Vidi 2015

A total of 572 researchers submitted an admissible research project for funding during this Vidi funding round. Eighty-seven of these have now received grants. That amounts to an award rate of 15%.

Number of (admissible) submissions: 572
Gender ratio of submissions: 375 men, 197 women
Number of grants awarded (award rate): 87 (15%)
Gender ratio of awarded grants: 60 men, 27 women
Award rate among men: 16%
Award rate among women: 14%

The list of awarded grants contains the names of all the laureates, brief summaries of their research projects and a number of facts and figures for this round.

  • Alphabetical list by researcher's surname

    A

    Economic behaviour on TV
    Dr M.J. (Martijn) van den Assem (m), VU University Amsterdam – Economics and Business Administration
    How do people make decisions when there is a lot of money at stake? I will use game shows to analyse economic behaviour. Some game shows are unique behavioural experiments by virtue of the large money prizes and the repetition of well-defined choice problems that provide answers to the debate about the external validity of conventional experiments.

     

    B

    Lignin waste to valuable chemicals
    Dr K. (Katalin) Barta (f), RUG – Stratingh Institute for Chemistry
    Lignin is the largest renewable source of aromatics on the planet. Still, its chemical conversion is a real challenge. This research will find ways to break down the robust structure of lignin and convert this aromatic biopolymer into valuable chemicals.

    Raised bogs: valuable sources of knowledge under pressure
    Dr R. (Roy) van Beek (m)
    Raised bogs contain highly detailed information about the landscape and human activity in former times. At present, this knowledge is being barely used, but meanwhile these areas are under severe pressure from agriculture, dewatering and climate change. The researchers gather high-quality scientific data and use these data to develop a vision of the future for sustainable responsible management.

    Space-time symphony for two neutron stars
    Dr (Sebastiano) Bernuzzi (m), Nikhef, FOM Institute for Subatomic Physics
    Neutron stars collisions are among the universe's most energetic phenomena. Such events are uniquely identified by the tiny gravitational waves emitted at acoustic frequencies. To enable future observations, researchers will calculate the gravitational wave symphony by solving Einstein's space-time equations using super computers.

    How crowded is a cell?
    Dr A.J. (Arnold) Boersma (m), University of Groningen – Groningen Biomolecular Sciences and Biotechnology Institute
    We do not know how crowded cells are, despite the fact that this parameter affects various processes and can be at the root of diseases. The researchers are going to map this molecular crowdedness in the cell.

    What you read is what you hear
    Dr M.L. (Milene) Bonte (f), Maastricht University – Cognitive Neuroscience
    Learning how to read is a crucial milestone in a child’s development and leads to alterations in the brain. The researchers conduct brain scans at different times during reading development. As a result, they will improve our understanding of how reading alters functions in the brain and why this is an obstacle for dyslexic children.

    ‘Junk’ RNA and heart ageing
    Dr R.A. Boon (m), VUMC Physiology
    Ageing is the main risk factor for cardiovascular disease. The researcher will study how so-called non-coding RNA (also known as ‘Junk’ RNA) contributes to heart ageing. This research aims to find new leads to counter heart ageing.

    C

    Cause and consequences of trusting the sharing economy
    Dr R. (Rense) Corten (m), Utrecht University – Sociology
    Under which circumstances will strangers trust each other during interactions in the sharing economy, and to what extent does the sharing economy generate more social cohesion? This project will examine these questions using a mixture of methods: laboratory experiments, online experiments, digital user data and survey data.

     

    Silencing excessively liberal platelets
    Dr J.M.E.M. Cosemans (f), UM, Molecular Biology
    A first myocardial or cerebral infarction increases the chances of a second infarction. Researchers have shown that the long-term release of platelet proteins can be the cause of this – despite modern medication. The aim of this research is to effectively curtail this release in order to find new reference points for medication.

    D

     

    Dahmen New Diophantine directions
    Dr S.R. (Sander) Dahmen (m), VU University Amsterdam
    Diophantine equations are equations whose coefficients and unknowns must be integers. They currently play a key role in modern theories of arithmetic and algebraic geometry. The researchers will design new methods that will finally make it possible to solve a large number of Diophantine equations.

    Several needles in several haystacks
    Dr K. (Katrijn) Van Deun (f), Tilburg University – Methodology and Statistics
    To measure is to know, and so we measure to our heart’s content: voting behaviour, income, education, age, BMI, opinions, overweight yes/no, our genome… Current statistical methods are inadequate for the integrated analysis of these kinds of data. That is why we are developing new methods that will shed light on the interplay between genetic and environmental factors in overweight people, for example.

     

    Higgs from Z to A
    Dr T.A. (Tristan) du Pree (m), Nikhef, FOM Institute for Subatomic Physics
    The Higgs boson was discovered in 2012 by CERN’s Large Hadron Collider. The physicist conducting this research will use the Higgs bosons to make precision measurements to study their characteristics, to search for scalar particles, and to attempt to shed light on dark matter – a new step in particle physics.

     

    F

    How cabbage plants kill insect larvae
    Dr N.E. (Nina) Fatouros (f), Wageningen UR
    Butterfly caterpillars can wreak serious damage to food crops. Some wild plants have a special way of preventing this kind of damage, however: they kill the butterfly larvae. In my VIDI project I will study how this successful plant defence works. The acquired knowledge can be used to give crops sustainable protection against pests.

    G

     

    NanoBricks: building monocrystalline optoelectronics from welded nanocubes
    Dr E.C. (Erik) Garnett, FOM Institute for Atomic and Molecular Physics (AMOLF)
    Solar cells have to be made of nearly perfect crystals of a specific shape to be highly efficient. Currently solar cells are usually cut from a large crystal, which is inefficient. The NanoBricks programme creates perfect crystals in the right shape by placing and welding small nanocubes like bricks.

    From active matter to artificial cells: a mechanical insight into the fabric of life
    Dr L. (Luca) Giomi (m), Leiden University – Physics
    The researchers will do theoretical research into synthetic cells, in order to understand hoe mechanical functionality comes to the forefront in living organisms.

    The importance of personality in school performance
    Dr B.H.H. (Bart) Golsteyn (m), Maastricht University – Economics
    The research focuses on the importance of personality in school performance and how we can invest in it. Will students who are not endowed with a favourable personality perform better if rewarded? Will this curtail students’ ability to use their personality in other tasks? Does habituation gradually reduce the need for a reward?

    Optomechanical coupling on a quantum chip
    Dr S. (Simon) Groeblacher (m), Delft University of Technology – Quantum Nanoscience
    Although mechanical vibrations (phonons) can be used as signals in quantum technologies, this has not happened convincingly yet. By using specially designed optomechanical crystals, these physicists want to get complete control of phonons and couple them to optical and microwave light particles (photons) on a quantum chip.

    Optimising the methodological framework for studies of the effects of medical interventions using routine care data
    Dr R.H.H. Groenwold (m), University Medical Center Utrecht – Epidemiology
    Large digital databases have huge potential when it comes to answering important biomedical questions. This research will develop the advanced methods needed to achieve this aim.

     

    H

     

    Crumpled sheets have surprisingly useful qualities
    Dr M. (Mehdi) Habibi (m), University of Amsterdam – Institute of Physics
    To design material with extraordinary qualities (‘metamaterial’), you need to use techniques like origami, for example, in which thin layers are cleverly folded. But crumpled layers and even wads have surprising qualities that can be used in a variety of ways. Physicists are researching the fundamental qualities of crumpled layers and will then use them to build metamaterial.

    Working together on climate-proof cities
    Dr J.J. (Jeroen) van der Heijden (m), Australian National University – Architecture and Public Administration
    Cities are a driving force for climate mitigation. Authorities, industry and citizens are working together worldwide on innovative policy arrangements for climate-proof cities. This research will examine to what extent and which forms of administrative cooperation will most benefit the rapid and large-scale mitigation of cities.

    Women of(f) the street
    Dr D.W.A.G. (Danielle) van den Heuvel (f), University of Amsterdam – Institute of Culture and History
    Many historians believe that women disappeared from the streets between 1600 and 1850. This project examines whether this claim is true and which factors determined women’s access to public space in two different cities: Amsterdam en Edo.

