At their best, universities should be places for academic exceptionalism, where the pursuit of knowledge is free to strive. As the UK comes out of the Covid-19 pandemic, that looks set to occur at the University of Warwick, which has been given a significant amount of funding towards its scientific research. With universities not simply teaching, but engaging in research that will support the next generations, there is no truer sign of this than here.
The specific product uses tools to calculate the electronic properties of materials. Thanks to two million in euro funding, this money can be used to examine new possibilities for resources that might provide better forms of energy efficiency.
The ‘Consolidator Grants’ were given to 313 winners by the European Research Council (ERC). The ERC was set up by the European Union in 2007 to help advance academic research across Europe. Since its establishment, the organisation has helped provide funding for numerous sources of research. Between 2021 and 2027, it has a budget of more than €16 billion, providing an immense opportunity for different research organisations. In the latest allocation, €632 million was distributed to tackle a range of scientific questions. Specifically, the funding will support researchers in dealing with scientific problems of their choosing, with an estimated 1,900 jobs created for postdoctoral fellows, PhD students, and other staff at 189 institutions.
Given the current global energy crisis, such scientific innovation and research has never felt more timely or necessary
The €2 million funding will allow a large range of materials to be investigated in depth through the COMPLEXthermMA project, a Warwick School of Engineering project which uses advanced theory and efficient computational tools to calculate electronic properties in a reliable and flexible manner. These electronic tools will help to develop the next generation of thermoelectric materials which will play a part in managing long term energy and technological sustainability.
Thermoelectric materials are a class of materials that show the thermoelectric effect, in which a temperature difference across the material produces an electric voltage. As a result, these materials are able to convert large amounts of heat into electricity. The technology being developed will ensure this conversion occurs in a more effective manner. Given the current global energy crisis, such scientific innovation and research has never felt more timely or necessary.
“It is our duty to keep science on track and give our brightest minds free reign to explore their ideas” – Professor Maria Leptin
The Principal Investigator Professor Neophytos Neophytou, who works at the University of Warwick School of Engineering, said: “I am extremely pleased to receive this prestigious award, actually for the second time. It will enable me to continue producing top level research output and create a world leading group.” He also remarked: “It is one of the only funds that supports high risk, high gain projects such as this one, and I hope upon successful implementation to strongly impact the field of materials engineering and energy harvesting technologies.”
The President of the ERC Professor Maria Leptin commented: “Even in times of crisis and conflict and suffering, it is our duty to keep science on track and give our brightest minds free reign to explore their ideas. We do not know today how their work might revolutionise tomorrow – we do know that they will open up new horizons, satisfy our curiosity and most likely help us prepare for unpredictable future challenges.” Professor Leptin also said: “I am thrilled to see a new group of ERC grant winners funded for their scientific journey. I wish them the best of luck on their way to push the frontiers of our knowledge!”