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YAG Member Projects


Increasing Awareness about Software Correctness

Jorge Perez

The YAG funding was used to employ a teaching assistant (Joël Plantinga) who is working together with Niels Alberts (Scholierenacademie). They have worked on designing a lesson to show pupils (VWO3 level) the importance of software correctness. In short, Joël has designed a guest lesson (Wetenschapsdate) that teaches students what is meant by software correctness, why it's important, and which shows them the (very) basics of designing protocols. Joël has designed a first version of the lesson, which was already tested at Bornego College; after this initial test, we figured out that we underestimated the level of the high school students. Joël has updated it and we might want to test it again. However, due to the fact that this is not an option at the moment, we are also at the moment opting to digitalize the lesson so the lesson can also be used for distance learning.

Despite its scientific and societal relevance, the lay public knows little about software correctness. Motivated by this state of affairs, last March I proposed the YAG project above. The current project proposal is about engaging with a wider audience via a video animation that presents software correctness to wide audiences in an accessible and engaging way, based on our group’s research expertise and ongoing projects.


Ward Rauws

Knowledge about studentification and its effects in Groningen is minimal. Therefore, we decided last year to expand knowledge development by focusing student projects on the various dimensions of studentification. In this way, we aim to contribute to bridging the existing knowledge gap and supporting effective policy-making. With the requested funding, we would like to bundle and synthesise the findings of the student research projects in an accessible, easy to read and attractive booklet. We have produced a beta- version last year, and this has been well received by policy-makers, the CvB of the RUG and Hanze and by citizens. This year we extended the projects to report on, covering a broader range of topics from which the city and university can learn. With the proposed publication, we also aim to trigger a more open debate on the implications of and solutions for studentification.


Martijn Wieling

The CvB of the university of Groningen has financed a mobile laboratory for the Faculty of Arts to use for collecting experimental data (specifically: articulatory and speech data). Besides using it for collecting data, we also would like to use it at outreach (and public) events – and of course also events organized by the YAG. While we will give tours of the mobile laboratory, the lab is too small to host presentations. As the lab will have a nice canopy attached to one of the sides, we would like to give short presentations outside of the lab for groups of up to 15 people. Consequently, we would like to apply for YAG funding to finance part of the equipment needed for this. Specifically, we would like to ask for funding for an ultra-short throw projector suitable for outside presentations, a portable projector screen which can be used outside, and a set of 15 headphones and a microphone for the audience to hear the presenter.

The equipment (projector, projector screen, etc.) has been acquired, but given that the mobile laboratory is not finished yet (and due to COVID-19 there are no public events) it has not been used yet.

Demonstrations Lab

Marcos Guimaraes

This project is a ‘kick-start’ for a long-term project. We envision a large lecture demonstrations lab, containing demonstrations from different sciences, which can be accessed by local high school and university teachers in the area, similar to other universities in the world. By making the lectures more appealing with real-life demonstrations, we aim to make young people more interested in science, in addition to providing better teaching tools for the lecturers.

Diversity and Inclusion in the Modern Museum

Susanne Tauber & Joost Keizer

History complicates modern museums. Recently, cultural institutions have thought hard how to better include people from diverse social and cultural backgrounds in the narratives they tell. But the direction of the narrative is still top-down. Those excluded still depend on the majority including them and allowing them to be part of the story.This project is a pilot for a larger project that aims to design a new model for inclusion and diversity inside modern museum displays.

Use of Latin in Political Discourse

Bettina Reitz Joosse & Julia Costa Lopez

In this project, we aim to investigate the use of the Latin language in current political discourse. Specifically, we look at the use of Latin words, phrases and whole sentences by politicians and political intellectuals, the use of Latin in public culture, and its use in ‘unofficial’ arenas - for example in in online fora and on twitter. Our aim is to conduct a small pilot research project, which we will use to establish the direction and scope of a larger-scale investigation.

