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Collaborative project on ‘floating’ transport wins NWO Team Science Award

Date of news: 29 November 2021

The collaborative project 'National Individual floating Transport Infrastructure (NIfTI)' between HFML-FELIX and other faculties of Radboud University as well as the HAN University of Applied Sciences has won the NWO Team Science Award. The prize money of 10k€ will be used to develop the concept further and for future brainstorming events within the team.

The National Individual floating Transport Infrastructure (NIfTI) project consists of a team of 13 scientists and more than 50 students from across Radboud University and HAN University of Applied Science. Their common goal is to develop a floating transport system that enables people and freight to travel in a more sustainable, flexible and efficient way.

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Artist impression of NIfTI by Mel Visscher

Interdisciplinary collaboration

Nigel Hussey, Professor of Strongly Correlated Electron Systems at HFML-FELIX and inventor of NIfTI: "It all started back at HFML-FELIX in 2019 with a wild idea to investigate whether, given today’s materials and technologies, a vehicle based on magnetic levitation could be a safer and more efficient means of transportation than an electric car. From that initial student project, a small demonstrator was built and a patent acquired. Very quickly, however, we realized we couldn’t take this idea much further on our own and in that regard, starting a collaboration with the HAN has been extremely important. Together with Britta Driessen from Radboud Innovation, we then applied for an Interfaculty grant from Radboud University which really has been the springboard for the whole project. Interdisciplinary research has its challenges, of course – it feels at times like we are speaking different languages! – but the added benefits are real too and it has been wonderful seeing the interactions between the various faculties of RU and with the HAN grow over time."

Frank Berndsen, lecturer at the Automotive Institute (HAN), adds: "NIfTI posed both an engineering as well as a societal challenge, but aiming for magnetically levitated cars does appeal to the imagination. Starting a project from a theoretical possibility like this is very rewarding."

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Part of team NIfTI: Britta Driessen (Technology Transfer Officer, Radboud Innovation), Nanne Migchels (Marketing, Nijmegen School of Management), Nigel Hussey (HFML-FELIX), Rosalie van Zelm (Environmental Science)

Societal impact

The jury of the Team Science Award appreciated the interdisciplinary nature of the project and wrote in their report: ‘the jury finds this a very diverse team that combines scientific and technological developments with the impact of these developments on society. The team has a strong student engagement and excellent talent development opportunities. The jury believes that this technological development could have happened within a company, but we are pleased to see that this project is being done within a university and a university of applied sciences. The jury thinks that social impact is created this way.’

NWO Team Science Award

The Dutch Research Council NWO annually rewards the most inspiring and successful team of researchers from various disciplinary fields, who jointly take on a scientific challenge in which their individual strengths and expertise demonstrably reinforce each other. Each year at most three teams will receive an award of 10k€. More information can be found on the NWO website.

More information

NIfTI explained: online lecture for Science alumni by Nigel Hussey

Video Winners Team Science Award NWO 2021

Article Scientias (NL) : Mensen transporteren met magneten: in Nederland wordt er hard aan gewerkt

Article Radboud Recharge: Transporting people with magnet

Contact Nigel Hussey