    Two ends of one world: bridging microscale cytoarchitectonics and macroscale connectomics in the human brain
    Dr M.P. van den Heuvel (m), University Medical Center Utrecht – Psychiatry
    How do the different levels of our brain interact to make one efficient brain? At a microscopic scale, neurons process information, but at a macroscopic scale, taken together the areas of the brain also create large communication networks. We will study how major brain processes, and changes to these during development, depend on the smallest parts of our brain.

    Tracing the potter’s wheel in the Bronze Age Aegean
    Dr J.R. (Jill) Hilditch (f), University of Amsterdam – Archaeology
    This project aims to research the spread of the potter’s wheel in the Aegean region during the Bronze Age by studying the mobility of people, objects and ideas. This will shed new light on the way in which new, innovative techniques were employed in prehistoric societies.

    Shedding new light on star formation in the early universe
    Dr J.A. (Jacqueline) Hodge (f), Leiden University
    One of the most fundamental questions in astronomy is understanding how galaxies form stars. Half of star formation, however, takes place behind clouds of interstellar dust. The researchers will use two state-of-the-art telescopes to unveil this obscured star formation in the early universe.

    Early modern private partnerships revisited
    Dr B. (Bram) Van Hofstraeten, (m), Maastricht University – Faculty of Law
    To the extent that the numerous, more modest private partnerships from the early modern period in the Netherlands are studied by law historians, it nevertheless based almost exclusively on theoretical source texts, such as legislation and legal doctrine. This project, on the other hand, will search for the true legal nature of these partnerships by looking at more representative archival sources, such as partnership contracts.

    The origin of familial hypercholesterolemia
    Dr G.K. Hovingh (m), Amsterdam Academic Medical Center, Vascular Medicine
    Familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) is a hereditary disorder characterised by an elevated LDL blood cholesterol level, which causes cardiovascular diseases. The cause in 5%-10% of FH patients is unknown. This project will map the multifactorial causes and consequences of this FH type.

    MINGLE: Modelling social group dynamics and interaction quality in complex scenes using multi-sensor analysis of non-verbal behaviour
    Dr H. (Haley) Hung (f), Delft University of Technology
    Previous research has shown that networks contribute significantly to people’s professional growth and careers. The aim of MINGLE is to develop new machine learning approaches that automatically analyse the quality of social interaction by observing non-verbal behaviour. This research will not only lead to a better understanding of how people communicate, but also methods to improve this communication.

    Preparing MFDEs for the modelling world
    Dr H.J. (Hermen Jan) Hupkes (m), Leiden University
    Conventional mathematical models treat space and time as a continuum, though it is sometimes more useful to view them as granular. The mathematicians will research what this means for several important patterns that are commonly found in computer calculations and in nature.

     

    I

     

    Encoding, reconstructing and comparing complex evolutionary scenarios
    Dr L.J.J. (Leo) van Iersel (m), Delft University of Technology
    The relationships between different species of plants, bacteria and fungi form a complex network. Mathematicians are now examining how we can combine knowledge about small parts of these networks to identify larger networks.

    The Himalayas: an unknown water tower
    Dr W.W. (Walter) Immerzeel (m), Utrecht University – Geosciences
    ‘Himalaya’ means ‘house of snow’ in Sanskrit, and meltwater is of paramount importance to millions of people in Asia. We know very little about the water cycle in this high mountain range, however. In Hi-Cycle, a team of researchers will use drones, measuring equipment and simulation models to unravel the mystery of this water cycle.

    MagnaData: massivising data centre scheduling to bring all data services to all people
    Dr A. (Alexandru) Iosup (m), Delft University of Technology
    Data centres are factories that produce (hosting) data services for our digital economy. MagnaData will develop groundbreaking resource management and scheduling techniques. These techniques help engineers manage increasingly larger datacentres, and address how social and sophisticated customers use data services. This makes data centres much more flexible and efficient, and improves customer experience.

     

    K

     

    One muscle is not a muscle
    Dr H.E. (Hermien) Kan, (f), Leiden University Medical Center – Radiology
    In many types of muscular dystrophy, muscle weakness starts in certain muscles and then spreads to virtually all other muscles. I will examine what makes the muscles that stay strong the longest so different from the muscles that weaken rapidly. Knowledge about this is of paramount importance for the development of new therapies.

    On the edge: theory and techniques at the frontiers of edge colouring
    Dr R.J. (Ross) Kang (m), Radboud University
    A natural problem in a wireless communication network is to apportion all links among few transmission frequencies so no communication interference occurs. This translates into a mathematical problem called edge colouring. We study variations and strengthenings, and establish asymptotic, extremal structure using probabilistic methods.

    Changing shape: DNA unzipped
    Dr J.H. (Jop) Kind (m), Hubrecht Institute – Developmental Biology
    Two metres of DNA lies folded in the nucleus of every cell. The active DNA is situated in the middle; the inactive DNA is draped against the wall of the nucleus. The main question in this research is: what is the origin of this arrangement and what changes if a cell takes on another identity?

    Identity crisis in a failing heart
    Dr G. Krenning (m), University Medical Center Groningen – Pathology and Medical Biology
    Heart failure is caused by myocardial scarring. Cells in the heart’s blood vessels contribute to this scarring by changing their identity. The researchers have discovered a protein that inhibits the blood vessels’ change of identity. The researchers will examine whether activating this protein can stop heart failure.

    Inside granular sludge – the effects of suspended matter on stability and activity
    Dr M.K. (Merle) de Kreuk (f), Delft University of Technology – Sanitary Engineering
    Wastewater treatment with granular sludge has turned out to be highly efficient. Suspended matter in wastewater, however, can break down bacterial granules, reduce their activity and even lead to process failure. This research will combine advanced analysis and modelling techniques to penetrate the mechanisms of influence in suspended matter.

     

    L

    Head-on collision: mapping DNA repair during transcription
    Dr M.S. (Martijn) Luijsterburg (m), Leiden University Medical Center – Human Genetics
    Protein molecules that read DNA coding can have head-on collisions with DNA lesions. These collisions cause cell death, ageing and neurodegeneration. Using advanced microscopic methods and protein analyses, the researchers will study how cells handle these collisions, which proteins are involved in this process and how it helps to maintain chromosome stability.

    M

     

    Unifying millimetre wave antennae and chips
    Dr R. (Rob) Maaskant (m) – Eindhoven University of Technology
    In this research, antennae will be wirelessly connected to chips and, moreover, integrated into a single casing. This is a milestone for integrated millimetre wave systems in general and for power-efficient and low-loss antenna systems in particular.

    The language of stories and the imagination
    Dr E. (Emar) Maier (m), University of Groningen – Theoretical Philosophy
    You read a newspaper differently than a novel. You expect true statements about existing individuals in a newspaper, whereas you are aware, when reading Harry Potter, that wizards do not exist. In this project, philosophers and linguists develop a theory to discover the fundamental difference between stories ad everyday language use.

    Towards a European legal culture?
    Prof. E. (Elaine) Mak (f), Erasmus University Rotterdam – Jurisprudence
    Effective legal protection in the European Union requires cooperation between judges based on shared professional values, legal rules and work methods. This research will examine to what extent the judicial cultures in EU member states can develop into a single judicial culture.

    Understanding heterogeneity in neurodevelopmental disorders using normative models based on brain imaging biomarkers
    Dr A. F. Marquand (m), Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Center – Cognitive Neuroscience
    Psychiatric disorders, such as ADHD and autism, are characterised by heterogeneity. The aim of this research programme is to develop a method to improve our understanding of this heterogeneity. This will increase our knowledge of the origins of disorders and lead to treatment strategies that specifically target what individual patients need.

    From political crisis of confidence to crisis of democracy
    Dr T.W.G. (Tom) van der Meer (m), University of Amsterdam – Political Science
    Though politicians, journalists and academics have suggested for decades now that a decline in political confidence is damaging the stability of democracy, the consequences have never been empirically examined. This research project systematically tests the consequences and mechanisms of political crises of confidence at the micro (citizens), meso (political elite) and macro (regime) levels by means of experiments, content analysis, in-depth interviews and panel research.

    Studying paths through the pore labyrinth of catalysts
    Dr F. (Florian) Meirer (m), Utrecht University – Inorganic Chemistry and Catalysis
    Functional porous materials such as catalysts are essential for producing modern everyday life products. The materials’ pores form a complex maze that influences their macroscopic properties. This project will explore how matter travels through this labyrinth and relate this to catalyst performance.

