UG gets three ERC advanced Grants
The three researchers are Gerard Roelfes with the Stratingh Institute for Chemistry, Léon Koopmans with the Kapteyn Institute, and Erwin de Blok, also with the Kapteyn Institute, as well as ASTRON.
The European Research Council grants are awarded to established research leaders with a significant track record. Last year, the UG did not win any of the Advanced Grants.
Gerard Roelfes was awarded 2.5 million to make ‘designer’ enzymes, which contain, among other things, non-natural amino acids. These can be used as catalysts for important chemical reactions that don’t occur in nature. It would be a step towards more sustainable chemistry.
Léon Koopmans has been awarded 3.5 million for his project to detect the extremely weak radio signals that neutral hydrogen gives off. This is hydrogen that was formed in the first billion years of our universe’s existence. For this, he needs to use extremely sensitive observations from, for example, the LOFAR radio telescopes in Drenthe.
One million euros of the grant will be spent on a new computer system to process and store data. This will allow the researchers to process petabytes of data, improving the calculation capacity.
Finally, Erwin de Blok will use his 2.5 million in grant money to look for neutral hydrogen gas. He wants to determine the origin of the gas in galaxies. The gas is a fuel in the formation of stars, but most galaxies don’t have enough of it to continue to make stars during their entire existence. De Blok wants to study whether this gas might come from the space between galaxies, like some computer models suggest.