Early Career Award for two TU/e researchers

For the fourth time, science association KNAW has awarded the Early Career Awards. The awards go to twelve researchers in the Netherlands at the beginning of their careers who have innovative, original ideas. At TU/e the winners are Francesca Grisoni and Bas Overvelde, who receive a work of art and a sum of 15,000 euros that they are free to spend on their research careers as they see fit. The awards will be presented to them at 14 February.

photo Black Salmon / Shutterstock


Francesca Grisoni, an associate professor the Molecular Machine Learning Group and the Chemical Biology Group since March 2021, works with her team at developing new methods to apply artificial intelligence to molecular sciences.

Her aim is to be able to make new, smarter drugs. Discovering them is a challenge because there are too many possibilities. The ‘chemical universe’ includes more than 10^60 different molecules – far more than there are stars in the Milky Way galaxy. To test all of those for their usability is beyond humans. Artificial intelligence offers promising opportunities to efficiently traverse a huge amount of complex molecular data and distil relevant information.

Soft robots

Since September 2020 associate professor Bas Overvelde is the group leader Soft Robotic Matter Group at TU/e and at AMOLF (since 2016) and he researches soft robots made of resilient and ‘intelligent’ material. That softness offers a solution in places where robots need to handle fragile objects such as fruit, or inside the human body.

For example, Overvelde is working on developing a soft artificial heart, which works in a more natural way than existing artificial hearts. By combining experimental, computational and analytical methods, he aims to create robots without a centrally controlled computer, which can move and react to their environment thanks to built-in reflexes in their robot bodies. Learn more about Overvelde and his research here.

Early Career Award 2022 by institution


University of Amsterdam



Wageningen University



TU Eindhoven



Radboud University



Tilburg University



Erasmus MC



University of Twente



Maastricht UMC



Utrecht University







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