Three Leiden scientists receive NWO ENW-KLEIN grant for innovative research
The origins of Surinamese rice, a digital twin of the Earth and a large big-data project in the Chilean sky: three Leiden scientists receive an ENW-KLEIN grant for innovative, fundamental research.
The origins Maroon rice
Tinde van Andel (IBL) & Eric Schranz (Wageningen University)
Surinamese Maroons, descendants of fugitive slaves, grow hundreds of rice varieties. These are radically different from modern rice cultivars, but have hardly been scientifically researched. Where does the rice of the Maroons come from? This project integrates ethnobotanical and genetic research and connects the traditional knowledge of the Maroons with written sources and the DNA of their rice. Probably the rice fields reflect 370 years of migration and adaptation: ancient African landraces, historical US cultivars, rice exchanged with Asian contract workers and self-developed varieties. This research contributes to the revaluation of an important crop for current and future food security and the African-American cultural heritage.
Project name: Hidden crop diversity in Suriname: tracing the origins of Maroon rice by integrating ethnobotany and genomics.
A digital twin of the Earth
Mitra Baratchi (LIACS)
In recent years, earth scientists have put forward the vision of creating ‘the digital twins of the earth’ to enable better decision support to address major environmental challenges, such as global warming or nature conservation. To create these digital twins, Baratchi and her colleagues are going to design models that fully capture the complexity of the interactions between environmental processes on Earth. Baratchi: ‘We will do this by combining the knowledge from established theoretical, physical models with state-of-the-art empirical models.’
Project name: Physics-aware Spatio-temporal Machine Learning for Earth Observation Data.
A back-up of the sky
Henk Hoekstra (Leiden Observatory)
The Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST) is a planned 10-year survey of the southern sky that will take place at the Vera C. Rubin Observatory. This observatory is currently under construction on the El Penon peak of Cerro Pachon in northern Chile. Data from the LSST will transform astronomy. Starting in 2023, this ambitious Big Data project will make a detailed backup of the entire Chilean sky about twice a week. Dutch astronomers are contributing to this exciting project thanks to the construction of an instrument that will monitor the entire sky during the observations, in order to optimise the planning of the observations.
Project name: An all-sky monitor for the Vera Rubin Observatory
The board of NWO domain Science has awarded 15 applications in the Open Competition ENW-KLEIN. The topics range from research into the behaviour of proteins involved in DNA repair to research into the detection of dark matter to explain the composition of the universe. KLEIN grants are intended for innovative, fundamental research of high quality and / or scientific urgency.
On the website of NWO, you can find all fifteen awarded applications.