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Veni, Vidi and Vici grants awarded to the University of Groningen in 2018

Grants awarded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO, Innovational Research Incentives Scheme).

Veni Awards

Dr. Laura Baams
Dr. Laura Baams

Not straight? Sexual orientation disparities in macro and micro-processes of youth victimization and mental health

Dr. Laura Baams (RUG –Pedagogical and Educational Sciences)

Lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) youth report poorer mental health (depression, suicidality) and are victimized more often than heterosexual youth. How can this be explained? Using survey- and daily-diary studies, I will research sexual orientation disparities, critical mechanisms, and whether a positive school climate can help improve mental health.

Dr. Sean Desjardins
Dr. Sean Desjardins

The resilience of Inuit traditional life in Arctic Canada

Dr. Sean P. A. Desjardins (RUG- Prehistory)

Over the past several hundred years, the traditional lifestyles of Inuit in Arctic Canada have been impacted dramatically by changing climates and colonialism. Through archaeological excavation and consultations with contemporary Inuit elders, this research examines why some traditions—such as hunting—have lasted, while others have faded away.

Dr. Maarten Eisma
Dr. Maarten Eisma

Grief’s paradox: approach and avoidance in prolonged grief disorder

Dr. Maarten C. Eisma (RUG - Clinical Psychology)

Approach and avoidance of deceased-related cues are both proposed to perpetuate prolonged, severe and disabling grief. To solve this striking paradox, I will test the innovative idea that prolonged grief is characterized by approach of reminders of the deceased, yet avoidance of those reminders that signal separation from the deceased.

Dr. Remco Heesen
Dr. Remco Heesen

Understanding Statistical Biases in Peer Review

Dr Remco Heesen (RUG - Knowledge science)

Peer review is the process by which scientists judge each other’s work. This project studies ways in which peer review may be biased against certain groups of scientists, through no one’s fault in particular, because their work is more difficult to assess than that of others.

Dr. Bertus Jeronimus
Dr. Bertus Jeronimus

The lessons to be learned from happy neurotics

Dr. Bertus F. Jeronimus (RUG - Developmental psychology)

The neuroticism personality traits predicts poor somatic and mental health and social and occupational dysfunction. Nonetheless, happy and high functioning neurotics do exist. Three studies utilize different methodologies to identify structural differences in happy neurotics’ social networks and daily patterned feelings, thoughts and activities, compared to the typical vulnerable type.

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Dr. Gerine Lodder
Dr. Gerine Lodder

The Proximity Project: Loneliness in Adolescence Explained by Social Relations and Social Appraisals

Dr. Gerine M. A. Lodder (RUG - sociology)

Loneliness in adolescence has detrimental consequences. The Proximity Project will examine what drives the development of loneliness. The focus is on daily contact, friendships, and perceptions of social relations. This will be examined using wearables that measure contact, using smartphone questionnaires, and by analyzing friendship networks.

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Dr. Stephanie van der Steen
Dr. Stephanie van der Steen

(How) Does animal assisted therapy work?

Dr. Stephanie van der Steen (RUG – Remedial education)

Animal-assisted therapy is gaining popularity, but there is no conclusive evidence for its effect. This study investigates the effect of dog-assisted therapy for children with Down syndrome and Autism, and looks for a possible mechanism to explain this effect: Increased synchronization between the movements of child and therapy dog.

Dr. Thom de Vries
Dr. Thom de Vries

Pushing boundaries: Team boundary spanning in response to disruptions

Dr. Thom A. de Vries (RUG – Human Resource Management and Organizational Behavior)

Organizations are inevitably confronted with a host of disruptions, which may range from malfunctioning equipment to extreme weather conditions or even terrorist attacks. I examine how organizations can limit such disruptions’ adverse consequences by optimizing the way their teams collaborate with other teams inside and outside the organisation.

How much do parents disagree over offspring care?

Dr Kathryn Bebbington (RUG – Groningen Institute for Evolutionary Life Sciences (GELIFES))

Caring for offspring is costly, but how much parents disagree over their respective contributions depends on many factors. This research will measure hormones in wild birds to determine why parental disagreements might vary and ultimately understand how parental care evolves.

Dr. Janne Ouwehand
Dr. Janne Ouwehand

Do non-breeding conditions constrain adaptation to climate change in avian migrants?

Dr. Janne Ouwehand (RUG – Groningen Institute for Evolutionary Life Sciences (GELIFES))

Animals should adapt to human-induced habitat changes. Why migrants often respond insufficiently is poorly understood. By studying how non-breeding conditions influence timing decisions of migratory songbirds across seasons, the researchers unravel how this limits migrants’ responses to global change.

Dr. Inge R. Holtman
Dr. Inge R. Holtman

Role of microglia in Alzheimer’s disease

Dr. Inge R. Holtman (UMCG - Department of Neuroscience)

Recent, genomic studies suggest that microglia, the brain’s immune system, play a key role in Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), however, the role of individual genetic variants are still unclear. This project aims to characterize the regulatory code of human microglia in AD, using state-of-the-art genomic approaches.

Dr. Tamar Lok
Dr. Tamar Lok

The ontogeny of migration: an interplay of genes and environment

Dr. Tamar Lok (NIOZ – Department of Coastal Systems)

Many animals make fascinating journeys between breeding and non-breeding areas. The routes they follow during their migrations are shaped by an interplay of genes and environment. In this project, the researchers will study this interplay to better understand the adaptability of migratory animals to environmental change. Tamar Lok has a duo appointment at the UG and NIOZ.

