Eight projects awarded within KIC call Key Technologies


Within the call 'Key Technologies (KIC)', eight research projects have been awarded grants. Consortia of scientists, companies and civil society organisations will soon start joint research in which fundamental and application-oriented research with the aid of innovative and pioneering technologies plays a central role. The eight projects cover various themes, such as: improving the taste and nutritional value of vegetable proteins, reprogramming the genome with CRISPR-Cas without genetic modifications, making large infrastructural steel constructions use longer and safer, and improving medication safety for patients with multiple chronic diseases. More than 16 million euros is available for the research.

The eight awarded key enabling technology projects together receive a grant of 11 million euros. Private and societal partners will contribute a further 5 million euros in co-funding. Key enabling technologies enable ground-breaking innovations in processes, products and/or services that are relevant to science, society and the market. The technologies are characterised by their broad applicability and range. In addition, key enabling technologies are essential in solving societal challenges and/or make a major contribution to the economy of new companies and markets, increase competition and strengthen the labour market.

Overview of the Key Enabling Technologies


See the complete overview of awarded projects, in order of project number:

  • SUstainaBle and reLIable Macro stEel infrastructures (SUBLIME)
    prof. dr. ir. J. (Johan) Maljaars, Eindhoven University of Technology

    Large steel infrastructures (bridges, sheet piles, lock doors) degrade in time through corrosion and fatigue. The goals of this project are to increase the reliability and circularity of these infrastructures and to develop governance recommendations that operationalize the technical knowledge. Predictive digital twins will be developed that integrate structural health monitoring and prediction models. This enables a much longer – but safe – use of these infrastructures. The consequent socioeconomic and environmental benefits will be assessed as well and this unique combination of scientific expertise will result in specific technical and governance recommendations to achieve sustainable and reliable steel infrastructures.

    Delft University of Technology, University of Twente, Leiden University, Rijkswaterstaat, ProRail, Province of South Holland, City of Amsterdam, North Sea Port (NL), North Sea Port (Belgium), ArcelorMittal, Bouwen met Staal, Madastar, Dutch Drone Company, Somni.

  • LEveraging real-world dAta to optimize PharmacotheRapy outcomes in multimOrbid patients by using machine learning and knowledGe representation methods – the LEAPfROG
    dr. J. (Joanna) E. Klopotowska – Amsterdam University Medical Centers/University of Amsterdam

    In the LEAPfROG project, tools powered by Artificial Intelligence will be developed to improve safe use of medication in patients with multimorbidity. By combining knowledge about medication safety learned on patient data from electronic health records with existing medication safety knowledge learned from guidelines, handbooks and knowledgebases about medication safety, more trustworhty and explainable medication advices are expected, tailored to the needs of patients with multimorbidity. The value of the LEAPfROG approach will be demonstrated via a clinically relevant and urgent use case "drug-induced kidney disease in patients with chronic kidney disease"

    Amsterdam University Medical Centers/University of Amsterdam, VU University Amsterdam, Amsterdam University Medical Centers/VU Medical Center, Open University, PHARMO Institute, National Intensive Care Evaluation Foundation, Dutch Kidney Foundation , InsightRX, Castor, Digital Health Link, Z-Index.

  • Electrically driven non-thermal dewatering of biomass (ELECTRIFIED)
    prof. dr. ir. R. (Remko) M. Boom - Wageningen University

    Drying alone represents around 15-25% of all energy used in the processing industry in the developed world, which is likely to become much more with increasing use of biomass. Sustainable food and biobased processing can only be realised by replacing our current evaporative dewatering processes by processes using more effective driving forces. ELECTRIFIED uses electric driving forces to extract water from biomaterials, mostly in liquid form. This is done by making use of a combination of molecularly designed electroresponsive hydrogels, well-controlled electro-osmosis and electrohydrodynamic drying. A wide consortium ensures the practical relevance of the technologies.

    Wageningen University, Delft University of Technology, University of Twente, University of Groningen, Eindhoven University of Technology, Avebe, Corbion, Cosun, VNP, DSM, The Protein Brewery, Andritz, Meam.

  • Protein Transition 2.0
    dr. J. (Julia) Keppler – Wageningen University

    Animal proteins from livestock farming are not sustainable, while plant proteins cannot yet offer the same taste and nutritional value. Cellular agriculture and single-cell proteins represent a major revolution. They can efficiently meet the high demand for proteins with a high sensory and nutritional quality and a low environmental footprint. To convert these new proteins into attractive food products, technology development is still needed. In order to achieve large-scale production, this project will work on the application of scalable key technologies for downstream processing, improve the functionality of the proteins for food applications, as well as go through regulatory requirements and safety analyses.

