ERC Advanced Grant for Professor Tan

Thursday 11 April 2024
Jin-Chong Tan
Professor Jin-Chong Tan (photo by John Cairns).

Professor Jin-Chong Tan (Professor of Engineering Science, Fellow and Tutor in Engineering Science) has been awarded a prestigious European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Grant for a project that could transform the field of nanoenergy conversion.

ERC Advanced Grants are amongst the most prestigious and competitive of EU funding schemes, recognising senior researchers who have a proven track record of significant achievements and providing them with the opportunity to pursue ambitious projects that could lead to major scientific breakthroughs. The grants that the ERC has announced, as part of the EU’s Horizon Europe programme, are worth up to €2.5 million each.

This latest call for proposals attracted over 1,800 applications, of which around 14% were selected for funding. The successful projects, worth in total nearly €652 million, will carry out cutting-edge research in a wide range of fields, from life sciences and physical sciences to social sciences and humanities.

Professor Jin-Chong Tan will use his ERC Advanced Grant to explore how to engineer resilient and durable triboelectric nanogenerators that can harvest energy from the environment and day-to-day activities, and then convert it into useful electrical energy. By developing novel composite materials, the project aims to solve the long-standing problem of current nanogenerators only generating low-density power outputs – a major constraint that impedes practical applications. Ultimately, this work could improve the performance of various applications including lightweight energy harvesters, touch-sensitive sensors in soft robots, and portable devices that can power themselves without the use of batteries.

Professor Tan said: ‘This ERC Advanced Grant will enable me and my team to discover exciting new triboelectric materials targeting a wide range of disruptive technologies. I am excited by the prospect of uncovering the hidden mechanisms behind the functioning of triboelectric generators, by leveraging innovative techniques such as nearfield nanospectroscopy and broadband nanoimaging.

I am pleased to receive the award and wish to thank my team members who performed the pilot studies underpinning the proposal. The findings from this project could transform the field of nanoenergy conversion, through precisely engineered resilient new materials ideal for real life applications.’

Iliana Ivanova, the European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education, and Youth, said: ‘To all the new ERC grantees, my heartfelt congratulations! These grants will not only support leading researchers in pushing the boundaries of knowledge, but also create some 2500 jobs for postdoctoral fellows, PhD students and other research staff across Europe. This investment nurtures the next generation of brilliant minds. I look forward to seeing the resulting breakthroughs and fresh advancements in the years ahead.’