academic and industry research and design techniques. Given the large gaps between theoretical research in the vacuum state required for EM and situation based application, new techniques have been created in recent years to improve in-situ EM experiments to minimise this disconnect. UPON aims to use this grant to develop market ready prototypes of in-situ (liquid) nanoreactors for scanning and transmission EM for use in both industrially and scientifically important systems including bio-medical applications. According to Tichelaar it is not only the financial element of the funding that is important but also the participation of the companies involved which indicates a market commitment to the research.

EUROS is a programme aimed at reducing the inhibiting factor of cost in building offshore wind farms. According to the funding submission, EUROS aims to develop tools and models that can be used as add-ons to existing design and planning software, ensuring rapid market implementation. The integrated approach is the most important element of the EUROS programme according to Professor van Kuik, Scientific Director Duwind and EUROS programme leader; with two main factors distinguishing this programme approach: firstly in design – by reducing uncertainties that cause over conservative safety factors and secondly in improving efficiency by focussing on planning and costs of installation and maintenance logistics. EUROS is unique in its approach, bringing together knowledge and expertise from universities, knowledge institutes and industry.

As a branch of NWO, the STW Technology Foundation awarded grants to UPON and EUROS within the framework of the ‘Perspective Programmes’. Research projects within this Programme are focussed on “researchers and industry actively working together to realise joint technological breakthroughs” according to Anke Stekelenburg, Perspective coordinator. STW made a total of 15 million euros available for research with approximately 80 industry based businesses including Philips, DSM en Royal HaskoningDHV providing an additional 7.6 million euros.

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