Veni research grants for 23 UvA researchers

16 July 2019

The Dutch Research Council (NWO) has awarded a Veni grant worth up to 250,000 euros to 166 highly promising young scientists. The grant provides the laureates with the opportunity to further elaborate their own ideas during a period of three years.

The Veni is awarded by NWO every year. A total of 1,151 researchers submitted an admissible research proposal for funding. 166 of these have now been granted. That comes down to an award rate of 14%. The submissions were assessed by means of peer review by external experts from the disciplines concerned. In this Veni funding round, NWO is investing a total of 41.5 million euros in free and curiosity-driven research.

Faculty of Humanities

  • Dr Mònica Colominas Aparicio (Amsterdam School of Historical Studies): The Status of Jews and Christians in the Islamic World: The Case of Islamic Spain
    Religious diversity in Islam is often controversial. Al-Andalus serves as a model in societal debates about minorities, but solid studies about the period are lacking. This project investigates the social reality of Jews and Christians in al-Andalus and wants to clarify knowledge about the history of minorities in Islamic societies.

  • Dr María Estrada-Fuentes, (Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis/Centre for Latin American Research and Documentation):  Embodied Reintegration: Complex-Victimhood and Reparations in Transitional Societies
    How do we repair relationships after war? This question is at the heart of Embodied Reintegration. This project investigates the role of the arts and theatre in repairing relationships and addressing harm inflicted during wartime. It seeks to develop innovative methodological approaches to reparation in transitional societies.

  • Dr Esther Weltevrede, (Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis): Apps and data infrastructures
    Apps have become an important part of our everyday life. However, how they operate is still largely unknown. This project develops novel digital methods to study how apps recombine, valorize and distribute data from various sources.

Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

  • Dr Cody Hochstenbach, (Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research): Investing in inequality: how the increase in private housing investors shapes social divides
    Housing increasingly serves as a site for investment. Structural housing-market transformations contribute to the rise of private housing investors buying property to rent out (“buy-to-let”). This project investigates the rise of private investors in the Netherlands, and investigates consequences for access to affordable housing, uneven wealth accumulation, and spatial inequality.

  • Dr Liliya Leopold, UvA - (Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research): Social Norms, Body Weight, and Well-Being: A Multi-Method Comparison of Germany, Korea, the Netherlands, and the United States. 
    Which body weight is socially accepted in modern societies? Do body-weight norms differ across countries? How do these norms affect the psychological well-being of those who conform or deviate? The aim of this project is to answer these questions using an innovative multi-method research design combining survey and experimental methods.

  • Dr Judith Möller,  (Amsterdam School of Communication Research): Vocal, Visible and Vaulting? (Dis)connected niche audiences in the age of artificial intelligence
    This project studies the impact of algorithmic filter systems and artificial intelligence on specific segments of the population and niche audiences (fringe bubbles). It will contribute to our understanding of the consequences of AI for the public debate and the cohesion of the public sphere.

  • Dr Roderik Rekker, (Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research): Are millennials transforming politics? A study on generational differences in voting 
    There are growing differences in voting behaviour between youths and older voters. ‘Millennials’ are more likely to vote either radically progressive or for anti-immigration parties. This project examines how to explain this phenomenon, if it reflects a generational divide, and how likely it is that millennials will maintain their preference.

  • Dr Christin Scholz, (Amsterdam School of Communication Research): Health behavior in the context of healthy and unhealthy information
    Multiple competing factors like anti-alcohol campaigns and party-loving friends influence daily health behaviour. It is hard to describe how we integrate various factors in a decision. For our brains, this task is easy. This project examines young adults’ brain activity to understand how competing information about alcohol influence health-related decisions.

  • Dr Nanke Verloo, (Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research): Strengthening democracy beyond ‘participation’: informal politics and inclusive urban development.
    Marginal groups are often characterised as politically inactive. Challenging that idea, this study uses innovative methods to involve stakeholders in studying how citizens voice demands in ways that are not recognised by formal participation procedures. The results offer new insights in citizens’ politics and practices for inclusive urban development.

  • Dr Else Vogel, (Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research): Veterinary concerns: negotiating different values in the intensive livestock industry
    Given global ecological problems, the intensive livestock industry is under increasing pressure to change. This project studies how veterinarians working in the industry negotiate between different values as they aim to provide good farm animal care. The research will contribute theoretical insights in human-animal relations and help develop successful governance.

Faculty of Science

  • Dr Georgios Amanatidis, (Institute for Logic, Language and Computation): Fair Division in Dynamic Environments with Social Structure
    A crucial objective when allocating resources is that this is done in a commonly acceptable manner. This research introduces suitable definitions of fairness in situations where the available resources change over time, as does for instance a food bank’s inventory, and designs procedures that always output fair allocations.
     
