Grants NWO Open Competition – SSH

19 July 2019

NWO Domain Social Sciences and Humanities has awarded funding to 41 researchers in the NWO Open Competition – SSH. This instrument makes funding available for the best research proposals in the humanities and social sciences, without any thematic limitations.

Each proposal could have a maximum budget of 750,000 euros. NWO received pre-proposals from 279 researchers, of which 138 applicants submitted a full proposal. Forty one project proposals were eventually awarded funding.

About NWO Open Competition – SSH

The aim of the Open Competition – SSH is to facilitate excellent, non-programmed, curiosity-driven research that primarily addresses a social sciences or humanities research question and research problem. Researchers can apply for funding for different types of research: small or large research projects, and for individual projects or for research groups. Research can have a disciplinary, interdisciplinary or cross-domain character. The research can be aimed at international collaboration between researchers and/or research groups.

An overview of the grants awarded (in alphabetical order of main applicant):

Prison and Autonomy: Implicit psychological markers of the sense of agency in detention
Prof. dr. Henk Aarts (UU)
Life in prison inevitably limits one’s autonomy. These limitations can have unintended negative side effects on the self-reliance of offenders, which indirectly may contribute to an increased risk of reoffending. Using an innovative social-neurocognitive approach, this study examines the psychological basis for this relationship between autonomy and self-reliance.

Physiostracism: Using Physiology to Predict Prosocial and Antisocial Responses to Ostracism
Prof. dr. Ilja van Beest (UvT)
Reactions to ostracism unfold over time. First, people experience social pain. Second, people cope by either acting in a prosocial or antisocial way. This research addresses the puzzle of how it is possible that social pain can give rise to these opposite coping behaviors.

TransLatin: The Transnational Impact of Latin Theatre from the Early Modern Netherlands, A Qualitative and Computational Analysis
Prof. dr. J. Bloemendal (KNAW/Huygens)
In the Renaissance period and beyond literature crossed borders, and especially playwrights from several countries influenced each other because their plays, especially Latin ones, were read and staged everywhere. In this process, the Low Countries were important. This project investigates how this happened with historical research and modern computational techniques.

Generational differences in determinants of party choice
Prof. dr. Wouter van der Brug (UvA)
We investigate generational differences in determinants of party choice. We expect that 'new political issues', such as migration and global warming, have the greatest impact on vote choices of young generations. Among other things, this explains why young people are overrepresented among the supporters of Green and Radical right parties.

Conceptualizing, Measuring, and Predicting Peer Relationships in Emerging Adulthood
Prof. dr. Toon Cillessen (RU)
This project examines young adults’ relationships with peers at school, work, in friendships and in love, and online. How do these relationships impact their health and well-being? How do young adults collaborate and solve problems with each other? And how is this related to their behavior as children and adolescents?

Coping with drought. An environmental history of drinking water shortages and climate adaptation in the Netherlands, 1550-1850
Prof. dr. Petra van Dam (VU)
Worldwide human-induced climate change may lead to shortages of drinking water. In the past smaller climate changes also caused drought. This environmental history project investigates how humans adapted to water scarcity in periods of drought in the Netherlands from 1550 to 1850.

Beyond a fear of death: Exploring the terror management potential of eudaimonic entertainment
Prof. dr. Enny Das (RU)
Humans avoid thinking about death. Death is man’s biggest fear. Paradoxically, they are drawn to movies that feature death and tragedy. This proposal examines if humans use tragic entertainment to temporarily escape their fear of death, or to accept and rise above it.

Deterrence versus procedural justice. Successfully reducing reoffending
Dr. Anja Dirkzwager (Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement, NSCR)
Criminal Justice Systems generally assume that offenders reoffend less if they (a) perceive sentences as (more) severe, and (b) feel they are treated (more) fair and respectful. Surprisingly, the validity of both assumptions is never tested adequately. This project does examine these assumptions adequately among prisoners using a longitudinal design.

