Rutgerd Boelens and Joris Sprakel to receive substantial ERC grant

Wageningen researchers Rutgerd Boelens and Joris Sprakel are each to receive a substantial grant from the European Research Council for their groundbreaking research proposals. Each of the researchers is awarded a sum of just under two million euros from the ERC Consolidator grant to conduct research on dealing with river water and a striking chemical bond.

Rutgerd Boelens, of the Water Resources Management group, focuses on river and water management in Europe and Latin America. In his research proposal, entitled Riverhood, he focuses on hitherto barely noticed bottom-up initiatives. In these new initiatives, the participants view the rivers not just as a reservoir of flowing water, but as a living entity in which nature and humans are ecologically and socioeconomically deeply intertwined.

Joris Sprakel’s project focuses on strange and strong chemical bonds: catch bonds. The professor at the Physical Chemistry & Soft Matter group studies the secrets of an unusually strong chemical bond discovered at the start of this century in nature. This bond increases in strength under pressure. Understanding this amazing chemical characteristic and eventually copying it under laboratory conditions, is the challenge he faces.