Professors Mahsa Shoaran and Romain Fleury awarded ERC Starting Grant
Prof. Mahsa Shoaran and Prof. Romain Fleury, from the Institute of Electrical and Micro Engineering (IEM) at the School of Engineering have been awarded Starting Grants from the European Research Council (ERC). Due to the non-association of Switzerland to Horizon Europe, their projects will be financed by Switzerland (SERI).
Prof. Mahsa Shoaran, head of the Integrated Neurotechnologies Laboratory (INL) at the Institute of Electrical and Micro Engineering and Center for Neuroprosthetics, received the grant for her project “SAND”.
Prof. Romain Fleury, head of the Laboratory of Wave Engineering (LWE), was awarded the grant for his project “ARTISTE”.
Neurostimulation is a promising solution for neurological disorders. However, current devices lack sufficient autonomy and intelligence and are far from ideal in terms of efficacy and efficiency. Thanks to this fund, Shoaran and her team will develop smart and chronically viable neurostimulation devices for a wide range of brain disorders. SAND is an enabling platform technology that will facilitate breakthrough therapies in the future. Specifically, SAND will combine artificial intelligence (AI) with ultra-low-power implantable neurotechnology to develop a new generation of closed-loop neural interface microchips capable of delivering effective neurostimulation to suppress disease symptoms. With breakthrough innovations in circuit and algorithm design, SAND will enable a significant reduction in power consumption and form factor of the stimulation device compared to the state-of-the-art, while minimizing the surgical risk of implantation. The development of SAND could significantly advance other closed-loop therapies, such as BMIs to restore motor control and sensory function, closed-loop noninvasive stimulation, and smart wearables.
The ARTISTE project aims at demonstrating a disruptive new class of microwave components with unprecedented immunity to fabrication tolerances, impedance mismatch, geometrical imperfections, or distributed parametric disorder. To reach this level of resilience, I will leverage the physics of non-reciprocity and of anomalous Floquet topological insulators, building artificial non-reciprocal wave networks that exhibit a global property guaranteeing their functionality and efficient reconfigurability. By combining theory, finite-element simulations, additive manufacturing, and precision microwave experiments, I will establish anomalous nonreciprocal topological scattering networks as a new framework for the design of backscattering-immune components such as waveguides, filters, multiplexers, and antennas. By initiating the first applications of topological physics in telecommunication systems, ARTISTE will have ground-breaking impact in microwave design for efficient terrestrial or satellite communication systems.
The ERC Starting Grants are given each year to researchers of any nationality and in any field of research with 2-7 years of research experience after the completion of their PhD and who show a promising scientific track record, and offer an excellent research proposal. Each Starting Grant can be up to €1.5 million given over a period of five years.