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ICREA Researcher Kasper Moth-Poulsen joins ICMAB with an ERC project on new materials for thermal regulation

“The ERC project PHOTHERM seeks to fundamentally change how we generate heating and cooling by developing a new class of materials that capture, store, and release both solar and ambient heat.”

20 October 2021
Kasper Moth-Poulsen / ICMAB
Kasper Moth-Poulsen / ICMAB

Kasper Moth-Poulsen, until recently Professor at the Chalmers University of Technology, will join ICMAB to disrupt how we approach temperature regulation in many areas like local power production, electronics systems, automobiles and housing. His expertise lies on the area of nanomaterials chemistry. His research group uses synthesis to create organic or inorganic materials for different applications, which they often demonstrate through the development of functional devices based on these materials.

The ERC awarded project, PHOTHERM “Photo Thermal Management Materials” will develop new materials that can convert different fossil-free energy sources into heat or cold within emission-free systems. The objective is to face the current challenges in the resource use, waste generation and clean energy supply designated to heating and cooling, which is currently the destination of 50 % of our energy consumption. To do so, his team will combine molecular photo-switches known as MOST systems, which capture and store sunlight, with phase change materials (PCM), which deal with thermal management.

The project is also focused on improving the ways in which material synthesis is done. Kasper Moth-Poulsen says: “Our world society is facing tremendous challenges in terms of resource use, waste generation and clean energy supply. In my view, materials research will play a central part in finding solutions to these challenges. I am going to work on how we make these materials. The typical synthetic chemistry laboratory has not changed much in the last 50 years."

"Today, new powerful tools for synthesis are emerging, such as flow chemistry, automation, artificial intelligence and robotics. I am going to develop and combine these new tools with traditional synthetic methods and study how they can be used to accelerate materials discovery and increase the quality of what we do.”

The project is one of the 327 laureates of the 2020 European Research Council (ERC) Consolidator Grants that will be able to tackle big scientific questions at universities and research centres across Europe. The grants are part of the EU's research and innovation programme, Horizon 2020.

“The ICMAB research institute features state of the art research facilities and many creative researchers. I look forward to be inspired by my new colleagues and to work together in developing and studying new materials”, says Kasper Moth-Poulsen, who is joining ICMAB to develop this project as an ICREA Research Professor from 1 October 2021: “It is of course an honor to be awarded the ICREA professor position, this allows me to focus on research. Together with the strong ICMAB research environment, I hope to be able to address challenging questions in materials science.”

About Kasper Moth-Poulsen

Prof. Kasper Moth-Poulsen is a research leader in the field of nano-chemistry, energy storage materials and synthetic chemistry. His research activities focus on the development of methods to address single molecules and innovative technologies for solar thermal energy storage. He studied organic chemistry at the University of Copenhagen where he obtained the Cand. Scient. (2003) and PhD (2007) degrees under supervision of prof. Thomas Bjørnholm. After the PhD degree, he worked as a postdoc. in the Bjørnholm lab. Early 2009, he continued his career abroad as a postdoctoral associate at the College of Chemistry at U.C. Berkeley, where he worked with professors Rachel Segalman and Peter Vollhardt. In 2011 he was recruited to Chalmers University of Technology, and 10 years later, in 2021, he moves to ICMAB to continue his research. 


ICREA (Institució Catalana de Recerca i Estudis Avançats) is a Catalan Foundation supported by the Catalan Government and guided by a Board of Trustees. It is an equal opportunity employer which seeks new hiring formulas to attract talented and extraordinary scientists and academics. It currently employs 273 researchers in all fields of knowledge in 48 different host institutions in Catalunya, including ICMAB. ICREA is responsible for 1789 jobs as of 2020, and their researchers have obtained 979 M€ in funding since its creation.

About the ERC-Consolidator Grants call

In this Consolidator ERC Grant Call, created to help researchers consolidate their teams and give their research a far-reaching impact, 13 % of the 2506 proposals have recieved funding from the EU’s current research and innovation programme, Horizon 2020, for a total of 655 M€. The grantees come from 23 diferent countries across Europe and come from 39 different nationalities. This edition has had the highest proportion of women researches who recieved grants, a total of the 37 % of grantees.

About ERC

The European Research Council, set up by the European Union in 2007, is the premiere European funding organization for excellent frontier research. Every year, it selects and funds the very best, creative researchers of any nationality and age, to run projects based in Europe. The ERC offers four core grant schemes: Starting, Consolidator, Advanced and Synergy Grants. With its additional Proof of Concept grant scheme, the ERC helps grantees to bridge the gap between their pioneering research and early phases of its commercialization.

To date, the ERC has funded over 9,500 top researchers at various stages of their careers, and over 50,000 postdoctoral fellows, PhD students and other staff working in their research teams. The ERC strives to attract top researchers from anywhere in the world to come to Europe. Key global research funding bodies, in the United States, China, Japan, Brazil and other countries, have concluded special agreements to provide their researchers with opportunities to temporarily join ERC grantees' teams.

The ERC is led by an independent governing body, the Scientific Council. The (ad interim) ERC President is Professor Jean-Pierre Bourguignon. The overall ERC budget from 2014 to 2020 is more than € 13 billion, as part of the Horizon 2020 programme, for which the European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel is responsible.

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