Veni awards 2013



Dating the human evolution
Dr C. (Christina) Ankjærgaard (f), Wageningen University – Soil geography and landscape group
Humans (genus Homo) are thought to have originated in Africa from where they dispersed to other continents. At present, it is hard to determine when this happened. The aim of this research is to develop a novel method that can accurately date the migrations into and within Europe.

Knights of Terror
Dr E. (Egil) Asprem (m), University of Amsterdam – Religious Studies 
The Norwegian terrorist A.B. Breivik's claim to be part of a secret Knights Templar order can be viewed as a strategic fiction, intended to inspire followers. This project charts the historical background of extreme-right fascination for Templars and maps emerging online groups inspired by Breivik’s manifesto.

Real-time tracking of toxin invasion
Dr M. (Marie-Eve) Aubin-Tam (f), Delft University of Technology – Bionanoscience
Some toxins enter our cells by travelling across narrow pores that they form in the cell membrane. To unravel this process, toxin molecules will be followed one at a time as they cross the membrane.

Gassendi's theory of space
Dr D. (Delphine) Bellis (f), Radboud University Nijmegen – Philosophy 
Gassendi introduced a new theory of space as a homogenous entity, independent of any objects. This research project aims to study this philosophical idea and its impact on the scientific revolution, especially in England up to the time of Newton.

Proteins that work together to form flowers
Dr M. (Marian) Bemer (f), Wageningen University – Molecular Biology 
Flowers consist of various organs, such as stamens and petals, which are formed by proteins. It appears that various types of proteins must work together to achieve this. The researchers want to know how, where and why these proteins collaborate to form flowers.

Counting and accountability: the politics of numbers in the democracy of classical Athens
Dr T.A. (Tazuko Angela) van Berkel (f), Leiden University – Greek and Latin Languages and Cultures 
Numbers are everywhere. Anyone living in classical Athens (5th and 6th century BC) would have been surrounded by numbers and calculations. This project examines which communicative functions and ideological significances these public numbers and calculations were assigned in the direct democracy in Athens.

Finding out how medicines work through metabolism
Dr C.R. (Celia) Berkers (f), Utrecht University – Chemistry 
Medicines that activate the proteasome – the mechanism in cells that degrades protein – may possibly be effective in treating diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. The researchers will identify exactly how these connections work by examining how newly discovered proteasome activators start to influence the metabolism of cells.

The origin of the Eocene greenhouse world
Dr P.K. (Peter) Bijl (m), Utrecht University – Department of Earth Sciences 
To gain more understanding of how the climate on earth changed in the past from cold to tropically hot, geologists will study mud from the ocean bed that dates from the Palaeocene era. This was a cold period that preceded the Eocene greenhouse world.

Personality development in new parents
Dr W. (Wiebke) Bleidorn (f), Tilburg University - Developmental Psychology 
Becoming a parent is an incisive life transition that is connected to major and permanent changes in the parents' daily lives. This research project will examine if and how the transition to parenthood leads to positive personality changes in parents.

When is healthcare too expensive?
Dr A. (Ana) Bobinac (f), Erasmus University Rotterdam – Institute of Health Policy and Management 
A reliable estimate of the monetary value of health will contribute to a more efficient and fair distribution of funds in healthcare. Economists will create an experimental setting that mimics a healthcare market to determine the real monetary value of healthcare.

How leaves affect the climate
Dr H.J. (Hugo) de Boer (m), Utrecht University – Environmental Science 
Plants influence the climate by absorbing CO2 from the air while simultaneously evaporating water. This interchange of water vapour and CO2 takes place through microscopically tiny pores in their leaves. This research will study how these pores work in a changing climate.

Sweet vaccines
Dr T.J. (Thomas) Boltje (m), Radboud University Nijmegen – Synthetic organic chemistry
Unique sugar molecules cover the outside of bacteria. This research project aims to develop new ways of synthesising these bacterial sugar molecules so that they can be used as protective vaccines against bacterial infection.

Phosphate: salt in kidney patients’ wounds?
Dr M.H. (Martin) de Borst (m), University Medical Center Groningen – Internal Medicine
Kidney patients retain salt, which makes their treatment less effective. Phosphate appears to play a significant role in regulating the body’s management of salt. The research will examine whether monitoring the amount of phosphate as well as salt in the diet could improve the treatment for kidney patients.

Pollution knows no bounds
Dr J. (Jordy) Bouwman (m), Radboud University Nijmegen – Molecular Structure and Dynamics
Humans are the cause of large quantities of hazardous substances entering the environment all over the world. These pollutants undergo chemical changes in the atmosphere. The researchers will identify the newly formed substances to more effectively determine the consequences of environmental pollution.

Better protection against pathogens
Dr K. (Klaas) Bouwmeester (m), Wageningen University – Laboratory for Phytopathology
Plant diseases in agricultural and horticultural crops lead to lower yields and diminish the quality of the harvest. This research will study a new form of defence. The aim is to erect additional barriers against pathogens, especially those in tomatoes and sweet peppers.

Plant defence is manipulated by insects
Dr C. (Colette) Broekgaarden (f), Wageningen University – Plant breeding
Plants are able to defend themselves in ingenious ways against attacks by herbivorous insects. However, some insects seem to be capable of manipulating the plant’s defence to their own advantage. Mechanisms in the plant are activated which suppress the form of defence harmful to the insect. This research will examine exactly how insects manipulate the plants’ defence and which mechanisms are involved.

Reversing the switch in systemic sclerosis
Dr J. (Jasper) Broen (m), University Medical Center Utrecht – Rheumatology & Immunology
Patients with systemic sclerosis develop dangerous, sometimes lethal, scarring of their skin and organs. The researchers will examine whether they can stop this scarring by reversing the molecular switch in the cell that causes it.

Concrete arithmetic between geometry and number theory
Dr P.J. (Peter) Bruin (m), Leiden University - Mathematics
Mathematics derives its strength from abstractions. This research focuses on getting to grips with specific abstractions that link geometry and number theory. New arithmetic methods will be developed to do this, with the aim of more quickly determining the number of solutions to interesting types of comparisons.

Language and reality
Dr B.S.W. (Bert) Le Bruyn (m), Utrecht University – Utrecht Institute of Linguistics OTS
We use language to say something about reality. The researcher will examine how this process works and will also examine the differences between languages, especially how we express possessive relationships. How these differences in language affect learning a second language will also be studied.

