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B.M. Weckhuysen

Distinguished University Professor

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Gravitation grant awarded to MCEC

At December 18, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and NWO announced that a Gravitation grant is awarded to the "Netherlands Center for Multiscale Catalytic Energy Conversion" (MCEC) with Bert Weckhuysen as main applicant.

With this prestigious grant, the new consortium of several researchers from Utrecht University, Technical University of Eindhoven and Twente University, will receive a grant of 31,9 million euros for their renewing research. The consortium consists of chemists, physicists and engineers who join forces in this 10 year research programme to radically change the processes used to produce fuels and chemical building blocks of the future.

Presentation of the Gravitation grants 2013

The presentation of the grants by Minister Jet Bussemaker and NWO Board
Member Franciska de Jong to 6 consortia. Credits: Xandra Baldessari/OCW

MCEC research

The research will focus on the development and optimisation of existing catalytic processes at all relevant scales: from the atomic level to the level of the actual reactor the catalysis takes place in. The ultimate aim of the Netherlands Center for Multiscale Catalytic Energy Conversion is to develop highly efficient catalytic processes for various energy and materials sources, such as fossil fuels, biomass and solar energy.


The main applicant of the Netherlands Center for Multiscale Catalytic Energy Conversion consortium is Prof. Bert Weckhuysen. Co-applicants in the consortium are Prof. A. van den Berg (University of Twente), Prof. A. van Blaaderen (Utrecht University), Prof. J.A.M. Kuipers (Eindhoven University of Technology), Prof. D. Lohse (University of Twente) and Prof. R.A. van Santen (Eindhoven University of Technology).

Utrecht University is the lead institution of the centre. Besides Bert Weckhuysen and Alfons van Blaaderen, other researchers from the groups Inorganic Chemistry and Catalysis, Soft Condensed Matter and Condensed Matter and Interfaces are directly involved.


Within the Gravitation programme, six research consortia are receiving a combined sum of 153 million euros for long-term and large-scale research. With the grants, the Minister for Education, Culture and Science gives Dutch world-class scientists the opportunity to carry out innovative research that can bring about international breakthroughs. The selection process was done by an international committee appointed by NWO.

The grant was presented by Minister Jet Bussemaker and NWO Board Member Franciska de Jong, in The Hague at December 18.

More information can be found in the following press releases and media:
(mostly in Dutch, marked when English)

* Press release NWO (Dutch / English) Dec. 18, 2013
* Press release Utrecht University Dec. 18, 2013
* Press release Utrecht University, Faculty of Science Dec. 18, 2013
* Interview in DUB Dec. 18, 2013
* Article at Chemisch2Weekblad Dec. 19, 2013
* Article in newspaper Trouw  Dec. 19, 2013
* Article in newspaper De Volkskrant Dec. 19, 2013
* Congratulations from UU in NRC and Volkskrant Dec. 21, 2013
* Column gravitation grant in TechnischWeekblad Jan. 10, 2014


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