Seven Vidi grants for VU Amsterdam

The Dutch Research Council has awarded 81 experienced researchers a Vidi grant worth 800,000 euros. Seven of these are from VU Amsterdam / Amsterdam UMC, location VUmc. The grant enables them to develop their own innovative line of research and set up their own research group in the coming five years.

11/04/2020 | 12:00 AM

Jorien Vonk
Earth scientist Jorien Vonk receives the grant for her research The fate of thawing permafrost carbon in the marine system.
Arctic permafrost is rapidly thawing, releasing organic carbon through rivers and costal erosion. The fate of this carbon in the ocean is unknown, but degradation during transport may strengthen climate warming. Vonk will combine field measurements with geochemical analyses to quantify the fate of permafrost carbon in the ocean.
Barbora Hola
Criminologist Barbora Holá of Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement receives the Vidi for her research From the Past Back to the Future: Intergenerational legacies of mass atrocities.
Mass atrocities committed during genocides, wars and state repressions have profound consequences on people who directly experience them and on generations to come. Holá examines how legacies of mass atrocities transfer across generations, and what role transitional justice mechanisms, such as criminal trials and lustrations/vetting, play in such intergenerational transmission.
Julia Schaumburg
Econometrician Julia Schaumburg receives the grant for the research Statistical learning over time: closing the gap between time-series econometrics and the statistical learning literature.
She will develop new tools to address complex economic policy questions in quickly changing environments, by bringing together the best of two worlds: the ability of automated statistical learning methods to detect highly complex pattern, and the ability of flexible econometric time-series models to adapt in times of economic stress.
Marianne Moyaert
Professor of Comparative Theology and Hermeneutics of Interreligious Dialog, Marianne Moyaert receives the Vidi for the research Unequal Partners? Christian-Jewish and Christian-Muslim Couples in the Netherlands.
Jewish and Muslim minorities in The Netherlands are confronted with Islamophobia and Antisemitism while (secularized) Christian privileges prevail. Moyaert explores and compares how Christian-Muslim and Christian-Jewish couples handle this disparity. The focus is on material and ritual practices as these vital/fundamental practices often reveal unequal power relations.
Alan Gerber
Alan Gerber of Amsterdam UMC, location VUmc receives a Vidi for the research Roles of tRNAs in Cancer.
tRNAs are small molecules essential for protein synthesis. He will study the mechanisms by which cancer cells use these molecules to grow. Understanding these events will help developing novel therapies against cancers. 
Betty Tijms
Betty Tijms of Amsterdam UMC, location VUmc receives the grant for her research Strong brain connections for resilience to dementia.
Brain functioning relies on the connections between brain areas. Alzheimer’s disease disrupts brain connectivity and causes dementia. However, individuals who have strong brain connections show slower disease progression. Tijms will investigate which biological processes contribute to strong brain connectivity, in order to find novel ways to delay Alzheimer’s disease.  
Christiaan Vinkers
Christiaan Vinkers of Amsterdam UMC, location VUmc receives the Vidi for his research Understanding the impact of childhood trauma in depression.
Many people experience childhood trauma which increase the risk for psychiatric disorders such as depression. But can people recover from childhood trauma? Vinkers tries to understand the long-lasting and severe impact of childhood trauma and test whether a ‘reset’ of the stress system can help to treat depression related to childhood trauma.

A total of 503 researchers submitted an admissible research project for funding during this Vidi funding round. Eighty-one of these have now received grants. That amounts to an award rate of 16%. 

NWO Talent programme 
Vidi is aimed at experienced researchers who have carried out successful research for a number of years after obtaining their PhDs. Together with Veni and Vici, Vidi is part of the NWO Talent Programme. Researchers in the Talent Programme 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.