Early Research Programme

With the Early Research Programme as a vehicle TNO renews and maintains its knowledge base, with an emphasis on intensive collaboration with knowledge partners and stakeholders. In 2015 the good start that was made with eight topics will be continued in 2016, with two KIEM (sustainable innovation support programme) projects having caught on so well that they have been added to the portfolio as ERP topics for 2016. The projects incorporated within the ERP are use-case inspired: they provide a very tangible picture of how the research will lead to innovations. The ten topics are summarised below.

The ten topics are summarised below.

Quantum Computer / Quantum Internet. QuTech is a research ecosystem begun in 2014 with TU Delft and TNO at its core. The technology aim is to develop a quantum bit to replace the transistor and thus facilitate a paradigm shift from the current binary computer to a quantum computer and develop a quantum internet that enables the ultimate encryption and security of information. In 2015 a covenant was drawn up between TU Delft and TNO with the ministries of Economic Affairs and Education, Culture & Science, NWO/STW/FOM and the Topsector HTSM giving QuTech a ten-year research horizon. Moreover, a sponsor agreement is in place with Intel for the same period. In May 2016, during the Dutch chairmanship of the European Union, the Dutch government and QuTech with organise a Quantum Conference aimed at boosting investments in the development of quantum technology in Europe. The Lead programme director is Rogier Verberk.
Principal project manager: rogier.verberk@tno.nl

Complexity. Complex systems are all around us: both large, like the climate, internet and the global economy, and small, such as local transport systems as well as our own body and brain. Complex systems comprise a large number of components that all react to each other. While the mutual interactions may be simple and predictable, on the scale of the whole system sometimes ‘new’ and unpredictable behaviour may occur. In 2015 TNO began exploratory research on the themes Healthy Living (personalised healthcare), Urbanisation (‘smart cities’, circular economy, industrial safety), Energy (gas and electric grids, induced seismology) and Industry (‘smart industry’, cooperative driving). In 2016 TNO and NWO will be working with the Topsectors Agifood and Logistics to set up research to gain a better understanding of the complexity in these domains. Moreover, TNO and NWO are closely involved in establishing the ‘Netherlands Platform for Complex Systems’ (NPCS) that aims to coordinate complexity research in the Netherlands and initiate cooperation in the Netherlands and Europe. The Lead programme director is Kees d'Huy.
Lead scienstist: ardi.dortmans@tno.nl | Read more

Personalized Food. In recent years insight has grown into the significant variation that exists between individuals, both genetically, microbiologically and in terms of how the body functions. Differences between reactions to food and drugs are also considerable. A personalised approach, including ‘lifestyle’ advice, will be a breakthrough in reducing the costs of healthcare and improving the effectiveness of prevention and intervention. The programme targets the two key phases of life: the first two years during which the basis is laid for healthy development and the period of ageing in which the costs of healthcare are currently highest, roughly the last thirty years of one’s life. The research is closely connected with the ‘Grand Design’ initiative of the ministry of Economic Affairs. TNO, DLO and NWO are aligning their research in this field and with the knowledge agendas of the Health theme of the Topsector Agrifood and the Specilised Food roadmap of the Topsector LSH. The main university partners are WUR, RU, UM and the university hospitals (especially in the light of the major cohort studies). The Lead programme director is Peter van Dijken.
Lead scientist: frank.schuren@tno.nl

Energy Storage & Conversion. The main technologies needed to enable the transition to a sustainable and, at the same time, reliable and affordable energy supply are conversion, storage and matching demand & supply. In this programme TNO is working with leading universities and research centres, including ECN, FOM DIFFER, TU/e Darcy Center, TU Delft, the universities of Twente, Leiden and Utrecht, RWTH Aachen and TU Denmark. Many TKIs (Top consortia for Knowledge and Innovation) have referred to these technologies – Urban Energy, ISPT, Gas, Solar Energy, Systems Integration, Switch2SmartGrids, New Chemical Innovations and Chemical Engineering – as essential to the transition. A large number of Dutch companies will also have a major share in new solutions for storing energy in chemical compounds: producers of fuels/chemicals (e.g. DSM, Shell, SABIC, BASF), developers of materials/catalytic converters (e.g. Albemarle, Cabot, Kriya Materials, Johnson Matthey, Akzo Nobel, Dow, Nedmag, Sabic), suppliers of components/systems (e.g. Siemens, Proton Ventures, Inventum, NXP, Solesta, Vaillant Group) and energy companies (e.g. Alliander, Cogas, Tennet, E.on, Electrabel, RWE). We aim to work with such parties on breakthroughs to enable the conversion of electrons and light into chemicals, the storage of heat in chemical compounds and the development of a self-organising, smart energy system for optimum matching of demand and supply using profitable market mechanisms. The Lead programme director is Rene Hooiveld.
Lead scientist: pascal.buskens@tno.nl

3D Nanomanufacturing. The Dutch semiconductor industry is the European leader. In the race for more functionality and lower power consumption, the key lies in miniaturising the details on a chip and better utilisation of the third dimension. To be able to produce these nanoarchitectures with precision, reliability and at high speed, new manufacturing and inspection techniques are required. The main use case in this programme centres on this. The research is aligned with the goals of the Topsector HTSM roadmaps: Semiconductor Equipment, Advanced Instrumentations, Nanotechnology. Cooperation is being developed with a large number of universities and knowledge organisations (e.g. Delft, Twente, Leiden. Amolf, ARCNL, imec, Alberta, Ilmenau) and companies (e.g. ASML, Applied Materials, ESA, FEI, Bruker, Intel, VSL). Apart from the main focus, other applications are also under consideration: photovoltaic components, sensors, instruments for healthcare (e.g. organ on chip) and security. The Lead programme director is Roland van Vliet.
Lead scientist: hamed.sadeghianmarnani@tno.nl| Read more

