Vici grants for two leading TU Delft researchers

The Dutch Research Council (NWO) has awarded two TU Delft researchers a Vici grant of up to 1.5 million euros. This will enable them to develop an innovative line of research and further expand their own research group for a period of five years. Vici is one of the largest personal scientific grants in the Netherlands and is aimed at advanced researchers.

TU Delft’s Vici laureates:

Running up that hill

Prof. Marios Kotsonis

Global aviation is significantly contributing to the climate crisis. Reducing the aerodynamic drag of aircraft can play a key role in reducing emissions. A recent breakthrough in this direction is the Delft Laminar Hump, a small "hill" placed on the aircraft wing. Surprisingly, when flow runs up that hill, it remains laminar for much longer, thus making the wing very efficient. How a surface modification does this, is not currently clear. In this project, physics of transitional flows interacting with Hump-like wing surface modifications will be explored and described using a combination of advanced numerical, experimental and theoretical methods.

Taking the pulse of the Earth’s ecosystems  

Susan Steele-Dunne
Satellite radar observations taken several times per day contain the signature of vegetation health.However, this signature first needs to be disentangled from the effects of dew, interception and geometry. Scientists will install a network of novel sensors across many forests to figure out how to separate the different signals. Measurements from these sensors, combined with models, will guide the design of a ground-breaking satellite mission to study ecosystem response to climate change and human impact.

Neuromorphic Artificial Intelligence for autonomous robots

Guido de Croon Autonomous robots promise to transform our economy and society, thanks to the quick progress in artificial intelligence. However, state-of-the-art AI requires computing devices that are too heavy and energy-consuming. This makes robots heavy and dangerous, and hence unsuitable for many applications. In this project, researchers will develop a neuromorphic AI that is extremely efficient, as it mimics the sparse and asynchronous processing of the brain. To best demonstrate this technology’s efficiency, the AI will be modelled after insect intelligence and instilled on a resource-restricted drone. This will unlock innumerable new applications and even provides opportunities to learn about nature itself!

About Vici 

The Vici grant, together with the Veni and Vidi grants, is part of the NWO Talent Programme. Vici is aimed at senior researchers who have demonstrated the ability to successfully develop their own innovative line of research. In doing so, they have supervised young researchers. Researchers who are awarded a Vici grant further develop their research group, often in anticipation of a structural professorial position, if they do not already have one.

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