Veni Grants 2019

A list of the 166 Veni laureates, working titles and a brief summaries of the research projects is given below. The laureates are also listed per NWO domain. Veni, along with Vidi and Vici is a part of NWO's Talent Scheme programme.


Facts and figures

Number of (admissible) submissions: 1,115
Gender ratio of submissions: 553 women, 598 men
Number of grants awarded (award rate): 166 (14%)
Gender ratio of awarded grants: 93 women, 73 men
Award rate among women: 17%
Award rate among men: 12%

Veni 2019 number of (admissible) submissions

  Total Women % Men %
Science 259 87 34% 172 66%
SSH 558 312 56% 246 44%
AES 113 28 25% 85 75%
ZonMw 155 85 55% 70 45%
Cross-domain 66 41 62% 25 38%
Total 1151 553 48% 598 52%

 

Veni 2019 Grants awarded

  Total Women % Men %
Science 51 24 47% 27 53%
SSH 60 38 63% 22 37%
AES 20 8 40% 12 60%
ZonMw 24 15 62% 9 38%
Cross-domain 11 8 73% 3 27%
Total 166 93 56% 73 44%
Award rate 14% 17%   12%  

Social Sciences and Humanities , AES = Applied and Engineering Sciences, Cross-domain


List sorted in alphabetical order

A

The other way: investigating an alternative mechanism for bone formation
Dr A. (Anat) Akiva, TU/e - Department of Biomedical Engineering

Although bone is a vital organ, little is understood on its formation processes. Here, by building “bone on a chip”, researchers will investigate the bio-chemical processes that control bone mineralization, and in particular, the role of blood plasma in this process. This research can lead to new bone disease treatments.

Age-related clonal hematopoiesis: the good and the bad of clonally expanding immune subsets
Dr Ir. E.B. van den Akker – LUMC

Virtually all exceptionally old individuals have an early form of blood-cancer, yet, in contrast to middle-aged individuals, they do not seem to suffer from any adverse effects. What is their secret? This study investigates the protective mechanisms that make the extreme old capable to withstand the test of time.

Fair Division in Dynamic Environments with Social Structure
Dr G. (Georgios) Amanatidis, UvA – Institute for Logic, Language and Computation (ILLC)

A crucial objective when allocating resources is that this is done in a commonly acceptable manner. This research introduces suitable definitions of fairness in situations where the available resources change over time, as does for instance a food bank’s inventory, and designs procedures that always output fair allocations. 

The wisdom of plants: Blocking pathogen’s emergency exit to restore antimicrobial efficiency
Dr C.M. (Carla) Araya-Cloutier, WUR – Laboratory of Food Chemistry

Bacteria can survive antibiotics by pumping them out of their cells using efflux pumps. Stressed plants produce compounds that block these efflux pumps. To restore antibiotics’ efficiency, researchers will propose novel efflux pump blockers from stressed plants, and study their operation with the aid of innovative computer modelling tools.

The role of new anti-inflammatory modulators in immunity
R.J.W. Arts, MD PhD, Radboudumc - Internal medicine

In recent years two new anti-inflammatory signaling modulators have been discovered in the immune system, interleukin 37 and 38. The exact role of these proteins is unknown, but it is very likely that they play a role in infections, cancer, and autoimmune diseases. Better understanding of the function of these proteins could therefore be used in diagnosis and treatment of these diseases.

“Hot” electrons to improve light-to-heat anticancer therapy
Dr S.H.C. (Sven) Askes, AMOLF - Nanoscale Solar Cells

Golden nanoparticles heat up and destroy tumors when illuminated with red light. Sometimes, the light can instead cause ejection of highly energetic, “hot” electrons from the nanoparticle, which also cause cell death. The researcher uses a different material to increase the amount of hot electrons and develop a combined therapy.

From Cash to Trash: How Price Promotions Impact Food Waste
Dr A. (Aylin) Aydinli, VU - School of Business and Economics

Marketing is often blamed for generating food waste. Instead of being the cause, marketing can help reduce food waste and thus contribute to a better world. My project investigates the link between price promotions and food waste and identifies ways in which price promotions can stimulate sustainable food consumption.

B

Power-Efficient, mm-Size Radio Frequency Transceivers for Internet-of-Things Applications (PaTRIOT)
Dr M.B. (Masoud) Babaie, TUD - Delft University of Technology

Miniaturization of wireless implantable medical devices to sub-mm dimensions can play a critical role in our future healthcare systems. However, the size of those devices is currently limited by off-chip crystal oscillators. This proposal introduces a new digital-intensive solution to break that barrier and enable fully integrated and implantable radios.

Composable and Safe-by-Construction Programming Language Definitions
Dr C. (Casper) Bach Poulsen, TUD – Department of Software Technology Type-checked languages are essential tools for developing robust software because they automatically guarantee the absence of certain errors. But the complexity of defining and composing type-checked languages hinders language innovation and improvement. This research project will reduce that complexity.

Mathematical programming: a new approach to data analysis revealing the cause of genetic diseases
Dr M. (Marleen) Balvert, CWI - Life Sciences & Health

Many incurable diseases have a genetic cause. Researchers around the world are currently generating many large genome datasets to track down the cause of these diseases. This research aims at developing data analysis techniques to identify the relationship between genetics and disease that lie hidden in these datasets.

Room for health: how urban densification affects mental health
Dr. M.A. (Mariëlle) Beenackers, Erasmus MC, Department of Public Health

More people are living in cities. To accommodate this change, people need to live closer together. How healthy is that? With the help of residents, researchers will use innovative methods to study how recent increases in population density in the Randstad region of the Netherlands have affected mental health.

Context-Aware Artificial Intelligence in Medical Image Analysis
Dr ir. E.J. (Erik) Bekkers, TU/e - Eindhoven University of Technology

The accurate mapping and analysis of patient-specific vascular networks is a complex task that is of great importance in medical diagnostics and surgery planning. The researcher will enable artificial intelligence systems to perform this task by equipping them with a sense of continuity, context, and hierarchy.

The Sense of Touch: from Anomaly to Paradigm
Dr C. (Chiara) Beneduce, RU – CHPS

While in Antiquity the sense of touch was regarded as anomalous, as it lacked a specific organ and a proper object, it became the standard model for explaining sense perception in the seventeenth century. How did late medieval and Renaissance philosophical and medical sources contribute to this paradigm shift?

Better service in case of emergency
Dr P.L. (Pieter) van den Berg, EUR - Rotterdam School of Management

Services like ambulance care and roadside assistance consist of quickly bringing the right resource to the user’s location. The researcher will develop optimization models to improve the performance of these services by better distribution of vehicles over the region and better assignment of vehicles to requests.

Sweeping asthma with brush cells
Dr J.H.J. Bernink - Hubrecht Institute

Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the conducting airways. Yet it is the epithelial cell layer that is primarily exposed to aeroallergens. Here a subset of the epithelial cells, called brush cells, will be investigated how they respond, and how they instruct the immune system following allergen exposure.

Sustainable plastics from artificial intelligence
Dr M.A. (Miguel) Bessa, TUD - Delft University of Technology

In an ideal world, end-of-life plastic products would be separated and recycled into pure plastics to be reused in new products. In reality, recycled plastics are a low performance plastic mixture. This work uses artificial intelligence to characterize and design these mixtures to achieve better performance than ever before.

‘The ischemic fingerprint’: A predictive model to grade the viability and reversibility of ischemic brain injury
Dr. A.A. (Alex) Bhogal, UMCU

The mechanisms and metabolic consequences of ischemic brain injury are difficult to investigate using regular brain scans. With this proposal researchers will develop a novel MRI technology, ‘The Ischemic Fingerprint’, which uses advanced MRI imaging techniques to assess the viability and endurance of brain tissue suffering from ischemic injury.

Social networks in a rapidly changing world
Dr A.I. (Allert) Bijleveld, NIOZ – Department of Coastal Systems

Many animals live in groups and are engaged in networks of social interactions. How social networks facilitate social learning in the wild is largely unknown. This project aims at understanding how personality and the environment interact to facilitate social learning in wild populations and increase resilience to rapid environmental change.

Inhibition of leaky vessels to prevent kidney damage 
Dr.ing. C.E. van den Brom - Amsterdam UMC, location VUmc, department of Anesthesiology  

Perfusion disturbances of the smallest vessels in critically ill patients can impair renal function as oxygen exchange is limited. Researchers will study the role of damaged inner layer of these vessels to develop treatments directed against leaking vessels to prevent renal damage.

Changing networks: New models to detect changes in psychiatric disorders
Dr L.F. (Laura) Bringmann, RUG - Behavioural and Social Sciences

Symptom networks are a new way of studying psychiatric disorders such as depression. However, current network models cannot change over time. To better understand how patients progress into and out of a disorder, this research will develop a network model that can change over time.

Inhibiting chronic inflammation at its foundation
Dr M.H.J. van den Bosch, Radboudumc - Experimental Rheumatology

During osteoarthritis, next to cartilage breakdown resulting from inflammatory reactions, excessive repair/compensation processes are observed, which cause further joint dysfunctioning and clinical problems. The researcher will determine whether S100A8/A9, a crucial protein that lies at the basis of innate immunity, is involved in both these breakdown and excessive repair processes.

Green building blocks
Dr ing. D.L.J. (Daniël) Broere, UU - Debye Institute for Nanomaterials Science

Nearly all chemical building blocks come from fossil resources, which are running out. Plant waste contains similar building blocks but has them trapped in complex structures. The researcher will develop catalysts that can utilize these plant waste-derived building blocks. 

Back to Nightingale: A social network perspective on the development of professional commitment in nurses
Dr J. Brouwer, RUG - Behavioural and Social Sciences

Prematurely leaving a profession due to declining professional commitment creates labour shortage concerns in nursing. Using a social network perspective, this research investigates the role of social support; social network and work experience data gathered by multiple methods will establish insights into nurses’ professional commitment.

Powering a Revolution with Carbon: Designing Commercial CO2 Electrolyzers
Dr T.E. (Thomas) Burdyny, TUD - Delft University of Technology

Our current energy infrastructure and economy requires an accelerated transition away from fossil fuels. Renewable electricity sources are a useful start in this revolution, but are unable to directly replace many fuels and chemicals. Here, researchers will design efficient systems which use electricity to convert CO2 directly into chemicals.

Rough curvature in the universe
Dr A.Y. (Annegret) Burtscher, RU - Mathematics

Einstein described our universe as a geometric object combining space and time. The curvature of this spacetime determines how light and objects travel. Inside black holes the curvature blows up and cannot be computed classically. This project explores new ways to control the curvature based on more robust geometric estimates.

Tuberculosis treatment with a Trojan horse
Dr J. (Jeffrey) Buter, RUG - Stratingh Institute for Chemistry

Mycobacterium tuberculosis kills 1.5 million people annually, and becomes antibiotic resistant. Development of new and efficient treatments are urgent. By using the bacterium’s own metabolism, new medicine can be incorporated in the bacterial cell wall (Trojan horse strategy), which after activation by light can kill the bacterial infection.

C

Life around a radio star
Dr J.R. (Joseph) Callingham, LEI - Leiden Observatory

Astronomers can now easily identify planets outside our Solar System. However, it remains a mystery if such planets can host life. This project will conduct a radio survey of nearby stars to discover the type of space weather such planets experience, and whether those conditions allow such planets to be habitable. 

New approach to tailoring in dHealth interventions:

application of recommender systems
Dr K.L. (Kei Long) Cheung, UM

Tailored digital health interventions base their algorithms on (theoretical) assumptions. Accordingly, these rule-based systems are limited in addressing the complex and individual change process. This research investigates the effectiveness and user-experience of a data-driven recommender system which tailors health messages by identifying patterns based on the similarity of other users.

Building sustainable C1-routes in a bacterium
Dr N.J.H.P. (Nico) Claassens, WUR - Laboratory of Microbiology

Methanol and other ‘1-carbon molecules’ are ideal sources for the production of biochemicals and biofuels. Unfortunately, microorganisms suitable for biotechnological production, such as Escherichia coli, cannot grow on these sources. The researcher will engineer possible genetic mutations in E. coli for eating onecarbon substrates, and learn which mutations are important.

Improve immune responses in HIV vaccination to obtain protection
Dr M.A.F (Mathieu) Claireaux, UvA – Medical Microbiology department

Rare patients develop super-antibodies that can block nearly all HIV viruses, these super-antibodies are very difficult to induce by vaccination. Tfh cells are specialized immune cells that regulate antibody production. These exceptional patients will teach us which Tfh cell responses are needed to get super-antibodies through vaccination.

The Status of Jews and Christians in the Islamic World: The Case of Islamic Spain
Dr M. Colominas Aparicio, UvA

Religious diversity in Islam is often controversial. Al-Andalus serves as a model in societal debates about minorities, but solid studies about the period are lacking. This project investigates the social reality of Jews and Christians in al-Andalus and wants to clarify knowledge about the history of minorities in Islamic societies.

Do dark matter particles interact with each other?
Dr C.A. (Camila) Correa (f), UvA - Institute for Molecules, Medicines and Systems

The nature of dark matter is a great unsolved mystery. The proposed research project will use state-of-the-art simulations to analyse signatures of forces between dark matter particles on galaxies colliding, filling a major gap in our understanding of dark matter.

Inventing the People: ideas of community in late-medieval encounters along the African Atlantic
Dr J. (Julia) Costa López, RUG - International Relations

How did we come to think of a world organized in nations? Can we imagine political communities without the nation? This project looks for answers by tracing how the idea of a political community evolved in the contacts between European and African peoples in the later Middle Ages.

D

Discovering how prior treatment can influence the success of radionuclide imaging and treatment
Dr S.U. Dalm, Erasmus MC - Dept of Radiology & Nuclear Medicine

Prostate cancer and breast cancer can be visualized and treated with targeted radioactive molecules. Prior treatment e.g. anti-hormonal treatment or chemotherapeutics can influence the success hereof. In this project the influence of prior treatment will be studied to determine when and in whom radioactive molecules can best be applied.

Preaching as mass-communication in Late Medieval Europe
Dr P. (Pietro) Delcorno, RU - Historical Literary and Cultural Studies (HLCS)

This project investigates preaching as a crucial form of mass-communication and foregrounds its transformative impact on late medieval European society. By focusing on the sermon collections that were widespread ‘bestsellers’ of the time, the research will shed light on the strategies used by preachers to define and impose religious identity.

The great escape
Dr P. (Paola) De Magistris, TUD – Bionanoscience

Genetic information is transcribed from DNA to RNA molecules, that exit from the cell nucleus to produce proteins. Scientists will unravel the mechanism of this crucial exit process by creating a minimalistic system mimicking export through the nuclear pores. This will potentially open new paths to study transport-related diseases. 

The fine line between life and death: Strategic location of public-access defibrillators
Dr D. (Derya) Demirtas, UT - Industrial Engineering and Business Information Systems

Strategic deployment of resources in advance for emergency preparedness is a challenging problem due to inherent uncertainties. A novel approach is proposed, leveraging mathematical optimization and data analytics methods. It is applied to Dutch cardiac arrest and defibrillator data to reduce response time and increase survival in an emergency.

How do fractures perish? Towards a theory of self-healing mechanics for clays
Dr ir. A.C. (Anne-Catherine) Dieudonné, TUD - Delft University of Technology

Clays have a superpower: like wounds heal, cracks in clays have the capability to naturally close and repair. The researcher will study the mechanisms of self-healing in clays at a microscopic scale to better predict the durability and stability of geotechnical structures, such as radioactive waste disposals, dikes and landfills.

