UT and University of Münster to boost cooperation

The University of Twente (UT) and the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität (WWU) in Münster will be collaborating more intensively by engaging in three joint research projects.

The three projects will receive funding in the form of a Collaboration Grant of €80,000. Each university will provide half of this amount. “A Collaboration Grant is basically ‘seed funding’ – money for the start-up phase of the projects,” explains UT Professor Wilfred van der Wiel, who has been appointed to a professorial post in the Faculty of Physics in Münster this month on a zero-hour contract. “Of course, both universities were already collaborating in several areas, but joint research projects like these are new. There has always been interest in such joint endeavours, but without money you can’t get things like this off the ground.

According to Van der Wiel, collaborating with the German university is only logical, because of the geographical proximity of WWU and UT – a scant 70 km separates them – but this is just one of many reasons. “We really complement each other. We are an interesting partner for them because we have infrastructure and expertise that they lack, and vice versa. Münster boasts a major academic hospital, there is a renowned Max Planck Institute around the corner, and the university has prominent chemistry and physics faculties. I am also deeply impressed by their Center For Soft Nanoscience (SoN) and the Center for NanoTechnology (CeNTech). Together, we can achieve a lot.”

Excellent opportunity

According to Van der Wiel, these joint projects and his appointment in Münster will give UT a solid foot on the ground when it comes to participating in research projects in Germany. “This is highly interesting for us. Just think of all the calls for proposals from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), a major German research funding organization. The Collaborative Research Centres (Sonderforschungsbereiche) are a great example. Up to 30 researchers work together in CRCs to establish university-transcending research centres focusing on specific themes. It involves large amounts of funding, and you can only participate if you have an appointment in Germany. This represents an excellent opportunity for me, my department and the UT to appoint PhD students, for example. And by participating in this centre, WWU can access any expertise they need but that may not be present within their own faculties.”

The Collaboration Grant projects

  • Single-photon sources based on hybrid surface acoustic wave devices (SINGSAW). Researchers: Wilfred van der Wiel (UT), Wolfram Pernice and Rudolf Bratschitsch (both of WWU).
  • Investing in booster projects in imaging to launch future large collaborations in Imaging (BOOST). Researchers: Srirang Manohar and Riemer Slart (UT), Lars Stegger and Michael Shafers (WWU). Manohar is also using the funding for various other, smaller projects. A launch for these ‘booster sub-projects’ has been planned for 15 February 2019 in Münster.
  • ‘Next-generation batteries’, UT Professor Mark Huijben, collaboration between the MEET Institute in Münster and the MESA+ Institute for Nanotechnology at UT.
Jochem Vreeman
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