Research projects

The call ‘Corona: fast-track data’ is developed by the NWO domains, Applied and Engineering Sciences, Science and Social Sciences and Humanities to collect data that can only be conducted now, during the COVID-19 crisis, and specifically research into issues that arise in society during the crisis.

Below you’ll find the projects that have have been granted within this call.

Child, Conflict & Crisis: a comparative study across the globe on the impact of COVID-19 containment measures on family life

Prof. dr. H.J.A. van Bakel (UvT)

The COVID-19 pandemic drastically changed family life by working remote, closing schools/daycares and isolation measures. So far, little is known about the effects of restrictive government measures on family life. This unique project investigates and compares the effects of COVID-19 restrictions on parental response and the role of individual, family and contextual factors in 40 Western and non-Western countries. It provides insight into factors that may buffer or increase negative effects on family life (e.g., stress, resiliency, conflict and violence).

Self-nudging to foster employee physical activity while working from home

Prof. dr. A.B. Bakker (EUR)

This project investigates how employees can increase their own health behaviors (increase physical activity, reduce sitting) and, indirectly, their well-being and performance, while working from home during the corona crisis. We propose that individuals may develop self-initiated nudges that facilitate their daily choice to be physically active. We evaluate the effect of a 4-week self-nudging intervention (in which employees learn to develop their own nudges) on physical activity, wellbeing, and work performance.

Managing Corona. An ethnographic study of crisis decision-making

Prof. dr. R.A. Bal (EUR)

As healthcare systems are overwhelmed with the consequences of the corona virus pandemic, they struggle with substantive, institutional and strategic uncertainties. We know little about how decision-making under such circumstances evolves and to what consequences for organisations, professionals, and citizens/patients. To contribute to current and future pandemic decision-making, we collect ethnographic data in a large university hospital and a municipality, focussing on local and regional decision-making structures and practices by observing meetings and interviewing key actors.

Intelligent Unlock: Business Resilience during and after the COVID-19 pandemic

Dr. N.R. Barros de Oliveira (UvT)

The COVID-19 pandemic has been about stopping the virus, but we must now feel the pulse of the economy and society to help policy-makers to identify “intelligent unlock” strategies in business. This research proposal aims to track the spread of innovation (work practices) as well as areas of concern (stress). Using an app, this project will harvest innovations made during the lockdown to help fast tracking a resilient economy and society in The Netherlands.

Before the beginning: exposure to COVID-19 related stress in the preconception period and its importance for future pregnancy health.

Dr. R. Beijers (RU)

Maternal prenatal stress adversely affects pregnancy health and fetal development. Exposure to stress, however, is unlikely to occur immediately following conception, and pregnancy health is not independent of health prior to conception. However, there is a dearth of studies on stress exposure effects during the preconception period. This study aims is to investigate whether, how, and under which conditions exposure to COVID-19 related stress forecasts pregnancy health in (future) mothers and fathers with a current child wish.

Environmental risk factors for COVID-19 susceptibility and severity in COPD patients

Prof. dr. H.M. Boezen (UMCG)

Subjects with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are considered to be at high risk for a severe course of the disease caused by COVID-19. They were instructed to stay home and practice social distancing earlier than the general Dutch population. However, it is unclear whether patients with COPD are also more susceptible to the COVID-19 virus and whether environmental factors play a role in susceptibility and progression of COVID-19 related symptoms. We will study this in the Lifelines population.

Why do people (not) adhere to COVID-19 preventive measures? Studying the temporal influence of risk perceptions and media use in a representative sample of the Dutch population

Dr. N. Bol (UvT)

The COVID-19 pandemic calls for drastic measures to prevent an unmanageable spread of the virus, yet we lack knowledge of how people respond to such measures. This project studies the impact of factors related to risk perceptions and media use on adherence to preventive measures over time. We identify clusters of the Dutch population particularly at risk for non-adherence, which is essential for devising adequate and possibly tailored communication strategies both for this and future pandemic health crises.

Where’s the way out? An Open Science approach to Coronavirus exit strategies.

Prof. dr. D. Borsboom (UvA)

The ‘intelligent lockdown’, that The Netherlands has implemented, deals severe damage to society. Therefore, it is imperative that we find a workable exit strategy as soon as possible. This project crowdsources the generation and evaluation of candidate exit strategies by setting up a massive Open Science collaboration. In this collaboration, epidemiologists, network scientists, programmers, data scientists, psychologists, and economists will work together to find ways out of the current lockdown.