    The hidden role of canyons
    Dr F. (Furu) Mienis (f), NIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research – Ocean Systems
    The aim of this research is to determine the importance of transporting carbon via underwater canyons between coast and deep sea, and the role canyons play in (temporarily) storing carbon. Carbon storage via lateral transport is still an unknown factor in the global marine carbon cycle, which has a major impact on our climate.

    SAMURAI (Steering Actuated Probes for Targeted Interventions)
    Prof. S. (Sarthak) Misra (m), University Medical Center Groningen – Biomedical Engineering
    Probes are often used in diagnostics and the administration of medicines. These generally inflexible instruments often miss their target, which results in complications. SAMURAI will develop flexible, robot-driven probes that can reach difficult locations in the body, which will improve both patient comfort and clinical results.

    Combining targeted compounds in neuroblastoma tumours: is two better than one?
    Dr J.J. Molenaar (m), Amsterdam Academic Medical Center – Oncology
    Neuroblastoma are paediatric tumours that kill more than 50% of the patients. New medicines are being developed to target this problem, but as monotherapies they will not be able to cure patients. Now we want to use model systems to show that by combining these medicines we can develop cures.

    Supramolecular catalysts for the one-pot selective synthesis of carbohydrate derivatives
    Dr T.J. (Tiddo) Mooibroek (m), University of Amsterdam – Van ‘t Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences
    It is difficult and expensive to make the sugar molecules needed for research into processes such as infections and cancer. The catalysts that these researchers are going to use will make this a great deal easier and less expensive.

     

    N

    Black hole births: measuring extreme astrophysics in the dynamic universe
    Dr S.M. (Samaya) Nissanke (f), Radboud University
    Black holes and gravitational radiation are the most fascinating predictions or Einstein’s relativity theory. The researchers want to monitor the birth of black holes live for the first time by detecting waves in space-time or gravitational radiation and combining these findings with measurements from the spectacular corresponding flashes of light.

    O

    Molecular insight into alcohol addiction
    Dr M.C. (Michel) van den Oever, (m), VU University Amsterdam – Molecular and Cellular Neurobiology
    A
    lcohol relapse is often triggered by environmental factors that act as a reminder of its pleasant effects. The researchers will use new advanced techniques to study how an alcohol memory is recorded by small populations of nerve cells in the brain and how these specific memories can be blocked to prevent relapse.

    Shaping nanomaterials for future electronics
    Dr C. (Carmine) Ortix (m), Utrecht University, Institute for Theoretical Physics
    Semiconductor nanomembranes – sheets of materials with nanoscale thicknesses – can be rolled or folded into a variety of curved geometric shapes, such as spirals and helices. Researchers will investigate how quantum effects in these curved nanoarchitectures can make new electronics possible.

    P

    Good start for preterm babies
    Dr A. B. te Pas (m), Leiden University Medical Center – Neonatology
    Preterm babies often need help breathing during birth to survive, but that is when they are most vulnerable. At the Leiden University Medical Center, we will research how best to administer this aid to prevent damage from occurring.

    The fate of sea butterflies in acidic oceans
    Dr K.T.C.A. (Katja) Peijnenburg (f), Naturalis – Marine Zoology
    Sea butterflies, sea angels and elephant snails are special groups of snails that have adapted to life in the open ocean. The oceans, however, are changing more rapidly by the day: they are becoming warmer and more acidic. The question is whether these spectacular snails will be able to adapt and whether they will keep their shells.

    Unwanted souvenirs
    Dr J. Penders (m), Maastricht University Medical Center – Medical Microbiology and Epidemiology
    It is becoming increasingly common for Dutch people to travel to countries where antibiotic-resistant bacteria are pervasive. This research will study the prevention and spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria among the Vietnamese population and among Dutch travellers to Vietnam and other countries where antibiotic-resistant bacteria are common. The researchers will use molecular techniques to track down antibiotic-resistance in the intestinal flora.

    Tracking down the Tocharians
    Dr M. (Michaël) Peyrot (m), Leiden University – Linguistics
    Tocharian is known to us through manuscripts from 500–1000 BC from northwest China. It is an Indo-European language, related to Latin, Greek and Dutch, for example. Speakers of Tocharian therefore had to have migrated from Europe to China. The researchers will ascertain the Tocharians’ migration route based on their contact with other languages.

    Cicero through the ages
    Dr C.H. (Christoph) Pieper (m), Leiden University – Leiden University Center for the Arts in Society (LUCAS)
    Cicero is an extremely well-known figure from antiquity – in particular for his speeches and rhetorical essays. But why is this the case? This project examines how Cicero’s image in antiquity influenced how he was perceived later, both as a person and as an outstanding stylist.

    Promote diversity in local communities
    Dr R.A.H. (Roos) Pijpers (f), Radboud University Nijmegen – Social Geography
    Elderly care in the Netherlands was decentralised in January 2015. This research examines how municipalities, social district teams and local communities meet the care requirements of migrant parents and elderly LGBT people. It provides insight into local combinations of formal and informal care in which diversity among the elderly is recognised and acknowledged.

    R

    Protein, stay in shape!
    Dr Y.L.A. (Yves) Rezus (m), AMOLF – Molecular Biophysics
    Prion diseases are brain disorders caused by the PrP protein. Pathologically folded PrP molecules cause healthy PrP molecules to misfold or aggregate, which generates a chain reaction in the brain. The researchers will use advanced laser techniques to study the molecular mechanism behind these diseases.

    I see, I see what you do not see: social attention for children with an extra X or Y chromosome
    Dr S. (Sophie) van Rijn (f), Leiden University – Clinical Child and Adolescent Studies
    One in a thousand children are born with an extra X or Y chromosome. Remedial educationalists will research whether developmental problems in the areas of language, communication and social behaviour in these children are related to reduced receptiveness to social signals as a result of heightened stress responses during social interaction.

    Monitoring top executives: internally or externally?
    Dr F. (Floor) Rink (f), University of Groningen – Organisational Behaviour
    Nowadays decision making by top executives is strictly monitored. But monitoring does not always generate the desired result. This raises the question, who is exerting the most influence on executives: internal or external supervisors?

    Forbidden fruit: does mindset determine how your brain sees food?
    Dr A. (Anne) Roefs (f), Maastricht University – Faculty of Psychology & Neuroscience
    The western environment is called a fattening one because high-calorie food is so readily available. This food has two sides: delicious but unhealthy. This research will examine whether focusing on health versus enjoyment determines how our brains process food stimuli. A change of focus could make it considerably easier to eat healthy food (and lose weight).

    Legitimacy beyond consent
    Dr E. (Enzo) Rossi (m), University of Amsterdam – Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences
    Many are suggesting that democracy is facing a crisis of legitimacy because it is being assailed from two fronts: from the supranational authority of the European Union, and from the transnational political power of corporations. This project will develop a new theory of legitimacy to face these challenges.

    Are stress hormones fattening and bad for your health?
    D. E.F.C. van Rossum (f), Erasmus Medical Center Internal Medicine – Endocrinology
    The research focuses on whether the stress hormone cortisol is an important risk factor in weight gain and the associated complications of being overweight, such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. The research will also examine why cortisol levels are often higher in obese people. This can lead to new treatments aimed at reducing cortisol levels.

    S

    Getting better with age?
    Dr S. (Susanne) Scheibe (f), University of Groningen – Psychology
    Increasingly, people need to work longer. How well prepared are they to meet this challenge? In this project scientists will explore how emotional changes with age shape, and are shaped by, work experiences, and whether older workers have the emotional strength to help them to be effective at work.

    Why 1 kidney at birth is not enough...
    Dr M.F. Schreuder (m), Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Center RUMC – Paediatric Nephrology
    Being born with 1 kidney causes problems such as high blood pressure and even kidney failure in adulthood. The single kidney starts to work harder to compensate, which wears it down. The researchers will try to work out why the kidney does this by means of studies in test animals. This will make it possible to tackle overcompensation in order to prevent problems later.

    Light. Catalyst. ACTION!
    Dr W.A. (Wilson) Smith (m), Delft University of Technology – Chemical Engineering
    The storage of solar energy with abundant resources can simultaneously address global energy and environmental problems. This research aims to find low-cost materials to convert sunlight and water into hydrogen (and oxygen), a potentially clean source of fuel in the future.