Spacetime under the microscope
Dr A. (Antonio) Duarte Pereira Junior, RU - IMAPP, Faculty of Science

Quantum mechanics and general relativity are the two main pillars of theoretical physics. However, a consistent theory which allows to zoom in on the quantum structure of spacetime is missing.  This project combines strengths from different approaches to this problem to provide new key insights to quantum gravity.

Transition into a new state of matter
Dr A.D. (Andrea) Dubla, Nikhef
At high temperature and pressure, Quantum ChromoDynamics predicts a phase transition from ordinary matter into a plasma of free quarks and gluons. This research will analyse data from heavy-ion collisions at ultra-relativistic energies, which produce the optimal conditions to study and characterise this new state of matter. 

Big secrets of a tiny bug
Dr G. (Gaurav) Dugar, UvA - Bacterial Cell Biology

Many proteins are located at specific places inside a cell depending on their function. In bacteria, DNA and RNA can also be localized together with membrane proteins in a process called ‘transertion’. The aim of this project is to develop new techniques to study transertion and its effects in bacteria.

A telling story: how children develop as storytellers and mindreaders
Dr M.J. (Max) van Duijn, LEI - Leiden Institute for Advanced Computer Science

Stories help us “mindread” others: imagining how the world looks from their perspective. This project collects and analyses 500+ stories told by children of different ages. This way, it reveals connections between the development of children’s competence as storytellers and their ability to understand and empathise with others’ inner lives.

E

Embodied Reintegration: Complex-Victimhood and Reparations in Transitional Societies
Dr M.A. (María) Estrada-Fuentes, UvA – Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis/Centre for Latin American Research and Documentation

How do we repair relationships after war? This question is at the heart of Embodied Reintegration. This project investigates the role of the arts and theatre in repairing relationships and addressing harm inflicted during wartime. It seeks to develop innovative methodological approaches to reparation in transitional societies.

F

Drawn in or zoned out? Tracking the wandering mind during reading
Dr M. (Myrthe) Faber, Radboudumc - Department of Cognitive Neuroscience

Mind wandering is an important aspect of our rich inner lives, yet it is generally perceived negatively. I will challenge this assumption by studying the positive and negative effects of distinct types of mind wandering—which might arise from different cognitive and neural processes—on memory and comprehension during reading.

Unleashing the canine genome to reveal new genes involved in human diseases
Dr. H. (Hille) Fieten, UU

Dogs display genetic diseases closely resembling human hereditary diseases. Genetic studies in inbred dogs have more power compared to human genetic studies. I will identify disease-causing genes in inbred dogs and subsequently test them in humans. Results will improve diagnostics and prognostics of hereditary diseases in both man and dogs.

Vlogging for a healthier food intake
Dr F. (Frans) Folkvord (m), RU – Communication Science

Nowadays, children consume insufficient fruit and vegetables, that eventually causes multiple chronic diseases. The current project develops and investigates a new overarching theoretical model that explains and predicts whether, how, when, and for whom food-promotion techniques increase children’s fruit and vegetables intake, both on the short- and long-term.

Architected electrodes – from computer to battery
Dr ir. A.F.C. (Antoni) Forner-Cuenca, TU/e - Eindhoven University of Technology

Large-scale energy storage based on electrochemical conversions is essential to accelerate integration of intermittent renewable sources. In this project, novel electrodes with architected microstructures using a combination of computer simulations and experiments are designed and synthesized. These highly organized structures strongly enhance the performance of electrochemical storage systems.

Dangerous Liaisons
Dr K.M.A. (Katharine) Fortin, UU – The Netherlands Institute of Human Rights

Civilians in territory under the control of armed groups are in an especially precarious legal situation. This legal project focuses on civilian protection in rebel-held territory, exploring the idea that civilians are not only victims of war, but also able to play an active role in their own protection.

Learning meaning from structure
Dr. M. (Meaghan) Fowlie, UU

Personal digital assistants like Siri highlight the possibilities and challenges of building a computer that interacts with people using natural language. This research will create computer algorithms that automatically find sentence meanings by combining state-of-the-art ”deep learning” techniques from computer science with linguistic work on structure and meaning of sentences.

Brain cell information processing at the molecular scale
Dr A. (Amélie) Freal, NIN–KNAW – Axonal signaling

In the brain, cells communicate with each other using electrical signals. These cells continuously adapt their communication to the changes in our environment. Researchers will use new genetic approaches to visualize with live cell microscopy how the molecules generating electric signals rearrange for efficient information processing.

G

Finding objects in natural scenes
Dr S. (Surya) Gayet, RU - Donders Institute

When searching for an object in our surroundings we create a mental picture of the to-be-searched-for object. Depending on where we look (e.g., further away), however, an object will produce a different (i.e., smaller) image on the retina. This project aims to investigate how the brain solves this fundamental problem.

Smart tears: Tears to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease
Dr M. Gijs, UM - School for Mental Health and Neuroscience  

Cerebrospinal fluid analysis of disease-specific molecules (biomarkers) supports the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, but sampling requires invasive procedures. This research investigates whether tears contain the same (and new) information in order to diagnose the disease non-invasively and more easily in general practice.

Treatment of older patients with advanced melanoma - Towards personalized medicine
Dr N.A. de Glas, LUMC – Department of Medical Oncology Older patients with cancer are rarely included in immunotherapy trials, leaving oncologists with limited knowledge to make evidence-based treatment decisions. In this project, clinical, geriatric and immunological data will be generated in order to develop a prognostic model for clinical benefit of immunotherapy in older patients with melanoma.

Nonlinear Interconnected Systems: a Structural Approach
Dr G. (Giulia) Giordano, TUD – Delft Center for Systems and Control
Nonlinear interconnected dynamical systems are ubiquitous. Studying their behaviour is important, but challenging without knowing parameter values. This project develops a new structural approach to study the behaviour of classes of these systems, when only the system structure is known.

Vision for action: neural representation of real-world scene affordances in the human brain
Dr. I.I.A. (Iris) Groen, RU

Our ability to perform even the simplest acts in real-world environments depends on understanding the complex visual information we receive through our eyes. The researcher will study this process by combining neural network modeling of visual information processing with human brain imaging.

Peritoneal immune cells protect the intestine
Dr J. (Joep) Grootjans, AMC – Gastroenterology. 

Chronic inflammation affects the quality of life of patients with Crohn’s disease (CD). The researcher recently discovered that peritoneal cavity immune cells can protect the intestine. The researcher will further investigate this in man, with the ultimate goal of improving therapy for patients with CD.

Development of a novel wound-healing implant with mechano-stimulation and localized delivery
Dr Z. (Zeliha) Guler Gokce, UvA - University of Amsterdam

Women with pelvic organ prolapse who undergo surgery have lower risk on recurrence if their wound healing is better. We propose to design an implant that delivers estrogen to the surgical site with the intention to improve wound healing and reduce risk on recurrent prolapse.

H

Algorithms for sophisticated voting procedures
Dr R. (Ronald) de Haan, UvA - Institute for Logic, Language and Computation (ILLC)

When voting on complex matters, simple winner-takes-all voting rules are inadequate. More adequate voting rules are hard to compute. The researcher will use methods from theoretical computer science to find out which kind of algorithms work well for these rules.

Probing Lightning Dynimifs with LOFAR
Dr B.M. (Brian) Hare, RUG - Kapteyn

While lightning has been an object of scientific investigation for centuries, we do not understand how it is initiated or propagates through the sky. Researchers will use the LOFAR radio telescope to probe lightning with meter scale resolution, smaller than previously possible, to resolve the physics of lightning propagation.

Better protection against rotavirus with intestinal bacteria
Dr V.C. Harris, AMC - Department of Global Health  

Rotavirus the most common cause of serious, life-threatening diarrhea in young children.  Rotavirus vaccines can prevent the disease, but work less well in low-income countries in Asia and Africa. This research tests whether bacteria in children’s intestines (microbiome) can be used to improve rotavirus vaccine performance.

Decoding Speech from Minimally-Invasive Brain Signals
Dr. ing. C.E. (Christian) Herff, UM

Millions of people worldwide suffer from disabilities that hinder their ability to speak. A prosthesis directly translating brain activity into audible speech could enable these people to communication with friends and family. I aim to demonstrate the feasibility of such a prosthesis using a minimally invasive measure of brain activity.

Through the eyes of AI: safe and optimal integration of Artificial Intelligence in Radiology
Dr I. (Irene) Hernandez Giron, LEI - Leiden University

Artificial intelligence will shift the Radiology paradigm, supporting and even replacing radiologists in their diagnostic tasks. There is a risk that these technologies are applied without proper knowledge by users. This research will create a framework to validate and safely integrate artificial intelligence in the clinical workflow.

Minimally invasive, nanoparticle technology for neuromodulation
Dr S.A. (Sarah-Anna) Hescham, UM - Neurosurgery

Deep brain stimulation is an effective therapy in neurological and psychiatric patients. The procedure is invasive and requires the implantation of electrodes in the brain, which are wired to a pacemaker. This research aims to make deep brain stimulation wireless by the use of nanoparticles.

Brains in sync: Identifying the effects of mother’s anxiety during pregnancy on mother-infant neural synchrony
Dr M.I. (Marion) van den Heuvel, TiU

Not all mothers naturally connect with their infant after birth. This project will examine under which circumstances brains of mother and infant become synchronized and how synchronization may become disturbed when mothers suffer from prenatal anxiety. Results of this project will have implications for families, society, and policy makers.

Investing in inequality: how the increase in private housing investors shapes social divides
Dr C. (Cody) Hochstenbach, UvA - Urban Geographies

Housing increasingly serves as a site for investment. Structural housing-market transformations contribute to the rise of private housing investors buying property to rent out (“buy-to-let”). This project investigates the rise of private investors in the Netherlands, and investigates consequences for access to affordable housing, uneven wealth accumulation, and spatial inequality.

Understanding online and offline peer influence
Dr E.M. Hoeben, VU – Faculty of Law

When adolescents commit rule-breaking acts, they are generally with peers. However, we know little about the ways in which peers influence rule-breaking behavior. The proposed project aims to break down ‘peer influence’ into verbal and nonverbal cues in online and offline settings, and see how these cues relate to rule-breaking.

Bringing diagnostic accuracy to primary care 
Dr G.A. Holtman, UMCG - Department of General Practice and Elderly Care Medicine 

Tests must be evaluated before they can be used by general practitioners: however, this process is time-consuming and is usually only performed in hospitals. This researcher will develop a faster method that uses existing data from hospitals to evaluate whether tests could be useful in primary care.

Deciphering and targeting pathogenic IgG4 responses
Dr M.G.M. Huijbers, LUMC - neurology and human genetics 

IgG4 is a peculiar antibody. It does not activate inflammatory responses and, in contrast to other antibodies, binds two different antigens. This project will investigate whether the unique properties of IgG4 contribute to the development of IgG4-mediated autoimmune diseases and whether IgG4 immune cells can be therapeutically targeted specifically.

Semiconductor of the future
Dr E.M. (Eline) Hutter, AMOLF

Metal halide perovskites (MHPs) are expected to replace commercial semiconductors in several applications, such as solar cells, X-ray detectors and LEDs. However, some properties of MHPs remain unclear. In this project, the researcher will develop an experiment to unravel these properties, which will be vital for optimizing the envisioned applications.

J

Unraveling mechanisms for repair in failing kidneys
Dr J. Jansen, Radboud UMC, Pathology and Pediatric Nephrology

Acute kidney injury is characterized by high mortality rates and effective therapies are lacking. In few cases, the kidneys can recover from acute kidney injury but molecular mechanisms remain elusive. The researcher will elucidate molecular networks involved in kidney repair that will result in new therapeutic avenues.

Booming or blooming? The future of lakes in a changing world
Dr. A.B.G. (Annette) Janssen, WUR

Algal blooms turn lakes into toxic soups. Why are we unable to prevent them? This research studies the interaction between society and environment to find new solutions to prevent algal blooms. These solutions will help us to restore our lakes back to a healthy environment.

A better understanding of healthy aging
Dr G.E. Janssens, Amsterdam AMC - Genetic Metabolic Diseases

Aging is the major risk factor for age-related disease. By understanding the molecular pathways of aging, we can better understand how to promote healthy-aging. This multidisciplinary research looks at molecular causes of aging. This research also develops diagnostic tools to help understand age-related diseases and develops treatments for them.

Blocking communication of tumour cells to stop cancer progression
Dr O.G. (Olivier) de Jong, UMC Utrecht, Laboratory of Clinical Chemistry and Haematology.

Tumour cells are able to manipulate healthy tissues to support their growth and metastasis by delivery of RNA molecules via extracellular vesicles. Using a newly developed assay this research aims to unravel the mechanisms and pathways underlying this process, and uncover novel therapeutic targets to halt cancer progression.

Uncovering dopamine signaling in our brain
Dr B.C. (Bart) Jongbloets, UU – Biology Department & UMC Utrecht Brain Center – Translational Neuroscience

Chemical signals in our brain, like dopamine, impact drug addicts’ cravings. To intervene with these cravings, researchers need to understand where and how dopamine affects the brain. Using innovative microscopy techniques in understudied brain regions, this project reveals where dopamine signaling occurs and how these signals influence brain cell networks.

Do algorithms know better? First-person authority in the age of big data
Dr F. (Fleur) Jongepier, RU

Smart algorithms are increasingly knowledgeable about what we want or plan to do. The powerful liberal idea that individuals themselves ‘know best’ therefore has come under pressure. This project investigates the tensions between algorithmic authority and first-person authority, and develops a map of the relevant ethical implications.

K

Arithmetic properties of varieties over finite fields
Dr V.Z. (Valentijn) Karemaker, UvA - KdVI for Mathematics

Varieties over finite fields are geometric objects studied in number theory. We ask how many points a given variety has, and how many varieties exist with a given number of points. This proposal studies these questions for three classes of varieties: abelian varieties, K3 surfaces, and Drinfeld modules.

Optimizing exposure therapy for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
Dr R.A. (Rianne) de Kleine, LEI - Psychology

Although exposure therapy is the gold-standard treatment of posttraumatic stress-disorder (PTSD), only half of the patients adequately benefit from it. Based on recent insights into the mechanisms of extinction, this project examines strategies and techniques to improve exposure treatment outcome in PTSD.

No microbe is an island – interaction networks of nitrogen cycling microorganisms
Dr H. (Hanna) Koch, RU – Department of Microbiology

Nitrification represents a classic example for a beneficial interaction between two different functional groups and a key step in wastewater treatment. However, nitrifiers also interact with other members of the microbial population. This project aims to identify novel interaction partners and to better understand metabolic interaction networks of nitrifying microorganisms.

Improving resilience of global trade to climate extremes
Dr. E.E. (Elco) Koks, VU

This project quantifies the vulnerability of global trade to climate extremes, and provides guidance in the development of successful adaptation measures. To do so, a first-of-its-kind high-resolution disaster impact modelling framework will be developed, designed to estimate disruptions in global trade, integrating geospatial global databases and supply-chain impact assessment models.

Deciphering nature’s messages to improve gene therapy
Dr S.A.A. (Sander) Kooijmans, UU – Utrecht University

Cells in the human body communicate through tiny lipid particles containing genetic information. The researchers will investigate what information is carried by these particles and how it is exchanged between cells. This will possibly enable their use as natural carriers of novel medicines for incurable diseases.