Figurative frames and economic perception
Dr C.F. (Christian) Burgers (m), VU University Amsterdam – Communication Science
Figurative frames (metaphors, hyperbole, irony) are a way of making complex economic topics such as fiscal policy easier to understand and evaluate. This project will examine how this happens, and how these stylistic devices direct public debate and colour economic perception in the Netherlands.

Graphene and molecules for quantum computation
Dr E. (Enrique) Burzuri (m), Delft University of Technology – Kavli Institute of Nanoscience
Individual magnetic molecules could be used to process information in computers by injecting magnetically polarised currents to read and write the magnetic state. The aim of this research is to use magnetically functionalised graphene, two-dimensional carbon structures, as electrodes to bring applications closer.

Quick blood tests for heart and lungs
Dr J.W.L. (Jochen) Cals (m), Maastricht University – General Practice Medicine
Chest pain or shortness of breath can be symptoms of life-threatening conditions requiring hospital treatment. The researchers will examine whether quick blood tests from a finger prick would enable general practitioners to make better decisions about who can safely be treated at home and who needs hospital treatment.

Policy making in changing societies
Dr B. (Burak) Can (m), Maastricht University – School of Business and Economics
Governments often intervene in markets to improve welfare by taking people’s preferences as given. Such policies, however, may change people's preferences, and can thereby have the unintended effect of decreasing welfare. This project will help to design policies that prevent such unintended effects.

Fungal resistant plants thanks to small RNAs
Dr M. (Mireille) van Damme (f), Wageningen University – Phytopathology
Small RNAs regulate gene expression. When plants contract a fungal infection, a change occurs in the populations of small RNAs. The researchers will study whether changing the regulation of small RNAs in the plant could produce plants resistant to fungal infection.

Voting and violence
Dr U. (Ursula) Daxecker (f), University of Amsterdam – Political Science
Outside the West, elections often involve substantial violence. This research project aims to explain when and why elections turn violent. Results from the project will help inform international actors engaged in promoting democracy.

Portraying the characteristics of an immunological serial killer
Dr C.E.J. (Cindy) Dieteren (f), – Cell Biology
Cytotoxic T cells are capable of tracking down cancer cells and killing them one by one. Changes in the tumour environment can disrupt this defensive reaction. This research will use microscopy to study how a T cell attacks various cancer cells and how the tumour environment influences these interactions.

Dealing with hunger
Dr J.E.C. (Jessica) Dijkman (f), Utrecht University – Economic and Social History
North-West Europe regularly suffered food shortages prior to 1800. Nonetheless, some societies succeeded in preventing catastrophic famines from about 1600 onwards. Did they do that by regulating markets and providing a safety net? Or was more efficient interregional trade the decisive factor?

On the same wavelength
Dr S. (Suzanne) Dikker (f), Utrecht University - Institute of Linguistics OTS
What does it mean to be 'on the same wavelength' with another person? This research takes neuroscience out of the lab, into the world; it explores novel methodologies to investigate when and why people’s brainwaves sync up during everyday communication.

How can flood risks be spread fairly?
Dr N. (Neelke) Doorn (f), Delft University of Technology – Philosophy
Flood risks ought to be spread fairly and efficiently, but opinions differ as to what this entails. This research examines how fairness and efficiency can be combined in a way that is acceptable to everyone.

Understanding from word one
Dr J. (Jakub) Dotlacil (m), University of Groningen – Center for Language and Cognition
When someone says something, listeners immediately start to interpret what is being said. We often choose the intended interpretation well before the speaker has finished speaking. How do we do that? This project combines semantic and cognitive research to answer that question.

From molecule to behaviour via brain networks
Dr L. (Linda) Douw (f), – Anatomy and Neurosciences / Massachusetts General Hospital (Boston, MA, USA) – Radiology
This project will study the relationship between molecules and behaviour by relating significant properties of cells via brain networks to behaviour in patients with a brain tumour. This will enable better markers to be defined for the diagnosis and treatment of the specific brain tumour.

New knowledge about prostate cancer
Dr J. (Jarno) Drost (m), Hubrecht Institute – Clevers group
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men, causing tens of thousands of deaths every year. Research methods are limited, however. The researchers will use a new, pioneering method for growing prostate cells to examine genetic changes in patients’ tumours and develop new therapies.

Sediment transport by vortices: a fundamental study from the lab to the ocean
Dr M. (Matias) Duran-Matute (m), Eindhoven University of Technology – Applied Physics
Vortices transport large quantities of sediment in the oceans. Researchers will investigate this mechanism for coastal areas through laboratory experiments and numerical simulations. This research will facilitate better predictions of sand loss from beaches, for example.

Reacting dinitrogen
Dr W.I. (Wojciech) Dzik (m), University of Amsterdam – Supramolecular Catalysis
Most pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals and organic materials contain nitrogen atoms which are typically derived from ammonia. The researcher aims to develop compounds that will allow atmospheric nitrogen to be used directly in the manufacture of organic molecules.

Brainstorms: A cultural history of undisciplined thought
Dr B.F. (Bregje) van Eekelen, (f), Erasmus University Rotterdam – History of Society
This project unearths the cultural history of creative thinking in the US in the twentieth century. The historical trajectory of the 'brainstorm' concept – first a nervous disorder, later a positive process – uncovers many unexpected military, industrial, and bureaucratic roots of creative thinking.

Problem groups: imprison or educate?
Dr G. (Gwen) van Eijk (f) Leiden University – Criminology
How does crime control policy deal with problem groups? Strategies vary, but they mainly focus on the lower social classes: deprived neighbourhoods and at-risk families. This research will examine how public safety professionals regard class differences and how this filters through to making and implementing policy.

Common hereditary predisposition for dementia and ALS
Dr M.A. (Michael) van Es (m), University Medical Center Utrecht – Neurology
There are significant indications that there are common hereditary risk factors for dementia and ALS (serious muscular disease). The researchers will use the latest techniques to examine these abnormalities by systematically comparing the DNA of large groups of patients with that of healthy people.

New warriors
Dr K.F. (Katharina) Ettwig (f), Radboud University Nijmegen – Microbiology
There is evidence that the powerful greenhouse gas, methane, can be broken down in environments where organisms have no air to breathe. This research will study how previously unknown microorganisms use iron compounds and nitrate to combat methane emissions and therefore global warming.

