European Research Council (ERC) provides funding for the world's top researchers and their groundbreaking projects. The funding programme has received 3680 applications from across Europe this year, and the project of Prof. Özgür Barış Akan from Koç University's Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering has qualified for the grant.
Prof. Akan's project is very significant in that it has received the first ever ERC Consolidator Grant (http://erc.europa.eu/consolidator-grants) awarded by the ERC, and is the first in Turkey to receive the grant. The project is to be supported with a total of 1,8 million Euros of funding for a period of 5 years.
Prof. Özgür Barış Akan's research project titled "MINERVA: Communication Theoretical Foundations of Nervous System Towards Bio-Inspired Nanonetworks and ICT-Inspired Neuro-Treatment" aims to develop communication theoretical models for nervous system, a nanonetwork simulator to validate the theoretical models, as well as communication-capable neuro-implants for the information and communication technology-inspired treatment of spinal cord disorders, which are currently incurable in most cases.
Prof. Akan made the following comments on his research:
"With the MINERVA project, we aim to understand the fundamentals of the nervous system, the most advanced communication network in the human body, via the elegant theories of information and communication technology (ICT). This will enable the development of ICT-inspired solutions to be used in the diagnosis and treatment of neurological disorders caused by communication failures in the nervous nanonetwork. The project is also expected to pave the way for the realization of futuristic medical applications such as intelligent in-body drug delivery, continuous health monitoring with cellular precision, and many environmental and industrial applications like food and water quality control, all of which will have a significant impact on the society. The project will bridge the gap between communication engineering and life sciences, and create important collaboration opportunities."
The ERC grant differs from other forms of funding provided by the European Union in that it is awarded to a single researcher, rather than a research group, organization or consortium. The recipient of the grant can carry their project to any organization within Europe. The ERC grants, which constitute Europe's most prestigious research funding programme, and have previously been received by many Nobel Laurates. It is awarded in three different categories aimed at researchers in different stages of their careers. These are the Post-doctorate 0-7 year category (Starting Grant - 1,5 million Euros), the 7-12 year (Consolidator Grant - 2 million Euros), and the Senior Researcher stage for researchers who have been conducting advanced research for the past 10 years (Advanced Grant - 2,5 million Euros). Prof. Özgür Barış Akan's project has qualified for the "Consolidator Grant" category of funding.
About Prof. Özgür Barış Akan:
Prof. Akan received his B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in electrical and electronics engineering 1999 and 2002, from Bilkent University and Middle East Technical University (METU), respectively. Akan received his Ph.D. degree within the exceptionally short period of two years in electrical and computer engineering from the Broadband and Wireless Networking Laboratory, Georgia Institute of Technology. In 2004, Akan returned to Turkey and accepted a position at METU, receiving his Associate Professorship in 2006. Akan has been continuing his career at Koç University since 2010, he has achieved the honor of being the youngest full professor in his research field.
Koç University's Next-generation and Wireless Communications Laboratory (NWCL), directed by Prof. Akan, conducts highly advanced theoretical and experimental research on a broad array of subjects such as the fundamentals of nanoscale, molecular and quantum communications, next-generation wireless communication systems, terahertz (THz) communications, and green communication networks. These research activities are supported by numerous organizations such as TÜBİTAK, TÜBA, IBM, Intel, Lockheed-Martin, the European Union, Türk Telekom and Koç University.
Prof. Akan is appointed as IEEE Communications Society Distinguished Lecturer (2011-2013). He received the Outstanding Faculty of the Year Award 2012, Koc University, IBM Shared University Research (SUR) Award 2011, IEEE Communications Society 2010 Outstanding Young Researcher Award for Europe, Middle-East and Africa Region (as runner-up), IBM Faculty Award 2008 and 2010, and TUBA-GEBIP Distinguished Young Scientist Award 2008. Prof. Akan is the author of more than 120 articles (64 journal articles, 13 book chapters, 44 conference papers) in the field of next-generation communications, with a significant amount of citations (3800+), serves an Associate Editor for IEEE Transactions on Communications, IEEE Transactions on Vehicular Technology and the Nano Communication Networks Journal (Elsevier).
About the European Research Council (ERC):
The European Research Council (ERC) is Europe's most prestigious and renowned scientific organization, providing support for today's most original and progressive scientific research.