Vidi 2019

NWO has awarded 81 experienced researchers a Vidi grant worth 800,000 euros. The grant enables them to develop their own innovative line of research and set up their own research group. Below a list with the names of the laureates and summaries of their research projects .

Facts and figures for the 2019 Vidi round

Number of (admissible) submissions: 503
Gender ratio of submissions: 261 men, 242 women 
Number of grants awarded (award rate): 81 (16%) 
Gender ratio of awarded grants: 39 men, 42 women 
Award rate among men: 15% 
Award rate among women: 17%

 Vidi 2019 number of (admissible) submissions

 

Total

Women

%

Men

%

Science

150

66

44%

84

56%

SSH

205

112

55%

93

45%

AES

52

18

35%

34

65%

ZonMw

96

46

48%

50

43%

Total

503

242

48%

261

52%

 

Vidi 2019 Grants awarded

 

Total

Women

%

Men

%

Science

33

16

48%

17

51%

SSH

22

12

55%

10

45%

AES

11

4

36% 

7

64%

ZonMw

15

7

47%

8

53%

Total

81

42

52%

39

47%


SSH= Social Sciences and Humanities , AES = Applied and Engineering Sciences, ZonMw = Health Sciences

List of research projects

  • Sorted in alphabetical order

    A

    Promoting democracy through Western education?
    Dr. A.K. (Anar) Ahmadov – Leiden University

    Many governments, international organizations and private donors invest vast resources to enable developing country citizens to study in Western institutions. But while some beneficiaries later emerge as reformist democrats, others become reactionary autocrats. By educating their citizens, do Western institutions promote or preclude democracy in developing countries?

    B

    Marine Time Machine
    Dr. L.E. (Leontine) Becking (f), Wageningen University  

    To see today how marine life will respond in a future with higher temperatures and declining water quality, I am studying marine lakes - islands of seawater. This approach will provide new insights into the consequences of climate change on biodiversity.

    Spacetime at the tiniest of scales
    Dr. T.G.  (Timothy) Budd (m), Radboud University Nijmegen

    Einstein’s theory of relativity and quantum mechanics are in dispute when it comes to describing gravity at microscopic scales. This project will investigate whether fractal geometry of spacetime at the tiniest scales can resolve the issue.

    Machine learning made transparent and interpretable
    Dr. K. (Kerstin) Bunte (f),  Groningen University

    Experts desire to know how their data can inform them about the natural processes being measured. Computer scientists unite the predictive power of machine learning and the explanatory power of modelling, to develop transparent and interpretable techniques. The power of the novel hybrid methods will be demonstrated for applications in medicine and engineering.

    Developing cutting-edge treatments to combat early hereditary blindness
    Prof. dr. C.J.F. (Camiel) Boon (m), Amsterdam UMC / AMC

    X-linked juvenile retinoschisis (XLRS) is a relatively common hereditary eye disease, for which there is no treatment. XLRS causes severe vision loss or even blindness in childhood. I will develop a cure for XLRS in experimental models that mimic the disease, based on patient-specific stem cells and an animal model.

    Interactions bewteen respiratroy viruses and implications for vaccination policies
    P.C.J.L. (Patricia) Bruijning-Verhagen MD PhD (f), University Medical Center Utrecht

    Prevention of viral acute respiratory infection is a public health priority. Through virus interactions, prevention of one virus by vaccination may influence occurrence of other virus infections. This project quantifies such interactions between respiratory viruses using epidemiological and mathematical methods. This evidence will impact how we make future vaccine policy decisions.

    Physical exercise to boost benefit from chemotherapy?
    Dr. L.M. (Laurien) Buffart (f),  Dr. L.M. Buffart – Radboudumc, department of Physiology

    Exercise during cancer treatment benefits physical fitness and quality of life. Yet, the effect on clinical outcome is unknown. This study will elucidate whether exercise can improve benefit from chemotherapy in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer. Researchers will examine which of two different exercise programs can best prevent chemotherapy dose modifications via reduced toxicity and enhanced psychological strength. Researchers will also examine the exercise effects on immune function.

    Towards Accurate Prediction of Healthcare Choices
    Dr. E.W. (Esther) de Bekker-Grob (f), Erasmus University Rotterdam

    Accurate prediction of patients’ choice behavior avoids poor policy decisions and ‘trial-and-error’ implementation in healthcare. However, current models study choices as if they are independent of other people’s influence hampering accurate ex-ante (‘before’) evaluation of healthcare policies. This project develops and validates a social-interdependent choice paradigm to fill this gap.

    Economic animals: economic views on human being in ancient Greece
    Dr. T.A. (Tazuko) van Berkel - Leiden University

    Who is Economic Man? Every economic paradigm presupposes an anthropology, a theory of human nature. This project explores the anthropologies presupposed and produced by ancient Greek economic texts, and the specific knowledge forms that shape these anthropologies.

    The Talking Dead: reconstructing the transmission of information 5000 years ago
    Dr. Q.P.J. (Quentin) Bourgeois – Leiden University

    How can it be that pre-literate societies, who were never in contact with one another, kept a highly standardized burial ritual in vogue for close to a millennium and across the European continent? That is what this project sets out to investigate using network analysis and similarity measures.

    C

    Predicting Lung Cancer Immunotherapy Response. It’s personal.
    Dr. ir. F. (Francesco) Ciompi (m), Radboud University Medical Center

    Immunotherapy can cure lung cancer. But most patients do not respond and solely experience the toxicity of this very expensive drug. In this research project, I will train artificial intelligence to discover and extract biomarkers from multiple digital pathology images to identify the lucky patients who will respond to immunotherapy.

    E

    Flowering time genes branching out
    Dr. ir. ing. G.W. (Wilma) van Esse (v), Wageningen University & Research

    The timing of flowering determines not only when a flower is formed but also the seed number per spike, seed weight and number of branches (tillers). The researchers will study how these traits are linked at the molecular level in order to improve yield through knowledge-based breeding strategies.

    Psychedelics in Perspective
    Dr. M. (Michiel) van Elk - Leiden University 

    Psychedelics can occasion mystical experiences and are increasingly used for the treatment of biomedical disorders. But exactly how these effects come about is not well understood. This project elucidates the psychological and neurocognitive mechanisms underlying psychedelics, the role of prior expectations and the short- and long-term consequences of psychedelic experiences.

    Reanalysis of clinical trials in ALS trials (RECALS)
    Dr. M.A. (Michael) van Es (m), UMC Utrecht

    To date, there is no effective treatment for ALS. In this project, we aim to incorporate new insights in ALS into old trials by linking existing data sets together. By doing so, we will for instance be able to look at the effect of drugs in different genetic subgroups of patients, as it has been shown that they may respond differently to treatment. Through this approach we may be able to find to patients that did benefit from previous drugs and we will improve future ALS trials.

    F

    A SOCIAL TIPPING POINT: climate-resilient futures through transformational adaptation
    Prof. dr. T.V. (Tatiana) Filatova - University of Twente

    Accelerating ramifications of climate change cannot be addressed via conventional adaptation. New climate realities make transformational adaptation unavoidable, but societies prefer to develop in incremental steps. This project looks at past transformations following disasters, and develops computational models to understand social tipping points and better inform climate adaptation policy assessments.

    G

    Finding time in videos
    Dr. E. (Efstratios) Gavves (m), Amsterdam University

    Video is everywhere: in our phones, on Netflix or even in MRI. Today’s AI finds it hard to understand time in videos, making them unfit for future applications like autonomous driving or guiding medical devices and treatments. This research will study novel video algorithms that can find time in videos.

    Roles of tRNAs in Cancer
    Dr. A.J. (Alan) Gerber (m), VUMC

    tRNAs are small molecules essential for protein synthesis. Researchers study the mechanisms by which cancer cells use these molecules to grow. Understanding these events will help developing novel therapies against cancers.

