ERC Starting Grant for four Delft researchers

The European Research Council (ERC) has announced ERC Starting Grants for young researchers, including four researchers from TU Delft. This European grant of 1.5 million euros for a five-year program is intended to allow individual scientists to build their own teams and carry out cutting-edge research.

The four TU Delft ERC Starting Grant recipients are:

Francesco Avallone (LR)
Quiet aircraft by describing how flow and acoustics interact in technologies that reduce engine noise
Adjunct professor Dr. Francesco Avallone investigates inexplicable results from experiments that occur when a sound wave meets the turbulent air currents over surfaces provided with an acoustic lining. To explain these misunderstood results, Avallone will measure the acoustic and hydrodynamic velocities near an acoustically treated surface with new experiments and numerical analysis. With his research, titled LINING, Avallone hopes to resolve the scientific question about the unexpected results. In addition, he hopes to pave the way for the development of surfaces that make little noise and have low air resistance. The research can thus contribute to more efficient propulsion of aircraft and reduction of noise nuisance due to more sustainable aircraft engines.
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Ivan Langella (LR)
Stable hydrogen combustion with low nitrogen emissions

Adjunct professor Dr. Among other things, Ivan Langella studies hydrogen combustion processes in aircraft engines. Hydrogen is a promising energy carrier, also for aircraft: you can make it from water, it produces a lot of energy, and it is carbon-free (if produced sustainably). But there are also challenges. For example, the combustion of hydrogen in a gas turbine internal combustion engine is difficult to control. In addition, the burning of hydrogen still releases toxic and polluting nitrogen oxides. In his research proposal ANDERS, Langella investigates how to burn hydrogen with both a stable hydrogen flame and at the same time very low NOx emissions. He does this – for the first time – with a combination of excessive stretch and injection of water.
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Sebastian Weingartner (Applied Science)
MR-based ID of the vasculature across the heart-brain axis
Microvascular disorders are a hallmark of many of today’s most burdensome diseases, including forms of ischemic heart disease, stroke and dementia. It is also the most promising candidate to explain the connection between cardiovascular diseases and brain diseases (the so-called heart-brain axis). However, only histology provides a complete assessment of microvasculature, and this is rarely available in vivo because it requires an invasive biopsy. The lack of early, noninvasive markers limits our pathophysiological understanding and has a critical impact on treatment success, as preventive intervention is the only successful clinical management strategy available.

Using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Sebastian wants to develop a VascularID, a completely non-invasive tool for the quantitative assessment of cardiac and cerebral microvasculature. This non-invasive biopsy uses microscopic magnetic fields around the vessels to obtain structural information about the microvasculature. It is contrast-free and resistant to field inhomogeneities and can be used in both heart and brain for the first time. In combination with a new generation of non-contrast perfusion MRI, VascularID will provide comprehensive functional and structural information.

Ali Akyldiz (3mE and Erasmus MC)
Cardiovascular biomechanics
Akyildiz’s research focuses on cardiovascular biomechanics, specifically the susceptibility of individual humans to cardiovascular events, such as heart attacks and strokes, due to biomechanical disturbances in their blood vessels.
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About ERC Grants
Founded in 2007 by the European Union, the ERC is the leading European funding organization for excellent frontier research. It funds creative researchers of all nationalities and ages for projects across Europe. The ERC offers four core grant schemes: Starting Grants, Consolidator Grants, Advanced Grants and Synergy Grants. With its supplementary subsidy scheme’Proof of Concept’ helping the ERC to bridge the gap between their pioneering research and the early stages of its commercialisation. The ERC is managed by an independent governing body, the Scientific Council. Since 1 November 2021, Maria Leptin has been chairman of the ERC. The total budget for the ERC from 2021 to 2027 is more than 16 billion euros, as part of the Horizon Europe programme, under the responsibility of the EU Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel.

ERC press release and full list of Starting Grants

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