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Nine Rubicon grants for young Groningen academic talent

15 December 2010

The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific research (NWO) has awarded a total of 31 promising young researchers a grant from the Rubicon programme. Seven of them are for researchers from the University of Groningen and the UMCG who will travel abroad for a period of time and two for researchers who will come to Groningen.

The Rubicon programme is part of NWO’s plans to give Dutch researchers the chance to gain research experience abroad. Although most young researchers travel to the US and the Uk, other candidates have chosen to go to France, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland and Australia. Experience abroad is an important part of their CV for many researchers.
Eight foreign researchers will make use of a Rubicon grant to conduct research at a Dutch institution. NWO hopes that the Rubicon programme will attract foreign researchers to the Netherlands for a period of research. NWO hopes to stimulate the international mobility of academic talent.
A total of 161 researchers submitted applications, 31 of whom were awarded Rubicon grants. The Rubicon programme is designed for young, promising recent postdoc researchers at the start of their academic careers, who could be expected to play an important role in Dutch academia on the basis of their academic qualities.

Extra funding from Brussels

Dutch institutions who offer facilities to a foreign researcher for a year will be awarded EUR 55,000. Dutch researchers who travel abroad will be awarded a grant in line with their chosen destination. NWO sets EUR 1.7 million aside for each Rubicon round. In addition, the 2010 rounds were cofinanced by the ‘Marie Curie Cofund Action’ of the European Union.

Changes to the Rubicon programme

A recent evaluation of the Rubicon programme revealed that the academic world is in need of such a programme. However, the future funding of Rubicon is in the balance. There is sufficient funding for two grant rounds in 2011 but the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science has not yet budgeted for a continuation of the programme after that. As Rubicon offers such clear added value for young researchers, the political party D66 has submitted an amendment to the Dutch parliament to continue the programme. Voting took place on 16 December.

Successful Groningen researchers

Persoonlijkheid en epigenese: metabole risicofactoren? [Personality and epigenisis: metabolic risk factors?]
G.J. Boersma (f) 13-04-1982, University of Groningen -> Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (USA), 24 months
The research concentrates on the hypothesis that both a person’s personality and the interaction between his or her genetic background and the environment (particularly at birth) are important for the development of obesity and type 2 diabetes at a later age.
Genregulatie tijdens embryonale ontwikkeling [Gene regulation during embryonic development]
Dr S.M. Kooistra (f) 20-02-1981, University of Groningen -> University of Copenhagen – Biotech Research & Innovation Centre (DK), 24 months
In embryonic development, it is very important that the precise moment in time and the amount of expression of all kinds of genes is properly regulated. With the help of molecular technologies, the researchers will study how two genes, which in turn regulate the expression of other genes, play a role in this process.

Chronic kidney disease and the risk of cardiovascular disease
B.K. Mahmoodi (m) 14-04-1983, UMC Groningen -> Johns Hopkins School of Public Health – cardiovascular diseases/epidemiology (USA), 24 months
It is well known that people with chronic kidney disease develop cardiovascular diseases much more often and die more quickly. Current research is investigating the consequences of this for society and for patient care in an international cooperation led by the UMCG and the Johns Hopkins Institute, Baltimore, USA.

A componential approach to perceptions of the classroom social climate
Dr M.T. Mainhard (m) 02-07-1976, UU -> University of Groningen – GION (NL), 12 months
Classroom social climate is a significant factor in the learning performance and learning pleasure of school pupils. The researchers will investigate the degree to which the teacher, the pupils and the specific class in which a pupil is determine the climate.
Healthy Ageing
A. Rana (m) 27-02-1981, UMC Groningen -> University of California, Los Angeles (USA), 24 months
Mitochondria are tiny cellular power plants. Researchers believe that the mitochondria contain the key for a long and healthy life. The researcher will be searching for possibilities to adapt the function of mitochondria to achieve a healthy old age.
Eiwitoppervlakken herkennen met nanodeeltjes [Using nano particles to identify protein surfaces]
Dr V. Saggiomo (m) 31-07-1980, Christian Albrechts Universität Kiel (D) -> University of Groningen – Synthetic Organic Chemistry (NL), 24 months
The interactions between proteins are literally vitally important. If something goes wrong with these interactions, it can have life-threatening consequences. These faults may possibly be repaired using nano particles that enter into interactions with protein surfaces. The researchers are going to develop such nano particles.

Fine-tuning the baby boom
Dr O. Vedder (m) 23-06-1980, University of Groningen -> University of Oxford – Edward Grey Institute of Field Ornithology (UK), 24 months
Birds try to raise their young during the peak food season. However, it is difficult to predict the exact timing of this food peak. This research project will investigate how tits manage to speed up or slow down the hatching of their eggs using last-minute temperature changes.

Scherper beeld voor kankerdiagnose [Sharper images for cancer diagnosis]
Dr R. Vinke (m), 20-03-1981, University of Groningen -> Stanford University (USA), 24 months
Positron Emission Tomography (PET) is an imaging technology mainly applied in the diagnosis of cancer. This research will develop a prototype PET system in line with a new detector concept. The resulting improved image quality will lead inter alia to earlier diagnosis, an essential factor in effective cancer therapy.
The etiology of obesity
Dr J.V. van Vliet-Ostaptchouk (f) 08-06-1973, UMC Groningen -> University of Cambridge – Institute of Metabolic Science (UK), 12 months
Over the last twenty years there has been an alarming global increase in obesity associated with many health problems and mortality. Despite recent breakthroughs in genetic research into obesity, thus far only a small number of the genes that explain the genetic background of the disease have been found. This study will investigate how genes in interaction with an unhealthy lifestyle contribute to an increase in the risk of obesity.

Last modified:13 March 2020 01.58 a.m.
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