Two Utrecht projects received funding within National Growth Fund programme Circular Plastics NL

  • #biologicalsciences
  • #chemistry
  • #environmentalscience
  • #technology

How do we ensure that we can reuse plastic packaging material? Or how can dyes in PET bottles be reused and contribute to making plastics circular? Two research projects within the Inorganic Chemistry & Catalysis Group at Utrecht University will start within the Making plastics circular: technical innovations programme, which is part of the National Growth Fund programme Circular Plastics NL. Six million euros were divided over ten projects in total, and all studies will last five years.

Currently, 15 percent of the one million tonnes of discarded plastics produced annually in the Netherlands are recycled at high quality. The goal is for all plastics to be recycled by 2030 and production to be fully circular by 2050. With the National Growth Fund programme Circular Plastics NL, the Dutch government is investing in bottlenecks to close the cycles for existing plastics, provide sustainable growth opportunities for the Dutch economy and use subsidies to accelerate the transition.

Read more about the Utrecht University projects that have received funding via this UU-webpage.


World-class collaboration receives €37.5 million for regenerative medicine using smart materials

  • #biologicalsciences
  • #medicalsciences

The DRIVE-RM consortium, led by Professor of Experimental Nephrology Marianne Verhaar from UMC Utrecht, has been awarded €37.5 million under the prestigious NWO SUMMIT program. The SUMMIT grant recognizes world-class collaborations, while further strengthening these partnerships. The DRIVE-RM collaboration involves UMC Utrecht, Utrecht University, Eindhoven University of Technology, Maastricht University, and the Hubrecht Institute, focusing on smart materials that assist the body in healing. Within Utrecht University, the faculties of Medicine, Veterinary Medicine, and Science are involved.

"It is wonderful for Utrecht Life Science research that we are receiving this recognition and funding", says Prof. Jos Malda from Utrecht University and UMC Utrecht.

Regenerative medicine involves repairing or replacing damaged tissues and organs by leveraging the body's own healing processes. DRIVE-RM specifically focuses on material-driven regeneration, using intelligent, lifelike, or even living materials that can prompt the human body to generate new tissue. This approach could radically change the treatment of chronic diseases such as kidney failure, heart failure, and worn joints in the future.

Read full article about this collaborative consortium and the recognition as world leaders, bringing together techniques and disciplines.


Roadmap to a carbon-neutral refinery by 2050

  • #chemistry

Towards the sustainable production of future fuels, chemicals and materials

Would it be possible to build a refinery that is completely fossil-free, and thereby significantly contributing to a carbon-neutral society by as early as 2050? According to two chemists from Utrecht University it is. In a highly visionary Nature article, they present a roadmap in which oil refineries could be reinvented to be completely fossil-free. Processes will be electrified if possible, and raw materials will change to CO2, agricultural and municipal waste. “We wanted to see what would be needed to make a fossil-free refinery and took that to the extreme.”

Read full article


Gravitation award for FLOW: "We will be able to steer the fates of proteins"

  • #chemistry

The Dutch government is investing 23 million euros in a major research project led by Utrecht University. The consortium of researchers involved in FLOW will, for the first time, comprehensively chart the supervision of specific proteins within the cell, from cradle to grave. Ultimately, leveraging this understanding, they aim to exert control over the fate of these proteins. Such insights could pave the way for novel therapeutic approaches targeting diseases like Parkinson's and cystic fibrosis.

The principal investigators are Ineke Braakman (Utrecht University), Mireille Claessens (Twente University), Friedrich Förster (Utrecht University), Mark Hipp (UMC Groningen), Stefan Rüdiger (Utrecht University) and Alfred Vertegaal (Leiden UMC).

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Bus driver and Assistant Professor: a unique double position

  • #computerscience
  • #technology

Stories from the Lab: the AI & Mobility Lab

Marcel van Kooten Niekerk works at the AI & Mobility Lab AI Labs (Utrecht University) on possible applications for artificial intelligence in public transport, but besides that he still loves sitting in the driver's seat of the public bus.

Read his story here.


NWO grants for AI research on privacy-preserving cancer studies and virtual harassment

Two projects by Utrecht University researchers are receiving a grant from the National Growth Fund program AINed. This funding will propel promising, innovative, and bold initiatives in the field of artificial intelligence, addressing pressing needs in healthcare and virtual reality.

Julian Frommel, Assistant Professor in the Interaction/Multimedia group of the Faculty of Science, will conduct research on harassment in virtual reality environments. His colleague Wilson dos Santos Silva, newly appointed at the same faculty, will focus on improving AI models that can learn from patient data from different hospitals without breaching privacy.

Read more

Foto: Unsplash


PhD Day 2024 - Scientists of the Future

Are you a GSLS PhD candidate at Utrecht University? Join the PhD Day on July 1st 2024!

Every year the GSLS PhD Council organizes the PhD Day: an inspiring afternoon with plenary sessions and interactive workshops. The event will end with a dinner in the Botanical Gardens. This year's theme is 'Scientists of the Future'.

There are sessions about Open Science, AI, science communication, inclusion and more! Visit the website for the full program.

You can register before 10 June.


The energy transition under the nanoscope: Gravitation funding for ANION project

  • #chemistry
  • #physics

Bringing together chemists and physicists to thoroughly investigate how electrochemical processes work on the smallest scale. That is the goal of the new Advanced Nano-electrochemistry Institute of the Netherlands, or ANION for short. The consortium receives a Gravitation funding of 23.6 million euros for this purpose. Professor Petra de Jongh from Utrecht University is one of the co-applicants.

There are still a lot of unsolved mysteries in electrochemistry. The ANION scientists will investigate the processes that are important for batteries, electrolysers, and fuel cells.

Read full article here.


Future of Work Conference on staff shortages

  • #psychologicalsciences
  • #sociology

On 27 June the Future of Work conference is held in Utrecht. This year's central theme is staff shortages. 

The conference will be held in Dutch. 


  • Anne van der Put (Sociology)

  • Chris Janssen (Applied psychology) 

  • Maartje de Graaf (Human-Computer Interaction)

  • Marguerite van de Berg (Organisational science. Author: 'Werk is geen oplossing')

Registration will soon be open here.


Suzanne McGowan appointed Professor of Aquatic Ecosystem Dynamics

  • #biologicalsciences
  • #environmentalscience
  • #geosciences

Special chair connects Geosciences and Biology

Utrecht University has appointed Suzanne McGowan as Special Professor of Aquatic Ecosystem Dynamics. Her chair offers a unique combination between the university's faculties of Science and Geosciences. McGowan integrates this with her main affiliation as the Head of Aquatic Ecology at the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW). As a professor, she aims to uncover how water ecosystems have been functioning, and how the major changes on our planet affect this.

More about Aquatic Ecosystem Dynamics