Universiteit Leiden

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Science Agenda Starting Incentive invests in Leiden research

Eight major scientific consortia are to receive research investment funding from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO. Leiden University is involved in all these project and is the lead applicant for four of the awards.

The subsidies of a maximum of 2.5 million euros have been awarded to three themes selected by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, each of which is in line with the paths set out in the National Science Agenda (Nationale Wetenschapsagenda, NWA). This agenda contains questions on which the Dutch science field will focus particular attention in the near future. These questions have been distilled from 12,000 questions that were submitted by the general public. 

Different scientific institutes, companies and interest groups are involved in all the projects.  Leiden University is participating in all the projects and a Leiden scientist is either lead applicant or joint lead applicant for four of the projects. The projects are set out below.  

Eveline Crone: Optimal conditions for learning and the safety of young people

Spinoza Prize winner Crone and her colleagues use knowledge about behaviour and the brain to better understand how young people acquire new knowledge and learn new skills, how they handle challenges in society and how they develop optimally. Brain measurements give a better insight into what is needed for a safe and stimulating society.  Available and new knowledge will be converted into practical innovations. The project is a collaboration with different universities, medical centres, universities of applied sciences, the Heart Foundation, Philips, the Public Prosecution Service, the Dutch Probation Service and other institutions.

Ionica Smeets: Gravity – a new journey of discovery

This route focuses on fundamental questions about matter, space, time and the universe. Gravity is the key theme for this starting impetus.  The theme offers unimagined opportunities for the Netherlands to connect theory, experiment and instrumentation in new ways. Smeets and her colleagues focus particularly on evidence-based science communication. They intend to use community building to keep their colleagues involved throughout the whole process.  The project is a collaboration of different universities, Nikhef and Astron.

Marco Beijersbergen: Measuring and detecting healthy behaviour

Measuring and detecting increasingly take place outside the lab. In this programme physicist Marco Beijersbergen and his colleagues will be studying people's health. Every day they will measure a droplet of blood, the food we eat and the air we breathe. The researchers will develop technology to make it possible to discover how we can make sensible use of these data. The project is a partnership with different universities, medical centres and the Hogeschool Leiden.

Judi Mesman: Equal opportunities for diverse young people (joint application with Monique Volman, UvA)

In this programme research is conducted on the processes and mechanisms in the changing environments in which young people grow up that contribute to equal - or unequal - opportunities. These could be the increasing diversity in the classroom at school, the rise of shadow education, collaboration between teaching and youth care, the possible support offered by district teams in youth healthcare in the event of an accumulation of risky behaviour. The project team works together with such partners as knowledge institutions, TNO, a junior school, the Verwey Jonker Institute, the VO (Higher Education) Council and the municipality of Rotterdam.