Matriarchal Islam: Gendering Sharia in the Indian Ocean World
Dr M. (Mahmood) Kooriadathodi, LEI

Islam is generally interpreted as a patriarchal religion. This presupposition comes from reading the religion through a male-dominant perspective alone. This project turns to the Indian Ocean Islam for it offers a different understanding of several connected matriarchal Muslim communities, who all should be considered as part of the historical and human experiences of the Sharia.

Staying on top of smart technologies
Dr ir. S.C. (Lenneke) Kuijer, TU/e - Eindhoven University of Technology

The rise of smart technologies has both pros and cons. This research combines sociology and design research to develop new theory to better understand the changing role of smart technologies in everyday life. This theory will help smart technology developers anticipate future opportunities and risks during the design process.

Accounting for the unaccounted (ACCOUNT): A machine-learning based framework for estimating the population of invisible spaces in support of the SDG Slum Indicator
Dr. M. (Monika) Kuffer, UT

In global south cities, population statistics about poor neighbourhoods are often unavailable or ignore large proportions of poor inhabitants. However, such statistics are urgently needed to support slum improvement, disaster response and health interventions. This research utilizes satellite images, machine-learning and local data to estimate the amount of poor inhabitants.

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Small children, big worries: Argumentation at the neonatal care unit
Dr N.H.M. (Nanon) Labrie, VU - Athena Institute

At the neonatal care unit, it is important that doctors involve parents in the care of their new-born. Thereby, communication plays a crucial role. Supporting treatment recommendations with good reasons, doctors can improve parental involvement in decision-making. This project foresees i.a. the development of an argumentation training for neonatologists.

Captured Financial Authorities
Dr T. (Thomas) Lambert, EUR - Rotterdam School of Management (RSM)

After the crisis, most central banks received explicit responsibilities in the financial stability domain. As a result, their vulnerability to political pressures increased. This project analyses political dynamics at play within central banks and their impact on financial stability. This research uses new archival data and sophisticated statistical methods.

Microbial N2O respiration to combat climate change
Dr M. (Michele) Laureni, TUD - Faculty of Applied Sciences

N2O is a potent greenhouse gas, 300 times stronger than CO2. Denitrification is the only known microbial pathway capable to transform N2O to innocuous N2. This project proposes a multidisciplinary approach to advance our fundamental understanding of the principles controlling denitrification as a mean to counteract N2O emissions.

Social Norms, Body Weight, and Well-Being: A Multi-Method Comparison of Germany, Korea, the Netherlands, and the United States.
Dr L. (Liliya) Leopold, UvA - Department Sociology

Which body weight is socially accepted in modern societies? Do body-weight norms differ across countries? How do these norms affect the psychological well-being of those who conform or deviate? The aim of this project is to answer these questions using an innovative multi-method research design combining survey and experimental methods.

Trapped in Gender Stereotypes?
Dr C. (Chen) Li, EUR

The pursuit of gender equality is an uphill-battle where invisible stereotypes keep holding people back. This project uses techniques from behavioral economics to reduce stereotypes. It delivers a new measure of stereotypes and the resulting welfare costs, identifies biases that trap people in stereotypes, and provides new inequality-reducing tools.

Will the kids be alright? Predicting emotional development in adolescence
Dr C. J. (Caspar) van Lissa, UU – Methodology & Statistics

Adolescence is an important phase for learning to deal with emotions, but not all youth do so successfully. Some experience emotional problems, which undermine their relationships and mental health. I combine pedagogics and machine learning to predict which youth are at-risk for emotional problems, and investigate what role parents play.

Genetic nurture – how parental genes influence their children’s risk of depression through the environment
Dr H.M. van Loo - UMCG- Psychiatry

Depression runs strongly in families. Its transmission occurs partly through the genes that parents give their children. But parents’ genes may also act indirectly on their children, via the environment they provide, the so-called “genetic nurture”. This research uses new genomic methods to investigate this largely unknown pathway to depression.

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Molecular mousetraps for the treatment of innate immunity disorders
Dr ing. S. (Steven) de Maat, UU – Utrecht University

The enzymes of our immune system must be activated to perform their function, but if they work too hard, it can cause disease. The researcher will create molecular mousetraps to stop these enzymes. This new therapy strategy can be used to treat disorders of the immune system and other diseases.

Taming Quantum Adversaries
Dr C. (Christian) Majenz, QuSoft and UvA — Institute for Logic, Language and Computation

The push to develop a large-scale quantum computer has recently accelerated, putting cryptographers under pressure to ready their theory for quantum threats and opportunities. Christian Majenz will tame quantum attackers by bounding their power against hash functions, and solidify the quantum foundation of cryptography.  

Jumpstarting life on terrestrial planets
Dr M. (Melissa) McClure, LEI - Astronomy
Interstellar ices hold the initial organic molecular ingredients of life. The researchers will trace the evolution of ice chemistry as stars form, to determine the complexity of the molecules that are delivered to forming planets.

Towards understanding developmental disorders at a cellular level
Dr M. Meijer - VU - Dept. of Functional Genomics 

Mistakes in our genes can lead to mental retardation and epilepsy. The biological mechanism behind this is poorly understood, which hinders drug development. By studying brain cells which carry these genetic mistakes in the lab, researchers will generate insight into why these neurons do not function properly.

Refurbishing human fatty livers to increase the donor pool for transplantation
Dr V.E. de Meijer, UMCG - Department of Surgery

Due to widespread obesity, an ever-increasing share of donor livers is too fatty to be suitable for transplantation. In this project, hyperthermia is used to stimulate metabolism and mitigate reperfusion injury in machine-perfused livers. The goal is reconditioning of fatty livers to increase the number of donor livers for transplantation.

Who owes what to future generations?
Dr T. (Tim) Meijers, LEI – Institute for Philosophy

Many threats to the well-being of future generations, like climate change, are global in nature. Tackling them requires global cooperation. This project develops an approach to the fair allocation of the costs that come with protecting future people, taking existing global inequalities into account.

‘Credible’ or ‘Capricious’? The Reputational Cost of Party Policy Change
Dr M.J. (Maurits) Meijers, RU - Political Science

Political parties change their policy positions regularly, but how do such changes affect parties’ reputations in the eyes of the voters? Using experiments and large-scale analyses of voter preferences and party positions, this project examines when voters accept policy change as ‘credible’ and when they reject it as ‘capricious’.

The human side of environmental computer modelling
Dr ir. L.A. (Lieke) Melsen, WUR - Wageningen University & Research

Give different people the same recipe, the final dish will taste different. This is also true for computer models used for environmental predictions, like river discharge in response to climate change; different modellers will obtain different results. The researcher aims to quantify the effect of the human-factor in environmental modelling.

Plastipelagos: reimaging waste and post-plastic futures from the Caribbean
Dr K.M. (Kasia) Mika, KITLV

Plastipelagos examines how the Caribbean and its cultures provide new ways of thinking and addressing the global challenge of plastic waste. I turn to literature and visual arts to answer these questions: When plastic waste is everywhere what can art do? What futures are imagined amidst all the plastic waste?

First aid for a heart attack: towards a specific diagnostic tool in the blood circulation
Dr ir. A.M.A. Mingels, MUMC – Clinical Chemistry

A heart attack, or myocardial infarction, is diagnosed by detection of cardiac troponins in the blood. Unfortunately, the introduction of high-sensitivity techniques has come at the cost of specificity. I will investigate new tools to specifically detect the acute phase of myocardial infarction and clarify minimum release of cardiac troponins.

Vocal, Visible and Vaulting? (Dis)connected niche audiences in the age of artificial intelligence
Dr J.E. (Judith) Möller, UvA - Amsterdam School of Communication Research

This project studies the impact of algorithmic filter systems and artificial intelligence on specific segments of the population and niche audiences (fringe bubbles). It will contribute to our understanding of the consequences of AI for the public debate and the cohesion of the public sphere.

Righting and Rewriting History: Recovering and Analyzing Manuscript Archives Destroyed During World War II
Dr K.A. (Krista) Murchison, LEI – Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society

During World War II, thousands of irreplaceable manuscripts were destroyed. These destroyed collections, despite their enduring importance, remain largely ignored in conceptualizations of the archive. This project will advance ongoing discussions of the ‘immaterial archive’ and its social and historical significance by digitally recreating destroyed archives from four key nations.

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Autism, an imbalance in the brain?
Dr J. (Jill) Naaijen, RUMC

An important hypothesis regarding autism states an imbalance between glutamate (excitatory) and GABA (inhibitory) neurotransmission. However, this hypothesis has never been properly tested. This project will investigate the balance between these neurotransmitters and brain functioning directly to better understand the basis of repetitive behaviour and sensory symptoms in autism.

Remembering Dissent and Disillusion in the Arab World
Dr J.A. (Judith) Naeff, LEI Leiden University Centre for the Study of Islam and Society

This research project analyses experimental documentaries and fiction by young Arab makers about the protest movements of the 1970s in the region. The way in which they engage with this past reveals how they define their position in the dispiriting political context of the 2000s in the region.

Why is everybody watching me?! Working towards a novel model to explain social anxiety in adolescence
Dr S.A. (Stefanie) Nelemans, UU — Department of Youth and Family

Social anxiety strongly hampers adolescent development. But what characteristics make some adolescents vulnerable to develop social anxiety? And why is social anxiety so persistent over time? I address these questions focusing on a combination of biological, psychological, and social factors and integrate the novel insights into an innovative theoretical model.

What do u mean? Socially intelligent language processing
Dr D. (Dong) Nguyen, UU - Faculty of Science

Automatically analyzing human language plays a key role in many Artificial Intelligence systems. The researcher will develop new techniques to make computers understand the social aspects of language. The project will lead to more effective systems to automatically analyze and generate human language and new methods to study social phenomena.

What does not drown will be eroded away: predicting global river delta change in the 21st century
Dr Ir. J.H. (Jaap) Nienhuis, UU - Geosciences
River deltas are expected to drown and erode because of sea-level rise, subsidence, and reduced river sediment supply. Where and how fast deltas will change is still unknown. This research proposes a new framework and will predict change for all 10,000 river deltas globally.  

Genomic structural equation modeling elucidates psychiatric disease etiology
Dr M.G. (Michel) Nivard, VU

There are sharp differences of opinion on the causes and nature of psychiatric disease. I use innovative techniques derived from behavior genetics and the social sciences to contrast the existing models and arrive at an optimal consensus model for ADHD and depression.

Resilience of the Greenland snow buffer
Dr B.P.Y. (Brice) Noël, UU – IMAU

Multi-year snow (firn) currently buffers almost half of the meltwater produced at the Greenland ice sheet surface. This project explores how this buffer capacity evolves in a future warmer climate, potentially leading to tipping points in ice sheet mass loss. 

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Are you sure you didn't miss something?
Dr S.L. (Stéphanie) van der Pas, LEI - Mathematical Institute

Do vegetarians live longer because of their diet, or because they smoke less and exercise more? Establishing causality is a problem in many fields when an experiment is impossible. This research develops new statistical methods to draw more accurate causal conclusions from observational data.

Identifying protein motions in crystals
Dr N.M. (Nick) Pearce, VU - Amsterdam Institute for Molecules, Medicines and Systems

Understanding protein motions is fundamental for controlling how proteins work in living organisms. A key difficulty in protein crystallography is that we cannot see the mobile parts of proteins. The researcher will develop methods to identify the different poses that flexible parts of proteins adopt.

Cattle colours in East Africa
Dr S. (Sara) Petrollino, LEI – Leiden University Centre for Linguistics

The languages of cattle herders have incredibly complex expressions to refer to the colours and patterns of animal pelts. Little is known about how cattle colour systems work and this project investigates the semantic categorization and the expression of these perceptual domains across three East African languages.

Besieging the biofilm fortress
Dr B. Pijls, LUMC - Department of Orthopaedics

The main problem with infected implants is that microorganisms are organized in a biofilm, a fortress, protecting them against our immunesystem and antibiotics. I will use non-invasive induction heating to kill the micro-organisms and damage the biofilm fortress walls in order to cure the infection.

Solving large-scale adjustable robust optimization problems with machine learning
Dr K. Postek, EUR - Econometric Institute

Multi-stage optimization under uncertainty such as public transport scheduling or flood protection involves sequential decision making and information inflow. Solutions need to attain high performance and allow decision adjustments based on the new information. The aim is to combine adjustable robust optimization with machine learning to obtain best-possible decisions.

Nanomaterials for energy technologies
Dr L. (Loredana) Protesescu, RUG - Faculty of Science and Engineering (FSE), Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials

The latest revolution in materials for optoelectronics such as solar cells and light emitters has two drawbacks: the materials contain lead, which is toxic, and they are not very stable. Researchers will develop novel materials without lead and include a smart nano-encapsulation that protects the materials without diminishing its functionality.

Molecular ping-pong to study proteins
Dr S. (Sergii) Pud, LEI - Leiden Institute of Physics

Proteins are the building blocks of life and studying them provides the key to understand life and cure diseases. I will make a new tool for studying protein molecules one by one through engaging them in a gameof molecular ping-pong and observing their behaviour in it.

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Remember to forget your fears
Dr C.W.E.M. (Conny) Quaedflieg, UM

To some extent, we can all choose what to remember and what to forget. Stress-related disorders are characterized by deficits in this so-called intentional mnemonic control. This research shows us how stress impacts the brain to disrupt intentional memory control of fears and uses non-invasive brain stimulation to counteract these disruptions.

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Improving access to mental health care
Dr B. (Bastian) Ravesteijn, EUR

Some individuals with mental illness do not receive enough treatment, while others receive too much. This project uses the 2012 introduction of a copay in the Netherlands as a natural experiment to investigate the extent to which out-of-pocket payments can ensure optimal access to mental health care.

A new way to look at sugar structures
Dr K.R. (Karli) Reiding, UU – Faculty of Science

The function of antibodies within our immune system is highly influenced by their sugar coating, but it remains complicated to study the precise structure of these sugars. Using mass spectrometry, chemical derivatization and synthetic sugars, the researcher will develop methods to finally distinguish the different sugar structures on our antibodies.

Are millennials transforming politics? A study on generational differences in voting
Dr R.S.B. (Roderik) Rekker, UvA

There are growing differences in voting behaviour between youths and older voters. ‘Millennials’ are more likely to vote either radically progressive or for anti-immigration parties. This project examines how to explain this phenomenon, if it reflects a generational divide, and how likely it is that millennials will maintain their preference.

Exposing expansions in the genetics of brain diseases
Dr W. van Rheenen, UMC Utrecht, Neurology.

Genes greatly determine our risk of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and brain diseases. Certain genetic variation, “repeat expansions”, can cause brain diseases, but are hard to study and therefore often conveniently ignored. Using new methods, this research investigates repeat expansions in brain diseases using large groups of patients and brain tissues.

Risk Regulation in the European Regulatory State: Science-Based or Reputation-Induced?
Dr D. Rimkutė, LEI - Institute of Public Administration

Science-based risk regulation is inconsistent: agencies reach conflicting scientific conclusions when assessing risks to society. This project proposes bureaucratic reputation theory as a novel explanation: conflicting conclusions across agencies result from reputation-induced, strategic responses to reputational threats. The study uses machine learning algorithms to analyse big data published by agencies.