Better choices for better long-term care
Prof. dr. Eddy van Doorslaer (EUR)
Are the elderly better off with care at home or in a nursing home? Does it matter which provider they choose? And why? We answer these questions by analysing recent policy reforms. The results help the elderly and policymakers to make choose how to spend the long-term care budget.

SPIN-OUT: Predicting and preventing a SPiral of mutually reINforcing negative OUTgroup attitudes (spin-out) in multi-ethnic classrooms
Prof. dr. Andreas Flache (RUG)
Increasing ethnic diversity of society raises concerns that a vicious cycle may arise in which negative attitudes about outgroups mutually reinforce each other. SPIN-OUT studies this with computer simulations and data from ethnically diverse classrooms. Aim is to propose school policies that could help to prevent vicious cycles.

Assessing the Transformative Effects of Transparency in Global Governance: The Case of Climate Change
Dr. Aarti Gupta (WUR)
The 2015 Paris Climate Agreement calls for ever greater transparency from countries about their voluntary climate actions. Such transparency is assumed to facilitate greater accountability and trust between countries, thereby stimulating ambitious climate action. Yet does transparency generate such transformative effects and under what conditions? TRANSGOV addresses this urgent question.

Tolerant migrant cities? The case of Holland 1600-1900
Prof. dr. Manon van der Heijden (UL) & prof. dr. Leo Lucassen (IISG/OGC)
The Netherlands are the prime example of tolerance. Didn’t we welcome many migrants in the Golden Age without significant conflicts? However, we know little about the position of migrants before the courts and conflicts between migrants and natives between 1600-1900. This project will challenge the image of Dutch tolerance.

Efficient methods for decision problems with economy of scales in costs
Prof. dr. ir. Dick den Hertog (UvT)
Several supply‐chain costs components (and many other applications) have economies‐of‐scale (EoS): e.g., inventory costs per unit are lower when the inventory is higher. EoS leads to hard mathematical optimization problems. This project develops new optimization techniques for large‐scale problems with EoS, with application to World Food Programme’s supply‐chain.

Explaining longitudinal patterns of corporate misconduct in major hazard corporations
Prof. dr. mr. Wim Huisman (VU)
Violations of safety regulations by chemical corporations can have devastating consequences. Knowledge on offending patterns and underlying causes would greatly benefit controlling agencies in allocating their limited resources. This study will analyse longitudinal patterns of safety regulation violations and will explain differences in these patterns among corporations.

Is AI outsmarting us? The impact of AI on knowledge
Prof. dr. Marleen Huysman (VU)
Because AI technologies become more autonomous from the knowledge domains for which they are designed, there is a risk of AI undermining human expertise. We follow AI from development in the lab to its use on the work floor to develop a collaborative methodology for augmenting knowledge work with.

Fear and avoidance in Anorexia Nervosa
Prof. dr. Anita Jansen (UM)
Anorexia nervosa is a very serious mental illness and treatments are in general not very successful. More insight in the acquisition, avoidance and extinction of anxiety in patients with anorexia nervosa might pave the way for better treatments.

The burden of infectious diseases. Child and adult mortality from infectious diseases in Amsterdam, 1854-1926
Prof. dr. Angelique Janssens (RU) & prof. dr. Jacco Wallinga (LUMC)
Which diseases were roaming the city of Amsterdam between 1854 and 1926? In this period quite some progress was made in mortality from infectious diseases. In this project we reveal how this was achieved and which groups were benefitting the most.

A Place to Grow Old? The Risks and Rewards of Retirement Migration
Prof. dr. Matthijs Kalmijn (UvA)
Emigrating in later life is a step that more and more people consider. A different climate and culture make this step attractive as well as risky. In this project we examine how Dutch natives settle down in Southern European countries, how they integrate and try to achieve the good life.

The Rhythm of Relating: How Emotional Sharing Emerges From Interpersonal Synchrony in Movement, Physiological and Neural Activations
Prof. dr. Sander Koole (VU)
When people share their emotions, they often display the same rhythms in movements, heart rate, and even brain activity. This project investigates how such synchronous rhythms contribute to emotion regulation. The results may contribute to making psychotherapy more effective and improve communication, for instance, in close relationships or during negotiations.

