Four Rubicon grants for Leiden researchers
Four young Leiden researchers have been awarded a Rubicon grant to conduct research abroad. They will be working in Germany, the UK and the US studying such topics as the origin of galaxies and risk behaviour in young people.
In this first funding round for 2016 NWO awarded a total of 22 Rubicon grants; 18 per cent of these were awarded to researchers at Leiden University.
Barbara Braams, Institute of Psychology: risk behaviour in young people
Young people take more risks when they are with friends, but it is uncertain how this comes about. Psychologist Barbara Braams will spend two years at Harvard University in the US unravelling the mechanism underlying this behaviour. She will be researching the effect of social influence on tolerance of risk or ambiguity, and how this drives risky behaviour.
Sara Polak, Centre for the Arts in Society: ebola in the American imagination
The ebola epidemic in West Africa awakened politically incorrect cultural memories in the United States. Sara Polak analysed American fantasies on Twitter about ebola, such as that ebola is a zombie virus. Her aim is to show how epidemics of fear revive ghostly memories from the American slave past. Polak has been awarded a grant to conduct research for a year at the Justus-Liebig University in Giessen in Germany.
Eva Mol, Faculty of Archaeology: objects in mythology
The function of objects in mythology is a neglected aspect in Mediterranean history. Using a combination of archaeological, art historical and philological methods, archaeologist Eva Mol will be studying the role played objects in how ancient myths are created, modified and remembered. She will be conducting her research over the period of a year at the the University of Chicago in the United States.
Renske Smit, Leiden Observatory: galaxies during the cosmic dawn
Astronomer Renske Smit looks back in time to the cosmic dawn, to explore the origin of the first galaxies. She looks at what kind of stars were formed and their influence on their direct cosmic environment. Smith has been awarded funding to carry out research for two years at the University of Cambridge (Great Britain).
NWO's Rubicon funding is intended for promising researchers who have just obtained their PhD. They can use the grant to gain international research experience over a period of up to two years, an important step in their scientific career. The amount of the funding depends on their destination and the length of the stay.