Tinkering with scout cells
Dr B. (Bart) Everts (m), Leiden University Medical Center – Parasitology
An immune response is driven by scout cells. Recent evidence shows that how these cells function is determined by what they feed on. This research will investigate how this works and will use this knowledge to introduce new vaccines and/or improve existing ones.

Measuring and regulating nuclear fusion reactors
Dr F.A.A. (Federico) Felici (m), Eindhoven University of Technology – Mechanical Engineering
Nuclear fusion is potentially an inexhaustible and non-polluting source of energy. The most important variables can now be continually measured and automatically adjusted in experimental nuclear fusion reactors. This project will develop new methods for this based on mathematical models, which will lead to more efficient reactors in the future.

Can't see the wood for the trees?
Dr A.K.J. (Anne-Kathrin) Fett (f), VU University Amsterdam – Educational Neuroscience
Paranoia and social dysfunction in psychosis are driven by an insensitivity to obvious social information. The project will investigate the underlying brain mechanisms of this social information processing deficit, its consequences for social interactions and its amenability to cognitive intervention.

Diffusion in colloidal crystals
Dr L. (Laura) Filion (f), Utrecht University – Soft Condensed Matter and Biophysics
Many different crystal structures can be made by changing the shape and interactions of microscopic particles. Some recently discovered crystals of colloidal particles display surprisingly high diffusion speeds. The researcher will study the diffusion in these systems by means of computer simulations.

Evangelism in the market
Dr S.A. (Suzan) Folkerts (f), University of Groningen – Faculty of Arts
Traditional views on ‘mediaeval’ versus 'modern' and 'religious' versus ‘secular’ need revising. By studying how lay people dealt with the first printed translations of the Bible, this project will shed new light on late-mediaeval urban religious culture in the Netherlands.

Vulnerability to stress in the brain
Dr L. (Lotte) Gerritsen (f), VU Medical Center – Psychiatry
We do not know why some people develop depression following a stressful event. By studying how the concerted action of stress and genes can affect the brain, the researchers intend to identify who is vulnerable to the negative consequences of stress.

Learning from each other
Dr N. (Nina) Gierasimczuk (f), University of Amsterdam – Institute for Logic, Language and Computation
One downside of being a member of a group is that personal opinions are suppressed by conformity. This project will investigate the complex balance between the advantages and disadvantages of being in a group with a particular focus on learning.

Understanding DNA differences
Dr C (Christian) Gilissen (m), University Medical Center Nijmegen – Genetics
There is enormous variation in human DNA and so discovering which DNA variation causes disease is quite a challenge. This research will use DNA variation in the normal population to more effectively identify the variation that causes disease.

You see with your …
Dr T.A. (Tom) de Graaf (m), Maastricht University – Cognitive Neurosciences
If our two eyes ‘see’ different pictures, the brain always chooses one for perception. What we consciously observe is not just determined by our eyes but, in particular, by our brain. This research will use brain scans and brain stimulation to unravel how this works.

Immune cells communicate via minuscule membrane vesicles
Dr T. (Tom) Groot Kormelink (m), Utrecht University – Biochemistry and Cell Biology
The immune system consists of many different types of immune cells distributed throughout the body. Communication between these cells is essential for the system to work well. This research will study the role of miniscule membrane vesicles that originate in immune cells in regulating immunity.

On the origin of time and scale
Dr S. (Sean) Gryb (m), Radboud University Nijmegen - Theoretical High Energy Physics
This work combines a novel approach to a relativity called 'Shape Dynamics' (where scale is emergent) with an exciting conjecture called 'Holography' (where time is emergent) to make new predictions for the early universe and to understand aspects of quantum gravity.

The concerted action of causes of behaviour
Dr J.S. (Jessica) Gubbels (f) Maastricht University – Health Promotion
Behaviour is determined by both personal factors (such as character) and environmental factors (such as codes of conduct). The researchers will examine the concerted action that occurs between these factors so they can predict behaviour more effectively. A study of nutrition, exercise and obesity in children will be used as an example.

Structure and fission
Dr M.A. (Michael) Hadders (m), University Medical Center Utrecht – Medical Oncology
When a cell divides, the genetic material must be equally divided between the two daughter cells. The researchers will study both the structure and structural changes of a protein complex that is essential for this equal division.

The effects of public opinion
Dr A. (Armen) Hakhverdian (m), University of Amsterdam – Political Science
This research will map out public opinion on the multicultural society from the 1970s up to the present day. The aim is to analyse whether swings in public opinion affected government policy with regard to immigration and minority integration.

Dealing with heart strain
Dr F.S. (Frances) Handoko-de Man, VU Medical Center – Pulmonary Diseases
The right ventricle of the heart in patients whose blood vessels to their lungs are partly or completely obstructed has to work harder, leading to a strain on the heart. The good and bad role of the nervous system and hormones in the event of this ‘strain’ will be studied.

Multifunctional mobile medical care
Dr P.J.A. (Pieter) Harpe (m), Eindhoven University of Technology – Electrical Engineering
Continually monitoring the heart rate or brain activity of patients and elderly people provides information about their health and can detect or prevent problems. The researchers will develop multifunctional electronics to make this mobile medical care as user friendly and cheap as possible.

Personal therapy for bladder cancer
Dr M.S. (Michiel) van der Heijden (m), Netherlands Cancer Institute – Medical oncology
The treatment for aggressive forms of bladder cancer has remained the same for many years. The researchers will search for the genes that stimulate growth of the tumour. The ultimate goal is to target treatment at these activated genes in patients with bladder cancer.

Fighting stubborn bacteria
Dr J.W.J. (Jeroen) van Heijst (m), Academic Medical Centre – Immunology
Tuberculosis is caused by a bacterium that is very difficult to control by means of vaccination. The researchers will examine how special cells in the immune system called T cells tackle tuberculosis bacteria and how this could be improved.

What does a number tell us?
Dr H.C.K. (Conrad) Heilmann (m), Erasmus University Rotterdam - Philosophy
Economic policy is dependent on numbers and quantified concepts, such as GDP, discount rates and happiness indexes. Taking the philosophy of science principles of measurement as its starting point, this project will indicate how numbers should be constructed and used.

