ALUVia projectNewsNWO awards millions for three key technologies developed by the University of Twente

NWO awards millions for three key technologies developed by the University of Twente

The Dutch Research Council NWO is awarding over 9.4 million euros to nine innovative research projects on emerging key technologies. These are technologies that show promise in academia and also have great potential for application. The University of Twente has done very well with their applications, as three of the nine main applicants are UT professors. These are Sonia Garcia Blanco, Severine le Gac, and Wilfred van der Wiel, who are all connected to research institute MESA+.

The pioneering projects will enable those public and private partners involved to take the next step towards development, according to NWO. Consortium partners will be submitting over EUR 1.3 million in co-financing.

Impactful technology

The aim of the call for Emerging Key Technologies is to create a seedbed for innovative[KM1]  ideas. Such technologies often are so recent that their  innovative potential still needs to be proven. Their potential application is broad and therefore different sectors may show interest in participating. An emerging key technology has the opportunity to develop into a highly impactful technology that can contribute to industrial and/or societal impact in the long run.

A key technology characteristically has a broad scope in terms of innovations and use for various sectors. Key technologies are essential in solving societal challenges and are likely to make a large contribution to the economy. According to NWO , these technologies are relevant to science, society, and industry.

The three UT projects

Project: SepsPIC: Highly multiplexed photonics integrated circuit (PIC) sensors for the rapid diagnostics of sepsis
UT professor: Prof. Dr Sonia Garcia Blanco
Co-applicants: UMC Groningen, Saxion University of Applied Sciences
Co-funders: Teledyne DALSA B.V., MEDLON B.V., Affilogic S.A.S. (FR)
Collaboration partner: Aluvia Photonics B.V.

Sepsis is a deadly, complex and fast evolving condition. Current diagnostic techniques are time-consuming and limited in scope, requiring several different tests to be run to obtain a comprehensive picture of the patient's condition. This can take several hours to days, and doctors are often obliged to use an educated guess based on limited data to diagnose and stratify the patient, which hampers the patient prognosis. SepsPIC aims to address this problem by developing a device that can quickly and accurately detect multiple sepsis biomarkers at the bedside, enabling doctors to make more informed decisions and improving patient outcomes.

Project: SMART-ToC Tumor-on-Chip (ToC) platform incorporating Sensing hydrogel MAtrices – correlating microenvironment and Response to immunotherapy
UT professor:  Prof. Dr ir Severine Le Gac
Co-applicants: Saxion University of Applied Sciences, Radboud UMC
Co-funders: Procall, Ibidi GmbH, Synaffix, Stichting Proefdiervrij
Collaboration partners: Patient Advisory Board, Women's cancer Radboud UMC, Department of Medical Oncology Radboud UMC, Universität Freiburg, Faculty of Science and Medicine, Institute for human Organ and Disease Model Technologies (hDMT), TNO, ICT, Strategy and Policy unit

SMART-ToC will develop an advanced breast cancer model in a miniaturised on-chip format for testing (immuno)therapies, while pursuing an animal-free experimental approach. Our model will accurately reproduce and measure important environmental factors of native tumours that are lacking in current therapy-testing approaches while significantly impacting treatment outcomes. Our model comprises a three-dimensional multi-cellular culture in innovative tailorable and sensing scaffolds, which allow correlating microenvironment and therapeutic outcomes. We will conduct in parallel an innovation trajectory towards societal acceptance. Our trans-disciplinary team, including experts and various stakeholders, will streamline therapy development, aid developing patient-specific treatments and benefit industrial productivity and society.

Project: IMAGINE: In-material sensing, learning and computing
UT professor: Prof. Dr ir Wilfred van der Wiel
Co-applicants: Eindhoven University of Technology
Co-funders: Stichting IMEC Nederland, Toyota Motors Europe, Belgium
Collaboration partner: Prophesee A.G.

AI empowers many applications in virtually all aspects of life. The 4-year project IMAGINE (In-material sensing, learning and computing) focuses on developing energy-efficient hardware for AI. IMAGINE is a collaboration of UT, TU/e, Toyota and IMEC, leveraging emerging silicon-based nanodevices as compact nonlinear processors. By realizing these devices in mainstream semiconductor technology and combining them with analogue and digital electronics, we obtain a versatile, energy-efficient platform for localised information processing at the edge. This approach reduces the energy consumption associated with transferring data to the cloud and brings significant benefits to vision-based AI applications, e.g., in the automotive industry. 

J.C. Vreeman (Jochem)
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