In November 2020 the Sustainable Society PhD Grants Ceremony took place at Forum Groningen. University of Groningen PhD candidates who write their thesis with a focus on a societal challenge could apply. The grant proposals were evaluated by a selection committee consisting of Dr. Kees van Veen, Dr. Başak Bilecen, Dr. Joram Tarusarira, Mr. Astrid Voorwinden and Drs. Jolijn Creutzberg. In total 9 PhD candidates received a grant, with the purpose to broaden their horizon and give their research output an extra push. We awarded 4 Intercontinental grants of 2500 euros and 5 European grants of 1500 euros. All finalists pitched their research and the most persuasive pitch won a bonus prize worth 1000 euros. Curious to find out more about their research? Meet our PhD Grant winners below!
Kritika Maheshwari (Faculty of Philosophy) won the bonus prize: the possibility to visualize her research by a professional designer. Her research focuses on the ethics of exposing each other to risk of harm in society. Questions related to moral significance of risking harm onto others, its relationship with impact on individual freedom, and how reasons and duties against harm apply to those against risking harm are addressed in her research. The grant will allow Kritika to pursue a three month research stay abroad.
Read more about Kritika’s research >>
Watch Kritika present her pitch >>
Lara Bister (Faculty of Spatial Sciences) her research is about the association between Economic crises, health and mortality across Europe. She investigated questions like: “How does exposure to economic crisis at birth affect health outcomes in young adulthood?”. The results showed that especially family stress during economic crises leads to deficits in child development and poorer mental health in later life. Lara states the importance of her research as follows: “COVID-19 has shown us that economic crises may, unfortunately, always be around the corner. And thus, it is vital to act and investigate sooner, rather than later”.
With the grant Lara is planning a short research stay at the German Robert Koch Institute (RKI) in Berlin. There she can collect the data set she would like to use for her second PhD paper and collaborate with an experienced scientist.
Watch Lara present her pitch >>
Tim van Zuijlen (Faculty of Law) is researching to what extend current law promotes or dissuades the development of products with longer lifespans, and if there are legal measures that could facilitate longer product lifespans. He states that we are living in the current economic model of make-use-dispose which has a negative impact on our environment. With his research he hopes to contribute to more sustainable production on the path towards a circular economy.
The grant Tim received will be spent on visits to the countries where there is a legal debate around planned obsolescence. He wants to meet with legal scholars and the lawmakers that proposed the legislation to bring these discussions together.
Watch Tim present his pitch >>
Harm Rienks (Faculty of Economics and Business) investigates if democracy functions properly. He evaluates if elections lead to a responsive government using data from Dutch local elections. His research helps to identify ways in which the electoral process can be improved.
Harm will spend his grant on organizing a workshop/symposium with two groups that interact too little, policymakers and academics, in The Hague. It will take place a few months before the Dutch local elections of 2022. The aim of the workshop is to have a discussion about local democracy, to disseminate new information on the functioning of local democracy and to generate policy recommendations on how to make it more sustainable.
Watch Harm present his pitch >>
Eko Rahmadian (Campus Fryslân) carries out research in the field of sustainable tourism in Indonesia. He states that a shift to a truly sustainable tourism model is essential. He proposes the utilization of big data for much faster and more efficient types of data and data analyses methods in the future. It will provide valuable insights and help accelerate the decision-making process in sustainable tourism. Big data utilization is also a perfect solution considering the pandemic to get data without physical contact.
With the grant Eko wants to conduct data collection in Indonesia and network. With this trip he can get some data for the quantitative research he wants to start next. The aim of his study, a data-driven policy making process, will help Indonesia to accelerate sustainable tourism.
Watch Eko present his pitch >>
Dan Wang (Faculty of Science and Engineering) her research helps to address an important social challenge: water stress. She investigates how to evaluate and reduce water stress induced by water use and water pollution, and studies its impacts from production and consumption perspectives. By doing this, she contributes to develop datasets, improve methods and propose water stress mitigation measures.
The grant Dan received will be spent on seminars about datasets development and water stress evaluation and mitigation. With this she wants to develop sectoral water quantity and water quality datasets at a global level and find a way to achieve how to evaluate and reduce this.
Watch Dan present her research >>
Lúcia Bonci Cavalca (Faculty of Science and Engineering
) is working in collaboration with Brazilian researchers to develop suitable alternatives to copper in the fight against citrus canker. Citrus canker is a bacterial plant disease that must be controlled. Nowadays they use huge amounts of copper sprayed annually in the orchards, accumulating in the soil and threatening the environment. They found an organic compound which has shown good results in laboratory and greenhouse.
With the grant Lúcia wants to visit the experimental orchards where her field test is being carried out. She also wants to collect soil samples from the experimental area which she can use in her research.
Watch Lúcia present her research >>
Lina Xie (Faculty of Economics and Business) researches the public financial intermediaries (PFIs) and investigates their roles in addressing climate change. She creates an essential resource of PFIs’ climate-related activities and performance for everyone who is working on climate finance. She will investigate how the financial system interacts with the climate system by providing insights on how and to what extent different financial intermediaries effectively and efficiently allocate scarce public resources in line with climate objectives.
Lina will use the grant to extend her network with other climate finance researchers and public financial intermediaries which are actively facilitating climate investments. With the grant she can cover the cost of short stays in the research department in major public financial intermediaries.
Watch Lina present her pitch >>
Luzia Heu (Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences) her research contributes to raising awareness for cultural context as risk for, or protection from, loneliness, and to providing the basis for evidence-based culture-sensitive interventions. She also produces film clips to educate about the sharedness of loneliness experiences, its heterogeneous causes, and potential remedies. These clips may provide emotional support for lonely individuals, serve to reduce tabooing and stigmatization of loneliness and inspire potentially novel ways of dealing with, and resolving, it.
Luzia will spend the grant to finance a professional and sustainable web appearance. With this she can organize a formal presentation with room for questions and exchange.
Watch Luzia present het pitch >>
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