Opting for more sustainable transport
Dr E (Eva) Heinen (f), University of Groningen – Planning
Everyone makes daily choices about whether to travel by car, bicycle or public transport. However, change is needed to make our society more sustainable and healthier, change is needed. The researcher will unravel the effect of identity and variation on this change.

Making news in the Golden Age
Dr H.J. (Helmer) Helmers (m), University of Amsterdam – Institute for Culture and History
European news dominated the Dutch media in the Golden Age (17th century). This project will take a major international crisis as its background and examine how and why foreign news was transmitted and how it influenced public opinion and the political debate.

Wireless communication with the cerebellum
Dr G. A. (Gustavo) Higuera (m), Erasmus MC – Neuroscience
This proposal consists of building a wireless device from scratch to treat cerebellar diseases such as ataxia. By using light, the researchers intend to communicate with this brain network. The research will focus on building the device.

Unravelling the relationship between flexible forms of work and wellbeing
Dr C.L. (Claartje) ter Hoeven (f), University of Amsterdam – Communication Science
Communication technology has led to flexible forms of work without us considering how 'flex work' affects employees’ wellbeing. This project will examine the pros and cons of flexible forms of work as well as possibilities for reducing the disadvantages for wellbeing.

Consistency of international sentencing
Dr B. (Barbora) Hola (f), VU University Amsterdam – Criminal Law and Criminology
The researcher will compare sentencing of international crimes by international and national courts. She will analyse whether 'the most responsible' leaders, who are sentenced by international tribunals, are indeed 'better off' and sentenced to more lenient sentences than their followers.

The end of AIDS in Africa
Dr J.A.C. (Jan) Hontelez (m), Erasmus MC – Social healthcare
Drugs given to patients with HIV not only help them to live longer and in better health, but also reduce their ability to pass on the infection. This offers possibilities for stopping the spread of the virus. This project will examine practical and feasible strategies for eliminating the HIV epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa.

Observing age limits in the sale of risky products
Dr J.J. (Joris) van Hoof (m), University of Twente – Communication Science
Harmful products (alcohol, cigarettes and scratch cards) may not be sold to customers younger than the legal age limit for that product. This project will investigate why retailers often fail to adhere to these age limits and how this could be improved.

High-risk auctions
Dr X. (Audrey) Hu (f), University of Amsterdam – Economics
Auctioning state-owned assets to private investors frequently involves high stakes and high risk. When competing bidders have heterogeneous valuations and risk attitudes, traditional auctions are inefficient. This project aims to find out efficient and revenue-maximising auction policies in these situations.

Our cells’ railway network
Dr N.C. (Nina) Hubner (f), Radboud University Nijmegen – Molecular Biology
Our cells have complex networks, just like a railway network, that determine their function. In this project, researchers will examine the proteins that adjust the points and determine the journey’s destination. These points are often set wrongly in cancer.

The origins of modern architectural planning
Dr M. (Merlijn) Hurx (m), Utrecht University – Art History
Nowadays when we build something, we set out its design very precisely in drawings and descriptive texts. This research will examine how the development of this rational planning relates to the modernisation of management structures in the Late Middle Ages.

Social emotional regulation through skin warming
Dr H. (Hans) IJzerman (m), Tilburg University – Social Psychology
Good relationships lead to better health and wellbeing, probably due to social support. The researcher hypothesises that social support is given by way of skin warming. This project will investigate whether skin warming takes place in social emotional regulation, how people learn this skill and when such regulation works.

How the self-employed think about politics and consensus
Dr G. (Giedo) Jansen (m), Radboud University Nijmegen – Political Science
There is no such thing as ‘the typical self-employed person’. Economic differences between the self-employed are huge. This research will describe and explain the wide range of political preferences of various types of self-employed people. It will also examine differences between the self-employed in terms of membership of lobby groups such as trade associations and trade unions.

Through galactic fog to the first stars
Dr V. (Vibor) Jelic (m), University of Groningen – Kapteyn Institute
Complicated emission from our own galaxy obscures the first stars in the universe. Astronomers will study this galactic 'fog', and clear the view towards the early universe. This will allow them to see 13.2 billion years back in time.

What if I trust you but you don’t trust me?
Dr B.A. (Bart) de Jong (m), VU University Amsterdam - Management & Organisation
Trust is essential for teams to collaborate well. Unfortunately, team members often differ in the extent to which they trust each other and who they trust, which can give rise to many disadvantages. This research will systematically investigate what gives rise to these differences in trust and how they affect teams’ performances.

Where do we come from?
Dr J.C.A. (José) Joordens (f), Leiden University – Archaeology
The origins of mankind lie in Africa. But which living environment was the favourite, and how was this affected by climate change? This project examines the role of the East African coastal forest in the evolution and spread of early hominids.

Calculating babysitters?
Dr S.A. (Sjouke Anne) Kingma, (m), University of Groningen – Behavioural Ecology and Self-Organisation & Theoretical Biology
Some individuals in cooperative breeding species put off their own procreation to help others raise their young. Research will be conducted using computer simulations and 30 years of field data on the Seychelles Warbler to find out why certain individuals do this.

Why does income make people healthy?
Dr J.L.W. (Hans) van Kippersluis (m), Erasmus University Rotterdam – Applied Economics
People in higher income groups live on average almost 20 years longer in good health than people in the lowest income groups. This research investigates why these differences exist and, in particular, examines the role played by lifestyle and life expectancy.

Collaboration and management in the information age
Dr A.J. (Bram) Klievink (m), Delft University of Technology – Systems Engineering, Policy Analysis and Management
Interagency collaboration and government supervision can be vastly improved by information infrastructures. Public and private organisations and information systems are brought together within these infrastructures. There is a lack of direction, however, and existing management models cannot simply be applied indiscriminately. This research will therefore study how public-private information infrastructures can be managed.

Deep brain stimulation in psychiatry
Dr P.C. (Chris) Klink (m), The Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience – Neuromodulation & Behaviour
The brain networks that determine how we behave and how we make choices are often disrupted in psychiatric disorders. This research will investigate exactly which brain networks these are and how deep brain stimulation can positively affect the functioning of these networks.

Observing molecular core of life in action with a laser
Dr M. (Miroslav) Kloz (m), VU University Amsterdam – Biophysics of photosynthesis
Specifically designed ultrashort light pulses can be used to exhaustively investigate (bio-)molecules, recording not just their bonding and 3D-structure, but also how this structure changes during (bio)chemical reactions.

