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NWO Vidi grant for 11 Leiden researchers

Eleven Leiden researchers have been awarded an 800,000 euro Vidi grant by the Dutch Research Council (NWO). This will enable them to develop their own innovative line of research and start their own research group.

The projects that have been awarded grants are wide-ranging. They include a study of the views on human beings in ancient Greek economic texts, a new treatment for a hereditary eye disease and the role of dystrophin in the brain. Read more about the 11 Leiden researchers who, with the aid of a Vidi grant, will be able to start their own research group.

Western institutions: do they promote or preclude democracy? 

Anar Ahmadov, Faculty of Governance and Global Affairs

Many governments, international organisations and private donors invest vast resources to enable developing country citizens to study in Western institutions. But while some beneficiaries later emerge as reformist democrats, others become reactionary autocrats. By educating their citizens, do Western institutions promote or preclude democracy in developing countries?

Economic views on human being in ancient Greece

Tazuko van Berkel, Faculty of Humanities

Who is Economic Man? Every economic paradigm presupposes an anthropology, a theory of human nature. Van Berkel will explore the anthropologies presupposed and produced by ancient Greek economic texts, and the specific knowledge forms that shape these anthropologies.

Developing cutting-edge treatments to combat early hereditary blindness

Camiel Boon, LUMC

X-linked juvenile retinoschisis (XLRS) is a relatively common hereditary eye disease, for which there is no treatment. It causes severe vision loss or even blindness in childhood. Boon aims to develop a cure for XLRS in experimental models that mimic the disease and are based on patient-specific stem cells and an animal model.

The Talking Dead: reconstructing the transmission of information 5000 years ago

Quentin Bourgeois, Faculty of Archaeology

How can it be that pre-literate societies, who were never in contact with one another, kept a highly standardised burial ritual in vogue for close to a millennium and across the European continent? That is what Bourgeois will investigate using network analysis and similarity measures.

Psychedelics in Perspective

Michiel van Elk, Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

Psychedelics can occasion mystical experiences and are increasingly used for the treatment of biomedical disorders. But exactly how these effects come about is not well understood. Van Elk’s project will elucidate the psychological and neurocognitive mechanisms underlying psychedelics, the role of prior expectations and the short- and long-term consequences of psychedelic experiences.

Read more: Vidi grant for psychedelics research Michiel van Elk

Where addition breaks down

David Holmes, Faculty of Science

Addition rules on geometric objects let us add up known points to find new points. When the objects depend on varying parameters, the addition rule can break down for some degenerate values of the parameters. Holmes will develop tools to handle this phenomenon for families depending on many parameters.

Anisotropic and deformable microswimmers

Daniela Kraft, Faculty of Science

Bacteria and algae use shape changes and elasticity to direct their motion. In this project, Kraft will model their behaviour by fabricating synthetic elastic microswimmers of various shapes using a 3D printer, and study how they move and interact. 

Read more: Vidi research grant for physicist Daniela Kraft

Unraveling the role of dystrophin in the brain

Maaike van Putten, LUMC

Duchenne muscular dystrophy patients suffer from behavioural and learning problems due to lack of dystrophin in the brain. Van Putten will study, in cultured human brain cells, how lack of dystrophin results in abnormalities and to which extent deficits can be remedied by a therapy aimed at restoring dystrophin synthesis.

Finding a needle in the cellular haystack

Thom Sharp, LUMC and Faculty of Science

Recent advances in microscopy now allow us to see individual proteins within whole cells. However, cells are so densely-packed with molecules that finding the desired protein is like looking for a needle in a haystack. This proposal aims to combine different microscopy techniques to solve this problem, and in doing so answer longstanding questions in immunology, such as ‘how does our immune system first interact with germs?’

Inflammation without infection

Annemarthe van der Veen, LUMC

A sterile inflammatory response occurs in the absence of a pathogenic disease, in response to one’s own molecules. This occurs when our immune system fails to distinguish between our own molecules (self) and foreign molecules (non-self), leading to self-directed autoinflammatory and autoimmune disorders. The researchers will investigate the triggers underlying sterile inflammation

The democratic consequences of decentralisation

Wouter Veenendaal, Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

In this project Veenendaal will analyse the democratic consequences of increasing decentralisation and regionalisation in European countries. Through an original approach that foregrounds informal political dynamics, he will studies the functioning of democracy in subnational units, and investigates the effects of ever more complex relations between administrative layers on the democratic influence of citizens.

Read more>>

NWO Talent Programme 

Vidi is aimed at researchers who have already conducted several years of research following their PhD. Together with the Veni and Vici grants, the Vidi grant is part of the NWO Talent Programme. Within the programme, researchers are free to decide on the topic of their research proposal. A total of 503 researchers submitted an eligible research proposal in this Vidi round, and 81 of these have been awarded a grant. This means a funding rate of 16%. 

Source: NWO

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