Associate Professor of Battery Technology Pekka Peljo Receives ERC Grant
University’s new Associate Professor of Battery Technology Pekka Peljo has received the European Research Council’s ERC Starting Grant. The five-year grant will enable top-level research in materials engineering.
ERC Starting Grant is one of the most competed grants in Europe. It is a personal grant that is meant for funding top-level scientific research. The five-year grant is awarded to a talented, early-career researcher.
In addition to the high scientific level, the applications are expected to have a scientifically innovative perspective. The application process was two-fold: Peljo sent his letter of application in October 2019, and in April 2020 he received the news of reaching the second stage of the application process.
– Typically the second stage of the process includes an interview in Brussels, but this year there were no interviews because of the coronavirus situation, so the letters of application were evaluated based on the experts’ reviews. My letter of application was evaluated by nine experts whose reviews were highly positive, says Peljo.
The grant worth nearly 1.5 million euro enables the founding and developing of a research group. With the help of the grant and other supplementary funding, the size of the research group can also be increased to 10 people or more, which is a good size group to conduct top-level research, according to Peljo.
Peljo’s research project is focused on finding ways to expand the group of materials suitable for storing energy. The suitable material is required to have several qualities that in part contradict each other.
– For example, some of the materials are not suitable because their solubility may be too low or the battery’s cell voltage, which means the voltage of one cell, may be too low, even though the stability and price of the materials meet.
One of the aims in Peljo’s research project is to develop ways to get round these restrictions. The goal is to engineer batteries that are suitable for storing renewable energy.
– This is also a great start for the Materials Engineering unit at the University of Turku, Peljo adds.