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Six UG researchers each awarded Vidi grants worth €800,000

30 May 2017

The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) has awarded 89 experienced researchers Vidi grants each worth € 800,000. Six of the recipients conduct research at the University of Groningen. The funding enables them to develop their own, innovative line of research and set up a research group.


The six Vidi recipients are: Dr I.H. Jonker, Dr J.T.M.L. Paridaen, Dr A. Zhernakova and Dr M.H. Oosterveer from the UMCG, Dr S. Trenn from the Johann Bernoulli Institute for Mathematics and Computer Science and Dr P.D. Meerburg van het Van Swinderen Institute for Particle Physics and Gravity.Their research topics include genetics, ageing, high-voltage networks, breast milk and sugar metabolism. The Vidi grants, which are awarded annually by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research, gives researchers a 5-year time span in which to conduct a research project.

Dr I.H. (Iris) Jonker, UMCG, Genetics: Minor changes, major consequences
Small genetic defects in patients are part of the cause of auto-immune diseases, but we still don’t fully understand how a defect in someone’s DNA actually causes an auto-immune disease. Iris intends to determine the exact consequences of these defects. A better understanding of the link between genetics and auto-immune diseases will point to new treatment strategies for these illnesses.

Dr J.T.M.L. (Judith) Paridaen, UMCG, Biology of Ageing: The individuality of stem cells
Stem cells are responsible for generating all other cell types in our bodies. They divide, creating various types of daughter cells. The number and types of daughter cells varies among the stem cells themselves. The researcher will now study individual stem cells to see how they determine the fate of their divisions, so that we can predict the composition of daughter cells.

Dr S. (Stephan) Trenn, Johann Bernoulli Institute for Mathematics and Computer Science: Analysis and control of switched differential algebraic equations
If high-voltage lines are disconnected, huge sparks (electrical arcs) occur in the circuit breakers. If these sparks occur at the wrong time or in the wrong place, the consequences can be dire. Using the new model class of switched differential algebraic equations to model high-voltage networks will enable researchers to describe, analyse and prevent the occurrence of these sparks.

Dr A. (Alexandra) Zhernakova, UMCG, Genetics: Breast milk as the missing link between a mother and her baby’s health
Breast milk can play an important role in establishing the gut flora of infants. The researcher wants to study the microbiota of breast milk, the nutritional and maternal factors that affect its composition, and the effect that the bacteria in breast milk has on the development of a baby’s gut flora, before going on to investigate the link between this and the health of the baby.

Dr M.H. (Maaike) Oosterveer, UMCG, Nutrition/Physiology: Sugar, a kickstart for cancer
Metabolic diseases can cause cancer. The researcher has discovered that disturbances in the metabolism of sugar disrupts cell division, greatly increasing the risk of cancer. The researcher aims to examine why cell division is disrupted and how the process can be remedied to prevent cancer.

Dr P.D. (Daan) Meerburg, Kapteyn Astronomical Institute & Van Swinderen Institute, Astronomy and Physics: The Cosmic Laboratory

The Cosmic Laboratory Conditions in the Universe were extreme, shortly after the Big Bang. This provides us with unique opportunities to test fundamental processes underlying nature . By applying new research methods which make the best possible use of Big Data, researchers will seek to find evidence for new physics.

NWO Talent Scheme
Vidi is aimed at experienced researchers who have carried out successful research for a number of years after obtaining a PhD. Together with Veni and Vici, Vidi is part of the NWO Talent Scheme. Researchers in the NWO Talent Scheme are free to submit their own subject for funding. NWO thus encourages curiosity-driven, innovative research. Researchers are selected on the basis of the quality of the researcher him/herself, the innovative nature of the research, the expected scientific impact of the research proposal and the potential use of the knowledge gleaned.

A total of 590 researchers submitted an admissible research project for funding during this Vidi funding round, eighty-nine of whom received funding. This is an award rate of 15%. The online list of awarded grants 2016 shows the names of all the recipients and brief summaries of their research projects (in Dutch and English).

Last modified:01 June 2017 09.50 a.m.
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