Do the right thing, without knowing everything
Dr Z.H. (Zoë) Robaey, TUD

Responsible innovation takes into account how professionals can act responsibly even when they lack knowledge. In biotechnology, this is challenging because innovations with living organisms are never fully controllable. My research develops a framework for biotechnology professionals to cultivate qualities for doing the right thing, even without knowing everything.

Mechanism of action of immunotherapy in Hodgkin lymphoma  
Dr M.G.M. Roemer, VUmc - Pathology 

Immunotherapy is a new, promising form of cancer treatment that stimulates immune responses against cancer cells. Encouraging results are seen in Hodgkin lymphoma, but little is known about the mechanism of action. I aim to investigate this, since this is crucial to identify those patients who will benefit from immunotherapy.

A Game of Thrones? Order and survival strategies of the Dutch Republic and Swiss Cantons!
Dr C.A. (Annemieke) Romein, UU

European monarchies and city-states have long attracted researchers’ attention. Conversely, this study teaches us how federation-states legitimised their authority, by focussing on providing good governance, order, and safety. Crucially, new rules had to be understandable and remember-able for everyone; and privileges and interests of groups had to be considered.

How does the nervous system control our reflexes during movement?
Dr ir. M.L. (Mark) van de Ruit, TUD - Delft University of Technology

We continuously use our reflexes to move optimally and deal with possible disturbances. But how does our central nervous system tune these reflexes? Researchers replace the old-fashioned reflex hammer with novel, quantitative assessment techniques to contribute to improved knowledge and diagnosis of movement disorders, for example after stroke.

Manioc roots: prehistory of Amazonia seen from the kitchen
Dr K.B. (Konrad) Rybka, LEI – Leiden University Centre for Linguistics

How manioc, a poisonous root, became the staple of Amazonia and changed the lives of prehistoric Amazonian peoples remains a mystery. By studying the traditional tools used in manioc processing though their indigenous names, museum collections, and ethnographic literature, researchers will reconstruct their spread and understand its sociocultural consequences.

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Tuning the test to the target
Dr G.IJ. (Gert) Salentijn, WUR - Wageningen University & Research

When it comes to food safety or clinical testing, measuring is key. Ideally, you can perform such measurements anywhere by yourself. But would you know what to measure, and how? The researcher will develop ‘smart’ test strips that auto-tune to the tested sample, to obtain a reliable result.

Already active disease before signs and symptoms?
Dr M.G.H. van de Sande - AMC - Rheumatology and clinical immunology

Despite advances in treatment options in chronic inflammation of the spine, deformity is not halted. Possibly, because inflammation and deformity starts in a phase before the disease is diagnosed. The researcher will study this phase to identify novel treatment targets that halt deformity.

Project title: What determines the resilience of tropical forests to drought and fire?
Dr M.T. (Masha)  van der Sande, UvA - Faculty of Science, Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics

Tropical forests are important for climate change mitigation because they take carbon from the atmosphere. This research will investigate how plant characteristics help forests survive droughts and fires. The results will help to develop effective forest management strategies, and safeguard the important role of forests in reducing climate change.

Challenging the elderly brain
Dr ir. S. (Sophie) Schmid, LEI - Leiden University

Vascular components contribute significantly to neurodegeneration in the elderly and constitute one of the first changes, long before clinical symptoms become overt. The researcher aims to develop MRI-tools suitable for use in a clinical setting to assess the status of the vasculature in the brain in a non-invasive way.

Health behavior in the context of healthy and unhealthy information
Dr C (Christin) Scholz, UvA - Amsterdam School of Communication Research

Multiple competing factors like anti-alcohol campaigns and party-loving friends influence daily health behavior. It is hard to describe how we integrate various factors in a decision. For our brains, this task is easy. This project examines young adults’ brain activity to understand how competing information about alcohol influence health-related decisions.

Obstacles for terrorism
Dr B.W. (Bart) Schuurman, LEI Institute of Security and Global Affairs

Most people who radicalize never actually become involved in terrorism. But why is this the case? This project studies this under-examined question through a unique comparative analysis that encompasses jihadists as well as right-wing extremists. The results will serve both the academic debate and the prevention of terrorism and radicalization.

Understanding and preventing discrimination in children’s helping behaviour
Dr J. (Jellie) Sierksma, VU - Social Psychology

This project examines how children help peers from different ethnic backgrounds and tests the consequences of receiving differential helping from peers. The project also proposes and tests an intervention for reducing biases in children’s inter-ethnic helping. This research is pivotal to preventing the negative impact of discrimination early in life.

Like a fish in water
Dr L (Lysanne) Snijders, WUR - Animal Sciences

Many wild animals see their environment continuously change, so also fish that live in rainforest streams. How do they find their food? The researcher will use field experiments to test which individual and social characteristics play a key role.

Into the cold: The adaptive role of pyrotechnology among the earliest modern humans in Europe, ca. 45,000–20,000 years ago
Dr A.C. (Andrew) Sorensen, LEI

The routine assumption that early modern humans in Europe were regular fire users who produced fire at will has never been tested against the archaeological record. This project will establish the role and forms of pyrotechnology in modern human adaptations to Ice Age middle and northern latitudes.

The host-parasite supergenome: an untapped source for disease resistances
Dr M.G. (Mark) Sterken, WUR - Wageningen University & Research

Currently, plant breeders consider disease resistance as the product of a simple gene-for-gene interaction between host and parasite. This view results in using a critically narrow genetic basis for resistance breeding in current cultivars. The superorganism concept assumes a complex, gradual co-evolution of genetic networks to uncover new disease resistances.

Nabataean Aramaic: a living language?
Dr B.D. (Benjamin) Suchard, LEI – Leiden University Centre for Linguistics

The ancient people known as the Nabataeans left us thousands of texts. They wrote in Aramaic, the lingua franca of their time. But the Aramaic of their texts was heavily influenced by Arabic. This project will investigate whether Nabataean Aramaic was ever spoken or was only used in writing.

In Inductive Logic, There Are No Morals: Carnap’s Philosophy of Scientific Reasoning
Dr M. (Marta) Sznajder, RUG

Rudolf Carnap’s inductive logic is a formal theory of how we learn from observations. This project will study the history and foundations of this theory. It will help us to understand how philosophy can be used to create better concepts and what it means for our beliefs to be rational.

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Efficient imaging of tissue-microstructure with MRI
Dr ir. C.M.W. (Chantal) Tax, UU - Utrecht University

MRI gives information on the structure of the microscopic building-blocks of living tissue. Combining different MRI techniques can give a more complete picture, but the measurements become more time-consuming and complex. The researcher will design methods to collect the most relevant MRI measurement-information in the shortest possible time.

Mechanics matter: high-resolution electromechanical mapping to unravel ventricular tachyarrhythmias
Dr R.M.A. ter Bekke, MUMC - Cardiology

It is generally perceived that abnormal electrical impulses per se can provoke life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias. However, the heart senses mechanical impact, and mechano-electric coupling can also trigger arrhythmia. This research will high-light the important influence of mechanics on the occurrence of ventricular ectopy and tachyarrhythmias.

A clock for the city, a clock for the forest
Dr B.M. (Barbara) Tomotani, Netherlands Institute of Ecology

Biological clocks adjust animals' rhythms to their environment. The clock of each animal ticks at a different rate and this also may change in different environments. This project studies city and forest birds to understand how clocks evolve and the effects of city life on clock selection and evolution.

Policy Implementation and Solidarity through EU funding
Dr E. (Lilian) Tsourdi, UM - Faculty of Law – International and European Law

Effective implementation and inter-state solidarity remain elusive in migration. EU migration funding could contribute in addressing these problems but is ill-designed. Using an original combination of legal and empirical analysis, this project analyses why, advances knowledge on the multi-level nature of the European administrative system, and formulates proposals for reform.

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Understanding the barriers of genetic exchange in hybrid plants
Dr C.J. (Charles) Underwood, WUR – Plant Breeding

Cultivated crops can be improved by hybridisation with related wild species. Hybrids between tomato and wild relatives are possible, but the exchange of genetic material between the two species is suppressed. This research aims to understand the barriers between plant species, and may lead to innovative breeding approaches.

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Conquering the tuberculosis fortress
Dr M. (Monica) Varela, LEI – Leiden Institute of Biology

Drug-resistant tuberculosis is the most lethal airborne disease worldwide. The causative bacteria hide in compact conglomerates of cells that limit effectiveness of antibiotics and host immune responses. The aim of this project is developing new therapies able to attack this ‘tuberculosis fortress’ and increase the effectiveness of current anti-tuberculosis therapies.

A Promise is a Promise! Unfolding the Electoral Ramifications of Political Compromises
Dr M.A.C.G. (Mariken) van der Velden, VU

Nowadays, political compromises seem to be extremely unpopular. This poses a problem for politicians’ ability to form stable coalitions to govern. My project studies the ramifications of compromises for politicians’ communication and voter behaviour utilizing virtual reality techniques, experiments and computational textual approaches.

Beyond the Myth of Westphalia: States, International Law, and the Monopolization of the Right to Wage War
Dr C. (Claire) Vergerio, LEI - Political Science

States, we are told, have monopolized the legal right to wage war since the seventeenth century and this arrangement has provided some basic stability in international relations. But is this really true? This project challenges this classic account and opens the way for rethinking the contemporary laws of war.

Strengthening democracy beyond ‘participation’: informal politics and inclusive urban development.
Dr N. (Nanke) Verloo, UvA - Urban Planning

Marginal groups are often characterized as politically inactive. Challenging that idea, this study uses innovative methods to involve stakeholders in studying how citizens voice demands in ways that are not recognized by formal participation procedures. The results offer new insights in citizens’ politics and practices for inclusive urban development.

Veterinary concerns: negotiating different values in the intensive livestock industry
Dr E. (Else) Vogel, UvA – Anthropology

Given global ecological problems, the intensive livestock industry is under increasing pressure to change. This project studies how veterinarians working in the industry negotiate between different values as they aim to provide good farm animal care. The research will contribute theoretical insights in human-animal relations and help develop successful governance.

Early detection of Alzheimer's with language characteristics
Dr J.M.J. Vonk, UMC Utrecht, Julius Center

Biological markers of Alzheimer’s pathology do not relate one-to-one with eventual clinical symptoms of cognitive impairment. Thus, there is a need for early cognitive markers. This project investigates a new score of a widely used neuropsychological test using language features to identify the earliest cognitive changes associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

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Friction on demand: To slide or not to slide
Dr B.(Bart) Weber, ARCNL

Friction and wear are responsible for 20% of the world energy consumption. Everybody learns in school about the friction coefficient: the ratio of frictional and normal force. What is the origin of this relation and how can we tailor the friction coefficient? That is the subject of this project.

Out of (the) woods – making the EU a global leader in fighting deforestation
Dr M. (Maria) Weimer, UvA - Amsterdam Centre for European Governance

International trade in agricultural commodities (e.g. palm oil) causes global deforestation undermining climate change mitigation. The EU has the market power to protect rainforests, but to be effective, EU sustainability standards must be accepted as legitimate abroad. This project shows how to make the EU a global leader in fighting deforestation.

Gatekeeping in the era of fake news: The effects of trust on online news consumption behaviour
Dr K. (Kasper) Welbers, VU – Communication Science

Despite much debate about the state of trust in online news sources, we know little about the effects of trust on online news consumption behavior. I link digital trace data with a panel-survey and content analysis to investigate these effects in unprecedented detail to enrich the media trust debate.

Apps and data infrastructures
Dr E.J.T. (Esther) Weltevrede, UvA – Media Studies

Apps have become an important part of our everyday life. However, how they operate is still largely unknown. This project develops novel digital methods to study how apps recombine, valorize and distribute data from various sources.

Improved projections of future Antarctic surface melt rates
Dr J.M. (Melchior) van Wessem, UU - Institute for Marine and Atmospheric research Utrecht (IMAU)

Uncertainties in sea-level rise projections largely come from the role of surface meltwater in affecting Antarctic deglaciation. In this project I use a polar climate model to simulate the complex interactions of the UU -atmosphere and underlying snow layer to better simulate contemporary and future meltwater production.

Zooming in on the messenger
Dr K.E. (Katrin) Wiese, UvA – Molecular Cytology

Cells use messenger molecules to communicate with each other. How they are able to produce the right messenger at the right time and place, however, is not known. In this project, the researcher will visualize specific regions of the DNA with microscopy to understand how cells make this important decision.

Expecting the unexpected through diversity?
Dr MGP (Monique) van der Wijst, UMCG – Genetics

During aging some cells become more alike, while others become more disparate. This has unclear consequences. Does this prepare cells for the unexpected? Or does it hinder efficient collaboration between cells? The researcher will determine the consequences of these changes on immune function during aging.

Novel imaging strategy towards improved monitoring and treatment of brain diseases
Dr B. Van der Wildt, Amsterdam UMC, location VUmc - Radiology and Nuclear Medicine.

Solving brain diseases including glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) and neuroinflammation are amongst the largest global pharmaceutical challenges. Novel treatment strategies focus on reprogramming microglia, the immune cells in the brain, to halt disease progression. With this research a molecular imaging strategy will be developed to study microglial reprogramming in disease treatment.

Germany’s climate science in an age of war and peace, 1871-1945
Dr R-J. B. (Robert-Jan) Wille, UU – Freudenthal Institute

This project analyzes the making of a European community of climate scientists as a consequence of Imperial Germany’s investment in both a national meteorology after 1871 and an international and colonial weather balloon program after 1900. Two World Wars did not stop its expansion but even catalyzed it further.

Printing of complex structures for musculoskeletal repair
Dr M.K. (Malgorzata) Wlodarczyk-Biegun, RUG - Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials

Healing of injuries in patients is particularly difficult in the areas where different tissue types are in contact, for example soft muscle and hard bone. This work utilizes the newest 3D printing technique to reconstruct these complex body zones.

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The secret lives of parasites in the liver during a malaria infection
Dr A.S.P. (Annie) Yang, RU -  Medical Parasitology

Malaria remains a significant infectious disease in tropical low-income countries. This parasitic disease begins with infection of the liver for which there is limited knowledge. This Veni will study how parasites find and manipulate “suitable” liver cells for their development.  Generated knowledge will be used for novel therapeutic intervention strategies.

Light up the brain: accelerating AI research with integrated photonics
Dr W. (Weiming) Yao, TU/e - Eindhoven University of Technology

Artificial intelligence impacts many areas of our modern lives. Neural networks play a key role but their computation with electronic hardware is time and energy consuming. This project investigates how artificial neurons can be realized in integrated photonics, possibly leading to faster and more efficient hardware for neural computation.

Fly Green: the climate friendly propulsion technology in future
Dr F. (Feijia) Yin, TUD - Delft University of Technology

While alternative fuels and electric propulsion are being considered for sustainable aviation, the subsequent climate impact remains ambiguous, as CO2 accounts for less than 50% of the total aviation radiative forcing. The true climate impact of the aforementioned technologies will be evaluated including the combined effects of CO2 and non-CO2.

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What makes cardiometabolic syndrome different in men versus women?
Dr. D.V. (Daria) Zhernakova, UMCG

Cardiometabolic diseases are the major cause of death worldwide, yet we still do not know why they are so different in men and in women. This project will identify the genetic, environmental and molecular basis of this sex difference and create a sex-specific risk prediction model for disease incidence.

