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Scientific excellence

Professor Dr. Oliver G. Schmidt receives an ERC Advanced Grant

Professor Oliver G. Schmidt, Director at the Leibniz Institute for Solid State and Materials Research Dresden and Professor at the TU Chemnitz and TU Dresden, has been awarded an Advanced Grant of the European Research Council (ERC). The funding of 2.5 million euros will enable Oliver Schmidt to implement his cutting-edge project “MicroRepro” within the next five years. The project defines a particularly innovative and interdisciplinary approach to support diagnostics, drug delivery and artificial reproduction technologies with micro robotic driving power. Magnetic microstructures are designed in such a way that they will capture single or several sperm cells and actively guide, propel and direct them to a certain destination for fertilization. Moreover, once loaded with drugs these novel mini-transporters could be used to transport and deliver medication to cells on demand in a targeted fashion. The goal of the ERC Advanced Grant is to explore the fundamental limits of this new technology and hopefully bring some of the basic conceptual ideas closer to real-world applications. A proof-of-principle of the proposed technology was demonstrated by Professor Schmidt and his team three years ago:

About the ERC: The European Research Council, set up by the European Union in 2007, is the premiere European funding organisation for excellent frontier research. Every year, it selects and funds the very best, creative researchers of any nationality and age, to run projects based in Europe. ERC Advanced Grants can be obtained by established researchers with an outstanding scientific track record for ground-breaking, high-risk projects. For the ERC to grant a sum of up to 2.5 million Euros for a period of 5 years, applicants must be exceptional leaders in terms of originality and significance of their research contributions. Demand for ERC grants remains very high: 2,052 research proposals were submitted this time, out of which almost 11% were selected for funding. This EU funding, worth a total of € 540 million, will support 222 senior researchers across Europe, 32 of them in Germany.

IFW scientists are particularly successful in the competition for the prestigious ERC grants. So far, for ERC Starting Grants, two ERC Consolidator Grants, and now the second ERC Advanced Grant have been granted to an IFW scientist.

Prof. Dr. Oliver G. Schmidt

Microrobot in action

Spermbot in action

Portrait of Professor Doctor Oliver Schmidt, Foto: David Ausserhofer

Prof. Dr. Oliver G. Schmidt, Director of the Institute for Integrative Nanosciences at the Leibniz Institute for Solid State and Materials Research Dresden, Photo: David Ausserhofer