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May 25th 2018

Neutrino telescope KM3NeT (Nikhef and NIOZ)
The Dutch contribution to the neutrino telescope KM3NeT has received an investment grant of € 12.7 million. This grant will give a big boost to the completion of the neutrino telescope KM3NeT. KM3NeT will be used to perform research into the fundamental properties of neutrinos and the astrophysical sources of cosmic neutrinos, and it will facilitate sea research and marine biology. The neutrino telescope will be placed deep in the Mediterranean Sea. The planned installation sites are off the shore near Toulon (France) and Sicily (Italy).

The Netherlands has played an important role in this research right from the start. The applicants from Nikhef, together with NIOZ, TNO, KVI-CART, the University of Amsterdam, Leiden University, VU Amsterdam and Radboud University are very proud to have received this grant.

“The Dutch contributions are essential for the success of this international project”, says Stan Bentvelsen, Nikhef director. “Together with NIOZ, TNO and KVI-CART, Nikhef has designed nearly every component of the detector. We lead the construction of the detector, and play a crucial role in the research. With this fantastic grant, we can keep on doing this. This is a project we are very proud of.” Read more on the Nikhef website and on the NIOZ website.

European space telescope Athena (SRON)
As the leader of a larger team, the Netherlands Space Research Institute SRON has received almost €19.5 million for the development of an X-ray camera cum spectrograph for the new European space telescope Athena. Athena, the new large X-ray telescope of the European Space Agency ESA (launching around 2030) will be launched into space thanks to technology developed by the Netherlands. SRON together with other international institutes is leading the development of the highly sensitive X-ray camera come spectograph (X-IFU) of the space telescope. Cosine research in Warmond is leading the development of the X-ray mirror of the telescope. These are vital contributions to the mission.

Consequently the Netherlands is not just playing a leading role in the realisation of the telescope but Dutch astronomers will also gain valuable observation time with Athena. Part of the roadmap proposal from SRON includes the development of software for the operational phase that will be realised together with the University of Amsterdam, Leiden University, University of Groningen and Radboud University. Read more on the  .

Free Electron Laser HFML-FELIX
The Free-Electron Lasers for Infrared eXperiments Laboratory (FELIX) and the High Field Magnet Laboratory (HFML) are two unique infrastructures that enable research under extreme conditions. FELIX generates intense infrared and THz radiation with an unprecedented tuning range in a single facility and HFML creates the highest possible continuous magnetic fields. The instrumentation at the experimental end stations is largely unmatched and the opportunities created by combining the strengths of the two facilities are unique in the world. As such, HFML-FELIX provides a world-class infrastructure for its users, allowing researchers to investigate matter under extreme conditions and to enter the “terra incognita” in which new effects and phenomena can be realised in molecules and materials. Examples include new routes for biomarker discovery and targeted drug discovery, ultrafast magnetic switching for more efficient data storage and investigations of new smart materials with interesting properties for potential applications.

This grant will enable an expansion in the capabilities of their suite of free-electron lasers and to install three dedicated research laboratories: the “Molecular ID lab”, where complex mixtures can be analysed and molecular structures can be isolated and identified swiftly and accurately, the “Condensed Matter lab” for studying the interaction of condensed and magnetic materials with intense THz radiation and a laboratory that will focus on the exploitation of the recent option to combine very high magnetic fields with intense THz radiation.

Britta Redlich, director FELIX Laboratory: “I am delighted and grateful for the recognition by the Roadmap committee that HFML-FELIX is a truly unique international facility on Dutch soil. This grant will allow us to maintain and expand the leading position of HFML-FELIX and to face the global competition. It is very exciting to look ahead and envision the science that can be expected from these new developments and the unique combination of the FELIX lasers with the high magnetic fields.” Read more on the HFML website.

More information
The full news release can be found on the NWO website, as well as a summary of the proposals awarded funding.