    H

    Where addition breaks down
    Dr. D.S.T. (David) Holmes (m), Leiden University

    Addition rules on geometric objects let us add up known points to find new points. When the objects depend on varying parameters, the addition rule can break down for some degenerate values of the parameters. The project will develop tools to handle this phenomenon for families depending on many parameters.

    Tracking electron-induced damage in biomolecules
    Dr. D.A. (Daniel) Horke (m), Radboud University Nijmegen

    One of the major routes to biological damage from ionising radiation is the interaction of produced low-energy electrons with biological matter. Using a novel experimental approach, we will track this damage formation, from reactants through intermediates and products, with ultrafast time-resolution and reveal the underlying mechanisms and pathways.

    Future-proof cryptography
    Dr. A.T. (Andreas) Hülsing (m), Eindhoven University of Technology

    It is known that quantum computers will break all cryptography used on the Internet today. However, quantum computers also require us to change the way we determine if a cryptographic scheme is secure. This project will develop new ways to select secure cryptographic schemes for a world with quantum computers.

    Bijel templated membranes for molecular separations
    Dr. M.F. (Martin) Haase (m), Utrecht University

    Filters to turn seawater into freshwater are fundamentally limited in their water throughput. Researchers will design a spongelike material with up to 1000x larger filter area compared to existing technologies. Liquid transport in the filter will be optimized to considerately reduce cost for desalination plants and to miniaturize portable filters.

    Air as driving force for drinking water treatment
    Dr. ir. D. (Doris) van Halem (f), Delft University of Technology

    Worldwide an estimated 140 million people don’t have safe drinking water due to contamination of their groundwater with poisonous arsenic. The researchers will study how, by postponed addition of oxygen, arsenic can be removed. This new knowledge of controlled biological-chemical treatment processes will be used to develop sustainable treatment technologies.

    New imaging biomarkers for stroke
    Dr. K. (Kim) van der Heiden (f), Erasmus MC

    Stroke is caused by rupture of the cap overlying an atherosclerotic plaque in the carotid artery. In this project, the scientist working on the intersection of cardiovascular biology, technology, and imaging, will tissue engineer caps to identify new imaging biomarkers for the identification of the cap at risk of rupture.

    The way I see it: bridging the gap between visual function and functional vision
    Dr. K.V. (Koen) Haak (m), Radboudumc

    People with similar visual function (e.g., visual acuity) can vary greatly in their functional vision (e.g., whether they can read or drive a car). Dr. Haak will study whether individual differences exist in how the brain compensates and/or degenerates in patients with eye disease, and whether these predict functional vision.

    Time traveling to treat heart rhythm disorders
    Dr. J. (Jordi) Heijman (m), University Maanstricht

    Heart rhythm disorders remain a major cause of death. To identify improved therapies, researchers will use advanced computer models to determine the mechanisms through which heart rhythm disorders become more stable over time, a process involving changes in numerous components of the heart’s electrical system occurring over milliseconds to days.

    Ticked off?
    Prof. dr. J.W.R. (Joppe) Hovius (m), Amsterdam UMC, location AMC

    More and more people are affected by Lyme disease. Yet, there is no vaccine to prevent this tick-borne disease. By studying tick saliva and the human immune responses against ticks the scientists aim to design a vaccine against the tick to prevent Lyme disease in both Europe and the USA.

    From the Past Back to the Future: Intergenerational legacies of mass atrocities
    Dr. B. (Barbora) Holá - Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement

    Mass atrocities committed during genocides, wars and state repressions have profound consequences on people who directly experience them and on generations to come. This project examines how legacies of mass atrocities transfer across generations, and what role transitional justice mechanisms, such as criminal trials and lustrations/vetting, play in such intergenerational transmission.

    J

    Unravelling glass formation
    Dr. L.M.C. (Liesbeth) Janssen (f), Eindhoven University of Technology

    Glass has been used for centuries and continues to find many new industrial applications. However, the underlying physics of glass formation remains notoriously poorly understood. This research will establish a new theory of glass formation which, leveraged with advanced computer methods, will help to unravel the physical principles of vitrification.

    Noninvasive brain modulation using nanoparticles
    Dr. A. (Ali) Jahanshahianvar (m), MUMC+

    Neuromodulation is emerging as a promising tool to treat brain disorders but present techniques are limited by lack of spatial targeting, invasive procedures, and patient discomfort. As a result, many patients do not benefit from it. Using nanotechnology I will develop a technique that allows noninvasive and precise neuromodulation.

    K

    How do roots protect themselves?
    Dr. K. (Kaisa) Kajala (f), Utrecht University

    Many crops, such as tomato, have a root cell layer that strengthens the roots and protects against from drought and flooding. The researchers will use molecular tools to study how the strengthening of this layer is controlled on genetic level. This knowledge can be used for breeding more tolerant crops.

    To multiply you must divide
    Dr. W. (Wouter) Kohlen (m), Wageningen University

    Plants are unable to move. However, a plant can adjust its body architecture to suit its needs. In some cases, new axes of growth are initiated by mitotic re-activation of fully differentiated cells. Humans cannot do this. I will investigate what makes a plant able to initiate these cell divisions.

    From theory to application
    Dr. C.L.M. (Cynthia) Kop (f), Radboud University Nijmegen

    Term rewriting is an area of logic with many applications in other parts of computer science. Unfortunately, for some applications it is too theoretical. Therefore, the researchers will work on an extension of term rewriting, which will make it easier to use its many theoretical results to analyse computer programs.

    Anisotropic and deformable microswimmers
    Dr. D.J. (Daniela) Kraft (f), Leiden University

    Bacteria and algae use shape changes and elasticity to direct their motion. In this project, the researchers will model their behavior by fabricating synthetic elastic microswimmers of various shapes using a 3D printer, and study how they move and interact.

    Shimura varieties and the Langlands conjecture.
    Dr. A.L. (Arno) Kret (m), Amsterdam University

    The Langlands conjecture is one of the most important unsolved problems in mathematics, as it unifies the theory of algebraic equations with the theory of automorphic forms. The goal of this project is to solve new cases of this conjecture.

    Limited liability: blessing or curse?
    Dr. P.A.E.(Peter) Koudijs - Erasmus University Rotterdam

    Under limited liability entrepreneurs can walk away from certain debts. This incentivizes them to take more risk. Is this a blessing or curse? I will dive into the history of the introduction of limited liability in the US and analyze its effects on entrepreneurship and innovation.

    L

    Mapping the onset of plant parasitism
    Dr. ir. J.L. (Jose) Lozano Torres (m), Wageningen University & Research

    Plant parasitic worms are one of the most damaging pests in agriculture. Understanding the start of parasitism is fundamental for its management. Biologists will use novel technologies to measure at cellular level the first molecular changes needed to cause a parasitic disease. This knowledge will largely contribute for crop breeding.

    Towards personalized screening for colorectal cancer
    Dr. I. (Iris) Lansdorp-Vogelaar PhD (f), Erasmus MC

    Cancer screening is a one-size-fits-all approach, despite substantial differences in risk in the population. This project aims to bring personalized screening into practice. The researchers will determine the optimal screening strategy based on age, gender and prior screening results and test the advantages of personalized screening in a clinical study.

    The brain-infiltrating T cell uncovered
    Dr. M.M. (Marvin) van Luijn (m), Erasmus MC

    Epstein-Barr virus infection is associated with autoimmune diseases showing genetic changes in CD4+ T- and Bcells. The researcher wants to understand how cytotoxic CD4+ T-cells are forced to recruit and cause damage in the brain, and utilize this knowledge to improve the prognosis and treatment of patients with multiple sclerosis.

