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Five UG researchers awarded Vidi grants

04 November 2020

The Dutch Research Council (NWO) has awarded 81 experienced researchers a Vidi grant of €800,000. With this grant, the researchers can develop their own innovative five-year research plans and can establish their own research groups. Five of the researchers awarded are conducting their research at the University of Groningen (UG). The three female researchers and two male researchers will be able to develop their own innovative research plans and set up their own research groups. (On Thursday 5 November, 14 UG researchers have been awarded a Veni grant.)

The five UG Vidi laureates of 2020 are: Kerstin Bunte, David van der Linden, Sebastiaan Mathôt, Else Starkenburg and Lingyu Wang. They will conduct research into transparent artificial intelligence, peace strategies, senses, the young Milky Way and the evolution of galaxies. With their Vidi grants, these researchers will be able to conduct research for five years. The Vidi grants are awarded annually by the NWO as part of the NWO Talent Programme (formerly: the Innovational Research Incentives Scheme).

Dr Kerstin Bunte, Faculty of Science and Engineering: Transparent Artificial Intelligence

Experts want to know how measurement data could provide information on natural processes that they are researching. Computer scientists can link the predictive power of artificial intelligence to the assertive power of models to create more transparency and insight. The new methods could lead to personally tailored medication and innovations in the smart industry.

Dr David van der Linden, Faculty of Arts: Peacebuilding in Early Modern France

How can former enemies reach a sustainable peace after a civil war? This project researches the peace instruments that were developed subsequent to the French Wars of Religion (1562–1598) and analyses how effective these solutions were. Historical research can thus shed new light on the long-term effects of peace strategies.

Dr Sebastiaan Mathôt, Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences: Tuning the senses – how cognition shapes sensation from the start

The size of the pupil determines how light reaches the retina. And the tension of the eardrum determines how sound enters the ears. This influences our perceptions. But how much influence do we have over our senses? This researcher is investigating the extent to which our brains actively steer these sensory processes.

Dr Else Starkenburg, Faculty of Science and Engineering: Stories from the infant years of our Milky Way

What is now an imposing galaxy was once very small. The oldest stars are our witnesses of the galaxy’s early youth. This research traces these stars efficiently and combines all the information that they provide us into a unique story.

Dr Lingyu Wang, SRON/Faculty of Science and Engineering: Clashes between cosmic titans

The evolution of galaxies is an unsolved puzzle. Spectacular clashes between galaxies can fundamentally change the colliding galaxies. By applying artificial intelligence to powerful new surveys of the universe, researchers will be able to closely measure the impact of collisions on the growth of galaxies and black holes for the first time.

Vidi grants are intended for experienced researchers who have been conducting successful research for some years after gaining a PhD. Alongside the Veni and Vici grants, the Vidi grant is part of the NWO Talent Programme. Within this programme, researchers are free to submit their own topics for funding. In this way, NWO wishes to stimulate innovative and curiosity-driven research. The researchers are selected on the basis of their research quality, the innovative nature of their research, the expected societal impact of their research proposal and the possibilities for knowledge utilization.

In total, 503 researchers submitted their research proposals in the hope of acquiring funding during this round of Vidi applications. Eighty-one of these proposals were honoured. This equates to an award rate of 16%. In the online overview of awards granted in 2019, the names of all laureates as well as short summaries of their research are available (in both Dutch and English).

Last modified:05 November 2020 1.22 p.m.
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