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Photo: Ted Karlsson
Alberto Vomiero, Chair Professor of Experimental Physics at Luleå University of Technology. Photo: Ted Karlsson. View original picture , opens in new tab/window

One of Europe's best gets a second chance

Published: 24 March 2016

Alberto Vomiero belongs to a small group that despite a top-ranked research proposal, just fell short in the European Research Council's (ERC) Consolidator call. Now he and four other researchers instead receive support from the newly formed Swedish Foundations' Starting Grant.

– It feels great being awarded with this grant. It was incredibly tough to not get funding from ERC despite the fact that my application received the highest rating. I was so close to the goal as you can get without reaching it. Based on the evaluation, I knew that my project had a high scientific potential. The recognition from the Swedish Foundations' Starting Grant is of utmost importance to me because I feel strong support from the Swedish research environment that basically says "go ahead with your research, we trust you", says Alberto Vomiero, Chair Professor of Experimental Physics at Luleå University of Technology.

Uses ERC review process

The Swedish Foundations' Starting Grant is a new venture between four cooperating foundations: the Erling-Persson Family Foundation, the Kempe Foundations, the Ragnar Söderberg Foundation and Riksbankens Jubileumsfond. By taking advantage of ERC's thorough process, top researchers in Sweden can maintain their momentum and continue to seek funding from the ERC.

– The review process of ERC is of such high quality that we do not see any need for further review. Therefore, the process until acceptance can be accelerated, says Åsa Jansson, research secretary at the Ragnar Söderberg Foundation.

Utilizes the full spectrum of light

The project that Alberto Vomiero now can continue with is named Thermoelectric-Photovoltaics. It is about developing new combined solar cells/thermoelectric modules of the future that in addition to absorbing the visible part of sunlight also can absorb the remaining infrared light, that is, the entire sunlight spectrum. The thermoelectric and photovoltaic effects run simultaneously, increasing the electric power and lowering the wasted energy.

– We want to explore this possibility in a single device based on nanomaterials, something that has never been done before and which has a number of advantages in terms of light absorption and charge transport, says Alberto Vomiero.


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