    Tipping Points in Treatment Trajectories
    Dr. A. (Anna) Lichtwarck-Aschoff - Radboud University Nijmegen

    When and why do clients suddenly get better and are there optimal times when treatments are most effective? These are the questions that this project aims to address by looking at case-by-case clinical trajectories to ultimately empower clinicians to better target and timely adapt their intervention efforts to individual clients.

    Peacebuilding in early modern France
    Dr. D.C. (David) van der Linden - University of Groningen

    How can former enemies achieve a lasting peace in the wake of civil war? This project explores the peacebuilding mechanisms developed after the French Wars of Religion (1562–1598) and analyses how effective these solutions were. Historical research thus sheds new light on the long-term impact of peacebuilding strategies.

    M

    Understanding symmetries of spaces via modular forms
    Dr. F.L.M. (Lennart) Meier (m), Utrecht University

    Algebraic topology is about the quantitative understanding of the qualitative features of space. Such a space can be high-dimensional, like the configuration space of a hundred particles. We study configuration spaces by associating rich algebraic objects, like modular forms, with them.

    Rapid flight manoeuvres in flies, mosquitoes and drones
    Dr.ir. F.T. (Florian) Muijres  (m), Wageningen University

    Flies and mosquitoes are extremely manoeuvrable: by precise wingbeat movement adjustments, they accurately manipulate aerodynamic forces on their wings. By studying the bio-fluid-mechanics and control of flight manoeuvres in two-winged insect, researchers aim to improve mosquito traps and make drones more manoeuvrable.

    Building of nanoelectronics by locally stacking layers from the bottom-up
    Dr. ir. A.J.M. (Adrie) Mackus (m), Eindhoven University of Technology

    The ultimate ambition in nanoscience is to synthesize materials from the bottom-up with atomic-level accuracy, yet so far the fabrication of nanoelectronics still relies completely on top-down processing. The researchers will develop new nanoscale fabrication methods relying on the deposition of material only where it is needed.

    Tuning the Senses: How cognition shapes sensation at the gate
    Dr. S. (Sebastiaan) Mathôt -  University of Groningen

    The size of your eyes’ pupils determines how light falls onto your retina. And the tension of your ear drum determines how sound enters your ears. This affects your perception. But can you control your senses? The researchers investigate to what extent your brain actively controls these sensory processes.

    How quickly can you stop?
    Dr. D. (Dora) Matzke - University of Amsterdam

    The ability to stop ongoing responses enables people to suppress impulsive actions and ensures that they can safely interact with the world. The goal of this project is to develop a methodological framework that enables researchers to measure the psychological processes that determine people’s ability to stop inappropriate behaviors.

    Unequal Partners? Christian-Jewish and Christian-Muslim Couples in The Netherlands
    Prof. dr. M. (Marianne) Moyaert - VU Amsterdam

    Jewish and Muslim minorities in The Netherlands are confronted with Islamophobia and Antisemitism while (secularized) Christian privileges prevail. This project explores and compares how Christian-Muslim and Christian-Jewish couples handle this disparity. We focus on material and ritual practices (e.g., circumcision/baptism, Christmas/Hanukkah), as these vital/fundamental practices often reveal unequal power relations)

    N

    The right time to be optimal
    Dr. D. (Devika) Narain (f), Erasmus Medical Centre

    Precisely timed actions are reflected in virtually every skilled behavior in humans and do not merely represent normal function of the nervous system, they represent optimal function. This proposal studies how the brain uses memory and signals in the environment to generate rapid and precisely timed actions.

    Kan een positievere waarneming van de politie criminaliteit voorkomen?
    Dr. A.E. (Amy) Nivette - Universiteit Utrecht

    Kan eenmalig contact met de politie veranderen hoe mensen tegen ze aankijken? Kan een Tweet vetrouwensschade in de politie veroorzaken? Heeft dit invloed op iemands crimineel gedrag? Dit project introduceert een nieuwe methode om contact met de politie te meten en hoe deze ervaringen individuele meningen en crimineel gedrag beïnvloeden.

    Golden Women
    Dr. J.F.J. (Judith) Noorman - University of Amsterdam

    This project measures the impact of women on the Dutch art market in the seventeenth century by studying household consumption. Drawing on various sources, the project studies how women manifested themselves as important patrons and professionals, thus challenging the persistent assumption that the art market was dominated by men.

    O

    Less aortic motion in a diseased thoracic aorta
    Dr. ir. P. (Pim) van Ooij (m), Amsterdam UMC - Location AMC

    The thoracic aorta moves constantly under heart motion and blood flow which in a stiff, diseased aorta can lead to tearing. This research focuses on the development of novel MRI technology to map aortic motion and stiffness in three dimensions to improve risk assessment for lethal aortic events.

    P

    Patterns of the deep water and carbon cycle
    Dr. O.P. (Oliver) Plümper (m), Utrecht University

    Water and carbon dioxide, Earth’s most important volatiles, control many processes, not only in the atmosphere, but also in the planetary interior. This project will investigate volatile release mechanisms in subduction zones, because these drive volcanic eruptions, trigger earthquakes and recycle CO2 from the deep‐earth to the surface.

    Unravelling the role of dystrophin in the brain
    Dr. M. (Maaike) van Putten (f), LUMC

    Duchenne muscular dystrophy patients suffer from behavioral and learning problems due to lack of dystrophin in the brain. The researcher will study, in cultured human brain cells, how lack of dystrophin results in abnormalities and to which extent deficits can be remedied by a therapy aimed to restore dystrophin synthesis.

    ENCODE: Explicating Norms for Collective Deliberation
    Dr. F. (Frederik) Van de Putte - Erasmus University Rotterdam

    True democracy requires collective deliberation: citizens should not only vote, but also discuss their views. But what norms can such discussion obey? This is the central question behind this project, in which I will develop formal models of deliberation as an interactive, dynamic process, thus mapping out its normative limitations.

    R

    Stabilization of DNA replication machinery in maintenance of genome integrity
    Dr. A. (Arnab) Ray Chaudhuri (m), Erasmus Medical Centre

    DNA replication stress is a precursor of genome instability, that is linked to tumor development. In this project, the researcher wants to study the factors that cause instability of the DNA replication process and how our cells cope with the genetic instability.

    Counting using complex dynamics
    Dr. G. (Guus) Regts (m), Amsterdam University

    Network colorings are of fundamental importance in statistical physics, computer science and even theoretical psychology. In this project I will use techniques from complex dynamics and combinatorics to develop efficient algorithms for counting such colorings.

    Empowering children to behave safely online
    Dr. E. (Esther) Rozendaal - Erasmus University

    Digital media offer opportunities but also risks for children. Therefore, schools are increasingly investing in digital media literacy. However, being media-literate does not automatically mean that children behave safely online. With innovative game-technology, the researchers examine how children can be empowered to use digital media in a safe and responsible manner.

    S

    Light-controlled nanosystems
    Dr. R. (Rebecca) Saive (f), Twente University

    In this project materials systems will be designed that deform and move when light reaches them. This will be realized through a combination of piezo and photovoltaic materials. It will be explored whether these systems can enable driving of nanorobots and membranes for application in medicine and solar energy conversion.

    The next generation of fluid flow models
    Dr.ir. B. (Benjamin) Sanderse (m), CWI

    Fluid flow is everywhere around us: from air in windfarms to blood in arteries. Such flows are simulated using models that are simplifications of reality. In this project a new simplification procedure will be developed, based on discrete rather than continuous mathematics, improving accuracy, generality, and easing the derivation.

    Fast methods for solving optimization problems
    Prof.dr. L. (Laura) Sanità (f),  Eindhoven University of Technology

    Modern life heavily relies on fast data transfers on computer networks, time-effective scheduling for public transport, or efficient resource allocation. All of these are examples of optimization problems that arise in everyday life. This proposal will develop methods to solve such problems in a fast and reliable way.

