Four more FSE researchers have been awarded an Open Competition Science-M grant. In addition
to Dr. Sonja Billerbeck
, these are Professor George Palasantzas (ZIAM), Professor Michael Biehl (Bernoulli Institute), Dr. Clemens Mayer (Stratingh Institute) and Dr. Vasilios Andrikopoulos (Bernoulli Institute – together with Professor Patricia Lago of the VU). M-grants are usually up to EUR 350,000 and intended for innovative, high quality, fundamental research and / or studies involving matters of scientific urgency.
Phase-change materials (PCMs) are promising candidates to achieve significant reversible Casimir force contrast without composition changes. Therefore, Palasantzas aims to 1: produce and test various PCMs that allow in-situ significant Casimir force contrast due to amorphous - crystalline phase transitions in response to a simple stimulus and 2: Achieve significant Casimir force contrast during in-situ high repetition switching rate of PCMs paving the way for applications in actuation dynamics of micro/nanoelectromechanical systems.
Artificial neural networks can learn from example data. They play a key role in the impressive recent success of machine learning in many scientific, technical, medical and societal contexts. The computational power and usefulness of a network hinges on its architecture and the mathematical definition of its basic building blocks, the neurons. Biehl will formulate and analyse mathematical models of learning networks in order to systematically study and compare different types of neurons and their influence on the achievable performance. Eventually, the obtained solid theoretical understanding will help to design efficient, robust and powerful networks for real world applications.
Each year an ever-growing amount of plastic waste is accumulated and released into the environment, where (micro)plastics are threatening ecosystems and human health. New ways for the efficient and sustainable degradation of plastics, such as polyethylene terephthalate (PET), are therefore in high demand. Mayer will apply a cutting-edge enzyme engineering platform to create biocatalysts that are fit-for-use for PET depolymerization. Toward this end, the activity of these enzymes will be linked to the survival of producing microorganisms, thereby allowing for the identification of better catalysts according to Darwin’s survival of the fittest principle.
Software is everywhere these days, creating an ever increasing and urgent responsibility for software systems creators to ensure a sustainable world for future generations. Moving more and more software to the cloud makes this already difficult task even more complicated. In this project, Lago and Andrikopoulos aim to answer the fundamental questions about how sustainability is affected by the way software running in the cloud is structured, and in doing so, develop tools that help making software more sustainable.
M-grants are intended for realizing curiosity-driven, fundamental research of high quality and / or scientific urgency. The grant offers researchers the possibility to elaborate creative and risky ideas and to realise scientific innovations that can form the basis for the research themes of the future.
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