Vici awards 2019

Vici is one of the largest grants for individuals in the Netherlands and targets advanced researchers. The funding enables the scientists to set up their own innovative line of research and put together their own research group. Below you find an overview of the Vici-laureates 2019, listed in alphabetical order and per NWO-domain.


Facts and figures

Total number of submitted proposals: 242,
of which from 85 women (35%) and 157 men (65%)
Number of grants awarded: 32,
of which 18 to women (56%) and 14 to men (44%)
Total award rate: 13%
Award rate among women: 21%
Award rate among men: 9%

 

Vici 2019 Submitted proposals

Domain Total Women % Man %
ENW 86 19 22% 67 78%
SGW 82 43 52% 39 48%
TTW 28 6 21% 22 79%
ZonMw 46 17 37% 29 63%
Totaal 242 85 35% 157 65%

 

Vici 2019 Granted proposals

Domain Total % Women % Man %
ENW 12 14% 3 16% 9 13%
SGW 10 12% 8 19% 2 5%
TTW 4 14% 1 17% 3 14%
ZonMw 6 13% 6 35% 0 0%
Totaal 32 13% 18 21% 14 9%

 

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


Listed in alphabetical order

A

Exploiting the Empire of Others
Prof. dr. C. A. P. (Cátia) Antunes (f), LEI - History

Having consistently ignored the gains Dutch traders, investors and firms attained from serving the French, English and Iberian empires, debate in the Netherlands now demands a re-evaluation of Dutch colonial responsibilities. By recovering knowledge of these gains, this project will measure the wealth obtained from exploiting the empire of others.

B

New Big-Data approaches for Imaging Neuroscience
Prof. dr. C.F. (Christian) Beckmann (m), RUMC  – Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour

The researcher will develop techniques for understanding brain processes by comparing functional imaging measures from individuals to those generated from large cohort samples.

These techniques provide measures of normal variation and will be tested in the largest Dutch sample of early Parkinson’s Disease patients to understand the neurobiology of the disorder.

Mix die taal! Or maybe not?
Prof. dr. W. B. T. (Elma) Blom (f), UU - Language teaching and acquisition

Many bilinguals combine or mix languages when they speak. The researchers aim to find out if children have difficulties learning language from mixed sources, how and why children mix, and if language mixing is different for children with and without a Developmental Language Disorder.

Immunity throughout the body
Dr. J.A.M. (José) Borghans (f), UMCU - Immunology

Current insights into the human immune system are almost exclusively based on studies of the blood, a place where only a minority of immune cells reside. By combining experimental work with mathematics, this research unravels how long-term immunological memory is maintained by immune cells throughout the body.

Tailoring defects in two-dimensional nanomaterials
Prof. dr. A.A. (Ageeth) Bol (f), TU/e - Applied Physics

The recently discovered two-dimensional nanomaterials are very promising for application in sustainable energy storage and nanoelectronics. Defects in these materials can make or break their special properties. The researchers are going to investigate and develop new techniques that can tailor the concentration and character of the defects.

C

From stress to success: how hidden bacteria become opportunistic
Dr. D. (Dennis) Claessen (m), LEI

Most bacteria build a cell wall, which provides protection to cells in harmful conditions. However, some bacteria have the surprising ability to shed their wall in stressful situations. The researcher will investigate how bacteria do this and how they can actually profit from this wall-deficient state.

E

Our microbial ancestors in focus
Prof. dr. T.J.G. (Thijs) Ettema (m), WUR

Complex life on Earth evolved from simpler unicellular microorganisms. Recent studies identified the Asgard archaea as the closest microbial relatives of complex cellular life forms. This proposal is set out to study the physiology and cell biology of Asgard archaea to gain insights into the emergence of complex cellular life.

G

How cosmology emerges from quantum gravity
Dr. T.W. (Thomas) Grimm (m), UU

The observed expansion of our universe suggests that it is filled by a substance known as dark energy. Researchers propose that its mysterious properties can only be understood by using a quantum theory of gravity. This leads to a new description for the evolution of our universe.

