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LUF Praesidium Libertatis Grant awarded to two researchers

Anke Smits and Lucien van Beek have been awarded a Praesidium Libertatis Grant this year. Smits is an assistant professor at the LUMC and Van Beek at the Faculty of Humanities. They each receive a sum of 75,000 euros from the Leiden University Fund (LUF).

Smits has been awarded the grant for her research into the development of a ‘heart plaster’. This plaster should help the human heart recover after being damaged by a heart attack. ‘My aim is to develop a plaster from biomaterial that sticks to the heart, releases substances locally that inhibit scarring and stimulate repair while providing support to the tissue to prevent tearing,’ Smits writes about her research.


Lucien van Beek conducts research into people’s way of thinking in ancient and prehistoric times by analysing the use of metaphors in the earliest Indo-European languages. He writes about his project: ‘Homer depicts speakers as archers shooting their arrows at a recipient. This unexpected image also seems to exist for other Ancient Greek authors and in related Indo-European languages. This suggests that this conceptual metaphor was already prevalent in the common ancestral language, Proto-Indo-European (c.3500 BC).’

The LUF Praesidium Libertatis Grant is awarded to talented young researchers who are considered capable of developing innovative and original research ideas. The grant is also aimed as a stepping stone to larger grants. The grant consists of a sum of 75,000 euros, which is provided by the Praesidium Libertatis Foundation I (part of the LUF). The next round of applications is in the summer of 2024.

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