  • Dr Gaurav Dugar, (Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences): Big secrets of a tiny bug
    Many proteins are located at specific places inside a cell depending on their function. In bacteria, DNA and RNA can also be localized together with membrane proteins in a process called ‘transertion’. The aim of this project is to develop new techniques to study transertion and its effects in bacteria.

  • Dr Ronald de Haan, (Institute for Logic, Language and Computation): Algorithms for sophisticated voting procedures
    When voting on complex matters, simple winner-takes-all voting rules are inadequate. More adequate voting rules are hard to compute. The researcher will use methods from theoretical computer science to find out which kind of algorithms work well for these rules.

  • Dr Masha van der Sande, (Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics): What determines the resilience of tropical forests to drought and fire? 
    Tropical forests are important for climate change mitigation because they take carbon from the atmosphere. This research will investigate how plant characteristics help forests survive droughts and fires. The results will help to develop effective forest management strategies, and safeguard the important role of forests in reducing climate change.

  • Dr. Bart Weber (Institute of Physics/ARCNL): Friction on demand: To slide or not to slideFriction and wear are responsible for 20% of the world energy consumption. Everybody learns in school about the friction coefficient: the ratio of frictional and normal force. What is the origin of this relation and how can we tailor the friction coefficient? That is the subject of this project.

  • Dr Katrin Wiese, (Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences): Zooming in on the messenger
    Cells use messenger molecules to communicate with each other. How they are able to produce the right messenger at the right time and place, however, is not known. In this project, the researcher will visualize specific regions of the DNA with microscopy to understand how cells make this important decision.

Dr Camila Corea (Leiden University) will also conduct her research at the Institute of Physics, within the UvA research priority area GRAPPA: Do dark matter particles interact with each other?
The nature of dark matter is a great unsolved mystery. The proposed research project will use state-of-the-art simulations to analyse signatures of forces between dark matter particles on galaxies colliding, filling a major gap in our understanding of dark matter.

Faculty of Law

  • Dr Maria Weimer, (Amsterdam Centre for European Governance): Out of (the) woods – making the EU a global leader in fighting deforestation
    International trade in agricultural commodities (e.g. palm oil) causes global deforestation undermining climate change mitigation. The EU has the market power to protect rainforests, but to be effective, EU sustainability standards must be accepted as legitimate abroad. This project shows how to make the EU a global leader in fighting deforestation.

Faculty of Medicine (Amsterdam UMC, AMC)

  • Dr Mathieu Claireaux: Improve immune responses in HIV vaccination to obtain protection
    Rare patients develop super-antibodies that can block nearly all HIV viruses, these super-antibodies are very difficult to induce by vaccination. Tfh cells are specialized immune cells that regulate antibody production. These exceptional patients will teach us which Tfh cell responses are needed to get super-antibodies through vaccination.

  • Dr Joep Grootjans, (AMC – Gastroenterology): Peritoneal immune cells protect the intestine.
    Chronic inflammation affects the quality of life of patients with Crohn’s disease (CD). The researcher recently discovered that peritoneal cavity immune cells can protect the intestine. The researcher will further investigate this in man, with the ultimate goal of improving therapy for patients with CD.

  • Dr Zeliha Guler Gokce: Development of a novel wound-healing implant with mechano-stimulation and localized delivery
    Women with pelvic organ prolapse who undergo surgery have lower risk on recurrence if their wound healing is better. We propose to design an implant that delivers estrogen to the surgical site with the intention to improve wound healing and reduce risk on recurrent prolapse.

  • Dr Vanessa Harris, (AMC - Department of Global Health): Better protection against rotavirus with intestinal bacteria
    Rotavirus the most common cause of serious, life-threatening diarrhea in young children.  Rotavirus vaccines can prevent the disease, but work less well in low-income countries in Asia and Africa. This research tests whether bacteria in children’s intestines (microbiome) can be used to improve rotavirus vaccine performance.

  • Dr Georges Janssens, (Amsterdam AMC - Genetic Metabolic Diseases): A better understanding of healthy aging
    Aging is the major risk factor for age-related disease. By understanding the molecular pathways of aging, we can better understand how to promote healthy-aging. This multidisciplinary research looks at molecular causes of aging. This research also develops diagnostic tools to help understand age-related diseases and develops treatments for them.

  • Dr Marleen  (AMC - Rheumatology and clinical immunology): Already active disease before signs and symptoms?
    Despite advances in treatment options in chronic inflammation of the spine, deformity is not halted. Possibly, because inflammation and deformity starts in a phase before the disease is diagnosed. The researcher will study this phase to identify novel treatment targets that halt deformity.

Published by  UvA Persvoorlichting