Awarded projects Idea Generator (NWA-IDG)

The projects below (in alphabetical order) are awarded with 50.000 euros to further investigate the idea for one year.

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An antibiotic-free treatment of drug-resistant tuberculosis
Dr. J. Buter (Rijks Universiteit Groningen)

Tuberculosis kills 1.3-1.5 million people annually. With the emerging drug-resistance it poses a major global health treat. By tricking the bacterium into metabolic uptake of a photosensitizer a new ground- breaking therapy will be developed. By irradiation with light, the surface-attached photosensitizer will produce reactive oxygen species that kill the bacterium.

An art science approach to Kombucha and plant based living fabrics for sustainable fashion, hydroponics and circular economy
Dr. R.N. Frese (Vrije Universiteit Amserdam)

Artists and scientists join forces to create a biomaterial from water, algae, bacteria, yeast and plants that contains the resources for the four most basic human needs: food, drink, energy and clothing. Maybe we people will be wearing their living, breathing and photosynthesizing clothes soon.

A gamified application for citizens' participation in urban green space design
E.D. Ekkel (Aeres Groep)

An attractive green space contributes to healthy people. This project aims to develop an application that allows residents to access a game in which they are able to create their own public green space. This gives them the opportunity to actively contribute to a green and healthy neighbourhood.

Bullying and Aggression in Nursing Homes: Types, Motivations, Prevalence, and Consequences
Dr. J.J. Sijtsema (Tilburg University)

Bullying and interpersonal aggression in older adults can have a severe impact on their quality of life, but is currently understudied. By applying insights and methods from child and adolescent literature, the role of social relationships and social dynamics on bullying and aggression in residents of nursing homes is examined.

Challenging the dogma of tick-borne disease transmission: can the expansion of a rodent species trigger the outbreak of tick-borne encephalitis virus?
J.W. Bakker (Wageningen University & Research)

The recent spread of tick-borne encephalitis virus in the Netherlands was unexpected. Our experimental project aims to understand whether an expanding mouse species is the driving factor behind the emergence of this tick-borne disease in the Netherlands. This will allow us to understand the transmission pathways of the virus.

Converting the greenhouse gases methane and carbon dioxide into value-added productsDr. J.C. Slootweg (Universiteit van Amsterdam)

This project aims at developing a direct transformation of methane via C–H activation and subsequent bond formation with carbon dioxide into the platform chemical acetic acid. This radically new, atom efficient methodology will contribute to optimize resource efficiency across chemical value chains and promote a closed-loop, waste-free society.

Demand response voor open water systemen en kunstwerken
Ir. T.J.T. van der Heijden (TUD)

The intermittency of renewable energy sources has a destabilizing effect on the grid, together with random changes in electricity use. The Dutch water system contains 221MW of pump-power, which could be used for grid-stabilizing purposes. Research on optimally using the available storage in the water system could accelerate the Dutch energy transition.

Disease biomarker detection for Ebola and Lassa virus induced vasculopathy
Y. Abouleila (Universiteit Leiden)

A novel platform that combines organ-on-a-chip and mass spectrometry will be used to investigate novel metabolic biomarkers for the early detection of Ebola and Lassa diseases as well as the development of suitable effective treatments.

Disturbance of the axon-myelin synapse as root cause for multiple sclerosis
A. Luchicchi (Amsterdam UMC)

Multiple sclerosis might not be a primary autoimmune disease, as hitherto believed. Instead, this devastating disease may start in the central nervous system and trigger the immune system only secondarily. By employing high-end cellular neuroimaging, the project will demonstrate the correct causal chain of events, from a wholly different starting point.

Do ethnic and gender stereotypes lead to disparities in child protection decision-making?
F. Middel (Rijks Universiteit Groningen)

In cases of suspected child maltreatment, parent ethnicity and gender seem to affect child protection decision-making. This study will investigate how ethnic and gender stereotypes influence investigations after children have been reported to child protection agencies and subsequent decision- making in the Netherlands and the United States.

Does environmental pollution enhance the allergenic nature of pollen?
Dr. W.D. Gosling (Universiteit van Amsterdam)

It is estimated that about 3 million Dutch people suffer from hay fever after contact with airborne pollen. Air pollution in cities possibly makes pollen more allergenic. This project will investigate whether the different types of pollen in cities are chemically changed and whether these changes differ during the year.

Experimental evolution of beneficial soil microbiomes
Dr. D.E. Rozen (Universiteit Leiden)

Plant diseases reduce crop yields and threaten food security for the growing population. This project helps to develop a novel and environmentally friendly solution to this problem, by evolving microbial communities that suppress infection caused by soil-borne plant pathogens. When effective it will reduce the use of pesticides and fertilizers and enhance food security.