    How do electrons move through quantum materials?
    Dr. T. (Toeno) van der Sar (m),  Delft University of Technology

    Recently discovered materials with special quantum properties offer unprecedented opportunities for the development of new nano-electronics. How electrical current moves through these ‘quantum materials’ is at the heart of their functionality. This research will use a diamond sensor to locally image this current with nanometre resolution.

    Finding a needle in the cellular haystack
    Dr. T.H. (Thom) Sharp (m), Leiden University

    Recent advances in microscopy now allow us to see individual proteins within whole cells. However, cells are so densely-packed with molecules that finding the desired protein is like looking for a needle in a haystack. This proposal aims to combine different microscopy techniques to solve this problem, and in doing so answer longstanding questions in immunology, such as “how does our immune system first interact with germs?”.

    ROS perception by plant receptor kinases
    Dr. E. (Elwira) Smakowska Luzan (f), Wageningen University

    Plants respond to environmental stresses by the massive production of Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS). ROS are presumably sensed by extracellular Receptor Kinases (RKs) that might function as sophisticated sensors. Here, we propose to gain a system-level understanding of how RKs networks influence and are influenced by, ROS signalling.

    Stopping protein aggregation in liquid droplets
    Dr. E. (Evan) Spruijt (m), Radboud University Nijmegen

    Cells must continuously keep their proteins from aggregating. Accumulation of certain aggregates is toxic and leads to diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Liquid droplets that naturally occur in the cell may enhance protein aggregation. We will design simple model droplets to investigate this and screen drugs that can prevent aggregation.

    Tales from the baby years of our Galaxy
    Dr. E. (Else) Starkenburg (f),  Groningen University

    Even though it is now an impressive galaxy, also the Milky Way started small. Its oldest stars are our witnesses of its early childhood. This research efficiently detects these stars and combines all the information they give us into a unique story.

    Statistical learning over time: closing the gap between time-series econometrics and the statistical learning literature
    Dr. J. Schaumburg - VU Amsterdam

    This research develops new tools to address complex economic policy questions in quickly changing environments, by bringing together the best of two worlds: the ability of automated statistical learning methods to detect highly complex pattern, and the ability of flexible econometric time-series models to adapt in times of economic stress.

    Out of the brain – into control
    Dr. B. (Bettina) Sorger - University of Maastricht

    Self-efficacy and communication are crucial for a growing child. Due to severe motor impairments, some children with cerebral palsy have no way of controlling their environment. This project develops a brain-based method enabling affected children to still actively participate in life.

    Islamic religiosity: friend or foe of democracy and emancipation?
    Dr. C.H.B.M. (Niels) Spierings - Radboud University Nijmegen

    Muslims in Europe, including the Netherlands, are on average more traditional and less politically engaged than others. But what role does religion – from mosque attendance to having a connection with Allah – play in this? This project unpacks how dimensions of Islam discourage or foster emancipatory attitudes and political engagement.

    T

    Strong brain connections for resilience to dementia.
    Dr. B.M. (Betty) Tijms (f), Amsterdam UMC, location VUmc

    Brain functioning relies on the connections between brain areas. Alzheimer’s disease disrupts brain connectivity and causes dementia. However, individuals who have strong brain connections show slower disease progression. The researchers will investigate which biological processes contribute to strong brain connectivity, in order to find novel ways to delay Alzheimer’s disease.

    V

    Nanoheaters to unravel catalytic reactions with ultimate time resolution
    Dr.ir. M.A. (Monique) van der Veen (f),  Delft University of Technology

    The Chinese sign for Catalyst is marriage broker, as it decreases the energy for two molecules to react. Many intermediates in the reaction process are too short-lived to detect. With laser pulses I will heat “nanoheaters” extremely fast to jumpstart the reaction after which I stroboscopically detect the short-lived intermediates.

    What are the drivers of water scarcity during droughts and heatwaves?
    Dr. M.T.H. (Michelle) van Vliet (f), Utrecht University

    Water scarcity is not only driven by decreasing water availability, but also by water quality deterioration and increasing water use. Researchers will analyze the drivers of water scarcity during droughts and heatwaves worldwide by developing a model system that allows water managers to improve decision making on clean water resources.

    The fate of thawing permafrost carbon in the marine system
    Dr. J.E. (Jorien) Vonk (f), VU Amsterdam

    Arctic permafrost is rapidly thawing, releasing organic carbon through rivers and coastal erosion. The fate of this carbon in the ocean is unknown, but degradation during transport may strengthen climate warming. This research will combine field measurements with geochemical analyses to quantify the fate of permafrost carbon in the ocean.

    Forecasting safe operating envelopes for autonomous robots
    Dr. C.C. (Coen) de Visser (m), Delft University of Technology

    In the near future, robots will play an important role in our daily lives, but only if they are safe. Researchers will develop a new system that gives robots an awareness of their physical limitations, even after failures. This will allow robots to safely recover from dangerous situations.

    Endogenous RNA carriers
    Dr. P. (Pieter) Vader (m), University Medical Center Utrecht

    RNA is part of our genetic code and may be used as medicine for all kinds of diseases. However, RNA medication is fragile and must therefore be protected during transport in our body and delivered into diseased cells. The researchers will study if the trick for this can be copied from naturally occurring RNA carriers.

    Inflammation without infection
    Dr. A.G. (Annemarthe) van der Veen (f), LUMC

    A sterile inflammatory response occurs in the absence of a pathogenic disease, in response to one’s own molecules. This occurs when our immune system fails to distinguish between our own molecules (self) and foreign molecules (non-self), leading to self-directed autoinflammatory and autoimmune disorders. The researchers will investigate the triggers underlying sterile inflammation.

    Understanding the impact of childhood trauma in depression
    Dr. mr. C.H. (Christiaan) Vinkers (m), Amsterdam UMC, location VUmc

    Many people experience childhood trauma which increase the risk for psychiatric disorders such as depression. But can people recover from childhood trauma? This project tries to understand the long-lasting and severe impact of childhood trauma and test whether a ‘reset’ of the stress system can help to treat depression related to childhood trauma.

    The Democratic Consequences of Decentralization
    Dr. W.P. (Wouter) Veenendaal - Leiden University

    This project analyses the democratic consequences of increasing decentralization and regionalization in European countries. Through an original approach that foregrounds informal political dynamics, it studies the functioning of democracy in subnational units, and investigates the effects of ever more complex relations between administrative layers on the democratic influence of citizens.

    A bilingual advantage in communication?
    Dr. J. (Josje) Verhagen - University of Amsterdam

    Bilingual children communicate more effectively than monolingual children: They make better use of non-verbal cues and are more aware of another speaker’s knowledge state. This project investigates why bilinguals have a communicative advantage, whether it is found in naturalistic communication, and whether it helps language learning.

    Electrifying Growth in Africa
    Dr. Ir. M.J. (Maarten) Voors - Wageningen University and Research

    For the first time, rural towns in Africa are connected to electricity. Does this spark a process of economic structural transformation and sustainable poverty reduction? This research investigates the causal pathways through which electrification can impact economic development and the specific role of technology and market complementarities.

    W

    Clash of the titans in the cosmos
    Dr. L. (Lingyu) Wang (f), SRON

    The evolution of galaxies is a great-unsolved puzzle. Galaxy mergers are spectacular collisions that fundamentally change the colliding galaxies. For the first time, researchers will accurately measure the impact of mergers on how galaxies and black holes grow by applying artificial intelligence to powerful new surveys of the cosmos.

    ‘Planimals’ in changing oceans
    Dr. S. (Susanne) Wilken (f), Amsterdam University

    Several marine microbes can grow as both plants and animals. If they become more ‘plant‐like’ they will increase ocean carbon storage; if they become more ‘animal‐like’ they release carbon back into the atmosphere. This study investigates how these mixotrophs (‘planimals’) will respond to warming and acidification of the oceans.