H

Uncovering the clockwork of cellular metabolism
Prof. dr. M. (Matthias) Heinemann (m), RUG

Metabolism and cell division are both essential for life. However, little is known about the crucial interplay between these processes. Researchers will unravel the mechanism responsible for a clock-like behavior of eukaryotic metabolism during cell division. The insights will be instrumental for advances in biomedicine and biotechnology.

Fast & furious astrophysics
Dr. J.W.T. (Jason) Hessels (m), ASTRON/UvA

Extreme astronomical sources push our understanding of basic (astro)physics to the limit. Using a unique network of radio telescopes that span the globe, astronomers aim to solve the riddle of what powers a recently discovered and mysterious phenomenon: the furiously energetic `fast radio bursts’ that originate deep in extragalactic space.

How curiosity drives child development
Prof. dr. S. (Sabine) Hunnius (f), RU - Developmental Psychology

Early development occurs at a breathtaking rate. This project examines the role of curiosity – the drive to learn new things – for development. It will examine the (brain) mechanisms underlying curiosity, whether children differ in their degree of curiosity, and how learning environments can be created that foster curiosity.

I

Recognition and the art of dialogue
Dr. L. (Nicole) Immler (f), UvH - Modern and contemporary history

Recognition of suffering is increasingly looked at in legal terms and then resolved in terms of individual financial compensation. However, such recognition does little to address the relational aspects of suffering. This project studies recognition claims as a call for dialogue, which emphasizes the social dimension of recognition.

J

Future socio-economic inequalities in mortality
Prof. F. (Fanny) Janssen (f), RUG – Demography

Socio-economic inequalities in mortality are a persistent challenge for society, but how they will, realistically, further develop is unknown. This project will develop an advanced forecasting model for mortality inequalities based on to-be-generated insights into the impact of smoking, obesity, and alcohol, and assesses the potential effect of policy interventions.

K

How do we keep civil justice affordable in Europe?
Prof. dr. X.E. (Xandra) Kramer (f), EUR - Private law

Access to justice to enforce rights is crucial for consumers and businesses, but the cost and financing of justice are under pressure. The researchers evaluate alternative pathways to fund civil procedures and share the costs of civil justice in a number of countries and at the European level.

L

21st-Century Risks: Tackling the Complex Interplay of Risks in Time and Space
Prof. dr. R. J. A. (Roger) Laeven (m), UvA – Econometrics

The most important global risks we currently face are that of a financial, climate or cyber crisis. These risks are characterized by the feedback loops that generate them and are surrounded by pervasive uncertainty. This research will develop innovative concepts, methods and techniques to model and measure these 21st-century risks.

Regeneration of diseased bone by colloidal biomaterials
Prof dr. ir. S.C.G. (Sander) Leeuwenburgh (m), RUMC  – Regenerative Biomaterials

Conventional biomaterials cannot heal defects in diseased bone. This research will design novel biomaterials which do possess this capacity by self-assembly of submicron particles. These biomaterials are porous, self-healing, and deliver drugs directly into cells. Consequently, bone defects caused by diseases such as infection or cancer will be treated effectively.

M

From Headache to Heartache
Dr. A. (Antoinette) Maassen van den Brink (f), Erasmus MC – Dept. of Internal Medicine

Migraine is a highly debilitating disease, especially in women. Moreover, it is a major cardiovascular risk factor. We will study why specifically women get more migraines, how to specifically treat women and how to mitigate that cardiovascular risk in migraine, taking into account potential cardiovascular risks of antimigraine medication.

Next-Generation Nanosensors for home-diagnostics
Prof. dr. G. (Giovanni) Maglia (m), RUG

The function of cells depends on proteins; their concentration, expression, and chemical modifications are accurate indicators of many diseases. In this project, we will develop a cheap and fast technology for the detection and analysis of proteins with the aim of transforming protein analysis and home-diagnostics.

Taming chemical reactions
Prof. dr. S.Y.T. (Bas) van de Meerakker (m), RU

When molecules meet, they can react with each other forming new molecules. This process is ubiquitous in nature, but poorly understood. The researchers will unravel chemical reactions by colliding molecules very precisely with each other, while making detailed images of the reaction products.

