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The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) has awarded a Vidi grant worth 800,000 euros to eleven researchers from the University of Amsterdam (UvA) and the Academic Medical Center (AMC-UvA, part of Amsterdam UMC). With the grant, the researchers will be able to develop their own innovative line of research and set up their own research group over the next five years.

The recipients

Dr Saskia Bonjour (Political Science):Strange’ families reunified?  

Which families belong in Europe? The right to family migration is highly contested for families which deviate from the norm, such as same-sex or polygamous families. Saskia Bonjour’s project will analyse how migration law and politics deal with different kinds of families asking to be allowed to live together in Europe.  

Dr Chiara de Cesari (European Studies): Reimaging Institutions

Many people think that art can change the world and reinvent our institutions in crisis. But is it so and how does it work? In this project, Chiara de Cesari will study how artistic practices provide a platform for institutional experimentation and innovation across and beyond Europe.

Dr Joep Derikx (Medicine): Heal the anastomosis

In colorectal surgery, surgeons often create an anastomosis between bowel parts. Anastomoses leak in 1:10 patients, which can lead to peritonitis, sepsis and death. Joep Derikx wants to prevent this by studying whether surgeons can pre-operatively predict anastomotic leakage or diagnose it early post-operative. Furthermore, he will investigate normal anastomotic healing.

Dr Marc Engelen (Medicine): Quantifying disease severity

Quantifying disease severity is of the utmost importance in studies to determine efficacy of new treatments. In this project, Marc Engelen will aim to develop sensitive tools to quantify disease severity for use in clinical trials, for ALD and other degenerative conditions of the spinal cord.

Dr Helmer Helmers (Dutch Literature/History): Inventing Public Diplomacy in Early Modern Europe 

How do communication revolutions shape international relations? Helmer Helmers’ project adopts a historical approach to find new answers to this acute and topical question. Investigating diplomatic uses of the new medium of print between 1568 and 1713, it shows how new media in the past transformed European politics.

Dr. Eva van Lier (Linguistics): The exception to the rule?  

Language consists of general grammar rules applied to specific words. But every rule has its exceptions. In this project, Eva van Lier will investigate how speakers of various languages use their knowledge about such exceptions when constructing sentences.

Dr Maris Ozols (Physics/Mathematics/Computing Science): Quantum Math

Quantum computers can solve certain problems much faster, but finding new quantum algorithms is difficult. Using advanced mathematical techniques, we will find new quantum algorithms and implement them in software.

Dr Janke Schinkel (Medicine): Finding the Achilles heel of Hepatitis C virus 

Each year, 500.000 people die from liver disease caused by the hepatitis C virus. To reduce the burden of this disease, a vaccine is needed which prevents further spread. Understanding why some people, despite frequent exposure, never become chronically infected, is an important step in the design of a vaccine.

Dr Shaul Shalvi (Economics): Sharing responsibly on the on-demand economy

The collaborative economy circulates billions of euros annually. Emphasizing the benefits of trust, collaborative platforms link providers and users. In this project, Shaul Shalvi will identify ways to promote responsible sharing by investigating the negative ethical side-effects of focusing on trust when trading on the collaborative economy.

Dr Robbert Spaapen (Medicine): Sugary lipids impede proteins

Cells in the body talk to each other through proteins. Robbert Spaapen will unravel how sugary lipids disrupt communication between proteins. Next, he will determine whether tumor cells utilise such sugary lipids to escape the immune system by interfering with protein communication.

Dr. Ning Yan (Chemistry): Mimicking nature in heterogeneous catalyst design 

Inspired by the elegant ‘active center’ of enzymes, Yan will develop a bi-atom heterogeneous catalyst in this project. This new catalytic material is fully inorganic, featuring bi-atom pairs as the active sites on the support. It promises to open bona fide opportunities for the catalysis and materials science communities.

NWO Talent Scheme

Vidi is aimed at experienced researchers who have carried out successful research for a number of years after obtaining their PhDs. Together with Veni and Vici, Vide 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 and innovative research. NWO selects researchers based on the quality of the researcher, the innovative character of the research, the expected scientific impact of the research proposal and the possibilities for knowledge use.