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Four Vicis for Leiden researchers

Leiden has scored highly with the recent Vici awards. Of the 31 Vici winners announced by NWO, 4 are researchers in Leiden. The winners are: Professor of Family and Child Studies Marian Bakermans-Kranenburg, information scientist Peter Grünwald, astronomer Linnartz and Professor of Buddhism Jonathan Silk.

The Vici subsidy is for a maximum of 1,500,000 euro per person, making it one of the biggest person-related subsidies in the Netherlands. This subsidy allows researchers to build a research group over a period of five years. It is intended for very experienced researchers who have shown they can successfully develop their own innovative line of research and can also function as a coach for young researchers.  

Marian Bakermans-Kranenburg

Professor Marian Bakermans-Kranenburg of the department of Child and Family Studies, was awarded a Vici for her research proposal: 'Made-to-measure parenting support'. 
Some parents and children are extra sensitive to stress as a result of their temperament or their genetic make-up. The researchers test whether this 'risk' also makes them more sensitive to positive changes in their environment. This research will help in providing made-to-measure parenting support.  

Read more in: Genes and environment in parenting: measuring is knowing

Harold Linnartz

Astronomer Professor Harold Linnartz has been awarded a Vici subsidy for his research proposal on 'Unlocking the chemistry of the heavens'. Exotic chemical reactions take place between and around stars. In spite of the low temperatures, strong radiation fields and low densities, complex molecules are still formed. Linnartz will be imitating this process in a lab environment to explain the presence of molecules observed in space.'

Peter Grünwald

Information scientist Professor Peter Grünwald receives a Vici award for his research proposal on: 'Statistics if your models don't work'.   
Scientists make full use of practically useful, but clearly erroneous models. Non-linear connections are modelled as linear, for example, or dependent variables as independent, such as in DNA sequence analysis. However, existing statistical methods assume that the models are correct. Researchers develop new methods that do not make this assumption. The result is that we can do more with less data. 

Read more in: Dr Peter Grünwald appointed Professor of Statistical Learning

Jonathan Silk

Hoogleraar Boeddhisme prof.dr. Jonathan Silk krijgt de Vici voor zijn onderzoeksvoorstel 'Buddhism and social justice: doctrine, ideology and discrimination in tension'. 
Het boeddhisme heeft de reputatie van een religie van gelijkheid en verlossing. Hoe valt dit te rijmen met Singhalese boeddhisten die oorlog voeren tegen de Tamils, de Birmese junta die monniken neerschiet en de Thaise marine die hulpeloze vluchtelingen de zee in drijft? Onderzoekers gaan de dynamische spanning bestuderen die bestaat is tussen idealen en praktijk op het gebied van sociale rechtvaardigheid in historische boeddhistische samenlevingen. 

Read more: 'Buddhism is definitely a religion'

Two hundred and twenty researchers wrote a brief pre-application for the Vici round in 2009/2010. NWO asked 94 of them to expand on their proposals and then invited them to explain their proposal in person before an assessment committee. Based on international and national recommendations, 31 proposals were selected for an award. The candidates selected include seven females, one of whom is Professor Marian Bakermans-Kranenburg. 

This is the first Vici round in which researchers from all fields were able to discuss the impact or relevance of their research for society and industry. This was previously only possible for the technical sciences. Some 90% of the researchers who submitted an application responded to this question. The mark for this 'knowledge exploitation paragraph' only counted if it positively influenced the final assessment.  

The Vici subsidy is one of the three types of subsidies that form part of the NWO Innovation Incentive scheme. The other two subsidies are the Veni (for newly qualified PhDs) and the Vidi (for experiences postdocs).  The Innovation Incentive scheme was established in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences and the universities.  

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