Twelve young TU Delft researchers are awarded Veni grants

The Veni grant allows young researchers to work on their ideas for three years. Twelve researchers at TU Delft are given this opportunity. What will they do?

Among last year's Veni laureates were scientists from the Applied Sciences Faculty. (Foto: Marjolein van der Veldt)

The chance of being awarded a Veni is small. NWO, the scientific research funder, honoured just 166 of the 1,151 submissions. About 14% of the applicants also received the EUR 250,000 award. With 12 grants, TU Delft came in fourth place, after the Universities of Leiden, Amsterdam and Utrecht.

The TU Delft Venis were awarded to:

Miguel Bessa (Mechanical, Material & Maritime Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering)
Sustainable plastics using artificial intelligence

In an ideal world, plastic products are separated and recycled into pure plastics for reuse in new products. In reality, recycled plastics are a mix of different low grade plastics. This research uses artificial intelligence to qualify and design blends for better performance.

Mark van de Ruit (Mechanical, Material & Maritime Engineering, Biomechatronics & Human-Machine Control)
How does our central nervous system control our reflexes while we are moving?

We use our reflexes continuously to move properly and to deal with any disruptions. But how does our central nervous system control these reflexes? Researchers are replacing the old-fashioned reflex hammer with new, quantitative methods of measuring to help improve knowledge and bring about the better diagnosis of movement disorders such as after a stroke.

Giulia Giordano (Mechanical, Material & Maritime Engineering, Delft Center for Systems and Control)
Non-linear interconnected systems: a structural approach

Spreading of diseases, cyber attacks or opinions in our hyper-connected world. Giordano says that dynamic systems are everywhere. She will devise fundamental mathematical descriptions that will not only increase our understanding, but will give us greater control over a wide spectrum of dynamic systems.

Anne-Catherine Dieudonné (Civil Engineering & Geosciences, Engineering Geology)
The self-healing capacity of clay

Clay is a super power – it heals wounds and close tears in clay naturally. The researcher is studying the fundamental mechanisms of clay’s self-healing capacity to be able to better predict the long-term stability of geotechnical constructions such as depots for radioactive waste, dikes and landfill sites.

Frederik Zietzschmann (Civil Engineering & Geosciences, Sanitary Engineering)
Removing problematic water polluting substances

Industrial and pharmaceutical waste are becoming increasingly more difficult to remove from water. Zietzschmann intends to develop new materials and processes to address this, thereby improving the water quality for human health and the environment.

Masoud Babaie (Electrical Engineering, Mathematics & Computer Sciences, Applied Quantum Architectures)
Miniature radio for Internet of things applications (PaTRIOT)

Healthcare could benefit from miniaturising wireless, implantable medical equipment to sizes smaller than one millimetre. The size of transmitters is currently limited by off-chip crystal oscillators. Babaie’s proposal introduces a new digital intensive solution to break down this barrier and make fully integrated and implantable radios.

Dr Casper Bach Poulsen (Electrical Engineering, Mathematics & Computer Sciences, Software Technology)
Composable and Safe-by-Construction programming of language definitions

Typed languages – the programme languages in which the type of variable must be determined in advance – are essential aids in developing robust software as they do not allow certain errors to be made. But the complexity of the definition and the composition of the typed language are obstacles to language evolution and improvement. This research subject will reduce this complexity.

Michele Laureni (Applied Sciences, Environmental Biotechnology)
Microbial N2O respiration against climate change

Nitrous oxide (N2O) is a powerful greenhouse gas that is 300 times more powerful than CO2. Denitrification is the only known microbial route that can turn N2O into harmless nitrogen. This project involves a multi-disciplinary approach to increase our fundamental understanding of the principles of denitrification as a tool to address N2O emissions.

Zoë Robaey (Applied Sciences, Biotechnology and Society)
Taking the right course of action, without knowing everything

Innovating using living organisms is never fully controllable in biotechnology. How can professionals therefore act responsibly if they do not have all the information? Robaey presents a framework to develop the qualities needed to take the right course of action in these situations.

Thomas Burdyny (Applied Sciences, Materials for Energy Conversion and Storage)
Commercial CO2 electrolysis equipment

Our current energy infrastructure and economy needs a rapid transition from fossil fuels to more environmentally friendly alternatives. Sustainable electricity sources may be useful in this revolution, but many fuels and chemicals cannot be captured directly. To this end, researchers are developing efficient systems that use electricity to turn CO2 directly into chemicals.

Paola De Magistris (Applied Sciences, Bionanoscience)
The great escape

Hereditary information is copied from DNA to RNA molecules that leave the cell nucleus, as a template for producing proteins. De Magistris intends to get to the bottom of how RNA molecules leave the cell nucleus by imitating the cell nuclei using a minimalist system. She hopes that her research will throw new light on transported illnesses.

Feijia Yin (Aerospace Engineering, Flight Performance and Propulsion)
Fly green: the climate friendly propulsion technology of the future

The impact on the climate of alternative fuels and electric propulsion for sustainable aviation is a double edged sword, says Yin. After all, CO2 is only responsible for less than 50% of the total radiation in aviation. Yin will evaluate the climate impact of alternative aviation technologies, including the combined effects of CO2 and non-CO2.

Science editor Jos Wassink

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