Faces of evil?
Dr S. C. (Susanne) Knittel (f), Utrecht University – Modern Languages
In contemporary film and literature, perpetrators of state crimes (Nazis and Communists) are no longer depicted as absolutely evil. This contrasts with their representation at memorials. This project examines what these depictions tell us about how guilt shapes cultural identity.

Older employees as crafters of their jobs
Dr T.A.M. (Dorien) Kooij (f), Tilburg University – Human Resource Studies
Job crafting means taking the initiative to make small adjustments to one’s job to make it more suited to one’s own interests and abilities. This research will examine how older employees craft and how organisations could stimulate job crafting.

Using plasma to make aircraft more efficient
Dr M. (Marios) Kotsonis (m), Delft University of Technology – Aerodynamics
Aeroplanes experience resistance from the air around them as they fly. Reduction of this resistance would make airplanes more efficient. The aim of this research project is to use plasma technology to make the flow over the wings smoother and less resistive.

Spherical mosaics from different tiles
Dr D.J. (Daniela) Kraft (f), Leiden University – Condensed Matter Physics
To cover a sphere with tiles, a second type of tile is always needed, known as ‘defects’. They are important for the mechanical properties of, for example, the protein shell of a virus. This research will investigate the defects and mechanical properties of mosaics of different shapes of tiles.

Limits to solidarity?
Dr T. (Theresa) Kuhn (f), University of Amsterdam – Political Science
Questions about social solidarity are a central theme of the current European crisis. This project will examine the extent to which European citizens are prepared to undergo transnational, national and regional reorganisation.

How much climate adaptation is needed?
Dr J.H. (Jan) Kwakkel (m), Delft University of Technology – Policy analysis
The global climate is changing. Society will have to adapt, but how, to what extent and at what cost? Dr Kwakkel will develop and test instruments to help policymakers answer these questions.

Making minuscule structures
Dr R. (Richard) Lakerveld (m), Delft University of Technology – Process & Energy
Many technological products are possible thanks to miniscule structures. Nature is capable of making these structures extremely efficiently. This research will attempt to make the natural way more accessible to industry.

Ethnic inequality on the labour market
Dr B. (Bram) Lancee (m), University of Amsterdam – Sociology
Ethnic minorities are more often unemployed and more frequently have a lower income than the indigenous population. The difference in knowledge and skills is an oft-quoted cause; another is discrimination. This project will investigate which factors explain ethnic inequality and what this means for policy.

Battle between virus and host
Dr M.A. (Martijn) Langereis (m), Utrecht University – Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Virology department
Cells contain systems to protect us from viral infections. Viruses in turn have developed mechanisms to get round these antiviral systems. The researchers will unravel these viral mechanisms to acquire more information about virus-host interactions.

Bacterial warfare in the human intestine
Dr A. (Alicia) Lammerts van Bueren (f), University of Groningen – Microbial Physiology
The human gut microbiome consist of over 1000 bacterial species that are competing for space within the gastrointestinal tract. Researchers will study the activity of bacterial enzymes that target and degrade surface sugar molecules of competing bacterial species in a 'bacterial warfare' that exposes the targeted bacteria for clearance by the immune system. Investigating this novel competition strategy will lead to new insights into the regulation of human microbiome populations.

Buying for charity
Dr M.C. (Marijke) Leliveld (f), University of Groningen – Marketing
Businesses sometimes donate a sum to charity when buying products. This research examines the differences between donations in cash or in kind (such as a meal). In addition, negative effects of such campaigns on prosocial behaviour will be examined.

Why who does what
Dr S.A.M. (Sander) Lestrade (m), Radboud University Nijmegen – Centre for Language Studies
One of the most important functions of language is to make it clear who does what: for example, who hits and who is hit. The strange thing is that languages make this much more difficult than is strictly necessary. This project aims to find out where this complexity comes from.

Systems genetics of metabolic fluxes
Dr Y. (Yang) Li (f), University of Groningen – Molecular Systems Biology
Genetic analysis on multiple molecular levels can provide insight into how a genotype relates to a phenotype. The researcher will use this approach to look for heritable causes of metabolite flow rate (flux) through metabolic pathways.

Imitating intracellular fluid with charged polymers
Dr S. (Saskia) Lindhoud (f), University of Twente – Nanobiophysics
The fluid in cells is full of charged macromolecules. To acquire information about processes that take place in cells, we can imitate this hive of activity with uncharged polymers. Researchers now want to use a mixture of positively and negatively charged polymers that more closely resemble the fluid in the cell.

Neuronal connections under the microscope
Dr H.D. (Harold) MacGillavry (m), Utrecht University – Cell Biology
Nerve cells communicate via specialised connections: synapses. Disruptions in the structure of synapses underlie brain diseases such as autism. The researchers will use modern microscopes that can make the structure of synapses visible to obtain better information about this disease.

Detecting and communicating
Dr C. (Coert) Margadant (m), Netherlands Cancer Institute – Cell Biology
Receptors called integrins tell the cell how to respond to signals from outside and disruptions to this communication result in a large number of diseases. This research will investigate which proteins regulate the integrins.

Towards a quantum description of the early universe
Dr M. (Mercedes) Martín-Benito (f), Radboud University Nijmegen - Theoretical High Energy Physics
Our paradigmatic cosmological model fails to provide a complete description of the origin of the universe. This project aims to incorporate quantum gravity effects to improve our knowledge about the origin of the universe and the initial stages of its evolution.

From network to renaissance
Dr S.M. (Sven) Meeder (m), Radboud University Nijmegen – History
Charlemagne’s attempts to reform the church led to an impressive intellectual revival. How this process developed is still largely unclear. This project investigates how intellectual networks played a role in this ‘Carolingian renaissance’.

Invasion and breakdown of membranes
Dr M.N. (Manuel) Melo (m), University of Groningen – Molecular Dynamics / Biochemistry
Some antimicrobial proteins work by breaking down the bacterial membrane; others invade the cell and work from the inside out. The researchers will use computer simulations to understand the difference and test whether this knowledge can be used to develop better medicines.

Mimicking words and gestures
Dr E.M.M. (Lisette) Mol (f), Tilburg University – Tilburg Center for Cognition and Communication
People make hand gestures that match precisely what they are saying. When talking to other people we copy each other’s gestures and reiterate words the other has just uttered. The researchers will study how this mimicking affects our speech, gestures and thinking.

