Illustration of the James Webb Space Telescope in space
Illustration of the James Webb Space Telescope in space

HFML-FELIX and IMM part of grant for Astrochemistry and James Webb Space Telescope

The Board of the NWO Domain Science has recently awarded funding to the Dutch Astrochemistry Network (DAN) for their research programme ‘Dutch Astrochemistry in the era of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST)’. Researchers from HFML-FELIX and the Institute for Molecules and Materials (IMM) of Radboud University are part of the DAN composition, together with colleagues from Amsterdam, Leiden and Groningen. Together, they will receive 1,6 million euros to gain more insight into molecules in space and their role in the universe.

The ‘Dutch Astrochemistry in the Era of JWST’ research programme is a collaboration between astrophysicists and chemists within the DAN. Its objective is to generate new experimental and theoretical data that will aid the interpretation of astronomical observations performed by JWST. The programme consists of seven research projects distributed over two main research themes: ‘inheritance versus reset – gas and ice’ (four projects) and ‘cosmic evolution of carbon – gas and PAHs’ (three projects). To guarantee a strong networking component, the supervision of each project is distributed across several institutes.


The first research theme on ‘inheritance versus reset’ aims to understand how gas and ices evolve from molecular clouds to the planet-forming disk stage. One of the four projects striving to better this understanding is a collaboration between HFML-FELIX director Britta Redlich, Herma Cuppen (IMM) and Thanja Lamberts (Leiden University). Their project focuses on ‘Energetic processing of ices’.

Illustration of the James Webb Space Telescope in space

The second research theme on the ‘cosmic evolution of carbon’ aims to understand how carbon is cycled through small hydrocarbon molecules and aromatic compounds in different cosmic environments. One of the three projects contributing to this understanding is a collaboration between HFML-FELIX researchers Sandra Brünken and Jos Oomens, with Wybren Jan Buma and Alessandra Candian from the University of Amsterdam. Their project deals with ‘PAH spectroscopy for UV irradiated environments.’

What is DAN?

DAN is an interdisciplinary network established by NWO in 2010. DAN brings together experts in astronomical observations, quantum chemical calculations, modelling and laboratory astrophysics. With a collaborative approach and unique expertise, the network is excellently positioned to use the unprecedented JWST data to address fundamental questions within the field of astrochemistry.

DAN-III composition

  • Prof. Dr I.E.E. (Inga) Kamp – University of Groningen
  • Dr S. (Sandra) Brünken – Radboud University
  • Dr A. (Alessandra) Candian – University of Amsterdam
  • Dr A.L.M. (Thanja) Lamberts – Leiden University
  • Prof. Dr H. (Harold) Linnartz – Leiden University
  • Dr M.K. (Melissa) McClure – Leiden University
  • Prof. Dr B. (Britta) Redlich – Radboud University
  • Prof. Dr F.F.S. (Floris) van der Tak – SRON/University of Groningen


Additional Radboud collaboration members

Prof. Dr A. (Ad) van der Avoird (IMM), Dr G. (Giel) Berden (HFML-FELIX), Prof. Dr H. (Herma) Cuppen (IMM), Dr P.A. (Piero) Ferrari Ramirez (HFML-FELIX), Prof. Dr G.C. (Gerrit) Groenenboom (IMM), Prof. Dr J. (Jos) Oomens (HFML-FELIX), Prof. Dr L.B.F.M. (Rens) Waters (IMM)

More information

To read the full announcement or discover more details about the Dutch contribution to the James Webb Space Telescope, follow this link to the NWO-website.