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Completed projects

The movies on these pages give an impression of current and former research projects within the institute and their societal impact.

Sustainable development

March 2015 - Professor of Community and Conservation Ecology Han Olff has been awarded € 1 million to study an area with massive wildlife migration, the Great Serengeti-Mara Ecosystem (Tanzania and Kenia). Working in close collaboration with the local population, the long-term consequences of better protection of the unique biodiversity of the area are being studied. The Serengeti study is part of a larger, 5-year international project within the framework of Horizon 2020, which has received € 10 million in funding.

Night owls

September 2017 - It is possible to adjust the internal clocks of night owls by exposing them to blue light every morning for 30 minutes. This is one of the conclusions of Moniek Geerdink, who will be awarded a PhD by the University of Groningen on Friday 29 September.
‘By adjusting their internal clocks to an earlier time, the sleep patterns of night owls can be better attuned to normal office hours. Night owls can then get more sleep before the alarm clock goes off in the morning. Exposure to blue light also makes them feel more alert in the morning,’ says Geerdink.

See also the movie on the project

Fish evolution

November 2016 - Light plays an important role in the evolution of fish. That is one of the findings of recent research conducted by biologist Martine Maan. She studies the development of two species of fish that live in different light conditions, and discovered more or less by accident that the light conditions have a strong impact on the evolution of the species. According to Maan, light conditions should also be taken into account more in fish farming for human consumption.

Seagrass genome

January 2016 - An international consortium of 35 labs led by University of Groningen Professor of Marine Biology Jeanine Olsen published the genome of the seagrass Zostera marina in the scientific journal Nature on January 27th. Seagrasses are the only flowering plants to have returned to the sea, arguably the most extreme adaptation a terrestrial (or even freshwater) species can undergo. They provide a unique opportunity to study the adaptations involved. The Zostera marina genome is an exceptional resource that supports a wide range of research themes, from the adaptation of marine ecosystems under climate warming and its role in carbon burial to unravelling the mechanisms of salinity tolerance that may further inform the assisted breeding of crop plants.

Computing power

September 2015 - The University of Groningen Center for Information Technology has introduced a new, fast calculation cluster: Peregrine. Researchers can use Peregrine's computing power for new research. Rampal Etienne, a biologist who uses mathematical models to understand what lies behind the species composition of an area, and Gertjan van Noord, who is investigating technologies that will enable him to parse and understand language with computers, talk about their research.

Spinoza Prize

June 2014 - Theunis Piersma, professor of Global Flyway Ecology at the University of Groningen, has been awarded a Spinoza Prize. Piersma is free to spend the € 2.5 million prize on any part of his research he wants. Piersma: "I relish the fuzzy nature of ecology" (...) "Migratory birds are so much more than just their genome. They have an incredible ability to adapt to their demanding way of life and changes to their environment. We want to understand the interaction between that flexibility and the environments in which they grow up."

Quality of sleep

May 2014 - At the Department of Chronobiology of the University of Groningen, Moniek Geerdink is researching the direct effect of various types of light during the day on the quality of sleep. Test subjects with sleep problems will reside in the lab on three occasions for 36 hours to determine the effects of various sorts of light. The ultimate goal is to contribute to light therapy for people with sleep disorders.

Heineken Young Scientists Award

January 2013 - For scientist Tjisse van der Heide the summer of 2012 was one to never forget. He had an article published in the authoritative journal Science and received a prestigious Veni grant from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research. And he received the Heineken Young Scientists Award, a special distinction awarded by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW). Van der Heide works with a research focus on seagrasses.

Power nap

27 June 2012 - Police officers benefit from taking power naps during night shifts. This has been shown by research conducted by chronobiologist Marijke Gordijn together with the Drenthe police corps. She recently presented her research report De nachtdienst (Nightshifts).

Last modified:21 April 2021 3.25 p.m.