    Soil fungi intertwined with carbon sequestration
    Dr N.A. (Nadia) Soudzilovskaia (f), Leiden University – Earth and Life Sciences
    Soil fungi, which co-exist with plant species, determine the soil quality and the amount of carbon in the soil. Different plant species exist with different soil fungi, however. A change in the plant or fungus composition can therefore have far-reaching effects. The researchers will use experiments and models to examine what the unknown mechanisms are that prompt these kinds of changes.

    Sexuality and the making of the middle class. A comparative study of desire and status in three African countries
    Dr R. (Rachel) Spronk (f), University of Amsterdam – Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences
    While global media have 'discovered' an emerging middle classes in Africa, this project will investigate their historical roots by focusing on the four contentious questions of homosexuality, female circumcision, polygyny and bridewealth. It will study the interface between sexuality and the middle class, examining problematic assumptions behind both terms, and theorise the middle class as a desirable position and thus as a classification in the making, emerging from (shifting) ideas of distinction.

    Computer simulations improve design of wind farms
    Dr R.J.A.M. (Richard) Stevens (m), University of Twente – Physics of Fluids
    Depending on the wind conditions, large wind farms can severely hamper the generation of electricity as a result of the wake effect from other turbines. We will use major computer simulations to analyse these effects in detail and then translate this knowledge into simple physical models, which can be used to optimise wind farms.

    Scalable ‘big data’ methods towards personalised genome diagnostics
    Dr M.A. Swertz (m), University Medical Center Groningen – Genetics
    New ‘NGS’ techniques can now measure all DNA variations in one go. Unfortunately the diagnoses cannot keep up because the genetic labs are drowning in all these data. It used to be that only one gene was tested at a time. This project will develop patient-oriented techniques to find harmful mutations more quickly and more easily for personalised whole genome diagnostics.

    T

    Digital vigilantism
    Dr D. (Daniel) Trottier (m), EUR – Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication (ESHCC)
    Digital media put citizens in a position to persecute people by exposing them in a harmful way. This practice builds on previous forms of vigilantism, and technological progress and the user culture determine what is acceptable. It poses a challenge for scientists, users, the police and policymakers.

     

    U

    One child’s head, two languages
    Dr S. (Sharon) Unsworth (f), RU – Centre for Language Studies
    Young children are highly capable of learning two languages simultaneously, but to what extent do they separate their two languages? This research identifies how and why two languages in a single child’s head can affect each other.

     

    V

    Robot assistance for human balance
    Dr H. (Heike) Vallery (f), Delft University of Technology, Mechanical Engineering
    My research group wants to develop small robotic lightweight support tools for people with balance problems. This will become possible thanks to new drives with gyroscopic technology. These drives are extremely light and compact and can be put in backpacks, shoes or limb prosthetics.

    Less noise: the key to a silicon quantum computer
    Dr M. (Menno) Veldhorst (m), Delft University of Technology – QuTech
    Despite great progress, a practical quantum computer is still not a reality. These physicists are opting for widely used building materials and thus will try to create more reliable building blocks than ever before for a quantum computer by tackling harmful noise at the source, reducing the need for cooling and developing the first scalable quantum architecture.

    The microscope that sees through everything
    Dr I. M. (Ivo) Vellekoop (m), University of Twente – MIRA Institute for Biomedical Engineering and Technical Medicine
    A microscope enables you to see exactly what is happening in a cell. But it is not possible to look at a cell in a tumour or deep in the brain, because these membranes are opaque. This project provides a solution for looking straight through opaque membranes.

    Does a lack of oxygen explain how rises in temperature affect cold-blooded animals?
    Dr W.C.E.P. (Wilco) Verberk (m), Radboud University Nijmegen – Animal Ecology and Physiology
    This research project examines the effects of temperature on the metabolism, growth and reproduction of cold-blooded animals and focuses in particular on the role that the availability of oxygen plays in arthropods and fish. Understanding the occurrence of this lack of oxygen could explain global patterns of biodiversity and shed light on the effects of climate change.

    Sponges: the cleaners of the coral reefs
    Dr N.J. (Nicole) de Voogd (f), Naturalis – Marine Zoology
    Sponges have a major impact on the quality of coral reef environments as a result of their symbiotic relationship with microbes. The researchers want to know whether the rise in pollution and acidification of the oceans will change the sponge-microbe symbiosis and influence the ability of sponges to keep coral reefs clean.

    Advanced membranes, made in water
    Dr W.M. (Wiebe) de Vos (m), University of Twente – Membrane Science and Technology
    Membranes are created to purify water, but they in turn are produced using hazardous and environmentally unfriendly solvents. This research will develop a method that makes it possible to create membranes with advanced characteristics entirely in water.

     

    W

    How can we reduce global flooding in deltas and estuaries?
    Dr P.J. (Philip) Ward (m), VU University Amsterdam – Institute for Environmental Studies, Earth and Life Sciences
    Simultaneous riverine and ocean flooding (in Thailand in 2011, for example) can have a devastating impact on people living in deltas and estuaries. This research reveals the impact of these simultaneous events on the global flood risk and evaluates potential strategies to reduce this risk.

    Intestinal bacteria against pneumonia
    Dr W.J. Wiersinga (m), Amsterdam Academic Medical Center – Infectious Diseases
    Intestinal flora play a part in the defence against harmful bacteria. The researchers want to know which bacteria in the intestines help people to recover from pneumonia, and whether these bacteria can be used in treatment. Pneumonia is the most frequently occurring deadly infectious disease in the world.

    Visual communication of material properties
    Dr M.W.A. Wijntjes (m), TU Delft – Industrial Design Engineering
    Painters are extremely adept at conveying materials visually. That could be useful for us too, for example while doing online shopping. The only thing is, how do we make this artistic knowledge widely accessible? We are going to study this problem in this project by perceptually scrutinising 30,000 paintings.

    Launching NanoMotors for disease detection and treatment
    Dr D.A. (Daniela) Wilson (f), Radboud University Nijmegen – Institute for Molecules and Materials – Chemistry
    Synthetic molecular machines are self-propelling structures that require extensive work. But why not let the ‘motor’ build itself? Using simple building blocks the researchers will program them to ‘assemble’ into nanomotors while tailoring their structure, shape, and movement for disease detection, delivery of medicines and stimuli manipulation.

    How DNA folding affects gene regulation
    Dr E. (Elzo) de Wit (m), Netherlands Cancer Institute-Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Hospital – Genome Biology
    In order to fold 2 metres of DNA in a cell nucleus with a diameter of a hundredth of a millimetre, it has to be folded extremely efficiently. Using genomics and computational analysis, I will examine which proteins are involved in this process. This can shed new light on the function of these proteins.

    Molecular tools for phospholipases
    Dr M.D. (Martin) Witte (m), University of Groningen – Chemical Biology
    Enzymes involved in remodelling the cell membranes of phospholipases play an important part in transmitting signals and creating organelles. The research will focus on developing molecular tools that can be used to study these processes.

    The heart of the crimmigation matter
    Dr M.A.H. (Maartje) van der Woude LLM MSc (f), Leiden University – Jurisprudence, Criminal Law & Criminology
    EU countries are struggling with open borders and the associated risk of potentially dangerous or undesirable groups moving effortlessly throughout Europe. This project examines the way in which EU member states handle this dilemma in their development of concrete measures, but also how border communities experience the authorities’ approach.

    Y

    Building life brick by brick
    Dr H. (Hyun) Youk (m), Delft University of Technology – Bionanoscience
    Complex animals arise from simple molecules. How physics allows complex life forms to emerge from simple molecules is a mystery. The researchers will address this question by glueing together molecules and cells, one by one, to build living structures.

     

    Z

    When will the ice caps melt?
    Dr M. (Martin) Ziegler (m), Utrecht University – Geosciences
    Measuring the composition of isotopes can determine what the temperature was during the formation of calcium carbonate. This project uses this technique to unravel the deep-sea temperature and variations in the sea level over past 65 million years. These data will make it possible to make better predictions about the future of the polar ice caps.

