ERC Grants for Daniel Tam and Javier Alonso-Mora

Nieuws - 17 maart 2022 - Webredactie 3mE

Javier Alonso-Mora at the Department of Cognitive Robotics (CoR) has been awarded a European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant, while Daniel Tam at the Department of Process and Energy (P&E) has been awarded an ERC Consolidator Grant. Alonso-Mora’s research aims to enable teams of mobile robots to safely interact in human-centric environments, and Tam’s research will provide much-needed fundamental knowledge about the flow-dynamics in micro-algae bioreactors.


Javier Alonso-Mora
Intuitive Interaction for Robots among Humans - INTERACT

“The motivation for INTERACT is to have autonomous mobile robots that can safely perform tasks in places where they work together with humans. To do this we are going to provide these robots with the cognitive ability to work out how they interact with humans and other robots.”

Alonso-Mora will use machine learning to train local and global intuition models for multi-robot systems, which will provide them with insights into their future interaction with the environment. These intuition models will then be integrated into novel probabilistic optimisation methods to compute safe interaction-aware trajectories, task assignments and routes for the robots. The unified framework of INTERACT will make it possible for teams of mobile robots to safely navigate in human-centric environments and enable a whole new level of automation in factories and cities.

Read more about Javier Alonso-Mora:

Daniel Tam
Flows for Algae Growth: Uncovering the multi-scale dynamics of living suspensions (FLOW4ALGAE)

“The goal is to understand how slurries of photosynthetic microalgae flow inside bioreactors. This is key to the sustainable production of microalgae for biofuels, bioplastics, nutrition and pharmaceuticals. These slurries are an entirely new kind of complex fluids because they contain living and motile algal cells, which move the fluid from the inside. We don’t know how these fluids behave so the project is quite fundamental and lays out the basic fluid dynamics of living suspensions.”

This project will revisit three textbook aspects of flow: turbulence, the dynamics at solid and free interfaces and the response to shear. It investigates a new paradigm in complex flows, where fluid dynamics and cell physiology on different length scales, are deeply entwined. “I will tackle this problem with a unique set of multi-scale experiments combining advanced flow diagnostics and rheology tools with new microfluidics and 3-D cell tracking recently developed in my group.”

These experiments will uncover the interrelations between flow, cell physiology and growth, and determine how cell motility can be leveraged to optimise the turbulent mixing conditions in bioreactors, avoid biofilm formation and mediate cell harvesting.

More about Daniel Tam