Novel tactics to combat a silent but dangerous intruder; non-alcoholic steatohepatitis
Prof. dr. S.W.C. (Saskia) van Mil (f), UMCU - Center for Molecular Medicine

Millions of people live with the silent liver disease non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, putting them at high risk for developing liver failure and cancer. Presently, no treatment is available. To address this need, researchers will selectively target the Farnesoid X Receptor to develop a highly effective therapy without side effects.

Oil Companies and the Development of Environmentalism and Alternative Energy
Prof. dr. C.C.M. (Cyrus) Mody (m), UM - History of technology

Some historians argue that oil firms have hindered development of sustainable energy. However, in the 1970s, Shell and other oil companies invested in solar energy, nuclear power, and even environmental organizations. This project asks why oil firms contributed to environmentalism and alternative energy, and why they later abandoned those fields.

Multi-Parallel Neural Machine Translation

Dr. C. (Christof) Monz (m), UvA

Multilingual neural machine translation offers exciting possibilities to achieve interlingual representations. However, current approaches only accomplish this under limited conditions. In this project, the researcher proposes novel translation models that allows us to exploit multi-parallel corpora, resulting in better interlingual representations and better translation quality.

O

Argon Power Cycle
Dr. ir. J.A. (Jeroen) van Oijen (m), TU/e – Power & Flow

Combustion experts will develop a revolutionary engine that converts renewable fuels into clean power. By burning the fuel in argon instead of air, an exceptional high efficiency is reached. The researchers will investigate and optimise this extraordinary combustion process by using advanced computer models and laser diagnostics.

R

Peptide self-assembly: one non-covalent interaction at a time
Dr. A.M. (Anouk) Rijs (f), RU

The spontaneous assembly of biological molecules into ordered nanostructures plays a vital role in the development of incurable neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s. The researchers will develop new experimental methodology that will track their assembly, uniquely, one peptide at a time, in order to understand and control the aggregation process.

Selecting the Optimal Catalyst
Prof. dr J. (Jana) Roithová (f), RU

Natural enzymes are much better than any man-made catalyst at catalysing challenging reactions such as CO2 fixation. Biomimetic catalysts attempt to reconstruct the chemistry that nature has developed over millions of evolutionary steps. This research aims to find the optimal catalyst by using cutting-edge spectroscopic methods to select the most efficient chemical modifications.

Genetic heart disease – what goes wrong?
Prof. dr. E. (Eva) van Rooij (f), Hubrecht Institute

Genetic heart diseases are caused by a mistake in your DNA and are characterised by several disease driving changes in the heart that contribute to the progression of the disease. To date very little is known about the exact mechanisms that drive these changes. The goal is to discover what causes these pathological changes to occur to potentially contribute to the development of enhanced therapies.

Sensitive to symptoms
Prof. dr. J.G.M. (Judith) Rosmalen (f) , UMCG - Psychiatry and Internal Medicine

People differ to a large degree in how much they suffer from somatic symptoms. This difference is not only related to innate factors, but also to previous experiences with somatic symptoms. This project will study how these differences originate in early life experiences.

S

Towards treatment of Intellectual Disability and Autism disorders
Dr. A. (Annette) Schenck (f), RUMC, Department of Human Genetics

Intellectual disability and autism are frequent and currently untreatable disorders. The researchers will use an ancient, highly conserved form of learning and the fruit fly as a model to investigate the neurobiology of these disorders and develop effective translational treatment strategies for subgroups of patients.

Neanderthal Legacy
Prof. dr. M.A. (Marie) Soressi (f), LEI - Prehistory

The genetic material of currently living Europeans is partly of Neanderthal origin. Were our ancestors successful because they were hybridising and interacting with the local populations they encountered when migrating into new places? Using interdisciplinary archaeology, researchers reconstruct interactions between Neanderthals and early modern humans 40,000 year ago.

Keeping up appearances
Dr. N.M. (Nina) van Sorge (f), UMCU – Medical Microbiology

Bacteria are all covered by a thick cell wall, predominantly composed of sugars. The pathogen Staphylococcus aureus can cover itself in different ‘sugar coats’. Microbiologists think that recognition of these different sugar coats is a key factor in immune defense and for the development of new antibiotics and vaccines.

T

In shape during stress
Prof. dr. C.S. (Christa) Testerink (f), WUR

Drought and salinity of the soil present threats to plants, as basic development is impaired under these stressful conditions. Plants mount responses above- and belowground to locally overcome the general block in development. I will investigate how this developmental flexibility is achieved and will exploit it to improve stress resilience.