    A better understanding of metastatic breast cancer
    Dr W.T. Zwart (m), Netherlands Cancer Institute – Molecular Pathology
    What is the best way to fight metastatic breast cancer? And how should a physician choose the best treatment in the future, one that is tailored to the individual patient? This project focuses on improving our understanding of metastatic breast cancer, so that we can predict what the optimum individual treatment will look like in the future.

  • Earth and Life Sciences

    The Himalayas: an unknown water tower
    Dr W.W. (Walter) Immerzeel (m), Utrecht University – Geosciences
    ‘Himalaya’ means ‘house of snow’ in Sanskrit, and meltwater is of paramount importance to millions of people in Asia. We know very little about the water cycle in this high mountain range, however. In Hi-Cycle, a team of researchers will use drones, measuring equipment and simulation models to unravel the mystery of this water cycle.

    Changing shape: DNA unzipped
    Dr J.H. (Jop) Kind (m), Hubrecht Institute – Developmental Biology
    Two metres of DNA lies folded in the nucleus of every cell. The active DNA is situated in the middle; the inactive DNA is draped against the wall of the nucleus. The main question in this research is: what is the origin of this arrangement and what changes if a cell takes on another identity?

    Inside granular sludge – the effects of suspended matter on stability and activity
    Dr M.K. (Merle) de Kreuk (f), Delft University of Technology – Sanitary Engineering
    Wastewater treatment with granular sludge has turned out to be highly efficient. Suspended matter in wastewater, however, can break down bacterial granules, reduce their activity and even lead to process failure. This research will combine advanced analysis and modelling techniques to penetrate the mechanisms of influence in suspended matter.

    Head-on collision: mapping DNA repair during transcription
    Dr M.S. (Martijn) Luijsterburg (m), Leiden University Medical Center – Human Genetics
    Protein molecules that read DNA coding can have head-on collisions with DNA lesions. These collisions cause cell death, ageing and neurodegeneration. Using advanced microscopic methods and protein analyses, the researchers will study how cells handle these collisions, which proteins are involved in this process and how it helps to maintain chromosome stability.

    The hidden role of canyons
    Dr F. (Furu) Mienis (f), NIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research – Ocean Systems
    The aim of this research is to determine the importance of transporting carbon via underwater canyons between coast and deep sea, and the role canyons play in (temporarily) storing carbon. Carbon storage via lateral transport is still an unknown factor in the global marine carbon cycle, which has a major impact on our climate.

    Molecular insight into alcohol addiction
    Dr M.C. (Michel) van den Oever, (m), VU University Amsterdam – Molecular and Cellular Neurobiology
    Alcohol relapse is often triggered by environmental factors that act as a reminder of its pleasant effects. The researchers will use new advanced techniques to study how an alcohol memory is recorded by small populations of nerve cells in the brain and how these specific memories can be blocked to prevent relapse.

    The fate of sea butterflies in acidic oceans
    Dr K.T.C.A. (Katja) Peijnenburg (f), Naturalis – Marine Zoology
    Sea butterflies, sea angels and elephant snails are special groups of snails that have adapted to life in the open ocean. The oceans, however, are changing more rapidly by the day: they are becoming warmer and more acidic. The question is whether these spectacular snails will be able to adapt and whether they will keep their shells.

    Soil fungi intertwined with carbon sequestration
    Dr N.A. (Nadia) Soudzilovskaia (f), Leiden University – Earth and Life Sciences
    Soil fungi, which co-exist with plant species, determine the soil quality and the amount of carbon in the soil. Different plant species exist with different soil fungi, however. A change in the plant or fungus composition can therefore have far-reaching effects. The researchers will use experiments and models to examine what the unknown mechanisms are that prompt these kinds of changes.

    Does a lack of oxygen explain how rises in temperature affect cold-blooded animals?
    Dr W.C.E.P. (Wilco) Verberk (m), Radboud University Nijmegen – Animal Ecology and Physiology
    This research project examines the effects of temperature on the metabolism, growth and reproduction of cold-blooded animals and focuses in particular on the role that the availability of oxygen plays in arthropods and fish. Understanding the occurrence of this lack of oxygen could explain global patterns of biodiversity and shed light on the effects of climate change.

    Sponges: the cleaners of the coral reefs
    Dr N.J. (Nicole) de Voogd (f), Naturalis – Marine Zoology
    Sponges have a major impact on the quality of coral reef environments as a result of their symbiotic relationship with microbes. The researchers want to know whether the rise in pollution and acidification of the oceans will change the sponge-microbe symbiosis and influence the ability of sponges to keep coral reefs clean.

    How can we reduce global flooding in deltas and estuaries?
    Dr P.J. (Philip) Ward (m), VU University Amsterdam – Institute for Environmental Studies, Earth and Life Sciences
    Simultaneous riverine and ocean flooding (in Thailand in 2011, for example) can have a devastating impact on people living in deltas and estuaries. This research reveals the impact of these simultaneous events on the global flood risk and evaluates potential strategies to reduce this risk.

    How DNA folding affects gene regulation
    Dr E. (Elzo) de Wit (m), Netherlands Cancer Institute-Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Hospital – Genome Biology
    In order to fold 2 metres of DNA in a cell nucleus with a diameter of a hundredth of a millimetre, it has to be folded extremely efficiently. Using genomics and computational analysis, I will examine which proteins are involved in this process. This can shed new light on the function of these proteins.

    When will the ice caps melt?
    Dr M. (Martin) Ziegler (m), Utrecht University – Geosciences
    Measuring the composition of isotopes can determine what the temperature was during the formation of calcium carbonate. This project uses this technique to unravel the deep-sea temperature and variations in the sea level over past 65 million years. These data will make it possible to make better predictions about the future of the polar ice caps.

  • Chemical Science

    From lignin waste to valuable chemicals
    Dr K. (Katalin) Barta (f), University of Groningen – Stratingh Institute for Chemistry
    Lignin is the largest renewable source of aromatics on the planet. Still, its chemical conversion is a real challenge. This research will find ways to break down the robust structure of lignin and convert this aromatic biopolymer into valuable chemicals.

    How crowded is a cell?
    Dr A.J. (Arnold) Boersma (m), University of Groningen – Groningen Biomolecular Sciences and Biotechnology Institute
    We do not know how crowded cells are, despite the fact that this parameter affects various processes and can be at the root of diseases. The researchers are going to map this molecular crowdedness in the cell.

    Studying paths through the pore labyrinth of catalysts
    Dr F. (Florian) Meirer (m), Utrecht University – Inorganic Chemistry and Catalysis
    Functional porous materials such as catalysts are essential for producing modern everyday life products. The materials’ pores form a complex maze that influences their macroscopic properties. This project will explore how matter travels through this labyrinth and relate this to catalyst performance.

    Supramolecular catalysts for the one-pot selective synthesis of carbohydrate derivatives
    Dr T.J. (Tiddo) Mooibroek (m), University of Amsterdam – Van ‘t Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences
    It is difficult and expensive to make the sugar molecules needed for research into processes such as infections and cancer. The catalysts that these researchers are going to use will make this a great deal easier and less expensive.

    Light. Catalyst. ACTION!
    Dr W.A. (Wilson) Smith (m), Delft University of Technology – Chemical Engineering
    The storage of solar energy with abundant resources can simultaneously address global energy and environmental problems. This research aims to find low-cost materials to convert sunlight and water into hydrogen (and oxygen), a potentially clean source of fuel in the future.

    Advanced membranes, made in water
    Dr W.M. (Wiebe) de Vos (m), University of Twente – Membrane Science and Technology
    Membranes are created to purify water, but they in turn are produced using hazardous and environmentally unfriendly solvents. This research will develop a method that makes it possible to create membranes with advanced characteristics entirely in water.

     

    Launching NanoMotors for disease detection and treatment
    Dr D.A. (Daniela) Wilson (f), Radboud University Nijmegen – Institute for Molecules and Materials – Chemistry
    Synthetic molecular machines are self-propelling structures that require extensive work. But why not let the ‘motor’ build itself? Using simple building blocks the researchers will program them to ‘assemble’ into nanomotors while tailoring their structure, shape, and movement for disease detection, delivery of medicines and stimuli manipulation.

    Molecular tools for phospholipases
    Dr M.D. (Martin) Witte (m), University of Groningen – Chemical Biology
    Enzymes involved in remodelling the cell membranes of phospholipases play an important part in transmitting signals and creating organelles. The research will focus on developing molecular tools that can be used to study these processes.

