NWO awards TOP and ECHO grants to VU researchers

The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) has awarded Professor of the Biophysics of Photosynthesis Roberta Croce and Associate Professor of Synthetic Chemistry Eelco Ruijter the TOP and ECHO grants, respectively.

05/03/2018 | 2:37 PM

Increasing crop yields 
Roberta Croce will receive a TOP grant worth €780,000 for her research into methods to increase the capacity of plants to absorb light for the purpose of increasing crop yields. Boosting crop yields is one of the major challenges of the modern era. Plants convert sunlight into the energy they need to grow. The aim of this project is to boost plants’ capacity to absorb light. This will ultimately be particularly beneficial in densely vegetated crop fields. 

Synthesis of natural substances for medical drug development 
Eelco Ruijter will receive a €260,000 ECHO grant to further his research into the synthesis of biologically-active natural substances for new medicines. 

Since prehistoric times, the natural substances found in medicinal plants have been used in medicines. These substances usually consist of molecules with a complex cage structure and a highly specific three-dimensional shape. The scientists involved in this research are developing efficient new reactions to selectively synthesize these types of molecules, which will contribute to the development of new medicines. 

About the grants 
TOP grants are awarded to strengthen or expand the innovative lines of research of established top research groups. ECHO grants are awarded to provide researchers with the opportunity to develop creative and risky ideas that could provide the impetus for the research themes of the future.