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11 million euros for chemistry research

NWO Division for the Chemical Sciences (NWO-CW) has awarded a TOP grant to seven research groups. The groups work across the full spectrum of (bio)chemical and chemical engineering research. Each research group receives EUR 675,000 to strengthen and extend its line of research. In addition to this NWO-CW has awarded an ECHO project grant of EUR 225,000 to 29 researchers for high-quality, science-driven research.

The TOP grant is one of the types of grant available from NWO Division for the Chemical Sciences, which celebrates its fiftieth anniversary in June. With this grant the research group can strengthen and extend its excellent, challenging and innovative research line over a period of five years. This year 18 research groups submitted an application. Two of the applications are briefly described below; the complete list can be found via

New synthetic methodology for biologically relevant nitrogen heterocycles. - Prof. F.P.J.T. (Floris) Rutjes (Radboud University)

Nitrogen heterocycles are found in a large number of biologically active compounds and medicines. It is important to develop versatile methods to synthesise these ring systems. This project is developing a new synthesis methodology.

Single metal nanoparticle in catalytic action - Prof. B.M. (Bert) Weckhuysen (Utrecht University)

In this research project the researcher wants to use an optical sonde to scan a catalyst surface, illuminate this and at the same time allow catalytic reactions to take place. A special reactor will be developed for this purpose and one active nanoparticle will be zoomed in on. This must lead to more efficient catalysts and the development of more environmentally-friendly chemical processes.

The ECHO project grant (for Excellent Chemical Research) generates space for creative, science-driven research which can form the basis for future scientific themes. In November 2005, 79 researchers submitted a proposal and 29 of these were approved. Two of the proposals are briefly described below; the complete list can be found via

The puzzling behaviour of ultrasmall magnets - Prof. A.P. (Albert) Philipse (Utrecht University)

Alcohol and water are in part fluid because the molecules act as small magnets. Are tiny magnets alone sufficient for fluid formation? Theoreticians have disputed this for years. The applicant wants to find out who is right by simulating invisible molecules with tiny magnetic iron oxide spheres.

Quality control for enzymes taken up in peroxisomes? Prof. I.J. (Ida) van der Klei (University of Groningen)

Peroxisomes are important cell organelles which play a role in various metabolic processes. This study intends to investigate whether peroxisomal enzymes, which are synthesised in the cell fluid, are checked for their functionality (correct folding and assembly) and the roles folding and assembly play in the uptake of the protein by the target organelle, the peroxisome.

Kim van den Wijngaard | alfa
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