V

Poor old Pores
Dr. L.M. (Liesbeth) Veenhoff (f), UMCG

The researchers of this research want to learn how and why a cell changes when it ages. The research is specifically aimed at revealing changes in the nuclear pores: the gatekeepers to the nucleus. Eventually, this fundamental knowledge will contribute to discovery of the common cause of multiple age-related diseases.

 

Listed by domain


Science

From stress to success: how hidden bacteria become opportunistic
Dr. D. (Dennis) Claessen (m), LEI

Most bacteria build a cell wall, which provides protection to cells in harmful conditions. However, some bacteria have the surprising ability to shed their wall in stressful situations. The researcher will investigate how bacteria do this and how they can actually profit from this wall-deficient state.

Our microbial ancestors in focus
Prof. dr. T.J.G. (Thijs) Ettema (m), WUR

Complex life on Earth evolved from simpler unicellular microorganisms. Recent studies identified the Asgard archaea as the closest microbial relatives of complex cellular life forms. This proposal is set out to study the physiology and cell biology of Asgard archaea to gain insights into the emergence of complex cellular life.

How cosmology emerges from quantum gravity
Dr. T.W. (Thomas) Grimm (m), UU

The observed expansion of our universe suggests that it is filled by a substance known as dark energy. Researchers propose that its mysterious properties can only be understood by using a quantum theory of gravity. This leads to a new description for the evolution of our universe.

Uncovering the clockwork of cellular metabolism
Prof. dr. M. (Matthias) Heinemann (m), RUG

Metabolism and cell division are both essential for life. However, little is known about the crucial interplay between these processes. Researchers will unravel the mechanism responsible for a clock-like behavior of eukaryotic metabolism during cell division. The insights will be instrumental for advances in biomedicine and biotechnology.

Fast & furious astrophysics
Dr. J.W.T. (Jason) Hessels (m), ASTRON/UvA

Extreme astronomical sources push our understanding of basic (astro)physics to the limit. Using a unique network of radio telescopes that span the globe, astronomers aim to solve the riddle of what powers a recently discovered and mysterious phenomenon: the furiously energetic `fast radio bursts’ that originate deep in extragalactic space.

Next-Generation Nanosensors for home-diagnostics
Prof. dr. G. (Giovanni) Maglia (m), RUG

The function of cells depends on proteins; their concentration, expression, and chemical modifications are accurate indicators of many diseases. In this project, we will develop a cheap and fast technology for the detection and analysis of proteins with the aim of transforming protein analysis and home-diagnostics.

Taming chemical reactions
Prof. dr. S.Y.T. (Bas) van de Meerakker (m), RU

When molecules meet, they can react with each other forming new molecules. This process is ubiquitous in nature, but poorly understood. The researchers will unravel chemical reactions by colliding molecules very precisely with each other, while making detailed images of the reaction products.

Multi-Parallel Neural Machine Translation
Dr. C. (Christof) Monz (m), UvA

Multilingual neural machine translation offers exciting possibilities to achieve interlingual representations. However, current approaches only accomplish this under limited conditions. In this project, the researcher proposes novel translation models that allows us to exploit multi-parallel corpora, resulting in better interlingual representations and better translation quality.

Peptide self-assembly: one non-covalent interaction at a time
Dr. A.M. (Anouk) Rijs (f), RU

The spontaneous assembly of biological molecules into ordered nanostructures plays a vital role in the development of incurable neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s. The researchers will develop new experimental methodology that will track their assembly, uniquely, one peptide at a time, in order to understand and control the aggregation process.

Selecting the Optimal Catalyst
Prof. dr J. (Jana) Roithová (f), RU

Natural enzymes are much better than any man-made catalyst at catalysing challenging reactions such as CO2 fixation. Biomimetic catalysts attempt to reconstruct the chemistry that nature has developed over millions of evolutionary steps. This research aims to find the optimal catalyst by using cutting-edge spectroscopic methods to select the most efficient chemical modifications.

