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Home > Press > Molecular nano-factories research receives ERC Grant of 2 million Euros

Photo: Maarten Schuth
Photo: Maarten Schuth

Abstract:
The European Research Council (ERC) of the European Union has awarded prof. dr. Bert Meijer of the Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) in the Netherlands an Advanced Grant of two million Euros. The prestigious grant of the European Union is only awarded to the best European researchers.

Molecular nano-factories research receives ERC Grant of 2 million Euros

The Netherlands | Posted on November 27th, 2009

The money allows Meijer to explore the area of non-covalent synthesis of functional supramolecular systems. These supramolecular systems can be seen as small molecular factories built from molecules connected via weak interactions. They possess unique properties and have a range of possible applications.

With the grant, Meijer will appoint six new PhD students and two postdoctoral coworkers. Meijer: "I'm very happy and feel grateful for being awarded this grant. I see it as a great stimulus for our group to continue the science and engineering we're doing."

Meijers group introduced a new class of materials, called supramolecular polymers. He showed for the first time that polymers, that are not consisting of long chains in which the repeating units are bound by strong (covalent) interactions but connected by weaker (non-covalent) interactions, can have very good and unique materials properties. The research foreseen will allow him to make the next step in the development of these materials and to introduce more complex functionalities to these supramolecular systems.

The research project will start early in 2010 and has two main directions. By studying the mechanisms of the formation of supramolecular polymers, the scope and limitations of this new class of polymer systems will be investigated. This knowledge will be used to design, synthesize and self-assemble materials that dynamically adapt their properties upon external stimuli. These materials will also be applied as biomaterials in close cooperation with dr. Patricia Dankers of the TU/e, to make parts of a prototype bioartificial kidney. Hopefully this will lead to an improvement of current dialysis techniques and later maybe also to portable dialysis equipment.

Another challenge is in the in the realization of compartmentalized nanoparticles, molecular factories with multiple functionalities united in one very long and folded molecule. In order to achieve the best possible polymer systems, novel techniques to synthesize well-defined polymers with controlled sequence are introduced. Together with dr. ir. Anja Palmans of the TU/e, these new systems will be studied as molecular containers.

Prof. dr. E.W. "Bert" Meijer is a University Professor, scientific director of the Institute for Complex Molecular Systems and has a chair in the Departments of Biomedical Engineering of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry; all at the Eindhoven University of Technology.

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About Eindhoven University of Technology
Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) intends to be a research driven, design oriented university of technology at an international level, with the primary objective of providing young people with an academic education within the ‘engineering science & technology’ domain.

In the field of teaching, the TU/e regards it as its task to train engineers (at Master of Science level) possessing a sound scientific basis and depth of knowledge, as well as the necessary competences that will enable them to develop successful careers in a wide range of fields and functions within the community. The university also trains designers (at Professional Doctorate in Engineering level) and researchers (at Doctor of Philosophy level), as well as first degree teachers in the exact sciences (at Master of Science level). The Bachelor’s programs (BSc) are intended to serve as a basis for further education at Master’s level. In addition, the TU/e provides postacademic programs and courses through the TiasNimbas Business School.

In the research field, the TU/e prefers to focus within the ‘engineering science & technology’ domain on the specific areas in which it takes or can take a significant role in the international scientific world, and in which it can make meaningful contributions to the knowledge-intensive industries and other sectors of the community with a high, or rapidly developing, technology intensity.

In the field of knowledge valorization, the TU/e strives to ensure that its research results are translated into successful innovations and serve as a basis for the creation of new enterprises. It actively encourages students and staff to opt for entrepreneurship.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Home Address
Den Dolech 2
5612 AZ Eindhoven
Tel +31 40 247 91 11

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