€18 million for research on the sustainable use of our subsurface

Project EPOS-eNLarge awarded through the Dutch Research Council

Increased use of the subsurface, for example for geothermal energy production or subsurface storage, is crucial for achieving the (inter)national goals for greenhouse gas emissions. Today it was announced that EPOS-eNLarge, a research project that focuses on efficient and safe use of the Dutch subsurface, is one of the projects to be awarded through the Dutch Research Council (NWO) large-scale research infrastructure call. The 10-year project will receive €17.9 million from NWO.


The project, a collaboration between Utrecht University, TU Delft, the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI), and the TNO Geological Survey of the Netherlands, aims to produce a physics-based understanding of the subsurface. It will provide the research capabilities to improve our understanding of micro-processes in the subsurface. And of how these control the large-scale behavior during geo-energy production or fluid storage. One of the key goals is to increase efficient use of geothermal energy, ultimately accelerating the number of geothermal projects being deployed in the Netherlands.

This grant opens up a barrel of possibilities for research into the impact of human use of our subsurface

Open access to research data

The research project will ensure that unique data from the Dutch subsurface is openly available and centrally accessible through EPOS, the European research infrastructure for solid Earth sciences. EPOS-eNLarge builds on the research project EPOS-NL, which integrates large-scale geophysical facilities in the Netherlands into a coherent infrastructure for research into geo-societal challenges.

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Schematische weergave van onderzoek naar impact van het menselijk gebruik van onze ondergrond

From nanometer to kilometer

“This grant opens up a barrel of possibilities for research into the impact of human use of our subsurface,” says Martyn Drury, EPOS-eNLarge scientific director and researcher at Utrecht University. “It is critical to understand such impact at all relevant scales: from nanometer to kilometer. And then to share our findings internationally through the EPOS data portal. We are all very excited that we can now set up the means to enable this.”


Large-scale scientific infrastructure is essential for Dutch science. It may be highly specialised equipment, such as large telescopes, high field magnets or advanced sensors and measurement networks necessary for biological and earth science research. But also ‘virtual’ facilities, such as large databases, scientific computer networks, or data and sample collections. “Investments in large-scale infrastructure contribute to the international position of the Netherlands as a country of knowledge. Science and research cannot do without the right scientific infrastructure,” said Minister Robbert Dijkgraaf.

Two projects from Utrecht University have received NWO-GWI grants: ∆-ENIGMA and EPOS-eNLarge. A total of nine projects were honoured this round.

More about ∆-ENIGMA
NWO: Nine projects to receive 140 million for large-scale scientific infrastructure