Interdisciplinary Mystery Lunch Walks

Marie-José van Tol

One of the greatest things about the YAG is meeting other Early Career Researchers coming from other faculties and with different disciplinary background. However, due to the enduring corona-measurements, we don’t get to meet each other regularly and therefore spontaneous interdisciplinary exchange happens rarely. For this reason, the Interdisciplinarity Working Group has started organising Mystery lunch walks!


How Movement Affects Social Trust and Inter-Brain Synchrony

Susanne Tauber and Marieke van Vugt

The aim of this project was to examine how movement affects social trust by recording EEG activity in a pair of dancers while they were manipulating trust through movement.

We are currently still analyzing the data (AI student Livia Regus has been finding initial evidence for increases in synchrony between brains in the various social conditions, predominantly in social conditions. We are also currently working on writing a manuscript on the process of collaboration between artists and scientists; what works and what is a challenge. We aim to submit this paper to a science communication or an arts-science collaboration journal.

Neural Knitworks

Jocelien Olivier

We visited two schools, one in Groningen (de Feniks, Gravenburg, 4-5 year olds) and one in Hoogezand (de achtbaan). We taught the school children about the brain, nerve cells and how everything connects, moreover we visited an extracurricular care (buitenschoolse opvang) at Zernike and explained them about the brain and the Neural Knitwork project. Besides children, we also actively promoted the project among biology students of the UG. We organized drinks and promoted the project. This all resulted in more than 150 neurons.

Science LinX was heavily involved with the organization of the project and also contributed financially to the project. ScienceLinX also promoted the project among people from Groningen by arranging knitting evenings at knitting shop “het Achterpand” and we were present on the national knitting day in the Suikerunie building. Also, a webpage was created to help with the project. Another 150 neurons were collected during these events. We made a piece of art by hanging all neurons in one big tree. People who visited the Aa-kerk during the Night of Art and Science could visit the tree. During the evening of the night of art and science, 4 neuroscientists (Sonja Pyott, Romy Smit, Carlien Wolters and Jocelien Olivier) were present to explain about the Neural Knitworks project. The aim was to promote brain research to the society. This mission was successful as we reached many people from all ages.

Because the budget was based on making 500 neurons, we extended the project to the Noorderzon festival. We ordered a bit more wool and filling material to be able to make the neurons at Noorderzon as well. This event was also highly successful. Around 200 children made a neuron. A poster of the tree from the night of art and science was presented during this festival and we used some of the neurons made for this night to decorate the Noorderzon activity ‘Zenuwachtig wol’

The project was broadcast at Oogtv and an article was written in Dagblad van het Noorden

Greek Gods in Schools

Saskia Peels

In this project, a set of educational materials for secondary school children has been developed, between May and September 2019. This module, consisting of two lessons, is called: Aan wie moet ik mijn geitje offeren? It’s main topic is Ancient Greek polytheism. The main audience is 12-16 year old pupils of pre-university education. In total, 45 sets of printed materials have been produced (now sold out!), digital copies are distributed to other interested teachers from now on. This project ties in with the YAG mission of connecting academia and society.

The project came to be in cooperation with the Scholierenacademie (RUG) and a student assistant. The educational materials have been presented at the VCN Nazomerconferentie and the Expertisecentrum Vakdidactiek Noord. The Scholierenacademia is promoting the module on their website and through Linkedin and other communicative channels.

The requested budget was used for the student assistant, an illustrator and printed materials. Extra costs were made, and almost all these costs were covered by the Scholierenacademie.

With the help of the student-assistant, engaged through the YAG subsidy, and the help of of the Scholierenacademie, an activity for the YAG’s Noorderlichten: De Universiteit van Noorderzon was developed, called: Op zoek naar Griekse goden: puzzelen, graven en ontcijferen, also on Ancient Greek polytheism, but aimed at primary school children (6-12).

