Four UT researchers receive Veni grant

NWO, the Dutch Research Council, has awarded Veni grants to four UT researchers. Rick Hogeboom, Harijot Singh Bindra, Maria Carla Piastra and Sihao Sun will receive a contribution of up to EUR 280,000 to further develop their research ideas. Veni is a personal grant and is part of the NWO Talent Programme, and is aimed at researchers who have recently obtained their PhDs. A total of 188 young scientists received grants in this round.

Domain Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH)

Dr. ir. H. J. (Rick) Hogeboom (ET Faculty) - Ethical perspectives on our water footprint
Freshwater is essential for the well-being of people and the planet, but water resources worldwide are being overexploited. Rick estimates how much water we use globally to produce food, clothes, and more, and assesses what values apparently underly current water footprint patterns. Applying various ethical perspectives on water use, Rick investigates when and where water can serve multiple functions simultaneously or where tough choices have to be made to avoid or reduce water-related problems. His research furthermore supports policy processes that strive to give due attention not only to economic but also to societal and environmental values of water use.

Domain Applied and Engineering Sciences (AES)

Dr. H.S. (Harijot Singh) Bindra (EEMCS Faculty) - Designing electronics to run sensors without batteries: the path to environmentally-friendly electronics
A continuously sensing sensor (e.g., in a pacemaker) needs a battery to operate. When it runs out of power, that battery needs to be replaced. It is estimated we will have a trillion sensors in the world by 2030. Regularly replacing all these batteries is a waste of resources, is harmful to the environment and is not always convenient. This project, therefore, aims to create electronic circuits that will consume order(s) of magnitude less energy. The sensors could operate without a battery and, instead, obtain the energy they need for operation, for instance, from vibrations, heat, or light.

Dr. M.C. (Maria Carla) Piastra (TNW Faculty) - Computer models for the treatment of refractory epilepsy with deep brain stimulation
Electrical brain stimulation with electrodes implanted inside the brain, deep brain stimulation (DBS), is among the most important treatments for several neurological disorders in the past two decades. However, its potential is not fully exploited yet. While very efficacious in movement disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease, DBS effects in epilepsy are highly variable, without a clear understanding of the causes for this variation.

Maria Carla’s aim is to further our understanding of DBS in patients with epilepsy by using a combination of sophisticated and personalized computer simulations and clinical data to improve the treatment.

Dr. S. (Sihao) Sun (EEMCS Faculty) - Precise interventions by flying robots
A major challenge in robotics is that of replacing human technicians with flying robots to maintain and repair hard-to-reach infrastructure, such as offshore wind turbines. Current robots, however, cannot perform these operations accurately and safely enough under real-world conditions due to wind gusts and unpredictable contact with the environment. This project aims to develop new control algorithm frameworks to improve the accuracy of flying robots.

NWO’s Talent Programme

Veni, together with the Vidi and Vici grants, is part of NWO’s Talent Programme. The programme gives researchers the freedom to do their own research based on creativity and passion. The programme encourages innovation and curiosity. Free research contributes to and prepares us for tomorrow’s society. This is why NWO focuses on a diversity of scientists, domains and backgrounds.

NWO selects researchers based on the scientific quality and innovative nature of the research proposal, the scientific and/or societal impact of the proposed project and the quality of the researcher.