Prestigious EU funding: Two new ERC Grants for innovative research

Prestigious EU funding: Two new ERC Grants for innovative research

LUH professors Dr. Boris Chichkov and Dr. Fei Ding receive EU grants

Two researchers at Leibniz University Hannover (LUH) have each received an internationally acclaimed ERC Grant to carry out cutting-edge research into the development of vascularised tissue and synchronisation in quantum networks. Dr. Boris Chichkov, a professor at the Institute of Quantum Optics, was awarded an ERC Advanced Grant and Dr. Fei Ding, a professor at the Institute of Solid State Physics – both part of the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics) – was awarded an ERC Consolidator Grant. Dr. Fei Ding was previously awarded an ERC Starting Grant, which aims to support junior researchers.

With the ERC Advanced Grant funding scheme, the European Research Council (ERC) aims to support established researchers with an outstanding career spanning many years, who would like to pursue new fields of research.The ERC Consolidator Grant is awarded to researchers with seven to twelve years of experience since completion of their doctoral degree whose independent research group is currently in the consolidation phase. Researchers receive support for their innovative project and further expansion of their research group.

Between them, the two LUH grant holders will receive more the 5 million Euros in funding for the next five years to conduct research in the following fields:

Laser biofabrication of 3D multicellular tissue with vascular network (Laser-Tissue- Perfuse), Prof. Dr. Boris Chichkov

Fabrication of three-dimensional vascularised organs is one of the most significant unsolved challenges in the field of biofabrication and tissue engineering. Blood vessels enable the transport of gas, nutrients and metabolites to and from cells and are therefore a basic requirement for the survival of biological tissue – both in vitro and in vivo – following transplantation. In order to reproduce the complexity and structure of functional circulatory systems (arteries and veins, as well as micrometre-sized arterioles, venules and capillaries), new procedures need to be developed for high- resolution, multi-level biological constructs. Research into new approaches involving laser-based bioprinters and two-photon polymerisation is being conducted to achieve this. This unique combination of methods is expected to enable the production of complex vascular networks for the first time.

Synchronisation in quantum networks (MiNet), Prof. Dr. Fei Ding

Hundreds and thousands of fireflies synchronise their shimmering lights on summer nights – one of the most beautiful sight demonstrating the relevance of synchronisation and scalability in a network. MiNet aims to answer the following question: Is it possible or even necessary to synchronise all components in a complex, large-scale quantum network? Professor Dr. Fei Ding will be working together with colleagues at LUH and PTB with the aim of testing large-scale multi-particle entanglement on the metrological fibre optic link between Hannover and Braunschweig. Through utilising the optical clock network, which is based on telecommunication fibres, MiNet aims to transmit highly stable time/frequency information to devices in remote laboratories located in both cities.

In addition to the two grant holders, three further researchers are currently conducting research at LUH with an ERC Consolidator Grant, as well as one researcher with an ERC Advanced Grant, and ten researchers with an ERC Starting Grant (funding for researchers with two to seven years of experience since completion of their doctoral degree). Due to the tough selection process, ERC Grants are considered the highest accolade awarded by the European Research Council. Important selection criteria include visionary research topics as well as excellent achievements that the applicants have accomplished to date.

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