Ditizing Fascist Texts

Bettina Reitz-Joosse

This YAG project has contributed to an open-access digital library of Latin texts and inscriptions composed under Italian Fascism (1922-1943): ‘FLTo’ (Fascist Latin Texts online). The overall aim of the digital library is to preserve these texts in a durable and transferable form, to make them available, in a scholarly and responsible way, to a diverse public of academics, students, and interested laymen, and present them in their historical and cultural context. The YAG project has made a substantial contribution to this project. The funding was used to create a paid research internship for a ReMA student. A suitable student was recruited (Ms Evelien de Graaf, ReMA student in the programme Classical, Medieval and Early Modern Studies). In sum, Evelien made a crucial contribution to the content and (more than expected, due to her programming expertise) to the design of FLTo. The position has also allowed her to grow and develop as a researcher, taught her new skills and raised her ambitions for a future in academia. YAG funding therefore made a considerable difference both to a scholarly enterprise and to the development of a young researcher.

Experiences of Harassment Among Staff Members at the University of Groningen

Nanna Hilton and Susanne Tauber

Reflecting the YAG’s core missions regarding diversity, inclusion, and equality, this project investigates experiences of harassment among staff at UG and the UG’s handling of associated complaints. The study aims to offer actionable improvement points to university leadership by identifying factors facilitating harassment and inadequate complaint management. We have finished the data collection. 21 current and former UG staff sat through structured interviews with us.

The project is an exploratory study of experiences of harassment among staff members at the University of Groningen. The project aims to get an understanding of employees’ exposure to harassment.The budget will be used for transcription of interviews and for hiring a student-assistant for translation and for structuring the report.

The project is currently still being being worked on.

Proverbs Book

Nanna Hilton, Jan Willem Bolderdijk and Saskia Peels

The Dutch language features a rich collection of proverbs, such as “Al is de leugen nog zo snel, de waarheid acherhaalt hem wel” and “Zoals de waard is vertouwt hij zijn gasten”. Proverbs capture folk wisdom, and have been around for ages. But can we still trust them today? The “proverbs” book aims to find out. Young researchers, applying state of the art knowledge of their respective disciplines, will discuss the validity of specific proverbs. Thanks to the funding provided, the promotional booklet has been printed and distributed at various occasions, including during the new member inauguration ceremony.

Seven chapters have been written. This project requests funding to pay for the remaining 13 chapters of the book, for it to then be published by Prometheus. Part of the costs will be covered by remaining yearly budget, part by YAG members personal budget, part by Prometheus and the remaining 5000 euros is covered by the requested budget. An external company (Fier) will illustrate and edit the draft chapters so it's easy to read for a broad, lay audience. Given we did not find a publisher yet, we have not spent the 5000 euros yet, but expect to do so soon: we now have concrete interest from 2 local publishers. We aim to launch the book at Noorderzon 2021.


Multidisciplinary Investigation of Mechanisms Underlying Rumination

Marieke van Vugt and Marie-José van Tol

The aim of this project was to collect data in an experiment which introduced cognitive science tools to study the effect of depression on thinking. A second aim was expanding that laboratory study with smartphone measurements of thinking in real life. The finding was used to hire a student assistant, Marlijn Besten, to carry out the project. The researchers finished collecting data from a group of 40 participants, and are currently analyzing the dataset. Due to the data that the researchers collected in this project they were able to secure a fully funded interdisciplinary PhD project from the Social Sciences competition, and which is supervised by Marie-José van Tol, Marieke van Vugt, and André Aleman. Marlijn has since become the PhD student of the project leaders and they are using the results to design a much larger and better study that also includes heart-rate monitoring and EEG. The YAG project funding was able to kick-start an interdisciplinary project, which has now solidified into a PhD project.