Exploring the impact of dating apps on the heterogeneity of Dutch Couples
G. Ranzini (Vrije Universiteit)

The popularization of online dating has been linked to the increase in interracial marriages in many Western countries. This project aims to explore the effects of online dating on the broader heterogeneity of Dutch couples through a survey, and based on a lab experiment.

Ex-vivo dialysis of human kidneys for regenerative medicine
F.M.R. Witjas (Universiteit Leiden)

The idea is to develop a dialysis-driven organ culture system in which a human kidney can kept alive outside the human body for a prolonged period of time (up to 7-14 days). Consequently, it is tested if new regenerative therapies, such as stem cells, are effective in human organs.

Family matters in the prediction of juvenile delinquency: Sustainable solutions for the Kingdom of the Netherlands
M. Meijeren (Fontys Hogeschool)

This project questions the usefulness of dominant western models of risk-taxation and crime control in non-western environments. It investigates what risk and protective family factors may fuel or prevent delinquent behaviour in Caribbean youth in Curacao and the Netherlands and how they give insight in the understanding of the criminal paths (not) taken in these specific cultural contexts.

How do people who voluntary stop eating and drinking (VSED) die? A prospective study among people who chose for VSED, their relatives and care professionals
E.E. Bolt (Amsterdam MC)

Older people who want a self-directed death can voluntary stop eating and drinking. This method has been discussed for over 20 years, but little is known about, for instance, whether it leads to unnecessary suffering. This study gives insight in whether and how this method can be used in practice.

How to put a break on rumination: tracking effects of fantasizing- and mindfulness-based interventions on depressive vulnerability in the wild.
Dr. M.J. van Tol (RUG)

Persistent negative thinking is a key characteristics of recurrent Major Depressive Disorder. Therapeutic techniques, including fantasizing and mindfulness, seem potent in reducing negative thoughts but may rely on different mechanisms. The project will develop ways to objectively track negative thinking and study how changing this can prevent recurrent depression.

Identification of new leads active against Gram-positive and negative pathogens: the potential of resveratrol derivatives
Dr. R. Cebrian Castillo (Rijks Universiteit Groningen)

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is an increasingly severe threat to global public health that requires the action of governments and society. The identification of new, safe, and potent drugs active against new targets, especially in Gram-negative bacteria is critical. Resveratrol derivatives offer an excellent scaffold fulfilling the drug requirement.

Integration of machine learning and mechanistic models to analyse network dynamics
Dr. J.B. Beltman (Universiteit Leiden)

Mathematical models that describe dynamic changes of biological networks based on known and as on yet unknown mechanisms are good at predicting network behaviour, but are time-consuming to develop. In this project, the researchers generate such mechanistic models based on machine learning, speeding up model development.

Is air pollution behind dementia? Unravelling the origin of magnetite nanoparticles in the brain
Dr. L. Bossoni (Universiteit Leiden)

Iron-nanoparticles in the brain have been proposed as a risk factor for dementia. The origin of this mineralized iron is unknown, however air-pollution has been blamed as a possible culprit. Magnetic and structural analyses will help to unravel the origin of these particles and their role in neurodegeneration.

Is a dialect-speaking robot more easily accepted by the elderly?
J. van Doorn (Rijks Universiteit Groningen)

Although the accessibility of technological applications to support elderly people in their daily lives should have increased by speech technology, elderly are still reluctant to use them. This multi- disciplinary project investigates whether the experience elderly have with technology improves if the speech technology uses their native regional language.

Lucid dreaming as a model for EEG-based communication in locked-in syndrome
Dr. M. Dresler (Radboud Universitair Medisch Centrum)

It remains a problem to determine whether paralysed people are still conscious. To find out, a patient can learn to control a computer using their brain signals. This study focusses on the question whether lucid dreamers are able to control such a BCI. In that case, future studies can utilise this more accessible group.

Off-the-shelf umbilical cord blood derived natural killer cells for cancer immunotherapy
P.K.J.D. de Jonge (Radboud Universitair Medisch Centrum)

Natural killer cell therapy is an interesting relatively new immunotherapy-showing efficacy with little side effects. Currently, the personalized nature and long culture times result in high cost and difficult logistics. This project aims to generate a cryopreserved, off-the-shelve product, allowing immediate application at greatly reduced cost.

Origins of the Opportunity Gap: Evidence from Dutch administrative data on childhood health and development
C.W.A. van de Kraats (Vrije Universiteit)

Children growing up in low-income households have, on average, lower earnings in adulthood and lead unhealthier lives. To what extent are these unequal outcomes driven by unequal opportunities? This project uses novel data on childhood development in the Netherlands to study the origins of the childhood opportunity gap.

Plasticity Determination of Plants' Root System by Animal Neurotransmitters Assessed with Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
Dr. Y. Caspi (Universiteit Utrecht)

Animal neurotransmitters, found also in plants, help to shape the plant root system by interacting with their main growth hormones. More insight the interaction between neurotransmitters and hormones will help to develop a rudimentary understanding of plasticity principles that operate in multicellular organisms. In this study the researchers will use magnetic resonance spectroscopy.

