Two very satisfied researchers have recently received the good news. Both describe an extremely thorough application procedure, which they are now noticeably relieved to have made it through.
“This is one of the main grants you can get as a researcher where your project is examined exceptionally hard. It is a very special feeling to have succeeded”, says Kasper Moth-Poulsen, Professor at the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering.
“You don´t get such a tough and valuable evaluation anywhere else. It feels very good to have made it all the way” says Andreas Dahlin, Associate professor at the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering
New tool to be used by biologists around the world
The major goal for Andera Dahlin's project "SIMONANO2" (Single Molecule Analysis in Nanoscale Reaction Chambers 2), is to develop a new technology to study how biological molecules interact with each other. It aims to create a new platform that makes it possible to analyze individual proteins better.
“With the methods we use today, it is difficult to carry out experiments on individual biomolecules, in a reliable and non-invasive way, especially when it comes to physiological conditions. This is especially true for proteins because they are more fragile” says Andreas Dahlin
Once developed in this project, the nanoscale reaction chambers can become a tool used by biologists worldwide, which will advance our understanding of life on the molecular level and provide crucial benefits in biotechnology. In the long run, it can mean better and more effective treatments for various diseases that are difficult to treat and where proteins are clumped together. Examples of those are Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.
Materials that convert energy from various fossil-free sources into heat and cold and exploration of the future chemistry laboratory
In Kasper Moth-Poulsen's project "PHOTOTHERM" (Photo Thermal Management Materials), the researchers
want to develop new materials that can capture light such as solar energy and other fossil-free energy sources around us, and convert it to both heat or cold in emission-free systems. This ability will be achieved by combining two different thermal systems with unique qualities MOST (Molecular Solar Energy System) and Phase change materials (PCM). The research is connected to other research that Kasper and his group are working on, but an important distinguishing part of this project is that the researchers also plan to develop the method for producing the materials and ask themselves the question "how can the future chemistry laboratory look like?".
“Developing new materials takes a lot of time. In this project, we want to investigate how we can speed up that process. In collaboration with Chalmers Research Center (CHAIR), we plan to design an automated laboratory with robots and AI” says Kasper Moth-Poulsen.
He emphasizes the great need for method development in material production by comparing it with a similar automation process in the pharmaceutical industry, which has made fast development of vaccine for covid-19 possible.
Long journey to get the highly regarded grant
Receiving a consolidation grant from the ERC involves a long and demanding process that needs to be done at the right time. It can´t be longer than 12 years since the researchers PHD and not shorter than 7 years. Kasper Moth-Poulsen and Andreas Dahlin have both applied before and sees that as a crucial factor to that they are now receiving the grant. They share a useful tip to all colleagues - do not wait until the last chance!
Press release from the European Research Council
More on European Research Council consolidation grants
The grant is meant to go to prominent researchers of different nationalities and ages, with a scientific track record showing great promise and an excellent research proposal. Up to 2 million Euros for 5 years can be awarded.