  • Physical Sciences

    New Diophantine directions
    Dr S.R. (Sander) Dahmen (m), VU University Amsterdam
    Diophantine equations are equations whose coefficients and unknowns must be integers. They currently play a key role in modern theories of arithmetic and algebraic geometry. The researchers will design new methods that will finally make it possible to solve a large number of Diophantine equations.

    Shedding new light on star formation in the early universe
    Dr J.A. (Jacqueline) Hodge (f), Leiden University
    One of the most fundamental questions in astronomy is understanding how galaxies form stars. Half of star formation, however, takes place behind clouds of interstellar dust. The researchers will use two state-of-the-art telescopes to unveil this obscured star formation in the early universe.

    MINGLE: Modelling social group dynamics and interaction quality in complex scenes using multi-sensor analysis of non-verbal behaviour
    Dr H. (Haley) Hung (f), Delft University of Technology
    Previous research has shown that networks contribute significantly to people’s professional growth and careers. The aim of MINGLE is to develop new machine learning approaches that automatically analyse the quality of social interaction by observing non-verbal behaviour. This research will not only lead to a better understanding of how people communicate, but also methods to improve this communication.

    Preparing MFDEs for the modelling world
    Dr H.J. (Hermen Jan) Hupkes (m), Leiden University
    Conventional mathematical models treat space and time as a continuum, though it is sometimes more useful to view them as granular. The mathematicians will research what this means for several important patterns that are commonly found in computer calculations and in nature.

    Encoding, reconstructing and comparing complex evolutionary scenarios
    Dr L.J.J. (Leo) van Iersel (m), Delft University of Technology
    The relationships between different species of plants, bacteria and fungi form a complex network. Mathematicians are now examining how we can combine knowledge about small parts of these networks to identify larger networks.

    On the edge: theory and techniques at the frontiers of edge colouring
    Dr R.J. (Ross) Kang (m), Radboud University
    A natural problem in a wireless communication network is to apportion all links among few transmission frequencies so no communication interference occurs. This translates into a mathematical problem called edge colouring. We study variations and strengthenings, and establish asymptotic, extremal structure using probabilistic methods.

    Black hole births: measuring extreme astrophysics in the dynamic universe
    Dr S.M. (Samaya) Nissanke (f), Radboud University
    Black holes and gravitational radiation are the most fascinating predictions or Einstein’s relativity theory. The researchers want to monitor the birth of black holes live for the first time by detecting waves in space-time or gravitational radiation and combining these findings with measurements from the spectacular corresponding flashes of light.

  • Humanities

    Raised bogs: valuable sources of knowledge under pressure
    Dr R. (Roy) van Beek (m) – Leiden University
    Raised bogs contain highly detailed information about the landscape and human activity in former times. At present, this knowledge is being barely used, but meanwhile these areas are under severe pressure from agriculture, dewatering and climate change. The researchers gather high-quality scientific data and use these data to develop a vision of the future for sustainable responsible management.

    Women of(f) the street
    Dr D.W.A.G. (Danielle) van den Heuvel (f), University of Amsterdam – Institute of Culture and History
    Many historians believe that women disappeared from the streets between 1600 and 1850. This project examines whether this claim is true and which factors determined women’s access to public space in two different cities: Amsterdam en Edo.

    Tracing the potter’s wheel in the Bronze Age Aegean
    Dr J.R. (Jill) Hilditch (f), University of Amsterdam – Archaeology
    This project aims to research the spread of the potter’s wheel in the Aegean region during the Bronze Age by studying the mobility of people, objects and ideas. This will shed new light on the way in which new, innovative techniques were employed in prehistoric societies.

    The language of stories and the imagination
    Dr E. (Emar) Maier (m), University of Groningen – Theoretical Philosophy
    You read a newspaper differently than a novel. You expect true statements about existing individuals in a newspaper, whereas you are aware, when reading Harry Potter, that wizards do not exist. In this project, philosophers and linguists develop a theory to discover the fundamental difference between stories ad everyday language use.

    Tracking down the Tocharians
    Dr M. (Michaël) Peyrot (m), Leiden University – Linguistics
    Tocharian is known to us through manuscripts from 500–1000 BC from northwest China. It is an Indo-European language, related to Latin, Greek and Dutch, for example. Speakers of Tocharian therefore had to have migrated from Europe to China. The researchers will ascertain the Tocharians’ migration route based on their contact with other languages.

    Cicero through the ages
    Dr C.H. (Christoph) Pieper (m), Leiden University – Leiden University Center for the Arts in Society (LUCAS)
    Cicero is an extremely well-known figure from antiquity – in particular for his speeches and rhetorical essays. But why is this the case? This project examines how Cicero’s image in antiquity influenced how he was perceived later, both as a person and as an outstanding stylist.

    Legitimacy beyond consent
    Dr E. (Enzo) Rossi (m), University of Amsterdam – Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences
    Many are suggesting that democracy is facing a crisis of legitimacy because it is being assailed from two fronts: from the supranational authority of the European Union, and from the transnational political power of corporations. This project will develop a new theory of legitimacy to face these challenges.

    Sexuality and the making of the middle class. A comparative study of desire and status in three African countries
    Dr R. (Rachel) Spronk (f), University of Amsterdam – Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences
    While global media have 'discovered' an emerging middle classes in Africa, this project will investigate their historical roots by focusing on the four contentious questions of homosexuality, female circumcision, polygyny and bridewealth. It will study the interface between sexuality and the middle class, examining problematic assumptions behind both terms, and theorise the middle class as a desirable position and thus as a classification in the making, emerging from (shifting) ideas of distinction.

    Digital vigilantism
    Dr D. (Daniel) Trottier (m), EUR – Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication (ESHCC)
    Digital media put citizens in a position to persecute people by exposing them in a harmful way. This practice builds on previous forms of vigilantism, and technological progress and the user culture determine what is acceptable. It poses a challenge for scientists, users, the police and policymakers.

    One child’s head, two languages
    Dr S. (Sharon) Unsworth (f), RU – Centre for Language Studies
    Young children are highly capable of learning two languages simultaneously, but to what extent do they separate their two languages? This research identifies how and why two languages in a single child’s head can affect each other.

    Visual communication of material properties
    Dr M.W.A. Wijntjes (m), TU Delft – Industrial Design Engineering
    Painters are extremely adept at conveying materials visually. That could be useful for us too, for example while doing online shopping. The only thing is, how do we make this artistic knowledge widely accessible? We are going to study this problem in this project by perceptually scrutinising 30,000 paintings.

  • Social Sciences

    Economic behaviour on TV
    Dr M.J. (Martijn) van den Assem (m), VU University Amsterdam – Economics and Business Administration
    How do people make decisions when there is a lot of money at stake? I will use game shows to analyse economic behaviour. Some game shows are unique behavioural experiments by virtue of the large money prizes and the repetition of well-defined choice problems that provide answers to the debate about the external validity of conventional experiments.

    What you read is what you hear
    Dr M.L. (Milene) Bonte (f), Maastricht University – Cognitive Neuroscience
    Learning how to read is a crucial milestone in a child’s development and leads to alterations in the brain. The researchers conduct brain scans at different times during reading development. As a result, they will improve our understanding of how reading alters functions in the brain and why this is an obstacle for dyslexic children.

    Cause and consequences of trusting the sharing economy
    Dr R. (Rense) Corten (m), Utrecht University – Sociology
    Under which circumstances will strangers trust each other during interactions in the sharing economy, and to what extent does the sharing economy generate more social cohesion? This project will examine these questions using a mixture of methods: laboratory experiments, online experiments, digital user data and survey data.

    Several needles in several haystacks
    Dr K. (Katrijn) Van Deun (f), Tilburg University – Methodology and Statistics
    To measure is to know, and so we measure to our heart’s content: voting behaviour, income, education, age, BMI, opinions, overweight yes/no, our genome… Current statistical methods are inadequate for the integrated analysis of these kinds of data. That is why we are developing new methods that will shed light on the interplay between genetic and environmental factors in overweight people, for example.