In shape during stress
Prof. dr. C.S. (Christa) Testerink (f), WUR

Drought and salinity of the soil present threats to plants, as basic development is impaired under these stressful conditions. Plants mount responses above- and belowground to locally overcome the general block in development. I will investigate how this developmental flexibility is achieved and will exploit it to improve stress resilience.

Poor old Pores
Dr. L.M. (Liesbeth) Veenhoff (f), UMCG

The researchers of this research want to learn how and why a cell changes when it ages. The research is specifically aimed at revealing changes in the nuclear pores: the gatekeepers to the nucleus. Eventually, this fundamental knowledge will contribute to discovery of the common cause of multiple age-related diseases.

Social Sciences and Humanities

Future socio-economic inequalities in mortality
Prof. F. (Fanny) Janssen (f), RUG – Demography

Socio-economic inequalities in mortality are a persistent challenge for society, but how they will, realistically, further develop is unknown. This project will develop an advanced forecasting model for mortality inequalities based on to-be-generated insights into the impact of smoking, obesity, and alcohol, and assesses the potential effect of policy interventions.

Sensitive to symptoms
Prof. dr. J.G.M. (Judith) Rosmalen (f) , UMCG - Psychiatry and Internal Medicine

People differ to a large degree in how much they suffer from somatic symptoms. This difference is not only related to innate factors, but also to previous experiences with somatic symptoms. This project will study how these differences originate in early life experiences.

How curiosity drives child development
Prof. dr. S. (Sabine) Hunnius (f), RU - Developmental Psychology

Early development occurs at a breathtaking rate. This project examines the role of curiosity – the drive to learn new things – for development. It will examine the (brain) mechanisms underlying curiosity, whether children differ in their degree of curiosity, and how learning environments can be created that foster curiosity.

Exploiting the Empire of Others
Prof. dr. C. A. P. (Cátia) Antunes (f), LEI - History

Having consistently ignored the gains Dutch traders, investors and firms attained from serving the French, English and Iberian empires, debate in the Netherlands now demands a re-evaluation of Dutch colonial responsibilities. By recovering knowledge of these gains, this project will measure the wealth obtained from exploiting the empire of others.

Mix die taal! Or maybe not?
Prof. dr. W. B. T. (Elma) Blom (f), UU - Language teaching and acquisition

Many bilinguals combine or mix languages when they speak. The researchers aim to find out if children have difficulties learning language from mixed sources, how and why children mix, and if language mixing is different for children with and without a Developmental Language Disorder.

Recognition and the art of dialogue
Dr. L. (Nicole) Immler (f), UvH - Modern and contemporary history

Recognition of suffering is increasingly looked at in legal terms and then resolved in terms of individual financial compensation. However, such recognition does little to address the relational aspects of suffering. This project studies recognition claims as a call for dialogue, which emphasizes the social dimension of recognition.

Oil Companies and the Development of Environmentalism and Alternative Energy
Prof. dr. C.C.M. (Cyrus) Mody (m), UM - History of technology

Some historians argue that oil firms have hindered development of sustainable energy. However, in the 1970s, Shell and other oil companies invested in solar energy, nuclear power, and even environmental organizations. This project asks why oil firms contributed to environmentalism and alternative energy, and why they later abandoned those fields.

Neanderthal Legacy
Prof. dr. M.A. (Marie) Soressi (f), LEI - Prehistory

The genetic material of currently living Europeans is partly of Neanderthal origin. Were our ancestors successful because they were hybridising and interacting with the local populations they encountered when migrating into new places? Using interdisciplinary archaeology, researchers reconstruct interactions between Neanderthals and early modern humans 40,000 year ago.

21st-Century Risks: Tackling the Complex Interplay of Risks in Time and Space
Prof. dr. R. J. A. (Roger) Laeven (m), UvA – Econometrics

The most important global risks we currently face are that of a financial, climate or cyber crisis. These risks are characterized by the feedback loops that generate them and are surrounded by pervasive uncertainty. This research will develop innovative concepts, methods and techniques to model and measure these 21st-century risks.

How do we keep civil justice affordable in Europe?
Prof. dr. X.E. (Xandra) Kramer (f), EUR - Private law

Access to justice to enforce rights is crucial for consumers and businesses, but the cost and financing of justice are under pressure. The researchers evaluate alternative pathways to fund civil procedures and share the costs of civil justice in a number of countries and at the European level.