NextGenChem Conference

Marthe Walvoort

In 2018, Marthe received project funding from the YAG to help cover the costs for the symposium NextGenChem@NL, held on June 7 in Amsterdam, of which she was a co-organizer. The event is a yearly-recurring one-day symposium that brings together young principal investigators (assistant/associate professors, tenure-trackers, VENI/VIDI/ERC-StG laureates) working across the breadth of chemical sciences in the Netherlands. Since its first edition in Eindhoven in 2014, this event has yearly attracted between 30 and 40 participants. Enough funding was attracted to make this event available at no cost to the ECRs. The contribution from the YAG was used to cover the expenses of the location, lunch, coffee/tea, drinks and dinner.

Kennis is Koning

Public Engagement Working Group

On King’s Day, April 27th, 2018, Young Academy Groningen hosted a wonderful Science Fair at the Harmony court yard during the King’s visit and tour of Groningen. Young Academy members used their expertise to create a fun and educational activity from diverse disciplines for all the little scientists from Groningen and beyond.


•Robotic fish: Networks and Robotics

•Old Dutch Dead Sea Scrolls Throwing: Theology

•How does your ear hear: Otorhinolaryngology

•Good organs for sick people: Surgery

•Sugar - what is it exactly?: Chemical Biology

•What is so special about gravity?: Particle Physics and Gravity

•A knack for languages: Applied Linguistics

•The future of Groningen: Spatial Sciences

•Cold Molecules: Partial Physics and Gravity

•How does your tongue move?: Information Science

•Royal Mindtricks: Neuroimaging

•GEN.ERATE: Science LinX

•Science Dominoes: Science LinX

The Young Academy Groningen worked closely with Science LinX and the Scholierenacademie in this event. This enabled us to obtain the best and most educationally instructive activities for children of all ages. Children had the opportunity to find out what academic fields caught their attention and, hopefully, spark up an interest for an academic career


Diederik Roest

In this project, four scientists were paired with poets. After some brainstorming and interaction, these meetings have resulted in separate poems to match the scientists' favorite equations. Four posters were designed for these poems, which were printed 150 times and spread across Dutch high schools to get high school students in contact with art and science. Schools were very happy with the posters. The budget was used to hire the poets and graphic designers, as well as for printing the posters.

Lowlands Science

Martijn Wieling

The funds were for conducting Martijn Wieling's Lowlands Science experiment "Hoe gedraagt je tong zich onder invloed van alcohol". The funding (EUR 2000) was used as a partial contribution towards the purchase of equipment necessary for the experiment (breathalizer + mouth pieces, network attached storage and two second-hand laptops) and the creation of a movie (

The results have been accepted for publication in the proceedings of the International Congress on Phonetic Sciences 2019 in Melbourne, which is the most prestigious conference on phonetics worldwide (held every 4 years). The pre-print can be found here: In addition, the project has received much media attention (top 4):

1. checkt dagelijks berichten op betrouwbaarheid. Bewering: "Je spreekt een vreemde taal beter na het drinken van

alcohol." (online),, November 9, 2018.

2. Je kunt proefpersonen in een universiteit niet zomaar vijf biertjes laten drinken (online), ScienceGuide, August 24, 2018.

3. Taalonderzoek tussen de Lowlands-

optredens (online), Kennislink, August 23, 2018.

4. RUG-wetenschappers onderzoeken op Lowlands of je met alcohol op beter bent in een vreemde

taal (newspaper), Dagblad van het Noorden, August 20, 2018.

Proverbs Book

Jan Willem Bolderdijk

The Dutch language features a rich collection of proverbs, such as “Al is de leugen nog zo snel, de waarheid acherhaalt hem wel” and “Zoals de waard is vertouwt hij zijn gasten”. Proverbs capture folk wisdom, and have been around for ages. But can we still trust them today?

The “proverbs” book aims to find out. Young researchers, applying state of the art knowledge of their respective disciplines, will discuss the validity of specific proverbs. Thanks to the funding provided, the promotional booklet has been printed and distributed at various occasions, including during the new member inauguration ceremony. As intended, after reading the booklet, a number of additional early career researchers stepped forward, and are now contributing novel chapters to the proverbs booklet.

