Twelve Veni’s for VU Amsterdam and Amsterdam UMC, location VUmc

The Dutch Research Council (NWO) has awarded a Veni grant worth up to 250,000 euros to 166 highly promising young scientists of which twelve from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and Amsterdam UMC, locatie VUmc.

07/16/2019 | 12:00 AM

The grant provides the laureates with the opportunity to further elaborate their own ideas during a period of three years. The proud winners of VU Amsterdam and locatie VUmc are: 

Elco Koks
Improving resilience of global trade to climate extremes
Elco Koks quantifies the vulnerability of global trade to climate extremes, and provides guidance in the development of successful adaptation measures. To do so, a first-of-its-kind high-resolution disaster impact modelling framework will be developed, designed to estimate disruptions in global trade, integrating geospatial global databases and supply-chain impact assessment models.
Aylin Aydinli
From Cash to Trash: How Price Promotions Impact Food Waste
Marketing is often blamed for generating food waste. Instead of being the cause, marketing can help reduce food waste and thus contribute to a better world. Marketing researcher Aylin Aydinli investigates the link between price promotions and food waste and identifies ways in which price promotions can stimulate sustainable food consumption.
Evelien Hoeben
Understanding online and offline peer influence
When adolescents commit rule-breaking acts, they are generally with peers. However, we know little about the ways in which peers influence rule-breaking behavior. Researcher in criminology and sociology Evelien Hoeben aims to break down ‘peer influence’ into verbal and nonverbal cues in online and offline settings, and see how these cues relate to rule-breaking.
Nanon Labrie
Small children, big worries: Argumentation at the neonatal care unit
At the neonatal care unit, it is important that doctors involve parents in the care of their new-born. Thereby, communication plays a crucial role. Supporting treatment recommendations with good reasons, doctors can improve parental involvement in decision-making. Science communication Nanon Labrie of Athena Institute foresees i.a. the development of an argumentation training for neonatologists

Michel Nivard
Genomic structural equation modeling elucidates psychiatric disease etiology
There are sharp differences of opinion on the causes and nature of psychiatric disease. Biological psychologist Michel Nivard,  use innovative techniques derived from behavior genetics and the social sciences to contrast the existing models and arrive at an optimal consensus model for ADHD and depression.
Jellie Sierksma
Understanding and preventing discrimination in children’s helping behaviour
Social psychologist Jellie Sierksma examines how children help peers from different ethnic backgrounds and tests the consequences of receiving differential helping from peers. She also proposes and tests an intervention for reducing biases in children’s inter-ethnic helping. Her research is pivotal to preventing the negative impact of discrimination early in life.
Mariken vd Velden
A Promise is a Promise! Unfolding the Electoral Ramifications of Political Compromises
Nowadays, political compromises seem to be extremely unpopular. This poses a problem for politicians’ ability to form stable coalitions to govern. Political scientist Mariken van der Velden studies the ramifications of compromises for politicians’ communication and voter behaviour utilizing virtual reality techniques, experiments and computational textual approaches.
Kasper Welbers
Gatekeeping in the era of fake news: The effects of trust on online news consumption behaviour
Despite much debate about the state of trust in online news sources, we know little about the effects of trust on online news consumption behavior. Communication scientist Kasper Welbers links digital trace data with a panel-survey and content analysis to investigate these effects in unprecedented detail to enrich the media trust debate.
Marieke Meijer
Towards understanding developmental disorders at a cellular level
Mistakes in our genes can lead to mental retardation and epilepsy. The biological mechanism behind this is poorly understood, which hinders drug development. By studying brain cells which carry these genetic mistakes in the lab, functional genomics Marieke Meijer will generate insight into why these neurons do not function properly.
Marit Roemer
Mechanism of action of immunotherapy in Hodgkin lymphoma
Immunotherapy is a new, promising form of cancer treatment that stimulates immune responses against cancer cells. Encouraging results are seen in Hodgkin lymphoma, but little is known about the mechanism of action. Pathologist Marit Roemer aim to investigate this, since this is crucial to identify those patients who will benefit from immunotherapy.
Berend vd Wildt
Novel imaging strategy towards improved monitoring and treatment of brain diseases
Solving brain diseases including glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) and neuroinflammation are amongst the largest global pharmaceutical challenges. Novel treatment strategies focus on reprogramming microglia, the immune cells in the brain, to halt disease progression. Radiologist Berend van der Wildt will research a molecular imaging strategy that will be developed to study microglial reprogramming in disease treatment.
Charissa van den BromInhibition of leaky vessels to prevent kidney damage 
Perfusion disturbances of the smallest vessels in critically ill patients can impair renal function as oxygen exchange is limited. Anesthesiologist Charissa van den Brom will study the role of damaged inner layer of these vessels to develop treatments directed against leaking vessels to prevent renal damage.

The Veni is awarded by NWO every year. A total of 1,151 researchers submitted an admissible research proposal for funding. 166 of these have now been granted. That comes down to an award rate of 14%. The submissions were assessed by means of peer review by external experts from the disciplines concerned. In this Veni funding round, NWO is investing a total of 41,5 million euros in free and curiosity-driven research.

Talent Scheme
Together with Vidi and Vici, Veni is part of NWO’s Talent Scheme. Veni is aimed at excellent researchers who have recently obtained their doctorate. Researchers in the Talent Scheme are free to submit their own subject for funding. NWO thus encourages curiosity-driven and innovative research. NWO selects researchers based on the quality of the researcher, the innovative character of the research, the expected scientific impact of the research proposal and the possibilities for knowledge use.

More information about the Veni on the website of NWO.