Applied and Engineering Sciences

New Big-Data approaches for Imaging Neuroscience
Prof. dr. C.F. (Christian) Beckmann (m), RUMC  – Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour

The researcher will develop techniques for understanding brain processes by comparing functional imaging measures from individuals to those generated from large cohort samples.

These techniques provide measures of normal variation and will be tested in the largest Dutch sample of early Parkinson’s Disease patients to understand the neurobiology of the disorder.

Tailoring defects in two-dimensional nanomaterials
Prof. dr. A.A. (Ageeth) Bol (f), TU/e - Applied Physics

The recently discovered two-dimensional nanomaterials are very promising for application in sustainable energy storage and nanoelectronics. Defects in these materials can make or break their special properties. The researchers are going to investigate and develop new techniques that can tailor the concentration and character of the defects.

Regeneration of diseased bone by colloidal biomaterials
Prof dr. ir. S.C.G. (Sander) Leeuwenburgh (m), RUMC  – Regenerative Biomaterials

Conventional biomaterials cannot heal defects in diseased bone. This research will design novel biomaterials which do possess this capacity by self-assembly of submicron particles. These biomaterials are porous, self-healing, and deliver drugs directly into cells. Consequently, bone defects caused by diseases such as infection or cancer will be treated effectively.

Argon Power Cycle
Dr. ir. J.A. (Jeroen) van Oijen (m), TU/e – Power & Flow

Combustion experts will develop a revolutionary engine that converts renewable fuels into clean power. By burning the fuel in argon instead of air, an exceptional high efficiency is reached. The researchers will investigate and optimise this extraordinary combustion process by using advanced computer models and laser diagnostics.

ZonMw

Immunity throughout the body
Dr. J.A.M. (José) Borghans (f), UMCU - Immunology

Current insights into the human immune system are almost exclusively based on studies of the blood, a place where only a minority of immune cells reside. By combining experimental work with mathematics, this research unravels how long-term immunological memory is maintained by immune cells throughout the body.

Novel tactics to combat a silent but dangerous intruder; non-alcoholic steatohepatitis
Prof. dr. S.W.C. (Saskia) van Mil (f), UMCU - Center for Molecular Medicine

Millions of people live with the silent liver disease non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, putting them at high risk for developing liver failure and cancer. Presently, no treatment is available. To address this need, researchers will selectively target the Farnesoid X Receptor to develop a highly effective therapy without side effects.

Genetic heart disease – what goes wrong?
Prof. dr. E. (Eva) van Rooij (f), Hubrecht Institute

Genetic heart diseases are caused by a mistake in your DNA and are characterised by several disease driving changes in the heart that contribute to the progression of the disease. To date very little is known about the exact mechanisms that drive these changes. The goal is to discover what causes these pathological changes to occur to potentially contribute to the development of enhanced therapies.

From Headache to Heartache
Dr. A. (Antoinette) Maassen van den Brink (f), Erasmus MC – Dept. of Internal Medicine

Migraine is a highly debilitating disease, especially in women. Moreover, it is a major cardiovascular risk factor. We will study why specifically women get more migraines, how to specifically treat women and how to mitigate that cardiovascular risk in migraine, taking into account potential cardiovascular risks of antimigraine medication.

Towards treatment of Intellectual Disability and Autism disorders
Dr. A. (Annette) Schenck (f), RUMC, Department of Human Genetics

Intellectual disability and autism are frequent and currently untreatable disorders. The researchers will use an ancient, highly conserved form of learning and the fruit fly as a model to investigate the neurobiology of these disorders and develop effective translational treatment strategies for subgroups of patients.

Keeping up appearances
Dr. N.M. (Nina) van Sorge (f), UMCU – Medical Microbiology

Bacteria are all covered by a thick cell wall, predominantly composed of sugars. The pathogen Staphylococcus aureus can cover itself in different ‘sugar coats’. Microbiologists think that recognition of these different sugar coats is a key factor in immune defense and for the development of new antibiotics and vaccines.

Contact

Poppy Savenije (media contact) Poppy Savenije (media contact) +31 (0)6 83893713 p.savenije@nwo.nl