Vidi Awards

Dr. Pratika Dayal
Dr. Pratika Dayal

Shedding light on the dark side of the Universe

Dr. Pratika Dayal (Kapteyn Instituut, Faculty of Science and Engineering)

How did the first galaxies form and end the cosmic dark ages? What is the mysterious Dark Matter that makes up 80% of all matter in the Universe? Combining theory and data in novel ways, this project aims at shedding light on these two outstanding problems of the "dark" side of Universe.

Prof. Dr. Shirin Faraji
Prof. Dr. Shirin Faraji

Watching chemistry happen with light

Prof. Dr. Shirin Faraji (Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials, Faculty of Science and Engineering)

Crucial processes in nature, such as photosynthesis and vitamin D production, depend on molecules reacting to light, with atoms moving very fast inside molecules. Theoreticians use equations and computers to simulate, manipulate and design such movements to develop novel materials for optogenetics and solar cells.

Dr. Ir. Tjisse van der Heide
Dr. Ir. Tjisse van der Heide

Small steps, giant leaps – Building coastal landscapes with spatially organizing plants

Dr. Ir. Tjisse van der Heide (NIOZ/RUG – Faculty of Science and Engineering)

Worldwide vegetated coastal ecosystems and their services are declining. Reversing this trend is difficult because density-dependent and patch-size-dependant thresholds cause unpredictable losses and hamper establishment/re-establishment. Van der Heide will investigate how plants organize their shoots to optimize patch formation, and will develop novel management indicators and restoration techniques that use this organizational capacity.

Dr. Luis Valente
Dr. Luis Valente

Islands: natural laboratories of speciation and extinction

Dr. Luis Valente (Faculty of Science and Engineering)

Island life is shaped by two opposing forces: islands often show spectacular species diversification but are also at the frontline of today’s extinction crisis. DNA of animals and plants from islands worldwide will be used to understand how new species originate and to measure the impact of human-caused extinctions.

Dr. Andreas Milias-Argeitis
Dr. Andreas Milias-Argeitis

How do cells regulate the amount of protein they produce?

Dr. Andreas Milias-Argeitis (Faculty of Science and Engineering)

TOR is an extremely important protein for health, since it dictates when and how much cells grow by stimulating protein production. This project will study how TOR receives information on the amount of proteins present and how it in turn regulates protein quantity during the cell division process.

Dr. Jorge Pérez Parra
Dr. Jorge Pérez Parra

Unifying Correctness for Communicating Software

Dr. Jorge Pérez Parra (Faculty of Science and Engineering)

Modern life depends on large software systems based on communication. Different programming techniques already help developers to produce error-free communicating software; unfortunately we know little about how these techniques relate to and complement each other. This project will discover the fundamental connections between these techniques and validate them in practice.

Dr. Merel Keijzer
Dr. Merel Keijzer

Foreign language learning as a healthy aging tool

Dr. Merel Keijzer (Faculty of Arts)

In a world that is rapidly aging, this project examines foreign language learning as a healthy aging tool and as cognitive therapy for two old-age disorders: Mild Cognitive Impairment and Late-Life Depression.

Dr. Romana Schirhagl
Dr. Romana Schirhagl

High speed low sample volume electron spin resonance (μESR)

Dr. Romana Schirhagl (UMCG, Faculty of Medical Sciences )

Magnetic resonance signals reveal molecule structures. However, they are difficult to measure and the required equipment is expensive. I propose a new method, which will reveal signals from smaller samples faster with cheaper equipment. This can be used to understand the synthesis of pharmaceuticals or to test their quality.

Dr. Don van Ravenzwaaij
Dr. Don van Ravenzwaaij

Improving the reliability of biomedical research

Dr. Don van Ravenzwaaij (Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences)

With the field of biomedicine caught in a state where many scientific findings cannot successfully be reproduced, how can we trust that medication we buy actually works? This project will develop better tools to assess existing evidence, so that we can improve the endorsement process of new drugs and biologics.

Vici awards

Prof. Chris van den Broeck
Prof. Chris van den Broeck

Using gravitational waves to understand the nature of black holes

Prof. Chris van den Broeck (Van Swinderen Institute, Faculty of Science and Engineering, also working for Nikhef)

Gravitational waves - ripples in the fabric of spacetime itself - can finally be detected. Van den Broeck will use them to reveal the true nature of black holes, and search for new, exotic compact stars, to further our understanding of gravity at the most fundamental level.

Prof. Syuzanna Harutyunyan
Prof. Syuzanna Harutyunyan

Using Lewis acids to enable new chemical reactions

Prof. Syuzanna Harutyunyan (Stratingh Institute of Chemistry, Faculty of Science and Engineering)

Lewis acids can be used to either make unreactive molecules chemically active, or conversely to selectively block reactive groups and direct the outcome of reactions. Combining this concept with copper catalysts Harutyunyan and her team will develop efficient and environmentally friendly alternatives to existing chemical processes for the production of pharmaceutically relevant compounds.

More information

Prof. Johan Jonker
Prof. Johan Jonker

Targeting the ER stress response in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease

Prof. Johan Jonker (UMCG, Medical Biology)

Cellular stress caused by obesity and accumulation of fat in the liver can be reversed via activation of the Unfolded Protein Response of the endoplasmic reticulum (UPRER). Here Jonker and his team will investigate the involvement and “druggability” of UPRER targets and explore their potential for the treatment of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

Prof. Meike Stöhr
Prof. Meike Stöhr

Getting graphene ready for applications

Prof. Meike Stöhr (Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials, Faculty of Science and Engineering)

Graphene with its many extraordinary characteristics is a promising material for a wide range of applications spanning from electronics to coatings to photonics. To get graphene ready for the implementation in future products, Stöhr and her team will tailor its properties in a controlled way by using specially designed organic molecules.

More information at www.nwo.nl

Last modified:09 January 2019 12.30 p.m.
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