The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) has awarded Veni funding to seventeen researchers who recently obtained their PhD. This award offers promising young scientists the opportunity to develop their own ideas over a period of three years.
In total NWO awarded a Veni to 154 researchers this year. Veni, together with Vidi and Vici, is part of NWO’s Talent Scheme. The funding, of up to 250,000 euros, is intended for excellent researchers who have recently obtained their PhD. More than 1100 researchers submitted an application for a Veni. With these 154 awards, NWO is investing a total of 38.3 million euros in fundamental and curiosity-driven research.
Seventeen young Leiden scientists can now make a start on their research projects. A short summary of their projects is given below.
Yannick Bahé – Leiden Observatory
Galaxies living in galaxy clusters – the densest, most extreme environment of our Universe – are observed to differ strikingly from isolated galaxies. The proposed research project will use state-of-the-art computer simulations to understand the origin of these differences, filling a major gap in our understanding of galaxy formation.
Barbara Braams – Psychology
Risk-taking behaviour is widely studied in the lab, but the relationship with real-life behavior is unclear. This proposal aims to relate lab measures and real-life risk-taking behavior.
Lucia Bossoni – LUMC Radiology, Biophysics
Abnormal accumulation of iron is found in the brains of patients suffering from several different neurodegenerative diseases, but its potential toxicity is still not understood. This research uses a new multidisciplinary approach to detect and characterize different forms of iron, also leading to new in vivo methods of visualization.
Marcel van Daalen – Leiden Observatory
The structure of our universe is tightly connected to the distribution of both dark and visible matter. However, the violent processes associated with galaxy formation make significant changes to this distribution. By better understanding how they do so, astronomers can learn more about our universe as a whole.
Anna Dlabačová– Dutch Language and Culture
The influence of Dutch book printing on spirituality and visual culture at the end of the Middle Ages was far greater than previously thought. Cultural-historical research into the first generation of printed books paints a new picture of religious practice in the transitional period from manuscript to print.
Christina Eich – LUMC Radiology
Sickle cell disease/β-thalassemia are deadly gene disorders disrupting erythrocyte function and greatly reducing the patient’s quality of life and expectance. Researchers aim to overcome the disadvantages of current therapies by developing a nanoparticle-based gene therapy using CRISPR/Cas9 to specifically modify erythrocyte precursors in the body to eliminate disease symptoms.
Thanja Lamberts– Leiden Institute of Chemistry
At the low temperatures in space (-260 ºC), the molecular building blocks of life can only be formed through chemical reactions that produce lots of heat. In this project, computer simulations are used to study how this heat is transferred to the ice-covered dust grains on which the reactions occur.
Saskia Peels – LUCAS
The ancient Greeks knew a plurality of gods (polytheism), who helped them in all aspects of life. But what image did they have of these often complex gods? And why did a Greek sometimes turn to one god, and at other times to another? A linguistically inspired method helps us.
Anke Ramakers – Criminology
Based on the common belief that employment increases successful re-integration, policy efforts are directed towards connecting inactive ex-prisoners to jobs. This project helps to develop theory and evidence-based policies by examining (1) causes of joblessness, and (2) effects of different kinds of jobs and different kinds of joblessness on reoffending.
Stephanie Rap – Department of Child Law
Refugee children have the right to be heard in asylum procedures. Through a combination of qualitative methods and legal analysis of children’s rights, this study provides an urgent exploration of the conceptual and practical implications of their right to effective participation. It will result in guidelines for effectively hearing children.
Jolien Rijlaarsdam – Centre for Child and Family Studies
A psychiatric problem seldom comes alone but is often accompanied by other psychiatric symptoms. Can we identify one overall dimension that summarizes various psychiatric symptoms? How is this overall dimension associated with the environment and gene regulation at sensitive developmental periods?