    Utrecht University, Maastricht University, Tetra Pak Nederland Holding, Air Liquide, FrieslandCampina,   Upfield Research & Development, TurtleTree Labs, Those Vegan Cowboys, LegenDairy, The Protein Brewery, Superbrewed Food, Bodec.

  • Technology for Dissecting Carbohydrates in food, biopharma, and biomedicine (DisC)
    prof. dr. M. (Manfred) Wuhrer – Leiden University Medical Center

    Carbohydrates are a major part of our food. They are an essential component of modern drugs. Also changes in the carbohydrates of our body are at the basis of many diseases. Despite their importance, there is a lack of technology to study the structure and function of these molecules. The DisC proposal will develop technology that allows to study the role of carbohydrates in food, biopharma and biomedicine.

    Utrecht University, Pharming Technologies, DSM Food Specialties, Danone Nutricia Research, Roche Diagnostics

  • Steering and sensing sustainable CATalytic reactions with Light (CATLight)
    dr. E. (Esther) Alarcón Lladó - AMOLF

    We demonstrate an entirely new way to make commercially relevant chemical processes more active, selective and energy efficient. A 3D network of optical waveguides decorated with noble metal catalyst particles is embedded in a reaction vessel and guides intense light pulses to the catalytically active sites. We control the temperature of these active sites with nanometer precision on ultrafast timescales. Simultaneously, optical excitation provides spectroscopic fingerprints of the reactive species involved in the chemical pathways as they proceed in space and time. We demonstrate the new light-induced catalysis concept for three chemical reactions and perform a technoeconomic analysis of photo-catalytic chemistry for large-scale chemical processing.

    AMOLF, Utrecht University, BASF, Toyota Europe, DENS Inorganic Chemistry and Catalysis solutions, ExxonMobil, Delmic, Shell.

  • Innovative Analytics for Therapeutic-Oligonucleotide Research (InnovATOR)
    prof. dr. G. (Govert) W. Somsen - VU Amsterdam

    Oligonucleotides (ONs) are RNA and DNA molecules. ON-based drugs offer promise as revolutionary therapies for hitherto untreatable diseases. However, by their synthetic nature and inherent instability, ON therapeutics are chemically complex. Nevertheless, to understand their function and activity, and guarantee quality and safety, full characterization of ON drugs is mandatory. In this project, a consortium of academic and industrial researchers will collaborate to develop the needed analytical strategies for ON therapeutics. Cutting-edge multidimensional separations will be combined with advanced mass spectrometric techniques and smart optimization and dataalgorithms, with the ultimate aim to improve the life of patients.

    VU Amsterdam, Amsterdam University, AstraZeneca, Novartis, GlaxoSmithKline, TOSOH, MS Vision.

  • Reprogramming by Epigenetic Editing: A non-invasive, CRISPR approach to guide cell behavior (Epi-Guide-Edit)
    Prof. P. (Pernette) J. Verschure - University of Amsterdam/Amsterdam University Medical Centers

    CRISPR-Cas mediated genome editing allows straightforward genetic modifications with many potential applications. Although revolutionizing, the resulting genetic modifications evoke societal concerns. Epi-Guide-Edit brings together an interdisciplinary team delivering tools and rules to epigenetically re-write gene expression in a cell without introducing genetic modifications. Epi- Guide-Edit rules and tools will be distilled in tractable cell systems and validated in relevant models to address major societal challenges, such as age-related diseases and global food supply and demand. The consortium will actively engage society to develop this new Key Technology in an acceptable manner, and invest in teaching programs to ensure beyond-science implications

    University Medical Center Groningen, Wageningen University, Amsterdam University Medical Centers, Netherlands Cancer Institute (NKI), Leiden University, Erasmus Medical Center, Rathenau Institute,  Avans University of Applied Science, Hanze University of Applied Science, Bristol Myers Squibb, Unilever,  Bejo Zaden, Keygene, ENZA Zaden, KWS,  Confocal.nl, Life Science Methods, Single Cell Discoveries, 10x Genomics.

KIC seeks technological economic opportunities

The NWO research programme KIC focuses on groundbreaking innovative solutions with societal and economic impact. Companies, knowledge institutions and government bodies jointly invest in the commercial application of knowledge to tackle major societal challenges through the use of smart technologies. By doing this, both jobs and income can be secured for the future. This is established in the Knowledge and Innovation Covenant (KIC) 2020-2023 that connects with the Mission-driven Top Sectors and Innovation Policy of the Dutch government. NWO brings together companies and knowledge institutions and funds groundbreaking research based on their innovative, high-impact research proposals.

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