Collecting systematic survey data on scientists’ information-seeking and information-spreading behaviour in a time of crisis

Dr. G. Colavizza (UvA)

Information is paramount during the COVID-19 pandemic. The WHO has called for action towards the “infodemic”: an overabundance of often unreliable information which creates uncertainty and anxiety. Responses from governments and the public are based on access to reliable information from experts. This project proposes to systematically survey the adapting information-seeking and information-spreading behaviours of scientists working on COVID-19 as the pandemic unfolds, in order to deliver actionable insights and make available otherwise-lost data for future study and preparedness.

How can employees remain healthy and motivated during Corona crisis?

Prof. dr. E. Demerouti (TUE)

The measures of COVID-19 virus have led to collective new ways of working (computer-mediated, autonomous in timing and location work) which is challenging for employees. Self-recognition and strategies to job craft, recover from work and increase work-nonwork-balance are expected to improve employee well-being and functioning at work and home. The project aims to develop and test a fully automated online intervention that elicits these strategies to help employees and to increase our understanding on their effectiveness.

Immune monitoring in COVID-19 patients

Prof. dr. C.H.J. van Eijck (ErasmusMC)

Currently it is not clear which patients who are admitted to the hospital with a SARS‐CoV‐2 infection will benefit from treatment or die. Clearly, the balanced immune system is lost in some of the SARS‐CoV‐2 infected patients which contributes to the progression in disease. We believe that monitoring the immunological changes induced by the SARS‐CoV‐2 virus will lead to discovering prognostic or predictive markers that may assist in decision making and offers therapeutic options.

Genetic risk factors that determine COVID-19 susceptibility and severity

Prof. dr. L.H. Franke (UMCG)

It is mostly unclear why some people get severely ill due to a COVID-19 infection. We hypothesize this is partly due to genetic risk factors that determine both COVID-19 susceptibility and severity. In this project we will conduct a genome-wide association study in the Lifelines biobank, which has previously generated genotype data for 50,000 participants. We are sending out questionnaires to them, asking about COVID-19 related symptoms, permitting us to study the genetics of COVID-19 infection susceptibility and severity.

Extended twin-family study of COVID-19 and its impact

Prof. dr. J.C.N. de Geus (VU)

A survey to more than 60.000 twin-family members of the Netherlands Twin Register (NTR) will give insight into the role of genetic and environmental risk factors that determine the susceptibility to COVID-19 and severity of complaints after infection. The survey will further chart the effects of the pandemic in terms of psychosocial strain and health behaviour change. We use the powerful twin design in combination with longitudinal information of environmental risk factors available on NTR participants.

A complex systems approach to the psychology of adherence to corona protective guidelines

Prof. dr. F. van Harreveld (UvA)

Reducing the speed with which the corona virus spreads requires citizens adhering to prevention guidelines (e.g. social distancing, hygiene). Many people fail to do so however and here causes for this are examined with a complex systems approach. Specific attention goes out to perceptions of risk and vulnerability, trust in (communication by) governmental and health authorities, emotions resulting from the pandemic and attitudes towards the preventive measures. Moreover, effective interventions to improve adherence to the guidelines are identified and tested.

Parenting in the time of COVID-19

Dr. M.M.E. Hendricx-Riem (UvT)

COVID-19 has upended family life. School closures, remote working, social distancing: it is a lot to navigate, especially for parents. Why are some parents successfully keeping their family life on track, whereas others are in distress? The proposed study will shed light on these issues by examining parenting across three countries: China, Italy, The Netherlands. The study will lead to knowledge on factors associated with impaired parenting in the time of COVID-19, needed to target support to at-risk families.

How do adolescents cope with the Corona-crisis: a smartphone study

Prof. dr. M.H.J. Hillegers (Erasmuc MC)

During the Corona-crisis, adolescents (age 12-25) are vulnerable for psychosocial problems such as anxiety, depression, and loneliness, especially when stress accumulates.

This interdisciplinary project aims to

1) Gather data and disseminate real-time scientific insights into emotional well-being, stress, and coping

2) Support adolescents to actively cope with stress to prevent psychosocial problems

To this end, adolescents play the serious game GROW IT! They record their real-time well-being and daily stress. In teams, they are challenged to actively cope with Corona-stress.

