UTFacultiesTNWDept NEMResearchICENewsUT partner in two 'Gravitation' programmes on quantum materials and stress

UT partner in two 'Gravitation' programmes on quantum materials and stress

The University of Twente is partner in two large and long-term research programmes that will receive a so-called ‘Gravitation grant’ from Dutch Research Council NWO. One is about new materials for the quantum age, the other is about better understanding of stress. On average, the programmes each get 20 million euro for ten years.

The Gravitation programme enables researchers to carry out top-level university research and multidisciplinary cooperation for a period of  ten years. One of the cornerstones of the programme is cooperation across disciplines and universities. The scientists set up excellent scientific research programmes together in consortia. The purpose of Gravitation is to encourage research programmes to achieve international breakthroughs. The Minister for Education, Culture and Science (OCW), Robbert Dijkgraaf, made these funds available for research consortia that are among the best in the world in their field in carrying out groundbreaking research.

Materials for the quantum age

For decades now, silicon transistors are the building blocks of our information society; they have a huge impact on our prosperity. At the same time, research aims at finding new ways of processing and transport of data. We’re just at the beginning of what will be possible using quantum computers: they were merely a theoretical exercise for a long time, but recently ‘quantum advantage’ was demonstrated. A quantum computer, in these cases, outperforms a ‘conventional’ supercomputer.

The consortium aims at developing new materials with stable quantum states. New ways of information processing could become much more powerful as well as energy efficient. Stable quantum states can be at the basis of new ways of powerful parallel computing.

The UT is represented by, among others, Professor Alexander Brinkman. He is a specialist in topological materials. These have very special ways of conducting electric current. “In the MESA+ NanoLab, we focus on realizing onedimensional conducting channels in topological materials. At the edges of these channels, electrons may scatter. This will have consequences for energy consumption, and we would like to know how. Inducing superconductivity in these materials, we want to find out what the quantummechanic properties will look like."

Partners in this Gravitation programme are Utrecht University, Radboud University Nijmegen, University of Twente, TU Delft, TU Eindhoven and University of Groningen.


Stress is a serious threat to our health. Using modern detection and analysis techniques, five universities are going to evaluate the impact of emotional, cognitive, biological and behavioural responses to stress on our daily life. In large-scale population studies, they do research on the influence of environmental aspects and the role of personality. How do they lead to mental and cardiometabolic diseases? New methods will be developed for monitoring and reducing stress in daily life, thus reducing the onset of stress-related diseases.

UT associate professor Matthijs Noordzij is a specialist in technologie in mental health care: “For example, we will measure how responses to stress in daily life find their cause in the interplay of character, surroundings, time and person-specific factors. We’d like to know how to adequately detect stress in a reliable way in daily life in an individual and in real time. How and when do stress responses that are potentially beneficial, change into harmful effects on mental and physical health?"

Partners are the Free University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam University Medical Centre, University Medical Centre Groningen, University of Groningen, Erasmus Medical Centre and University of Twente

You can also check the press release of Dutch Research Council NWO.

ir. W.R. van der Veen (Wiebe)
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