18 Nov 2010   |   News

Dutch computing expert awarded €3.3M grant to set up Russian computing lab

Peter Sloot, a professor at Amsterdam University, is to lead a new laboratory in Russia, as the government looks to halt the ‘brain drain’ and attract leading researchers.

The Russian Federation has awarded an individual research grant of €3.3 million to Peter Sloot, professor of Computational Science at the University of Amsterdam (UvA), as part of its Leading Scientist programme.

Sloot, who will use the grant to set up a PhD programme and research laboratory in Russia, is one of the few non-Russian scientists, and the only Dutchman, to win a grant under this programme. A total of 507 nominations were submitted, of which 40 were accepted. Sloot will set up a laboratory in the field of Urgent Computing at Saint Petersburg State University.

Urgent Computing focuses on using supercomputers to collect and analyse data as quickly as possible in the event of a disaster or emergency, such as a flood, pandemic or terrorist attack. Mathematical models are subsequently used to predict the potential effects or impact and possible preventative control.

The research, which will take place at the state university’s ITMO e-Science research institute, is closely related to the research conducted by Sloot’s research group at the UvA. The Netherlands Institute in St. Petersburg will assist in coordinating the project.

Leading Scientist programme

On 9 April 2010, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed decree No 220 entitled ‘Measures to Attract Leading Scientists to Russian Educational Institutions.’ The aim of this decree is for the Russian government to award grants to internationally renowned scientists to stimulate research at Russian universities. The grants are awarded once every three years for a period of three years, with a possible extension of two years.

Sloot has been connected to the UvA’s Informatics department since 1988, setting up a research group in the field of computer simulation in 1990. He has been professor of Computational Sciences at the UvA since 2000. Sloot’s research focuses mainly on information modelling in dynamic complex systems applied to biomedicine.

In recent years his research group has developed computer simulations of, among other things, the dynamics and spread of epidemics, most notably HIV. Sloot heads two major European research projects, ViroLab and DynaNets, and oversees several other projects.

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