ERC Consolidator grant

Christophe Collette obtains an ERC Consolidator Grant for his project SILENT


Christophe Collette, researcher in the Aerospace and Mechanical engineering research unit (School of Engineering) and director of the Precision Mechatronics Laboratory, has been selected to receive an ERC Consolidator Grant from the European Research Council for his project SILENT (Seismic IsoLation of Einstein Telescope). This grant, with a budget of 1.93 million euros, was awarded to continue his research aimed at improving the sensitivity of gravitational wave detectors, waves that are difficult to detect but which enable us to better understand the origin of our universe.


eptember 14, 2015 will have been a landmark date for all physicists on the planet. Indeed, it was on this date that a new window opened on the Universe with the first detection of gravitational waves. Produced by the collision of strong astronomic events, such as black holes or neutron stars, these waves make it possible to detect and understand the events of our Universe in a way that complements the observations of optical telescopes. However, gravitational waves remain difficult to detect because their signal can be disturbed by the seismic activity of our Earth. The SILENT (Seismic IsoLation of Einstein Telescope) project, coordinated by Christophe Collette, a researcher at the Aerospace and Mechanical engineering Research Unit (School of Engineering) and who has just been awarded an ERC Consolidator Grant, aims to develop a platform - never designed to date - that will isolate gravitational wave detector from ground motion. "The environment of this platform will be controlled by an optical seismometer, a liquid inclinometer and a gravimeter," explains Christophe Collette, researcher at ULiège. This platform will be the most stable ever built on Earth and the detector will virtually float in inertial space. »

This project, closely linked to the development of the EINSTEIN telescope  in which the University of Liège is strongly involved, will contribute to the preparation of the third generation of gravitational wave detectors. The Université Libre de Bruxelles will be co-beneficiary of this grant. The results will also be applicable to a broad category of other instruments (e.g. particle colliders, atomic force microscopes, lithography machines, medical imaging instruments), which will give a generic character to this project and ensure a major scientific impact.

About ERC scholarships

ERC Grants are major instruments deployed by the European Research Council to fund research projects in Europe. The procedure, which is extremely selective, retains only the best researchers and research projects of the highest level, combining audacity and competence to tackle new research avenues likely, if successful, to substantially enrich knowledge.
There are 5 types of grants: Starting Grants, Consolidator Grants, Advanced Grants, Synergy and Proof of Concept.

ERC Consolidator Grants are designed to support researchers with 7 to 12 years of experience since obtaining their PhD, a very promising scientific background and an excellent research proposal.

The ULiège grantees

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