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MomenTUm: grants and awards

Before the start of the first session of MomenTUm, the TU/e Academic Awards for students who produced the best bachelor’s, master’s, PDEng and PhD thesis were handed out this afternoon. The Audience Award goes to PDEng Floor van Schie for her contribution to an energy tower for festivals. The Marina van Damme grant was presented to Kjille Hoeben, director of myTemp, a company that wants to bring an easy-to-swallow capsule to the market that measures core body temperature.

Kjille Hoeben, who graduated at Innovation Sciences in 2006, is the thirteenth alumna of the TU/e who won the Marina van Damme grant since 2010. As it happens there were two winners in 2014. The grant is awarded annually to promising female alumni of the four technical universities and is intended as a support in a next step in their career. Marina van Damme, after whom the award is named, obtained her master’s degree in engineering in Delft in 1953 and went on to become the first women to obtain a PhD, at the University of Twente.

Hoeben will use the prize money of 9,000 euros to develop herself as director of myTemp. To achive that she plans to follow a leadership training at the prestigious business school INSEAD in Fontainebleau, France. After a run-up of several years, she believes the time has come to enter the market with this startup with a capsule that measures core body temperature. The development of this ‘thermometer pill’ started in 2006 after the deaths of two people during the Four Day Marches event in Nijmegen, which was suspended due to a heatwave. The idea is that myTemp’s capsule will provide a better understanding of the risks of overheating, and that it will contribute to safety during sports and work-related activities. 

‘Runner up’ Eriola Sophia Shanko, who gained her doctorate this year in the Microsystems group at the department of Mechanical Engineering, and who currently is doing postdoc research there, received a sum of 2,500 euros. Shanko, who is of Albanian-Greek origin, founded a small company, ShanX Medtech, during her doctoral period, with which she wants to develop a rapid test that determines the best type of antibiotics for treating patients suffering from a urinary tract infection.

Academic awards

During the Academic Awards ceremony, Floor van Schie was awarded with the Audience Award for her contribution to the Green Energy Mill, a fold-out tower with energy collectors and a wind turbine that generates clean energy to power summer festivals. The tower is an alternative to the polluting diesel generators that are normally used during festivals.

The PhD Thesis Award went to Marina Pilz da Cunha, who managed to make a light-guided package delivery robot from plastic. This mediagenic creation by the Brazilian researcher was on display during the Dutch Design Week and in the Boerhave museum in Leiden, among other places. Pilz da Cunha, who carried out her work at Chemical Engineering & Chemistry, will receive 5,000 euros.

That same amount will be awarded to Tim van den Boom, winner of the PDEng Thesis Award – awarded to the best thesis by a PDEng trainee who completed one of the two-year designer programs offered by TU/e in collaboration with the other Dutch technical universities. ‘Qualified Medical Engineer’ Van den Boom made the digital tool ‘AngioSupport,’ together with the Catherina Hospital and doctoral candidate Bettine van Willigen. This device allows doctors to predict the effect of coronary stenting or bypass surgery in patients suffering from heart disease.

The MSc Thesis Award goes to Guido Kusters, who developed a theoretical framework and simulation tool for his graduation work for the Applied Physics program that makes it possible to predict the characteristics of new soft, responsive materials with so-called liquid crystals (which are used in LCDs, or ‘liquid crystal displays’). The jury praises his independent and creative approach and stresses that Kusters’ work has already led to a publication in the leading journal Physical Review E. He will be awarded with 2,500 euros for this achievement.

Finally, the BSc Thesis Award went to Sjir Schielen (Electrical Engineering). He developed a system based on artificial intelligence that uses MRI images to determine whether a brain tumor has mutated compared to the previous scan. That information is vital in determining a treatment plan, but can only be gained at this point via an invasive and high-risk biopsy. The enthusiastic jury said that Schielen went about his work for his bachelor’s thesis as if he had started on his doctorate, and that he himself maintained contacts with doctors and approached the hospital for a dataset on which he tested his method. Apart from the jury’s praise, it earned him 1,250 euros.

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