Probabilities in Cosmology Workshop

Simon Friederich and Diederik Roest

The aim of this project was to organize an interdisciplinary workshop in the area between physics and philosophy on the Probabilities of Cosmology.

The workshop will brings together physicists and philosophers whose work has a particular bearing on the project topic. We plan to invite six particularly stimulating researchers out of a list of preliminary seven candidates, namely, Christopher Smeenk (philosophy of physics), Katie Robertson (philosophy of science), Ben Freivogel (cosmology), Klaas Landsman (mathematical physics), Erik Curiel (philosophy of physics), Sabine Hossenfelder (theoretical high energy physics), and Harvey Brown (philosophy of physics).In addition, we will launch a call for papers and help fund contributions by young researchers, so that we will have a colourful and rich programme for two days.

The workshop stimulates the dialogue between disciplines at the University of Groningen. We also aim to increase diversity by featuring upcoming female invited speakers who serve as role models because the foundations of physical theories is are an area of academia with a particularly low share of women researchers until now.

The workshop took place 21-23 June 2019. The venue was the Tammeszaal in the university library. As planned, the workshop brought together physicists and philosophers whose work has a particular bearing on the project topic. Together with Sean Gryb, my new YAG-funded PhD student, we selected invited speakers, launched a call for papers, and selected three very good papers among the contributed ones for presentation alongside the invited ones. Many of our guests, especially physicists, thanked us for having organized the event, and expressed gratitude for the insights of the fields that they themselves didn’t belong to.


Simon Friederich
Simon Friederich

Article publication: The epistemology of the multiverse
Simon Friederich

YAG member Simon Friederich has started a project to stimulate the dialogue between disciplines by making his work in the Philosophy of Physics and Epistemology better known and accessible to practitioners in the Physics field. He will be writing an article on his work on the epistemology of the multiverse, which will be published in Scientia's bimonthly series of outreach research publications. As a philosopher, it can be difficult to reaching out the pracitioners in different disciplines, in this case Physics. By sharing his work with the readers of the 'Physical Science' section of Scientia, he will be able to capture their attention and show that philosophical inquiries can contribute significantly to their discipline. Scientia, much like the YAG, aims to bridge the gap between science, policy, research and education.

Simon Friederich will be exploring a relatively new and rather successful approach for connecting academia and society by making his research available for a broader audience.

Please read Simon's full open access article here!

Joost Keizer
Joost Keizer
Bettina Reitz-Joosse
Bettina Reitz-Joosse

Towards a History that Never Was: Classical Antiquity in Groningen
Bettina Reitz-Joosse
Joost Keizer

The Romans never advanced far enough North to reach Groningen. Roman soldiers and citizens might have passed through the region now known as Groningen; they never settled there. There are no classical remains left in Groningen soil, no monuments – nothing. Nor was the lack of historical material later dressed with fictitious accounts of Roman presence, as would be the case in so many other European cities that had lacked a real Roman presence and wanted to trace its ancestry back to Roman politics, ethics, and culture. Groningen remained ‘Gronings’: a local community proud of its own, indigenous past that had no need of a Roman ancestry.

And yet many early modern paintings and sculptures depict classical scenes – from the Roman and Greek past as well as early modern imitations of that past – or cast contemporary people and events in a Roman style. In 1669, Anna van Ewsum commissioned a sumptuous grave memorial for her deceased husband for the local church in Midwolde the style and themes of which resembles grave memorials in Rome, complete with classical putti and garlands. Around 1700, Hermannus Collenius, born in Kollum in 1650, painted a Vanitas picture that includes a bust of Aristotle and ancient Roman remains for an unidentified person from Groningen. Around 1729, Hendrik Trip commissioned from the painter Jan Abel Wassenbergh, born in Groningen in 1689, a picture of Danae for the elaborate mantelpiece he installed inside his home at the Martinikerkhof 10, now known as the Feith-Huis. And when Collenius was asked to paint an allegory on good government he opted to paint it in antique terms, with the goddess Minerva present.

