DIFFER - Dutch Institute for Fundamental Energy Research
Energy research is one of the focus areas of the Dutch organisation for scientific research NWO and of its physics branch FOM, the foundation for fundamental research on matter. Because of this, FOM has decided to expand its institute for plasma physics Rijnhuizen into an institute for energy research. The new Dutch Institute for Fundamental Energy Research started its work on 1 January 2012 and will perform fundamental energy research in the fields of nuclear fusion and solar fuels. DIFFER also aims to take on a nationally coordinating role in energy research.
For an optimal interaction with the broader academic world, DIFFER will move from its current location near the Rijnhuizen mansion in Nieuwegein to the Science Park of Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) in the south of the country. There, a new laboratory building will be built to house DIFFER from 2015 onwards. Read more at DIFFER moves (currently in Dutch).
DIFFER's nationally coordinating role
The new DIFFER building will be located on the Science Park of Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e). DIFFER will work in close cooperation with existing research institutes at the TU/e and at other (inter)national energy research centres. The cooperation with other universities and the nationally coordinating role will take shape by the installation of so-called focus groups at Dutch universities. These groups will act as annexes to the DIFFER institute. DIFFER will also pursue cooperation with other scientific disciplines, such as chemistry, biosciences and technological.
FLARE, FELIX and FELICE
The user facility FELIX / FELICE of FOM Rijnhuizen is the only department which will not move to Eindhoven with the rest of the institute. The FELIX free electron infrared laser and its recent expansion FELICE will instead become part of the Institute for Molecules and Materials (IMM) at the Radboud University Nijmegen. The IMM is currently building the free electron laser FLARE, which produces infrared radiation complementary to that of FELIX and FELICE. The three facilities each produce infrared light with adjustable wavelength, energy and pulse duration, tailored to the specific wishes of users from physics, chemistry, materials research and biomedical disciplines.
More FOM energy research
Focus groups installed
The nationally coordinating role of DIFFER is shaped according to the existing NIKHEF cooperation, in which a FOM institutes cooperates with focus groups at universities. A DIFFER focus group has the potential to become the driving force behind a specific energy research theme in the Netherlands. In February 2011, the FOM Executive Board installed two FOM focus groups for fundamental energy research in Amsterdam and Groningen. The focus group lead by Prof.Dr. Kees Hummelen at Groningen University pursues Next Generation Organic Photovoltaics. At the FOM institute AMOLF in Amsterdam, Prof.Dr. Albert Polman heads a group investigating Light Management in New Photovoltaic Materials.
The two new focus groups fit into the new Strategic Plan 2010-2015 of FOM/NWO, in which energy research is one of the main themes. Both focus groups will be closely connected to the DIFFER institute. Each group has received a 5 million Euro budget and will consist of 30 researchers each.
Fellowships for Young Energy Scientists (YES!)
The FOM YES! Fellowships aim to attract young and talented post-doc researchers with innovative ideas on energy saving, energy generation and energy storage, and who are pursuing a scientific carreer in the field of fundamental energy research.