The role of metabolites in the development of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease
D.O (Dennis) Mook-Kanamori (m), Leiden University Medical Center – Human Genetics
New techniques now make it possible to measure hundreds of particles, such as amino acids and fatty acids in just a few hours with a drop of blood. The researchers will apply this technique to investigate the causes of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Celebrating together with worshipers from other religions
Prof. M. (Marianne) Moyaert (f), VU University Amsterdam – Theology
Celebrating with people of other religions is growing in our pluralistic society. This practice offers opportunities to strengthen the dialogue between religions, but it often also strengthens the boundaries between religious communities. This project will investigate why this happens.

Gender and ethnicity in the Dutch House of Representatives
Dr L.M. (Liza) Mügge (f), University of Amsterdam – Political Science
A well-functioning democracy is a reflection of society. All over the world, women and ethnic minorities are underrepresented. This project will investigate which ethnic minorities have become Members of Parliament and how their gender and ethnic identity has influenced their work.

Testing competing theories
Dr (Joris) Mulder (m), Tilburg University – Research Methods and Techniques
Scientific theories can often be formulated by groupings between correlations, for example when comparing the coherence within different population groups or within social networks. This research will develop new methods to enable competing theories to be directly tested against each other.

Socialist state television meets the West
Dr D. (Daniela) Mustata (f), University of Groningen - Media and Journalism Studies
During the Cold War, Romanian state television maintained professional relations with the BBC in the greatest secrecy. The aim of this project is to inform the outside world about as yet unknown accounts of the daily work of television programme makers.

Changes in the failing heart
Dr M. (Miranda) Nabben (f), Eindhoven University of Technology – Biomedical Technology
The increasing number of patients suffering from heart failure means there is a rising demand for better methods of treatment. By making use of advanced in vivo techniques, the researchers will uncover the structural, functional and metabolic changes in the heart as the disease develops.

Environmental change and migration: a vicious cycle?
Dr K. (Kathleen) Neumann (f), Wageningen University – Geo-information Science and Remote Sensing
People may move elsewhere if their natural environment is degraded. In turn, migrants may affect the environment at their destinations. This project aims to explore the causality between environmental change, population pressure, migration, and the environmental impacts of migration.

Seismic imaging with double-sided illumination
Dr J. R. (Joost Rutger) van der Neut (m), Delft University of Technology – Applied Geophysics
Seismic imaging is a popular method for exploring the substratum, but it only illuminates the substratum from above. Using a new technique, I will create additional lighting from below, which will enable certain structures (below salt domes, for instance) to be viewed to significantly better effect.

Blossoming microflowers
Dr W.L. (Wim) Noorduin (m), Radboud University Nijmegen - Solid State Chemistry
The researchers recently developed an approach to grow highly complex microscale flowers. These structures will now be made with a tailored shape and material composition so that they can be used as optical materials and catalysts.

Local decisions in intelligent systems
Dr F.A. (Frans) Oliehoek (m), Maastricht University – Robots, Agents and Interaction
Solving problems such as how to control all the traffic lights in a major city requires decisions to be made on the basis of local information. The researcher will develop and analyse a new method for making such decisions.

Designing better networks, faster
Dr N.K. (Neil) Olver (m), CWI and VU University Amsterdam - Econometrics & Operations
Research Key problems in the design of networks - which occur in diverse settings, from communications networks to biology - test the limits of even the fastest computers. This research project will investigate more efficient ways to obtain good solutions to these problems.

Small and fast by moving very precisely
Dr T.A.E. (Tom) Oomen (m), Eindhoven University of Technology – Mechanical Engineering
One of the uses of high-tech industrial robots is in making computer chips. By making use of very precise models, the movements in these machines can be carried out much faster and more accurately. This will make mass production possible on a nanometre scale.

Morbid curiosity
Dr S. (Suzanne) Oosterwijk (f), University of Amsterdam – Social Psychology
People are curious about morbid information. Rather than avoiding negative events or information, we often actually seek them out. This research will study what people are curious about, the circumstances in which this occurs and how the body and brain contribute to this phenomenon.

Stories of justice and injustice: exploring victims' justice narratives
Dr A. (Antony) Pemberton (m), Tilburg University – Criminology
Victims of crime make sense of their experience through storytelling. This project seeks to increase insight into victims’ experience with (criminal) justice processes by examining their narratives. It does so through a series of experiments and field studies.

Controlling the death of cells
Dr V. (Victor) Peperzak (m), Academic Medical Centre – Experimental Immunology
Cancer cells survive stress and chemotherapeutics because they have an increased quantity of survival proteins. The researchers will study the regulation of one of the most important survival proteins in detail, with the aim of identifying new cancer-specific inhibitors.

The role of soils in the carbon cycle
Dr F. (Francien) Peterse (f), Utrecht University - Geochemistry
Soil material is able to store CO2 for a long time if, after being transported by a river, it is deposited on the seabed. Only a small proportion of the carbon in the soils ends up in the sea. The researcher will study what happens to the soil material along the way.

The limits to life's diversity
Dr A. (Alex) Pigot (m), University of Groningen - Biology
Life has diversified into a bewildering array of species but is there a limit to how many species can be supported? This research project aims to address this question and identify the ecological and geographical processes regulating species diversity.

Why do we eat?
Dr G. (Geoffrey) van der Plasse (m), University Medical Center Utrecht – Rudolf Magnus Institute, Neurosciences and Pharmacology
Hunger makes us eat, but what determines what we eat? This study will investigate which areas in the brain are involved in the decision to eat and how the taste and nutritional value of the available food influence this decision.

Breaking rocks by chemical reactions
Dr O. (Oliver) Plümper (m), Utrecht University – Department of Earth Sciences
The interaction of fluids with rocks is fundamental to earth sciences. However, most rocks do not initially provide fluid pathways. The researcher will investigate the power of growing crystals to break rocks and allow fluid to flow through them.

Probing a new volume regime in metabolomics with capillary electrophoresis-mass spectrometry
Dr R. (Rawi) Ramautar (m), Leiden University – Leiden Academic Center for Drug Research
Analysing volume-limited samples using current mass spectrometry technology continues to be challenging. This research proposal focuses on the development of a miniaturised mass spectrometry platform to measure metabolites highly sensitively in scarce sample material, such as stem cells and brain fluid from mice. Such a platform will also enable the study of new clinical problems.

