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The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research has awarded the Dutch contribution to the Virgo collaboration €3.5 million to invest in the improvement of scientific equipment used in the detection of gravitational waves. UvA professor Frank Linde is coordinating the Dutch contribution.

Virgo aerial view. Photo: Wikimedia-Commons

NWO has awarded seven proposals for innovative research infrastructure within the programme NWO Investment Grant Large. With this programme, NWO funds large research facilities, within which researchers from throughout the Netherlands work together, often with international partners. The total budget of €17.9 million will enable a wide range of researchers to carry out innovative experiments and disclose new data.

Gravitational waves: The new cosmic messengers

The Dutch collaboration, headed by Prof. Frank Linde (UvA-IoP and Nikhef) receives €3,52 million for their proposal ‘Gravitational waves: The new cosmic messengers‘.

Questions that are central to the proposal are: What happened at the Big Bang? What is the nature of black holes? What is the structure of neutron stars? With the revolutionary first direct detection of a gravitational wave in 2015, we now have a messenger at hand to address these –and other– fundamental questions. To do so efficiently, significant improvements of the detectors are needed, which this proposal ensures for the Virgo interferometer, located in Pisa, Italy.

Investments in infrastructure

Equipment, data collections and software funded by NWO Investment Grant Large strengthen the possibilities for Dutch scientific research and the opportunities for international collaboration. The investments required for this amount to millions of euros, and are therefore difficult for individual institutions to fund. Based on scientific quality, national role and societal importance, NWO selects the projects eligible for the NWO Investment Grant Large.

Read more about the Virgo project