Thursday 2nd May, Dublin: Professor Valeria Nicolosi from AMBER, the SFI Research Centre for Advanced Materials and BioEngineering, at Trinity College Dublin, has been announced as a recipient of the European Research Council’s (ERC) Proof of Concept grant, worth €150,000. This is a top-up for her ERC Consolidator grant of €2.5 million awarded in 2016 and brings her total research funding awarded in the last 10 years to over €20 million. Professor Valeria Nicolosi is Ireland’s only six-time ERC awardee.
The award will be used to explore the commercial applications of Professor Nicolosi’s research into 3D printed, nanotechnology enabled, energy storage devices in the wearable technology sector.
Proof of Concept grants are awarded to ERC grant holders as top-up funding to explore the commercial or innovation potential of the results of their ERC-funded research. Professor Nicolosi, Professor of Nanomaterials & Advanced Microscopy at Trinity’s School of Chemistry, was awarded an ERC Starting grant of €1.5 million in 2011, a Consolidator grant of €2.5 million in 2016 and 4 additional Proof of Concept grants. Her work examines the processing and characterising of nanomaterials for the development of novel energy storage devices. This grant, her most recent Proof of Concept award, will examine the economic and technical feasibility of using nanotechnology enabled micro-supercapacitors in the wearable device market.
Professor Valeria Nicolosi, said, “I am delighted to be awarded my 4th ERC Proof of Concept grant which will allow me to take my technology from prototype into product. Through my ERC Consolidator grant we have demonstrated that we can manufacture inexpensive and high-performance energy storage devices (supercapacitors) using a nanomaterial based on MXenes inks. These energy storage devices can easily be 3D printed on virtually any substance and on any shape or pattern. With my Proof of Concept grant I want my research to power the next generation of smart wearables and textile-electronics.”
Smart wearable devices refer to items that can perform electronic functions and are perceived as a way to add features into common wearable devices. New smart wearable electronics come to the market with functionalities such as: heat regulation, luminescence, touch, and sensitivity. These functionalities are useful for several applications in different fields such as: healthcare, sports, space exploration, and gaming. The smart wearable market has seen significant growth of late and is due to grow to $51 Billion by 2022. However, the development of such e-wearables has so far been greatly overshadowed by the power supply issue, as a traditional battery is unsustainable and not convenient.
Professor Michael Morris, Director of AMBER, commented on the announcement, saying, “The awarding of this Proof of Concept grant to Professor Nicolosi is an excellent acknowledgement of the research work she and her team are currently undergoing. She is at the forefront of Irish science with 6 ERC awards, and her work will bring economic and societal benefits to Ireland in developing more efficient ways to deal with energy consumption. She is an exceptional asset to the AMBER team and this funding also reaffirms how competitive Ireland is as a place for research.”