Hasty decision making in delusions
Dr U. (Ulrich) Reininghaus (m), Maastricht University – Clinical Psychology
Hasty decisions and inflexible thinking are part of human nature, but, if exaggerated, this may lead to delusional beliefs such as being followed, attacked, or poisoned. The researchers will test this in individuals with delusions, their relatives, and healthy volunteers.

Glutton protects against HIV
Dr C.M.S. (Carla) Ribeiro (f), Academic Medical Centre – Experimental Immunology
Special immune cells form the first line of defence against HIV. These immune cells seem to use a self-consuming process to break down HIV. This research will study this specific HIV consuming process and will provide leads for preventing or combatting HIV infection.

The olfactory nerve: a shortcut to the brain for flu viruses
Dr D. (Debby) van Riel (f), Erasmus MC – Viroscience
The olfactory nerve connects the nasal cavity with the brain. Flu viruses can use this nerve as a shortcut to the brain, where they can cause inflammation. This research will study how flu viruses do this and whether this shortcut can be blocked.

When 2 viruses strike at once
Dr I.A. (Izabela) Rodenhuis (f), University of Groningen / University Medical Center Groningen – Medical Microbiology
Cases of the simultaneous mosquito-borne Dengue and Chikungunya virus infections are on the rise. Since the mechanisms of the co-infection are yet not known, researchers will analyse, which cells are targeted during the co-infection and how these cells respond to the dual attack.

Stress and brain development
Dr R.A. (Angela) Sarabdjitsingh (f), University Medical Center Utrecht – Rudolf Magnus Institute for Neurosciences
Stress affects the brain, especially if this happens early in life. This research will work out how minor changes in the DNA of mice can protect their brain function against possibly adverse effects of stress in the developmental phase after birth.

Evolution of the lexicon
Dr A.C.J. (Antoinette) Schapper (f), Leiden University – Linguistics
What concepts are encoded as words across languages? Are there semantic distinctions made in words that are universally found in human language? Which factors such as environment and culture can explain variation in the patterns of lexicalization observed in the world's languages? How does such variation come into being? This project examines these questions on the basis of a detailed study of an endangered Papuan language family located in Southeast Indonesia and Timor-Leste.

Super-fast safe crypto
Dr P. (Peter) Schwabe (m), Radboud University Nijmegen – Digital Security
The Internet is permeating the very veins of our society. Protecting personal data is becoming increasingly important. This research will come up with the building blocks to do this so that programmers can integrate the necessary security into their systems.

Analysis and selection of sperm cells on a chip
Dr L.I. (Loes) Segerink (f), – University of Twente, MESA+ Institute for Nanotechnology
One in six couples are confronted by involuntary childlessness and seek medical help for this. The aim of this project is to use microfluidic systems to improve the diagnosis and treatment of the less fertile man.

Integral affine geometry inside out
Dr D. (Daniele) Sepe (m), Utrecht University – Mathematics
Symmetries lie at the heart of geometry and have far-reaching applications for many sciences, from crystals to theoretical physics. This project investigates some of the most fundamental symmetries in mathematics in relation to outstanding open problems in mechanics.

Uniform studies of form emergence
Dr A. (Alexandra) Silva (f), Radboud University Nijmegen – Computer Science
Growth is a ubiquitous phenomenon. The emergence of form, as a result of growth processes, has fascinated and occupied the minds of scientists. This project develops a unifying framework to study growth and the intricate connection between internal state and external behaviour.

Solar fuels for a sustainable future
Dr W. (Wilson) Smith (m), Delft University of Technology – Chemical Engineering
Photoelectrochemical water splitting can be achieved using the power of the sun and semiconductor photoelectrodes. This project aims to study and improve the performance of high performance electrodes made from stable materials abundant on earth.

The outside of the heart
Dr A.M. (Anke) Smits (f), Leiden University Medical Center – Molecular Cell Biology
The outside of the heart, the epicardium, consists of a special layer of cells. When damage occurs, this layer is activated and epicardium cells grow into the wall of the heart to form new heart tissue. The researcher wants to understand how this activity contributes to recovery.

Filming cell behaviour in mini-intestines
Dr H.J.G. (Hugo) Snippert (m), University Medical Center Utrecht – Molecular Cancer Research
The researcher will apply sophisticated microscopy techniques to examine mini-intestines cultured in the laboratory. Cell communication, adhesion and migration will be studied ‘live’. These processes take place in healthy intestines, but derail during the development of intestinal tumours.

Do you want to change in your organisation?
Dr O.N. (Omar) Solinger (m), VU University Amsterdam – Management and Organisation
Organisations often ask their employees to change. Change processes of this nature usually go wrong because people dig in their heels. The researchers will try to predict various reactions to change at an early stage using a new app and a scenario approach.

Scouting for microorganisms in microdroplets
Dr V. (Volkert) van Steijn (m), Delft University of Technology – Product & Process Engineering
You do not go looking for musical talent on a football pitch. Similarly, you only find the best microorganisms if you compare them in the environment they need to perform in. This research will use microtechnology to do this in areas where the current technology falls short of the mark.

New vistas in selective carbon–carbon bond construction
Dr M. (Michal) Szostak (m), University of Manchester – Chemistry
Organic chemistry is a discipline that centres on the study of compounds containing carbon-carbon bonds. This research project aims to develop two new methods for selective synthesis of carbon-carbon bonds that lie at the heart of organic chemistry.

Nuclear waste: a transnational problem?
Dr (Behnam) Taebi (m), Delft University of Technology – Philosophy
Storing nuclear waste used to be a national affair, but nowadays the EU is investigating possibilities for multinational storage. Multinational storage facilities have evident advantages, but also create transnational and intergenerational ethical problems. This research will examine the conditions under which they would be ethically acceptable.

Rectifying quantum errors
Dr T.H. (Tim) Taminiau (m), Delft Univeristy of Technology – Kavli Institute of Nanoscience
The laws of nature of quantum mechanics make it possible to process information in a new and more powerful way but unfortunately this is to the detriment of an extreme sensitivity to arithmetical errors. The researcher will demonstrate that even quantum errors of this type can be traced and corrected.

Cellular heterogeneity in our immune system
Dr J. (Jurjen) Tel (m), University Medical Centre Nijmegen – Tumour Immunology
Our immune system is equipped with a large variety of immune cells that protect us against pathogens. Identifying in detail the functional heterogeneity in white cells at the level of ‘single’ cells will enable us to understand immunological processes better.

