Prof. Ben Feringa, professor of synthetic organic chemistry at the University of Groningen, has won an extremely prestigious research grant from the European Research Council.
Feringa has been awarded an ERC Advanced Grant of EUR 2.2 million for the project ‘Molecular Motors – Controlling movement at the nanoscale’.
The Advanced Grant of the European Research Council (ERC) is a newly established European research grant for individual researchers. The amount of the grants varies. The highest amount awarded in this round was EUR 3.5 million. The research duration for the projects is five years.
The aim of Feringa’s research is to create movement and charge transport using molecular rotation and translation motors at the nanoscale. The main challenge here is to design nanomotors that use a chemical fuel, for example glucose, for the propulsion. Such nanomotors could then be used to transport medication in the bloodstream.
A total of 2167 proposals were submitted in response to the first call for applications for the ERC Advanced Grant 2008, about a hundred of which were from the Netherlands. The procedure is divided into three rounds. Last week the awards for the first round for Physical Sciences and Engineering were announced. Nine of the Dutch proposals were honoured.
European Research Council
The ERC Ideas programme is a prestigious programme that offers financial support for innovative research. The best scientists are selected from stiff competition. The ERC Advanced Grant is one of the two grant types in the ERC Ideas programme. The other grant is the Starting Investigator Grant. In December 2007, the ERC awarded the Groningen biochemist Dr Armagan Koçer a Starting Investigator Grant of EUR 1.5 million.
Prof. B.L. Feringa holds the Jacobus van ’t Hoff chair in Molecular Sciences at the University of Groningen. In 2004 he was awarded a Spinoza Prize by NWO. The Spinoza Prize is regarded as the Dutch Nobel Prize. In spring 2008, Feringa was appointed an Academy Professor by KNAW.
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