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VENI grant for two BSS researchers

13 April 2022
Two researchers from the Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences receive a NWO VENI grant: Susan Niessen and Charlotte Vrijen. With this grant the early career researchers get the opportunity to further develop their own research ideas in the coming three years.

Better and fairer assessment with simple algorithms

The VENI project of Susan Niessen focuses on the use of algorithms in selection procedures. Niessen: "When we want to select someone for a job or study, we collect various types of information about this candidate, such as psychological tests, interviews and a CV. We often combine this information in our heads and then make a decision. But we can also use very simple algorithms that we can design ourselves. I am going to investigate how professionals apply algorithms like this and I am interested in knowing whether these algorithms lead to a better and fairer selection."

Niessen hopes that the knowledge she gains in her VENI project will help for example HR advisers to make choices. "For me, the project is successful when we have a better understanding of why and when algorithms help with a better and fairer selection and when professionals can actually put these insights into practice."

How does optimism arise?

Optimists are physically and mentally healthier than pessimists. They are also happier. Why is it that some people are optimistic and others are not? This question is central to the VENI project of Charlotte Vrijen. Vrijen: "I will specifically look at the role of parents, at how optimism is transferred from parents to children and which mechanisms play a role in this. I expect that optimistic parents transfer certain genes that contribute to their children becoming optimistic, but that the positive environment created by optimistic parents plays a role as well." In the long term, Vrijen hopes that the knowledge generated by her VENI project will help to promote resilience in families.

Last modified:20 April 2022 7.54 p.m.
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