The projects are awarded in the research programme 'Research Infrastructure: national consortia', the new name of NWO Investment Grant Large. With this funding, NWO is strengthening the scientific infrastructure that Dutch knowledge institutions can make available to the research community. Scientists from throughout the Netherlands often work together and with international partners within the projects where the new facilities will be realised.
Shining light on atomic-scale processes (SHINE) (AMOLF)
Modern transmission electron microscopes now can routinely visualize materials all the way down to the atomic level. At the same time, recent developments in nanophotonics and plasmonics make it possible to concentrate light nearly to the atomic scale within picoseconds, opening up unprecedented control over where, when and how energy is injected into a material. SHINE will bring light directly into the transmission electron microscope to enable researchers to watch solar harvesting materials transform at the atomic level under relevant operating conditions.
For more information on this project, check the AMOLF website.
Expanding the new window upon our Universe: gravitational-wave discoveries with Advanced Virgo Plus (Nikhef)
In 2015, scientists detected gravitational waves for the very first time. Since then, 90 detections have led to new insights into neutron stars, black holes and the structure of the Universe. But this is just the start! If scientists really want to understand what's going on in the Universe, they must upgrade their technology. With this project, researchers will improve the Virgo observatory so that it can detect 10 times more gravitational waves per year. The technologies they will develop are also key technologies for an even more advanced observatory: the Einstein Telescope.
For more information on this project, check the Nikhef website.
Pulsed Laser Deposition Lab for Energy Research: new materials for green chemistry and transport (DIFFER)
The energy transition requires new materials for greening chemistry and transportation. Electrolyzers and fuel cells need more efficient electrodes and more robust membranes. Scarce materials call for everyday alternatives. PLD4Energy is a Pulsed Laser Deposition (PLD) facility for producing such thin film (membrane) alternatives. It is tailored to research for energy applications. PLD4Energy has the right in-situ diagnostics to move from small to larger film areas in a controlled manner. The facility lends itself to fundamental research, as well as the next, essential step: actual implementation.
For more information on this project, check the DIFFER website.
Marcel Levi, president of NWO, on the investments awarded: "With the open Research Infrastructure instrument, NWO invests in national collaborations on innovative high-quality scientific infrastructure. This is essential for all disciplines of the Dutch research community to conduct world-class research".
About the research programme
NWO received thirty-five proposals for the Research Infrastructure-programme. An independent advisory committee made up of scientists from different disciplines assessed these. The committee assessed the proposals according to various criteria, such as scientific quality and societal impact, and made visits to various consortia to receive explanations on the proposals. Seven out of the thirty-five projects have been awarded funding. The NWO contribution awarded varies between about 2.3 and about 4.7 million euros.
For more information on the NWO research programma and the other recipients, check the NWO website.