ERC Advanced Grant for Danielle Posthuma, Jan Theeuwes and Sergey Nezhentsev

Three leading scientists from VU Amsterdam and Amsterdam UMC, location VUmc, each won the prestigious European Research Council Advanced Grant of 2.5 million euros. This is the largest individual research grant in Europe.

03/28/2019 | 12:00 AM


Jan TheeuwesJan Theeuwes (cognitive psychology) has been awarded for his research project entitled ‘What to expect when you are not expecting it: How implicit regularities drive attentional selection’, focusing on implicit learning and how this process affects our perception and attention. In 2012 Theeuwes was awarded an ERC Advanced Grant for his research into the effects of reward on visual attention.
Even though we are not aware of it, we constantly extract the statistical regularities that are present in our environment. Jan Theeuwes: ‘An obvious example of this is the learning of a language. We learn certain regularities of a language without actually realising it. This type of implicit learning (or statistical learning) occurs every day, everywhere without engaging much, if any, deliberate conscious effort. This learning process allows us to give structure to the world around us, which makes the world predictable, manageable and coherent.’ Although we already know a lot about ‘statistical learning’ when learning a language or, for example, when learning complex movements, we still don’t know much about how this process affects our perception and attention.
The research is being conducted at the Department of Experimental and Applied Psychology of the Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Sciences. Read more.
Danielle PosthumaIn 2013 professor of Complex Trait Genetics at VU Amsterdam and Amsterdam UMC, location VUmc, and holder of a University Research Chair (URC) Posthuma already received a large Dutch personal research grant (VICI). She will develop innovative calculation methods and experimental set-ups that can bridge the gap between genetics and neurosciences, applied to brain-related properties. Posthuma will conduct this research at the Center for Neurogenomics and Cognitive Research, at the Faculty of Science. She is looking forward to working with a multidisciplinary team of bioinformatics, statisticians and neurobiologists. Read more on the faculty site.
sergey Sergey Nejentsev's research group at Amsterdam UMC receives 2,160,926 euros for their search for new treatments for tuberculosis. This amount will be divided over five years. "New treatment options are desperately needed to win the war against this bacterium," says Professor Nejentsev of the Department of Molecular Cell Biology and Immunology.