Psychosocial aspects of the Corona virus 2019-2020 epidemic (PSYCOR)

Prof. dr. W.J. Kop (UvT)

The physical health threat of the COVID-19 pandemic, combined with the socioeconomic impact, have induced high levels of anxiety and other forms of psychological distress. This project examines who is at risk for COVID-19 -related symptoms and psychological problems during and in the aftermath of the epidemic. Building on data collected just before the COVID-19 outbreak, this project will identify psychosocial risk factors for: 1) subsequent COVID related symptoms; and 2) psychological problems (health- and COVID-specific anxiety) and health behaviours.

Life after Lockdown: Returning to a Changed World in Wuhan, China.

Dr. S.L. Lan (UvA)

This project investigates experiences of life after lockdown in Wuhan (China) to gain insight into challenges ahead for societies around the world. In this city, where the global COVID-19 pandemic started, people currently return to a changed world after having spent two months in quarantine. This project records people's changed behaviours, experiences of returning to work, engagement with new regulations and technologies, and efforts to prevent “a second wave”.

Managing a just transition out of the COVID-19 crisis

Prof. dr. D.A. McCauley (EUR)

The transition from lockdown to normal life will impact unequally on different sections of society. There is an urgent need to understand how key public and private stakeholders frame these inequalities. Framing processes are central to managing the resolution of the crisis. We need to know how these frames develop in real time. We will conduct 60 interviews in total at two time points (June and August 2020) in the Netherlands and the UK.

Tracking levels of fear for the coronavirus

Dr. G. Mertens (UvT)

Many people are afraid of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Fear is an appropriate emotion as long as the pandemic is ongoing. However, once under control, it is important that fear for the coronavirus and related safety behaviours decline. Otherwise, prolonged fear could have unwanted consequences such as mental distress (at the individual level) and economic recession (at the level of countries). In this project, we want to track levels of fear for the coronavirus across time.

Health Disparities & Lifestyle in COVID-19 escalation

Prof. dr. J.O. Mierau (RUG)

Data from intensive care units suggest that the share of overweight patients in the IC is larger than the share of overweight individuals in general. Lifestyle, and health in general, is socially patterned with obesity and other detrimental lifestyle factors (e.g. smoking) being particularly prevalent among individuals with lower socioeconomic status. In this study we use data that are currently being collected in a (bi-)weekly survey to obtain an understanding of lifestyle and socioeconomic determinants of COVID-19 prevalence and escalation.

The impact of COVID-19 on mental health in persons with and without psychiatric disorders: extension of ongoing large-scale cohort studies

Prof. dr. B.W.J.H. Penninx (VUMC)

This study examines whether the COVID-19 pandemic leads to increased symptoms of depression and anxiety, especially in psychiatric patients. It uniquely utilizes the availability of >3000 subjects from ongoing psychiatric cohort studies that have been well-characterized in multiple waves during the last decade. Psychiatric symptoms will be re-assessed using consecutive online assessments (April-July 2020), allowing comparison with symptoms in periods before the COVID-19 pandemic. Also, determinants (psychiatric history, psychosocial and coping characteristics) of (change in) symptoms will be examined.

Employee self-regulation as a way to deal with the corona crisis at work

Dr. P. Petrou (EUR)

To sustain their performance and well-being throughout the corona crisis, employees need to discover their own solutions, especially if they have to work away from their regular work environment. Via two survey studies (late April and early September 2020), I will study whether self-initiated employee strategies, such as proactivity (e.g., asking for help or seeking learning opportunities), creativity, self-reflection, or mindfulness, help employees deal with the corona crisis successfully at work.

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on perinatal mental health: the C-19—Pandemic Perinatal Project (C19-PP-p), an extension of the Brabant Study

Prof. V.J.M. Pop MD PhD (UvT)

The lockdown to cope with the COVID-19-pandemic (C19-P) has major impact on psycho-social functioning of everyone in the country, especially on pregnant women because the worries for the unborn child. We propose to set-up focus groups interviews with pregnant women (+partners), eventually resulting in a C19-pandemic-perinatal questionnaire (C19-PPQ). The current proposal is an extension of the Brabant Study (BS) in which mental health is repeatedly assessed in 4000 pregnant women from 12 weeks gestation to 10 weeks postpartum.

Values in Times of Corona. A Follow-Up of the European Values Study Amidst COVID-19

Dr. T. Reeskens (UvT)

Confronted with COVID-19 and tight measures to contain it, the Netherlands is confronted with several insecurities for which studies suggest that they impact relevant values and attitudes. Insecurities would increase reliance on authority and yield in-group at the expense of out-group solidarity, to give two examples. Our study extends the European Values Study 2017 Netherlands with two follow-ups to be fielded in May and October to detect (1) if values have changed, and (2) how persistent this shift is.