The aims:

  • 1.     To collect systematically instances where Classical antiquity is depicted or referred to in early modern artworks made in Groningen and for Groningen patricians.
  • 2.     To begin to explain the reasons why the Groningen nobility began to legitimize their power and prestige by referring to Classical antiquity.
  • 3.     To introduce the Groningen community to the presence of Classical antiquity in their region, and to the ways in which the Greeks and Romans changed Groningen – without ever setting foot there.

Practical Execution:

Two student research assistants, one with a background in Classics, the other in Art History, will collaborate on this project and together start collecting and researching instances of Classical presences in Groningen. This is a pilot project: the collection and findings which result from their work will form the basis for further research and eventually a conference and/or exhibition in Groningen. In collaboration with the project leaders, the students will also design and prepare a suitable presentation of their research during the Week van de Klassieken (5-15 april) for the general public (e.g. a mini-lecture on location or a guided tour).

This project is an interdisciplinary collaboration between Classics and Art History, which will bring Groningen citizens into contact with new research into Groningen's Classical Past. It invests in research talent and introduces students at an early stage to interdisciplinary collaboration and academic outreach.

Merel Keijzer
Merel Keijzer

Winterschool: Multilingualism
Merel Keijzer

Following the Conference of Multilingualism from 6 - 8 November 2017, a Winterschool on Multilingualism is being organised at the University of Groningen, targeting PhD students and Early Career Researchers. In nine 3-hour sessions, led by international well-known and leading researchers on bi- and multilingualism, participants are familiarized with essential methods and techniques used in collecting and analyzing multilingualism data, which will help steer their early research careers and hand them professional development tools. Each workshop therefore includes hands-on experiencing using the method or technique demonstrated. The goal of this project is to allow Early Career Researchers at the University of Groningen to attend this workshop for free, to promote investment in the professional development of Early Career Researchers at the UG.

The workshop brings together methods and techniques used in the fields of sociology, psychology, and cognitive neuroscience, as applied to bilingualism and multilingualism settings. It is a great opportunity for Early Career Researchers to work on their professional networks and look for collaborations, nationally and internationally.

The outcome of the workshop is an international event bringing together early career researchers on bi and multilingualism, handing them the tools to develop professionally and form collaborations with others outside their immediate disciplines but still working on bi and multilingualism topics. The research tools and skills taught to Early Career Researchers are expected to benefit them throughout their careers.

Read the report on the Winterschool on Multilingualism here!

Martine Maan
Martine Maan

Subsidy: 'De Balts' theatre performance
Martine Maan

In the summer of 2017, the bi-annual conference of the European Society of Evolutionary Biology was organized in Groningen. On this occasion, public outreach programmes on evolution are organised and will be hosted by the Noorderzon performing arts festival. he program is co-organised by the European Society for Evolutionary Biology, the Groningen Institute for Evolutionary Life Sciences (GELIFES) and the UG science centre, ScienceLinx. One of the events during this program is a theatre show:

'De Balts' is a Dutch-spoken theatre performance by Mirthe Dokter en Tim Hammer, directed by Karin Netten and developed in collaboration with UG biologists. The show focuses on a crucial aspect of evolution that is sometimes forgotten: reproduction. In addition to survival of the fittest, evolutionary change involves competition over reproductive opportunities. In a 20- minute performance, the actors explore the various ways in which animals attract, impress or deceive potential mates - and also asks how we humans solve this problem. The show will be staged on four consecutive days at Noorderzon, three times per day. After Noorderzon the show will go on tour.

This project helps organize activities that connect academia and society.

Last modified:27 December 2020 11.20 p.m.