    Fast and silent metabolic MRI for children
    Dr. ir. J.P. (Jannie) Wijnen (f), University Medical Center Utrecht

    This research will cross hardware and physiological barriers to create images reflecting brain metabolism in a fast and silent way. By using new hardware and metabolic imaging techniques motion-related artefacts and the oppressive acoustic noise related to conventional Magnetic Resonance Imaging are overcome. Thereby we facilitate fast and silent metabolic imaging to monitor disease progression and response to treatment in children with metabolic brain diseases and brain tumors.

  • Applied and Engineering Sciences (AES)

    Forecasting safe operating envelopes for autonomous robots
    Dr. C.C. (Coen) de Visser (m), Delft University of Technology

    In the near future, robots will play an important role in our daily lives, but only if they are safe. Researchers will develop a new system that gives robots an awareness of their physical limitations, even after failures. This will allow robots to safely recover from dangerous situations.

    Less aortic motion in a diseased thoracic aorta
    Dr. ir. P. (Pim) van Ooij (m), Amsterdam UMC - Location AMC

    The thoracic aorta moves constantly under heart motion and blood flow which in a stiff, diseased aorta can lead to tearing. This research focuses on the development of novel MRI technology to map aortic motion and stiffness in three dimensions to improve risk assessment for lethal aortic events.

    Bijel templated membranes for molecular separations
    Dr. M.F. (Martin) Haase (m), Utrecht University

    Filters to turn seawater into freshwater are fundamentally limited in their water throughput. Researchers will design a spongelike material with up to 1000x larger filter area compared to existing technologies. Liquid transport in the filter will be optimized to considerately reduce cost for desalination plants and to miniaturize portable filters.

    Building of nanoelectronics by locally stacking layers from the bottom-up
    Dr. ir. A.J.M. (Adrie) Mackus (m), Eindhoven University of Technology

    The ultimate ambition in nanoscience is to synthesize materials from the bottom-up with atomic-level accuracy, yet so far the fabrication of nanoelectronics still relies completely on top-down processing. The researchers will develop new nanoscale fabrication methods relying on the deposition of material only where it is needed.

    Flowering time genes branching out
    Dr. ir. ing. G.W. (Wilma) van Esse (v), Wageningen University & Research

    The timing of flowering determines not only when a flower is formed but also the seed number per spike, seed weight and number of branches (tillers). The researchers will study how these traits are linked at the molecular level in order to improve yield through knowledge-based breeding strategies.

    Air as driving force for drinking water treatment
    Dr. ir. D. (Doris) van Halem (f), Delft University of Technology

    Worldwide an estimated 140 million people don’t have safe drinking water due to contamination of their groundwater with poisonous arsenic. The researchers will study how, by postponed addition of oxygen, arsenic can be removed. This new knowledge of controlled biological-chemical treatment processes will be used to develop sustainable treatment technologies.

    Fast and silent metabolic MRI for children
    Dr. ir. J.P. (Jannie) Wijnen (f), University Medical Center Utrecht

    This research will cross hardware and physiological barriers to create images reflecting brain metabolism in a fast and silent way. By using new hardware and metabolic imaging techniques motion-related artefacts and the oppressive acoustic noise related to conventional Magnetic Resonance Imaging are overcome. Thereby we facilitate fast and silent metabolic imaging to monitor disease progression and response to treatment in children with metabolic brain diseases and brain tumors.

    Mapping the onset of plant parasitism
    Dr. ir. J.L. (Jose) Lozano Torres (m), Wageningen University & Research

    Plant parasitic worms are one of the most damaging pests in agriculture. Understanding the start of parasitism is fundamental for its management. Biologists will use novel technologies to measure at cellular level the first molecular changes needed to cause a parasitic disease. This knowledge will largely contribute for crop breeding.

    Predicting Lung Cancer Immunotherapy Response. It’s personal
    Dr. ir. F. (Francesco) Ciompi (m), Radboud University Medical Center

    Immunotherapy can cure lung cancer. But most patients do not respond and solely experience the toxicity of this very expensive drug. In this research project, I will train artificial intelligence to discover and extract biomarkers from multiple digital pathology images to identify the lucky patients who will respond to immunotherapy.

    New imaging biomarkers for stroke
    Dr. K. (Kim) van der Heiden (f), Erasmus MC

    Stroke is caused by rupture of the cap overlying an atherosclerotic plaque in the carotid artery. In this project, the scientist working on the intersection of cardiovascular biology, technology, and imaging, will tissue engineer caps to identify new imaging biomarkers for the identification of the cap at risk of rupture.

    Endogenous RNA carriers
    Dr. P. (Pieter) Vader (m), University Medical Center Utrecht

    RNA is part of our genetic code and may be used as medicine for all kinds of diseases. However, RNA medication is fragile and must therefore be protected during transport in our body and delivered into diseased cells. The researchers will study if the trick for this can be copied from naturally occurring RNA carriers.

  • Health Research and Development (ZonMw)

    Developing cutting-edge treatments to combat early hereditary blindness
    Prof. dr. C.J.F. (Camiel) Boon (m), Amsterdam UMC / AMC

    X-linked juvenile retinoschisis (XLRS) is a relatively common hereditary eye disease, for which there is no treatment. XLRS causes severe vision loss or even blindness in childhood. I will develop a cure for XLRS in experimental models that mimic the disease, based on patient-specific stem cells and an animal model.

    Interactions bewteen respiratroy viruses and implications for vaccination policies
    P.C.J.L. (Patricia) Bruijning-Verhagen MD PhD (f), University Medical Center Utrecht

    Prevention of viral acute respiratory infection is a public health priority. Through virus interactions, prevention of one virus by vaccination may influence occurrence of other virus infections. This project quantifies such interactions between respiratory viruses using epidemiological and mathematical methods. This evidence will impact how we make future vaccine policy decisions.

    Physical exercise to boost benefit from chemotherapy?
    Dr. L.M. (Laurien) Buffart (f),  Dr. L.M. Buffart – Radboudumc, department of Physiology

    Exercise during cancer treatment benefits physical fitness and quality of life. Yet, the effect on clinical outcome is unknown. This study will elucidate whether exercise can improve benefit from chemotherapy in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer. Researchers will examine which of two different exercise programs can best prevent chemotherapy dose modifications via reduced toxicity and enhanced psychological strength. Researchers will also examine the exercise effects on immune function.

    Towards Accurate Prediction of Healthcare Choices
    Dr. E.W. (Esther) de Bekker-Grob (f), Erasmus University Rotterdam

    Accurate prediction of patients’ choice behavior avoids poor policy decisions and ‘trial-and-error’ implementation in healthcare. However, current models study choices as if they are independent of other people’s influence hampering accurate ex-ante (‘before’) evaluation of healthcare policies. This project develops and validates a social-interdependent choice paradigm to fill this gap.

    The way I see it: bridging the gap between visual function and functional vision
    Dr. K.V. (Koen) Haak (m), Radboudumc

    People with similar visual function (e.g., visual acuity) can vary greatly in their functional vision (e.g., whether they can read or drive a car). Dr. Haak will study whether individual differences exist in how the brain compensates and/or degenerates in patients with eye disease, and whether these predict functional vision.

    Time traveling to treat heart rhythm disorders
    Dr. J. (Jordi) Heijman (m), University Maanstricht

    Heart rhythm disorders remain a major cause of death. To identify improved therapies, researchers will use advanced computer models to determine the mechanisms through which heart rhythm disorders become more stable over time, a process involving changes in numerous components of the heart’s electrical system occurring over milliseconds to days.

