FOM Valorisation Prize for Delft/FAME PI Ekkes Brück


Energy researcher Ekkes Brück of Delft University of Technology receives the FOM Valorisation Prize 2016 for his persistent efforts in valorising fundamental knowledge in the area of energy materials. The prize will be awarded on 17 January 2017 during the annual national physics congress Physics@Veldhoven.

FOM established the Valorisation Prize to encourage knowledge utilisation of physics research. The prize is awarded each year to a Dutch researcher (or research group) within the field of physics who has successfully managed to make the results from his or her own research useful for society. The 2016 prize goes to Ekkes Brück, professor in the fundamental aspects of materials and energy at Delft University of Technology. The selection committee recognises that besides the high scientific quality of his work, he also has a clear vision regarding the applicability of that work and manages to convey this vision to the industry.

"If you want your research to be appreciated by more than just your direct peers, then you must sell your ideas," says Brück, who does ground-breaking, fundamental research into magnetocaloric materials. "The funny thing is that I initially investigated the materials with a very different purpose, which was to find good electronic properties for efficient data storage. However, we found strange properties in a certain group of materials that proved to be highly suitable for use in a heat pump. That is how I ended up on the path of magnetocaloric materials."

The jury report praises the persistence of the Delft professor in realising applications for these materials, including revolutionary cooling technologies, efficient heat pumps, and the generation of electricity from low caloric heat. "The entire industrial chain is important if you want to use new materials in a better final product. I found that really interesting," says Brück. He appreciates that FOM rewards valorisation efforts in this manner: "Of course I am pleased that I have received the Valorisation Prize, but I also think the prize itself is special. You don't often see such appreciation for the use of science."