    The importance of personality in school performance
    Dr B.H.H. (Bart) Golsteyn (m), Maastricht University – Economics
    The research focuses on the importance of personality in school performance and how we can invest in it. Will students who are not endowed with a favourable personality perform better if rewarded? Will this curtail students’ ability to use their personality in other tasks? Does habituation gradually reduce the need for a reward?

    Working together on climate-proof cities
    Dr J.J. (Jeroen) van der Heijden (m), Australian National University – Architecture and Public Administration
    Cities are a driving force for climate mitigation. Authorities, industry and citizens are working together worldwide on innovative policy arrangements for climate-proof cities. This research will examine to what extent and which forms of administrative cooperation will most benefit the rapid and large-scale mitigation of cities.

    Two ends of one world: bridging microscale cytoarchitectonics and macroscale connectomics in the human brain
    Dr M.P. van den Heuvel (m), University Medical Center Utrecht – Psychiatry
    How do the different levels of our brain interact to make one efficient brain? At a microscopic scale, neurons process information, but at a macroscopic scale, taken together the areas of the brain also create large communication networks. We will study how major brain processes, and changes to these during development, depend on the smallest parts of our brain.

    Early modern private partnerships revisited
    Dr B. (Bram) Van Hofstraeten, (m), Maastricht University – Faculty of Law
    To the extent that the numerous, more modest private partnerships from the early modern period in the Netherlands are studied by law historians, it nevertheless based almost exclusively on theoretical source texts, such as legislation and legal doctrine. This project, on the other hand, will search for the true legal nature of these partnerships by looking at more representative archival sources, such as partnership contracts.

    Towards a European legal culture?
    Prof. E. (Elaine) Mak (f), Erasmus University Rotterdam – Jurisprudence
    Effective legal protection in the European Union requires cooperation between judges based on shared professional values, legal rules and work methods. This research will examine to what extent the judicial cultures in EU member states can develop into a single judicial culture.    

    From political crisis of confidence to crisis of democracy
    Dr T.W.G. (Tom) van der Meer (m), University of Amsterdam – Political Science
    Though politicians, journalists and academics have suggested for decades now that a decline in political confidence is damaging the stability of democracy, the consequences have never been empirically examined. This research project systematically tests the consequences and mechanisms of political crises of confidence at the micro (citizens), meso (political elite) and macro (regime) levels by means of experiments, content analysis, in-depth interviews and panel research.

    Promote diversity in local communities
    Dr R.A.H. (Roos) Pijpers (f), Radboud University Nijmegen – Social Geography
    Elderly care in the Netherlands was decentralised in January 2015. This research examines how municipalities, social district teams and local communities meet the care requirements of migrant parents and elderly LGBT people. It provides insight into local combinations of formal and informal care in which diversity among the elderly is recognised and acknowledged.

    I see, I see what you do not see: social attention for children with an extra X or Y chromosome
    Dr S. (Sophie) van Rijn (f), Leiden University – Clinical Child and Adolescent Studies
    One in a thousand children are born with an extra X or Y chromosome. Remedial educationalists will research whether developmental problems in the areas of language, communication and social behaviour in these children are related to reduced receptiveness to social signals as a result of heightened stress responses during social interaction.

    Monitoring top executives: internally or externally?
    Dr F. (Floor) Rink (f), University of Groningen – Organisational Behaviour
    Nowadays decision making by top executives is strictly monitored. But monitoring does not always generate the desired result. This raises the question, who is exerting the most influence on executives: internal or external supervisors?

    Forbidden fruit: does mindset determine how your brain sees food?
    Dr A. (Anne) Roefs (f), Maastricht University – Faculty of Psychology & Neuroscience
    The western environment is called a fattening one because high-calorie food is so readily available. This food has two sides: delicious but unhealthy. This research will examine whether focusing on health versus enjoyment determines how our brains process food stimuli. A change of focus could make it considerably easier to eat healthy food (and lose weight).

    Getting better with age?
    Dr S. (Susanne) Scheibe (f), University of Groningen – Psychology
    Increasingly, people need to work longer. How well prepared are they to meet this challenge? In this project scientists will explore how emotional changes with age shape, and are shaped by, work experiences, and whether older workers have the emotional strength to help them to be effective at work.

    The heart of the crimmigation matter
    Dr M.A.H. (Maartje) van der Woude LLM MSc (f), Leiden University – Jurisprudence, Criminal Law & Criminology
    EU countries are struggling with open borders and the associated risk of potentially dangerous or undesirable groups moving effortlessly throughout Europe. This project examines the way in which EU member states handle this dilemma in their development of concrete measures, but also how border communities experience the authorities’ approach.

  • Physics

    Spacetime Symphony for Two Neutron Stars
    Dr. (Sebastiano) Bernuzzi (m), Italy, Nikhef
    Neutron stars collisions are among the Universe's most energetic phenomena. Such events are uniquely identified by the tiny gravitational-waves emitted at acoustic frequencies. To enable future observations, researchers will calculate the gravitational-wave symphony by solving Einstein's spacetime equations using supercomputers.

    From active matter to artificial cells: a mechanical insight into the fabric of life
    Dr L. (Luca) Giomi (m), Leiden University – Physics
    The researchers will do theoretical research into synthetic cells, in order to understand hoe mechanical functionality comes to the forefront in living organisms.

    Higgs from Z to A
    Dr T.A. (Tristan) du Pree (m), Nikhef, FOM Institute for Subatomic Physics
    The Higgs boson was discovered in 2012 by CERN’s Large Hadron Collider. The physicist conducting this research will use the Higgs bosons to make precision measurements to study their characteristics, to search for scalar particles, and to attempt to shed light on dark matter – a new step in particle physics.

     

    Optomechanical coupling on a quantum chip
    Dr S. (Simon) Groeblacher (m), Delft University of Technology – Quantum Nanoscience
    Although mechanical vibrations (phonons) can be used as signals in quantum technologies, this has not happened convincingly yet. By using specially designed optomechanical crystals, these physicists want to get complete control of phonons and couple them to optical and microwave light particles (photons) on a quantum chip.

    Crumpled sheets have surprisingly useful qualities
    Dr M. (Mehdi) Habibi (m), University of Amsterdam – Institute of Physics
    To design material with extraordinary qualities (‘metamaterial’), you need to use techniques like origami, for example, in which thin layers are cleverly folded. But crumpled layers and even wads have surprising qualities that can be used in a variety of ways. Physicists are researching the fundamental qualities of crumpled layers and will then use them to build metamaterial.

    Shaping nanomaterials for future electronics
    Dr C. (Carmine) Ortix (m), Utrecht University, Institute for Theoretical Physics
    Semiconductor nanomembranes – sheets of materials with nanoscale thicknesses – can be rolled or folded into a variety of curved geometric shapes, such as spirals and helices. Researchers will investigate how quantum effects in these curved nanoarchitectures can make new electronics possible.

    Protein, stay in shape!
    Dr Y.L.A. (Yves) Rezus (m), AMOLF – Molecular Biophysics
    Prion diseases are brain disorders caused by the PrP protein. Pathologically folded PrP molecules cause healthy PrP molecules to misfold or aggregate, which generates a chain reaction in the brain. The researchers will use advanced laser techniques to study the molecular mechanism behind these diseases.

    Building life brick by brick
    Dr H. (Hyun) Youk (m), Delft University of Technology – Bionanoscience
    Complex animals arise from simple molecules. How physics allows complex life forms to emerge from simple molecules is a mystery. The researchers will address this question by glueing together molecules and cells, one by one, to build living structures.

  • Technology foundation STW

    How cabbage plants kill insect larvae
    Dr N.E. (Nina) Fatouros (f), Wageningen UR
    Butterfly caterpillars can wreak serious damage to food crops. Some wild plants have a special way of preventing this kind of damage, however: they kill the butterfly larvae. In my VIDI project I will study how this successful plant defence works. The acquired knowledge can be used to give crops sustainable protection against pests.

    NanoBricks: building monocrystalline optoelectronics from welded nanocubes
    Dr E.C. (Erik) Garnett, FOM Institute for Atomic and Molecular Physics (AMOLF)
    Solar cells have to be made of nearly perfect crystals of a specific shape to be highly efficient. Currently solar cells are usually cut from a large crystal, which is inefficient. The NanoBricks programme creates perfect crystals in the right shape by placing and welding small nanocubes like bricks.

