ERC Awards Grant to Koç University Professor

ISTANBUL /PRNewswire/ -- Koç University Electrical Engineering Professor Hakan Urey has been qualified for the European Research Council's (ERC) Advanced Grant of €2.5 million. Prof. Urey will be using the funding provided by the council for his research on the "development of novel 3D and augmented reality display technologies."

The ERC, which has a tradition of supporting the world's top researchers and their ground-breaking projects, provides funding to support scientific work in many countries every year. The ERC funding is regarded as the most prestigious research funding in Europe and has been awarded to several Nobel Laureate scientists previously. Prof. Urey's grant is the first ERC Advanced grant received in Turkey in the field of engineering, and the research will be conducted at Koç University, Istanbul.

The €2.5 million funding, which is the highest funding sum ever received in Turkey from the EC framework programs, will be used by Prof. Urey in his research on "the development of new display technologies for augmented reality and 3D applications." The research project aims to customize 3D viewing and display technologies for personal use.

Prof. Hakan Urey has made the following comments on his research: "My research group will aim to produce solutions to very important fundamental optical problems that remain unsolved in the fields of 3D displays and wearable display technologies to increase the viewing comfort. We hope that this research will have an important impact in the future of human computer interface and lead to new applications in several areas. Currently, I have a research group consisting of about 15 members at Koç University, and an additional 7 post-graduate students and post-doctoral researchers will be engaged in this research."

Prof. Hakan Urey currently conducts R&D projects at Koç University Optical Microsystems Laboratory on the following topics: mobile phone–sized micro-projectors, using MEMS scanners, 3D display technologies and screens, MEMS thermal sensors with optical readout, portable spectroscopic chemical analysis devices, tagging and identification of liquids using nano-particles, portable bio-sensor to enable various types of blood tests and diagnostics.

Unlike other funds provided by the European Union, the ERC funding is granted to a single individual rather than a research group, institution, or consortium. The recipient of the project funding can carry his or her project to any institution in Europe. ERC projects are divided into three groups for researchers in various stages of their careers. The groups are 0–7 years (starting), 7–12 years (consolidator), and senior researchers conducting advanced research for the last 10 years (advanced). Prof. Urey's project has been qualified for support in the advanced category, for which many Nobel laureates have previously qualified.

The European Research Council granted its first funding to Turkey at the Advanced category to Prof. Halil Mete Soner's project. Prof. Urey's project is unique and significant in that it marks the first ERC-Advanced funding in Turkey in the field of engineering.

About Prof. Dr. Hakan Urey
Dr. Urey received the BS degree from Middle East Technical University, Ankara, in 1992, and MS and Ph.D. degrees from Georgia Institute of Technology in 1996 and in 1997, all in electrical engineering. After completing his PhD, he joined Microvision Inc.-Seattle as Research Engineer, and he played a key role in the development of the retinal scanning display technology. He was the Principal System Engineer when he left Microvision to join the faculty of engineering at Koç University in 2001. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 2007 and Professor in 2010.

He has 25 issued and more than 10 pending patents, which have been licensed to industry. He has more than 150 international publications. His research interests are in the area of optical microsystems, MEMS, micro-optics and optical system design, 2D/3D display and imaging systems, and biosensors for diagnostics.

About the ERC
The European Research Council is Europe's leading and most prestigious scientific institution, which provides support for the most original and progressive scientific research conducted in Europe.

Researchers who have won the Nobel Prize with ERC support (before or after their ERC projects):
Serge Haroche
Konstantin Novoselov
James Heckman
Theodor Hänsch
Jean-Marie Lehn
Christoforos Pissarides

About the TUBITAK EU Framework Programs National Coordination Office
TUBITAK (Scientific and Technical Research Council of Turkey)—Coordination Office for EU Framework Programmes has taken on the task of organizing the coordination in Turkey between 2007 and 2013 of the EU's Seventh Framework Program, which is the largest civilian research program in the world. The office provides consultancy, as well as incentive and award programs to researchers on programs in the scope of the Seventh Framework Programme, including the ERC funding.

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