Motor-auditory oscillatory coupling in human beat and rhythm perception
Prof. dr. Sonja Kotz (UM)
This project aims to test whether the interaction between motor- and auditory brain systems is crucial for musical ‘beat’ perception. This may enhance understanding of language development. Furthermore, we will investigate how a novel rhythmic percept emerges in the brain, and how this is influenced ao. by the cardiac cycle.

Transformations to sustainable food production in the Brazilian Cerrado: The cultural politics and potential of scaling up biodiversity-sustaining agriculture
Dr. Myanna Lahsen (WUR)
Analyzing material, informational, political and socio-cultural factors encouraging different agricultural production systems, this research aims to identify opportunities and challenges for scaling up more sustainable approaches to agricultural production. This knowledge will guide the co-creation of desired trajectories towards sustainability-aligned scenarios in the Brazilian savannah.

Colonial Normativity. Corruption and difference in colonial and postcolonial histories of empire and nations
Prof. dr. Susan Legêne (VU)
Contemporary corruption is often linked to the history of colonial state formation, but how they relate has never systematically been researched. This programme compares the role of corruption in Dutch and Indonesian histories of state-formation with a focus on intersecting moments of entanglement around 1900, 1945 and 1970.

Explaining differences in union dissolution between municipalities: the role of compositional, contextual and cross-level effects
Prof. dr. Aat  Liefbroer (NIDI)
Divorce risks differ strongly by municipality. In Urk, the divorce risk is five times lower than in Heerlen. In this study, the reasons for this difference are examined. Is it due to the people? Is it due to the circumstances in a municipality? Or a combination of both?

Dynamic clustering for business model identification and financial stability
Prof. dr. André Lucas (VU)
Do external pressures by non‐standard central bank policies (prolongued low interest rates, abundant liquidity, bond buying) lead financial firms to adopt more similar business models and increase the fragility of the financial system? This project develops new statistical tools to answer this, allowing for the environment to change and banks to react.

Unravelling East Africa’s Early Linguistic History
Prof. dr. Maarten Mous (UL)
This project comprises the linguistic history of the crucial language groups in East Africa and a search for words that indicate earlier lost languages with the aim of combining the outcomes with recent archaeological and genetic research in order to gain insight into the early history of East Africa.

A sentence uttered makes a world appear
Dr. Reinhard Muskens (UvA)
Hearing a sentence enables one to make a mental picture of its content. ‘The cat is on the mat’ is a sequence of words first and then an image. But how does that work? Our research uses logic and computation to answer this question.

Safeguarding the effectiveness of the judiciary’s role in legal regime for the oceans: charting a course between judicial restraint and judicial activism
Prof. dr. Alex Oude Elferink (UU)
Courts in principle are only entitled to settle disputes with the consent of the States concerned. This may significantly limit recourse to courts under the UN Law of the Sea Convention. Many disputes are also concerned with other legal rules. The present project assesses how to effectively address this matter.

The different costs of motherhood
Prof. dr. Erik Plug (UvA)
We exploit natural experiments to explore different costs and benefits of motherhood through four open questions. (i) Is there a penalty to anticipated motherhood? (ii) Does the motherhood penalty vary by the mother’s sexual orientation? (iii) Are there marriage-market benefits to motherhood? (iv) Are there intergenerational benefits to (good) motherhood?

The Beginning of Dutch Animal Husbandry: Chronology, Nature, and Impact
Prof. dr. Daan Raemaekers (RUG)
The start of animal husbandry is of major importance for the culture and natural environment of Europe. This project studies the start of animal husbandry in the Netherlands using various new techniques. This will lead to a better understanding of the way in which prehistoric people interacted with their livestock.

A targeted imaging-metabolomics approach to classify harms of novel psychoactive substances (NPS)
Prof. dr. Johannes Ramaekers (UM)
NPS are non-scheduled drugs (‘legal highs’) that mimic the effects of traditional drugs of abuse. NPS threaten public health because health risk evaluations are slow. Here we propose a targeted imaging metabolomics approach in humans that allows fast classification and prediction of the impact of NPS on brain function.

