P6: Universiteit Gent (Ugent)


Ghent University is located in Belgium, the heart of Europe. The university offers high-quality, research-based education in a wide range of academic disciplines, spread over 11 faculties. Today Ghent University attracts over 30,000 students, with a foreign student population of over 1,100 EU citizens and some 1,000 students from non-EU countries. With a view to cooperation in research and scientific service, numerous top-level research groups, centres and institutes have been founded over the years. Ghent University is recognized as one of the fastest growing universities in Western Europe. For example, in 2008, Ghent University published about 3500 research papers in the Web of Science, a 200% increase in ten years’ time. Ghent University invests an annual amount of more than 187 million euro in research projects on behalf of public and private partners and appoints about 4900 scientific staff members. It has participated in around 200 research projects in the Sixth Framework Programme (2002-2006) and 140 so far in FP7. The university provides excellent training opportunities to young researchers through its five Doctoral Schools and awards around 400 Ph.D. degrees per year, of which over 20% go to international young researchers.

The Center for Molecular Modeling (CMM) is an interfaculty research center, rooted in the Faculty of Science as well as in the Faculty of Engineering and Architecture. It has broad expertise in computational work on i.e. chemical kinetics, spectroscopic properties of solids (i.e. NMR-, EPR- and Raman calculations), ab initio molecular dynamics and classical force fields. These methods are applied to topics in the context of heterogeneous catalysis, conducting polymers, nanoporous materials (zeolites, metal-organic frameworks) and materials science. CMM aims at a close collaboration with experimental partners, in order to exploit the complementarity between theory and experiment. The CMM is currently composed of 35 researchers.

Key persons involved in the project:

Michel Waroquier is full professor in physics at the Ghent University and head of the CMM. His research field comprises theoretical physics, physical chemistry and molecular modelling in the field of heterogeneous catalysis, design of new nanomaterials, chemical kinetics, free radical polymerization reactions, ab initio determination of spectroscopic properties (EPR, IR, Raman, etc.) , molecular dynamics (development of new force fields), etc. He is currently (co-) author of 280 publications in ISI journals, has an h-index of 34 and counts more than 4800 citations.

Veronique Van Speybroeck obtained her PhD in 2001 at the Ghent University within the Faculty of Engineering. Currently she has a permanent position at the Ghent University as Research Professor. She is author or co-author of about 120 publications in peer-reviewed journals, 60 conference papers, has an h-index of 20 and has about 1300 citations. She leads the computational modelling division of the Centre for Molecular Modelling. Her current research interests primarily comprise study of the kinetics of chemical reactions with state of the art molecular modelling techniques. The applications of interest are situated in petrochemistry, catalysis and polymers. Very recently she received an ERC starting grant (Call ERC-2009-StG) on a subject on first principle chemical kinetics in nanoporous materials (KINPOR).

Stefaan Cottenier obtained his PhD in physics in 1997 from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium). He has a background in ab initio simulations in nuclear condensed matter physics and materials science. Stefaan Cottenier joined CMM in 2008, and supervises its expanding materials science activities.