TU Delft in three National Roadmap projects

News - 12 April 2018 - Communication

TU Delft is taking part in three National Roadmap for Large-scale Scientific Infrastructure projects. The three projects concern measuring changes in the atmosphere by Ruisdael Observatory (where TU Delft is the coordinating university), EPOS-NL, on the European infrastructure for geological sciences, dangers and resources, and NEMI, on the Netherlands Electron Microscopy Infrastructure.

138 Million 
A total of ten National Roadmap for Large-scale Scientific Infrastructure projects have been awarded grants worth 138 million euros altogether. The resources for the National Roadmap make the construction or renovation possible of leading research facilities with an international appeal. Minister Ingrid van Engelshoven of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science says: ‘Good research facilities are vital for research and they work as a magnet for attracting top talent. This financial injection of 138 million euros will help us anchor our international scientific position. The facilities in which we are now investing will help enhance our ability to carry out innovative, ground-breaking research and will make a valuable contribution to tackling social issues.’

Ruisdael Observatory
Allocation: €18,196,000
Consortium partners
: TU Delft (coordinating university), Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI), Wageningen University & Research, Utrecht University, National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), Energy research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN), VU University Amsterdam, Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research, (TNO) Utrecht, University of Groningen. 

Long-term greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution and particulate matter have made structural changes to the earth’s atmosphere. The Ruisdael Observatory will measure and model these changes extremely accurately above the Netherlands. A fixed measuring network, mobile sensors and comprehensive ground stations will provide data on the physical and chemical properties of the atmosphere and its interaction with the earth’s surface. A new computing facility will process the observed data in real time into atmospheric models. This will enable the Ruisdael Observatory to map out the changes in local weather, climate and air quality. 

‘The great challenge for the atmospheric sciences is to make short-term, local and detailed forecasts as well as predicting what the atmosphere will look like in the future,’ says Herman Russchenberg, Professor of Atmospheric Remote Sensing, Director of the TU Delft Climate Institute and initiator of the Ruisdael Observatory. ‘Our current models work with blocks a few kilometres in size, whereas most atmospheric phenomena occur at a far smaller scale.’ This means we have to make a lot of assumptions about the state of the atmosphere. To get away from this, we need to measure and model these small-scale phenomena, something that at present we can only do for a number of sub-processes. 

EPOS-NL: the Netherlands contribution to the European Plate Observatory System
Allocation: €12,272,000
Consortium partners: Utrecht University, Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI), Delft University of Technology.  

EPOS-NL is the Dutch contribution to the European Plate Observing System (EPOS), the European infrastructure for geological sciences, dangers and resources. The objective of EPOS-NL is to develop the infrastructure that is necessary for scientific breakthroughs in the understanding of man-made geological dangers, such as subsidence and earthquakes caused by gas extraction. The EPOS-NL infrastructure will also enable research to be carried out into new geological resources, such as geothermal energy production and underground energy storage. 

Netherlands Electron Microscopy Infrastructure (NEMI) 
Allocation: €17,275,000
Consortium partners: University Medical Center Utrecht (UMCU), University of Amsterdam - Academic Medical Center (AMC), Leiden University, Utrecht University, Maastricht University,  University of Groningen, Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC), Delft University of Technology, University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG), 
Eindhoven University of Technology.

The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) has awarded a grant of more than 17 million euros for the further development of the Netherlands Electron Microscopy Infrastructure (NEMI). The network consists of five university medical centres and eight universities, with Utrecht as the coordinating university. The grant will enable the scientists to combine various technologies in the field of electron microscopy and as a result to learn more about the composition and coherence of the biological and material micro-world. This technology provides extremely detailed insight into the smallest building blocks of humans, animals and materials. 

For TU Delft, the most important NEMI investment will be the purchase of two so-called ‘multi-beam microscopes’, one of which will be located in Delft and the other in Groningen. A multi-beam microscope is a system that scans a sample with multiple electron beams simultaneously. The prototype developed in Delft has no fewer than 196 beams, which enables samples to be scanned 196 times faster than with a standard electron microscope. The TU Delft prototype is currently being developed into a commercial product. 

NEMI also recognises TU Delft as a centre for electron microscopy in the field of materials for quantum technology. The research group of Sonia Conesa-Boj (Quantum Nanoscience) is being awarded 900,000 euros as part of the project to upgrade the Titan TEM microscope, which will allow new materials research to be carried out on a nano-scale. In addition, the new research group of Arjen Jakobi (BioNanoscience) will benefit from NEMI. His group is working with cryogenic electron microscopy (cryo-EM), a technology in which biological samples are cooled to very low temperatures, enabling extremely detailed images to be made of biomolecules.