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Top-up funding for Aalto University to exploit research results

Aalto University Professor Zhipei Sun is leading one of the potential frontier research projects.
Professor Zhipei Sun, photo: Niina Norjamäki/Aalto University
Professor Zhipei Sun and his group develop new applications for photonics and quantum technologies in the laboratory at Otaniemi. Photo: Aalto University

Fifty-five ERC grantees funded by the European Research Council (ERC) have won Proof of Concept Grants to explore the commercial or societal potential of their frontier research projects. Worth €150 000 each, this top-up funding is part of the EU's research and innovation programme, Horizon Europe.

One of the grantees was Aalto University Professor Zhipei Sun, who will promote the photonic applications of the atomic layer deposition technology, a Finnish invention that received the Millennium Technology Prize in 2018.

“The continuous growth of global data traffic pushes the data center technology boundaries and their energy consumption. Data centers already use more than 2% of the global electricity and are expected to consume 20% by 2025”, he says.

In this project that is planned to start in 2023, Professor Sun aims to develop atomic layer deposited light sources with a low energy footprint and higher speed, and also exploit their effectiveness for future data center applications.

“I am very pleased to receive the ERC Proof of Concept grant, which will support my team to continue our scientific study and to explore its innovation potential”.

The Proof of Concept (PoC) grant competition is open only to ERC grantees. They can apply for top-up funding for their existing or recently completed research projects. The selected projects cover a variety of different fields and questions, such as a more efficient method to produce the cells used in immunotherapies to fight cancer; new technologies to lower our energy consumption; and a quicker way for companies to change the ingredients of everyday consumer products to make them more environmentally friendly.

The new grants were awarded to researchers working in 16 countries: the Netherlands (10), UK (7), Italy (6), Germany (5), Israel (5), Spain (4), France (4), Austria (3), Czech Republic (2), Finland (2), Portugal (2), Belgium (1), Turkey (1), Sweden (1), Romania (1), Norway (1).

About the ERC
The ERC, set up by the European Union in 2007, is the premier European funding organisation for excellent frontier research. It funds creative researchers of any nationality and age, to run projects based across Europe. The ERC offers four main grant schemes: Starting Grants, Consolidator Grants, Advanced Grants and Synergy Grants. The ERC is led by an independent governing body, the Scientific Council. Since 1 November 2021, Maria Leptin is the President of the ERC. The overall ERC budget from 2021 to 2027 is more than €16 billion, as part of the Horizon Europe programme, under the responsibility of the European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel.

ERC grant awardees 2019

Aalto nabs 3 ERC Advanced Grants

Aalto University has been awarded €6.3 million by the European Research Council to support three research projects over the next five years.

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Professor Zhipei Sun, photo: Niina Norjamäki/Aalto University

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