Recovering memories ‘thought-to-be-lost’ in the sleep-deprived brain
Dr. R. Havekes (Rijks Universiteit Groningen)

Sleep loss is detrimental for the brain and causes memory impairments. It is unclear, however, whether sleep deprivation affects information storage or the retrievability of stored memories. The project examines whether memories ‘thought-to-be-lost’ can be retrieved from the sleep-deprived brain. For this state-of-the-art approaches to modulate brain activity and behavioural studies will be used.

Reframing PJU, a contribution to current discussions on the decolonisation of museum collections and the development of experimental qualitative research methods
A.G.E. Stultiens (Koninklijke Academie voor de Kunsten)

New information and contexts are added to photographs and films made on the African continent by explorer Paul Julien, which is part of that is part of the collection of the Nederlands Fotomuseum in Rotterdam. This is done through collaborations with people who have a direct connection with what is shown on the footage.

Reliable and rapid evaluation of clinical evidence in the public domain
Prof. dr. W.M. Otte (Universiteit Utrecht)

Reliable interpretation of clinical data is hampered by required and time-consuming replication studies. The researchers want to develop a generic calibration model based on 200,000 previously published clinical trials. This model will allow proper and instantaneous interpretation of new data. A user-friendly interface will provide access to everyone.

Restored sound localization for hearing impaired people
Dr. Ir. R.C. Hendriks (Technische Universiteit Delft)

The inability of hearing impaired people to localize sound has a big impact on their well-being and self- reliance. Compared to normal-hearing people, hearing-impaired people cannot efficiently use the same localization information. In this project will be investigated whether inaudible localization information can be transformed into a different audible form.

Self-organising adaptation: a universal mechanism for microbial protein expression regulation
D.H. de Groot  (Vrije Universiteit)

Cells can adapt to, and grow in, an astounding number of environments. Given the simplicity of an individual cell this feat seems impossible. But what if many cells join their forces? The researches propose a universal mechanism that enables a population to survive, but where each individual cell would fail.

Straight Walking Again: Continuous Sensory Rehabilitation through Real-Time Feedforward
Drs. T.A.M. Theunissen (Hogeschool van Arnhem en Nijmegen)

For CVA-patients continuous training is essential to retain lost functionality. The excellent facilities and training from the clinic should be extended to the activities of daily life. We propose a solution that patients can use effectively in the clinic and after that at home and work by using sensory feedforward.

Switch from urgency- to benefit-based organ allocation
Prof. dr. H. Putter (Universiteit Leiden)

Donor organs are scarce. It is not possible to transplant all patients. Currently, the sickest patients are prioritized to receive organs over others who are less sick. However, less sick patients will live longer after transplantation. This study investigates how to distribute organs so that everyone benefits the most.

The new scholastic landscape: Ambient technology to support people with autism
Prof. dr. ir. M. Mohammadi (Hogeschool van Arnhem en Nijmegen)

The current physical space of a school is static and therefore not suitable for appropriate education. Integration of ambient technology makes it possible to create a sensitive and dynamic environment. In this project it is investigated how a school with ambient technology can offer added value for children with autism.

The Unconscious Road to Alleviating Body Image Concerns: A Novel Evaluative Conditioning Approach using Continuous Flash Suppression
I. Masselman (Rijks Universiteit Groningen)

Negative body image (NBI) is a frequent problem with potentially serious consequences. To tackle NBI, researchers test the efficacy of a novel unconscious conditioning procedure in which own-body pictures are paired with positive feedback. Unconscious conditioning may outperform existing interventions because it prevents the disadvantageous (re)activation of negative body-associations.

Ultimate remedium or optimum remedium? Towards resilient forms of restorative dispute resolution in local community safety
Dr. R. van Steden (VU)

This research seeks to experiment with restorative ways of working and dispute resolution in crime reporting processes in the Dutch police. The aim is to develop a new type of police professional, who is able to transcend boundaries between criminal justice and restorative justice, and operates in a networked mode.

Vivianite for lake restoration and phosphate recovery
Dr. M.F.L.L.W. Lurling (Wageningen University & Research)

The accumulation of phosphate in lakebeds is one of the most important causes of poor surface water quality. The idea is to develop a novel technique stimulating the formation of a stable iron-phosphate mineral, vivianite, that can be harvested magnetically. This method will promote reuse of phosphorus.

What’s app: Testing a new assessment procedure to inform treatment for detained juvenile offenders
Dr. H.E. Creemers (University of Amsterdam)

This project aims to examine the applicability and validity of a digital, engaging application to assess risks, needs and learning abilities of short staying offenders in Juvenile Detention Centers. This information, which is in current practice often unavailable, is needed to direct these juveniles to tailored treatment to prevent re-offending.