Removing problematic water pollutants
Dr ing. F. (Frederik) Zietzschmann, TUD - Delft University of Technology

Water pollution is increasingly problematic due to industrial or pharmaceutical residues which are ever more resistant to degradation and removal. The researcher will develop new materials and process technologies to address these contaminants. The goal is to improve water quality and, ultimately, environmental and human health.

Life after growing up in out-of-home care
Dr M. V. (Mioara) Zoutewelle-Terovan, NIDI

The number of children living outside the parental home increases yearly, but we know too little about how they fare once they become adults. This study investigates how family formation, employment and crime in adulthood depend on the history of youth out-of-home care arrangements and available resources.

List sorted by NWO domain

Cross-domain

Room for health: how urban densification affects mental health
Dr. M.A. (Mariëlle) Beenackers, EUR

More people are living in cities. To accommodate this change, people need to live closer together. How healthy is that? With the help of residents, researchers will use innovative methods to study how recent increases in population density in the Randstad region of the Netherlands have affected mental health.

‘The ischemic fingerprint’: A predictive model to grade the viability and reversibility of ischemic brain injury
Dr. A.A. (Alex) Bhogal, UMCU

The mechanisms and metabolic consequences of ischemic brain injury are difficult to investigate using regular brain scans. With this proposal researchers will develop a novel MRI technology, ‘The Ischemic Fingerprint’, which uses advanced MRI imaging techniques to assess the viability and endurance of brain tissue suffering from ischemic injury.

Unleashing the canine genome to reveal new genes involved in human diseases
Dr. H. (Hille) Fieten, UU

Dogs display genetic diseases closely resembling human hereditary diseases. Genetic studies in inbred dogs have more power compared to human genetic studies. I will identify disease-causing genes in inbred dogs and subsequently test them in humans. Results will improve diagnostics and prognostics of hereditary diseases in both man and dogs.

Learning meaning from structure
Dr. M. (Meaghan) Fowlie, UU

Personal digital assistants like Siri highlight the possibilities and challenges of building a computer that interacts with people using natural language. This research will create computer algorithms that automatically find sentence meanings by combining state-of-the-art ”deep learning” techniques from computer science with linguistic work on structure and meaning of sentences.

Vision for action: neural representation of real-world scene affordances in the human brain
Dr. I.I.A. (Iris) Groen, RU

Our ability to perform even the simplest acts in real-world environments depends on understanding the complex visual information we receive through our eyes. The researcher will study this process by combining neural network modeling of visual information processing with human brain imaging.

Decoding Speech from Minimally-Invasive Brain Signals
Dr. ing. C.E. (Christian) Herff, UM

Millions of people worldwide suffer from disabilities that hinder their ability to speak. A prosthesis directly translating brain activity into audible speech could enable these people to communication with friends and family. I aim to demonstrate the feasibility of such a prosthesis using a minimally invasive measure of brain activity.

Booming or blooming? The future of lakes in a changing world
Dr. A.B.G. (Annette) Janssen, WUR

Algal blooms turn lakes into toxic soups. Why are we unable to prevent them? This research studies the interaction between society and environment to find new solutions to prevent algal blooms. These solutions will help us to restore our lakes back to a healthy environment.

Improving resilience of global trade to climate extremes
Dr. E.E. (Elco) Koks, VU

This project quantifies the vulnerability of global trade to climate extremes, and provides guidance in the development of successful adaptation measures. To do so, a first-of-its-kind high-resolution disaster impact modelling framework will be developed, designed to estimate disruptions in global trade, integrating geospatial global databases and supply-chain impact assessment models.

Accounting for the unaccounted (ACCOUNT): A machine-learning based framework for estimating the population of invisible spaces in support of the SDG Slum Indicator
Dr. M. (Monika) Kuffer, UT

In global south cities, population statistics about poor neighbourhoods are often unavailable or ignore large proportions of poor inhabitants. However, such statistics are urgently needed to support slum improvement, disaster response and health interventions. This research utilizes satellite images, machine-learning and local data to estimate the amount of poor inhabitants.

Autism, an imbalance in the brain?
Dr J. (Jill) Naaijen, RUMC

An important hypothesis regarding autism states an imbalance between glutamate (excitatory) and GABA (inhibitory) neurotransmission. However, this hypothesis has never been properly tested. This project will investigate the balance between these neurotransmitters and brain functioning directly to better understand the basis of repetitive behaviour and sensory symptoms in autism.

What makes cardiometabolic syndrome different in men versus women?
Dr. D.V. (Daria) Zhernakova, RUG

Cardiometabolic diseases are the major cause of death worldwide, yet we still do not know why they are so different in men and in women. This project will identify the genetic, environmental and molecular basis of this sex difference and create a sex-specific risk prediction model for disease incidence.

Applied and Engineering Sciences

Power-Efficient, mm-Size Radio Frequency Transceivers for Internet-of-Things Applications (PaTRIOT)
Dr M.B. (Masoud) Babaie, TUD - Delft University of Technology

Miniaturization of wireless implantable medical devices to sub-mm dimensions can play a critical role in our future healthcare systems. However, the size of those devices is currently limited by off-chip crystal oscillators. This proposal introduces a new digital-intensive solution to break that barrier and enable fully integrated and implantable radios.

Context-Aware Artificial Intelligence in Medical Image Analysis
Dr ir. E.J. (Erik) Bekkers, TU/e - Eindhoven University of Technology

The accurate mapping and analysis of patient-specific vascular networks is a complex task that is of great importance in medical diagnostics and surgery planning. The researcher will enable artificial intelligence systems to perform this task by equipping them with a sense of continuity, context, and hierarchy.

Sustainable plastics from artificial intelligence
Dr M.A. (Miguel) Bessa, TUD - Delft University of Technology

In an ideal world, end-of-life plastic products would be separated and recycled into pure plastics to be reused in new products. In reality, recycled plastics are a low performance plastic mixture. This work uses artificial intelligence to characterize and design these mixtures to achieve better performance than ever before.

Powering a Revolution with Carbon: Designing Commercial CO2 Electrolyzers
Dr T.E. (Thomas) Burdyny, TUD - Delft University of Technology

Our current energy infrastructure and economy requires an accelerated transition away from fossil fuels. Renewable electricity sources are a useful start in this revolution, but are unable to directly replace many fuels and chemicals. Here, researchers will design efficient systems which use electricity to convert CO2 directly into chemicals.

How do fractures perish? Towards a theory of self-healing mechanics for clays
Dr ir. A.C. (Anne-Catherine) Dieudonné, TUD - Delft University of Technology

Clays have a superpower: like wounds heal, cracks in clays have the capability to naturally close and repair. The researcher will study the mechanisms of self-healing in clays at a microscopic scale to better predict the durability and stability of geotechnical structures, such as radioactive waste disposals, dikes and landfills.

Architected electrodes – from computer to battery
Dr ir. A.F.C. (Antoni) Forner-Cuenca, TU/e - Eindhoven University of Technology

Large-scale energy storage based on electrochemical conversions is essential to accelerate integration of intermittent renewable sources. In this project, novel electrodes with architected microstructures using a combination of computer simulations and experiments are designed and synthesized. These highly organized structures strongly enhance the performance of electrochemical storage systems.

Development of a novel wound-healing implant with mechano-stimulation and localized delivery
Dr Z. (Zeliha) Guler Gokce, UvA - University of Amsterdam

Women with pelvic organ prolapse who undergo surgery have lower risk on recurrence if their wound healing is better. We propose to design an implant that delivers estrogen to the surgical site with the intention to improve wound healing and reduce risk on recurrent prolapse.

Through the eyes of AI: safe and optimal integration of Artificial Intelligence in Radiology
Dr I. (Irene) Hernandez Giron, LEI - Leiden University

Artificial intelligence will shift the Radiology paradigm, supporting and even replacing radiologists in their diagnostic tasks. There is a risk that these technologies are applied without proper knowledge by users. This research will create a framework to validate and safely integrate artificial intelligence in the clinical workflow.

Deciphering nature’s messages to improve gene therapy
Dr S.A.A. (Sander) Kooijmans, UU – Utrecht University

Cells in the human body communicate through tiny lipid particles containing genetic information. The researchers will investigate what information is carried by these particles and how it is exchanged between cells. This will possibly enable their use as natural carriers of novel medicines for incurable diseases.

Staying on top of smart technologies
Dr ir. S.C. (Lenneke) Kuijer, TU/e - Eindhoven University of Technology

The rise of smart technologies has both pros and cons. This research combines sociology and design research to develop new theory to better understand the changing role of smart technologies in everyday life. This theory will help smart technology developers anticipate future opportunities and risks during the design process.

Molecular mousetraps for the treatment of innate immunity disorders
Dr ing. S. (Steven) de Maat, UU – Utrecht University

The enzymes of our immune system must be activated to perform their function, but if they work too hard, it can cause disease. The researcher will create molecular mousetraps to stop these enzymes. This new therapy strategy can be used to treat disorders of the immune system and other diseases.

The human side of environmental computer modelling
Dr ir. L.A. (Lieke) Melsen, WUR - Wageningen University & Research

Give different people the same recipe, the final dish will taste different. This is also true for computer models used for environmental predictions, like river discharge in response to climate change; different modellers will obtain different results. The researcher aims to quantify the effect of the human-factor in environmental modelling.

How does the nervous system control our reflexes during movement?
Dr ir. M.L. (Mark) van de Ruit, TUD - Delft University of Technology

We continuously use our reflexes to move optimally and deal with possible disturbances. But how does our central nervous system tune these reflexes? Researchers replace the old-fashioned reflex hammer with novel, quantitative assessment techniques to contribute to improved knowledge and diagnosis of movement disorders, for example after stroke.

Tuning the test to the target
Dr G.IJ. (Gert) Salentijn, WUR - Wageningen University & Research

When it comes to food safety or clinical testing, measuring is key. Ideally, you can perform such measurements anywhere by yourself. But would you know what to measure, and how? The researcher will develop ‘smart’ test strips that auto-tune to the tested sample, to obtain a reliable result.

Challenging the elderly brain
Dr ir. S. (Sophie) Schmid, LEI - Leiden University

Vascular components contribute significantly to neurodegeneration in the elderly and constitute one of the first changes, long before clinical symptoms become overt. The researcher aims to develop MRI-tools suitable for use in a clinical setting to assess the status of the vasculature in the brain in a non-invasive way.

The host-parasite supergenome: an untapped source for disease resistances
Dr M.G. (Mark) Sterken, WUR - Wageningen University & Research

Currently, plant breeders consider disease resistance as the product of a simple gene-for-gene interaction between host and parasite. This view results in using a critically narrow genetic basis for resistance breeding in current cultivars. The superorganism concept assumes a complex, gradual co-evolution of genetic networks to uncover new disease resistances.

Efficient imaging of tissue-microstructure with MRI
Dr ir. C.M.W. (Chantal) Tax, UU - Utrecht University

MRI gives information on the structure of the microscopic building-blocks of living tissue. Combining different MRI techniques can give a more complete picture, but the measurements become more time-consuming and complex. The researcher will design methods to collect the most relevant MRI measurement-information in the shortest possible time.

Light up the brain: accelerating AI research with integrated photonics
Dr W. (Weiming) Yao, TU/e - Eindhoven University of Technology

Artificial intelligence impacts many areas of our modern lives. Neural networks play a key role but their computation with electronic hardware is time and energy consuming. This project investigates how artificial neurons can be realized in integrated photonics, possibly leading to faster and more efficient hardware for neural computation.

Fly Green: the climate friendly propulsion technology in future
Dr F. (Feijia) Yin, TUD - Delft University of Technology

While alternative fuels and electric propulsion are being considered for sustainable aviation, the subsequent climate impact remains ambiguous, as CO2 accounts for less than 50% of the total aviation radiative forcing. The true climate impact of the aforementioned technologies will be evaluated including the combined effects of CO2 and non-CO2.

Removing problematic water pollutants
Dr ing. F. (Frederik) Zietzschmann, TUD - Delft University of Technology

Water pollution is increasingly problematic due to industrial or pharmaceutical residues which are ever more resistant to degradation and removal. The researcher will develop new materials and process technologies to address these contaminants. The goal is to improve water quality and, ultimately, environmental and human health.

Science

The other way: investigating an alternative mechanism for bone formation
Dr A. (Anat) Akiva, TU/e - Department of Biomedical Engineering

Although bone is a vital organ, little is understood on its formation processes. Here, by building “bone on a chip”, researchers will investigate the bio-chemical processes that control bone mineralization, and in particular, the role of blood plasma in this process. This research can lead to new bone disease treatments.

Fair Division in Dynamic Environments with Social Structure
Dr G. (Georgios) Amanatidis, UvA – Institute for Logic, Language and Computation (ILLC)

A crucial objective when allocating resources is that this is done in a commonly acceptable manner. This research introduces suitable definitions of fairness in situations where the available resources change over time, as does for instance a food bank’s inventory, and designs procedures that always output fair allocations. 

The wisdom of plants: Blocking pathogen’s emergency exit to restore antimicrobial efficiency
Dr C.M. (Carla) Araya-Cloutier, WUR – Laboratory of Food Chemistry

Bacteria can survive antibiotics by pumping them out of their cells using efflux pumps. Stressed plants produce compounds that block these efflux pumps. To restore antibiotics’ efficiency, researchers will propose novel efflux pump blockers from stressed plants, and study their operation with the aid of innovative computer modelling tools.

“Hot” electrons to improve light-to-heat anticancer therapy
Dr S.H.C. (Sven) Askes, AMOLF - Nanoscale Solar Cells

Golden nanoparticles heat up and destroy tumors when illuminated with red light. Sometimes, the light can instead cause ejection of highly energetic, “hot” electrons from the nanoparticle, which also cause cell death. The researcher uses a different material to increase the amount of hot electrons and develop a combined therapy.

Composable and Safe-by-Construction Programming Language Definitions
Dr C. (Casper) Bach Poulsen, TUD – Department of Software Technology Type-checked languages are essential tools for developing robust software because they automatically guarantee the absence of certain errors. But the complexity of defining and composing type-checked languages hinders language innovation and improvement. This research project will reduce that complexity.

Mathematical programming: a new approach to data analysis revealing the cause of genetic diseases
Dr M. (Marleen) Balvert, CWI - Life Sciences & Health

Many incurable diseases have a genetic cause. Researchers around the world are currently generating many large genome datasets to track down the cause of these diseases. This research aims at developing data analysis techniques to identify the relationship between genetics and disease that lie hidden in these datasets.

Social networks in a rapidly changing world
Dr A.I. (Allert) Bijleveld, NIOZ – Department of Coastal Systems

Many animals live in groups and are engaged in networks of social interactions. How social networks facilitate social learning in the wild is largely unknown. This project aims at understanding how personality and the environment interact to facilitate social learning in wild populations and increase resilience to rapid environmental change.

Green building blocks
Dr ing. D.L.J. (Daniël) Broere, UU - Debye Institute for Nanomaterials Science

Nearly all chemical building blocks come from fossil resources, which are running out. Plant waste contains similar building blocks but has them trapped in complex structures. The researcher will develop catalysts that can utilize these plant waste-derived building blocks. 

Rough curvature in the universe
Dr A.Y. (Annegret) Burtscher, RU - Mathematics

Einstein described our universe as a geometric object combining space and time. The curvature of this spacetime determines how light and objects travel. Inside black holes the curvature blows up and cannot be computed classically. This project explores new ways to control the curvature based on more robust geometric estimates.

