Giovanni Volpe, physics professor
Giovanni Volpe
Photo: Johan Wingborg

Giovanni Volpe awarded new ERC Consolidator Grant


Professor Giovanni Volpe at the Department of Physics has been selected as recipient of a new European Research Council (ERC) Consolidator Grant. The 2-million-euro grant will be used for research aiming to take the next steps in the evolution of artificial active matter systems.

On Wednesday, December 9th, the European Research Council (ERC) unveiled their 2020 list of researchers chosen to receive consolidator grants. One scientist from the University of Gothenburg is on the list: Giovanni Volpe, professor at the Department of Physics. He is awarded 2 million euros to conduct active-matter research. The project is titled “Microscopic Active Particles with Embodied Intelligence”.

Artificial particles that can process information

Over billions of years of evolution, organisms have developed complex strategies to survive and thrive. In the last few decades, active-matter research has tried to replicate the evolutionary success of microorganisms in artificial systems. However, these artificial particles are still largely incapable of autonomous information processing.

Giovanni Volpe aims to take on three main challenges with his research:

  1. Make active particles capable of autonomous information processing.
  2. Optimize the behavioral strategies of individual active particles.
  3. Optimize the interactions between active particles.

Embodied intelligence

“This project will take the next steps in the evolution of artificial active matter systems by endowing them with embodied intelligence and autonomous information processing abilities. I will achieve this by combining my background in mesoscopic physics and microfabrication with machine learning, a new research direction that offers radically different and complementary opportunities,” writes Giovanni Volpe in the grant abstract.

Find out more about the ERC Consolidator Grant 2020 here