Interview with David Fernandez Rivas, Cuban ERC Grantee

David Fernandez Rivas has been awarded this year an ERC Starting grant of € 1.5 million to develop his project focused on the development of needle-free injections, or ‘bubble gun’, as the technology is based on ‘pushing’ liquid into the skin using laser-made bubbles.

In this video, David Fernandez Rivas gives tips on a successful ERC proposal and tells us about his experience as a LAC researcher in Europe:


In his project Bubble Gun, Fernandez Rivas is working on predictable, reproducible, and efficient injection of liquids that will enable a wide range of technologies, such as additive manufacturing, coating modifications, the delivery of drugs and vaccinations.

David Fernandez Rivas biography:

David is originally from Cuba. He studied nuclear and energy engineering at the Instituto Superior de Ciencias y Tecnologías in Havana, Cuba, and worked as a researcher until 2010. Between 2007 and 2010 he alternated his teaching duties in Cuba with his PhD studies at the University of Twente in the Netherlands. David Fernandez Rivas is currently an assistant professor at the Mesoscale Chemical Systems (MCS) group at the University of Twente. He received his PhD at the University of Twente in 2012, and is also a visiting scientist at the MIT’s Department of Mechanical Engineering. David co-founded BuBCLEAN in 2013, a spin-off from the University of Twente, commercialising the BuBble bags. In 2017, David won the StartUpLaunch competition and his working in his start-up company InkBeams on further commercialisation of needle-free injection technology.

On March 17, 2021, Professor David Rivas wins the seventh Prince Friso Engineering Prize, one of the most important awards in this branch that is awarded in the European Union.

The needle-free delivery of liquid jets into soft and heterogeneous substrates, e.g. human tissue, has been hindered by the need to reach specific penetration depths with energy efficient means, by the break-up of jets that impedes control over the dose delivery, and by liquid splash-back after impacting the substrate that causes cross-contamination between injections. BuBble Gun aims at overcoming these challenges.

BuBble gun will advance scientific knowledge at the intersection of microfluidics, physics, and bioengineering, to enable unprecedented physical understanding and control over cavitation, jetting, and injection phenomena. We will develop a portable energy-efficient injection platform by using ultra-high-speed imaging, and quantifying injections with experimental resolutions below the microsecond and micrometer scales. The rheological properties of the jets will be tuned with biocompatible additives to ensure cohesion, before injecting them into in-vitro targets and ex-vivo skin. Numerical models will assist in untangling the influence of microfluidic configuration and material properties on the injection outcome.



About the ERC

The ERC (https://erc.europa.eu/) is led by an independent governing body, the Scientific Council. The ERC has a budget of over €16 billion and is part of the EU research and innovation programme, Horizon Europe (2021-2027).

Watch the ERC video here.

ERC Starting Grant (2021 Call OPEN - deadline 8 April)

European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grants are designed to support excellent Principal Investigators at the career stage at which they are starting their own independent research team or programme in all scientific fields.

The call is annual and open to researchers of any nationality with 2-7 years of experience since completion of PhD.

Check the other opportunities open to Latin American and Caribbean researchers in the guides on ERC we prepared for you (links below).

Contact ERC National contact points (NCPs):

In LAC countries and in Europe: http://bit.ly/Horizon_NCP


Additional resources:


© Photo: Gijs van Ouwekerk





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