Tuberculosis treatment with a Trojan horse
Dr J. (Jeffrey) Buter, RUG - Stratingh Institute for Chemistry

Mycobacterium tuberculosis kills 1.5 million people annually, and becomes antibiotic resistant. Development of new and efficient treatments are urgent. By using the bacterium’s own metabolism, new medicine can be incorporated in the bacterial cell wall (Trojan horse strategy), which after activation by light can kill the bacterial infection.

Life around a radio star
Dr J.R. (Joseph) Callingham, LEI - Leiden Observatory

Astronomers can now easily identify planets outside our Solar System. However, it remains a mystery if such planets can host life. This project will conduct a radio survey of nearby stars to discover the type of space weather such planets experience, and whether those conditions allow such planets to be habitable. 

Building sustainable C1-routes in a bacterium
Dr N.J.H.P. (Nico) Claassens, WUR - Laboratory of Microbiology

Methanol and other ‘1-carbon molecules’ are ideal sources for the production of biochemicals and biofuels. Unfortunately, microorganisms suitable for biotechnological production, such as Escherichia coli, cannot grow on these sources. The researcher will engineer possible genetic mutations in E. coli for eating onecarbon substrates, and learn which mutations are important.

Improve immune responses in HIV vaccination to obtain protection
Dr M.A.F (Mathieu) Claireaux, UvA – Medical Microbiology department

Rare patients develop super-antibodies that can block nearly all HIV viruses, these super-antibodies are very difficult to induce by vaccination. Tfh cells are specialized immune cells that regulate antibody production. These exceptional patients will teach us which Tfh cell responses are needed to get super-antibodies through vaccination.

Do dark matter particles interact with each other?
Dr C.A. (Camila) Correa (f), UvA - Institute for Theoretical Physics

The nature of dark matter is a great unsolved mystery. The proposed research project will use state-of-the-art simulations to analyse signatures of forces between dark matter particles on galaxies colliding, filling a major gap in our understanding of dark matter.

The great escape
Dr P. (Paola) De Magistris, TUD – Bionanoscience

Genetic information is transcribed from DNA to RNA molecules, that exit from the cell nucleus to produce proteins. Scientists will unravel the mechanism of this crucial exit process by creating a minimalistic system mimicking export through the nuclear pores. This will potentially open new paths to study transport-related diseases. 

Spacetime under the microscope
Dr A. (Antonio) Duarte Pereira Junior, RU - IMAPP, Faculty of Science

Quantum mechanics and general relativity are the two main pillars of theoretical physics. However, a consistent theory which allows to zoom in on the quantum structure of spacetime is missing.  This project combines strengths from different approaches to this problem to provide new key insights to quantum gravity.

Transition into a new state of matter
Dr A.D. (Andrea) Dubla, Nikhef
At high temperature and pressure, Quantum ChromoDynamics predicts a phase transition from ordinary matter into a plasma of free quarks and gluons. This research will analyse data from heavy-ion collisions at ultra-relativistic energies, which produce the optimal conditions to study and characterise this new state of matter. 

Big secrets of a tiny bug
Dr G. (Gaurav) Dugar, UvA - Bacterial Cell Biology

Many proteins are located at specific places inside a cell depending on their function. In bacteria, DNA and RNA can also be localized together with membrane proteins in a process called ‘transertion’. The aim of this project is to develop new techniques to study transertion and its effects in bacteria.

Brain cell information processing at the molecular scale
Dr A. (Amélie) Freal, NIN–KNAW – Axonal signaling

In the brain, cells communicate with each other using electrical signals. These cells continuously adapt their communication to the changes in our environment. Researchers will use new genetic approaches to visualize with live cell microscopy how the molecules generating electric signals rearrange for efficient information processing.

Nonlinear Interconnected Systems: a Structural Approach
Dr G. (Giulia) Giordano, TUD – Delft Center for Systems and Control
Nonlinear interconnected dynamical systems are ubiquitous. Studying their behaviour is important, but challenging without knowing parameter values. This project develops a new structural approach to study the behaviour of classes of these systems, when only the system structure is known.

Algorithms for sophisticated voting procedures
Dr R. (Ronald) de Haan, UvA - Institute for Logic, Language and Computation (ILLC)

When voting on complex matters, simple winner-takes-all voting rules are inadequate. More adequate voting rules are hard to compute. The researcher will use methods from theoretical computer science to find out which kind of algorithms work well for these rules.

Probing Lightning Dynimifs with LOFAR
Dr B.M. (Brian) Hare, RUG - Kapteyn

While lightning has been an object of scientific investigation for centuries, we do not understand how it is initiated or propagates through the sky. Researchers will use the LOFAR radio telescope to probe lightning with meter scale resolution, smaller than previously possible, to resolve the physics of lightning propagation.

Minimally invasive, nanoparticle technology for neuromodulation
Dr S.A. (Sarah-Anna) Hescham, UM - Neurosurgery

Deep brain stimulation is an effective therapy in neurological and psychiatric patients. The procedure is invasive and requires the implantation of electrodes in the brain, which are wired to a pacemaker. This research aims to make deep brain stimulation wireless by the use of nanoparticles.

Semiconductor of the future
Dr E.M. (Eline) Hutter, AMOLF

Metal halide perovskites (MHPs) are expected to replace commercial semiconductors in several applications, such as solar cells, X-ray detectors and LEDs. However, some properties of MHPs remain unclear. In this project, the researcher will develop an experiment to unravel these properties, which will be vital for optimizing the envisioned applications.

Blocking communication of tumour cells to stop cancer progression
Dr O.G. (Olivier) de Jong, UMC Utrecht, Laboratory of Clinical Chemistry and Haematology.

Tumour cells are able to manipulate healthy tissues to support their growth and metastasis by delivery of RNA molecules via extracellular vesicles. Using a newly developed assay this research aims to unravel the mechanisms and pathways underlying this process, and uncover novel therapeutic targets to halt cancer progression.

Uncovering dopamine signaling in our brain
Dr B.C. (Bart) Jongbloets, UU – Biology Department

Chemical signals in our brain, like dopamine, impact drug addicts’ cravings. To intervene with these cravings, researchers need to understand where and how dopamine affects the brain. Using innovative microscopy techniques in understudied brain regions, this project reveals where dopamine signaling occurs and how these signals influence brain cell networks.

Arithmetic properties of varieties over finite fields
Dr V.Z. (Valentijn) Karemaker, UvA - KdVI for Mathematics

Varieties over finite fields are geometric objects studied in number theory. We ask how many points a given variety has, and how many varieties exist with a given number of points. This proposal studies these questions for three classes of varieties: abelian varieties, K3 surfaces, and Drinfeld modules.

No microbe is an island – interaction networks of nitrogen cycling microorganisms
Dr H. (Hanna) Koch, RU – Department of Microbiology

Nitrification represents a classic example for a beneficial interaction between two different functional groups and a key step in wastewater treatment. However, nitrifiers also interact with other members of the microbial population. This project aims to identify novel interaction partners and to better understand metabolic interaction networks of nitrifying microorganisms.

Microbial N2O respiration to combat climate change
Dr M. (Michele) Laureni, TUD - Faculty of Applied Sciences

N2O is a potent greenhouse gas, 300 times stronger than CO2. Denitrification is the only known microbial pathway capable to transform N2O to innocuous N2. This project proposes a multidisciplinary approach to advance our fundamental understanding of the principles controlling denitrification as a mean to counteract N2O emissions.

Taming Quantum Adversaries
Dr C. (Christian) Majenz, QuSoft and UvA — Institute for Logic, Language and Computation

The push to develop a large-scale quantum computer has recently accelerated, putting cryptographers under pressure to ready their theory for quantum threats and opportunities. Christian Majenz will tame quantum attackers by bounding their power against hash functions, and solidify the quantum foundation of cryptography.  

Jumpstarting life on terrestrial planets
Dr M. (Melissa) McClure, LEI - Astronomy
Interstellar ices hold the initial organic molecular ingredients of life. The researchers will trace the evolution of ice chemistry as stars form, to determine the complexity of the molecules that are delivered to forming planets.

What do u mean? Socially intelligent language processing
Dr D. (Dong) Nguyen, UU - Faculty of Science

Automatically analyzing human language plays a key role in many Artificial Intelligence systems. The researcher will develop new techniques to make computers understand the social aspects of language. The project will lead to more effective systems to automatically analyze and generate human language and new methods to study social phenomena.

What does not drown will be eroded away: predicting global river delta change in the 21st century
Dr Ir. J.H. (Jaap) Nienhuis, UU - Geosciences
River deltas are expected to drown and erode because of sea-level rise, subsidence, and reduced river sediment supply. Where and how fast deltas will change is still unknown. This research proposes a new framework and will predict change for all 10,000 river deltas globally.  

Resilience of the Greenland snow buffer
Dr B.P.Y. (Brice) Noël, UU – IMAU

Multi-year snow (firn) currently buffers almost half of the meltwater produced at the Greenland ice sheet surface. This project explores how this buffer capacity evolves in a future warmer climate, potentially leading to tipping points in ice sheet mass loss. 

Are you sure you didn't miss something?
Dr S.L. (Stéphanie) van der Pas, LEI - Mathematical Institute

Do vegetarians live longer because of their diet, or because they smoke less and exercise more? Establishing causality is a problem in many fields when an experiment is impossible. This research develops new statistical methods to draw more accurate causal conclusions from observational data.

Identifying protein motions in crystals
Dr N.M. (Nick) Pearce, VU - Amsterdam Institute for Molecules, Medicines and Systems

Understanding protein motions is fundamental for controlling how proteins work in living organisms. A key difficulty in protein crystallography is that we cannot see the mobile parts of proteins. The researcher will develop methods to identify the different poses that flexible parts of proteins adopt.

Nanomaterials for energy technologies
Dr L. (Loredana) Protesescu, RUG - Faculty of Science and Engineering (FSE), Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials

The latest revolution in materials for optoelectronics such as solar cells and light emitters has two drawbacks: the materials contain lead, which is toxic, and they are not very stable. Researchers will develop novel materials without lead and include a smart nano-encapsulation that protects the materials without diminishing its functionality.

Molecular ping-pong to study proteins
Dr S. (Sergii) Pud, LEI - Leiden Institute of Physics

Proteins are the building blocks of life and studying them provides the key to understand life and cure diseases. I will make a new tool for studying protein molecules one by one through engaging them in a gameof molecular ping-pong and observing their behaviour in it.

A new way to look at sugar structures
Dr K.R. (Karli) Reiding, UU – Faculty of Science

The function of antibodies within our immune system is highly influenced by their sugar coating, but it remains complicated to study the precise structure of these sugars. Using mass spectrometry, chemical derivatization and synthetic sugars, the researcher will develop methods to finally distinguish the different sugar structures on our antibodies.

Project title: What determines the resilience of tropical forests to drought and fire?
Dr M.T. (Masha)  van der Sande, UvA - Faculty of Science, Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics

Tropical forests are important for climate change mitigation because they take carbon from the atmosphere. This research will investigate how plant characteristics help forests survive droughts and fires. The results will help to develop effective forest management strategies, and safeguard the important role of forests in reducing climate change.

Like a fish in water
Dr L (Lysanne) Snijders, WUR - Animal Sciences

Many wild animals see their environment continuously change, so also fish that live in rainforest streams. How do they find their food? The researcher will use field experiments to test which individual and social characteristics play a key role.

A clock for the city, a clock for the forest
Dr B.M. (Barbara) Tomotani, Netherlands Institute of Ecology

Biological clocks adjust animals' rhythms to their environment. The clock of each animal ticks at a different rate and this also may change in different environments. This project studies city and forest birds to understand how clocks evolve and the effects of city life on clock selection and evolution.

Understanding the barriers of genetic exchange in hybrid plants
Dr C.J. (Charles) Underwood, WUR – Plant Breeding

Cultivated crops can be improved by hybridisation with related wild species. Hybrids between tomato and wild relatives are possible, but the exchange of genetic material between the two species is suppressed. This research aims to understand the barriers between plant species, and may lead to innovative breeding approaches.

V

Conquering the tuberculosis fortress
Dr M. (Monica) Varela, LEI – Leiden Institute of Biology

Drug-resistant tuberculosis is the most lethal airborne disease worldwide. The causative bacteria hide in compact conglomerates of cells that limit effectiveness of antibiotics and host immune responses. The aim of this project is developing new therapies able to attack this ‘tuberculosis fortress’ and increase the effectiveness of current anti-tuberculosis therapies.

Friction on demand: To slide or not to slide
Dr B.(Bart) Weber, ARCNL

Friction and wear are responsible for 20% of the world energy consumption. Everybody learns in school about the friction coefficient: the ratio of frictional and normal force. What is the origin of this relation and how can we tailor the friction coefficient? That is the subject of this project.

Improved projections of future Antarctic surface melt rates
Dr J.M. (Melchior) van Wessem, UU - Institute for Marine and Atmospheric research Utrecht (IMAU)

Uncertainties in sea-level rise projections largely come from the role of surface meltwater in affecting Antarctic deglaciation. In this project I use a polar climate model to simulate the complex interactions of the UU -atmosphere and underlying snow layer to better simulate contemporary and future meltwater production.

Zooming in on the messenger
Dr K.E. (Katrin) Wiese, UvA – Molecular Cytology

Cells use messenger molecules to communicate with each other. How they are able to produce the right messenger at the right time and place, however, is not known. In this project, the researcher will visualize specific regions of the DNA with microscopy to understand how cells make this important decision.

Expecting the unexpected through diversity?
Dr MGP (Monique) van der Wijst, UMCG – Genetics

During aging some cells become more alike, while others become more disparate. This has unclear consequences. Does this prepare cells for the unexpected? Or does it hinder efficient collaboration between cells? The researcher will determine the consequences of these changes on immune function during aging.

Novel imaging strategy towards improved monitoring and treatment of brain diseases
Dr B. Van der Wildt, Amsterdam UMC, location VUmc - Radiology and Nuclear Medicine.

Solving brain diseases including glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) and neuroinflammation are amongst the largest global pharmaceutical challenges. Novel treatment strategies focus on reprogramming microglia, the immune cells in the brain, to halt disease progression. With this research a molecular imaging strategy will be developed to study microglial reprogramming in disease treatment.

Printing of complex structures for musculoskeletal repair
Dr M.K. (Malgorzata) Wlodarczyk-Biegun, RUG - Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials

Healing of injuries in patients is particularly difficult in the areas where different tissue types are in contact, for example soft muscle and hard bone. This work utilizes the newest 3D printing technique to reconstruct these complex body zones.

The secret lives of parasites in the liver during a malaria infection
Dr A.S.P. (Annie) Yang, RU -  Medical Parasitology

Malaria remains a significant infectious disease in tropical low-income countries. This parasitic disease begins with infection of the liver for which there is limited knowledge. This Veni will study how parasites find and manipulate “suitable” liver cells for their development.  Generated knowledge will be used for novel therapeutic intervention strategies.

Social Sciences and Humanities

From Cash to Trash: How Price Promotions Impact Food Waste
Dr A. (Aylin) Aydinli, VU - School of Business and Economics

Marketing is often blamed for generating food waste. Instead of being the cause, marketing can help reduce food waste and thus contribute to a better world. My project investigates the link between price promotions and food waste and identifies ways in which price promotions can stimulate sustainable food consumption.