Structural Integrity. Large structures such as dikes, bridges, industrial and offshore installations are both precious and vital. This programme targets new technology for keeping such structures affordably maintained, especially in the transport infrastructure and energy sector. The technology focuses on the use of sensor networks, on modelling (multi-scale, multi-physics, probabilistic) and on predicting the future integrity and safety of the structure. The use cases selected are concrete bridges, the support structures for offshore windmills, drilling wells and composite vehicles. This is aligned with the knowledge agendas of the Topsectors Water (TKI Delta Technology), Energy (TKI Wind at Sea, TKI Gas) and HTSM (ICT roadmap, hybrid materials roadmap) as well as those of the government departments of Economic Affairs (wind energy), Defence, Infrastructure & the Environment (Rijkswaterstaat), ProRail, water boards, provinces and municipalities and the respective industry. The research involves collaboration with, for example, TU Delft (InfraQuest, DuWind, Delphi consortium), TU/e (materials and structures), ECN (monitoring), Deltares (modelling) and foreign universities and institutions like BAM/BASt, KICT. The Lead programme director is Peter Paul van 't Veen.
Lead scientist: henk.miedema@tno.nl

Human Enhancement. This programme is geared to the effective support of people in mentally demanding circumstances. The challenges are: the full and safe switching between the manual and fully automated operation of systems, in industry (e.g. in the offshore sector) and in the transport sector (self-driving transport means), and boosting the resilience of employees in performing complex tasks in stressful working situations (e.g. police, flight controllers, control room in the chemical or energy sector) to combat risks and prevent illness and absence from work. The first challenge is linked to the Topsectors HTSM, Logistics and Energy, the automotive and maritime & offshore roadmaps, and to the societal theme of Mobility (Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment). The second challenge is key for the Topsectors LSH, HTSM (‘smart industry’ and social innovation) and the themes Work and Health (Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment) and Defence. Research collaboration is (being sought) with the universities of Delft, Amsterdam, Twente, Groningen, Leuven, Berlin, the NLDA and Marin. The Lead programme director is Myra van Esch.
Lead scientist: mark.neerincx@tno.nl | Read more

Making Sense of Big Data. The core of this programme is to create value through combining a large amount of data from different sources. Three use cases have been selected: Logistics & Mobility (optimising freight transport through using the data of producers, shippers, ports and customers; and preventing traffic jams on the basis of data on individual travel behaviour), Personalised Health (on the basis of large collections of individual health data) and Security (detecting threats). The KIA ICT 2016 – 2019 and the COMMIT2DATA proposal based on this and drafted by the Topsector, TNO and NWO refers to Big Data as a key line of research. Due to the use cases selected, this links up with the Topsectors Logistics and Life Sciences & Health and with the societal themes Defence and Public Safety. Collaboration with universities will gain shape in a proposed NWO-TNO Big Data programme and the Big Data Value Centre (alliance with UvA, CWI, Surf, TUD, RUL, NWO and HvA). A covenant has been agreed with CBS. Opportunities for cooperation in respect of the TO2 lies in DLO (food safety), ECN (the decision process concerning wind energy) and Deltares (the digital delta project). The Lead programme director is Henk-Jan Vink.
Lead scientist: wessel.kraaij@tno.nl | Read more

Organ-Function on Chip. The failure of many drug developments at a late stage of clinical research drives up the costs of drugs. Better predictive preclinical models are needed to be able to screen more effectively. Recent ‘organ-on-chip’ developments offer a platform for this kind of modelling. Moreover, these models fit the 3R programmes that focus on the reduction, replacement and refinement of animals models. Three use cases have been selected in the programme: colon health, liver function and lung function. The research is aligned with the knowledge agendas of the Topsectors LSH (3R and Enabling Technologies roadmap), Agrifood and HTSM and of the ministries of Public Health (ZonMW) and Economic Affairs (alternatives for animal testing) and Defence (personal protection). Collaboration is expected with universities and AMCs, including Twente, Eindhoven, Hubrecht laboratory (UMCU), LUMC, RadboudMC, WUR, VUMC, UMCG and TU Berlin. The Lead programme director is Ivana Bobeldijk.
Lead scientist: evita.vandesteeg@tno.nl | Read more

Submicron Composites. The aim is to be able to control the structure and chemical composition of materials so well that specific functionality can be regulated. The development will proceed from monofunctional materials, via materials with a number of passive functional properties to adaptive multi-materials. The use cases will be selected in consultation with industrial partners in the Brightlands Materials Center, a partnership between the Province of Limburg, the chemicals and materials community Chemelot and TNO. The research is aligned with the knowledge agendas of the Topsectors Chemical Engineering and HTSM, and the societal theme Built and Natural Environment. A joint study started up with TU/e will be extended to include other knowledge partners like the University of Maastricht, DWI-Leibniz Institute for interactive Materials e.V. in Aachen and the Hogeschool Zuyd in Heerlen. The Lead programme director is Jaap Lombaers.
Lead scientist: pascal.buskens@tno.nl

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