Delft researchers involved in ten NWA-ORC consortia

News - 21 March 2022 - Webredactie Communication

As part of ten consortia, researchers from TU Delft have joined forces with the entire knowledge chain and social organisations to conduct interdisciplinary research that will generate scientific and social breakthroughs. One such consortium, led by Delft professor Marnix Wagemaker, is working towards a new generation of batteries to accelerate the energy transition. In another, led by Professor Ellen van Bueren, researchers are developing an integral climate approach for a resilient Dutch delta.

The selected projects address societal issues which constitute the main themes of the Dutch National Research Agenda. These projects will receive funding in the third round of the National Research Agenda programme: Research along routes by Consortia (NWA-ORC).

Below you will find brief summaries of the projects (see the NWO press release for more information):

BatteryNL – A new generation of batteries based on a better understanding of interfaces

Principal applicant: Prof. M. (Marnix) Wagemaker (TU Delft - Faculty of Applied Sciences)
Amount awarded: €9.3 million

This project is aiming to develop the next generation of batteries that are safer, have higher energy densities and have a longer life-cycle – all of which are crucial for a society based on sustainable energy sources. Drawing on unique Dutch expertise, the heart of these highly coveted batteries – the electrode-electrolyte interface – is being investigated and improved using scalable technologies. To facilitate the social integration of these technological breakthroughs, the social and economic impact will be evaluated in close collaboration with various stakeholders. In doing so, this consortium of experts, small companies, multinationals and social organisations will pave the way for Dutch parties to play a pivotal role in the development of future battery technology.

RED&BLUE: Real Estate Development and Building in Low Urban Environments

Principal applicant: Prof. E.M. (Ellen) van Bueren – (TU Delft - Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment)
Amount awarded: €5 million

Rising sea levels, subsidence, extreme rainfall and drought: climate change is posing new risks to real estate and infrastructure, especially in urbanised, low-lying deltas. Our cities are valuable assets, not only as living environments, but also as investment opportunities and economic engines. Adapting to the changing climate is crucial to preserve these diverse values, also for the most vulnerable. Transdisciplinary knowledge for climate-proof urban development is sorely needed, but it is still largely non-existent. This research project brings together investors, planners, real estate and infrastructure administrators and researchers from various disciplines to co-develop an integral climate approach for a resilient Dutch delta.

The LoaD project: healthy loading to tackle osteoarthritis

Official secretary on behalf of the consortium: Prof. (Gerjo) van Osch - Erasmus MC & TU Delft (Faculty of 3mE)
Delft researchers involved: Jaap Harlaar, Nazli Sarkalkan Tumer, Ajay Seth (Faculty of 3mE), Gijsje Koenderink (Faculty of Applied Sciences)

What is 'healthy loading' for people with osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is a painful, debilitating joint disease that affects millions of people and for which there is no cure. Patients are encouraged to stay physically active, yet the optimal joint loading for individual patients remains unknown. In the LoaD project, researchers from medical centres, universities of technology, universities of applied sciences and companies are teaming up to investigate what activity is optimal for an individual patient with knee osteoarthritis and how to coach patients towards healthy loading. The acquired knowledge will be used to develop personalised support strategies that can be used in everyday life.

Next generation immunodermatology (NGID)

Official secretary on behalf of the consortium: Dr R. (Robert) Rissmann – Leiden University

More than 2.5 million Dutch people suffer from chronic inflammatory skin diseases. Although these diseases are often not life-threatening, the personal impact and socio-economic costs of these chronic conditions are considerable. The biggest problem is that many treatments often do not work well enough. To improve this, we need to find out which treatment works for which individual patient. This project, therefore, is examining six skin diseases in great detail. This information will then be used to create patient-specific fingerprints of the disease that will help determine the best treatment for each individual patient.

OBSeRVeD - Odour Based Selective Recognition of Veterinary Diseases

Official secretary on behalf of the consortium: Dr C.A.J. (Cas) Damen - Saxion University of Applied Sciences
Delft researchers involved: Sten Vollebregt, Faculty of EEMCS, Dr Monique van der Veen and Prof. Frans Widdershoven – Faculty of Applied Sciences

When chickens in a coop become infected or carry parasites, specific odours are produced. A multidisciplinary team will combine innovative sensors, affinity layers and machine learning methods to develop and test an electronic nose. This sensitive system can detect compounds of volatile organic compounds and therefore identify specific infections at an earlier stage – when preventive measures are most effective. Within this project, veterinary health, industry, science professionals and social organisations will work together to develop a practically applicable monitoring system that will promote chicken health and welfare as well as public health and help to reduce antibiotics/chemicals use and the environmental impact of livestock farming.