    Ticked off?
    Prof. dr. J.W.R. (Joppe) Hovius (m), Amsterdam UMC, location AMC

    More and more people are affected by Lyme disease. Yet, there is no vaccine to prevent this tick-borne disease. By studying tick saliva and the human immune responses against ticks the scientists aim to design a vaccine against the tick to prevent Lyme disease in both Europe and the USA.

    Noninvasive brain modulation using nanoparticles
    Dr. A. (Ali) Jahanshahianvar (m), MUMC+

    Neuromodulation is emerging as a promising tool to treat brain disorders but present techniques are limited by lack of spatial targeting, invasive procedures, and patient discomfort. As a result, many patients do not benefit from it. Using nanotechnology I will develop a technique that allows noninvasive and precise neuromodulation.

    Towards personalized screening for colorectal cancer
    Dr. I. (Iris) Lansdorp-Vogelaar PhD (f), Erasmus MC

    Cancer screening is a one-size-fits-all approach, despite substantial differences in risk in the population. This project aims to bring personalized screening into practice. The researchers will determine the optimal screening strategy based on age, gender and prior screening results and test the advantages of personalized screening in a clinical study.

    Strong brain connections for resilience to dementia
    Dr. B.M. (Betty) Tijms (f), Amsterdam UMC, location VUmc

    Brain functioning relies on the connections between brain areas. Alzheimer’s disease disrupts brain connectivity and causes dementia. However, individuals who have strong brain connections show slower disease progression. The researchers will investigate which biological processes contribute to strong brain connectivity, in order to find novel ways to delay Alzheimer’s disease.

    Inflammation without infection
    Dr. A.G. (Annemarthe) van der Veen (f), LUMC

    A sterile inflammatory response occurs in the absence of a pathogenic disease, in response to one’s own molecules. This occurs when our immune system fails to distinguish between our own molecules (self) and foreign molecules (non-self), leading to self-directed autoinflammatory and autoimmune disorders. The researchers will investigate the triggers underlying sterile inflammation.

    Reanalysis of clinical trials in ALS trials (RECALS)
    Dr. M.A. (Michael) van Es (m), UMC Utrecht

    To date, there is no effective treatment for ALS. In this project, we aim to incorporate new insights in ALS into old trials by linking existing data sets together. By doing so, we will for instance be able to look at the effect of drugs in different genetic subgroups of patients, as it has been shown that they may respond differently to treatment. Through this approach we may be able to find to patients that did benefit from previous drugs and we will improve future ALS trials.

    The brain-infiltrating T cell uncovered
    Dr. M.M. (Marvin) van Luijn (m), Erasmus MC

    Epstein-Barr virus infection is associated with autoimmune diseases showing genetic changes in CD4+ T- and Bcells. The researcher wants to understand how cytotoxic CD4+ T-cells are forced to recruit and cause damage in the brain, and utilize this knowledge to improve the prognosis and treatment of patients with multiple sclerosis.

    Unraveling the role of dystrophin in the brain
    Dr. M. (Maaike) van Putten (f), LUMC

    Duchenne muscular dystrophy patients suffer from behavioral and learning problems due to lack of dystrophin in the brain. The researcher will study, in cultured human brain cells, how lack of dystrophin results in abnormalities and to which extent deficits can be remedied by a therapy aimed to restore dystrophin synthesis.

    Understanding the impact of childhood trauma in depression
    Dr. mr. C.H. (Christiaan) Vinkers (m), Amsterdam UMC, location VUmc

    Many people experience childhood trauma which increase the risk for psychiatric disorders such as depression. But can people recover from childhood trauma? This project tries to understand the long-lasting and severe impact of childhood trauma and test whether a ‘reset’ of the stress system can help to treat depression related to childhood trauma.

  • Science (ENW)

    Marine Time Machine
    Dr. L.E. (Leontine) Becking (f), Wageningen University

    To see today how marine life will respond in a future with higher temperatures and declining water quality, I am studying marine lakes - islands of seawater. This approach will provide new insights into the consequences of climate change on biodiversity.

    Spacetime at the tiniest of scales
    Dr. T.G.  (Timothy) Budd (m), Radboud University Nijmegen

    Einstein’s theory of relativity and quantum mechanics are in dispute when it comes to describing gravity at microscopic scales. This project will investigate whether fractal geometry of spacetime at the tiniest scales can resolve the issue.

    Machine learning made transparent and interpretable
    Dr. K. (Kerstin) Bunte (f),  Groningen University

    Experts desire to know how their data can inform them about the natural processes being measured. Computer scientists unite the predictive power of machine learning and the explanatory power of modelling, to develop transparent and interpretable techniques. The power of the novel hybrid methods will be demonstrated for applications in medicine and engineering.

    Finding time in videos
    Dr. E. (Efstratios) Gavves (m), Amsterdam University

    Video is everywhere: in our phones, on Netflix or even in MRI. Today’s AI finds it hard to understand time in videos, making them unfit for future applications like autonomous driving or guiding medical devices and treatments. This research will study novel video algorithms that can find time in videos.

    Roles of tRNAs in Cancer
    Dr. A.J. (Alan) Gerber (m), VUMC

    tRNAs are small molecules essential for protein synthesis. Researchers study the mechanisms by which cancer cells use these molecules to grow. Understanding these events will help developing novel therapies against cancers.

    Where addition breaks down
    Dr. D.S.T. (David) Holmes (m), Leiden University

    Addition rules on geometric objects let us add up known points to find new points. When the objects depend on varying parameters, the addition rule can break down for some degenerate values of the parameters. The project will develop tools to handle this phenomenon for families depending on many parameters.

    Tracking electron-induced damage in biomolecules
    Dr. D.A. (Daniel) Horke (m), Radboud University Nijmegen

    One of the major routes to biological damage from ionising radiation is the interaction of produced low-energy electrons with biological matter. Using a novel experimental approach, we will track this damage formation, from reactants through intermediates and products, with ultrafast time-resolution and reveal the underlying mechanisms and pathways.

    Future-proof cryptography
    Dr. A.T. (Andreas) Hülsing (m), Eindhoven University of Technology

    It is known that quantum computers will break all cryptography used on the Internet today. However, quantum computers also require us to change the way we determine if a cryptographic scheme is secure. This project will develop new ways to select secure cryptographic schemes for a world with quantum computers.

    Unravelling glass formation
    Dr. L.M.C. (Liesbeth) Janssen (f), Eindhoven University of Technology

    Glass has been used for centuries and continues to find many new industrial applications. However, the underlying physics of glass formation remains notoriously poorly understood. This research will establish a new theory of glass formation which, leveraged with advanced computer methods, will help to unravel the physical principles of vitrification.

    How do roots protect themselves?
    Dr. K. (Kaisa) Kajala (f), Utrecht University

    Many crops, such as tomato, have a root cell layer that strengthens the roots and protects against from drought and flooding. The researchers will use molecular tools to study how the strengthening of this layer is controlled on genetic level. This knowledge can be used for breeding more tolerant crops.

    To multiply you must divide
    Dr. W. (Wouter) Kohlen (m), Wageningen University

    Plants are unable to move. However, a plant can adjust its body architecture to suit its needs. In some cases, new axes of growth are initiated by mitotic re-activation of fully differentiated cells. Humans cannot do this. I will investigate what makes a plant able to initiate these cell divisions.

    From theory to application
    Dr. C.L.M. (Cynthia) Kop (f), Radboud University Nijmegen

    Term rewriting is an area of logic with many applications in other parts of computer science. Unfortunately, for some applications it is too theoretical. Therefore, the researchers will work on an extension of term rewriting, which will make it easier to use its many theoretical results to analyse computer programs.

