The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) has awarded 88 researchers in the Netherlands a VIDI grant, nine of whom are researchers at the University of Groningen. Every researcher is awarded an amount up to EUR 800,000 to develop their own research line and set up their own research group. In total, NWO distributed over EUR 70 million to the VIDI laureates.
Of the nine Groningen Vidi winners, seven are women, three of whom are Rosalind Franklin Fellows.
NWO received applications from 556 researchers in this round. With 88 successful applications, the percentage of applications honoured is fifteen percent, the lowest ever within the Innovational Research Incentives Scheme. Because NWO has insufficient funds, the organization has been forced to reject many qualified researchers.
However, NWO regards the support of talented researchers in their academic careers as an essential condition for academic innovation. This is why NWO in the coming years will be concentrating on supporting academic talent.
The VIDI grants are designed for outstanding researchers who have been conducting successful research for some years after gaining a PhD and have shown that they can not only come up with innovative ideas but also develop them successfully and independently. The researchers are among the top ten to twenty percent in their fields. A VIDI grant enables them to conduct research for five years.
The applications are assessed by researchers at home and abroad. All applications are assessed on the criteria quality of the researcher and quality, innovative character and expected scientific impact of the research proposal. In addition, an enthusiastic fascination for research or technology and persuasiveness also contribute to the assessment. Since 2009, researchers from all fields can also use their proposal to discuss the impact or relevance of their research for society and industry. This was previously only possible for the technical sciences.
The VIDI grants are part of the Innovational Research Incentives Scheme of NWO, a series of three very prestigious types of grant. The other two grant types are VENI (for people who have just gained a PhD) and VICI (for very experienced researchers). The aim of the Incentives Scheme is to stimulate innovation in academic research. The Innovational Research Incentives Scheme was set up in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture, the KNAW and the universities.
Here is an alphabetical list of the successful applications who work at the University of Groningen or the UMCG, and an indicative title of the research project.
Hear with your ear, hear with your brain
Dr D. (Deniz) Başkent (v) 11-08-1973, Ankara (Turkey), UMCG – Otorhinolaryngology
The human brain restores degraded speech and enhances its intelligibility. This research project aims to use the restoration phenomenon to study the interactions between the brain and the ear, specifically for speech understanding by hearing-impaired listeners and users of hearing devices.
Hoe chemie het heelal vorm geeft [How chemistry gives shape to the universe]
Dr S.M. (Stéphanie) Cazaux (f) 02-05-1973, La Rochelle (France), University of Groningen – Astronomy
Stars are born in an environment consisting of gas and solid particles. The chemistry that takes place on these particles influences the formation of stars and is also responsible for the presence of molecules necessary for the emergence of life. This research will concentrate on the origin of stars and life by means of laboratory experiments, theory and observations, including astronomical observations.
Nabootsen van de iriserende kleuren van scarabeeën [Reproducing the iridescent colours of scarabs]
Dr N. (Nathalie) Katsonis (v) 22-02-1978, Vienna (Austria), University of Groningen – Chemistry
The colours of scarabs are caused by complex structures based on a spiral form. Inspired by these structures, researchers will create new materials that reflect light and energy, in the same way that scarabs do. These materials will be applied to save energy.
Bloedstollende reparatie van de lever [Bloody remarkable repair of the liver]
Dr J.A. (Ton) Lisman (m) 10-03-1976, Arnhem, University of Groningen – Surgery
When part of the liver is surgically removed, it regrows in a very short space of time to its original size. Platelets direct the recovery of the damaged liver. This research will elucidate how platelets perform this remarkable feat.
Zit vruchtbaarheid in de genen? [Is fertility in the genes?]
Prof. M. (Melinda) Mills (f) 26-09-1969, Red Deer (Canada), University of Groningen – Sociology
In Europe the age at which women give birth for the first time has increased significantly recently, paralleled by an increase in involuntary infertility. This research project will concentrate on the role of the genes, the environment and their interaction, with an eye to the causes and the development of interventions.
Wat zijn de kansen? [What are the odds?]
Dr J.W. (Jan-Willem) Romeijn (m) 13-08-1975, University of Groningen – Faculty of Philosophy
Doctors, politicians, investors and researchers, everyone makes use of probability when they are unsure. But what exactly are the odds? The researchers will formulate an answer to this question and use it to improve the methods of determining probability.
Ziekteproces dengue ontrafeld [Revealing the dengue disease process]
Dr J.M. (Jolanda) Smit (f) 15-04-1975, Uitwierde, UMCG – Medical Microbiology
Every year, between 50 and 100 million people become infected by the dengue virus. Roughly 500,000 people develop a bloody fever. This research will investigate which processes play a role in the development of a serious syndrome.
Electron transport through polymeric nanostructures
Dr (Meike) Stöhr (f) 14-07-1971, Ludwigsburg (Germany), University of Groningen – Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials
The use of low-dimensional conducting polymers as active materials in nanoelectronic devices is a promising alternative to conventional silicon-based materials. With the aid of a new modular concept, researchers will fabricate such polymers on surfaces and study their electronic and structural properties.
Ecologie van gezonde eieren [Ecology of healthy eggs]
Dr B.I. (Irene) Tieleman (f) 15-06-1973, Groningen, University of Groningen – Animal ecology
Eggs protect themselves against infection from bacteria in the nest. The chances of infection vary depending on living environment. The researchers will study eggs and nests in the tropics, deserts and other environments. This will provide insight into the evolution of the immune systems of birds.
Winning a gold medal means that the team has performed exceptionally well with their project.
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