Speak without talking
Prof. dr. Nicolas Ramsey (UMC)
For people who cannot talk due to paralysis, an alternative means of communication is important. In this project it is investigated whether overt or covert spoken words can be read directly from the brain. The findings can contribute to the development of brain implants that convert brain signals to speech.

Why we believe that sharks are dangerous
Dr. ing. Robert van Rooij (UvA)
We accept generic sentences like ‘Sharks are dangerous’, although sharks only seldomly attack us. It is important to understand why, because stereotypes are also expressed by such generic sentences. We  want to investigate whether the acceptance of such generalizing sentences can be explained by the way  expectations are learned.

Decoding Descartes
Prof. dr. Han van Ruler (EUR)
Decoding Descartes unravels the ideas of the founder of modern philosophy and science René Descartes (1596–1650) in response to contemporary deadlocks in philosophy, psychology and neuroscience. By reevaluating Descartes' work and correspondence, the project shows Descartes is still decisively relevant for contemporary debates in multiple disciplines from humanities to neuroscience.

Health and disease as practical concepts: a pragmatist approach to conceptualization of health and disease
Prof. dr. Maartje Schermer (ErasmusMC)
Scientific, technological and societal developments affect the way we understand health and disease. These concepts mean different things for different stakeholders, and in different contexts. This project develops a new, pragmatic approach to defining ‘health’ and ‘disease’, taking into account the function of these concepts in various health-related practices.

A New Normative Framework for Financial Debt
Prof. dr. Eric Schliesser (UvA)
Society is drowning in financial debts. But it is unclear how to deal with debt morally when it cannot be repaid or causes harmful side effects. This project develops practical, normative guidelines that help policymakers, creditors, and debtors to regulate and manage debt.

Spread the new(s). Understanding standardization of Dutch through 17th-century newspapers
Prof. dr. Nicolien van der Sijs (Meertens)
How were the norms and rules for Standard Dutch evolving in the 17th century disseminated and how did they become generally accepted? Our project investigates these questions on the basis of a 17th century newspaper corpus of 17 million words that has recently become available through crowdsourcing.

Claim Making as Rights Making: Irregular Migrants Reshaping International Human Rights Law
Prof. mr. T.P. Spijkerboer (VU)
Bringing together political theory on rights-claiming with international human rights law (IHRL) in an empirical legal study, this project maps the role irregular migrants play in developing IHRL through their formal and informal IHRL claims.

The creative public servant: observations, explanations and consequences
Prof. dr. Sandra van Thiel (RU)
Executive agencies are expected to be creative and innovative, to improve service delivery to citizens. However, creativity is not always possible or considered desirable in a public sector context, as regulations must be obeyed. How can public servants be/become creative, and when does it lead to innovations?

The Return of the Medici? The Global Rise of Private Museums for Contemporary Art
Dr. Olav Velthuis (UvA)
Art worlds have recently witnessed the global rise of private art museums. This project explains this rise and studies its multifaceted impact: what do private museums add to existing museum scenes? To what extent do they now co-determine the value of contemporary art?

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture: the role of emissions trading
Prof. dr. Jonathan Verschuuren (TU)
The Paris Climate Agreement goals can only be achieved when greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture are reduced and more carbon is sequestered on agricultural lands. This project researches how agricultural emissions can be included in the EU Emissions Trading System, in part through a comparative study with other countries.

Contested Belonging: The Meanings of ‘Home’ for Arab LGBT Refugees in Amsterdam
Prof. dr. Berteke Waaldijk (UU)
Arab LGBT refugees in Amsterdam may feel forced to choose between two incompatible ‘homes’ with supposedly opposing cultures: a progressive European culture and a traditional Arab culture. Yet, very little is known about their real-life experiences of ‘homes’. Can we learn anew from them what ‘feeling at home’ may mean?

More information

View the programpage for more information.

Source: NWO