Identification of pan-anti-betacoronaviral compounds using a simple and rapid high-throughput screening approach

Prof. dr. F. Reggiori (UMCG)

The goal of this project is to identify lead molecules that specifically target a highly conserved interaction between two coronaviral proteins, which we have recently shown to be vital for coronaviruses. We will establish a miniaturized assay to assess interaction between these two proteins, and use it to screen a library of 100’000 compounds. Hits will be tested in infection models against coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2. We expect to identify a therapeutic lead for both the current and future COVID outbreaks.

Incidence of COVID-19 and Movement among Migrants in the Central Mediterranean region

Prof. dr. M.E.H. van Reisen (UvT)

Under-detection of COVID-19 infection, coupled with high movement amongst vulnerable, health-fragile migrants, poses a risk to the management of COVID-19 in the Central Mediterranean. Due to war and unfavourable circumstances, including the lock-down, little information is available on (suspected) infection incidence and migrants’ movements. This undermines control of the crisis, migrants’ health and poses risks in Europe as destination. Open real-time data on (suspected) incidence of COVID-19 infections amongst migrants, their location and movements, is critical for researchers and policy-makers.

Compliance with COVID-19 Mitigation Measures

Prof. dr. B. van Rooij (UvA)

Until there is a vaccine or treatment, social distancing and stay at home orders are the most important measures to mitigate the effects of the coronavirus. The crucial challenge is how to ensure that people will comply with these measures. This study gathers real-time data to assess, whether, to what extent, and why people comply. The data is vital for policy makers to increase the efficacy of these measures in attempting to contain the coronavirus.

Saving time and sanity – real-time data collection for systematic reviews on COVID-19

Dr. A.G.J. van de Schoot (UU)

The Knowlegde Institute Federation of Medical Specialists receives urgent, nationwide prioritized COVID-19 related questions from medical doctors. To answer these questions, they develop evidence-based guidelines. They systematically search for relevant papers in large datasets. However, screening hundreds, or even thousands of papers, is time consuming, time we do not have right now. Therefore, we are developing Open Source software which automatically collects data (COVID-19 related papers) and uses artificial intelligence to find relevant papers as quickly as possible.

The early effects of the coronavirus crisis on health, attitudes, and behaviour, and their long-term consequences for Dutch households

Dr. B. Siflinger (UvT)

Up to now, the LISS panel has fielded two waves of a questionnaire on the impact of the Corona crisis on daily life in the Netherlands. This includes questions on how the Dutch handle working conditions, childcare and uncertain expectations. To continue this investigation through the crisis and beyond, I propose a third questionnaire in May 2020. This will elucidate the impact of the crisis on household labour supply and mental health for the Dutch population.

The effect of the corona-crisis response measures on institutional trust

Dr. J. van der Waal (EUR)

Crucial information needed for an effective crisis response will be provided by: 1) examining the trend in institutional trust during the corona-crisis on a day-to-day basis (March 2nd – March 30th), 2) estimating the causal impact of the corona-crisis response measures on institutional trust among Dutch citizens, 3) estimating whether trends in institutional trust and the effect of the governmental measures on institutional trust differ between different societal groups.

Young babies during the COVID-19 pandemic: Are they getting the care they need?

Prof. dr. C. de Weerth (RadboudUMC)

Babies need excellent care to grow healthy and prevent mental and physical disease later on. Dutch parents are advised to provide routine immunizations, exclusive breastfeeding, and nightly room-sharing in the first 6 months after delivery. However, a large number of babies do not receive this recommended care. Researchers will find out whether the COVID-19 crisis is worsening this situation or, unexpectedly, provides an opportunity for more parents to offer the recommended care to their babies.

Acquiring, Comprehending, and Using Information Related to COVID-19

Prof. dr. R.A. Zwaan (EUR)

Description: This research will investigate how people gather, interpret, and use information about COVID-19. Which information sources do they use? How often do they consult these sources? What is their factual knowledge about COVID-19? How confident are they about this knowledge? Do they endorse conspiracy theories about COVID-19? How closely do they follow governmental guidelines about COVID-19 related behavior? Are there systematic individual differences in these issues? Are there cross-cultural differences in COVID-19 information processing?