OR ELSE: Operational recommendations for ecosystem-based large-scale sand extraction

Official secretary on behalf of the consortium: DrM.J. (Martin) Baptist – Wageningen Research Foundation
Delft researchers involved: Prof. Stefan Aarninkhof, Arjen Luijendijk, Prof. Julie Pietrzak, Wouter Kranenburg, Faculty of CEG

Sand reserves are dwindling around the world, yet increasing volumes of sand from the North Sea will be needed to protect our coastline from rising sea levels. We face the challenge of minimising the ecological effects of sand extraction so that the marine ecosystem remains healthy and continues to provide us with food. In this project, government bodies, fishermen, dredging companies, nature organisations and researchers are joining forces to work on ecosystem-based sustainable sand extraction.

Aligning citizens and systems - Combining digital citizen engagement with personalised behavioural interventions for optimal clean energy investments at scale (ALIGN4energy)

Official secretary on behalf of the consortium: Dr J.E. (Julia) Blasch - VU Amsterdam
Delft researchers involved: Queena Qian (Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment)

ALIGN4energy unites researchers from the humanities and social sciences (economics, psychology, political sciences) and technical sciences (computer science, energy systems modelling), as well as companies, municipalities and NGOs to jointly work towards a quick and affordable transformation to natural gas-free homes in the Netherlands. The consortium is developing an online platform that serves as an adaptive digital decision-support system for citizens and policymakers, to help them make energy-related investment decisions that are optimal for each individual citizen and for the broader energy system. Citizens will receive information that will simplify investment decisions and help them coordinate with neighbours regarding potential collective investments.

 ‘Dilemmas of diversity’: diversity policy and practice in Dutch cities in the past, present and future

Official secretary on behalf of the consortium: Prof. M.L.J.C. (Marlou) Schrover - Leiden University
Delft researchers involved: Reinout Kleinhans (Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment)

Politicians, policy makers, journalists, scientists and other actors emphasise the importance of an inclusive society in which policies and practices take account of the many dimensions of diversity (e.g., ethnicity, religion, gender, class and sexuality). But how can we create and promote a society that is cohesive and accommodates differences and, in particular, in which everyone has a voice? Providing equal opportunities does not mean that everyone should be treated the same. After all, some people need more support and help than others. How are choices made and justified? The 'Dilemmas of diversity' project casts a critical eye on 'doing diversity' in the past, present and future.

Improving urban green infrastructure by incorporating hidden biodiversity networks (HiddenBiodiversity)

Official secretary on behalf of the consortium: Dr M. (Michael) Stech - Naturalis

Cities need to become greener, more biodiverse and more climate-resilient. However, very little is known about many organisms that are important for the functioning of urban green spaces and the well-being of city dwellers. The HiddenBiodiversity project investigates this 'hidden biodiversity' (bacteria, fungi, soil-dwelling animals, algae, lichens, mosses and paving plants) and disseminates this acquired knowledge to society. The project will uncover networks of hidden biodiversity and explore how they contribute to making cities greener. It will also improve methods for identifying species and investigate how city dwellers can appreciate biodiversity in their living environment. The results will help urban planners, designers and administrators to foster and protect biodiversity.

A bridge between quantum computers and society

Official secretary on behalf of the consortium: Dr A.W. (Alfons) Laarman - Leiden University

The first quantum computers have already demonstrated that they are capable of calculations far beyond the powers of conventional computers. The time has now come to translate this computing power into useful applications for Dutch society. The researchers in this consortium are tackling this challenge from two angles. Firstly, they are collecting socially relevant computational problems, in collaboration with partners from industry, TNO and universities of applied sciences and, secondly, they are conducting fundamental research into new quantum algorithms to solve these problems. This approach offers the best guarantee of achieving the consortium’s common goal — a first useful application of quantum computers.

About the Dutch National Research Agenda

Since 2018, the Dutch Research Council (NWO) has been funding research through the Dutch National Research Agenda on behalf of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. The aim of the National Research Agenda is to make a positive and lasting contribution to the global knowledge society of tomorrow, where new knowledge is readily passed on from researcher to user and where new questions from the field and society quickly and automatically find their way into new research.

This is achieved in part through an annual round of funding for the NWA programme Research along Routes by Consortia (NWA-ORC). This funding round, which is open to all disciplines, aims to facilitate interdisciplinary research and innovation that bring societal and scientific breakthroughs within reach.


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