Leiden University: Leiden research project on circular electronics receives 3.8 million euros from NWO

Fewer CO2 emissions, less airborne viral transmission, and a more sustainable form of food production: seven consortia of researchers and societal partners will put a budget of 32 million euros towards developing technological innovations. Important Leiden research on circular electronics by Prof. Dr. Arnold Tukker will also receive a budget.

‘Our digitalising society increasingly depends on heavier electronic equipment. We need to radically change the design, production and use of electronics,’ says programme leader Tukker.

Towards circular electronics
If we don’t change anything, the amount of electronic waste will increase fourfold in the next two decades, and the required raw materials will be exhausted rapidly. Research project ‘Circular Circuits: design of next generation electronics for a circular economy’ received 3.8 million euros from the Dutch Research Council (NWO). This programme will use a systematic approach to develop a completely circular generation of electronics. The researchers will work on solutions for extending the lifespan, reuse, repair and recycling of electronics. For this, they will examine technological design aspects as equally new business models and advanced recycling technology. The project focus on applications in telecommunication, consumer electronics, lighting and power electronics.

Focus on urgent problems
Within the NWO Perspectief programme, the seven consortia have been awarded 23 million euros from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy. In addition, the 117 companies and societal organisations involved have contributed almost 10 million euros in co-funding. This will enable 74 researchers to work within the consortia in the coming years.

All programmes awarded funding are centred on an urgent societal problem. For instance, the consortia will search for solutions to make heavy transport, agriculture, steel production and the electronics industry more sustainable in the short term. There are also programmes aimed at innovations in the medical sector, for example realising more effective treatments for arthritis, type 2 diabetes and cancer. Another current subject is the transmission of airborne viruses. Engineers and fluid mechanics will join forces with pharmacologists and epidemiologists to realise a list of proven measures to counteract infections.

Innovative solutions
‘This year, we are again awarding an impressive selection of relevant studies in which a wide range of research groups, companies and societal parties are involved’, says Margot Weijnen, chair of NWO Domain Applied and Engineering Sciences. Together, they work on technological innovations with societal impact and the creation of economic opportunities for the Netherlands. ‘Working in broad consortia with a multidisciplinary focus is what makes Perspectief such a powerful instrument. The programme helps researchers and all of the partners involved to realise breakthroughs and develop innovative solutions for the societal challenges.’

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