    Anisotropic and deformable microswimmers
    Dr. D.J. (Daniela) Kraft (f), Leiden University

    Bacteria and algae use shape changes and elasticity to direct their motion. In this project, the researchers will model their behavior by fabricating synthetic elastic microswimmers of various shapes using a 3D printer, and study how they move and interact.

    Shimura varieties and the Langlands conjecture
    Dr. A.L. (Arno) Kret (m), Amsterdam University

    The Langlands conjecture is one of the most important unsolved problems in mathematics, as it unifies the theory of algebraic equations with the theory of automorphic forms. The goal of this project is to solve new cases of this conjecture.

    Understanding symmetries of spaces via modular forms
    Dr. F.L.M. (Lennart) Meier (m), Utrecht University

    Algebraic topology is about the quantitative understanding of the qualitative features of space. Such a space can be high-dimensional, like the configuration space of a hundred particles. We study configuration spaces by associating rich algebraic objects, like modular forms, with them.

    Rapid flight manoeuvres in flies, mosquitoes and drones
    Dr.ir. F.T. (Florian) Muijres (m), Wageningen University

    Flies and mosquitoes are extremely manoeuvrable: by precise wingbeat movement adjustments, they accurately manipulate aerodynamic forces on their wings. By studying the bio-fluid-mechanics and control of flight manoeuvres in two-winged insect, researchers aim to improve mosquito traps and make drones more manoeuvrable.

    The right time to be optimal
    Dr. D. (Devika) Narain (f), Erasmus Medical Centre

    Precisely timed actions are reflected in virtually every skilled behavior in humans and do not merely represent normal function of the nervous system, they represent optimal function. This proposal studies how the brain uses memory and signals in the environment to generate rapid and precisely timed actions.

    Patterns of the deep water and carbon cycle
    Dr. O.P. (Oliver) Plümper (m), Utrecht University

    Water and carbon dioxide, Earth’s most important volatiles, control many processes, not only in the atmosphere, but also in the planetary interior. This project will investigate volatile release mechanisms in subduction zones, because these drive volcanic eruptions, trigger earthquakes and recycle CO2 from the deep‐earth to the surface.

    Stabilization of DNA replication machinery in maintenance of genome integrity
    Dr. A. (Arnab) Ray Chaudhuri (m), Erasmus Medical Centre

    DNA replication stress is a precursor of genome instability, that is linked to tumor development. In this project, the researcher wants to study the factors that cause instability of the DNA replication process and how our cells cope with the genetic instability.

    Counting using complex dynamics
    Dr. G. (Guus) Regts (m), Amsterdam University

    Network colorings are of fundamental importance in statistical physics, computer science and even theoretical psychology. In this project I will use techniques from complex dynamics and combinatorics to develop efficient algorithms for counting such colorings.

    Light-controlled nanosystems
    Dr. R. (Rebecca) Saive (f), Twente University

    In this project materials systems will be designed that deform and move when light reaches them. This will be realized through a combination of piezo and photovoltaic materials. It will be explored whether these systems can enable driving of nanorobots and membranes for application in medicine and solar energy conversion.

    The next generation of fluid flow models
    Dr.ir. B. (Benjamin) Sanderse (m), CWI

    Fluid flow is everywhere around us: from air in windfarms to blood in arteries. Such flows are simulated using models that are simplifications of reality. In this project a new simplification procedure will be developed, based on discrete rather than continuous mathematics, improving accuracy, generality, and easing the derivation.

    Fast methods for solving optimization problems
    Prof.dr. L. (Laura) Sanità (f),  Eindhoven University of Technology

    Modern life heavily relies on fast data transfers on computer networks, time-effective scheduling for public transport, or efficient resource allocation. All of these are examples of optimization problems that arise in everyday life. This proposal will develop methods to solve such problems in a fast and reliable way.

    How do electrons move through quantum materials?
    Dr. T. (Toeno) van der Sar (m),  Delft University of Technology

    Recently discovered materials with special quantum properties offer unprecedented opportunities for the development of new nano-electronics. How electrical current moves through these ‘quantum materials’ is at the heart of their functionality. This research will use a diamond sensor to locally image this current with nanometre resolution.

    Finding a needle in the cellular haystack
    Dr. T.H. (Thom) Sharp (m), Leiden University

    Recent advances in microscopy now allow us to see individual proteins within whole cells. However, cells are so densely-packed with molecules that finding the desired protein is like looking for a needle in a haystack. This proposal aims to combine different microscopy techniques to solve this problem, and in doing so answer longstanding questions in immunology, such as “how does our immune system first interact with germs?”.

    ROS perception by plant receptor kinases
    Dr. E. (Elwira) Smakowska Luzan (f), Wageningen University

    Plants respond to environmental stresses by the massive production of Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS). ROS are presumably sensed by extracellular Receptor Kinases (RKs) that might function as sophisticated sensors. Here, we propose to gain a system-level understanding of how RKs networks influence and are influenced by, ROS signalling.

    Stopping protein aggregation in liquid droplets
    Dr. E. (Evan) Spruijt (m), Radboud University Nijmegen

    Cells must continuously keep their proteins from aggregating. Accumulation of certain aggregates is toxic and leads to diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Liquid droplets that naturally occur in the cell may enhance protein aggregation. We will design simple model droplets to investigate this and screen drugs that can prevent aggregation.

    Tales from the baby years of our Galaxy
    Dr. E. (Else) Starkenburg (f),  Groningen University

    Even though it is now an impressive galaxy, also the Milky Way started small. Its oldest stars are our witnesses of its early childhood. This research efficiently detects these stars and combines all the information they give us into a unique story.

    Nanoheaters to unravel catalytic reactions with ultimate time resolution
    Dr.ir. M.A. (Monique) van der Veen (f),  Delft University of Technology

    The Chinese sign for Catalyst is marriage broker, as it decreases the energy for two molecules to react. Many intermediates in the reaction process are too short-lived to detect. With laser pulses I will heat “nanoheaters” extremely fast to jumpstart the reaction after which I stroboscopically detect the short-lived intermediates.

    What are the drivers of water scarcity during droughts and heatwaves?
    Dr. M.T.H. (Michelle) van Vliet (f), Utrecht University

    Water scarcity is not only driven by decreasing water availability, but also by water quality deterioration and increasing water use. Researchers will analyze the drivers of water scarcity during droughts and heatwaves worldwide by developing a model system that allows water managers to improve decision making on clean water resources.

    The fate of thawing permafrost carbon in the marine system
    Dr. J.E. (Jorien) Vonk (f), VU Amsterdam

    Arctic permafrost is rapidly thawing, releasing organic carbon through rivers and coastal erosion. The fate of this carbon in the ocean is unknown, but degradation during transport may strengthen climate warming. This research will combine field measurements with geochemical analyses to quantify the fate of permafrost carbon in the ocean.

    Clash of the titans in the cosmos
    Dr. L. (Lingyu) Wang (f), SRON

    The evolution of galaxies is a great-unsolved puzzle. Galaxy mergers are spectacular collisions that fundamentally change the colliding galaxies. For the first time, researchers will accurately measure the impact of mergers on how galaxies and black holes grow by applying artificial intelligence to powerful new surveys of the cosmos.

    ‘Planimals’ in changing oceans
    Dr. S. (Susanne) Wilken (f), Amsterdam University

    Several marine microbes can grow as both plants and animals. If they become more ‘plant‐like’ they will increase ocean carbon storage; if they become more ‘animal‐like’ they release carbon back into the atmosphere. This study investigates how these mixotrophs (‘planimals’) will respond to warming and acidification of the oceans.

  • Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH)

    Promoting democracy through Western education?
    Dr. A.K. (Anar) Ahmadov – Leiden University

    Many governments, international organizations and private donors invest vast resources to enable developing country citizens to study in Western institutions. But while some beneficiaries later emerge as reformist democrats, others become reactionary autocrats. By educating their citizens, do Western institutions promote or preclude democracy in developing countries?

