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Ewine van Dishoeck receives ERC Advanced Grant for research into the chemistry of new worlds

Leiden Professor of Molecular astrophysics Ewine van Dishoeck has been awarded an Advanced Grant by the European Research Council (ERC). She has been awarded 2.3 million euros in research funding for the MOLDISK programme. Within this programme, Van Dishoeck wants to connect chemistry and physics in the planet-forming disks around stars other than the sun.

Using the James Webb Space Telescope, which will be launched later this year, Van Dishoeck and her group want to study the inner parts of the discs at infrared wavelengths. Webb will be able to observe the gas and ice particles in these regions with great accuracy and determine the ingredients for the atmospheres of new planets. 

Perfect timing

As European co-PI of one of the instruments on Webb, MIRI, Van Dishoeck was closely involved in the development and construction of the new space telescope and is therefore guaranteed observation time. She has also already been granted additional time on the telescope during the first open observing round that will start in mid-2022. Van Dishoeck: ‘After building MIRI some 15-20 years ago, we are now eager to analyse the first data. This grant could not have come at a better time.’

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About Van Dishoeck

Van Dishoeck does pioneering work in the field of astrochemistry with observations, theory and lab work. She has made important contributions to a better understanding of the chemistry of interstellar clouds and the formation of stars and planets. Van Dishoeck has been the Scientific Director of the Netherlands Research School for Astronomy (NOVA) since 2007. The astrophysicist has won many prizes, including the Spinoza Prize in 2000, the Albert Einstein World Award of Science in 2015 and the Kavli Prize in 2018, which is also known as the Nobel Prize in astronomy.


The ERC distributes a total of 507 million euros among 209 leading European scientists. Competition within the ERC programme is high, as only 8 per cent of all submitted proposals are awarded. This year, the Netherlands ranked fourth with a total of 17 ERC grants. The share of female researchers in this programme increased slightly: 23 per cent of the awarded research grants are for female top researchers this year.

Image: Ewine van Dishoeck with some of her team members. © NOVA
Source: astronomie.nl

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