Training the light experts of the future at TU/e
The researchers will explore new smart lighting solutions.
People need light, not only to see, but also to function well, physically and mentally. Unfortunately, the amount of daylight we get is under pressure from urbanisation, the 24-hour economy and the many hours we spend indoors. Our performance and our health suffer as a result. This is why Eindhoven University of Technology, together with six other universities, is launching a special training programme for young light researchers. The fifteen researchers will work together to find smart lighting solutions that support people. The EU is supporting the programme with a grant of more than 4 million euro, of which one million will go to TU/e.
Light plays a major role in what we perceive, and in how we feel and think. This works through the rods and cones in our eyes, but also through a third type of receptor, according to recent research. Disruption of these processes, for example in people who work at night, can have all kinds of harmful consequences. Think of insomnia, fatigue, mood swings or even cancer. It is therefore very important that we better understand how these processes work, and how we can design our homes, offices, factories and public spaces in such a way that people get enough of the right kind of light (e.g. daylight or artificial light).
TU/e has therefore taken the initiative, together with universities in Liège, Manchester, Sheffield, Basel, Lausanne and Berlin and a number of companies and other institutions, to train specialised light researchers. These include neuroscientists, psychologists, sleep researchers and light engineers and designers.
The research they are going to do ranges from very fundamental research (e.g. what is the effect of light on the eyes and brain cells of mice) and laboratory and field research (e.g. what is the exact influence of daylight on people with insomnia) to concrete applications of light in everyday life (e.g. in traffic and in offices).
Yvonne de Kort, leader of the LIGHTCAP project and working for the Center for Humans and Technology at the TU/e, is very pleased with the award of the European subsidy.
"This project gives us an unprecedented opportunity to take an enormous step forward in our understanding of what good light is for people, together with experts from very different, relevant disciplines and with people from the work field. Coordinating this project fits in perfectly with our mission: multidisciplinary research on the interface between people and technology".
Alex Rosemann, co-researcher at the TU/e's Intelligent Lighting Institute, agrees. "Light is so much more important to us than many people realise: together we will ensure that the buildings in which we live and work will make us healthier and more vital in a sustainable way”.
The grant for the LIGHTCAP project is covered by the Marie Sklodoskowska-Curie programme of the European Union. The aim of this programme is to stimulate innovative interdisciplinary university masters in Europe, in which universities and other research institutions collaborate with companies. In this project, TU/e collaborates with Signify (formerly Philips Lighting) and research institute Kempenhaeghe, among others.