    Economic animals: economic views on human being in ancient Greece
    Dr. T.A. (Tazuko) van Berkel - Leiden University

    Who is Economic Man? Every economic paradigm presupposes an anthropology, a theory of human nature. This project explores the anthropologies presupposed and produced by ancient Greek economic texts, and the specific knowledge forms that shape these anthropologies.

    The Talking Dead: reconstructing the transmission of information 5000 years ago.
    Dr. Q.P.J. (Quentin) Bourgeois – Leiden University

    How can it be that pre-literate societies, who were never in contact with one another, kept a highly standardized burial ritual in vogue for close to a millennium and across the European continent? That is what this project sets out to investigate using network analysis and similarity measures.

    Psychedelics in Perspective
    Dr. M. (Michiel) van Elk - Leiden University

    Psychedelics can occasion mystical experiences and are increasingly used for the treatment of biomedical disorders. But exactly how these effects come about is not well understood. This project elucidates the psychological and neurocognitive mechanisms underlying psychedelics, the role of prior expectations and the short- and long-term consequences of psychedelic experiences.

    A SOCIAL TIPPING POINT: climate-resilient futures through transformational adaptation
    Prof. dr. T.V. (Tatiana) Filatova - University of Twente

    Accelerating ramifications of climate change cannot be addressed via conventional adaptation. New climate realities make transformational adaptation unavoidable, but societies prefer to develop in incremental steps. This project looks at past transformations following disasters, and develops computational models to understand social tipping points and better inform climate adaptation policy assessments.

    From the Past Back to the Future: Intergenerational legacies of mass atrocities
    Dr. B. (Barbora) Holá - Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement

    Mass atrocities committed during genocides, wars and state repressions have profound consequences on people who directly experience them and on generations to come. This project examines how legacies of mass atrocities transfer across generations, and what role transitional justice mechanisms, such as criminal trials and lustrations/vetting, play in such intergenerational transmission.

    Limited liability: blessing or curse?
    Dr. P.A.E.(Peter) Koudijs - Erasmus University Rotterdam

    Under limited liability entrepreneurs can walk away from certain debts. This incentivizes them to take more risk. Is this a blessing or curse? I will dive into the history of the introduction of limited liability in the US and analyze its effects on entrepreneurship and innovation.

    Tipping Points in Treatment Trajectories
    Dr. A. (Anna) Lichtwarck-Aschoff - Radboud University Nijmegen

    When and why do clients suddenly get better and are there optimal times when treatments are most effective? These are the questions that this project aims to address by looking at case-by-case clinical trajectories to ultimately empower clinicians to better target and timely adapt their intervention efforts to individual clients.

    Peacebuilding in early modern France
    Dr. D.C. (David) van der Linden - University of Groningen

    How can former enemies achieve a lasting peace in the wake of civil war? This project explores the peacebuilding mechanisms developed after the French Wars of Religion (1562–1598) and analyses how effective these solutions were. Historical research thus sheds new light on the long-term impact of peacebuilding strategies.

    Tuning the Senses: How cognition shapes sensation at the gate
    Dr. S. (Sebastiaan) Mathôt -  University of Groningen

    The size of your eyes’ pupils determines how light falls onto your retina. And the tension of your ear drum determines how sound enters your ears. This affects your perception. But can you control your senses? The researchers investigate to what extent your brain actively controls these sensory processes.

    How quickly can you stop?
    Dr. D. (Dora) Matzke - University of Amsterdam

    The ability to stop ongoing responses enables people to suppress impulsive actions and ensures that they can safely interact with the world. The goal of this project is to develop a methodological framework that enables researchers to measure the psychological processes that determine people’s ability to stop inappropriate behaviors.

    Unequal Partners? Christian-Jewish and Christian-Muslim Couples in The Netherlands
    Prof. dr. M. (Marianne) Moyaert - VU Amsterdam

    Jewish and Muslim minorities in The Netherlands are confronted with Islamophobia and Antisemitism while (secularized) Christian privileges prevail. This project explores and compares how Christian-Muslim and Christian-Jewish couples handle this disparity. We focus on material and ritual practices (e.g., circumcision/baptism, Christmas/Hanukkah), as these vital/fundamental practices often reveal unequal power relations)

    Can improving public attitudes towards the police prevent crime?
    Dr. A.E. (Amy) Nivette - Utrecht University

    Can a single contact with the police change how people perceive them? Can a Tweet damage trust in police? Will this also influence someone’s criminal behaviour? This project introduces a novel method of measuring everyday encounters with police, revealing to what extent these experiences influence individual perceptions and criminal behaviours.

    Golden Women
    Dr. J.F.J. (Judith) Noorman - University of Amsterdam

    This project measures the impact of women on the Dutch art market in the seventeenth century by studying household consumption. Drawing on various sources, the project studies how women manifested themselves as important patrons and professionals, thus challenging the persistent assumption that the art market was dominated by men.

    Empowering children to behave safely online

    Dr. E. (Esther) Rozendaal - Erasmus University Rotterdam

    Digital media offer opportunities but also risks for children. Therefore, schools are increasingly investing in digital media literacy. However, being media-literate does not automatically mean that children behave safely online. With innovative game-technology, the researchers examine how children can be empowered to use digital media in a safe and responsible manner.

    ENCODE: Explicating Norms for Collective Deliberation
    Dr. F. (Frederik) Van de Putte - Erasmus University Rotterdam

    True democracy requires collective deliberation: citizens should not only vote, but also discuss their views. But what norms can such discussion obey? This is the central question behind this project, in which I will develop formal models of deliberation as an interactive, dynamic process, thus mapping out its normative limitations.

    Statistical learning over time: closing the gap between time-series econometrics and the statistical learning literature
    Dr. J. Schaumburg - VU Amsterdam

    This research develops new tools to address complex economic policy questions in quickly changing environments, by bringing together the best of two worlds: the ability of automated statistical learning methods to detect highly complex pattern, and the ability of flexible econometric time-series models to adapt in times of economic stress.

    Out of the brain – into control
    Dr. B. (Bettina) Sorger - University of Maastricht

    Self-efficacy and communication are crucial for a growing child. Due to severe motor impairments, some children with cerebral palsy have no way of controlling their environment. This project develops a brain-based method enabling affected children to still actively participate in life.

    Islamic religiosity: friend or foe of democracy and emancipation?
    Dr. C.H.B.M. (Niels) Spierings - Radboud University Nijmegen

    Muslims in Europe, including the Netherlands, are on average more traditional and less politically engaged than others. But what role does religion – from mosque attendance to having a connection with Allah – play in this? This project unpacks how dimensions of Islam discourage or foster emancipatory attitudes and political engagement.

    The Democratic Consequences of Decentralization
    Dr. W.P. (Wouter) Veenendaal - Leiden University

    This project analyses the democratic consequences of increasing decentralization and regionalization in European countries. Through an original approach that foregrounds informal political dynamics, it studies the functioning of democracy in subnational units, and investigates the effects of ever more complex relations between administrative layers on the democratic influence of citizens.

    A bilingual advantage in communication?
    Dr. J. (Josje) Verhagen - University of Amsterdam

    Bilingual children communicate more effectively than monolingual children: They make better use of non-verbal cues and are more aware of another speaker’s knowledge state. This project investigates why bilinguals have a communicative advantage, whether it is found in naturalistic communication, and whether it helps language learning.

    Electrifying Growth in Africa
    Dr. ir. M.J. (Maarten) Voors - Wageningen University and Research

    For the first time, rural towns in Africa are connected to electricity. Does this spark a process of economic structural transformation and sustainable poverty reduction? This research investigates the causal pathways through which electrification can impact economic development and the specific role of technology and market complementarities.