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Vidis for eleven Leiden researchers

Eleven talented Leiden researchers with several years of research experience have been awarded a Vidi subsidy to set up or expand their own line of research.

Several Leiden faculties have received two Vidi awards: Archaeology, the Leiden Centre for Linguistics,  Medicine and  the Leiden Observatory. Jenneke van der Wal, currently at Harvard University, will be coming to Leiden on the basis of her Vidi. She will be working at the Leiden Centre for Linguistics, bringing LUCL's Vidis to three.

The majority of the winners - seven out of the eleven - are women. Leiden's share of the 89 Vidi awards is above average.

Innovational Research Incentive Scheme

The Vidi is a research subsidy from NWO's Innovational Research Incentive Scheme under which postdocs who have several years of research experience are awarded a subsidy of a maximum of 800,000 euros to set up or expand an innovative line of research. They can also use the funds to appoint other researchers. 

The winners


Gerrit Dusseldorp - Archeology

Finding resolution for the Middle to Later Stone Age transition and the origin of indigenous South African people
During the Middle to Later Stone Age transition in South Africa stone tools similar  to Neanderthal tools disappear. Instead, characteristically modern tools appear. Because we  hardly know sites from this period, we do not understand this behavioural transition. Using forgotten sites, I will unlock the causes of this change.

Josée Joordens – Archeology 

Getting to know Homo erectus in Trinill
One of humankind’s major questions is “what made us human?” In this geo-archaeological project we study the age, ecology and lifestyle of our extinct relative Homo erectus on Java. We will re-excavate the site of Trinil, where in in 1891 the first fossils of this species were found.

Alicia Schrikker - Institute for History

Institutional memory and colonial cultureHow did Dutch colonial officials justify their work? This project examines previously underutilized colonial sources to answer this question. The hypothesis is that this interplay between local practice and political thought was crucial to the development of
Dutch enduring visions about the legitimacy 

Lara Weiss - Leiden Institute for Area Studiess

The Walking Dead at Saqqara
In ancient Egypt, just as today, religion was subject to constant change. Changing religion will be scrutinized in the Saqqara necropolis in terms of individual/group practices, 
transmission of texts/decoration as well as the changing landscape. This project thus adds historical depth to the question of how traditions are shaped, modified or even invented.

Victoria Nyst - Leiden University Centre for Linguistics

From Gesture to Language
This research will compare the gesturing of hearing speakers with the sign languages that emerged in villages with a high incidence of deafness in West Africa, to establish whether grammatical differences in sign languages can be traced to cross-cultural differences in gesture.

Karène Sanchez - Leiden University Centre for Linguistics

CrossRoads: European cultural diplomacy and Arab Christians in Palestine
Culture was one of the key instruments used by European Powers, the Vatican and the Orthodox Church to enhance their influence in Palestine between 1920 and 1950. This project investigates the way in which this impacted the cultural identity of two Arab-Christian communities: the Orthodox and the Melkite.

Jenneke van der Wal - current Harvard University, coming to the Leiden University Centre of Linguistics

How salience determines grammar
Languages differ in their grammar. Many European languages use grammatical roles like subject and object, forming the basis of current universal models of grammar. However, Bantu languages don’t fit these models. How is their grammar organised? Together with African linguists, this project develops a more encompassing model based on salience.

Saskia Lesnik Oberstein -  LUMC, clinical genetics

The NOTCH3 disease spectrum: is CADASIL the tip of the iceberg?Recently, the research group discovered that gene mutations which cause a hereditary dementia called CADASIL, are quite common in the general population. We want to study whether these mutations may be a cause of cognitive decline in 60+ year old individuals in whom CADASIL would normally never be considered.

Marieke Wermer - LUMC, neurology

The striking enigma of stroke in women with migraine
Women have a higher life-time risk of stroke and a worse outcome compared with men. Migraine is an important risk factor for stroke in women. I will investigate the migrainestroke relationship in clinical datasets and experimental vessel models to better identify women at high risk and to develop new therapies.

Rawi Ramautar - Leiden Academic Centre for Drug Research

Enabling volume-restricted metabolomics using next-generation microscale analytical tools
The analytical toolbox used in modern metabolomics encounters difficulties for the analysis of volume-restricted biological samples. Therefore, a significant number of crucial biomedical/clinical questions cannot be addressed by the current approach. To enable volume-restricted metabolomics, the researchers will develop novel microscale technologies for in-depth metabolic profiling of severely limited sample amounts

Jordy Bouwman - Leiden Observatory

Chemistry in exotic worlds
Thousands of planets have been detected outside of our solar system and some reside in the “habitable zone” around their star. Complex chemical processes take place in the atmospheres around these planets. The researchers will search for pathways that may yield building blocks of life in these foreign worlds.

Reinout van Weeren - Leiden Observatory

A quest to find the largest particle accelerators in our Universe
How do the largest particle accelerators in our Universe work? What is the origin of cosmic magnetic fields? These questions are intimately related to the properties of shocks waves in galaxy clusters and filaments. The researchers will use the world’s largest radio telescopes, including LOFAR, to answer these questions.