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Two innovative UT research projects launched through ENW-M Open Competition

Science funding body NWO has approved 17 applications in the ENW-M open competition. These include two research projects at UT, one by Matthias Walter (EEMCS) on speeding up Mixed-Integer Programmes and one by Jurriaan Huskens (TNW) on the attachment of the flu virus. M-grants are intended for innovative, fundamental research of high quality and/or scientific urgency. 

Making Mixed-Integer Programming Solvers Smarter and Faster using Network Matrices
Dr. Matthias Walter (UT)

Mixed-integer optimisation is a technique for solving complex optimisation problems that arise in production planning, logistics or route planning. While existing solution approaches are already very powerful, they consider a given mixed-integer optimisation problem as a black box. In this research, algorithms are developed and tested that analyse such a problem and extract known patterns. The latter are finally used to speed up the solution algorithm.

Matthias (picture above) can't wait to get started: “I am excited to enhance practical solution approaches using Mathematical structures in a smart way.”

Influenza A virus receptor engagement, a complex dance with multiple partners 
Dr Robert de Vries & Prof Jurriaan Huskens (UU/UT)

This research focuses on the attachment protein of the influenza virus. The research team will make the protein in various forms, so that the virus can be replicated as well or as badly as possible. Using advanced measuring equipment, the team can then understand the mechanism of attachment in detail. This data will contribute to much better antiviral drugs in the future.

Jurriaan explains: “This project will allow us to figure out what scaling laws occur at the nanoscale for binding a virus to a cell. That insight will improve our understanding of how flu works and how we can deal with it.”

About Open Competition ENW-M

NWO's M-grant gives researchers the opportunity to work out creative, high-risk ideas and to create scientific innovations that can form the basis for research themes of the future. These awards fall within the so-called "M-package 20-2", for which a total of 72 applications were processed. 
The complete overview of the 17 research projects can be found on the NWO website.

J.C. Vreeman (Jochem)
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