The Sense of Touch: from Anomaly to Paradigm
Dr C. (Chiara) Beneduce, RU – CHPS

While in Antiquity the sense of touch was regarded as anomalous, as it lacked a specific organ and a proper object, it became the standard model for explaining sense perception in the seventeenth century. How did late medieval and Renaissance philosophical and medical sources contribute to this paradigm shift?

Better service in case of emergency
Dr P.L. (Pieter) van den Berg, EUR - Rotterdam School of Management

Services like ambulance care and roadside assistance consist of quickly bringing the right resource to the user’s location. The researcher will develop optimization models to improve the performance of these services by better distribution of vehicles over the region and better assignment of vehicles to requests.

Changing networks: New models to detect changes in psychiatric disorders
Dr L.F. (Laura) Bringmann, RUG - Behavioural and Social Sciences

Symptom networks are a new way of studying psychiatric disorders such as depression. However, current network models cannot change over time. To better understand how patients progress into and out of a disorder, this research will develop a network model that can change over time.

Back to Nightingale: A social network perspective on the development of professional commitment in nurses
Dr J. Brouwer, RUG - Behavioural and Social Sciences

Prematurely leaving a profession due to declining professional commitment creates labour shortage concerns in nursing. Using a social network perspective, this research investigates the role of social support; social network and work experience data gathered by multiple methods will establish insights into nurses’ professional commitment.

New approach to tailoring in dHealth interventions:

application of recommender systems
Dr K.L. (Kei Long) Cheung, UM

Tailored digital health interventions base their algorithms on (theoretical) assumptions. Accordingly, these rule-based systems are limited in addressing the complex and individual change process. This research investigates the effectiveness and user-experience of a data-driven recommender system which tailors health messages by identifying patterns based on the similarity of other users.

The Status of Jews and Christians in the Islamic World: The Case of Islamic Spain
Dr M. Colominas Aparicio, UvA

Religious diversity in Islam is often controversial. Al-Andalus serves as a model in societal debates about minorities, but solid studies about the period are lacking. This project investigates the social reality of Jews and Christians in al-Andalus and wants to clarify knowledge about the history of minorities in Islamic societies.

Inventing the People: ideas of community in late-medieval encounters along the African Atlantic
Dr J. (Julia) Costa López, RUG - International Relations

How did we come to think of a world organized in nations? Can we imagine political communities without the nation? This project looks for answers by tracing how the idea of a political community evolved in the contacts between European and African peoples in the later Middle Ages.

Preaching as mass-communication in Late Medieval Europe
Dr P. (Pietro) Delcorno, RU - Historical Literary and Cultural Studies (HLCS)

This project investigates preaching as a crucial form of mass-communication and foregrounds its transformative impact on late medieval European society. By focusing on the sermon collections that were widespread ‘bestsellers’ of the time, the research will shed light on the strategies used by preachers to define and impose religious identity.

The fine line between life and death: Strategic location of public-access defibrillators
Dr D. (Derya) Demirtas, UT - Industrial Engineering and Business Information Systems

Strategic deployment of resources in advance for emergency preparedness is a challenging problem due to inherent uncertainties. A novel approach is proposed, leveraging mathematical optimization and data analytics methods. It is applied to Dutch cardiac arrest and defibrillator data to reduce response time and increase survival in an emergency.

A telling story: how children develop as storytellers and mindreaders
Dr M.J. (Max) van Duijn, LEI - Leiden Institute for Advanced Computer Science

Stories help us “mindread” others: imagining how the world looks from their perspective. This project collects and analyses 500+ stories told by children of different ages. This way, it reveals connections between the development of children’s competence as storytellers and their ability to understand and empathise with others’ inner lives.

Embodied Reintegration: Complex-Victimhood and Reparations in Transitional Societies
Dr M.A. (María) Estrada-Fuentes, UvA – Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis/Centre for Latin American Research and Documentation

How do we repair relationships after war? This question is at the heart of Embodied Reintegration. This project investigates the role of the arts and theatre in repairing relationships and addressing harm inflicted during wartime. It seeks to develop innovative methodological approaches to reparation in transitional societies.

Drawn in or zoned out? Tracking the wandering mind during reading
Dr M. (Myrthe) Faber, Radboudumc - Department of Cognitive Neuroscience

Mind wandering is an important aspect of our rich inner lives, yet it is generally perceived negatively. I will challenge this assumption by studying the positive and negative effects of distinct types of mind wandering—which might arise from different cognitive and neural processes—on memory and comprehension during reading.

Vlogging for a healthier food intake
Dr F. (Frans) Folkvord (m), RU – Communication Science

Nowadays, children consume insufficient fruit and vegetables, that eventually causes multiple chronic diseases. The current project develops and investigates a new overarching theoretical model that explains and predicts whether, how, when, and for whom food-promotion techniques increase children’s fruit and vegetables intake, both on the short- and long-term.

Dangerous Liaisons
Dr K.M.A. (Katharine) Fortin, UU – The Netherlands Institute of Human Rights

Civilians in territory under the control of armed groups are in an especially precarious legal situation. This legal project focuses on civilian protection in rebel-held territory, exploring the idea that civilians are not only victims of war, but also able to play an active role in their own protection.

Finding objects in natural scenes
Dr S. (Surya) Gayet, RU - Donders Institute

When searching for an object in our surroundings we create a mental picture of the to-be-searched-for object. Depending on where we look (e.g., further away), however, an object will produce a different (i.e., smaller) image on the retina. This project aims to investigate how the brain solves this fundamental problem.

Brains in sync: Identifying the effects of mother’s anxiety during pregnancy on mother-infant neural synchrony
Dr M.I. (Marion) van den Heuvel, TiU

Not all mothers naturally connect with their infant after birth. This project will examine under which circumstances brains of mother and infant become synchronized and how synchronization may become disturbed when mothers suffer from prenatal anxiety. Results of this project will have implications for families, society, and policy makers.

Investing in inequality: how the increase in private housing investors shapes social divides
Dr C. (Cody) Hochstenbach, UvA - Urban Geographies

Housing increasingly serves as a site for investment. Structural housing-market transformations contribute to the rise of private housing investors buying property to rent out (“buy-to-let”). This project investigates the rise of private investors in the Netherlands, and investigates consequences for access to affordable housing, uneven wealth accumulation, and spatial inequality.

Understanding online and offline peer influence
Dr E.M. Hoeben, VU – Faculty of Law

When adolescents commit rule-breaking acts, they are generally with peers. However, we know little about the ways in which peers influence rule-breaking behavior. The proposed project aims to break down ‘peer influence’ into verbal and nonverbal cues in online and offline settings, and see how these cues relate to rule-breaking.

Do algorithms know better? First-person authority in the age of big data
Dr F. (Fleur) Jongepier, RU

Smart algorithms are increasingly knowledgeable about what we want or plan to do. The powerful liberal idea that individuals themselves ‘know best’ therefore has come under pressure. This project investigates the tensions between algorithmic authority and first-person authority, and develops a map of the relevant ethical implications.

Optimizing exposure therapy for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
Dr R.A. (Rianne) de Kleine, LEI - Psychology

Although exposure therapy is the gold-standard treatment of posttraumatic stress-disorder (PTSD), only half of the patients adequately benefit from it. Based on recent insights into the mechanisms of extinction, this project examines strategies and techniques to improve exposure treatment outcome in PTSD.

Matriarchal Islam: Gendering Sharia in the Indian Ocean World
Dr M. (Mahmood) Kooriadathodi, LEI

Islam is generally interpreted as a patriarchal religion. This presupposition comes from reading the religion through a male-dominant perspective alone. This project turns to the Indian Ocean Islam for it offers a different understanding of several connected matriarchal Muslim communities, who all should be considered as part of the historical and human experiences of the Sharia.

Small children, big worries: Argumentation at the neonatal care unit
Dr N.H.M. (Nanon) Labrie, VU - Athena Institute

At the neonatal care unit, it is important that doctors involve parents in the care of their new-born. Thereby, communication plays a crucial role. Supporting treatment recommendations with good reasons, doctors can improve parental involvement in decision-making. This project foresees i.a. the development of an argumentation training for neonatologists.

Captured Financial Authorities
Dr T. (Thomas) Lambert, EUR - Rotterdam School of Management (RSM)

After the crisis, most central banks received explicit responsibilities in the financial stability domain. As a result, their vulnerability to political pressures increased. This project analyses political dynamics at play within central banks and their impact on financial stability. This research uses new archival data and sophisticated statistical methods.

Social Norms, Body Weight, and Well-Being: A Multi-Method Comparison of Germany, Korea, the Netherlands, and the United States.
Dr L. (Liliya) Leopold, UvA - Department Sociology

Which body weight is socially accepted in modern societies? Do body-weight norms differ across countries? How do these norms affect the psychological well-being of those who conform or deviate? The aim of this project is to answer these questions using an innovative multi-method research design combining survey and experimental methods.

Trapped in Gender Stereotypes?
Dr C. (Chen) Li, EUR

The pursuit of gender equality is an uphill-battle where invisible stereotypes keep holding people back. This project uses techniques from behavioral economics to reduce stereotypes. It delivers a new measure of stereotypes and the resulting welfare costs, identifies biases that trap people in stereotypes, and provides new inequality-reducing tools.

Will the kids be alright? Predicting emotional development in adolescence
Dr C. J. (Caspar) van Lissa, UU – Methodology & Statistics

Adolescence is an important phase for learning to deal with emotions, but not all youth do so successfully. Some experience emotional problems, which undermine their relationships and mental health. I combine pedagogics and machine learning to predict which youth are at-risk for emotional problems, and investigate what role parents play.

Who owes what to future generations?
Dr T. (Tim) Meijers, LEI – Institute for Philosophy

Many threats to the well-being of future generations, like climate change, are global in nature. Tackling them requires global cooperation. This project develops an approach to the fair allocation of the costs that come with protecting future people, taking existing global inequalities into account.

‘Credible’ or ‘Capricious’? The Reputational Cost of Party Policy Change
Dr M.J. (Maurits) Meijers, RU - Political Science

Political parties change their policy positions regularly, but how do such changes affect parties’ reputations in the eyes of the voters? Using experiments and large-scale analyses of voter preferences and party positions, this project examines when voters accept policy change as ‘credible’ and when they reject it as ‘capricious’.

Plastipelagos: reimaging waste and post-plastic futures from the Caribbean
Dr K.M. (Kasia) Mika, KITLV

Plastipelagos examines how the Caribbean and its cultures provide new ways of thinking and addressing the global challenge of plastic waste. I turn to literature and visual arts to answer these questions: When plastic waste is everywhere what can art do? What futures are imagined amidst all the plastic waste?

Vocal, Visible and Vaulting? (Dis)connected niche audiences in the age of artificial intelligence
Dr J.E. (Judith) Möller, UvA - Amsterdam School of Communication Research

This project studies the impact of algorithmic filter systems and artificial intelligence on specific segments of the population and niche audiences (fringe bubbles). It will contribute to our understanding of the consequences of AI for the public debate and the cohesion of the public sphere.

Righting and Rewriting History: Recovering and Analyzing Manuscript Archives Destroyed During World War II
Dr K.A. (Krista) Murchison, LEI – Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society

During World War II, thousands of irreplaceable manuscripts were destroyed. These destroyed collections, despite their enduring importance, remain largely ignored in conceptualizations of the archive. This project will advance ongoing discussions of the ‘immaterial archive’ and its social and historical significance by digitally recreating destroyed archives from four key nations.

Remembering Dissent and Disillusion in the Arab World
Dr J.A. (Judith) Naeff, LEI Leiden University Centre for the Study of Islam and Society

This research project analyses experimental documentaries and fiction by young Arab makers about the protest movements of the 1970s in the region. The way in which they engage with this past reveals how they define their position in the dispiriting political context of the 2000s in the region.

Why is everybody watching me?! Working towards a novel model to explain social anxiety in adolescence
Dr S.A. (Stefanie) Nelemans, UU — Department of Youth and Family

Social anxiety strongly hampers adolescent development. But what characteristics make some adolescents vulnerable to develop social anxiety? And why is social anxiety so persistent over time? I address these questions focusing on a combination of biological, psychological, and social factors and integrate the novel insights into an innovative theoretical model.

Genomic structural equation modeling elucidates psychiatric disease etiology
Dr M.G. (Michel) Nivard, VU

There are sharp differences of opinion on the causes and nature of psychiatric disease. I use innovative techniques derived from behavior genetics and the social sciences to contrast the existing models and arrive at an optimal consensus model for ADHD and depression.

Cattle colours in East Africa
Dr S. (Sara) Petrollino, LEI – Leiden University Centre for Linguistics

The languages of cattle herders have incredibly complex expressions to refer to the colours and patterns of animal pelts. Little is known about how cattle colour systems work and this project investigates the semantic categorization and the expression of these perceptual domains across three East African languages.

Solving large-scale adjustable robust optimization problems with machine learning
Dr K. Postek, EUR - Econometric Institute

Multi-stage optimization under uncertainty such as public transport scheduling or flood protection involves sequential decision making and information inflow. Solutions need to attain high performance and allow decision adjustments based on the new information. The aim is to combine adjustable robust optimization with machine learning to obtain best-possible decisions.

Remember to forget your fears
Dr C.W.E.M. (Conny) Quaedflieg, UM

To some extent, we can all choose what to remember and what to forget. Stress-related disorders are characterized by deficits in this so-called intentional mnemonic control. This research shows us how stress impacts the brain to disrupt intentional memory control of fears and uses non-invasive brain stimulation to counteract these disruptions.

Improving access to mental health care
Dr B. (Bastian) Ravesteijn, EUR

Some individuals with mental illness do not receive enough treatment, while others receive too much. This project uses the 2012 introduction of a copay in the Netherlands as a natural experiment to investigate the extent to which out-of-pocket payments can ensure optimal access to mental health care.

Are millennials transforming politics? A study on generational differences in voting
Dr R.S.B. (Roderik) Rekker, UvA

There are growing differences in voting behaviour between youths and older voters. ‘Millennials’ are more likely to vote either radically progressive or for anti-immigration parties. This project examines how to explain this phenomenon, if it reflects a generational divide, and how likely it is that millennials will maintain their preference.

Do the right thing, without knowing everything
Dr Z.H. (Zoë) Robaey, TUD

Responsible innovation takes into account how professionals can act responsibly even when they lack knowledge. In biotechnology, this is challenging because innovations with living organisms are never fully controllable. My research develops a framework for biotechnology professionals to cultivate qualities for doing the right thing, even without knowing everything.

A Game of Thrones? Order and survival strategies of the Dutch Republic and Swiss Cantons!
Dr C.A. (Annemieke) Romein, UU

European monarchies and city-states have long attracted researchers’ attention. Conversely, this study teaches us how federation-states legitimised their authority, by focussing on providing good governance, order, and safety. Crucially, new rules had to be understandable and remember-able for everyone; and privileges and interests of groups had to be considered.

Risk Regulation in the European Regulatory State: Science-Based or Reputation-Induced?
Dr D. Rimkutė, LEI - Institute of Public Administration

Science-based risk regulation is inconsistent: agencies reach conflicting scientific conclusions when assessing risks to society. This project proposes bureaucratic reputation theory as a novel explanation: conflicting conclusions across agencies result from reputation-induced, strategic responses to reputational threats. The study uses machine learning algorithms to analyse big data published by agencies.

