ERC Starting Grant for four TU Delft researchers

News - 22 November 2022 - Webredactie Communication

The European Research Council (ERC) has announced the ERC Starting Grants for young researchers. Four of them are scientists from TU Delft. This European grant of €1.5 million for a five-year programme is intended to enable individual scientists to build their own teams and conduct groundbreaking research.

The four ERC Starting Grant winners from TU Delft are:

Francesco Avallone (Aerospace Engineering)

Quiter aircraft by describing how flow and acoustics interact over engine noise reduction technologies 
Assistant Professor Dr Francesco Avallone investigates unexplained experimental results found when a sound wave encounters turbulent air currents over surfaces treated with acoustic liners. To explain these uncomprehended results, Avallone will start measuring acoustic and hydrodynamic velocities near an acoustically treated surface with new experiments and numerical analysis. With his research, named LINING, Avallone hopes to resolve the scientific debate on the unexpected results and pave the way for future surfaces with low noise and low drag. The research could thereby contribute to more efficient aircraft propulsion and noise reduction through more sustainable aircraft engines.
Read more

Ivan Langella (Aerospace Engineering)

Stable hydrogen combustion with low nitrogen oxides emissions
Assistant Professor Dr Ivan Langella researches hydrogen combustion processes in aircraft engines, among others. Hydrogen is a promising energy carrier, also for aircraft: it can be made from water, it provides a lot of energy and it is carbon-free (if produced sustainably). But there are also challenges. For instance, the combustion of hydrogen in a gas turbine combustion engine is difficult to control and combustion still releases nitrogen oxides (NOx), a toxic pollutant. In the OTHERWISE research proposal, Langella investigates how to burn hydrogen with a stabile hydrogen flame and at the same time low NOx emissions. He does so by - for the first time - using a combination of intensive strain and water injection.    
Read more

Sebastian Weingartner (Applied Sciences)

MRI-based ID of the Vasculature across the Heart-Brain Axis
Microvascular impairment is a hallmark of many of today’s most burdening diseases, including forms of ischemic heart disease, stroke, and dementia. It is also the most promising candidate to explain the link between cardiovascular and brain disease (so-called heart-brain-axis). However, only histology provides comprehensive assessment of the microvasculature, and is rarely available in vivo as it requires invasive biopsy. The lack of early, non-invasive markers limits our pathophysiological understanding and crucially affects treatment success, as preventive intervention is the only successful clinical management strategy available.
With a major leap in Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) physics, I will address this need and develop VascularID, a fully non-invasive toolset for the quantitative assessment of cardiac and cerebral microvasculature. This non-invasive biopsy exploits microscopic magnetic fields around the vessels to obtain structural information about the microvasculature. It is contrast-free and resilient against field inhomogeneities and can, for the first time, be used in both the heart and the brain. Combined with a new generation of noncontrast perfusion MRI, VascularID will provide comprehensive functional and structural information.
Read more

Ali Akyldiz (Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering and Erasmus Medical Center)

Cardiovascular biomechanics
Akyildiz’s research focusses on cardiovascular biomechanics, specifically individual people’s susceptibility to cardiovascular events, such as heart attack and stroke, due to biomechanical failure in their blood vessels.
Read more

About the ERC

The ERC, set up by the European Union in 2007, is the premier European funding organisation for excellent frontier research. It funds creative researchers of any nationality and age, to run projects based across Europe. The ERC offers four core grant schemes: Starting Grants, Consolidator Grants, Advanced Grants and Synergy Grants. With its additional Proof of Concept Grant scheme, the ERC helps grantees to bridge the gap between their pioneering research and early phases of its commercialisation. The ERC is led by an independent governing body, the Scientific Council. Since 1 November 2021, Maria Leptin is the President of the ERC. The overall ERC budget from 2021 to 2027 is more than €16 billion, as part of the Horizon Europe programme, under the responsibility of the European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel.

ERC press release and complete list Starting Grants