High success rate for Ghent University projects at SBO-call

(05-06-2020) Ghent University submitted 39 innovative research projects with economic or social applications, of which 16 were approved.

Research projects with a social or economic finality

The Strategic Basic Research (SBO) program of the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO) focuses on innovative research that offers opportunities for economic or social applications - in the form of a new generation of products, processes and / or services. The researchers of an SBO project are not only expected to carry out innovative basic research, but also to have a clear vision about the potential for valorisation and to take action with a view to the effective transfer and utilization of the research results in economic or social actors. In the call for September 2019, a total of 73 proposals were submitted by the various Flemish knowledge institutions, of which 44 projects with an economic finality and 29 with a social finality. In total, 25 SBO projects were awarded, 16 economic and 9 social, good for a total amount of 55 million euros, to conduct research for four years from 1 October 2020 .

Flemish Minister for Innovation Hilde Crevits: “The Strategic Basic Research (SBO) program provides opportunities for innovative research that, in the event of scientific success, offers prospects for later economic or social applications. So these are a breeding ground for a new generation of products, processes or services.”
FWO chairman Willy Verstraete: “In this often unrealistic time, where science is very often looked at for answering social challenges, the FWO is very pleased to be able to finance this impressive selection of new projects in order to increase our knowledge and impetus to further develop solutions."

Ghent University submitted a total of 39 SBO projects, of which 16 were approved. Of the 25 Ghent University research proposals with an economic finality, 10 were approved. Five of these are coordinated by Ghent University. In four of these five projects, IOF (Industrial Research Fund) business development centers coordinate the multi-disciplinary research: Machineries & Factories, DuraBUILDmaterials, UGent DISCOVERE & Food2Know. Ghent University also submitted 14 SBO projects with a social purpose. Six Ghent University projects were approved, three of which are coordinated by Ghent University.

Discover one of the Ghent University SBO-projects 

AM4EM's challenge is to build a new generation of electric machines

Electric machines are omnipresent: in electric vehicles, aircrafts, renewable energy systems (e.g. wind turbines), industrial machines (e.g. compressors), household appliances (e.g. washing machines),... In these applications, the machine converts electrical power into mechanical power or vice versa. The trends of electrification and the green deal require these machines to become more power dense and efficient. Traditional manufacturing techniques limit the current performance of electric machines (EM). Additive manufacturing (AM) provides the potential to upgrade the performance of these EM.


Additive Manufacturing (AM) is considered an essential component of the Industry 4.0 revolution, due to its capability to produce the ideal shape of complex (metal) structures in one step, including cutouts, ribs, cavities and internal details. While homo-material Additive Manufacturing (AM) is becoming more and more mature, in order to really leverage on Additive Manufacturing (AM) within electric machines (EM), multi-material (MM) printing is required. More particularly there is a need to be able to print metal structures with good electromagnetic properties (e.g. Cu or FeSi) in combination with structures of isolating material (e.g. ceramic). This is the point where the research of AM4EM (Additive Manufacturing for Electrical Machines) will make the difference.


For this SBO-project  a multi-disciplinary team is set up, including  researchers and innovation managers from Ghent University, KU Leuven and VITO. On the one hand, the new electrical machines concepts will take into account the potential and limits of the MM-AM process, in terms of geometry and material properties. On the other hand, the MM-AM process will be developed to realize structures for electrical machines, which cannot be made with traditional production techniques. AM4EM will deliver innovative MM-AM processes, which can be used for sensors, radars and electrical machines, with higher efficiency and lower power density.


AM4EMTo ensure the industrial relevance, the project assembled an industrial advisory board with companies spanning the whole value chain, ranging from (i) 3D powder, raw material providers; (ii) 3D machines & process controllers (service) providers; (iii) electric machine designers, producers or parts providers; (iv) integrators of electric machines (end-users).


Want more information? Contact the IOF business development center Machineries & Factories.