Delft Global Research Fellowship for Cees Dekker (Kavli/BN)


(By: TU Delft Communication)

Delft Global Research Fellowships: science and technology to tackle global problems
Making prostheses using a smart combination of 3D printing and a smartphone app. Turning polluted water into safe drinking water using nanotechnology and sunlight. Applying innovative DNA-based technology to develop affordable and easily manageable diagnostic tools for tropical diseases such as malaria. This is just a selection of the research subjects seven PhD candidates will be working on via TU Delft in the coming years, under the supervision of such leading researchers as Cees Dekker and Jenny Dankelman. Purpose: to make a concrete contribution to solving global societal problems through science and technology.

TU Delft Global Initiative funds seven PhD projects
The themes of the seven research projects range from drinking water and water management to health and energy. Supervised by a mix of physicists, chemists, electrical engineers, civil engineers, industrial designers and structural engineers, the PhD candidates will combine various scientific disciplines in their research. Under the supervision of professor Cees Dekker (Kavli/BN), a PhD student will work on 'Point-of-care tests for diagnosis of parasitic diseases in resource-limited settings'. The project abstract reads as follows:

"Disease diagnostics in resource-limited settings is a challenging affair due to the unavailability of laboratory equipment, stable electricity, and skilled personnel. By repurposing components of the bacterial immune system, we will develop a novel DNA-sensing platform that does not require electricity and functions in a broad range of ambient conditions. Microfluidic packaging of this DNA-based diagnostic will yield cheap devices and allow unskilled users to probe for disease - much like using a pregnancy test. The new test will enable the diagnosis of parasitic diseases such as malaria and neglected tropical diseases like leishmaniasis by anyone, anywhere. The researchers aim to develop new methods that will be tested with partners in the Royal Tropical Institute and in Kenya and Sudan."


To be able to achieve concrete results, and hence effect, the Delft researchers with a Delft Global Fellowship will collaborate and exchange knowledge with local authorities, knowledge institutes and companies. Researcher Prof. Nick van de Giesen, chair of the Delft Global Initiative: “As Delft Global, our aim is to help solve major and urgent societal problems in developing countries which are of global relevance. The subjects are highly challenging for the Delft engineers, both scientifically and technically, and the research will have a tremendous impact on the local population in Africa or South East Asia. We will also be able to use the knowledge and experience acquired there for further research and applications in the Netherlands. A win-win situation."

Strategic priority of TU Delft
On 1 January 2015, TU Delft launched the Delft Global Initiative, intended to bundle and boost all TU Delft activities in the field of science and technology for global development. Besides research and education, the Delft Global Initiative also focuses on partnerships and enterprise. There is already considerable activity in this area at TU Delft and the new platform has been set up with the aim of significantly strengthening the leverage.

The Delft Global Research Fellowships were established to give the initiative a flying start. The next round is expected to be late 2015, with the awards in early 2016. For more information, click here.