Fear versus aggression
Dr D. (David) Terburg (m), Utrecht University – Psychology
Fear and aggression form the basis of a variety of psychological problems, but stem from the same circuit in the brain. The researcher will find out how fear and aggression overlap and differ in the brain with the aim of developing more specialist methods of treatment.

Nutrition as a medicine to prevent type 2 diabetes?
Dr S. (Silvie) Timmers (f), Maastricht UMC+ – Human Biology
Type 2 diabetes is characterised at muscular level by a defect in the energy metabolism. It has recently been demonstrated that substances in red wine can improve mitochondria, the powerhouses of the cell. The researcher will study how these substances and other substances in food improve mitochondria, and whether this might help to prevent type 2 diabetes.

Unravelling the brain teasers of children’s brains
Dr M.J. (Maarten) Titulaer (m), Erasmus MC – Neurology
Treatable auto-immune diseases caused by excessive reactions of the body’s immune system to proteins in the brain have recently been discovered. This research will identify comparable (as yet unknown) causes of acute, very serious epilepsy and of behavioural and movement disorders in children.

A reasonable web
Dr J. (Jacopo) Urbani (m), VU University Amsterdam - Computer Science
Can computers use the Web to reason and answer difficult questions? The researchers will investigate methods to estimate the difficulty of reasoning and approximate it so that the entire Web can be used to find intelligent answers to difficult questions.

Why disagree?
Dr S. (Sophie) Vanbelle (f), Maastricht University – Methodology and Statistics
Mathematical methods will be developed to study the effect of predictors on the level of agreement between people and the reliability of measuring instruments in complicated situations. This will provide researchers with practical tools for developing better measuring instruments.

Bacterium determines gender of ichneumon wasp
Dr E.C. (Eveline) Verhulst (f), Wageningen University – Genetics
Insects can be useful, but they can also spread diseases or destroy crops. There is a bacterium that manipulates insect reproduction. Biologists want to know how it works so that they can use this knowledge to influence the reproduction of good and bad insects.

Transfer of diseases between humans and apes by mosquitoes
N.O. (Niels) Verhulst (m), Wageningen University – Entomology
Apes can carry various pathogens. This research will conduct odour, microbiological, behavioural and field studies to determine which mosquitoes bite both people and apes and could therefore transfer pathogens such as malaria.

Sherlock Holmes tracks down botnets
Dr S.E. (Sicco) Verwer (m), – ICIS
A botnet is an irritating piece of software used for criminal activities such as sending spam and carrying out DDoS attacks. This project will develop a method to analyse the traces a botnet leaves in network transactions and localise sources of infection.

Resilience under stressful circumstances
Dr C.H. (Christiaan) Vinkers (m), University Medical Center Utrecht – Psychiatry
Stress can throw a person off balance, sometimes for a long time. Nonetheless, most people do not develop any psychological problems following exposure to stress. The aim of this research is to identify the biological background to this resilience by focusing on GABA, the most important inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain.

Fresh blood to combat tightness of the chest?
Dr A.P.J. (Alexander) Vlaar (m), Academic Medical Centre – Intensive Care for Adults
A blood transfusion appears to be less harmless than was always thought. However, there is evidence that a large number of patients suffer tightness of the chest after a blood transfusion. The researchers will investigate whether the length of time the blood products are stored plays a role in the onset of this tightness of the chest.

Why does globalisation make less-educated people nationalistic?
Dr J. (Jeroen) van der Waal (m), Erasmus University Rotterdam - Sociology
In most developed economies, less-educated people are more nationalistic than highly educated people, but why? This research project will develop and test a new explanatory model that will be used to investigate the role globalisation plays in this.

From molecules to planets: Exploring the chemical heritage of solar systems
Dr C. (Catherine) Walsh (f), Leiden University – Leiden Observatory
Protoplanetary disks contain the ingredients for forming planets around new stars. The researchers will study the chemistry of disks to explore the origins of complex (prebiotic) molecules and the link between disk composition and the chemical composition of solar systems.

The specificity of immunity
Dr F.M. (Felix) Wensveen (m), Academic Medical Centre - Immunology
Once you recover from flu, your immunity protects you against a new infection. But how does the immune system detect this virus? And why is next year’s virus not recognised? This project will investigate the limits and possibilities of the specificity of immunity.

Responsibility and ignorance
Dr J.J.W. (Jan Willem) Wieland (m), University of Amsterdam/VU University Amsterdam – Philosophy
The researchers will find out the extent to which responsibility and guilt depend on the information we have, and the circumstances in which we actually ought to gather more information. For example, to what extent is ignorance an excuse for our slavery footprint?

Tongue movements as the basis for differences in pronunciation
Dr M.B. (Martijn) Wieling (m), University of Groningen – Applied Linguistics
The way Dutch and German people pronounce English is often clearly recognisable. This project will investigate where their tongue and lip movements differ from those of native English-speakers, and how the visualisation of these movements could improve their pronunciation.

Monitoring the effect of chemotherapy directly
Dr J.P. (Jannie) Wijnen (f), University Medical Center Utrecht – Radiology
At present there are hardly any techniques for measuring the effects of chemotherapy directly in the patient. The researchers will study the impact of the therapy using Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy so that the therapy can be individually directed at an early stage, without requiring any operations.

An ion channel and an enzyme inseparably connected
Dr J. (Jenny) van der Wijst (f), University Medical Center Nijmegen – Physiology
The kidney monitors the magnesium concentration in the blood by making use of a unique protein that consists of a channel unit with an enzymatic domain. This project will unravel the double function of this gatekeeper.

Metabolism in memory cells
Dr G.J.W. (Rianne) van der Windt (f), University of Amsterdam – Immunology
The success of vaccinations depends on the formation of memory cells. The right metabolism is crucial for memory cells to function. The researchers will study exactly how this metabolism works and whether manipulating it could help to improve vaccinations.

Supramolecular integrated non-linear optics
Dr J. (Jialiang) Xu (m), Radboud University Nijmegen – Molecular Materials
Will photons replace electrons in future information technology? The development of proper materials with large nonlinear susceptibility is the key. The researcher pursues a supramolecular approach to libraries of non-linear optical materials as building blocks for integrated nanophotonics.