Manioc roots: prehistory of Amazonia seen from the kitchen
Dr K.B. (Konrad) Rybka, LEI – Leiden University Centre for Linguistics

How manioc, a poisonous root, became the staple of Amazonia and changed the lives of prehistoric Amazonian peoples remains a mystery. By studying the traditional tools used in manioc processing though their indigenous names, museum collections, and ethnographic literature, researchers will reconstruct their spread and understand its sociocultural consequences.

Health behavior in the context of healthy and unhealthy information
Dr C (Christin) Scholz, UvA - Amsterdam School of Communication Research

Multiple competing factors like anti-alcohol campaigns and party-loving friends influence daily health behavior. It is hard to describe how we integrate various factors in a decision. For our brains, this task is easy. This project examines young adults’ brain activity to understand how competing information about alcohol influence health-related decisions.

Obstacles for terrorism
Dr B.W. (Bart) Schuurman, LEI Institute of Security and Global Affairs

Most people who radicalize never actually become involved in terrorism. But why is this the case? This project studies this under-examined question through a unique comparative analysis that encompasses jihadists as well as right-wing extremists. The results will serve both the academic debate and the prevention of terrorism and radicalization.

Understanding and preventing discrimination in children’s helping behaviour
Dr J. (Jellie) Sierksma, VU - Social Psychology

This project examines how children help peers from different ethnic backgrounds and tests the consequences of receiving differential helping from peers. The project also proposes and tests an intervention for reducing biases in children’s inter-ethnic helping. This research is pivotal to preventing the negative impact of discrimination early in life.

Into the cold: The adaptive role of pyrotechnology among the earliest modern humans in Europe, ca. 45,000–20,000 years ago
Dr A.C. (Andrew) Sorensen, LEI

The routine assumption that early modern humans in Europe were regular fire users who produced fire at will has never been tested against the archaeological record. This project will establish the role and forms of pyrotechnology in modern human adaptations to Ice Age middle and northern latitudes.

Nabataean Aramaic: a living language?
Dr B.D. (Benjamin) Suchard, LEI – Leiden University Centre for Linguistics

The ancient people known as the Nabataeans left us thousands of texts. They wrote in Aramaic, the lingua franca of their time. But the Aramaic of their texts was heavily influenced by Arabic. This project will investigate whether Nabataean Aramaic was ever spoken or was only used in writing.

In Inductive Logic, There Are No Morals: Carnap’s Philosophy of Scientific Reasoning
Dr M. (Marta) Sznajder, RUG

Rudolf Carnap’s inductive logic is a formal theory of how we learn from observations. This project will study the history and foundations of this theory. It will help us to understand how philosophy can be used to create better concepts and what it means for our beliefs to be rational.

Policy Implementation and Solidarity through EU funding
Dr E. (Lilian) Tsourdi, UM - Faculty of Law – International and European Law

Effective implementation and inter-state solidarity remain elusive in migration. EU migration funding could contribute in addressing these problems but is ill-designed. Using an original combination of legal and empirical analysis, this project analyses why, advances knowledge on the multi-level nature of the European administrative system, and formulates proposals for reform.

A Promise is a Promise! Unfolding the Electoral Ramifications of Political Compromises
Dr M.A.C.G. (Mariken) van der Velden, VU

Nowadays, political compromises seem to be extremely unpopular. This poses a problem for politicians’ ability to form stable coalitions to govern. My project studies the ramifications of compromises for politicians’ communication and voter behaviour utilizing virtual reality techniques, experiments and computational textual approaches.

Beyond the Myth of Westphalia: States, International Law, and the Monopolization of the Right to Wage War
Dr C. (Claire) Vergerio, LEI - Political Science

States, we are told, have monopolized the legal right to wage war since the seventeenth century and this arrangement has provided some basic stability in international relations. But is this really true? This project challenges this classic account and opens the way for rethinking the contemporary laws of war.

Strengthening democracy beyond ‘participation’: informal politics and inclusive urban development.
Dr N. (Nanke) Verloo, UvA - Urban Planning

Marginal groups are often characterized as politically inactive. Challenging that idea, this study uses innovative methods to involve stakeholders in studying how citizens voice demands in ways that are not recognized by formal participation procedures. The results offer new insights in citizens’ politics and practices for inclusive urban development.

Veterinary concerns: negotiating different values in the intensive livestock industry
Dr E. (Else) Vogel, UvA – Anthropology

Given global ecological problems, the intensive livestock industry is under increasing pressure to change. This project studies how veterinarians working in the industry negotiate between different values as they aim to provide good farm animal care. The research will contribute theoretical insights in human-animal relations and help develop successful governance.

Out of (the) woods – making the EU a global leader in fighting deforestation
Dr M. (Maria) Weimer, UvA - Amsterdam Centre for European Governance

International trade in agricultural commodities (e.g. palm oil) causes global deforestation undermining climate change mitigation. The EU has the market power to protect rainforests, but to be effective, EU sustainability standards must be accepted as legitimate abroad. This project shows how to make the EU a global leader in fighting deforestation.

Gatekeeping in the era of fake news: The effects of trust on online news consumption behaviour
Dr K. (Kasper) Welbers, VU – Communication Science

Despite much debate about the state of trust in online news sources, we know little about the effects of trust on online news consumption behavior. I link digital trace data with a panel-survey and content analysis to investigate these effects in unprecedented detail to enrich the media trust debate.

Apps and data infrastructures
Dr E.J.T. (Esther) Weltevrede, UvA – Media Studies

Apps have become an important part of our everyday life. However, how they operate is still largely unknown. This project develops novel digital methods to study how apps recombine, valorize and distribute data from various sources.

Germany’s climate science in an age of war and peace, 1871-1945
Dr R-J. B. (Robert-Jan) Wille, UU – Freudenthal Institute

This project analyzes the making of a European community of climate scientists as a consequence of Imperial Germany’s investment in both a national meteorology after 1871 and an international and colonial weather balloon program after 1900. Two World Wars did not stop its expansion but even catalyzed it further.

Life after growing up in out-of-home care
Dr M. V. (Mioara) Zoutewelle-Terovan, NIDI

The number of children living outside the parental home increases yearly, but we know too little about how they fare once they become adults. This study investigates how family formation, employment and crime in adulthood depend on the history of youth out-of-home care arrangements and available resources.

ZonMw/Health Research and Development

Age-related clonal hematopoiesis: the good and the bad of clonally expanding immune subsets
Dr Ir. E.B. van den Akker – LUMC

Virtually all exceptionally old individuals have an early form of blood-cancer, yet, in contrast to middle-aged individuals, they do not seem to suffer from any adverse effects. What is their secret? This study investigates the protective mechanisms that make the extreme old capable to withstand the test of time.

The role of new anti-inflammatory modulators in immunity
R.J.W. Arts, MD PhD, Radboudumc - Internal medicine

In recent years two new anti-inflammatory signaling modulators have been discovered in the immune system, interleukin 37 and 38. The exact role of these proteins is unknown, but it is very likely that they play a role in infections, cancer, and autoimmune diseases. Better understanding of the function of these proteins could therefore be used in diagnosis and treatment of these diseases.

Sweeping asthma with brush cells
Dr J.H.J. Bernink - Hubrecht Institute

Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the conducting airways. Yet it is the epithelial cell layer that is primarily exposed to aeroallergens. Here a subset of the epithelial cells, called brush cells, will be investigated how they respond, and how they instruct the immune system following allergen exposure.

Inhibition of leaky vessels to prevent kidney damage 
Dr.ing. C.E. van den Brom - Amsterdam UMC, location VUmc, department of Anesthesiology  

Perfusion disturbances of the smallest vessels in critically ill patients can impair renal function as oxygen exchange is limited. Researchers will study the role of damaged inner layer of these vessels to develop treatments directed against leaking vessels to prevent renal damage.

Inhibiting chronic inflammation at its foundation
Dr M.H.J. van den Bosch, Radboudumc - Experimental Rheumatology

During osteoarthritis, next to cartilage breakdown resulting from inflammatory reactions, excessive repair/compensation processes are observed, which cause further joint dysfunctioning and clinical problems. The researcher will determine whether S100A8/A9, a crucial protein that lies at the basis of innate immunity, is involved in both these breakdown and excessive repair processes.

Discovering how prior treatment can influence the success of radionuclide imaging and treatment
Dr S.U. Dalm, Erasmus MC - Dept of Radiology & Nuclear Medicine

Prostate cancer and breast cancer can be visualized and treated with targeted radioactive molecules. Prior treatment e.g. anti-hormonal treatment or chemotherapeutics can influence the success hereof. In this project the influence of prior treatment will be studied to determine when and in whom radioactive molecules can best be applied.

Treatment of older patients with advanced melanoma - Towards personalized medicine
Dr N.A. de Glas, LUMC – Department of Medical Oncology Older patients with cancer are rarely included in immunotherapy trials, leaving oncologists with limited knowledge to make evidence-based treatment decisions. In this project, clinical, geriatric and immunological data will be generated in order to develop a prognostic model for clinical benefit of immunotherapy in older patients with melanoma.

Smart tears: Tears to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease
Dr M. Gijs, UM - School for Mental Health and Neuroscience  

Cerebrospinal fluid analysis of disease-specific molecules (biomarkers) supports the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, but sampling requires invasive procedures. This research investigates whether tears contain the same (and new) information in order to diagnose the disease non-invasively and more easily in general practice.

Peritoneal immune cells protect the intestine
Dr J. (Joep) Grootjans, AMC – Gastroenterology. 

Chronic inflammation affects the quality of life of patients with Crohn’s disease (CD). The researcher recently discovered that peritoneal cavity immune cells can protect the intestine. The researcher will further investigate this in man, with the ultimate goal of improving therapy for patients with CD.

Better protection against rotavirus with intestinal bacteria
Dr V.C. Harris, AMC - Department of Global Health  

Rotavirus the most common cause of serious, life-threatening diarrhea in young children.  Rotavirus vaccines can prevent the disease, but work less well in low-income countries in Asia and Africa. This research tests whether bacteria in children’s intestines (microbiome) can be used to improve rotavirus vaccine performance.

Bringing diagnostic accuracy to primary care 
Dr G.A. Holtman, UMCG - Department of General Practice and Elderly Care Medicine 

Tests must be evaluated before they can be used by general practitioners: however, this process is time-consuming and is usually only performed in hospitals. This researcher will develop a faster method that uses existing data from hospitals to evaluate whether tests could be useful in primary care.

Deciphering and targeting pathogenic IgG4 responses
Dr M.G.M. Huijbers, LUMC - neurology and human genetics 

IgG4 is a peculiar antibody. It does not activate inflammatory responses and, in contrast to other antibodies, binds two different antigens. This project will investigate whether the unique properties of IgG4 contribute to the development of IgG4-mediated autoimmune diseases and whether IgG4 immune cells can be therapeutically targeted specifically.

Unraveling mechanisms for repair in failing kidneys
Dr J. Jansen, Radboud UMC, Pathology and Pediatric Nephrology

Acute kidney injury is characterized by high mortality rates and effective therapies are lacking. In few cases, the kidneys can recover from acute kidney injury but molecular mechanisms remain elusive. The researcher will elucidate molecular networks involved in kidney repair that will result in new therapeutic avenues.

A better understanding of healthy aging
Dr G.E. Janssens, Amsterdam AMC - Genetic Metabolic Diseases

Aging is the major risk factor for age-related disease. By understanding the molecular pathways of aging, we can better understand how to promote healthy-aging. This multidisciplinary research looks at molecular causes of aging. This research also develops diagnostic tools to help understand age-related diseases and develops treatments for them.

Genetic nurture – how parental genes influence their children’s risk of depression through the environment
Dr H.M. van Loo - UMCG- Psychiatry

Depression runs strongly in families. Its transmission occurs partly through the genes that parents give their children. But parents’ genes may also act indirectly on their children, via the environment they provide, the so-called “genetic nurture”. This research uses new genomic methods to investigate this largely unknown pathway to depression.

Towards understanding developmental disorders at a cellular level
Dr M. Meijer - VU - Dept. of Functional Genomics 

Mistakes in our genes can lead to mental retardation and epilepsy. The biological mechanism behind this is poorly understood, which hinders drug development. By studying brain cells which carry these genetic mistakes in the lab, researchers will generate insight into why these neurons do not function properly.

Refurbishing human fatty livers to increase the donor pool for transplantation
Dr V.E. de Meijer, UMCG - Department of Surgery

Due to widespread obesity, an ever-increasing share of donor livers is too fatty to be suitable for transplantation. In this project, hyperthermia is used to stimulate metabolism and mitigate reperfusion injury in machine-perfused livers. The goal is reconditioning of fatty livers to increase the number of donor livers for transplantation.

First aid for a heart attack: towards a specific diagnostic tool in the blood circulation
Dr ir. A.M.A. Mingels, MUMC – Clinical Chemistry

A heart attack, or myocardial infarction, is diagnosed by detection of cardiac troponins in the blood. Unfortunately, the introduction of high-sensitivity techniques has come at the cost of specificity. I will investigate new tools to specifically detect the acute phase of myocardial infarction and clarify minimum release of cardiac troponins.

Besieging the biofilm fortress
Dr B. Pijls, LUMC - Department of Orthopaedics

The main problem with infected implants is that microorganisms are organized in a biofilm, a fortress, protecting them against our immunesystem and antibiotics. I will use non-invasive induction heating to kill the micro-organisms and damage the biofilm fortress walls in order to cure the infection.

Exposing expansions in the genetics of brain diseases
Dr W. van Rheenen, UMC Utrecht, Neurology.

Genes greatly determine our risk of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and brain diseases. Certain genetic variation, “repeat expansions”, can cause brain diseases, but are hard to study and therefore often conveniently ignored. Using new methods, this research investigates repeat expansions in brain diseases using large groups of patients and brain tissues.

Mechanism of action of immunotherapy in Hodgkin lymphoma  
Dr M.G.M. Roemer, VUmc - Pathology 

Immunotherapy is a new, promising form of cancer treatment that stimulates immune responses against cancer cells. Encouraging results are seen in Hodgkin lymphoma, but little is known about the mechanism of action. I aim to investigate this, since this is crucial to identify those patients who will benefit from immunotherapy.

Mechanics matter: high-resolution electromechanical mapping to unravel ventricular tachyarrhythmias
Dr R.M.A. ter Bekke, MUMC - Cardiology

It is generally perceived that abnormal electrical impulses per se can provoke life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias. However, the heart senses mechanical impact, and mechano-electric coupling can also trigger arrhythmia. This research will high-light the important influence of mechanics on the occurrence of ventricular ectopy and tachyarrhythmias.

Already active disease before signs and symptoms?
Dr M.G.H. van de Sande - AMC - Rheumatology and clinical immunology

Despite advances in treatment options in chronic inflammation of the spine, deformity is not halted. Possibly, because inflammation and deformity starts in a phase before the disease is diagnosed. The researcher will study this phase to identify novel treatment targets that halt deformity.

Early detection of Alzheimer's with language characteristics
Dr J.M.J. Vonk, UMC Utrecht, Julius Center

Biological markers of Alzheimer’s pathology do not relate one-to-one with eventual clinical symptoms of cognitive impairment. Thus, there is a need for early cognitive markers. This project investigates a new score of a widely used neuropsychological test using language features to identify the earliest cognitive changes associated with Alzheimer’s disease.