    MagnaData: massivising data centre scheduling to bring all data services to all people
    Dr A. (Alexandru) Iosup (m), Delft University of Technology
    Data centres are factories that produce (hosting) data services for our digital economy. MagnaData will develop groundbreaking resource management and scheduling techniques. These techniques help engineers manage increasingly larger datacentres, and address how social and sophisticated customers use data services. This makes data centres much more flexible and efficient, and improves customer experience.

    Unifying millimetre wave antennae and chips
    Dr R. (Rob) Maaskant (m) – Eindhoven University of Technology
    In this research, antennae will be wirelessly connected to chips and, moreover, integrated into a single casing. This is a milestone for integrated millimetre wave systems in general and for power-efficient and low-loss antenna systems in particular.

    SAMURAI (Steering Actuated Probes for Targeted Interventions)
    Prof. S. (Sarthak) Misra (m), University Medical Center Groningen – Biomedical Engineering
    Probes are often used in diagnostics and the administration of medicines. These generally inflexible instruments often miss their target, which results in complications. SAMURAI will develop flexible, robot-driven probes that can reach difficult locations in the body, which will improve both patient comfort and clinical results.

    Computer simulations improve design of wind farms
    Dr R.J.A.M. (Richard) Stevens (m), University of Twente – Physics of Fluids
    Depending on the wind conditions, large wind farms can severely hamper the generation of electricity as a result of the wake effect from other turbines. We will use major computer simulations to analyse these effects in detail and then translate this knowledge into simple physical models, which can be used to optimise wind farms.

    Robot assistance for human balance
    Dr H. (Heike) Vallery (f), Delft University of Technology, Mechanical Engineering
    My research group wants to develop small robotic lightweight support tools for people with balance problems. This will become possible thanks to new drives with gyroscopic technology. These drives are extremely light and compact and can be put in backpacks, shoes or limb prosthetics.

    Less noise: the key to a silicon quantum computer
    Dr M. (Menno) Veldhorst (m), Delft University of Technology – QuTech
    Despite great progress, a practical quantum computer is still not a reality. These physicists are opting for widely used building materials and thus will try to create more reliable building blocks than ever before for a quantum computer by tackling harmful noise at the source, reducing the need for cooling and developing the first scalable quantum architecture.

    The microscope that sees through everything
    Dr I. M. (Ivo) Vellekoop (m), University of Twente – MIRA Institute for Biomedical Engineering and Technical Medicine
    A microscope enables you to see exactly what is happening in a cell. But it is not possible to look at a cell in a tumour or deep in the brain, because these membranes are opaque. This project provides a solution for looking straight through opaque membranes.

  • Medical Sciences

    ‘Junk’ RNA and the ageing of the heart
    Dr R.A. Boon (m), VU University Medical Center – Physiology
    Ageing is the highest risk factor for cardiovascular disease. The researcher will study how so-called non-coding RNA (also referred to as ‘Junk’ RNA) contributes to the ageing of the heart. The aim of this research is to discover new ways to reverse ageing of the heart.

    Silencing excessively liberal platelets
    Dr J.M.E.M. Cosemans (f), UM, Molecular Biology
    A first myocardial or cerebral infarction increases the chances of a second infarction. Researchers have shown that the long-term release of platelet proteins can be the cause of this – despite modern medication. The aim of this research is to effectively curtail this release in order to find new reference points for medication.

    Optimising the methodological framework for studies of the effects of medical interventions using routine care data
    Dr R.H.H. Groenwold (m), University Medical Center Utrecht – Epidemiology
    Large digital databases have huge potential when it comes to answering important biomedical questions. This research will develop the advanced methods needed to achieve this aim.

    The origin of familial hypercholesterolemia
    Dr G.K. Hovingh (m), Amsterdam Academic Medical Center, Vascular Medicine
    Familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) is a hereditary disorder characterised by an elevated LDL blood cholesterol level, which causes cardiovascular diseases. The cause in 5%-10% of FH patients is unknown. This project will map the multifactorial causes and consequences of this FH type.

    One muscle is not a muscle
    Dr H.E. (Hermien) Kan, (f), Leiden University Medical Center – Radiology
    In many types of muscular dystrophy, muscle weakness starts in certain muscles and then spreads to virtually all other muscles. I will examine what makes the muscles that stay strong the longest so different from the muscles that weaken rapidly. Knowledge about this is of paramount importance for the development of new therapies.

    Identity crisis in a failing heart
    Dr G. Krenning (m), University Medical Center Groningen – Pathology and Medical Biology
    Heart failure is caused by myocardial scarring. Cells in the heart’s blood vessels contribute to this scarring by changing their identity. The researchers have discovered a protein that inhibits the blood vessels’ change of identity. The researchers will examine whether activating this protein can stop heart failure.

    Understanding heterogeneity in neurodevelopmental disorders using normative models based on brain imaging biomarkers
    Dr A. F. Marquand (m), Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Center – Cognitive Neuroscience
    Psychiatric disorders, such as ADHD and autism, are characterised by heterogeneity. The aim of this research programme is to develop a method to improve our understanding of this heterogeneity. This will increase our knowledge of the origins of disorders and lead to treatment strategies that specifically target what individual patients need.

    Combining targeted compounds in neuroblastoma tumours: is two better than one?
    Dr J.J. Molenaar (m), Amsterdam Academic Medical Center – Oncology
    Neuroblastoma are paediatric tumours that kill more than 50% of the patients. New medicines are being developed to target this problem, but as monotherapies they will not be able to cure patients. Now we want to use model systems to show that by combining these medicines we can develop cures.

    Good start for preterm babies
    Dr A. B. te Pas (m), Leiden University Medical Center – Neonatology
    Preterm babies often need help breathing during birth to survive, but that is when they are most vulnerable. At the Leiden University Medical Center, we will research how best to administer this aid to prevent damage from occurring.

    Unwanted souvenirs
    Dr J. Penders (m), Maastricht University Medical Center – Medical Microbiology and Epidemiology
    It is becoming increasingly common for Dutch people to travel to countries where antibiotic-resistant bacteria are pervasive. This research will study the prevention and spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria among the Vietnamese population and among Dutch travellers to Vietnam and other countries where antibiotic-resistant bacteria are common. The researchers will use molecular techniques to track down antibiotic-resistance in the intestinal flora.

    Are stress hormones fattening and bad for your health?
    Dr E.F.C. van Rossum (f), Erasmus Medical Center Internal Medicine – Endocrinology
    The research focuses on whether the stress hormone cortisol is an important risk factor in weight gain and the associated complications of being overweight, such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. The research will also examine why cortisol levels are often higher in obese people. This can lead to new treatments aimed at reducing cortisol levels.

    Why 1 kidney at birth is not enough...
    Dr M.F. Schreuder (m), Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Center RUMC – Paediatric Nephrology
    Being born with 1 kidney causes problems such as high blood pressure and even kidney failure in adulthood. The single kidney starts to work harder to compensate, which wears it down. The researchers will try to work out why the kidney does this by means of studies in test animals. This will make it possible to tackle overcompensation in order to prevent problems later.

    Scalable ‘big data’ methods towards personalised genome diagnostics
    Dr M.A. Swertz (m), University Medical Center Groningen – Genetics
    New ‘NGS’ techniques can now measure all DNA variations in one go. Unfortunately the diagnoses cannot keep up because the genetic labs are drowning in all these data. It used to be that only one gene was tested at a time. This project will develop patient-oriented techniques to find harmful mutations more quickly and more easily for personalised whole genome diagnostics.

    Intestinal bacteria against pneumonia
    Dr W.J. Wiersinga (m), Amsterdam Academic Medical Center – Infectious Diseases
    Intestinal flora play a part in the defence against harmful bacteria. The researchers want to know which bacteria in the intestines help people to recover from pneumonia, and whether these bacteria can be used in treatment. Pneumonia is the most frequently occurring deadly infectious disease in the world.

    A better understanding of metastatic breast cancer
    Dr W.T. Zwart (m), Netherlands Cancer Institute – Molecular Pathology
    What is the best way to fight metastatic breast cancer? And how should a physician choose the best treatment in the future, one that is tailored to the individual patient? This project focuses on improving our understanding of metastatic breast cancer, so that we can predict what the optimum individual treatment will look like in the future.